‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Headed to Premium Digital Dec. 5

Apple Original Films’ Killers of the Flower Moon, from Martin Scorsese, will debut on premium video-on-demand (digital rental) and PEST (premium digital purchase) beginning Dec. 5 in collaboration with Paramount in more than 100 countries, before streaming globally on Apple TV+.

Directed by Martin Scorsese and written for the screen by Eric Roth and Scorsese, based on David Grann’s best-selling book of the same name, Killers of the Flower Moon is set in 1920s Oklahoma and depicts the serial murder of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation, a string of brutal crimes that came to be known as the Reign of Terror. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, Tantoo Cardinal, Cara Jade Myers, JaNae Collins and Jillian Dion.

Killers of the Flower Moon was named Best Film of 2023 and Lily Gladstone was awarded Best Actress by the New York Film Critics Circle. The film was also recently honored with the Gotham Historical Icon and Creator Tribute at the Gotham Awards and awarded Best Score — Feature Film from the Hollywood Music in Media Awards. It is set to be recognized with the Vanguard Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival Film Awards gala event next January.

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Killers of the Flower Moon was distributed theatrically starting Oct. 20 by Paramount Pictures. The film has earned $154.3 million at the global box office.

Casino (Remastered Edition)

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Universal;
Drama;
$21.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for strong brutal violence, pervasive strong language, drug use and some sexuality.
Stars Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Sharon Stone, James Woods, Don Rickles, Alan King, L.Q. Jones, Frank Vincent, Kevin Pollak, Pasquale Cajano.

When did Martin Scorsese depart his endlessly experimental Sam Fuller period and cross over to the dull side by hemorrhaging equal doses of David Lean’s picturesque vacuity and the well-intentioned messaging of Stanley Kramer? The crushing letdown sustained by his last three pictures is almost too much to bear. Silence appeared to have been made in order to avoid litigation that stemmed from a verbal agreement the director had with Italian producer Vittorio Cecchi Gori after the release of Kundun (1997). Next up, the made-for-Netflix gangster rehash, The Irishman. Given the film’s limited theatrical release, Scorsese, knowing full well that the majority of the viewing public would watch the film in their home theaters, shot accordingly. I preferred it when the director, not the medium, dictated shot size. With well over half the picture framed in TV safe tight shots, the end result was more closeups than a colonoscopy. When it came to trafficking in messages, Martin Scorsese once prided himself on being a master smuggler. His latest feature, Killers of the Flower Moon, is a bloated message picture, felling viewers with an overinflated sense of manufactured prestige and self-importance. We’ll have more to say on Flower Moon when it settles on physical media. Until then, there’s a newly remastered edition of 1995’s Casino to savor, and boy, do we need it now!

No contemporary American filmmaker in my lifetime has done more to preserve film and encourage the theatrical life cycle of motion pictures than he. Taxi Driver made such a profound impact on my 21-year-old psyche that I was halfway through the 4:30 presentation before realizing the 2:15 matinee had ended. The Landmark Varsity in Evanston, Ill., brought it back on Oct. 6, 1981, the same day Anwar Sadat was assassinated. The crowd was anything but the somber gathering one might have expected. They greeted Travis Bickle as they would a character in a screwball comedy. True comedic force. I’ve never looked at the film the same way since. Offscreen, film-devotee Scorsese was the first to decry the multiplexing of American single screens in the name of staggered showtimes. Knowing that greater numbers of viewers were watching films on home video, he waited until 1991 — when TV screens were big enough and viewers finally tolerant enough to deal with a letterboxed image — to at last shoot a picture in Panavision.

Raging Bull was filmed in black-and-white to protest what he understood to be a crisis in unstable color film stock. I was working the day watch out of dispatch at Cablevision when Raging Bull first played on HBO. A customer called to complain that she heard profanity coming from the driver’s two-way radio. Was it wrong to try and bring a smile to the faces of my co-workers in the field by hitting the push-to-talk button every time a certain line of dialogue, something about Salvi and an elephant, came on? (I was written up and almost fired over it.) I’ve seen it so many times that my lips move while I’m watching it.

