Nicolas Cage Black Comedy ‘Dream Scenario’ Due on Blu-ray Feb. 27

The black comedy Dream Scenario, which earned Nicolas Cage a Golden Globe nomination for best actor in a musical or comedy, will be available as a Blu-ray (plus DVD plus digital) Feb. 27 from A24 and Lionsgate.

Starring, written by and directed by Kristoffer Borgli and produced by Ari Aster (Midsommar, Hereditary, Beau is Afraid), the film follows hapless family man Paul Matthews who finds his life turned upside down when millions of strangers suddenly start seeing him in their dreams. But when his nighttime appearances take a nightmarish turn, Pail is forced to navigate his newfound stardom.

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Special features include audio commentary with writer/director Kristoffer Borgli; “Dream Like Nobody’s Watching”; deleted scenes; and trailers.

Nicolas Cage-Starring Western ‘Butcher’s Crossing’ Gets Digital, Disc Release Dates

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced home release dates for the Nicolas Cage-starring Western Butcher’s Crossing.

The film, which marks the directorial debut of Gabe Polsky and is based on the 1960 novel of the same name by John Edward Williams, will be released digitally Dec. 19, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Dec. 26.

Butcher’s Crossing was released theatrically by Saban Films in October, the month after its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The film stars Cage as Miller, a mysterious frontier buffalo hunter who teams up with Harvard dropout Will Andrews (Fred Hechinger), who left college to seek adventure. Miller tells Andrews about a remote Colorado pass where one of the few remaining massive herds can be found. Andrews ignores warnings about Miller and puts up all his money to fund the expedition.  Their crew must survive an arduous journey where the harsh elements will test everyone’s resolve, leaving their sanity on a knife’s edge.

Kino Lorber Releasing ‘Face/Off’ 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Dec. 12

Director John Woo’s 1997 action epic Face/Off, which stars Nicolas Cage and John Travolta, is the next big studio film to get the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray treatment from independent film distributor Kino Lorber. 

The film will be released Dec. 12 under Kino Lorber’s Studio Classics line. 

In the film, FBI agent Sean Archer (Travolta) knows how to stop elusive terrorist Castor Troy (Cage). He’ll become him. Archer undergoes a futuristic surgery and has Troy’s face mapped onto his, then infiltrates the terrorist’s world to discover his deadly secrets.

But as much as Archer looks and acts like Troy, he doesn’t really know him. He never figures Troy will retaliate and force doctors to transform him into Archer. Now the agent faces a shattering nightmare: his archrival is living with his family. 

As with other Kino Lorber 4K releases, Face/Off is coming to market in a combo pack that also includes the film on regular Blu-ray Disc. The 4K version is on a triple-layered UHD100 disc, and was created from a new HDR/Dolby Vision master made from a 4K scan of the original 35mm camera negative. The release includes 5.1 Surround and Lossless 2.0 stereo sound. Bonus content includes a new audio commentary by action film historians Mike Leeder and Arne Venema, along with existing extras such as an audio commentary by director Woo and writers Mike Werb and Michael Colleary. 

The Blu-ray Disc — a dual-layered BD50 — also comes from a new HD master from a 4K scan of the original camera negative and includes the same extras, as well as a third audio commentary by writers  Werb and Colleary; seven deleted scenes with a combined length of eight minutes and 26 seconds; a making-of documentary; and featurette on Woo. 

Face/Off

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 7/4/23;
Paramount;
Action;
$17.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for intense sequences of strong violence, and for strong language.
Stars John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Joan Allen, Alessandro Nivola, Gina Gershon, Dominique Swain, Harve Presnell, Margaret Cho, Nick Cassavetes, John Carrol Lynch, CCH Pounder.  

The name John Woo conjures up images of rhythmically decelerated violence expressively stretched to its limits. Shell casings chicly beat down against rain-soaked pavement while the gunslinger, mindfully pumping ammo, doesn’t bother to remove the toothpick from his mouth. By the time Hong Kong’s often imitated, never duplicated master of balletic action made the move to Hollywood in 1993, he had pretty much shown us everything he had, only this time his efforts yielded a well-deserved mountain of greenbacks. Hollywood began pitching Woo shortly after the international success of The Killers (1989) made him a cult favorite in the States. Woo, the first Asian filmmaker to direct a mainstream Hollywood picture, was sold to Universal execs by none other than Jean-Claude Van Damme, who hailed him as “the Martin Scorsese of Asia!”

