Complete ‘Jackass’ Set Due May 29 from Paramount

Paramount Home Media Distribution will release the Jackass: Complete Movie and TV Collection on DVD May 29 (prebook April 17).

The 11-disc set includes all seven movies as well as the entire TV series.

In the ‘Jackass’ films and series, Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Steve-O, Chris Pontius and Jason ‘Wee Man’ Acuña perform comedic stunts and pranks. The 16-hour collection includes: Jackass: The Movie, Jackass Number Two, Jackass 2.5, Jackass 3, Jackass 3.5, Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa, Jackass Presents Bad Grandpa .5 and the “Jackass” Classic Television Collection.

The set arrives just before the June 1 theatrical premiere of Action Point, also from the “Jackass” team.

Downsizing

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Paramount;
Sci-Fi Comedy;
Box Office $24.45 million;
$29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $34.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for language including sexual references, some graphic nudity and drug use.
Stars Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, Udo Kier, Rolf Lassgård, Jason Sudeikis.

Director Alexander Payne’s Downsizing is a premise in search of a story, and the one they ultimately came up with could leave viewers wondering, as the film’s main character does, what the point of it all was.

Downsizing is essentially a two-hour thought experiment about what the world would be like if people could shrink themselves to be five inches tall.

The procedure is discovered by Scandinavian scientists looking to reduce the impacts of overpopulation on the environment — since smaller humans use fewer resources. Years later, the process is touted in America as a way to retire in luxury, since the equivalent needs of smaller people would cost so much less, and people could live in mansions that are essentially just large dollhouses.

Contemplating the transition are Paul and Audrey Safranek (Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig), who find themselves stifled by their modest but stable middle class lifestyle. After learning that as small people they’d be the equivalent of millionaires, they sign up to move to a downsized community. But at the last moment Audrey panics at the prospect of leaving her old life behind (and after seeing what it takes to shrink, I can’t say I blame her). But her decision comes too late for Paul, who gets reduced and finds his new life plan derailed without his wife.

A year later and he’s divorced, forced to scale back even in downsize-land, and again living a mediocre life, until he runs across a refugee from Vietnam (Hong Chau), who begins to open his eyes to a more meaningful world around him.

So, what we end up with is a message that people are still people no matter what size they are.

The film’s presentation of the shrinking process is the kind of plot element that falls apart after thinking about it for any length of time, since there’s no attempt to address things like how a scaled-down body would react to the normal gravity it originally evolved in, or where all a person’s extra mass ends up. The film also doesn’t address which parts of the body know how to shrink aside from the vague description of “cellular reduction” (as if every chemical in the body were a cell), but at least it remembers that things like dental fillings, prosthetic implants and anything artificial would have to be removed first.

Of course, aside from the incentives for shrinking, the film also doesn’t really make it seem pleasant, since it would subject you to new dangers you wouldn’t have thought twice about before, such as insects, birds, cats and dogs. It’s even mentioned that sunlight is more dangerous to small people, and the tiny communities are covered in nets or domes to try to keep these realities at bay.

So, best not to think too hard about it. The main reason for the sci-fi element is to allow for some social commentary (as sci-fi tends to do). Many of the character elements are played for satire, but the film has trouble finding a consistent tone amid all the plot points Payne is trying to explore.

The first third of the film deals with the shrinking process, how it evolved, and how and why people would undergo it. While for most people it’s a choice, there’s also some subversive suggestions that corrupt governments are forcing it upon people, or terrorists are using it to circumvent security plans. The film shows what it would be like for people about to downsize, and questions arise about the political and economic impacts downsizing has on society.

Then we get Paul coming to terms with his decision to get small and adjusting to his life and dealing with the regrets than ensue.

This is all more or less straightforward before the film turns toward an environmental disaster subplot and how small people can survive it if they can’t prevent it.

Unlike Ant-Man, the film isn’t overtly trying to have fun with the idea of shrinking. It takes it seriously, as if it’s just another way of life for the characters. That’s why the film’s structure seems so odd, since it’s devoting so much time to establishing how downsizing came to be and became a relatively common thing before focusing on a story that pushes it all to the background. A lot of scenes are presented as pretty standard character beats, when the camera catches a glimpse of an oversized prop from time to time to remind everyone about the premise (of course, such a mundane approach is likely the point).

All the while the film teases us with suggestions of things we might rather have seen, such as the bodies actually shrinking. Or what happens when a filling isn’t fully removed from a tooth beforehand.

As a result, the film is more interesting for individual scenes that present its concepts, rather than its muddled attempts to unify it as a whole. As with most movies that deal with shrinking tech, the best scenes involve seeing the small people interacting with normal-sized things (even though, many of the everyday items in the small community are just scaled-down versions of things — which only raises more questions).

There are a lot of clever touches in the shifting perspectives (such as a dollar bill used as giant wall art), and the design of the small communities are a treat to behold. People always seem to be fascinated by the idea of seeing the real world reduced into a scale miniature, and the colonies in the film also seem set up as tourist destinations for regular-sized people who just want to gawk at a world in miniature (there’s a reason why Storybookland is such a popular ride at Disneyland).

