‘The Social Network,’ ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Oliver!’ Among Six Classics in Sony 4K Collection Coming Sept. 14

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is debuting six more classics on 4K Ultra HD disc for the first time ever Sept. 14, exclusively within the Columbia Classics 4K Ultra HD Collection Vol. 2.

Films in the collection, only available on 4K as part of the set, include Anatomy of a Murder, Oliver!, Taxi Driver, Stripes, Sense and Sensibility and The Social Network. Each title includes special features.

Included with the collection is a hardbound 80-page book, featuring in-depth sections about the making of each film via six new essays from writers Julie Kirgo, John Kenrick, Glenn Kenny, Michael G. McDunnah, Kayti Burt and Nev Pierce.

The set also includes an exclusive Blu-ray bonus disc featuring 20 short films from the Columbia Pictures library, all presented in high-definition. The shorts, curated from more than 80 years of the studio’s history, showcase a wide scope of creative output across both live-action and animation, from “The Three Stooges” to award-winning mid-century cartoons to titles from Sony Pictures Animation.

The courtroom drama Anatomy of a Murder was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture (1959). The film pits a humble small-town lawyer (James Stewart) against a hard-headed big-city prosecutor (George C. Scott). Emotions flare as a jealous army lieutenant (Ben Gazzara) pleads innocent to murdering the rapist of his seductive, beautiful wife (Lee Remick). Produced and directed by  Otto Preminger, the film features a score by Duke Ellington.

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The musical Oliver!, based on Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist, won six 1968 Academy Awards including Best Picture. It follows the story of a plucky young orphan and his quest for love and happiness in a world populated by Oscars rascals, rogues and thieves.

Winner of the prestigious Golden Palm at the Cannes Film Festival (1976) and nominated for four Academy Awards including Best Picture, Taxi Driver stars Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese’s classic film of a psychotic New York cabbie driven to violence by loneliness and desperation. The film co-stars Jodie Foster, Albert Brooks, Harvey Keitel, Peter Boyle and Cybill Shepherd.

In the comedy classic Stripes (1981), when quick-witted slacker John Winger (Bill Murray) loses his apartment, girlfriend and job all in one day, he joins the army. Directed by Ivan Reitman, the film also stars Harold Ramis, John Candy and John Larroquette.

Nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture (1995), and directed by Ang Lee, Sense and Sensibility stars Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet and Hugh Grant. The romantic comedy, based on Jane Austen’s classic novel, tells the story of the Dashwood sisters, sensible Elinor (Thompson) and passionate Marianne (Winslet), whose chances at marriage seem doomed by their family’s sudden loss of fortune. Rickman, Grant and Greg Wise co-star as the well-intentioned suitors who are trapped by the strict rules of society and the conflicting laws of desire.

Nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture (2010), The Social Network, directed by David Fincher, chronicles the formation of Facebook and the battles over ownership that followed upon the website’s unfathomable success. With a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin and a cast including Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield and Justin Timberlake, the film bears witness to the birth of an idea that rewove the fabric of society even as it unraveled the friendship of its creators.

Next Year’s Oscars Delayed a Month, to March 2022

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and ABC have announced that because this year’s slate of films continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, next year’s Oscars will be held in March 2022 instead of February.

The 94th Academy Awards ceremony will be held March 27 in its usual home at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. This year’s ceremony was held in Los Angeles’ Union Station.

Next year’s show will air live on ABC.

Once again, films that premiered in drive-ins or on streaming services or PVOD will be eligible, provided they were originally intended for theatrical release.

Movie theaters are reopening, but many are still operating at limited capacities, including those in key markets such as California.

Oscar-Lauded ‘The Father’ Due on Disc May 18

The drama The Father, which earned Anthony Hopkins a Best Actor Oscar, will come out on DVD and Blu-ray May 18 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film, nominated for a total of six Academy Awards, also earned an Oscar for Best Adapted Screenplay.

It is already available for digital purchase.

In The Father, a man (Hopkins) refuses all assistance from his daughter (Olivia Colman) as he ages. As he tries to make sense of his changing circumstances, he begins to doubt his loved ones, his own mind and even the fabric of his reality.

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Special features include deleted scenes and the featurettes “Homecoming: Making The Father” and “Perception Check: Portrait of The Father.”

‘Nomadland’ Takes Top Honors at 93rd Academy Awards; Netflix Wins 7 Oscars

The pandemic-delayed Academy Awards ceremony took place April 25 at Union Station in Los Angeles, honoring a number of films that saw their traditional theatrical releases upended in lieu of online availability.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, for their part, pushed back eligibility for the 93rd Academy Awards beyond the 2020 calendar year to movies released by Feb. 28, 2021.

Meanwhile, films available on Netflix, which has long sought to disrupt traditional theatrical distribution anyway, won seven trophies out of the 23 categories presented.