With Hard Target (1993), his first American film, Woo achieved what many thought to be impossible: a vigorously watchable Van Damme movie! Broken Arrow (1996) was a stiff, but a follow-up John Travolta picture, Face/Off (1997), demonstrated that Woo could handle a think-free blockbuster without compromising too much integrity. As delightful as it was to reconnect with the film some 26-years after its initial release, the question remains, was this Blu-ray re-release really necessary?

Woo spent a decade working on American soil. Of the seven films he signed between 1993 and 2003, Face/Off remains artistically unbeaten. Mission: Impossible II was the highest-grossing film of 2000, but Woo has yet to make an American film that is a patch on any of his Hong Kong hits. Oddly, my favorite of the director’s Hong Kong films, Hard Boiled, was his least successful in China. The locals slammed it as too American.

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The Face/Off script by Mike Werb and Michael Colleary is constructed around a premise so silly that it makes Magnificent Obsession (1954) — millionaire playboy Rock Hudson studies to become a surgeon so as to restore sight to a woman he accidentally blinded — look like a paragon of plausibility when compared to what Woo and company cooked up.

Released at a time when Nicolas Cage and John Travolta ruled the box office, the biggest appeal was the stars’ and filmmakers’ commitment to making a hard ‘R’-rated movie, no matter how silly a premise they’ve concocted. Castor Troy (Cage) stands positioned on a grassy knoll, sucking down a soft drink and focusing his rifle scope on a nearby carousel. His aim is to take out Sean Archer (Travolta), but his bullet passes through the FBI agent killing his young son. Five minutes into the picture and a child’s corpse kicks off the body count. Six years later the cop and killer reconvene. Before being beaten to a comatose pulp, Troy confesses that he’s planted a bomb capable of spreading biological warfare of biblical proportions across Los Angeles. The only other person aware of the bomb’s whereabouts is Troy’s younger brother (Alessandro Nivola), and his lips are sealed. Archer undergoes an experimental surgical procedure that allows good and bad guys to swap mugs. Troy is kept alive in a vegetative state waiting to be revived at the precise moment the script needed a swift kick in the ass.

Cage playing Travolta playing Cage falls short of Being John Malkovich, but credit the filmmakers for having the courage of their conviction to play it straight, give or take a moment or two of sickening maudlinism. (The running gag of actors face-palming one another as a token of affection lost its charm after the third of what would amount to a dozen or so swipes.) And all things considered, these guys are two of the worst shots in movie history. If you had in your bank account what they spent on expended bullets, you could afford to put a family of 10 through college.

So what’s behind the pressing need for a 2023 pressing? The commentary tracks and special features are the same ones that were minted on Paramount’s 2008 release. Why should this version be different from all other home video copies? This one comes with access to a digital copy. How is this a selling tool? Why would anyone in possession of a Blu-ray, a flat-screen, and their right mind need a digital code to watch a film on their laptop or, even worse, a cell phone? And while we’re doing away with digital copies, why not put an end to Blu-ray/DVD combos? Who is the DVD copy for? Are you going to invite friends that you don’t like over for dinner followed by a screening of an inferior pressing? Last year Kino Lorber announced a 4K restoration and my guess is this is Paramount’s way to milk every last cent out of the title before it becomes obsolete. Sit tight. Kino Lorber is poised to cast the film in a different light that’s bound to be brighter than Paramount’s dingy face-lift.

 

Renfield

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 6/6/23;
Universal;
Horror Comedy;
Box Office $17.15 million;
$29.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for bloody violence, some gore, language throughout and some drug use.
Stars Nicholas Hoult, Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Adrien Martinez, Nicolas Cage.

As if tales of immortality in exchange for a nibbling of the neck weren’t parodic enough, vampire spoofs by their very nature tend to suck. (Forgive me.) If Mel Brooks (Dracula: Dead and Loving It) or Roman Polanski (The Fearless Vampire Killers) can’t make a go of it, what chances did Old Dracula, Vampire in Brooklyn, Nocturna: Granddaughter of Dracula, etc. stand of breaking the mold? Stephanie Rothman’s tale of bisexual bloodsuckers, The Velvet Vampire is not without its charms, but when it comes to vampire comedies, Nicolas Cage is two for two. Remember Vampire’s Kiss, where Cage famously ate a cockroach? In Renfield, Cage’s Dracula leaves the creepy-crawly consumption to his title sidekick.