The Blu-ray offers an hour’s worth of featurettes about the making of the film, many of which expose little details about the set designs and the presentation of the miniature world. There are also a couple of additional featurettes with the iTunes version (available with the UltraViolet code included with the disc).

‘I’m Dying Up Here’ Season One on DVD May 29

Paramount Home Media Distribution and CBS Home Entertainment will release I’m Dying Up Here: Season One on DVD May 29. The Showtime series deals with stand-up comedians trying to make it in Hollywood in the 1970s.

The cast includes Melissa Leo, Ari Graynor, Clark Duke, Michael Angarano, RJ Cyler, Andrew Santino, Erik Griffin, Al Madrigal and Jake Lacy.

Created by David Flebotte, “I’m Dying Up Here” is based on the nonfiction book of the same name by William Knoedelseder and is executive produced by Flebotte, Jim Carrey, Michael Aguilar and Christina Wayne

The series was renewed for a second 10-episode season slated to premiere May 6.

Marcais Takes Marketing Position at Paramount

Vincent Marcais has been appointed EVP of worldwide marketing for Paramount Home Media Distribution. He will oversee the creative advertising, media, brand and market research for all of the studio’s home entertainment releases across physical and digital platforms and will report to Bob Buchi, president, worldwide home media distribution, Paramount Pictures.

“Vincent brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our division, having worked with physical and digital retailers around the world to maximize title performance in the shifting home entertainment landscape,” Buchi said in a statement. “We look forward to his contributions as we continue to explore innovative marketing strategies to bring our products to the widest possible audience across all platforms.”

Marcais previously served as EVP of worldwide brand and customer marketing for 20th Century Fox Digital Home Media where he oversaw the release campaigns for all transactional businesses (video-on-demand, DVD, Blu-ray and Digital HD) and also managed joint consumer marketing efforts with digital retailers and U.S. and international operators.  During his tenure, Marcais was a key driver of the division’s transformation from a pure physical distribution company into a digital new media company.

Marcais began his career with French car manufacturer Citroën and joined Fox Video France in 1991 where he held numerous marketing and sales positions. From 2002 to 2006 he served as Fox’s VP of Marketing for the European home entertainment operation. He relocated to Los Angeles in 2006 to serve as SVP of international marketing for Fox and became EVP of worldwide brand and customer marketing in 2012.

Marcais effectively replaces Steve Siskind, who had been president, marketing, worldwide home media distribution for Paramount since September 2016. Siskind left Paramount last week. Before taking the home media marketing job, Siskind had been president of domestic theatrical marketing at Paramount for two years.

’13 Reasons Why’ to Hit DVD on April 3

Paramount Home Media Distribution has set an April 3 DVD release date for the first season of the acclaimed, and controversial, teen suicide drama “13 Reasons Why.”

Named by USA Today as of the top 15 pop culture moments that defined 2017, “13 Reasons Why” divulges the reasons behind a high school girl’s suicide, through a series of cassette tapes she made just before her death that show up on various friends’ and acquaintances’ doorsteps.

Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette) returns home from high school to discover a box of tapes, recorded by Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), his classmate and secret crush, who died by suicide only two weeks before. Hannah’s tapes reveal the 13 reasons that led to her untimely death, and the people she felt were responsible.

Based on the best-selling mystery by author Jay Asher, the drama also features Kate Walsh, Christian Navarro, Alisha Boe and Brandon Flynn.

“13 Reasons Why” was one of the top 10 most-tweeted-about television shows and Google’s most-searched show of the year.  Season two will debut on Netflix in 2018.

The 13 Reasons Why: Season One four-disc set includes all 13 episodes, plus the “Beyond the Reasons” special, and new-to-DVD character featurettes, actor interviews, and more. The set is presented in 16×9 widescreen with English 5.1 Dolby Digital and English Audio Description with English and English SDH subtitles.

“13 Reasons Why” is a Paramount Television production.

 

Paramount Preps 40th Anniversary Edition of ‘Grease’

Paramount Home Media Distribution is readying a 40th anniversary edition of the musical Grease for April 24 release on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc, Blu-ray Disc, DVD and Digital.

Featuring star-making performances from John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, Grease has given the pop-culture world such memorable songs as “Greased Lightnin,” “Look At Me, I’m Sandra Dee,” “Summer Nights,” “Hopelessly Devoted To You,” “Beauty School Drop Out” and the title track.

Paramount says it worked with director Randal Kleiser to restore Grease “to its original vibrancy, with the highest quality sound, picture resolution and color.” The original negative was scanned and received extensive clean up and color correction using previously unavailable digital restoration tools such as high dynamic range (HDR) technology.  In addition, the audio was enhanced from a six-track mix created for the film’s original 70mm release, giving the music more clarity.

The Grease 40th anniversary edition 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Disc combo packs include the fully restored version of the film plus an all-new, in-depth exploration of the little-known origins of what would become a Broadway play and then a feature film.  “Grease: A Chicago Story” features new interviews with writer Jim Jacobs and original cast members of the Chicago show. In addition, the discs include the original song the title sequence was animated to and an alternate ending salvaged from the original black-and-white16mm work print discovered by director Randal Kleiser.

