Russell Crowe Starrer ‘Sleeping Dogs’ Available for Digital Purchase April 9

Paramount Home Entertainment has set an April 9 home release date for Sleeping Dogs, the latest film starring Russell Crowe. The film will be available for digital purchase from Fandango at Home and other digital retailers.

Sleeping Dogs is a crime mystery thriller about an ex-homicide detective (Crowe) with memory loss who is forced to solve a brutal murder he can’t recall. The film was directed by Adam Cooper, in his feature-length directorial debut, from a screenplay adapted by Cooper and Bill Collage from the 2017 novel The Book of Mirrors by E.O. Chirovici.

The film was released by The Avenue in the United States on March 22 and earned less than $100,000 during a limited domestic run. 

Liam Hemsworth, Russell Crowe Actioner ‘Land of Bad’ Available Digitally March 19, on DVD May 14

Paramount Home Entertainment Feb. 27 announced that the actioner Land of Bad, starring Liam Hemsworth and Russell Crowe, will be available for digital purchase on March 19 and on DVD May 14.

In the film, a covert Special Forces operation in the South Philippines quickly spirals into a 48-hour battle for survival. When an elite extraction team is ambushed deep in enemy territory, rookie officer Kinney (Hemsworth) is left outnumbered but determined to leave no man behind. With an air strike closing in, Kinney’s only hope hinges on the guidance of Air Force drone pilot Reaper (Crowe).

The film also stars Luke Hemsworth, Ricky Whittle and Milo Ventimiglia.

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Horror Thriller ‘The Pope’s Exorcist’ Available Now Digitally, on Blu-ray and DVD June 13

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s horror thriller The Pope’s Exorcist is available now at regular digital rates (it had been available at a premium price) and will be released on Blu-ray Disc and DVD June 13.

Starring Russell Crowe, the film is inspired by the actual files of Father Gabriele Amorth, chief exorcist of the Vatican. It follows Amorth as he investigates a young boy’s terrifying possession and ends up uncovering a centuries-old conspiracy the Vatican has desperately tried to keep hidden.

Special features include “Introducing Father Amorth” and “What Possessed You?”

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Amazon Freevee Nabs Select ‘Neighbours’ Episodes

Amazon’s free ad-supported streaming platform Freevee announced it would offer a selection of “Neighbours” TV episodes, beginning Feb. 23.

The longtime Australian drama series about the lives, loves and challenges of the residents on Ramsay Street in Erinsborough, a fictional suburb of Melbourne, ran for more than three decades and nearly 9,000 episodes. The show provided career launch pads for Margot Robbie, Russell Crowe, Kylie Minogue, Jason Donovan, Guy Pearce, Natalie Imbruglia and Liam Hemsworth, among others.

The debut will include all the episodes from the 2012 season, featuring the show’s memorable first kiss between characters Chris and Aidan, as well as Toadie’s heartwarming proposal to Sonya, and Lucas and Vanessa’s dramatic wedding day. The library content will be available exclusively on Amazon Freevee in the United States and United Kingdom. Prime Video customers in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland and South Africa will also have access to the previous seasons and episodes.

A library season of “Neighbours” will launch on the service every month until the show’s new season premiere later this year. Starting Feb. 28, the streaming service will also launch a variety of “Neighbours” linear free ad-supported streaming channels, including “Neighbours — Looking Back” (Channel 1) and “Best of Neighbours” (Channel 2).

The revitalized series will premiere on Freevee in the U.K. and U.S., for free. Last year, Amazon and Fremantle announced they would be bringing back the show with Stefan Dennis, Alan Fletcher, Ryan Moloney and Jackie Woodburne returning to reprise their roles. The series will also stream on Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland and South Africa. Production is set to commence early this year with a world premiere slated for the second half of the year. 

Russell Crowe Crime Thriller ‘Poker Face’ Headed to Digital Nov. 22

The crime thriller Poker Face, directed by and starring Russell Crowe, will be released in theaters Nov. 16 and through digital retailers Nov. 22 from Screen Media.

In the film, tech billionaire and gambler Jake Foley (Crowe) hosts a high-stakes poker game between childhood friends, offering them the chance to win more money than they’ve ever dreamed of. The evening takes a turn when he unveils his elaborate plan seeking revenge for their betrayals and to play, they’ll have to give up the one thing they’ve spent their lives trying to keep — their secrets. As the game unfolds, thieves break in and they must band together to survive a night of terror.