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Goodfellas is Mean Streets is I Call First: all masterpieces, but after his debut gangster outing there wasn’t much in the way of cinematic headway. Mean Streets is raw cinema compared to the more polished Goodfellas, and if hard pressed, the nerves struck in I Call First (a much stronger title than Who’s That Knocking at My Door?) are more brutally honest than anything else in Scorsese’s canon. Casino is a wall-to-wall rollick, the director’s only unmitigated comedy and a definite advancement in gangster picture-making. At their core, Scorsese protagonists are thinly veiled Christ figures. After years of experimenting, Scorsese finally worked through his Christ fixation by killing Ace Rothstein (Robert De Niro) in reel one, only to have him resurrected in reel seven.

The astonishing opening hour — a historically resplendent introduction to the inner workings of Las Vegas — can hold its own alongside any of the so-called “legitimate” documentaries on the subject. And “Moonglow” in the money room? Nothin’ finer! This time, he not only gave New York a rest, he let the Italians off the hook by handing the Jews a thorough working over. The result is some of the funniest dialogue in any of his films, and without the hint of irony associated with the ending of Taxi Driver. The laughs keep building at a steady flow until reaching the point of it ain’t funny no more. The culmination is Scorsese’s most unrelentingly effective use of violence to date. We’re not talking “cool” violence like the fountain pen tracheotomy. The final act of inhumanity leaves an indelible mark, making it impossible to unsee the barbaric demise of the Spilotro Brothers substitutes. The whacking and subsequent desert deposition of Nicky (Joe Pesci) and Frank (Frank Vincent) is a chilling update of the time-honored “crime doesn’t pay” dictum.

Lastly, the resurrection of Rothstein isn’t the only thing Scorsese aced. For the first (only?) time, Scorsese presents us with a strong female character capable of running with the herd. As for the special features, they’re all holdovers from previous pressings.

A Bronx Tale

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Allied Vaughn/Tribeca;
Drama;
$24.95 Blu-ray, $39.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for strong language and several scenes of violence.
Stars Robert De Niro, Chazz Palminteri, Lillo Brancato, Francis Capra, Taral Hicks, Kathrine Narducci, Joe Pesci.

This burrough-fixed gangster bio recounts the start-up years of Calogero Anello, a streetwise stripling of Sicilian descent played alternately by 9-year-old Francis Capra and 17-year-old Lillo Brancato Jr. Loosely based on the one-man play written by and starring Calogero Lorenzo Palminteri — or do you say Chazz? — it has the distinction of being one of only two films directed by Robert De Niro. (Given the choice, I’d watch A Bronx Tale 10 times before ever paying a return visit to the pedagogic history lesson that is The Good Shepherd.) Unfamiliarity with newcomer Palminteri and the prospect of another mob movie, this one starring De Niro cast in the Ward Cleaver role, combined to keep audiences at bay. They were wrong. Time has been extremely kind to this solidly constructed 1993 coming-of-age drama. Given the genre and their past collaborations, a little Scorsese couldn’t help but have rubbed off, just not enough to keep De Niro from honestly dealing with topics that for years have eluded his mentor. The student even went so far as doing his teacher one better.

As long as he could remember, Colagero, “C” for short, had his eye on the neighborhood crime boss, Sonny (Palminteri). He couldn’t wait for school to end so he could sneak out of his parent’s flat and snake through the passageways and back alley that deposited him three doors down at Chez Bippy, a mob watering hole owned by Sonny. The day Sonny finally returned C’s gaze forever cemented their future. The boy witnesses his idol shoot a fellow thug gangland style over a parking space altercation that went bad. C oscillates between a morally upright working class father (De Niro) slowly losing his son’s grip — Lorenzo makes his living behind the wheel of a bus — and a made mentor whose motto was, “The working man’s a sucker.” When it comes time to finger the shooter in a lineup, much to Sonny’s eternal gratitude, C dummies up. The witness identification plays out with the same style of subjective exposure and lean intensity one associates with a Budd Boetticher Ranown Western. 

