Monsters at Work

STREAMING REVIEW:

Disney+;
Animated;
Not rated.
Voices of Billy Crystal, John Goodman, Ben Feldman, Mindy Kaling, Henry Winkler, Lucas Neff, Alanna Ubach, Bonnie Hunt, Curtis Armstrong, Jennifer Tilly, Bob Peterson, Stephen Stanton, John Ratzenberger.

The “Monsters at Work” animated series streaming on Disney+ is a delightful continuation of the franchise that started with Pixar’s 2001 film Monsters, Inc.

The film focused on a world of monsters and a power plant that harnessed the screams of children to power the city. Two of the monsters, Mike and Sulley (voiced by Billy Crystal and John Goodman) eventually learn that the laughter of children is 10 times more powerful than screams.

“Monsters at Work” serves as a sequel to the film, showing how the power plant transitioned from scream power to laugh power. It also cleverly weaves together bits of world-building not only from the original film, but also its 2013 prequel, Monsters University, which focused on Mike and Sulley’s time in college.

While the show does continue the adventures of Mike and Sulley, the focus is primarily on a different department of the power plant, the Monsters Incorporated Facilities Team (MIFT), which is tasked with the maintenance of the equipment used to collect the power.

The main character is Tyler Tuskmon (voiced by Ben Feldman), who just graduated from Monsters U. and was recruited to join the Monsters, Inc. scare team just before the events of the first film. On his first day he learns of the transition to laugh power, but being a scarer and not very funny, he is assigned to the MIFT team.

Meanwhile, Mike takes charge of recruiting a new team of “jokesters” to replace the scarers who are now obsolete, and begins teaching comedy classes, which Tyler attends as he yearns to move out of the MIFT basement.

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The 10-episode first season details Tyler’s adventures with his fellow MIFT employees, which occasionally intersect with Mike and Sulley’s attempts to keep the plant afloat using laugh power. The show actually takes place during the epilogue of the first film, so it could be considered a bit of a sidequel as well.

Episodes two through nine also include a brief “Mike’s Comedy Class” vignette that gives the show a chance for more gags.

The series ties in well with established “Monsters” lore while making its own worthwhile contributions to the canon, which should entertain kids and make any fan of the franchise happy.

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Netflix’s ‘Never Have I Ever’ Top Rising Show and Top Binge on TV Time Charts

Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever” was the top rising show and the top binge show on the TV Time charts for the week ended July 18.

Season two of the coming-of-age comedy “Never Have I Ever,” created by executive producer Mindy Kaling, debuted July 15. It continues to follow Indian American teenager Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), who deals with the everyday pressures of high school and drama at home, while also navigating new romantic relationships.

Coming in at No. 2 on the binge chart was “Atypical,” season four of which debuted July 9. It’s another coming-of-age story following Sam (Keir Gilchrist), a young man on the autism spectrum, as he searches for love and independence.

“Elite,” a Spanish series about an elite prep school, took the bronze on the binge chart. Season four of the series came out on Netflix June 18.

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TV Time, a Whip Media company, is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by almost 1 million consumers every day, according to the service. The weekly “Binge Report” ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the app in a given day. The “Shows on the Rise” chart is calculated by determining the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a given program. The network displayed is the network where the show first aired (e.g. “Friends” on NBC).

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Top Binge Shows Week Ended July 18 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Never Have I Ever” (Netflix) — 7.16%
  2. “Atypical” (Netflix) — 6.14%
  3. “Elite” (Netflix) — 2.34%
  4. “Virgin River” (Netflix) — 2.13%
  5. “One Piece” (Fuji TV) — 1.83%
  6. “Modern Family” (U.S.) (ABC) — 1.54%
  7. “Grey’s Anatomy” (U.S.) (ABC) — 1.49%
  8. “Loki” (Disney+) — 1.25%
  9. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.03%
  10. “Lucifer” (Netflix) — 1.00%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended July 18 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Never Have I Ever” (Netflix) — 98.7%
  2. “Beastars” (Fuji TV) — 86.9%
  3. “The Cook of Castamar” (ATRESplayer Premium) — 75.2%
  4. “Superman & Lois” (The CW) — 65.7%
  5. “Big Brother” (USA) (CBS) — 54.5%
  6. “To You Eternity” (NHK Education) — 51.8%
  7. “Love Island” (U.S.) (CBS) — 46.4%
  8. “Van Helsing” (Syfy) — 44.6%
  9. “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” (The CW) — 43%
  10. “The Good Doctor” (U.S.) (ABC) — 40.6%

Big Week for DVD, Blu-ray Disc Topped with ‘Bill & Ted’ Sequel, ‘Mulan’ and Trio of ‘Complete Season’ TV Series Sets

It’s a big week for DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases, with Warner Bros. releasing the comedy sequel Bill & Ted Face the Music on both disc formats and three complete series sets of popular TV series “Schitt’s Creek,” “The Office” and “Downton Abbey” arriving on disc as well.

Meanwhile, new digital offerings available Nov. 10 include Sony Pictures’ The Broken Hearts Gallery, Lionsgate’s Words on Bathroom Walls and Paramount’s Jungleland.

