Kino Lorber Preps 4K UHD Blu-ray Edition of ‘The Last Castle,’ with Robert Redford

The action-thriller The Last Castle is the next major studio theatrical feature film to be released on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray by Kino Lorber.

The 2001 Paramount Pictures film, a theatrical disappointment ($27 million box office) despite the star power of Robert Redford, James Gandolfini, Mark Ruffalo, and Robin Wright, will be released Feb. 20 in a combo pack as part of Kino Lorber’s Studio Classics line.

The film, directed by Rod Lurie, has Redford portraying Gen. Eugene Irwin, whose service to his country made him a hero — and one mistake, a prisoner.  He’s serving a 10-year sentence in a maximum security military prison for sending his troops on a mission in Burundi against a presidential order, leading to eight soldiers’ deaths. While serving out his sentence, Irwin makes the shocking discovery that his fellow inmates are being murdered. He unites the inmates in a desperate battle to overcome a brutally corrupt system and show the world the truth.

The film comes to 4K Ultra HD from a new HDR/Dolby Vision master from a 4K scan of the 35 mm original camera negative. It is being released on a triple-layered UHD100 disc with 5.1 Surround and Lossless 2.0 audio.

The release includes a Blu-ray Disc that also was made from a new HD master from a 4K scan of the 35mm original camera negative. The disc, on a dual-layered BD50 disc with 5.1 Surround and Lossless 2.0 audio.

Both discs include a new audio commentary from director Lurie. The Blu-ray Disc edition also includes various previously released extras, including nine deleted scenes, the original theatrical trailer, a discussion of the alternate ending, an HBO First Look featurette titled “Inside the Walls of The Last Castle,” and a second featurette with Lurie on the making of the film.

Three Days of the Condor

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Kino Lorber;
Thriller;
$24.95 Blu-ray, $39.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R.’
Stars Robert Redford, Faye Dunaway, Max von Sydow, Cliff Robertson, John Houseman, Addison Powell, Walter McGinn, Tina Chen, Jess Osuna, Hank Garrett.

Pretty much everything about Three Days of the Condor screams ’70s spy thriller.

From its retro futuristic credits font to its music to the technology on display, the film is very much a product of its time. Even director Sydney Pollack makes this point in an old commentary included on the Blu-ray that he must have recorded it over 20 years ago, a few years prior to his death in 2008.

Based on the novel Six Days of the Condor, the 1975 film version jettisons most aspects of the book aside from a few basic plot elements and most of the title (several people in the bonus materials joke that the film didn’t have the budget to drag out the story more than three days).  Robert Redford plays Joe Turner, code name Condor, an analyst for a small CIA branch office in New York who reads a variety of foreign novels looking for patterns that could indicate clandestine real-world activities. After he files a report suggesting a group of rogue operators exists within the CIA, his office is targeted for termination.

Turner returns from lunch to find all his co-workers have been shot, and he immediately goes into hiding. Unsure of who to trust, he kidnaps Kathy (Faye Dunaway), a random woman he encounters on the street, using her apartment as a hideout while he tries to figure out who murdered his friends and why.

Between its old-fashioned computers and Turner’s infiltration of the phone network to gather information on his enemies, it wouldn’t be a shock if anyone born in the 21st century had no idea what was happening. However, the film being dated doesn’t diminish its impact or entertainment value, as at its core it’s still a very effective cat-and-mouse thriller populated with memorable characters and layered in detail.

It turns out the scheme Turner stumbled upon involved the U.S. destabilizing regimes in the Middle East in order to control the world’s oil supply — which turned out to be quite a prescient notion, both in terms of the exposure of the CIA’s of underhanded foreign policy tactics that was happening concurrently with the film’s production, and the looming energy crisis that was a few years away.

Modern audiences will most likely recognize the story element of an agency within an agency from Marvel’s 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which was so influenced by Condor that its makers even cast Redford in a key role (a reprisal of which in a cameo in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame marks his final on-screen appearance to date).

Three Days of the Condor also bears remarkable star power for its day, filled with some of its era’s most iconic faces. Dunaway, cast to bring the film some notable female starpower, was a year away from capturing an Oscar for her role as a duplicitous TV programmer in Network. Cliff Robertson plays a CIA deputy director who becomes central to Turner’s investigation. John Houseman, Orson Welles’ old producer buddy, makes a welcome appearance as one of the leaders of the conspiracy. He was coming off an Oscar win for 1973’s The Paper Chase, and a few months prior to Condor’s release he played a similar character in Rollerball. And Max von Sydow is great as the mercenary in charge of the hit squad in pursuit of Turner.

