Gran Turismo


Street Date 11/7/23;
Sony Pictures;
Box Office $44.16 million;
$34.99 DVD, $38.99 Blu-ray, $49.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense action and some strong language.
Stars David Harbour, Orlando Bloom, Archie Madekwe, Darren Barnet, Geri Halliwell Horner, Djimon Hounsou.

Lying at the nexus between video games and sports movies is director Neill Blomkamp’s Gran Turismo, a film with a premise that seems so much like a fantasy that many of the marketing materials have appended the title with “Based on a True Story.”

An adaptation of the racing simulator video game franchise of the same name by way of a biopic of one of its most famous players, Gran Turismo tells the story of Jann Mardenborough (Archie Madekwe), a hardcore gamer recruited to become an actual racecar driver.

While its The Last Starfighter meets Days of Thunder setup invites an unavoidable formulaic approach to the material, the film is nonetheless compelling thanks to its likable characters, engaging performances and thrilling racing scenes.

The film begins with a brief glimpse into the creation of the game, which was conceptualized as a racing simulator so realistic that the player would think they were actually driving at the world’s top tracks.

This leads opportunistic marketing executive Danny Moore (Orlando Bloom) to pose the question: Could the most highly skilled sim racers actually handle themselves on a real track? He organizes the Gran Turismo Academy, which invites the top GT players from around the world to compete for a chance to join the Nissan racing team.

Danny hires former racecar driver Jack Salter (David Harbour) to train the gamers on the ins and outs of real racing. Salter thinks it’s a fool’s errand, as logging hours at a console doesn’t equate to experience in the real world, where drivers can’t just hit the restart button when they crash.

But a few of the recruits prove they have enough skills behind the wheel to get a shot at the racing circuit, with Jann ultimately winning the contract and the chance to fulfill his lifelong dream of racing for real.

However, despite convincing Jack that maybe sim racers can actually drive for real, Jann soon learns that the fierce competition of professional racing is often fraught with tragedy and personal sacrifice.

While the film would have us believe much of this actually happened, most of the scenes inspired by true events have been rearranged to fit a Top Gun -style narrative. For instance, a horrific crash that shakes Jann’s confidence in himself didn’t occur in real life until years after the race that the film depicts as its climax.

Interestingly, the finale is based on the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the race in France likely to be familiar to many viewers who otherwise aren’t racing enthusiasts thanks to being featured in 2019’s Ford v. Ferrari.

That, however, was a period piece set in the 1960s, while Gran Turismo takes place mostly within the past decade. As such, Blomkamp employs all the cinematic tricks at his disposal to depict thrilling, pulse-pounding race action, from drone photography to CGI that takes us into Jann’s head as he parses the real tracks through his gaming experience.

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However, the real capper to how amazing Jann’s story is might be that the real Jann, who is still only in his early 30s, was the principal stunt driver for his own character in the film.

This is all showcased in the behind-the-scenes extras included on the Blu-ray, consisting of five featurettes that total nearly a half-hour of footage: the six-minute “The Plan: The True Story of Jann Mardenborough,” the five-minute “The Engine: Driving the Visuals,” the six-minute

“The Wheels: The Fast-Acting Cast,” the five-and-a-half-minute “The Pit Crew: Action and Stunts,” and the five-minute “The Garage: The Amazing Automobiles.”

There are also five deleted scenes that run a total of 12 minutes.

Digital versions of the film offer additional material, such as a brief “Impossible Dream” promotional video about Jann, and the film’s trailers.

Romance ‘Elizabethtown’ Debuting on Blu-ray Feb. 9 in ‘Paramount Presents’ Line

Director Cameron Crowe’s romantic comedy Elizabethtown debuts on Blu-ray Feb. 9 in time for Valentine’s Day as part of the “Paramount Presents” line from Paramount Home Entertainment.

The limited-edition Blu-ray Disc includes the film newly remastered from a 4K transfer supervised by Crowe.

Orlando Bloom (“Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise) and Kirsten Dunst (Spider-Man) star in the 2005 romance set against a rock ‘n’ roll soundtrack. Hot-shot designer Drew Baylor’s (Bloom) life becomes completely unraveled when he loses his father and his job on one fateful day. En route to Elizabethtown to visit his family, Drew meets Claire (Dunst). She’s beautiful, unstoppably positive, and just the gal to guide Drew on his journey back home and to teach him what it means to live and love along the way. The film also stars Susan Sarandon, Alec Baldwin, Judy Greer and Jessica Biel.

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The disc is presented in collectible packaging that includes a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster, and an interior spread with key movie moments. It also includes a new “Filmmaker Focus” with Crowe, never-before-seen deleted scenes, and an alternate ending with an introduction by Crowe. Along with access to a digital copy of the film, the Blu-ray also includes previously released special features, including deleted and extended scenes with an introduction by Crowe, the “On the Road to Elizabethtown” “The Music of Elizabethtown,” “Meet the Crew,” and “Training Wheels” featurettes, and a photo gallery.

Thrillers ‘Possession,’ ‘Haven’ and ‘Even Money’ Available in April on Disc and Digital From MVD

Three thrillers, Possession, Haven and Even Money, are available in April on Blu-ray, DVD and digital from MVD Entertainment Group.

Possession (2008), a U.S. remake of the Korean thriller Addicted, stars Sarah Michelle Gellar (The Grudge and The Grudge 2) along with Lee Pace (TV’s “Pushing Daisies”) and Michael Landes (Lakeview Terrace). Newlyweds Jess (Gellar) and Ryan (Landes) seem to have it all until a car accident renders both Ryan and his brother Roman (Pace) comatose. Things spin even more eerily out of control when Roman awakens and tries to convince Jess that he is her husband. Bonus features include a making-of featurette with Gellar, deleted and alternate scenes, the original theatrical trailer, and reversible artwork with an alternative cover.