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Released three years after Goodfellas, at first glance, A Bronx Tale could have easily been mistaken for a continuation of Henry Hill’s youthful indoctrination, right down to the “Social Club” milieu and a grouping of colorfully-named, idiosyncratic schifosos needed to flesh out the background. Rather than speak, Tony Toupee chose to sing every word. The guy with the graham cracker complexion went by Frankie Coffee Cake. JoJo the whale was so fat, legend has it his shadow once killed a dog. It is pretty obvious how Sonny’s right hand man earned the name Joey Whispers. And in one of Palminteri’s finest thumbnail summations, Eddie the Mush was such a loser, the teller at the racetrack would give him his tickets already ripped up. 

I had to laugh when it was reported that Scorsese rewrote Killers of the Flower Moon to beef up the female lead. Since when does he give a hoot in hell about female characters? In all of his films, only one woman stands out: Sharon Stone in Casino. (Just because Lorraine Bracco is awarded a chunk of narration in Goodfellas doesn’t make her an equal participant.) Always one to complain about unnecessary romance in male-driven movies, Jane (Taral Hicks) is more than just African-American elbow dressing. Without once playing slut or Playmate of the Month, Jane is in full control of the relationship. It is she who asks C out and when it comes to a first kiss, it’s Jane who shows him what to do with his lips. She’s also the first to call him out when a gang of mini-mafiosa dog piles her brother for having the gall to bicycle through their white neighborhood.

To C, the ‘n’ word was a part of his day-to-day lexicon. De Niro has long been known to court black women. (If you don’t believe me, check out the Comedy Central Roast of Alec Baldwin.) The audience I saw it with opening weekend chuckled when, upon learning of his son courting a “colored girl,” Lorenzo voices his disapproval of interracial relationships. When it comes to presenting racist characters Scorsese, trusting that his viewers know the scumbags he presents are not to be admired, puts it all out there without once commenting on behavior or lecturing an audience on how to think. After all, that’s the way these animals talk. Palminteri and De Niro take it one step further by having C lose his cool and drop the ‘n’ word while in mid-argument with Jane. It’s a moment he lives to regret, but because the filmmakers wanted the romance to end happily, it feels rushed to the point of piercing credulity.

The film will forever live on in the annals of cool for one of Sonny’s conceits that is never drawn attention to. While driving his red Cadillac convertible from his home to the Chez Bippy, he throws the car into reverse and doesn’t stop until he gets there. Neither does cinematographer Reynaldo Villalobos, who captured the ride in one glorious unbroken take. Is that cool or what?

The new-to-Blu-ray release includes freshly minted interviews with Robert De Niro and Chazz Palminteri. Subject for further research: for a tragic example of life imitating art, Google Lillo Brancato

1976 De Niro Classic ‘The Last Tycoon’ Coming to Blu-ray Disc Nov. 28

Kino Lorber has set a Nov. 28 Blu-ray Disc release date for the 1976 movie adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon, directed by Elia Kazan (On the Waterfront) and starring Robert De Niro.

De Niro portrays studio head Monroe Stahr, a thinly disguised Irving Thalberg character in command of his studio but haunted by a love lost to the past. Dana Andrews, Ingrid Boulting, Tony Curtis, Anjelica Huston, Ray Milland, Robert Mitchum, Jeanne Moreau, Donald Pleasence, Theresa Russell and Jack Nicholson contribute supporting performances.

The film, released under Kino Lorber’s Studio Classics banner, comes to Blu-ray Disc from a new HD master made from a 4K scan of the 35mm original camera negative.

