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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The Mandalorian: Chapter 1

STREAMING REVIEW:

Disney+;
Sci-Fi;
Stars Pedro Pascal, Carl Weathers, Nick Nolte, Werner Herzog, Omid Abtahi, Taika Waititi, Horatio Sanz, Brian Posehn.

This is a great start for a series that promises to inject some of the old-school excitement back into the “Star Wars” brand that seems to have leaked out a bit from fan reactions to Disney’s movie efforts.

Executive producers Jon Favreau and Dave Filoni are throwbacks to the pre-Disney days of Lucasfilm, having worked on the “Clone Wars” animated series, and have a solid grasp on “Star Wars” canon. So much so that many fans believe they should have been given the reins to the continuing movie franchise instead of the divisive J.J. Abrams and his penchant for mystery-box storytelling and visual splendor over substance.

The first episode comes rife with references to classic “Star Wars,” including a few nods to the infamously bad 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special.

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With its focus on the seedy underbelly of the “Star Wars” universe and the bounty hunters who operate within it, the show feels a bit like a Clint Eastwood Western, centered on the mysterious, masked and unnamed Mandalorian, who is just trying to make ends meet with the meager bounties that come his way. The “space Western” vibe brings to mind Joss Whedon’s “Firefly,” itself heavily influenced by “Star Wars.”

For those who don’t know, the Mandalorians in canon are a proud warrior race whose planet has been hit hard by war over the centuries. Set shortly after the fall of the Empire in Return of the Jedi, the show implies that clusters of downtrodden Mandos have spread like refugees across the galaxy seeking to reclaim their heritage where they can.

As such, for his latest job the Mandalorian takes a payment of rare Beskar steel, the powerful alloy used to construct the legendary Mandalorian armor (which fans will recognize as similar to the armor worn by Boba Fett).

The Mandalorian’s mission here, after being hired by a former Imperial functionary (played by Werner Herzog), is to recover someone from a mercenary stronghold. The identity of the target is but one of many surprises this show no doubt has in store for us.

Along the way, he encountered the bounty hunting droid IG-11 (voiced by Taika Waititi), and the pair join forces for a fantastic fight sequence that most fans will equate to an approximation of a team-up of classic trilogy characters Boba Fett and IG-88). And for longtime fans with any familiarity with the expanded “Star Wars” universe, it’s just great to see the bounty hunters in action.

 

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.

Warner Releasing ‘Head Full of Honey’ Digitally

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the family drama Head Full of Honey through digital retailers Aug. 20, and on demand through cable and satellite providers, and on select gaming consoles beginning Sept. 10.

Head Full of Honey stars Oscar nominee Nick Nolte as Amadeus, a recent widower whose strong personality, charm and sense of humor can no longer mask the life-altering onset of Alzheimer’s. When Amadeus expresses a deep desire to revisit the places of his fondest remaining memories, his granddaughter joins him on an unpredictable road trip to Italy that will transform not only their lives but the entire family.

The film also stars Matt Dillon, Emily Mortimer, Til Schweiger (who also co-wrote and directed the film) and Sophia Lane Nolte, making her feature film debut.

Head Full of Honey is based on the German film Honig im Kopf, written by Hilly Martinek and Schweiger and directed by Schweiger.

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