HBO Max Picks Up ‘Raised by Wolves’ for Second Season

“Raised by Wolves,” which HBO Max reports is its top-performing original since the platform’s launch, has been picked up for a second season.

The serialized sci-fi series from filmmaker Ridley Scott (The MartianGladiator, Alien) debuted with three episodes on Sept. 3 and has continued to be a strong performer in its second week on the platform, growing its audience by nearly 50% week over week, according to the service.

“Raised by Wolves” centers on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet. As the burgeoning colony of humans threatens to be torn apart by religious differences, the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task.  Scott serves as an executive producer on the series and directed the first two episodes. The series was created by Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners).

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“When I think of ‘Raised by Wolves,’ I think of artistry; artistry in crafting a compelling storyline, artistry in the out-of-this-world production design, special effects and cinematography, artistry in our actor’s portrayals of these memorable characters, and artistry attached to the legendary work of Ridley Scott, Aaron Guzikowski and our phenomenal crew,” Sarah Aubrey, head of original programming at HBO Max, said in a statement. “This chart-topping series beautifully weaves together Ridley’s hallmarks of sci-fi and horror while offering fans one of the most original storylines they’ve seen in some time.  I can’t wait to see what’s in store for season two.”

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“Being a dyed-in-the-wool advertising man, I was knocked out by the extraordinary campaign done by HBO Max marketing, which conveyed the ambitious storyline in such a provocative and tactile manner, and deftly positioned our first season of ‘Raised by Wolves’ as a ‘must watch’ show,” said Scott in a statement. “It must have been a notable challenge to selectively plumb the riches In Aaron’s storylines. We were even happier that audiences have responded so enthusiastically. We are already deep into the ‘layers’ of season 2, as Aaron has begun to shape what we think will be another brilliant season to inspire the imagination.”

James Cameron’s Story of Science-Fiction

DVD REVIEW: 

Street Date 7/28/20;
RLJ;
Documentary;
$34.97 DVD or Blu-ray;
Not Rated.
Featuring James Cameron, George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Ridley Scott.

This six-episode documentary series hosted by filmmaker James Cameron should prove a fascinating viewing experience for any fan of the title genre, primarily due to the high-caliber talent on display sharing their insights on the topic.

The series is structured with each episode taking on a different topic within the genre: “Alien Life,” “Space Exploration,” “Monsters,” “Dark Futures,” “Intelligent Machines” and “Time Travel.” They run a shade over 40 minutes each on disc, long enough to fill an hour-long time slot when commercials are added in (the series originally aired on AMC in 2018).

Much of the series follows a typical documentary format tracing the history of the episode’s topic, with analysis from various talking heads in the form of critics, authors, actors and filmmakers. Particular emphasis is placed on the various social, political and philosophical underpinnings of various sci-fi stories throughout history. One primary thesis that arises is the notion that science-fiction isn’t about predicting the future, it’s about choosing our future — an observation that demonstrates why there’s still considerable value to older sci-fi tales that might otherwise seem outdated.

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But the heart of the program involves Cameron sitting for a series of one-on-one interviews with other high-profile directors as they discuss each others work (with no shortage of praise for one another, as could be expected). The stories the directors tell range from the oft-repeated tales that every fan knows, to interesting insights into what guided certain filmmaking decisions, such as how Steven Spielberg adapted much of his childhood into Close Encounters and E.T.

The discussion with George Lucas raises some eyebrows during the A.I. episode, when Cameron says so many movies depict the machines as bad guys, leading to Lucas stating that’s why he decided to depict robots as the good guys in “Star Wars” — the pair apparently sidestepping the fact that Lucas made three “Star Wars” films in which the good guys fought entire armies of evil robots.

Still, the conversations are fun to watch and the various TV and movie clips offer enough nostalgia that any viewer should find something to like.

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The bonus section includes extended interviews with Spielberg, Lucas, Ridley Scott, Christopher Nolan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith and Sigourney Weaver. These run about three to four minutes each.

‘James Cameron’s Story of Science-Fiction’ Coming to Disc July 28 From RLJE

The sci-fi documentary series “James Cameron’s Story of Science-Fiction” will come out on DVD and Blu-ray July 28 from AMC Networks’ RLJE Films.