The release features 5.1 Surround and Lossless 2.0 audio and optional English subtitles. 

Bonus content includes a new audio commentary by film historian and author Joseph McBride, editor of Filmmakers on Filmmaking.

 

 

Apple Studios Sets Scorsese’s ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ Theatrical Release for Oct. 20, Followed by Streaming

Apple Studios Aug. 29 revealed key art for director Martin Scorsese’s upcoming drama Killers of the Flower Moon, set for theatrical release on Oct. 20, and follow-up distribution on the Apple TV+ subscription streaming service.

Apple is partnering with Paramount Pictures for the movie’s global theatrical run, which finds co-stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro and Lily Gladstone in 1920s Oklahoma dealing with the serial murder of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation — a string of brutal crimes that came to be known as the Reign of Terror.

The movie premiered earlier this year at the 76th Cannes Film Festival, where it was met with broad critical acclaim and an extended standing ovation. Additional cast members include Jesse Plemons, Cara Jade Myers, JaNae Collins, Jillian Dion and Tantoo Cardinal.

Flower Moon will also receive distribution across Imax theatres, for which the film will be digitally remastered with proprietary Imax DMR (Digital Remastering) technology.

Apple, unlike Netflix, distributes most original movies in theaters under an abbreviated exclusive theatrical window, followed by SVOD distribution.

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Comedy ‘About My Father’ Headed to PVOD June 16

The comedy About My Father arrives on premium VOD June 16 from Lionsgate.

Comic Sebastian Maniscalco both co-writes and stars in the comedy, which also stars two-time Oscar winner Robert De Niro (The Irishman, Raging Bull) as an outspoken Italian father who joins a weekend getaway with his son’s fiancée’s (Leslie Bibb, Iron Man) family. The film also features Anders Holm (TV’s “Workaholics”), Brett Dier (TV’s “Jane the Virgin”), David Rasche (TV’s “Succession”) and Kim Cattrall (TV’s “Sex and the City”). 

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In the film, Sebastian (Maniscalco) is encouraged by his fiancée (Leslie Bibb) to bring his Italian hairdresser father Salvo (De Niro) to a weekend get-together to meet her wealthy and eccentric family (Anders Holm,  David Rasche, Brett Dier, and Kim Cattrall). As the weekend turns into an outrageous clash of cultures, Sebastian and Salvo discover that the great thing about family is everything about family.

Scorsese Film ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ to Bow in Theaters Oct. 6 Before Streaming on Apple TV+

Apple Original Films announced that Martin Scorsese’s Killers of the Flower Moon will first be released exclusively in theaters worldwide, in partnership with Paramount Pictures, limited on Friday, Oct. 6, and wide on Friday, Oct. 20, before streaming globally on Apple TV+.

Directed by Scorsese and written for the screen by Eric Roth and Scorsese, based on David Grann’s bestselling book of the same name, Killers of the Flower Moon is set in 1920s Oklahoma and depicts the serial murder of members of the oil-wealthy Osage Nation, a string of brutal crimes that came to be known as the Reign of Terror. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, Cara Jade Myers, JaNae Collins, Jillian Dion and Tantoo Cardinal.

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Hailing from Apple Studios, Killers of the Flower Moon was produced alongside Imperative Entertainment, Sikelia Productions and Appian Way. Producers are Scorsese, Dan Friedkin, Bradley Thomas and Daniel Lupi, with DiCaprio, Rick Yorn, Adam Sommer, Marianne Bower, Lisa Frechette, John Atwood, Shea Kammer and Niels Juul serving as executive producers.

‘Fear,’ ‘The Fan,’ ‘Problem Child’ Due on Blu-ray March 7 in ‘Retro VHS’ Collection From Mill Creek

Mill Creek Entertainment March 7 will release three titles in its “Retro VHS” collection: Fear (1996), The Fan (1996) and Problem Child (1990).