The premise is a springboard to delight: Dracula’s “familiar,” a servant, as a chyron informs us, “gifted with a tiny portion of (his) power,” attends a meeting of DRAAG (Dependent Relationship Anonymous Addiction Group), a 12-step self-help group aimed at eliminating feelings of enslavement brought on by a spouse, boss, or spending an eternity doing the satanic bidding of the Prince of Darkness. All of the group’s abusive relationships combined can’t compete with the decades of humiliating servitude Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) was forced to chalk up to the Count’s abusively erratic mood swings as well as catching and preparing his nightly repast. Rather than shopping for victims one by one, why not dine ala group therapy? The question of why a person possessed of Renfield’s powers needs chloroform to overcome his victims is a head-scratcher.

Director Chris McKay (The Batman Lego Movie, The Tomorrow War) envisions a sequel. When Renfield’s narration suggests starting at the beginning, he didn’t mean the Bram Stoker novel, but Tod Browning’s 1931 movie adaptation that became one of the cornerstones of the Universal Horror franchise. When the two first meet in flashback, rather than a green screen restaging of the original, the filmmaker has digitally inserted the faces of our two leads over those of Bela Lugosi and Dwight Frye. With the exception of Cage’s teeth — he and Finding Nemo’s Bruce appear to share the same dentist — the effect is staggeringly convincing.

The understanding relationship between Master and somnambulic servant at times borders on touching. Renfield knows how to play up to Dracula’s narcissistic side. He warns if Dracula dies, Renfield is next, not so much for any of the heinous acts he’s committed against humanity, but because he is the only one who truly cares for the troubled Nosferatu. We want so much to believe Cage’s Dracula when he alleges a vampire’s ability to live in eternal life does not make him a monster. Choosing to join VA (Vampires Anonymous), Renfield betrays Dracula by becoming a member of the human race as opposed to the walking dead.

A subplot involving a family of mobsters gunning for vampires is a welcome addition, as is Awkwafina as a second-generation police officer looking to avenge her father’s death. The dialogue is at times excruciatingly witty and laugh-out-loud hilarious, but damn if the filmmakers refuse to play by the simplest of rules. It’s bad enough to camp things up or overstate violence looking to appeal to the Comic-Con set, but this group goes so far as breaking tradition by adding a new power. If Dracula feeds off human lives, in accordance with the original legend, Renfield devours bugs the way Popeye downs spinach for strength. As sure as the bloodsuckers in Kathryn Bigelow’s Near Dark are inexplicably free to move about the countryside in broad daylight, a drizzle of this Drac’s blood now has the power to raise the dead. Vampirism as we know it has been around since the early 18th-century. In choosing to color outside the lines, McKay and screenwriter Ryan Ridley do the film a giant disservice. The same goes for the ersatz CGI effects borrowed from The Matrix. That said, I’ll watch anything with Cage in it, even The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Make that especially The Sorcerer’s Apprentice!

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Bonus features include a commentary with Producer Samantha Nisenboim, screenwriter Ryan Ridley and others; several deleted and extended scenes, and alternate takes; the making of the “Renfield’s Dance” scene; and five behind-the-scenes featurettes.

 

Nicolas Cage Horror Comedy ‘Renfield’ to Stream on Peacock Starting June 9

The horror comedy Renfield will begin streaming on Peacock June 9.

The film, which has been available via premium digital rental and sale, will be released for regular digital purchase and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD June 6.

In the film, for centuries, Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) has slavishly served Dracula (Cage) by procuring his master’s prey and doing his every bidding, no matter how debased. But now, Renfield is ready to look for a new life outside the shadow of The Prince of Darkness, if only he can figure out how to end the toxic, codependent relationship.

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Horror Comedy ‘Renfield’ Due on Digital, Disc June 6 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release the Dracula spoof Renfield, with Nicolas Cage, through digital retailers and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD June 6.

The “Dracula Sucks Edition” of the film includes an hour of bonus content, including deleted scenes and featurettes.
 
Aside from Cage, the cast includes Nicholas Hoult, Awkwafina, Ben Schwartz, Adrian Martinez, Shohreh Aghdashloo, and Brandon Scott Jones. Directed by Chris McKay  and written by Ryan Ridley from a story by Robert Kirkman, the horror comedy is produced by Skybound Entertainment and Giant Wildcat.