The film also stars Liam Neeson, RZA and Elsa Pataky. The film was written by Stephen M. Coates and Crowe.

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Thor: Love and Thunder

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 9/27/22;
Disney/Marvel;
Sci-Fi Fantasy Action;
Box Office $ 343.15 million;
$29.99 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $43.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, language, some suggestive material and partial nudity.
Stars Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tessa Thompson, Christian Bale, Taika Waititi, Russell Crowe.

Imagine a story that tackles subjects such as cancer, religious fundamentalism and child endangerment, tied together by a tongue-in-cheek intergalactic Viking adventure, and you’ll get some sense of the wacky roller coaster ride that is Thor: Love and Thunder.

Taika Waititi returns to the director’s chair after injecting his signature irreverence into 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok, and tries to make Love and Thunder a similarly breezy, lighthearted romp. However, the darker themes this time around end up clashing with an abundance of jokes and situational humor, leading to some jarring tonal shifts as the film progresses through its various plot points. Then again, the guy who won an Oscar for writing a movie about a German boy who has Hitler as an imaginary friend probably thought he could pull it off. Or maybe he just felt like making a two-hour video tribute to his favorite band, Guns N’ Roses.

To be fair, the degree the film works at all can be attributed to Waititi’s skills as a storyteller and his ability to keep such disparate elements from spinning out of control. It certainly has its moments and the cast seems to have had a good time making it. However, the biggest strength of the film is not its story but its visual splendor. Thor: Love and Thunder looks spectacular, from colorful costumes to and exotic locales, to a surrealist black-and-white realm of shadows and monsters (which were designed by the children of the filmmakers, according to Waititi).

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Picking up from where we last saw him in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has been traveling with the Guardians of the Galaxy, but finds himself consumed with self-doubt.

He gets a chance to snap back into action when he learns that deities throughout the universe are being slaughtered by Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale), who declares his next target will be the Asgardian refugees now living on Earth.

Upon his return, Thor learns that his former love, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), has now gained her own Thor powers thanks to a newfound ability to wield his old hammer. Her transformation into “Mighty Thor” temporarily protects her from stage four cancer, but also negates any treatments her mortal self is receiving, so the illness becomes more aggressive each time she transforms back.

When he can’t defeat the combined forces of the two Thors, Gorr ends up kidnapping the children of Asgard. So Thor, Jane, Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson) and Korg (Waititi) embark on a mission to enlist the help of Zeus (Russell Crowe), free the children and defeat Gorr once and for all.

It’s definitely the kind of plot that makes more sense to those who have been enmeshed in the MCU for a while. The screenplay adapts a few different story arcs from the “Thor” comics, so reaction to the film may tend to vary based on the viewers’ familiarity with the source material — those who just follow the MCU versions of the characters might enjoy it more, as hardcore fans of the comics usually get more annoyed by changes made in translating a story from page to screen.

Of course, even from the perspective of the continuing adventures of Thor and his supporting cast in the movies, things feel a bit off. It’s nice to see an attempt at resolving the Thor/Jane relationship after she was absent in Ragnarok, and the New Asgard scenes have some fun references in them. But the ending feels like it was constructed in order to fulfill a number of contractual obligations to most of the main actors.

Love and Thunder is a bit of a milestone for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as Thor becomes the first character to score a fourth solo movie. But as the 29th MCU film, it continues the franchise’s general malaise since Endgame, meandering through an undefined bigger picture while the most-lasting impact of recent entries has been the introduction of numerous children and young adult heroes to seemingly serve as the next-generation of the Avengers when the storylines eventually come to a head again.

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The Love and Thunder Blu-ray includes a standard set of bonus materials (The 4K disc has no extras on its own — they are contained on the regular Blu-ray in the combo pack).

The highlight is a commentary track from Waititi, who reveals all sorts of fun information about the film and kicks up the hijinks when he’s joined by his two young daughters.

Behind-the-scenes information is also presented in three short featurettes: the eight-minute “Another Classic Taika Adventure,” about Waititi’s return to the franchise; the six-minute “Shaping a Villain,” about Bale’s performance; and the five-and-a-half-minute “Hammer-Worthy: Thor and Mighty Thor,” about Portman’s return, and her and Hemsworth’s preparations for the physicality of their roles.

