Charlie’s Angels (2019)

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 3/10/20;
Sony Pictures;
Action;
Box Office $17.8 million;
$30.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, $40.99 UHD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for action/violence, language and some suggestive material.
Stars Kristen Stewart, Naomi Scott, Ella Balinska, Elizabeth Banks, Djimon Hounsou, Sam Claflin, Noah Centineo, Nat Faxon, Patrick Stewart.

As a staple of “Jiggle TV” in the 1970s and early 1980s, “Charlie’s Angels” delighted audiences with the sex appeal of a trio of female private investigators solving crimes in skimpy outfits on a weekly basis.

The latest reinvention of the franchise comes courtesy of Elizabeth Banks, who not only produced, wrote and directed the new film version, but also stars as the new Bosley, the manager of the Charles Townsend Agency who supports the girls on their missions.

Banks delivers a smart but relatively straightforward espionage-thriller sanitized for the #MeToo era, a long way from the original TV show or the over-the-top action-comedy stylings of the 2000 and 2003 “Charlie’s Angels” movies.

The new Charlie’s Angels feels more like Kingsman infused with girl power and mixed with a touch of Men in Black (minus the aliens, of course).

The story, surprisingly enough, is a continuation of the world established by the original TV show and the first two movies, offering several references to those previous adventures (though no allusions are made to the short-lived 2011 reboot TV series). In the update, the Townsend Agency has expanded to become an international security and detective firm, recruiting an army of angels and a batch of “Bosleys” to train and watch over them, with “Bosley” becoming a rank of leadership within the organization.

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The latest adventure comes on the heels of the retirement of the original Bosley (Patrick Stewart, who it seems is meant to be playing the same character as David Doyle on the TV show and Bill Murray in the first movie), paving the way for Banks’ Boz to assume more authority in the organization. Meanwhile, the agency sends a pair of angels (Kristen Stewart and Ella Balinska) to help a computer programmer (Naomi Scott) stop the product launch of a new home assistant A.I. device with a design flaw that could allow it to be weaponized to kill whomever uses it.

This naturally attracts the attention of a team of international criminals and assassins, leading to some effective action sequences as the girls fight to survive the mission without being quite sure who they can trust to actually help them.

Banks’ screenplay, from a story by Evan Spiliotopoulos and David Auburn, offers some clever plot twists and funny riffs on action-movie tropes. However, given the times in which we live, Banks can’t help but pepper the film with a slew of “men are horrible” clichés to try to give the film a bit more feminist street cred.

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Unlike the earlier films, in which the core trio were already a unit, the new film uses its story as an excuse to show a trio of angels coming together to form their team, getting past the lingering personality conflicts and personal baggage that arrived with them.

The formation of the new cast is the focus of one of the four behind-the-scenes featurettes included with the Blu-ray. The others focus on the stunts, the costumes, and Banks’ take on the material, and taken together equal about 25 minutes of making-of footage.

Other Blu-ray bonuses include five fun deleted scenes running a bit more than five minutes, a three-minute gag reel, and a four-minute “Don’t Call Me Angel” music video by Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Lana Del Rey.

 

CBS All Access Gets Grammy, ‘Star Trek’ Boost

CBS All Access, the standalone subscription streaming service from ViacomCBS, reportedly saw record subscriber growth in January, thanks to high-profile showcases, including the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards and the premiere of “Star Trek: Picard.”

The Jan. 26 Grammys telecast included a promotion that offered a free month of service to new subscribers.

“The new [sub] records we’ve experienced due to ‘Star Trek: Picard,’ the Grammys and a fantastic season of football are a phenomenal way to kick off what will be a fantastic year for CBS All Access,” Marc DeBevoise, chief digital officer, ViacomCBS, and president and CEO, CBS Interactive, said in a statement.

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CBS did not disclose actual subscriber numbers. Indeed, CBS revealed that 18.7 million viewers watched the telecast, which was down 6% from 19.9 million last year.

All Access, similar to Amazon Prime Video, is not afraid to stream live sports, including NFL broadcasts and playoff games. In the most-recent fiscal call, acting CEO Joe Ianniello said All Access and Showtime OTT had a combined 10 million subscribers.

CBS said The Grammys increased All Access sign-ups 80% from the same time last year, while dedicated viewership increased 30%.

The media company said the new original “Star Trek” series starring Patrick Stewart bumped up overall streaming (which includes Amazon Prime Channels) 115%, in addition to 180% spike on All Access — the highest streaming increases since the last original Star Trek series, ” Star Trek: Discovery.”

