Mel Gibson Film ‘Attack Force Z’ Due on Blu-ray March 28 From MVD and Severin

The 1981 Australian World War II action film Attack Force Z, starring Mel Gibson, will be released on Blu-ray Disc March 28 from MVD Entertainment Group and Severin Films.

In one of his earliest film roles, Gibson stars with Sam Neill (Jurassic Park) and John Phillip Law (Danger, Diabolik) in the true story of Z Special Force, WWII’s top-secret Pacific commando unit. In the film, when an American fighter jet crashes on an island held by the Japanese, a five-man Z Force assault team launches a daring mission of courage, carnage and desperate jungle warfare to rescue the survivors. Chris Haywood (Razorback), John Waters (Breaker Morant) and Sylvia Chang (“Mad Mission” series) co-star in the complete version of this 1981 Australia/Taiwan co-production directed by Ozploitation veteran Tim Burstall (Alvin Purple), written by Roger Marshall (And Now the Screaming Starts) and edited by David Stiven (The Road Warrior), scanned in 2K from the original negative at the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

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Special features include “The Z Men Debriefed,” featuring interviews with executive producer John McCallum and actors John Waters and Chris Haywood; a photo gallery; and the trailer.

Peacock to Stream ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ Starting Sept. 2

Universal Pictures’ Jurassic World Dominion will begin streaming exclusively on Peacock Sept. 2.

The return of the franchise directed by Colin Trevorrow reunites two generations of “Jurassic” heroes, including Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Laura Dern, Jeff Goldblum, Sam Neill, DeWanda Wise, Mamoudou Athie, B.D. Wong and Omar Sy. The blockbuster dinosaur epic is the sixth in the “Jurassic Park” franchise and third in the “Jurassic World” trilogy.

The service will stream an all-new extended edition, featuring 14 extra minutes of the film and an alternate opening. In addition to the extended version, the exclusive special edition includes behind-the-scenes content chronicling the making of the movie, the original short film “Battle at Big Rock” and more. 

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The extended edition of the film — which has earned $373.3 domestically and $974.7 million worldwide at the box office, according to Box Office Mojo — was released on digital and disc Aug. 16. The film first became available for rental and purchase on digital platforms July 15.

Peacock will also stream Jurassic Park, The Lost World and Jurassic Park 3 starting Sept. 1.

Extended Edition of ‘Jurassic World Dominion’ Heads to Digital, Disc on Aug. 16

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment on Aug. 9 announced it is preparing a new extended edition of Jurassic World Dominion for release on Aug. 16.

The extended edition, featuring 14 additional minutes of the film and an alternate opening, will be available digitally as well as on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray Disc.

The blockbuster dinosaur epic, the sixth in the “Jurassic Park” franchise and third in the “Jurassic World” trilogy, earned nearly $372 million in North American movie theaters, with a worldwide gross of over $960 million, according to Box Office Mojo.

The film first became available for rent and purchase on digital platforms on July 15.

The movie, which co-stars franchise regulars Chris Pratt and Bryce Dallas Howard, along with original Jurassic Park cast members Laura Dern, Sam Neill and Jeff Goldblum, was directed by Colin Trevorrow and executive-produced by Steven Spielberg, the director of the first two “Jurassic Park” films. Jurassic World Dominion takes place four years after Isla Nublar’s destruction, when dinosaurs roam the Earth again. 

‘Community,’ ‘Rescue Me,’ ‘Benji’ on September Disc Slate From Mill Creek

Complete Blu-ray series sets of “Community” and “Rescue Me,” two double features and films about animal friends are among the titles on Mill Creek Entertainment’s September disc slate.

Due Sept. 18 is Community: The Complete Series, featuring all 110 episodes from the TV series, on both Blu-ray ($99.98) and DVD ($69.98). The comedy ensemble series, starring Joel McHale, Chevy Chase, Gillian Jacobs, Alison Brie, Ken Jeong, Donald Glover, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Borwn and Jim Rash, centers on a tight-knit group of friends who all meet at Greendale Community College and their hijinks.