Bill & Ted Face the Music is the third film in the “Bill & Ted” franchise, following 1989’s Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey. The film, from MGM and Orion Pictures, was slated for a wide theatrical release over the summer. But because of the coronavirus pandemic, it was released via PVOD and in a handful of theaters that opened after quarantine restrictions were lifted, earning $3.3 million at the domestic box office.

The film was released  via standard digital sellthrough Oct. 20 in advance of its Nov. 10 release on disc and standard VOD.

“Schitt’s Creek” concluded its six-season run in April. All 80 episodes are now available in a DVD-only collection from Lionsgate. The irreverent character-driven comedy centers on the reversal-of-fortune story of the once-rich Rose family. Suddenly finding themselves broke, the Roses are forced to rebuild their empire in Schitt’s Creek, a small town they had purchased earlier as a joke. The Canadian show received 19 Emmy nominations during its run, with 15 for its sixth season, setting a record for most nominations for a comedy series in its final season.

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“The Office,” which makes its Blu-ray Disc debut on Nov. 10, is an American sitcom that depicts the everyday work lives of employees of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Co. in Scranton, Penn. The show lasted nine seasons, airing on NBC from March  2005 to May 2013, and features an ensemble cast centered for the first seven seasons around wacky boss Steve Carell. Other notable cast members include Jenna Fischer, John Krasinski, Mindy Kaling and Creed Bratton, best known as a member of the classic pop-rock band the Grass Roots. The complete series has been available on DVD since 2014.

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“Downton Abbey” is a British historical drama television series set in the early 20th Century. The series ran for six seasons on PBS and inspired the 2019 movie Downton Abbey. The complete series is being released for the first time on DVD only by Universal on Nov. 10. Individual season sets were previously issued by PBS Distribution.

Other notable new releases available Nov. 10 include Disney’s live-action Mulan remake, Lionsgate’s Guest House and Mortal and Paramount’s Spontaneous.

The live-action Mulan, about a girl who poses as a boy to serve in her father’s place in the army in ancient China, arrives on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, and DVD. Disney is also releasing a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray of the original animated Mulan from 1998. The two films also will be available together in a Blu-ray Disc and DVD combo pack that also includes digital editions. The live-action Mulan made headlines over the Labor Day weekend when it bypassed theatrical distribution for in-home premium VOD. Disney announced the disc version just four days before its street date.

Guest House is a comedy starring Pauly Shore as a party animal who lives in a guest house. When the main house is purchased by an engaged couple, he refuses to leave. The film is available on both DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

Mortal is a thriller in which a sleepy Norwegian town erupts after an American backpacker is arrested. Witnesses claim a teen died after touching the stranger, and that he inexplicably started a fire that engulfed a farm. He warns a psychologist, Christine, that he has supernatural powers, and that anyone who gets too close to him dies. The film is being released on DVD and Blu-Disc Nov. 10, four days after its digital debut.

And Spontaneous, also available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc, stars Katherine Langford and Charlie Plummer as seniors at a high school where the students begin literally exploding. Realizing each moment may be their last, they begin a romance and start living for today. The film was initially released for premium video-on-demand viewing and digital sellthrough Oct. 6, four days after it began showing in select movie theaters.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Netflix’s ‘Never Have I Ever’ Tops TV Time Charts

Netflix’s “Never Have I Ever” topped both TV Time’s binge and rising show charts for the week ended May 3.

A coming-of-age comedy about a modern-day, first-generation Indian American teenage girl, “Never Have I Ever” debuted April 27 on the service. The series stars newcomer Maitreyi Ramakrishnan as Devi, an overachieving high school sophomore who has a short fuse that gets her into difficult situations. The show is created by executive producer Mindy Kaling.

Netflix’s “Summertime,” inspired by Federico Moccia’s book series, took the silver on the rising show chart and came in at No. 4 behind perennial binge favorites “Friends” (No. 2) and “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (No. 3) on the binge chart. The Italian drama, which hit screens April 29, is about two young adults from very different backgrounds who fall in love during a summer on Italy’s Adriatic Coast.

Taking the bronze on the rising show chart was Amazon Prime’s new series “Upload,” which premiered May 1. It follows a young app developer who meets an early death in a future world where humans are able to “upload” themselves into their preferred choice of afterlife.

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TV Time is a free TV viewership tracking app that tracks consumers’ viewing habits worldwide and is visited by more than 1 million consumers every day, according to the service. The weekly “Binge Report” ranks shows with the most binge sessions. A binge session is when four or more episodes of a show are watched and tracked in the app in a given day. The “Shows on the Rise” chart is calculated by determining the week-over-week growth in episodes watched for a given program. The network displayed is the network where the show first aired (e.g. “Friends” on NBC).