The Oscar for Best Picture went to Nomadland, an exploration of modern-day van life on the road starring Frances McDormand, who won Best Actress for the role, her third career Oscar in the category, putting her behind only Katharine Hepburn’s four. Nomadland also won Best Director for Chloé Zhao, who became only the second woman to ever win the directing Oscar, following Kathryn Bigelow for 2009’s The Hurt Locker. Zhao and McDormand as producers of Nomadland also received statuettes for its Best Picture win.

Read our review of the Blu-ray Disc edition of ‘Nomadland’ HERE

McDormand urged audiences to return to theaters as soon as possible and to watch Nomadland on the largest screen possible. It was released concurrently in theaters and on Hulu Feb. 19 (though it did screen at some film festivals and limited engagements last year), and became available for digital purchase April 13 before arriving on Blu-ray Disc April 27.

Sony Pictures’ The Father won Best Actor for Anthony Hopkins and for Best Adapted Screenplay. Hopkins, who won his second Best Actor Oscar after winning for playing Hannibal Lecter in 1991’s The Silence of the Lambs, at age 83 is now the oldest performer to win an acting Oscar for playing a man whose family must deal with his growing dementia. The film is available on premium VOD.

Warner’s Judas and the Black Messiah won Best Supporting Actor for Daniel Kaluuya and Best Original Song for “Fight for You.” The film was released in the United States by Warner Bros. Pictures Feb. 12 simultaneously in theaters and for streaming on HBO Max before coming to premium VOD April 2. It will be released for digital sellthrough April 27, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD May 4.

Best Supporting Actress went to Yuh-Jung Youn for Minari. The veteran Korean actress plays the grandmother of a South Korean family that moves to the rural United States during the 1980s. Lionsgate will release the film on Blu-ray, DVD and digitally May 18.

Pixar’s Soul, which saw its theatrical release scrapped in lieu of a Christmas Day debut on Disney+ domestically (it played in theaters internationally), won two trophies, for Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score. It was released on Blu-ray, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digitally March 23 by Disney.

Promising Young Woman, available on Blu-ray, DVD and digitally from Universal Pictures, won for Best Original Screenplay for Emerald Fennell.

Denmark’s Another Round won Best International Feature Film. A co-production with the Netherlands and Sweden, the dark comedy stars Mads Mikkelsen, Thomas Bo Larsen, Magnus Millang and Lars Ranthe as a group of friends who decide their lives would be happier if they drank enough alcohol to maintain a constant buzz without getting fully drunk. Another Round is available on Blu-ray, DVD and digital sellthrough from Samuel Goldwyn Films.

Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, widely available on Blu-ray, DVD, 4K Ultra HD and digital from Warner Bros., won Best Visual Effects.

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Among Netflix’s haul, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom won two Oscars, for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, and for Best Costume Design. The film adapts the 1982 August Wilson play about influential blues singer Ma Rainey and a turbulent recording session in Chicago in 1927.

Another Netflix movie, Mank, also won two Oscars, for Best Production Design and Best Cinematography. The black-and-white film re-creates the 1930s and 1940s in depicting screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz developing the screenplay for Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane.

The live-action and animated Oscar winners also are available on Netflix. Best Live-Action Short Film Two Distant Strangers is about a black man caught in a time loop that always ends with him being killed by police. Best Animated Short Film If Anything Happens I Love You follows two grieving parents as they struggle to confront the death of their daughter, who was killed in a school shooting.

The Netflix original My Octopus Teacher Won Best Documentary Feature. The film chronicles filmmaker Craig Foster’s efforts to build a relationship with a wild common octopus in a South African kelp forest.

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Another streaming original, Sound of Metal, released on Amazon Prime Video Dec. 4, won two Oscars, for Best Film Editing and Best Sound. The film stars Riz Ahmed as a metal drummer dealing with losing his hearing. The Best Sound category is a combination of the Sound Mixing and Sound Editing categories that had previously been presented separately.

Best Documentary Short Subject went to Colette, which follows former French Resistance member Colette Marin-Catherine as she travels to Germany for the first time in 74 years. The film was co-produced by Oculus and Respawn Entertainment as part of the documentary gallery for the virtual-reality video game Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond, making it the first Oscar nominee and winner produced by a video game studio.

Amazon’s Oscar-Nominated Doc ‘Time’ Streaming Free for a Week

The Oscar-nominated Amazon Original documentary Time is streaming for free to audiences globally without needing a Prime subscription.

Starting April 12, the film will be available in front of the Prime Video paywall as well as streaming on YouTube for one week.

Time, from filmmaker Garrett Bradley, will also return to theaters starting April 16 in New York at the Village East, Los Angeles at The Landmark and San Francisco at the Embarcadero.