All seven seasons are included in Rescue Me: The Complete Series coming out Sept. 11 on Blu-ray ($149.98). Whether pulling survivors from a fiery high-rise or the twisted steel of a subway collision, Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) takes pride in leading the heroic but overwhelmed firefighters of the NYFD. Meanwhile, he’s also drifting between sorrow and anger over a separation from his wife and three kids, and the haunting memories of his fallen comrades.

The lovable mutt Benji returns Sept. 11 in the Benji: Off the Leash Blu-ray combo pack (plus DVD and digital) at $19.98. The story, told from the pooch’s point of view, tracks his early days as a pup to his current life in showbiz. Bonus features include a feature-length commentary with director Joe Camp, editor Dava Whisenant, composer Anthony Di Lorenzo and producer Margaret Loesch; a behind-the-scenes featurette; and “Benji Movie Memories,” which covers memorable scenes from five Benji movies starring three different Benjis.

Streeting Sept. 18 are two double features on Blu-ray at $14.98 each. The comedy double feature includes Age of Consent, starring James Mason and Helen Mirren, and Cactus Flower, starring Goldie Hawn, Ingrid Bergman and Walter Matthau. This is the first time either film has been available in high definition.

Also in HD for the first time are Nightwing and Shadow of the Hawk, paired in a double feature of fright. Nightwing follows the investigation of a wave of mysterious deaths on a Native American reservation in New Mexico that turn out to be caused by killer bats. Shadow of the Hawk stars Jan-Michael Vincent in a tale of an old Native American shaman who trains his skeptical grandson as a medicine man to battle enemies and black magic.

Born Free: The Complete Collection comes out on DVD Sept. 11 at $19.98. The franchise collection is based on the 1960 book about raising an orphaned lion cub Elsa and then releasing her back into the wild. The book changed the world’s perception of wild animals. The DVD collection includes the 1966 original film, the 1972 sequel, the 1974 TV series and the 1996 TV movie.

Due Sept. 11 is the Western Buffalo Girls on DVD (plus digital) at $14.98. The film, starring Anjelica Huston, Melanie Griffith and Sam Elliott, celebrates the escapades of tough-talking Calamity Jane Canary. It co-stars Gabriel Byrne, Reba McEntire and Peter Coyote.

The miniseries Family Pictures comes out Sept. 11 on DVD (plus digital) at $14.98. The drama, starring Anjelica Huston, Sam Neill and Kyra Sedgwick, is based on Sue Miller’s best-selling novel. It follows a daughter who comes home to her divorced parents and tells the story of her family, including her younger autistic brother.

Coming Sept. 11 on DVD (plus digital) at $14.98 is Hollywood’s Best and Brightest, featuring more than 12 hours of Hollywood star biographies. Featured legends are Warren Beatty, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood, Mel Gibson, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino, Robert Redford, Burt Reynolds, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone, John Travolta, Dick Van Dyke, Robert Wagner, Michael York, Julie Andrews, Kim Basinger, Candice Bergen, Catherine Deneuve, Faye Dunaway, Jane Fonda, Jodie Foster, Goldie Hawn, Lauren Hutton, Angela Lansbury, Shirley MacLaine, Ann-Margret, Barbra Streisand, Kathleen Turner and Raquel Welch.

Peter Rabbit

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Sony Pictures;
Family Comedy;
Box Office $114.6 million;
$30.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray $45.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG’ for some rude humor and action.
Stars Domhnall Gleeson, Rose Byrne, Sam Neill; Voices of James Corden, Margot Robbie, Daisy Ridley, Elizabeth Debicki, Colin Moody, Sia.

The beloved illustrated books by Beatrix Potter are brought to life in a delightful adaptation that modernizes the adventures of Peter Rabbit and his friends and family with the seamless hybrid of cute CG animals and live-action.