Hoult stars as Renfield, the tortured aide to Dracula (Cage). For centuries, Renfield has slavishly served Dracula by procuring his master’s prey and doing his every bidding, no matter how debased. But now, Renfield is ready to look for a new life outside Dracula’s shadow of The Prince of Darkness, if only he can figure out how to end the toxic relationship.

Bonus content includes:

  • Deleted and extended scenes;
  • Alternate takes;
  • “Dracula Uncaged,” with Cage revealing the secrets behind turning a classic character into a memorable monster;
  • “Monsters & Men: Behind the Scenes of Renfield,” an in-depth look at Renfield’s cast, sets, costumes and more as the actors and filmmakers reveal how they modernized a famous terror tale;
  • “Stages of Rejuvenation,” a documentary on the special makeup effects through the four stages of Dracula’s transformation;
  • “Flesh & Blood,” another documentary on the making of the film;
  • “Fighting Dirty,” in which stunt coordinator Christopher Brewster leads a look at the training, choreography, and execution that went into the film’s stunts and fight scenes; 
  • “The Making of a Deleted Scene: Renfield’s Dance!,” in which  Hoult and choreographer Kathryn Burns pull back the curtain on constructing an elaborate musical number for a fantasy dance sequence; and
  • Commentaries with producer Samantha Nisenboim, screenwriter Ridley, and crew.

 

Nicolas Cage Action-Adventure ‘Lord of War’ Due on Best Buy Exclusive 4K Ultra HD Steelbook June 6

The Nicolas Cage action-adventure Lord of War (2005) will arrive in a Best Buy exclusive 4K Ultra HD Steelbook combo pack (plus Blu-ray and digital) on June 6 from Lionsgate.

Directed by Andrew Niccol (The Host, Good Kill, Anon), the film follows Yuri Orlov (Cage), an arms dealer whose clients include merciless dictators. With his brother’s help, he reaches the top of his trade, supplying anyone whose check clears. His skills and quick wits bring him everything he’s ever wanted — and help him elude a persistent Interpol agent. But at the peak of his prowess, he discovers his customers might demand more than he can give, and those he’s trying to protect could become deadly liabilities.

The film also stars Ethan Hawke, Jared Leto, Ian Holm and Bridget Moynahan.

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Special features include deleted scenes; “The Making of Lord of War” featurette; “Making a Killing: Inside the International Arms Trade” featurette; and audio commentary with writer-director Andrew Niccol.

Western ‘The Old Way’ Headed to Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Feb. 21

The Nicolas Cage Western The Old Way arrives on Blu-ray (plus digital), DVD, digital and on demand Feb. 21 from Lionsgate.

Academy Award winner Cage (1995, Actor in a Leading Role, Leaving Las Vegas) stars in his first-ever Western,  directed by Brett Donowho (Acts of Violence, Salvation U.S.A.) and written by Carl W. Lucas (The Wave, My Name Is Myeisha).
 
Cage stars as Colton Briggs, a cold-blooded gunslinger turned respectable family man. When an outlaw and his gang put Colton and his family in peril, Colton is forced to take up arms with an unlikely partner — his 12-year-old daughter (Ryan Kiera Armstrong).

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Special features on Blu-ray and DVD include audio commentary by director Brett Donowho; audio commentary by composer Andrew Morgan Smith; a behind-the-scenes featurette; and scoring sessions.

Comedy ‘Adaptation’ Headed to 4K Ultra HD Dec. 6 for 20th Anniversary

The 2002 comedy Adaptation will be released on 4K Ultra HD Dec. 6 for its 20th anniversary from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. 

Director Spike Jonze delivers a comedy that blends fictional characters and situations with the lives of real people: obsessive orchid hunter John Laroche (Chris Cooper, in an Academy Award-winning performance, 2002, Best Supporting Actor), New Yorker journalist Susan Orlean (Meryl Streep), Hollywood screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Nicolas Cage) and his twin brother Donald (also Cage). In the film, as Charlie struggles to adapt Orlean’s best-selling book The Orchid Thief, he writes himself into his own movie.

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The film is newly remastered in 4K resolution from the original camera negative, with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos audio plus original theatrical 5.1.

Special features include the “Behind the Scenes in the Swamp” featurette and theatrical trailer.