Redbox Nabs Movie Rights to Morgan Freeman, Cole Hauser Actioner ‘Muti’

Redbox Entertainment Sept. 8 announced it has acquired North American rights to the action movie Muti from writer-director George Gallo (Bad Boys), starring Morgan Freeman and Cole Hauser (“Yellowstone”).

Hauser plays a detective trying to come to grips with the death of his daughter. He sets out to find a serial killer whose victims are based on a brutal “muti” tribal ritual. He enlists the help of a university anthropologist (Freeman) to help.

Supporting cast includes Peter Stormare (Fargo) and former NFL player Vernon Davis. Principal photography recently wrapped in Mississippi and will continue in Italy. The screenplay is written by Bob Bowersox, Jennifer Lemmon, Francesco Cinquemani, Giorgia Iannone, Luca Giliberto and Ferdinando Dell’Omo. The film is based on a story by Joe Lemmon and Cinquemani.

Redbox, which is expanding its brand beyond DVD rental kiosks into movie acquisitions and licensing, will stream the film on its ad-supported branded Redbox Live TV platform, digital retail and app in 2022.

“After reading the script, we knew this was a special film that will have audiences at the edge of their seats,” Galen Smith, CEO of Redbox, said in a statement. “The casting is phenomenal, and George’s past work and other projects speaks for itself. We can’t wait to premiere this next year.”

The deal was negotiated by Marc Danon of Redbox Entertainment and Bret Saxon of Wonderfilm Media.

The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 8/17/21;
Lionsgate;
Action Comedy;
Box Office $37.74 million;
$29.96 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $42.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong bloody violence throughout, pervasive language, and some sexual content.
Stars
Ryan Reynolds, Samuel L. Jackson, Salma Hayek, Antonio Banderas, Frank Grillo, Richard E. Grant, Morgan Freeman.

The sequel to 2017’s The HItman’s Bodyguard, like its predecessor, is an affable actioner that coasts on irreverent humor and a solid cast that appears to be having fun with the proceedings.

Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard looks in on disgraced personal bodyguard Michael Bryce (Ryan Reynolds) who is having nightmares about Darius Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), the notorious hitman from the first film he was tasked with protecting against agents of a European despot he was set to testify against.

As a result of those events, Bryce has been refused recertification by the bodyguard licensing agency, and is instructed by a therapist to take a long vacation to put thoughts of violence behind him. His sabbatical to a tropical beach is short-lived, however, when he is recruited by Darius’ wife, Sonia (Salma Hayek, who gets to expand her small role from the first movie) to help rescue her husband from an international cartel.

Extracting him embroils the trio in a larger plot involving a Greek shipping magnate and criminal mastermind (Antonio Banderas) who seeks revenge against the European Union for imposing economic sanctions on Greece.

As pressure on them mounts from the Interpol agent (Frank Grillo) overseeing the operation, Bryce turns to his stepfather (Morgan Freeman) for help, which only gets them into more trouble.

Another subplot involves Sonia and Darius trying to have a baby, but her loyalty is called into question when it turns out she and the tycoon used to be an item.

What the film lacks in subtlety it makes up for with inventive mayhem and bloody action juxtaposed by the odd couple relationship between the Kincaids, who seem to enjoy unleashing casual violence on their enemies, and Bryce, who insists on tackling the mission without killing anyone or even using a gun.

As with the first movie, the breezy attitude of Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard makes it a fun diversion, but it’s unlikely to have much staying power after the credits roll.

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The Blu-ray includes a five-minute gag reel and several good bonus featurettes, including the nine-minute “Ryan, Sam, Salma: One F’d Up Family,” the seven-minute “Gone Soft: The New Michael Bryce,” the eight-minute “#stuntlife” and the four-minute “On the Set of Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard.”

The 4K disc has the same extra content as the regular Blu-ray disc.