The series originally aired on AMC Networks in 2018 as part of the AMC Visionaries series.

The show, an intimate look at science fiction’s roots, its futuristic vision and our fascination with its ideas, is hosted by Academy Award winner James Cameron (Avatar, Titanic). It features interviews with ‘A’-list storytellers, stars and others whose careers have defined the field of science fiction movies and television. Interviewees include Steven Spielberg (Close Encounters of the Third Kind, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial), George Lucas (“Star Wars” franchise), Ridley Scott (The Martian, Blade Runner), Christopher Nolan (Tenet, Interstellar), Will Smith (Men in Black, I Am Legend), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Predator, Terminator) and Bruce Willis (Die Hard, The Sixth Sense).

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Bonus features include extended interviews with Spielberg, Lucas, Scott, Nolan, Guillermo Del Toro and Schwarzenegger.

Season Two of ‘The Terror’ on Disc Aug. 18 From Lionsgate

Lionsgate will release The Terror: Infamy, the second season of the critically acclaimed AMC anthology series, on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Aug. 18.

Executive produced by Alexander Woo, Ridley Scott, Guymon Casady, Alexandra Milchan, David W. Zucker and Jordan Sheehan, and written by Max Borenstein, The Terror: Infamy deals with World War II-era Japanese-Americans on Southern California’s Terminal Island who are menaced by a “bakemono,” or folkloric specter.

Suffering forced evictions and imprisonment after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the Terminal Islanders are hounded by prejudice and injustice, as well as bad omens and bizarre deaths. One of them, Chester Nakayama (Derek Mio), decides to take on the malevolent entity, journeying to realms of evil in both the present and the distant past.

The cast also includes Kiki Sukezane, Naoko Mori, Miki Ishikawa, and George Takei.

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Ridley Scott Sci-Fi Series ‘Raised by Wolves’ to Premiere on HBO Max

“Raised by Wolves,” a serialized sci-fi series from Ridley Scott, will premiere on WarnerMedia’s SVOD series HBO Max, launching in May 2020 at $14.99 a month.

The serialized sci-fi series is executive produced and directed by Scott (The MartianBlade RunnerAlien: Covenant). Writer Aaron Guzikowski (Prisoners) created the 10-episode series and serves as showrunner and writer for the project, which recently wrapped production in Cape Town, South Africa. The series centers on two androids tasked with raising human children on a mysterious virgin planet. As the burgeoning colony of humans threatens to be torn apart by religious differences, the androids learn that controlling the beliefs of humans is a treacherous and difficult task.

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“As we strive to set a high creative bar for HBO Max, there’s no better person to set that bar than Ridley Scott as he delivers his first season of yet another incredible vision realized,” said Kevin Reilly, chief content officer of HBO Max, and president of TBS, TNT, and truTV.

“The breathtaking worlds, compelling characters and intricate storylines that Ridley, Aaron and team have created for this project are mesmerizing,” added Sarah Aubrey, head of original content at HBO Max.

Sony Releasing ‘Black Hawk Down’ on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray May 7

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment May 7 will release 2001’s Black Hawk Down on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc and digitally in 4K on participating platforms.

The war film from director Ridley Scott stars Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor and Eric Bana as U.S. soldiers engaged in a battle in Somalia after their helicopter crashes during a mission.

The 4K disc in the combo pack will include both the theatrical and extended cuts of the film; both versions have remastered from the original camera negative and feature high dynamic range in a transfer approved by Scott. Both versions also include a new immersive Dolby Atmos audio mix, along with the original 5.1 audio.

The included Blu-ray disc will contain just the theatrical cut, plus hours of previously released bonus materials, such as audio commentaries, behind-the-scenes featurettes and deleted scenes.