For its new Blu-ray and 4K editions of Three Days of the Condor, Kino Lorber offers a remastered version of the film scanned from the original 35mm negative, with great results. It’s not flashy or in your face, but this is what classic, gritty films are supposed to feel like.

Kino has also assembled a decent package of legacy extras, with two featurettes made for earlier Studio Canal European releases of the film on disc. The 25-minute “More About the Condor” is a 2003 reflection on the making of the film from Redford and Pollack, while the hour-long “Something About Sydney Pollack” is a 2004 retrospective of the director’s career.

In addition to the thorough decades-old commentary from Pollack, there’s also a newly recorded commentary about the film’s context, impact and legacy from film historians Steve Mitchell and Nathaniel Thompson.

Rounding out the extras is the film’s trailer.

‘Ordinary People’ to Join ‘Paramount Presents’ Blu-ray Line March 29

Robert Redford’s 1980 directorial debut, Ordinary People, will arrive on Blu-ray as part of the “Paramount Presents” line March 29 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

Winner of four Academy Awards — including Best Picture, Best Director (Redford), Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium (Alvin Sargent), and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Timothy Hutton) — the film stars Hutton, Donald Sutherland and Mary Tyler Moore as a family being torn apart by tragedy and the unrelenting pressure to maintain a façade of normalcy. It was Hutton’s first film role and his performance not only earned him the Oscar, but it also made him the youngest person to win in the category.  

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Remastered from a new 4K film transfer overseen by Redford, the “Paramount Presents” Blu-ray is presented in collectible packaging featuring a foldout image of the film’s theatrical poster and an interior spread with key movie moments.  The disc also includes new interviews with Hutton and Judith Guest, author of the novel upon which the movie was based. In “Swimming in the Rose Garden,” Hutton reflects on filming and the approach Redford took to create a feeling of isolation on set. In “Feeling Is Not Selective,” Guest discusses her novel and the process involved in adapting it for film.

The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses

DIGITAL REVIEW:

Street Date 11/23/21;
Virgil;
Documentary;
Not rated.

Beautifully shot in America’s sparsely inhabited landscapes, The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses chronicles the history and current state of wild horses in the United States. Executive produced by Robert Redford, Patti Scialfa Springsteen and Jessica Springsteen, the feature takes audiences to places few people have seen, where more than 80,000 mustangs live on federal land. The film, featuring music by Bruce Springsteen, Willie Nelson and Emmylou Harris with an original song by Blanco Brown, showcases the steeds galloping free across hills, meadows and valleys in a series of glorious panoramas that complement the beauty of the animals. It explores the inspirational nature of the mustang, from its namesake automobile to its role as a companion for “The Lone Ranger.”

While tracing wild horses’ history of faithful service, the feature also covers their exploitation. Once captured for “free energy” to pull plows and trolleys, the mustang also traveled to serve the French and British during World War I. But when the horse gave way to the machine, mustangs were slaughtered for feed and dog meat until their numbers were depleted.

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The documentary follows the efforts of those who worked to save and preserve the mustang, chronicling the story of Velma “Wild Horse Annie” Johnston, who advocated for the wild horses with the help of a children’s crusade. In 1971, Nixon signed a law to protect them.

Now, under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, the mustang population — with no natural predators — has grown too big for its prescribed area. The documentary looks at various programs and volunteers trying to help, following a band of women chasing the mares to distribute birth control and traveling to a sanctuary in San Luis Obispo, Calif. In one of the most affecting segments, the documentary visits “Operation Wild Horse,” which pairs veterans with mustangs as restorative therapy. The feature also follows “Mustang Makeovers,” in which trainers are given 100 days to tame a mustang for competition and sale at auction, capturing the bond each trainer has with a horse that they must ultimately give away.

Shots of the free-ranging herds are a treat for lovers of horses and the Wild West, very effectively making the case for the mustangs’ conservation (though segments about their exploitation may not be appropriate for children). Ultimately, The Mustangs: America’s Wild Horses, which shines a light on a little-known issue, manages to both inspire awe as well as a call to action.

‘The Natural’ Swinging to 4K Ultra HD From Sony

For its 35th Anniversary, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is releasing the baseball film classic The Natural on 4K Ultra HD disc and in 4K via participating digital platforms June 4.