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“All Access continues to build upon its great mix of programming — from original series, to sports and special events — and we’ve strategically programmed 2020 to bring subscribers an ‘always on’ calendar of must-watch series and events,” DeBevoise said.

‘Star Trek’ Picard Collection Blu-ray Coming Oct. 15

With CBS All Access preparing to debut the new series “Star Trek: Picard” in 2020, a new Blu-ray collection will revisit some of the previous adventures of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, played by Patrick Stewart.

CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment Oct. 15 will release Star Trek: Picard Movie & TV Collection on Blu-ray with a 16-page exclusive comic book from IDW Publishing.

“Star Trek: The Next Generation”

The six-disc collection includes the movie versions of the two-part “Star Trek: The Next Generation” episodes “The Best of Both Worlds” and “Chain of Command,” plus the four theatrically released films featuring the “TNG” cast: Generations, First Contact, Insurrection and Nemesis.

The discs will include more than 10 hours of previously released bonus material.

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The comic book, called “Sky’s the Limit,” will feature an original story inspired by the franchise.

The Blu-ray collection will also be released internationally Oct. 21 in the United Kingdom, Oct. 23 in Australia and Nov. 7 in Germany.

The TV episodes include English 7.1 DTS-HD master audio and stereo surround. The films are offered with 5.1 Dolby sound.

‘Star Trek: Discovery’ Exec Producer Talks About Going SVOD, the Launch of the Second Season and More ‘Trek’

LAS VEGAS — “Terrifying” — that’s how Alex Kurtzman, executive producer of “Star Trek: Discovery” described launching on the SVOD platform CBS All Access.

Kurtzman spoke Jan. 9 during the Variety Entertainment Summit at CES in Las Vegas.

“There’s always concern that the fans will revolt,” he said. And “Star Trek” fans are notoriously engaged.

“What was really clear was if we’re going to ask people to pay $10 a month we’re going to have to deliver an experience that they can’t get on traditional television,” Kurtzman said.

The first season famously sported some Klingon nudity and the first F-bomb in the series.

“It’s all tone,” he said, and being careful to not be “disrespectful of ‘Trek.’” The F-bomb, for instance, was delivered in reference to a scientific concern, he said.

“I think that the line now between movies and television is essentially over,” he said, noting “Discovery” is basically a long movie.

“The thing I love about TV is you can spend time getting into the details of the characters lives,” he said.

To that end, in the second season, the series will explore the relationship between Spock and his adoptive sister. It will be about “family [including the work family] working together to solve this mystery,” he said.

Taking into account some of the fan concerns about the dark theme of the first season, the second will include more humor, he said.

It also will address a burning question for some fans about the first season: Why do the Klingons have no hair?

Season two reveals that “in a time of war, Klingons shave all their body hair,” he said.

More “Trek” series are in the works, including an animated show from “Rick and Morty” exec producer Mike McMahan about the lower deck employees and a series with Patrick Stewart returning as Captain Jean-Luc Picard. It took some convincing, but Stewart eventually agreed to revisit the character.

“Sometimes you meet your heroes and they are as wonderful as you want them to be,” Kurtzman said of Stewart.

Patrick Stewart to Return as Capt. Picard for New CBS All Access ‘Star Trek’ Project

Actor Patrick Stewart took to the stage at the annual “Star Trek” Las Vegas convention Aug. 4 to confirm rumors that he will once again play Capt. Jean-Luc Picard in a future series for CBS All Access.

Stewart played the popular character on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” from 1987 to 1994, and in four subsequent spinoff films, ending with Star Trek: Nemesis in 2002.

“When we wrapped that final movie in the spring of 2002, I truly felt my time with Star Trek had run its natural course,” Stewart said in a statement posted on Twitter. “It is, therefore, an unexpected but delightful surprise to find myself excited and invigorated to be returning to Jean-Luc Picard and to explore new dimensions within him.”

Stewart will serve as one of the executive producers of the series, along with Alex Kurtzman, who recently signed a production deal with CBS All Access that includes overseeing the subscription streaming service’s “Star Trek” properties. Kurtzman is taking over as showrunner for the second season of “Star Trek: Discovery,” and will also produce four 10- to 15-minute “Trek” short films called “Short Treks,” which will debut in the months leading up to the 2019 launch of the second season of “Discovery.”

Kurtzman was also one of the co-writers of the 2009 film directed by J.J. Abrams that rebooted the “Star Trek” franchise.

The new Picard series is being described not as a reboot of “Next Generation,” but rather an exploration of Picard in his later years.