Bonus materials include:

  • Audio commentary by director/producer Ridley Scott and producer Jerry Bruckheimer;
  • Audio commentary by author Mark Bowden and screenwriter Ken Nolan;
  • Audio commentary by Task Force Ranger veterans;
  • “The Essence of Combat: Making Black Hawk Down” documentary;
  • The History Channel presents “The True Story of Black Hawk Down”;
  • PBS presents “Frontline: Ambush in Mogadishu”;
  • Eight deleted and alternate scenes with optional commentary;
  • “Designing Mogadishu” featurette;
  • Production design archive;
  • Storyboards with optional commentary;
  • Ridleygrams with optional commentary;
  • Target Building Insertion: Multi-Angle Sequence with optional commentary;
  • Q&A Forums: BAFTA. Motion Picture Editor’s Guild & American Cinematheque;
  • Jerry Bruckheimer’s BHD photo album;
  • Title design explorations with optional commentary;
  • “Gortoz A Ran – J’Attends” music video performed by Denez Prigent and Lisa Gerrard;
  • Photo galleries;
  • Theatrical poster concepts;
  • Trailer and TV spots.

40th Anniversary Edition of Sci-Fi Classic ‘Alien’ Coming to 4K UHD Blu-ray April 23 From Fox

The sci-fi classic Alien will come out on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc with a new 4K UHD master April 23 for its 40th anniversary from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

A limited edition 4K UHD Steelbook of the Alien 40th Anniversary Edition will also be available exclusively at Best Buy.

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In the film that birthed the successful franchise, the crew of the deep space tug Nostromo awaken from stasis during a voyage home to Earth when their ship’s computer detects what is believed to be an alien distress signal coming from the desolate nearby moon, LV-426. While investigating, one of the crew, Kane (John Hurt), is attacked by an alien creature that latches to his face and he is rushed back to the Nostromo to receive medical treatment. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver), the ship’s warrant officer, advises against Kane’s return due to quarantine regulations — but her orders are ignored by Ash (Ian Holm), bringing the Nostromo under threat from a mysterious, extraterrestrial apex predator with violent and lethal survival instincts.

Special features include:

  • the 1979 Theatrical Version;
  • the 2003 Director’s Cut;
  • the 2003 audio commentary by Ridley Scott and the cast and crew;
  • the 1999 audio commentary by Ridley Scott (1979 theatrical version only);
  • the final theatrical isolated score in Dolby Digital 5.1 (1979 theatrical version only);
  • the composer’s original isolated score in Dolby Digital 5.1 (1979 theatrical version only);
  • and deleted scenes.

 

The film was restored in 4K in 2018 by 20th Century Fox at Company 3/Deluxe Entertainment Services Group, supervised by Ridley Scott and Pam Dery, with the 4K scans done at EFilm.

Kino Lorber Releasing ‘Hannibal’ on UHD Blu-ray

Kino Lorber will release Hannibal on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray through its Classics line April 30, marking the first 4K release for the indie distributor.

Kino made the announcement Feb. 6 via its @KLStudioClassic Twitter feed.

The 2001 film, a sequel to 1991’s Silence of the Lambs, was directed by Ridley Scott and features Anthony Hopkins reprising his role as serial killer Hannibal Lecter. Julianne Moore takes over the role of FBI agent Clarice Starling, originally played by Jodie Foster. Based on the novel of the same name by Thomas Harris, the story involves Hannibal’s attempts to evade capture while a former victim seeks his own form of revenge.

The disc will include a new 4K restoration, plus HDR and SDR color-graded by cinematographer John Mathieson. Extras include an audio commentary by Scott and three hours of bonus materials that were previously available with MGM’s 2001 DVD release of the film but were not included in subsequent Blu-rays released in the United States. International Blu-rays have been released that included the bonus material.

Warner’s ‘Blade Runner: The Final Cut,’ ‘Million Dollar Baby,’ ‘Selena’ Among Warner Titles Now Available on FilmRise AVOD Service

Blade Runner: The Final Cut, director Ridley Scott’s final cut of the classic 1982 film, including extended scenes and never-before-seen special effects, in addition to five more Warner films are available now on FilmRise’s ad-supported streaming network.

FilmRise licensed the titles from Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution.

“We are excited to be partnering with Warner Bros. in bringing these beloved films to audiences through our streaming network,” said FilmRise CEO Danny Fisher in a statement. “Die-hard fans of Blade Runner deem this final cut as the only version of the cult classic reflecting Ridley Scott’s original artistic vision for the project. The additional five films are undoubtedly part of American culture — classics that fans can view over and over again.”