Haven (2006) comes from the producers of the Academy Award Winning Crash and Dallas Buyers Club. On the idyllic shores of the Cayman Islands, Shy (Orlando Bloom, “The Lord of the Rings Trilogy”) and Andrea (Zoe Saldana, Guardians of the Galaxy) share a secret her parents can never know — they are in love. But a night of passion leads to their discovery and a devastating act of vengeance by Andrea’s brother (Anthony Mackie, Captain America: Civil War). Meanwhile, a shady American businessman (Bill Paxton, Aliens) has fled with his daughter to the Islands to avoid federal prosecution, only to be drawn into a dangerous web of deceit. Bonus features include a making-of featurette and the original theatrical trailer. It’s the first time the film has been released on Blu-ray.

Even Money (2007) features Kim Basinger, Forest Whitaker and Danny Devito in a story that follows the lives of nine individuals as their fates become increasingly entwined in a web of addiction and gambling, culminating at one critical moment where their lives will be lost or reclaimed. Struggling writer Kate (Basinger) loses her family’s savings at a casino; a washed-up magician (Devito) tries to help Carol regain her money; Clyde (Whitaker) owes so much money to his dangerous bookie (Jay Mohr) that he asks his NBA-destined nephew (Nick Cannon) to throw the game. The film also stars Kelsey Grammer, Tim Roth, Ray Liotta and Carla Gugino. It’s the first time the film has been released on Blu-ray.

Amazon’s ‘Carnival Row’ Top Rising Show, Netflix’s ’13 Reasons Why’ Again Top Binge on TV Time Charts

Amazon Prime’s “Carnival Row” took the top spot on the TV Time “Shows on the Rise” list, while the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” retained the No. 1 spot on its “Binge Report” chart for the week ended Sept. 1.

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 company. 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.

Top rising show “Carnival Row” hit screens Aug. 30. The Victorian fantasy stars Orlando Bloom as a human detective in a dangerous affair with a fairy (Cara Delevingne) while he investigates a string of murders.

The third season of the high school drama “13 Reasons Why” (No. 1 binge, No. 4 rising show) dropped Aug. 23. The teen drama revolves around a high school boy whose friend commits suicide and leaves cassette tapes explaining her action. Season three chronicles further tragedy at Liberty High School.

Netflix’s serial killer series “Mindhunter,” season two of which hit screens Aug. 16, retained the No. 2 spot on the binge chart.

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Top Binge Shows Week Ended Sept. 1 by Share of Binges:

  1. “13 Reasons Why” (Netflix) — 13.99%
  2. “Mindhunter” (Netflix) — 2.41%
  3. “Friends” (NBC) — 2.28%
  4. “Lucifer” (Neflix) — 1.88%
  5. “Orange Is the New Black” (Netflix) — 1.76%
  6. “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS) — 1.41%
  7. “How to Get Away With Murder” (ABC) — 1.28%
  8. “Stranger Things” (Netflix) — 1.26%
  9. “Glee” (Fox) — 1.24%
  10. “Money Heist” (Netflix) — 1.23%


Top Shows on the Rise Week Ended Sept. 1 by Rise Ratio:

  1. “Carnival Row” (Amazon Prime Video) — 99.9%
  2. “Workin’ Moms” (CBC [CA]) — 64.3%
  3. “Peaky Blinders” (BBC One) — 59.8%
  4. “13 Reasons Why” (Netflix) — 45.2%
  5. “Young Justice” (DC Universe) — 43.7%
  6. “Love Alarm” (Netflix) — 38%
  7. “The Good Place” (NBC) — 18.2%
  8. “Locked Up” (Fox Espana) — 17%
  9. “Breaking Bad” (AMC) — 13%
  10. “Queen of the South” (USA) — 8.3%

TV Time: Amazon’s ‘Carnival Row’ Most Anticipated New Show, Netflix’s ‘Mindhunter’ Most Anticipated Returning Show in August

Amazon Prime’s “Carnival Row” is the most anticipated new show and Netflix’s “Mindhunter” is the most anticipated returning show coming in August, according to TV Time’s “Anticipation Report” chart.

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 company. TV Time’s “Anticipation Report” is based on data from those users.

“Carnival Row,” a fantasy series about mythical creatures starring Orlando Bloom and Cara Delevingne, debuts Aug. 30. “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance,” a series prequel to the Jim Henson film The Dark Crystal, also debuting Aug. 30, is the No. 2 anticipated new series.

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Among returning shows, the second installment of “Mindhunter,” Netflix’s crime thriller series, debuts Aug. 16. TV Time users also anticipate three other Netflix returning series at No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4, respectively: “Cable Girls,” hitting Aug. 9; “Dear White People,” debuting Aug. 2; and “GLOW,” coming Aug. 9. Starz’s drug kingpin drama “Power,” the sixth and final season of which hits Aug. 25, took the No. 5 spot among returning series.

Most Anticipated New Shows for August:

  1. “Carnival Row” (Amazon Prime) — Aug. 30
  2. “The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance” (Netflix) — Aug. 30
  3. “Infinity Train” (Cartoon Network) — Aug. 5
  4. “Why Women Kill” (CBS) — Aug. 15
  5. “BH90210” (Fox) — Aug. 7


Most Anticipated Returning Shows for August:

  1. “Mindhunter” (Netflix) — Aug. 16
  2. “Cable Girls” (Netflix) — Aug. 9
  3. “Dear White People” (Netflix) — Aug. 2
  4. “GLOW” (Netflix) — Aug. 9
  5. “Power” (Starz) — Aug. 25