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 Top Binge Shows Week Ended May 3 by Share of Binges:

  1. “Never Have I Ever” (Netflix) — 4.58%
  2. “Friends” (NBC) — 1.71%
  3. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC) — 1.62%
  4. “Summertime” (Netflix) — 1.49%
  5. “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC) — 1.45%
  6. “The Office” (NBC) — 1.44%
  7. “Money Heist” (Netflix) — 1.42%
  8. “The Last Kingdom” (Netflix) — 1.41%
  9. “Outer Banks” (Netflix) — 1.21%
  10. “Community” (NBC) — 1.18%

 

Top “Shows on the Rise” Week Ended May 3 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Never Have I Ever” (Netflix) — 100%
  2. “Summertime” (Netflix) — 100%
  3. “Upload” (Amazon Prime) —99.9%
  4. “Hollywood” (Netflix) — 99.9%
  5. “Normal People” (BBC Three) — 95.4%
  6. “Boris” (Fox Channel IT) —87.8%
  7. “The Last Kingdom” (Netflix) — 78.4%
  8. “Batwoman” (The CW) — 71%
  9. “The Rookie” (ABC) — 57.4%
  10. “New Girl” (Fox) —47.6%

‘The Mindy Project’ Complete Series Set Coming Jan. 14 on DVD and Blu-ray From Mill Creek

The complete series set of the sitcom “The Mindy Project” will come out on DVD and Blu-ray Disc from Mill Creek Entertainment Jan. 14.

All 117 episodes across the show’s six-season run (seasons on, two and three on Fox, and seasons four, five and six on Hulu) will be available on DVD for $54.98 and Blu-ray for $74.98.

The series follows Dr. Mindy Lahiri (Mindy Kaling), a talented obstetrician navigating the tricky waters of her chaotic personal life as she pursues her dreams of becoming the perfect woman, finding happiness and getting her perfect romantic comedy ending. Mindy shares a practice with three doctors, none of whom makes life any easier for her.  There’s Dr. Danny Castellano (Chris Messina), whose on-again-off-again romance with Mindy keeps the office staff on their toes, Dr. Jeremy Reed (Ed Weeks), the office’s managing partner and resident punching bag, and Dr. Peter Prentice (Adam Palley), a high-fiving former frat boy, who knows nothing about the opposite sex, but insists on doling out relationship advice to Mindy.  Rounding out the ensemble is ex-con-turned-nurse Morgan Tookers (Ike Barinholtz), the gossipy Tamra (Xosha Roquemore) and the grumpy Beverly (Beth Grant).

The series picked up numerous awards (Critics’ Choice, Gracie, Satellite) and nominations (People’s Choice, Writer’s Guild, Teen Choice, NAACP Image) for Best Comedy Series.

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Kaling, the first Indian-American to have her own TV series and one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People, recently starred in, produced and wrote the semi-autobiographical theatrical feature Late Night co-starring Emma Thompson, and the Hulu miniseries Four Weddings and a Funeral.

Ocean’s Eight

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner;
Comedy;
Box Office $139.32 million;
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $44.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for language, drug use, and some suggestive content.
Stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Mindy Kaling, Richard Armitage. 

Ocean’s Eight is pretty much exactly the movie one might expect from the premise of making a female-centric version of an “Ocean’s” heist movie.

Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, sister of George Clooney’s character from the “Ocean’s” trilogy, who gets out of prison and gathers her former cohorts for a scheme to steal an expensive necklace during the Met Gala.

Their plan is to convince a famous actress (Anne Hathaway) to wear the jewels, and through the franchise’s usual series of complicated maneuvers find a way to swap it for a fake and sneak off with the goods. Debbie also might want some revenge against a former boyfriend who got her sent to prison in the first place.

So, naturally, the plan seems to get more out of control with every detail while the twists and turns become more far-fetched. It’s best not to think too much about the logic of all of it.

True to the franchise, the film is mostly just an excuse to spend some time with the quirky and likable personalities of the all-star assembly of talent involved. There are even a few cameos from some of the characters from the earlier trilogy (but, alas, Matt Damon’s rumored cameo is nowhere to be found, not even the deleted scenes).

The Blu-ray offers a couple of short deleted scenes totaling less than two minutes.

There are also three behind-the-scenes featurettes that run about 38 minutes in total. One focuses on the cast, one focuses on the caper, and one focuses on how the filmmakers re-created the Met Gala for the story.

‘Oceans 8’ Due on Digital Aug. 21, Disc Sept. 11 From Warner

The caper flick Ocean’s 8 will come out on digital Aug. 21 and 4K UHD combo pack, Blu-ray combo pack and DVD special edition Sept. 11 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The film stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna and Helena Bonham Carter as a group of thieves targeting $150 million in diamonds to be worn at the Met Gala.

Ocean’s 8 earned $136.5 million at the box office.

The 4K UHD combo pack ($44.95) features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the film in 4K with Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound, a Blu-ray disc of the film and special features, and a digital version of the movie. The Blu-ray combo pack ($35.99) features a Blu-ray disc of the film and special features in hi-definition, a DVD with the film in standard definition, and a digital version of the movie. The DVD special edition ($28.98) features a DVD with the film in standard definition and a second DVD with special features in standard definition. The film will also be available on Movies Anywhere.

Special features include deleted scenes and the featurettes “A Heist in Heels,” “Ocean’s Team 3.0” and “Reimagining the Met Gala.”