In the film, Robert Redford stars as Roy Hobbs, who seemingly comes out of nowhere to become a legendary baseball player with almost divine talent. But on his way to stardom in the big leagues, Hobbs’s dreams are shattered when a mysterious woman and a silver bullet end his career prematurely. Sixteen years later, Hobbs finds himself coming back to baseball, seeking to overcome physical pain — and nefarious forces — to lead his team to the pennant.

Nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Cinematography, Best Original Score and Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, the film also stars Robert Duvall, Glenn Close in an Academy Award-nominated performance, and Kim Basinger.

The 4K Ultra HD disc includes two versions of the film in 4K with HDR: the original theatrical version and the directors’ cut, each restored from the original camera negative, supervised and approved by director of photography Caleb Deschanel and director Barry Levinson. Both versions of the film also include newly remixed Dolby Atmos audio, along with the original stereo and 5.1 tracks for the theatrical version.

Bonus materials on the 4K UHD include Levinson’s intro to the director’s cut and the theatrical trailer. The blu-ray disc includes the theatrical cut and several featurettes.

Amazon Bows ‘Critically Acclaimed’ Page Showcasing Globally Nominated, Winning Movies and TV Shows

Amazon has developed a niche revenue stream endorsing third-party over-the-top video services through its Prime Channels platform. Now, the e-commerce behemoth has launched a page/link highlighting original and third-party movies and TV shows garnering the industry recognition worldwide.

Dubbed “Critically Acclaimed,” the page showcases movies and TV shows nominated for, and winners of the Golden Globes, Oscars, Emmys, Golden Lion (Italy), Filmfare (India), BAFTA (United Kingdom), Sundance, Golden Bear (Germany), Cannes (France), Golden Leopard (Switzerland), and European Film Academy recognition.

Separately, Amazon released its January slate of new series and movies available for rent, purchase and streaming on Prime Video.

Available for purchase:

Jan. 8

The Old Man & The Gun

Available for streaming:

Jan. 13

“True Detective, Season 3,” HBO

“Vera, Season 9,” Britbox

Jan. 14

“Victoria, Season 3,” PBS Masterpiece

Jan. 17

“Star Trek: Discovery, Season 2,” CBS All Access

January 20

“Crashing, Season 3,” HBO

“High Maintenance, Season 3,” HBO

“SMILF, Season 2,” Showtime

“Shameless, Season 9,” Showtime

“Black Monday, Season 1,” Showtime

Jan. 21

 “Big Brother: Celebrity Edition, Season 2,” CBS All Access

New series on Prime Video:

Jan. 1

 “The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle. Season 1b” (Prime Original series),

“Breaking Big, Season 1”

“Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, Seasons 1, 5-19”

“First Civilizations, Season 1”

“Frontline, Season 36”

“Nova Wonders, Season 1”

Movies:

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Alpha Dog (2006)

Brazil (1985)

GI Jews: Jewish Americans in World War II (2018)

Going to War (2018)

Jane Eyre (2011)

Reprisal (2018)

Rwanda: The Royal Tour (2018)

The Art of the Shine (2018)

The Jazz Ambassadors (2018)

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

 Jan. 3

Leave No Trace (2018)

Jan. 4

Beautiful Boy (Prime Original movie)

Sherlock Gnomes (2018)

Jan. 11

“Informer,Season 2” (Prime Original series)

Jan. 12

Final Score

Jan. 13

Eighth Grade (2018)

Jan. 16

The Debt (2010)

Jan. 18

 “The Grand Tour, Season 3” (Prime Original series)

Jan. 19

Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018)

Jan. 25

“Four More Shots Please! Season 1” (Prime Original series)

Escobar: Paradise Lost (2014)

Jan. 29

“Endeavour, Season 5”

 

Robert Redford Comedy ‘The Old Man & the Gun’ Due on Digital Jan. 1, Disc Jan. 15

Robert Redford and Sissy Spacek star in the comedy The Old Man & the Gun, coming to digital (including Movies Anywhere) Jan. 1 and Blu-ray and DVD Jan. 15 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The film follows the mostly true story of Forrest Tucker (Redford) — from his daring prison escape at age 70 to an unprecedented string of bank heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public. Wrapped up in the pursuit are detective John Hunt (Casey Affleck) and Jewel (Spacek), the woman loves him despite his criminal ways.

Special features on disc include:

  • “Everything Else We Shot”;
  • “Prison Cats”;
  • “On Filmmaking”;
  • “31 Wake-Ups”;
  • “Joining the Hunt”;
  • audio commentary by writer/director David Lowery; and
  • a photo gallery.