In addition, there are four deleted scenes that run just under eight minutes in total that provide some additional if superfluous context for scenes that are in the final film.

Rounding out the extras is a three-minute gag reel.

Western Remake ‘3:10 to Yuma’ Headed to 4K Ultra HD Steelbook Sept. 6

Director James Mangold’s 2007 remake of classic Western 3:10 to Yuma will arrive Sept. 6 on 4K Ultra HD plus Blu-ray plus digital Steelbook from Lionsgate.

Produced by Cathy Konrad, 3:10 to Yuma stars Russell Crowe (Les Misérables, Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind) and Christian Bale (The Dark Knight, Batman Begins, American Psycho).

In the film, infamous outlaw Ben Wade (Crowe) and his vicious gang of thieves and murderers have plagued the Southern Railroad. When Wade is captured, Civil War veteran Dan Evans (Bale) volunteers to deliver him alive to the “3:10 to Yuma,” a train that will take the killer to trial. But with Wade’s outfit on their trail — and dangers at every turn — the mission soon becomes a violent, impossible journey toward each man’s destiny.

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Special features include audio commentary with Mangold; the “3:10 to Score” featurette; the “Sea to Shining Sea” documentary; the “A Conversation With Elmore Leonard” featurette; the “The Guns of Yuma” featurette; a historical timeline of the West (Blu-ray only); “Inside Yuma: An Exclusive Blu-ray Disc Interactive Experience”; the “Destination Yuma” making-of documentary; the “An Epic Explored” featurette; the “Outlaws, Gangs, and Posses” documentary; and deleted scenes.

Apple Announces Titles on Upcoming Film Slate Headed to Theaters, Apple TV+

Apple has unveiled a glimpse at its slate of Apple Original Films set to premiere globally in theaters and on Apple TV+ over the next year.

The 2022 slate features filmmakers and stars including Alfonso Cuaron, Antoine Fuqua, Dakota Johnson, Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell, Octavia Spencer, Bill Murray, Russell Crowe and many more.

Cha Cha Real Smooth, winner of the 2022 Sundance Film Festival U.S. Dramatic Audience Award, will premiere globally on Apple TV+ June 17. In the film, writer-director Cooper Raiff also stars as a recent college graduate stuck back at home with his family and working as a party-starter for bar and bat mitzvahs who strikes up a unique friendship with a young mom (Dakota Johnson) and her teenage daughter.

Additional Apple Original Films set to debut this summer include a documentary executive produced by Oprah Winfrey and directed by Reginald Hudlin about the career and life of the late Sidney Poitier; and Luck, a new animated feature from Skydance Animation about the unluckiest girl in the world, starring Jane Fonda, Whoopi Goldberg, Eva Noblezada, Simon Pegg, Flula Borg, Lil Rel Howery, Colin O’Donoghue, John Ratzenberger and Adelynn Spoon, premiering Aug. 5.

This fall comes the premiere of the feature documentary Black & Blues: The Colorful Ballad of Louis Armstrong, a look at the master musician’s life and legacy as a founding father of jazz, produced under Apple’s first-look agreement with Imagine Documentaries; Raymond & Ray, which follows half-brothers Raymond and Ray (Ewan McGregor and Ethan Hawke) who have lived in the shadow of a terrible father; and Peter Farrelly’s The Greatest Beer Run Ever, a new dramedy starring Zac Efron and Russell Crowe based on the true story of John “Chickie” Donohue, who in 1968 left New York to track down and share a few beers with his childhood buddies now in the Army — fighting in Vietnam. The documentary feature The Sound of 007 will also make its global debut this fall, to mark the 60th anniversary of the James Bond film series.

For the holidays comes Spirited, a modern musical rendition of Charles Dickens’ classic holiday story “A Christmas Carol” starring Ryan Reynolds, Will Ferrell and Octavia Spencer.

Available before the end of 2022 is Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith’s new film Emancipation, which tells the story of a man who escapes from slavery.

Also coming soon is the premiere of Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio’s Killers of the Flower Moon. Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, John Lithgow and more, the film follows 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.

Matthew Vaughn’s next spy thriller, Argylle, featuring an ensemble cast that includes Henry Cavill, Bryce Dallas Howard, Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Catherine O’Hara, Dua Lipa and Ariana DeBose with John Cena and Samuel L. Jackson, will also soon be added to Apple’s lineup, as will Sharper, a New York City-set suspense-thriller from writers Brian Gatewood and Alessandro Tanaka starring Julianne Moore, Sebastian Stan, Justice Smith, Briana Middleton and John Lithgow, and Tetris, starring Taron Egerton, which follows the extraordinary journey of one of the most iconic computer games in the world.