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Batman: The Long Halloween — Part Two

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 8/10/21;
Warner;
Animated;
$34.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for some violence and bloody images.
Voices of Jensen Ackles, Josh Duhamel, Naya Rivera, Billy Burke, Katee Sackhoff, Titus Welliver, David Dastmalchian, Troy Baker, Amy Landecker, Julie Nathanson, Fred Tatasciore, Alastair Duncan.

The second half of The Long Halloween delivers a satisfying conclusion to the animated adaptation of the famed 1990s Batman comic book story.

In Part Two, Gotham’s mob bosses struggle to maintain control of their traditional criminal enterprises as Gotham City continues to be overrun by costumed supervillains in the wake of Batman’s rise as the city’s protector. Picking up from the post-credits scene of Part One, Poison Ivy (Katee Sackhoff) has enthralled Bruce Wayne (Jensen Ackles) into signing over his assets to mafia kingpin Carmine Falcone (Titus Welliver), but the scheme is thwarted by Catwoman (Naya Rivera). Meanwhile, the serial killer known as Holiday continues to wage war on Gotham’s crime families, leading to rampant speculation over the murderer’s true identity.

When suspicion falls upon district attorney Harvey Dent (Josh Duhamel), a surprise attack leaves him physically scarred, transforming him into the villainous Two-Face, and sealing the fate of Gotham’s future once and for all.

Part Two is darker and bloodier than the first half, with graphic animated violence throughout.

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Neither of the Blu-rays for parts one or two includes a featurette about the source material, which is pretty common for the DC Universe animated movies, so perhaps one is being saved for the upcoming 4K Blu-ray that combines both halves into a single longer film, which is slated for next year.

The Part Two Blu-ray does include featurettes about several earlier DC movies, plus a 10-minute preview of the upcoming Injustice animated movie based on the video game about DC heroes fighting each other.

The Blu-ray also includes the excellent two-part “Two-Face” episode depicting the villains origin on “Batman: The Animated Series.”

Also included is the 15-minute DC Showcase animated short Blue Beetle, which is a hilarious homage to the style of superhero cartoons from the 1960s and ’70s, even down to the goofy theme song. The story involves Blue Beetle (Matt Lanter) investigating a villain who uses soda to brainwash people into becoming his henchmen.

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Angel Has Fallen

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Lionsgate;
Action;
Box Office $69.03 million;
$29.95 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $42.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for violence and language throughout.
Stars Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lance Reddick, Tim Blake Nelson, Nick Nolte, Danny Huston.

The unassuming “Fallen” action franchise becomes a trilogy in Angel Has Fallen, which continues the adventures of Gerard Butler as Mike Banning, the secret service agent who thwarts a massive conspiracy against the American presidency every few years.

After stopping terrorist takeovers of the White House in 2013’s Olympus Has Fallen, and an attack on world leaders in London in 2016’s London Has Fallen, Banning finds himself framed for an assassination attempt that leaves President Trumbull (Morgan Freeman) in a coma and the vice president (Tim Blake Nelson) threatening war with Russia.

Taking on a bit of the flavor of The Fugitive, the plot has Banning under pursuit by a diligent FBI agent (Jada Pinkett Smith), so he goes off the grid and enlists the help of his estranged father, a kooky doomsday prepper living in a rustic cabin in the backwoods of West Virginia. Nick Nolte steals the movie as Mike’s dad, committing full tilt to the role of the crazy-eyed former soldier with no trust of government or technology (Nolte in the bonus materials discusses growing his beard out for a full year to prepare for the part).

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The film offers some decent action sequences in service of a mystery plot that is easy to predict a mile away, despite the film’s efforts to obfuscate the inevitable with the early reveal of an obvious middle-man. The screenplay also sidesteps the 25th Amendment to further its plot mechanics, which could prove to be a minor annoyance to viewers to politically savvy viewers. But there’s really only so much brainpower a movie like this can be expected to deploy.