The five other films available include the Oscar-lauded Million Dollar Baby, starring Clint Eastwood and Hilary Swank; Free Willy, the whale tale that spawned three sequels; Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the 1990 feature starring Corey Feldman; Gremlins, 1984’s comedy-horror film executive produced by Steven Spielberg; and Selena, Jennifer Lopez’s break-out role as recording star Selena Quintanilla-Pérez who was tragically murdered at 23.

Blade Runner 2049

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street 1/16/18;
Warner;
Sci-Fi;
Box Office $91.95 million;
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $44.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for violence, some sexuality, nudity and language.
Stars Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Robin Wright, Mackenzie Davis, Carla Juri, Lennie James, Dave Bautista, Jared Leto.

What’s remarkable about director Denis Villeneuve’s Blade Runner 2049 is how seamlessly it returns us to the dystopian future established in the original 1982 film. Set 30 years later, 2049 manages to both tell an engaging story in its own right while providing deeper context and reframing the narrative of the first film — no easy feat considering the landmark cult status it has achieved.

Harrison Ford returns as Deckard, the police officer in the first film tasked with hunting down rogue replicants — specially engineered not-quite-humans designed for labor in off-world colonies. While the character doesn’t appear until well into the running time and his role is relatively limited, his presence does provide a nice sense of continuity. And the lingering question of the ages about whether Deckard himself was a replicant is dealt with here in a way that makes sense for the story this film is trying to tell.

Another source of stability between the two films is co-writer Hampton Fancher, who also co-wrote the original film and clearly had more to say about this world, which was originally adapted from Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

The sequel follows a new cop, Ryan Gosling as K, a replicant Blade Runner tasked with hunting down his own kind. K stumbles upon a 30-year-old mystery that suggests replicants can reproduce biologically, a fact that would have enormous repercussions on society. His discovery triggers a race to find the child, between a police chief (Robin Wright) who wants to eliminate any hint of the replicants’ humanity for fear it may lead to a revolution, and the replicants’ billionaire breeder (Jared Leto), who sees natural biology as the key to growing a replicant population big enough to enable mankind to achieve its true potential.

At the heart of the story is the question of identity and individuality, and whether true personhood can be achieved artificially. Can K truly find meaning in his life, or is he only programmed to think that he can? Contrasting K’s flesh-and-blood interactions is a companion hologram named Joi (Ana de Armas), who always comes across as the perfect girlfriend with just the right words of encouragement to push K forward. Is her sentience real, thus providing some legitimacy for K’s affection for her? Or is she merely a function of very sophisticated algorithms? Does it even matter?

While the film is set in 2049, it is not necessarily a vision of the future based on how things are now, but more of an extrapolation of the vision of the future of the original film from 1982 (where newspapers were still a thing in 2019!), with maybe a few real-world influences from the intervening time period.

Every character has a role to play in this parable, and everything they do has some connection to the film’s larger themes, even if they seem superfluous at the time. Villeneuve with Arrival established that he is a master of visual landscapes, and the settings here really allow him to indulge those instincts, embellishing the style that Ridley Scott established 35 years ago.

If there’s a major drawback to the film, it’s that Villeneuve is quite deliberate in his pacing, and his long establishing shots of the bleak future world are a primary contributor to the 163-minute run time, about 45 minutes longer than its predecessor. But there is splendor in the visual effects, and fans of the original will no doubt appreciate how the follow-up takes the time to breathe. It is certainly a unique feature of the home video formats that viewers who don’t find themselves enthralled by longer films can chart their own course through it.

The Blu-ray includes three short films (originally released online in the lead-up to the new film) that serve as prequels to 2049, filling in parts of the 30-year gap in the timeline. For those who picked up the disc for their first viewing of 2049, I’d recommend a rewatch of the “Final Cut” of the original first, followed by these shorts in chronological order.

The 2022 short is an anime that delves into a massive blackout that will have a profound impact on the events of 2049. This picks up with the 2036 short, which features Leto’s character waxing about why he wants to create a new breed of replicant. Finally, the 2048 short features Dave Bautista as a replicant defending a family from thugs, and leads into the opening scene of 2049.

The rest of the bonus materials offer about 50 minutes of short featurettes about the making of the film and the advancement of the concepts introduced in the original movie.