Charlie’s Angels (2019)


Street Date 3/10/20;
Sony Pictures;
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.


Aussie Drama ‘The Nightingale’ From ‘Babadook’ Scribe Heads Home

Shout! Factory and IFC Films have set a Feb 4. Blu-ray Disc release date for The Nightingale, an Australian drama film written, directed, and co-produced by Jennifer Kent ‚ acclaimed writer and director of The Babadook.

The 2018 film stars Aisling Franciosi, Sam Claflin, Baykali Ganambarr, Charlie Shotwell, and Damon Herriman.

Set in the British penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land in 1825, the film follows a 21-year-old Irish convict who, after serving her seven-year sentence, is desperate to be free of her abusive master Lieutenant Hawkins. When her husband decides to stand up for her, she becomes the victim of a harrowing crime at the hands of the lieutenant. She decides to pursue Hawkins as he attempts to pursue his captaincy up north, along the way encountering frightening hostilities.

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The film was highly perceived at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, where it won Best Film, and the cast received awards such as Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Direction, Best Screenplay, and Best Casting.

The film’s Blu-ray Disc release comes with bonus features, including a behind-the-scenes featurette, “The Nightingale in Context”; a “making of” featurette; an image gallery; and the theatrical trailer.


Universal Releasing ‘Adrift’ Digitally Aug. 21, on Disc Sept. 4

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release Adrift through digital retailers Aug. 21, followed by Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 4.

Based on a true story, the film stars Shailene Woodley (Big Little Lies) and Sam Claflin (“The Hunger Games”) as two free spirits struggling to survive in the middle of the ocean after their boat is badly damaged by a hurricane. Adrift earned $31 million at the domestic box office.

Extras include deleted scenes, a commentary with Woodley and director Baltasar Kormákur, theatrical trailers, and three featurettes: “Survival at Sea,” an interview with the cast and filmmakers; “Braving the Elements,” a behind-the-scenes look at filming in the open waters; and “Journey,” a guided tour of the film with Woodley.