The dramatic thriller Fear follows Nicole Walker (Reese Witherspoon), who is always dreamed of being swept away by someone special — someone strong, sexy and sensitive who would care for her more than anything else in the world. Her boyfriend David (Mark Wahlburg) is all that and more: a modern-day knight who charms and seduces her, body and soul. But her perfect boyfriend is not all he seems to be. His sweet facade masks a savage, dark side that will soon transform Nicole’s dream into a nightmare.

In the action film The Fan, when the San Francisco Giants pay center fielder Bobby Rayburn (Wesley Snipes) $40 million to lead their team to the World Series, no one is happier or more supportive than No. 1 fan Gil Renard (Robert De Niro). So, when Rayburn becomes mired in the worst slump of his career, the obsessed Renard decides to stop at nothing to help his idol regain his former glory — not even murder.

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In the comedy Problem Child, when 7-year-old Junior comes into their lives, the Healys hope he will brighten their days. But Junior is more mischievous than they could have imagined as he turns ordinary days into full-scale comic nightmares.

Netflix Annouces Limited Series ‘Zero Day’ Starring Robert De Niro

Netflix has announced the new limited series “Zero Day,” a conspiracy thriller from creator/executive producer Eric Newman (“The Watcher,” “Narcos,” “Narcos: Mexico”) under his Grand Electric Productions deal with Netflix and creator/executive producer Noah Oppenheim (Jackie, “The Thing About Pam,” The Maze Runner).

It’s the first TV series starring and executive produced by Robert De Niro.

The six-episode drama “Zero Day” asks the question on everyone’s mind — how do we find truth in a world in crisis, one seemingly being torn apart by forces outside our control? And in an era rife with conspiracy theory and subterfuge, how much of those forces are products of our own doing, perhaps even of our own imagining? 

Director/executive producer Lesli Linka Glatter (“Homeland,” “Mad Men” and “Love & Death”) will direct all episodes.

“I am a lifelong fan of Robert De Niro,” Newman said in a statement. “To have him as a producing partner and star in this show is beyond my wildest dreams. And Lesli Linka Glatter has directed so many of my favorite episodes of television; she was our clear first choice to direct this show.  I am grateful to Netflix for their continued faith and support and thrilled to be in business with the amazing creative team of Noah, Lesli, and Jonathan on this timely (and terrifying) series.” 

Noah Oppenheim credited Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Michael S. Schmidt and “the stories that kept him up at night” for early inspiration, adding, “To see this ripped-from-reality thriller come to life, starring the legendary Robert De Niro, is more than we could have hoped.”

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“‘Zero Day’ is a shrewd, heart-pounding conspiracy thriller that will keep audiences at the edge of their seat,” Peter Friedlander, VP of scripted series at Netflix for the U.S. and Canada, said in a statement. “What an honor to have this ‘A’-list caliber of talent assembled, led by the iconic Robert De Niro and brought to life by the unrivaled talents of Eric Newman, Noah Oppenheim, Lesli Linka Glatter and Michael S. Schmidt.”

Robert De Niro Actioner ‘Savage Salvation’ Headed to DVD and Blu-ray Feb. 14 From Vertical and Distribution Solutions

The Robert De Niro actioner Savage Salvation will be released on DVD and Blu-ray Feb. 14 from Vertical Entertainment and Distribution Solutions.

In the film, after his fiancée dies of an overdose, a recovering addict (Jack Huston) embarks on a vengeful killing spree, hunting down the drug dealers before the town sheriff (De Niro) puts an end to his vigilante justice.

In addition to Huston (“Fargo,” American Hustle, “Boardwalk Empire”) and De Niro (Raging Bull, Taxi Driver, Cape Fear), the film stars John Malkovitch (Dangerous Liaisons, Being John Malkovitch, “Space Force”) and Willa Fitzgerald (18½, The Goldfinch,“Scream: The TV Series”).

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