Orphaned after the deaths of his mother and father, Peter (James Corden) and his sisters — Flopsy (Margot Robbie), Mopsy (Elizabeth Debicki) and Cottontail (Daisy Ridley) — and cousin Benjamin (Colin Moody) scrape by on the vegetables they manage to swipe from the garden of Mr. McGregor (Sam Neill), and the kindness of his neighbor, the animal-loving Bea (Rose Byrne). But troublemaker Peter is all too willing to throw caution to the wind in tempting fate, and gets caught by the old farmer, only to be saved when McGregor drops dead of a heart attack.

Peter invites all the animals of the glade to invade McGregor’s house, only to be put out again by McGregor’s nephew, Thomas (Domhnall Gleeson), a Londoner who hopes to flip his inheritance for a profit and return to the city. He sets more traps to deter the rabbits, but falls in love with Bea when she comes over to ask him to let the animals into the garden.

Peter becomes jealous of Bea’s affections for Thomas, setting off a feud between the rabbit and the newcomer that leads to an escalating series of cartoonish pranks and gags.

The film isn’t afraid to poke fun at the conventions of similar talking-animal family films as it pushes the boundaries of the battles between Peter and Thomas. The visuals will draw in younger viewers while the rapid pace of the humor should keep adults entertained as well. The film also finds some clever ways to pay homage to Potter and the drawings of the original books.

The Blu-ray includes a three-minute short film called Flopsy Turvy, which focuses on the three sisters.

There’s also a seven-minute behind-the-scenes featurette and a dance-along “I Promise You” music video.

Movies Anywhere offers a two-minute digital featurette that celebrates the legacy of Beatrix Potter.

The Commuter

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street 4/17/18;
Lionsgate;
Action Thriller;
Box Office $36.34 million;
$29.95 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, $42.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for some intense action/violence, and language.
Stars Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga, Patrick Wilson, Jonathan Banks, Elizabeth McGovern, Sam Neill.

The success of Taken paved the way for something of a cottage industry: The Liam Neeson action movie. The formula typically involves Neeson being an unassuming badass as he works his way out of a series of tense situations, often while being taunted over the phone by the bad guys.

From that it seems has sprung a distinct sub-genre: the Jaume Collet-Serra /Liam Neeson action thriller. The Commuter is the fourth film pairing Neeson with the director, following Unknown, Non-Stop and Run All Night.

That Neeson compares Collet-Serra to Steven Spielberg is but one of several hyperboles thrown around in the bonus materials, but does provide some insights as to why they enjoy working together so often. For his troubles, Neeson is likened by a producer to being a modern John Wayne-type hero, so I guess it all evens out.

In addition to those boasts, in the same one of the Blu-ray’s two short making-of featurettes, which run about 14 minutes in total, the film’s screenwriters have no trouble describing their effort as “Hitchcockian,” so it’s pretty clear no one involved is lacking in confidence or phased by higher expectations.

Commuter seems to takes a lot of its cues from Non-Stop, in that both films deal with a group of people confined on a mode of transportation, and evildoers threatening to destroy the vehicle and kill everyone on it unless Neeson does what they want.

In this case, Neeson plays an insurance salesman and former cop who takes a commuter train in New York everyday. He’s approached by a woman (Vera Farmiga) who proposes a hypothetical situation to him — asking if he would point out a random passenger for $100,000 and then move on with his life without knowing what happened to that person, but with the reasonable assumption they’d be hurt or killed. It quickly turns out her little game is all too real when he discovers the cash stashed in the bathroom.

He also finds he can’t simply walk away, as the bad guys are threatening his family and the rest of the train unless he points out a passenger who seemingly doesn’t belong. Neeson plays along, following the clues to the whereabouts of the mysterious passenger as he tries to work out how to protect that person while also thwarting the plans of a conspiracy that seems to be prepared for each of his counter-moves (one would think a conspiracy as well organized as this one wouldn’t need his help identifying the passenger, but then there wouldn’t be a movie).

He also turns to help from an old cop buddy played by Patrick Wilson, whose character is named Alex Murphy. Viewers can decide for themselves if his sharing a name with the guy who became Robocop constitutes an homage or is simply a distraction.

Anyway, fans of the Neeson formula shouldn’t be too disappointed as it marks off all the boxes on his checklist to produce a quaint, entertaining little thriller.