If Time wins, it would mark the first time ever a Black female director would win an Academy Award for Best Documentary.

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The documentary follows entrepreneur, abolitionist and mother of six boys Fox Rich, who has spent the last two decades campaigning for the release of her husband, Rob G. Rich, who is serving a 60-year sentence for a robbery they both committed in the early ’90s in a moment of desperation. Combining the video diaries Fox has recorded for Rob over the years with intimate glimpses of her present-day life, Bradley paints a portrait of the resilience and radical love necessary to prevail over the endless separations of the country’s prison-industrial complex.

Time cross-cuts footage from the past and present, framing it with a voiceover from Fox and her sons to provide a uniquely intimate perspective into the long-term costs of incarceration: the children who grow up without fathers, and the mothers who are forced to become caregivers and legal experts all at once.

Oscar Nominee ‘Minari’ Coming to Disc May 18

Six-time Oscar nominee Minari will debut on DVD and Blu-ray Disc (plus digital) May 18 from Lionsgate.

The film, which won the best foreign-language film Golden Globe, the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and two Critics Choice Awards, follows a Korean-American family that moves to an Arkansas farm in search of their own American Dream. The family home changes completely with the arrival of their sly, foul-mouthed, but incredibly loving grandmother.

Minari stars Academy Award nominee Steven Yeun (2020, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Minari), Yeri Han (TV’s “My Unfamiliar Family,” “Nokdu Flower,” Worst Woman)Critics Choice Award winner Alan Kim (2021, Best Young Actor, Minari), Noel Kate Cho, Academy Award nominee Yuh-jung Youn (2020, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, Minari), and Will Patton (TV’s “Falling Skies,” Halloween, TV’s “Swamp Thing”).

The film was also nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director (Lee Isaac Chung), Best Screenplay (Chung) and Best Original Score.

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Special features include deleted scenes, the featurette “Sowing Seeds: Making Minari,” and audio commentary with writer-director Chung and actress Yuh-jung Youn.

The Film Detective Streaming Oscar Classics in April

Cinedigm March 30 announced that the distributor is celebrating the history of the Academy Awards in April with a month-long celebration on The Film Detective, a classic media streaming network. Cinedigm recently acquired the network’s extensive library of 3,000 content titles, an estimated 10,000 individual film and TV episodes and two Free-Ad-Supported-Television (FAST) linear networks.

The Film Detective will feature a different Oscar nominated or winning film from Hollywood’s Golden Age, every night at 8 p.m. ET leading up to the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony on April 25. Among the films featured will be four-time nominees like William Powell and Irene Dunne’s Life with Father (1947) and Cicely Tyson and Paul Winfield’s Sounder (1972).

Academy Award winners will receive the spotlight on April 25 with a 24-hour marathon from dramas like The Private Life of Henry VIII (1933) and A Star Is Born (1937) to Best Documentary winners including Prelude to War (1942) and The Man Who Skied Down Everest (1975).

Oscar Night will be one of many movie marathons on The Film Detective in April. Comedy fans will enjoy celebrations in honor of April Fools’ Day on April 1, featuring films from comedian Jerry Lewis and episodes from new arrival — The Jerry Lewis Show: 1957-62 TV Specials. Comedy’s favorite Carol Burnett will also be celebrated on her 88th birthday with episodes from “Stanley” (1956-57) and “The Carol Burnett Show” (1967-78) on April 26.

April celebrations on The Film Detective will also include an Easter marathon on April 4. A morning of religious films including three-time Oscar nominee The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) and gospel music from “Queen of Gospel Song” Mahalia Jackson will start the day, followed by classic musicals in the evening like Something to Sing About (1937) and Till the Clouds Roll By (1946), featuring an all-star cast that includes Judy Garland, Lena Horne, Van Johnson, Angela Lansbury and Frank Sinatra.

‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ Due on PVOD April 2, Digital Sellthrough April 27 and Disc May 4

The Academy Award-nominated Judas and the Black Messiah will be available as a premium VOD rental April 2, for digital purchase April 27, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD May 4.

The film came out in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously Feb. 12.

Judas and the Black Messiah is nominated for six Academy Awards, for Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Daniel Kaluuya, LaKeith Stanfield), Best Cinematography (Sean Bobbitt), Best Original Song (“Fight For You,” music by H.E.R. and Dernst Emilie II, lyrics by H.E.R. and Tiara Thomas), and Best Original Screenplay (screenplay by Will Berson & Shaka King, story by Will Berson & Shaka King and Kenny Lucas & Keith Lucas). Kaluuya also won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor — Motion Picture.

Directed by Shaka King, marking his studio feature film directorial debut, the film stars Kaluuya as Fred Hampton and Stanfield as William O’Neal. The film also stars Dominique Fishback, Jesse Plemons, Ashton Sanders and Martin Sheen.