The Blu-ray includes six behind-the-scenes featurettes that run about 70 total minutes. These cover pretty much all the aspects of the production, from the casting to the stunts to re-creating Washington, D.C., and rural Virginia in England and Bulgaria.

Director Ric Roman Waugh also offers an eight-and-a-half-minute mini-commentary for three scenes in the film, including the drone attack on Trumbull and a lengthy truck chase, plus a humorous post-credits scene.

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Actioner ‘Angel Has Fallen’ Arrives on Digital Nov. 12, Disc — Including 4K— Nov. 26 From Lionsgate

The actioner Angel Has Fallen will come out on digital Nov. 12 and on 4K Ultra HD combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital), Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD, and on demand Nov. 26 from Lionsgate.

The film stars Gerard Butler, Morgan Freeman, Jada Pinkett Smith, Lance Reddick, Tim Blake Nelson, Nick Nolte and Danny Huston.

When there is an assassination attempt on U.S. President Allan Trumbull (Freeman), his trusted confidant, Secret Service Agent Mike Banning (Butler), is wrongfully accused and taken into custody. After escaping from capture, he becomes a man on the run and must evade his own agency and outsmart the FBI in order to find the real threat to the president. Desperate to uncover the truth, Banning turns to unlikely allies to help clear his name, keep his family from harm, and save the country from imminent danger.

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Special features include six making-of featurettes and a three-part audio commentary with director Ric Roman Waugh.

The 4K release includes Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

Sony Releasing ‘Glory’ on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will release the 1989 Civil War drama Glory on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and 4K digital with HDR July 30 to mark the film’s 30th Anniversary.

Directed by Edward Zwick, the film tells the story of the first all-black volunteer company formed by the Union during the U.S. Civil War. The cast includes Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes and Morgan Freeman.

The film was nominated for five Academy Awards and won three, including Best Supporting Actor for Denzel Washington, Best Cinematography and Best Sound.

The re-release comes from a 4K resolution scan from the original camera negative, with a 4K HDR master approved by director Edward Zwick, plus a new Dolby Atmos audio mix, as well as the original theatrical audio mix.

Extras include director’s commentary, deleted scenes with commentary, a virtual interactive Civil War battlefield map, the documentary “The True Story Continues,” and the featurettes “The Voices of Glory” and “The Making of Glory.” The 4K disc will include a visual feature-length commentary and the film’s theatrical trailer.

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In addition, Fathom Events, Turner Classic Movies and Sony Pictures will present Glory as part of the year-long TCM Big Screen Classics series. The film will play in more than 600 movie theaters nationwide July 21 and 24. Tickets are available at FathomEvents.com.

Disney’s ‘Nutcracker’ Comes Home Jan. 29

Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment will release The Nutcracker and the Four Realms on Blu-ray, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digital Jan. 29.

Inspired by E.T.A. Hoffmann’s short story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” and the ballet The Nutcracker, the film tells the story of 14-year-old Clara (Mackenzie Foy), who travels along a golden thread, presented at Drosselmeyer’s (Morgan Freeman) annual party, eagerly searching for a one-of-a-kind key that will unlock a music box that holds a priceless gift. When she enters a mysterious parallel world, Clara encounters a Nutcracker soldier named Phillip (Jayden Fowora-Knight), a gang of mice and three Realm regents, including the Sugar Plum Fairy (Keira Knightley). Ultimately, she must brave the Fourth Realm, home to the tyrant Mother Ginger (Helen Mirren), to retrieve the key and return harmony to the unstable world.

Blu-ray extras include: “On Pointe: A Conversation with Misty Copeland,” in which the actress discusses playing The Ballerina Princess; “Unwrapping The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” a look at the production design, sets and costumes; five deleted scenes; and music videos for “Fall on Me” by Andrea Bocelli featuring Matteo Bocelli, and Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite” performed by Lang Lang.

Another featurette “Unwrapped: The Visual Effects of The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” will be available exclusively with the digital edition.

Digital bonus materials may vary by retailer.