The French Dispatch

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Disney/Searchlight;
Comedy;
Box Office $16.05 million;
$19.99 DVD, $29.99 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for graphic nudity, some sexual references and language.
Stars Benicio del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Christoph Waltz, Edward Norton, Jason Schwartzman, Anjelica Huston.

Writer-director Wes Anderson’s penchant for quirky storytelling is on full display in The French Dispatch, an ode to journalism and the eclectic practitioners of the profession.

The film is an anthology structured like the format of a magazine, in this case a journal for the fictional French town of Ennui. The magazine, called The French Dispatch, is the local arm of a newspaper in Kansas. The vignettes shown in the film represent the final issue of the magazine, which is shut down upon the sudden death of its editor (Bill Murray), whose life story is presented through his obituary.

The tribute issue begins with a roving reporter (Owen Wilson) giving a brief recap of the history of Ennui, where little has changed culturally in 200 years.

The main story concerns an artist (Benicio del Toro) sentenced to prison for murder, whose paintings are inspired by a guard (Léa Seydoux) with whom he has fallen in love. His work catches the eye of a corrupt art dealer (Adrien Brody), while the tale is recounted by an indulgent lecturer for the gallery that ended up with the prisoner’s work.

Next up is the story of a student protest whose leader (Timothée Chalamet) inspires the writer of the piece (Frances McDormand) to break her objective coverage of the situation and help him write his manifesto while they enjoy a love affair.

The final segment involves a food journalist (Jeffrey Wright) whose examination of a new type of cuisine specially designed for police officers is interrupted when the town’s criminal syndicates kidnap the son of the police commissioner.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

The sketches are infused with Anderson’s usual eccentricities, such as varying aspect ratios, an intermixing of color and black-and-white, charming personalities, sharp wit, spitfire dialogue, rapid editing, and the precise framing of each scene with imagery evocative of a snapshot.

The set designs and visual style make the film seem like somewhat of a spiritual cousin to The Grand Budapest Hotel.

The Blu-ray doesn’t include any bonus materials, but since it’s a Wes Anderson movie there’ll probably be a Criterion Collection release in a few years offering a smattering of supplements.

Disney Sets Home Release Dates for Artsy Comedy ‘The French Dispatch’

Disney has announced home release dates for Wes Anderson’s The French Dispatch, an homage to literary journalism, French culture and classic cinema.

The film, from Searchlight Pictures, will be released through digital retailers on Dec. 14, followed two weeks later by its release on DVD and Blu-ray Disc (on Dec. 28).

The French Dispatch brings to life a collection of stories from the final issue of an American magazine published in the fictional 20th-century French city of Ennui-sur-Blasé. The cast includes Benicio Del Toro, Adrien Brody, Tilda Swinton, Léa Seydoux, Frances McDormand, Timothée Chalamet, Lyna Khoudri, Jeffrey Wright, Mathieu Amalric, Stephen Park, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson.

The film has been praised by critics for its exquisite visuals, captivating performances and unique artistry.

Family Drama ‘Wonder’ Due in Target Exclusive Blu-ray Steelbook Nov. 16

Lionsgate will release the family drama Wonder in a Target exclusive Blu-ray Steelbook Nov. 16.

The real Auggie Pullman (photo from August Pullman Twitter account)

Based on the best-selling novel of the same name, Wonder follows the story of the Pullman family, whose youngest child, Auggie, is a boy born with a facial deformity, a combination of Treacher Collins syndrome and a hemifacial microsomia. When Auggie enters mainstream elementary school for the first time, his extraordinary journey in the fifth grade at Beecher Prep unites his family, his school and his community.

Nominated for the 2017 Oscar for Best Makeup and Hairstyling award, the film stars Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson. The release features all new artwork from artist Flore Maquin.

Special features include a commentary track, several featurettes and a music video.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Loki

STREAMING REVIEW:

Disney+;
Sci-Fi;
Not rated.
Stars Tom Hiddleston, Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku, Eugene Cordero, Richard E. Grant, Jack Veal, Tara Strong.

A happenstance of the time travel plot of Avengers: Endgame becomes the key to redefining the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe.

As fans will recall, the Avengers’ attempt to pluck an infinity stone from the events of the 2012 Avengers movie go awry when the imprisoned Loki is able to grab one and transport away.

“Loki” the series picks up immediately after that, as the newly loose god of mischief is quickly arrested by the Time Variance Authority, an organization that exists outside linear time tasked with maintaining a single cohesive timeline. Loki, being a variant from how events should have occurred (aka the MCU after 2012), is then recruited by TVA agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) to help fight a bigger threat to the timeline — a woman named Sylvie (Sophia Di Martino) who wants to bring down the power behind the organization, the mysterious Timekeepers.

The six-episode arc provides quite a showcase for HIddleston, whose wry performance reminds us why we love his character so much despite his misdeeds.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

With its time travel premise and British actors at its core, “Loki” at times gives off strong “Doctor Who” vibes, particularly a third episode that lays a lot of groundwork for the character dynamics between Loki and Sylvie. The interplay between Hiddleston and Wilson also is particularly strong.

The way the storyline plays out, Loki’s adventures through time will have huge ramifications for several upcoming MCU movies, particularly Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania. Loki’s own attempts to deal with the aftermath of his actions will be dealt with in season two.

Follow us on Instagram!

Disney+ Bows Marvel Studios’ ‘Loki’ Series Trailer

Disney April 5 unveiled the trailer to the new Marvel Universe live-action series “Loki,” which will begin streaming exclusively June 11 on Disney+

(Update: The service May 5 announced the premiere was moving up to June 9).

In the series, the mercurial villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston) resumes his role as the God of Mischief in a period that takes place after the events of Avengers: Endgame.

After absconding with the Tesseract, Loki is a fish-out-of-water when he lands in a world of trouble with the bureaucratic TVA (Time Variance Authority). Joining Hiddleston’s return as the title character are Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku and Richard E. Grant. Kate Herron directs and Michael Waldron is head writer.

Subscribe HERE to the FREE Media Play News Daily Newsletter!

Lionsgate Posts 10% Drop in Q2 Home Entertainment Revenue

Lionsgate Nov. 8 reported second-quarter (ended Sept. 30) home entertainment revenue of $149.6 million from the sales of DVD/Blu-ray Disc and electronic sellthrough of movies, which is down 10% from revenue of $165.7 million during the previous-year period.

Home entertainment sales of television content topped $28.6 million, down about 5% from $29.9% last year.

Through the first six months, home entertainment sales of movies are down 22% to $312.3 million from $399.7 million last year. TV revenue declined 36% to $46.7 million from $72.5 million.

Top-selling titles include Wonder, which as sold $23.3 million in 1.5 million combined DVD/Blu-ray Disc units, and I Can Only Imagine, selling $20.3 million via 1.2 million discs, according to The-Numbers.com.

Motion picture segment quarterly revenue decreased 2% to $379 million. Segment profit increased 45% to $12.9 million, reflecting strong ancillary performance of previously-released theatrical titles.

TV production revenue fell 28% to $152.1 million from $211.2 million last year.

For the fiscal year, motion picture revenue dropped nearly 14% to $744.3 million from $858 million. TV revenue fell 8% to $431.5 million from $472.4 million.