The story follows FBI informant William O’Neal, who infiltrates the Illinois Black Panther Party and is tasked with keeping tabs on their charismatic leader, Chairman Fred Hampton. A career thief, O’Neal revels in the danger of manipulating both the Panthers and his handler, Special Agent Roy Mitchell (Plemons). Hampton’s political prowess grows just as he’s falling in love with fellow revolutionary Deborah Johnson (Fishback). Meanwhile, a battle wages for O’Neal’s soul. Will he align with the Panthers? Or subdue Hampton and the Panthers by any means, as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (Sheen) commands?

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Special features on Blu-ray include “Fred Hampton for the People,” in which the filmmakers and cast discuss why telling Chairman Fred Hampton’s story is more important now than ever before, and “Unexpected Betrayal,” in which the filmmakers and cast discuss William O’Neil’s complexities and his eventual betrayal of Hampton. “Fred Hampton for the People” is an extra on the DVD.

Judas and the Black Messiah impact campaign, designed by Participant, educates audiences with a more comprehensive history of the Black Panther Party, connecting its legacy to today’s movement for Black lives and empowering audiences to join local organizations advocating for Black communities. To learn more, visit www.LiveForThePeople.com.

Fandango Offering First 10 Minutes of ‘Soul’ for Free

For a limited time, fans can watch the first 10 minutes of Soul for free, exclusively at the FandangoNow Extras channel on YouTube and on Fandango’s social channels. The Oscar-nominated, Golden Globe-winning animated film debuts March 23 on Vudu and FandangoNow.

Both are transactional VOD services owned by Fandango. The film is on sale at $19.99 on both services and is available in SD and 4K Ultra HD.

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A recent Fandango survey of more than 1,500 people who have already seen Soul found:

  • 88% are fans of the film’s stars, including Jamie Foxx, Tina Fey and Angela Bassett;
  • 85% wish there were more life-affirming movies like Soul;
  • 80% are fans of the film’s soundtrack; and
  • 78% are rooting for Soul to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature.

Promising Young Woman

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 3/16/21;
Universal;
Crime, Drama, Thriller, Dark Comedy;
Box Office $5.5 million;
$29.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for strong violence including sexual assault, language throughout, some sexual material and drug use.
Stars Carey Mulligan, Bo Burnham, Alison Brie, Clancy Brown, Jennifer Coolidge, Laverne Cox, Connie Britton, Molly Shannon, Sam Richardson, Max Greenfield, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Adam Brody.

Striking right at the core of gender relations brought to the fore by the #MeToo movement, Promising Young Woman is a relentless revenge thriller that expertly walks a line between dark comedy, tragedy and drama led by a beautifully nuanced performance from Carey Mulligan, who just received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for it.

Emerald Fennell (who served as showrunner on “Killing Eve” and plays Camilla on “The Crown”) received three well-deserved Academy Award nominations for her directorial debut (Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay) for this story than broaches a wrenching subject while keeping the audience laughing and gasping on a roller coaster journey through one woman’s pathos and secret fury. (The film also received an Oscar nomination for Best Film Editing for a total of five noms.)

Promising Young Woman follows Cassie (Mulligan), a former medical student who was headed for success until a mysterious event abruptly derailed her future. By day a young woman going nowhere as a barista, by night Cassie lives a secret double life. An unexpected encounter with an old classmate gives her a chance to avenge the wrongs of the past.

At turns a horror story, a romantic comedy and a tragedy, the film plays with familiar tropes in the narrative and film history of male-female relations and power dynamics. With a hot score and vibrant, eye-popping art direction, set design, costumes and makeup, it’s a truly unique film that defies categorization. Dark comedy elements provide levity, but the film also takes a deep dive into the characters’ multiple facets. As noted in the bonus features, the film portrays men who think of themselves as “good guys,” while doing morally questionable, even horrible things. Then there’s Cassie, an engaging, attractive and smart avenging angel/devil who leaves emotional turmoil in her wake. This tension between the light and dark side of humanity allows the actors to explore a layer cake of emotions and elicits some truly great performances.

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Bonus features include three featurettes: “A Promising Vision,” in which Fennell discusses her inspirations for creating the film; “Two-Sided Transformation,” a look at Mulligan in the role of Cassie and how filmmakers used wardrobe, hair and makeup to express the balance between light and dark; and “Balancing Act,” in which cast members discuss their unexpected reactions to the careful balance of levity and tragedy in Fennell’s take on female revenge.

There’s also a commentary with Fennell, who provides a detailed explanation of key elements in the film, including set design, framing, and makeup and costume choices. As do the best commentaries, Fennell’s leaves viewers with a greater appreciation for the artistry and thought process behind this complicated film and makes a second pass through Promising Young Woman with commentary well worth the time.