Also due are Ridley Scott’s Napoleon, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the French military leader and emperor alongside Vanessa Kirby as Josephine; a pair of complementary documentaries entitled Number One on the Call Sheet, celebrating Black leading women and men in Hollywood; Ghosted, a high concept romantic action adventure film starring Chris Evans and Ana de Armas; Skydance Animation’s Spellbound, which follows a young girl who sets out to break the spell that has divided her kingdom in two; and The Beanie Bubble, inspired by the story behind one of the biggest speculative crazes in American culture in the 1990s and starring Elizabeth Banks, Zach Galifianakis, Sarah Snook and Geraldine Viswanathan.

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Apple Original Films is also currently in development on Adam McKay’s Bad Blood, about the rise and fall of Theranos CEO Elizabeth Holmes, with Jennifer Lawrence producing and starring as Holmes; the genre-bending film Bride, produced by and starring Scarlett Johansson; Snow Blind with Jake Gyllenhaal attached to star; a new Sue Mengers biopic starring  Jennifer Lawrence; Dolly, a new feature film written by Vanessa Taylor and Drew Pearce with Florence Pugh attached to star; an adaption of Judy Heumann’s bestselling memoir Being Heumann from Siân Heder; an Audrey Hepburn biopic; and a thriller with George Clooney and Brad Pitt, written and directed by Jon Watts, about two lone fixers who are assigned to the same job.

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Apple has landed overall deals for feature films from studios and production companies including Martin Scorsese’s Sikelia Productions, Adam McKay’s Hyperobject Industries, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Appian Way, Richard Plepler’s Eden Productions, Siân Heder, Tracy Oliver, A24, Imagine Entertainment, Skydance Animation and Skydance Media.

‘After We Collided,’ ‘Unhinged’ Top Vudu, FandangoNow Charts

The romance After We Collided topped the Vudu chart and the Russell Crowe thriller Unhinged led the FandangoNow chart the week ended Oct. 25.

Both are transactional video-on-demand services owned by Fandango.

Based on the 2014 novel, After We Collided follows the romance of two young lovers. The title came in at No. 2 on the chart at FandangoNow, where consumers can rent or buy a two-movie collection of the previous film After and After We Collided at a discount.

In Unhinged, Crowe plays a mentally unstable man who pursues a female driver in an extreme case of road rage. That title landed at No. 2 on the Vudu chart.

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Vudu’s top 10 titles for the week ended Oct. 25, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. After We Collided
  2. Unhinged
  3. Love and Monsters
  4. Mulan
  5. Ava
  6. Beetlejuice
  7. My Hero Academia: Heroes Rising
  8. Hocus Pocus
  9. Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo!
  10. Alone (Magnolia)

 

FandangoNow’s top 10 titles for the week ended Oct. 25, in terms of revenue, were:

  1. Unhinged
  2. After We Collided
  3. Love and Monsters
  4. Mulan
  5. Trump Card
  6. Friendsgiving
  7. Antebellum
  8. Alone (Lionsgate)
  9. An Imperfect Murder
  10. Ava

Thriller ‘Unhinged’ Coming to Disc and Digital Nov. 17

The Russell Crow thriller Unhinged arrives on Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital), DVD, digital and on demand Nov. 17 from Lionsgate.

Oscar-winner Crowe (2000, Best Actor in a Leading Role, Gladiator) stars alongside Caren Pistorius (Slow WestMortal EnginesGloria Bell), Primetime Emmy nominee Jimmi Simpson (2018, Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series, “Westworld”), and Gabriel Bateman (Playmobil: The MovieChild’s Play, TV’s “The Dangerous Book for Boys”).

The psychological thriller explores road rage. Rachel (Pistorius) is running late to work when she has an altercation at a traffic light with a stranger (Crowe) whose life has left him feeling powerless and invisible. Soon, Rachel finds herself, and everyone she loves, the target of a man who decides to make one last mark upon the world by teaching her a series of deadly lessons.

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Bonus features include audio commentary with director Derrick Borte, cinematographer Brendan Galvin, production designer Fredrick Waff and costume designer Denise Wingate and the “This Side of Rage” featurette.