Both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Combo Packs also feature more than an hour of previously released bonus material, including a sing-along, vintage interviews with the cast, deleted scenes and more.  Plus, the Blu-ray Combo comes in collectible packaging with 16 pages of images laid out like a high school yearbook.  In addition, a Grease Collection will be available in a Steelbook Locker, which includes the 40th anniversary Blu-ray of Grease, as well as Grease 2 and Grease: Live! on Blu-ray for the first time.

Paramount Home Media Distribution Q1 Revenue Falls

Paramount Pictures Home Media Distribution Feb. 8 reported first-quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2017) revenue of $183 million, which was down almost 25% from revenue of $243 million during the previous-year period.

The home entertainment studio attributed the decline to the comparison against the release of Star Trek Beyond in the prior year quarter. Domestic home entertainment revenue decreased 38%, while international revenue increased 1%.

Star Trek Beyond generated $32.8 million in revenue from sales of 1.87 million combined DVD/Blu-ray Disc units, according to The-Numbers.com. The results do not include 4K UHD Blu-ray and digital retail.

The results followed a fiscal year that saw the studio up revenue 8% to $849 million from $783 million in 2016.

Overall, Paramount reported an operating loss of $130 million, which was a 28% “improvement” from an operating loss of $180 million in the previous-year period.

The studio saw a 28% decline in total revenue to $544 million from $758 million last year. Domestic revenue fell 42% to $270 million, with international sales down 6% to $274 million.

Notably, the venerable brand generated just $100 million in theatrical revenue, down 48% from $192 million last year. Content licensing declined almost 14% to $213 million from $245 million.

Lone highlight – domestic launch in January of Paramount Network featuring original series, including “Waco,” “Heathers,” “American Woman” and “Yellowstone”; “Lip Sync Battle,” “Ink Master” and “Bar Rescue”; all-new “Bellator” events and a broad portfolio of films.

“The turnaround at Paramount Pictures is in sight,” CEO Bob Bakish said on the fiscal call.

Daddy’s Home 2

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street 2/20/18;
Paramount;
Comedy;
Box Office $103.89 million;
$25.99 DVD, $31.99 Blu-ray, $34.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for suggestive material and some language.
Stars Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, Alessandra Ambrosio, John Cena, John Lithgow, Mel Gibson.

The first Daddy’s Home in 2015 proved to be a pleasant surprise, with the simple premise of a stepdad struggling to escape the shadow of the kids’ real father elevated comedically by the winning duo of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg.

By the end of that movie, Ferrell’s Brad and Wahlberg’s Dusty had largely reached an understanding of how to raise the kids, with Dusty having to deal with a stepfamily of his own. The sequel begins by taking that premise to the next level, touching on the confusion inherent in such criss-crossed families, where situations get repeated so all the parents can get a taste of their children growing up, with results that don’t always satisfy everyone.

In light of these potential tensions, Brad and Dusty decide that all the families should celebrate Christmas together. As if on cue, Brad and Dusty’s own parents show up to join in the holiday fun (which is basically the same premise the recent Bad Moms sequel did). Mel Gibson plays Dusty’s dad, while John Lithgow is Brad’s.

The grandpas inject their own flavor, and soon enough the merged families are off to a cabin in a wooded community where hijinx are free to ensue.

Throwing the elders into the mix is a fine idea in terms of the pairings, and on paper adds an extra layer to the story. But in practice it kind of gets in the way. The film ends up pursuing too many ideas that don’t really coalesce around the central theme, more often than not falling back on the same kinds of physical slapstick that fueled the first film and have been the bread and butter of these kids of comedies since Buster Keaton first allowed a building to fall down around him.

Beyond that, the movie has to get by on the chemistry of its cast and whatever charm they can muster from their performances, and luckily there’s plenty of that to go around. The film is at its most fun when all the comedic actors play off each other, and the premise doesn’t require the big players to stray much from their wheelhouses here: aww-shucks Ferrell, hothead Wahlberg, macho Mel and lovable Lithgow.

It plays for a time, until John Cena shows up for what is basically an extended version of his cameo in the first film, where he represents the threat to Dusty’s fatherhood in the way Dusty was a threat to Brad. That conflict is touched on briefly but kind of makes you wish the movie was more about that from the beginning, rather than the “everybody raising the kids together with the grandpas stirring the pot” thing they went for.

The female side of the equation gets its share of attention too, with a fun little subplot about Brad’s wife (Linda Cardellini) and stepdaughter idolizing Dusty’s new wife (Alessandra Ambrosio) and stepdaughter in different but illuminating ways.

But really, it all might be worth it just for a great riff on Liam Neeson action movies and Hollywood’s penchant for seasonal mayhem.

The Blu-ray includes a half-hour of behind-the-scenes featurettes, grouped by various topics: writing the sequel, reuniting the cast, the pairing of Ferrell and Wahlberg, bringing on Gibson and Lithgow, and some other surprises.

There’s also 11 minutes of deleted, extended and alternate scenes, and a four-minute gag reel.