Glass

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 4/16/19;
Universal;
Thriller;
Box Office $111.04 million;
$28.98 DVD, $34.98 Blu-ray, $44.98 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence including some bloody images, thematic elements, and language.
Stars James McAvoy, Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, Anya Taylor-Joy, Sarah Paulson, Spencer Treat Clark, Charlayne Woodard.

After a career of gimmicky storytelling and a reputation for surprise plot twists, M. Night Shyamalan presents a class in subverting expectations with Glass.

However, the approach employed in connecting two of his most memorable films has left a lot of fans scratching their heads over whether it was worth the wait.

Fans of Shyamalan’s 2000 superhero movie deconstruction Unbreakable had been clamoring for a sequel since it was released, but hopes for one diminished as the years ticked away, particularly as the quality of the writer-director’s output declined in the eyes of critics and audiences alike.

In the midst of a bit of a career renaissance, however, Shyamalan dropped a cameo into 2016’s Split that brought the prospects of that long-awaited sequel back to the forefront.

In particular, with respect to spoiler concerns, an appearance by Bruce Willis in Split as his Unbreakable character teased an eventual confrontation between his strongman hero and the multiple personalities of James McAvoy’s Split psychopath.

And while they do face off in Glass, the bulk of the film involves them being captured and committed to an insane asylum for treatment alongside Unbreakable villain Mr. Glass (Samuel L. Jackson). Their doctor (Sarah Paulson) hopes to convince them that their abilities are not superhuman at all, but the result of self-delusion and some freaky but explainable physical tricks.

While it’s fun to see the lead trio and some of the supporting cast return to their roles, watching them end up in a group therapy session is not exactly where audiences were expecting this to go. Though with Mr. Glass involved, viewers can rest assured that whatever return to normalcy the doctor has in mind is probably not going to be in the cards, especially with a potential showdown over the fate of a highrise looming.

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McAvoy’s character from Split, it turns out, was originally from a draft of Unbreakable, but removed due to plot complications his presence was causing in the screenplay. As a result, the characters from the two films mesh well together and pave the way for a few more surprises Shyamalan has up his sleeve to round out what has come to be known as the “East-Rail 177 Trilogy,” after the train derailment that kicks off the first film.

According to Shyamalan in the Blu-ray bonus materials, the first cut of the film was 3 hours and 20 minutes, meaning that more than an hour was sliced out to achieve the final 2-hour-9-minute run time. About 14 minutes of this material is offered as deleted scenes on the disc, with optional introductions for each by Shyamalan. There’s also an alternate opening sequence that runs a couple of minutes as well.

The bulk of the extras are about 40 minutes of various behind-the-scenes featurettes, covering both the making of this film and the elements that were established in the two previous entries.

“The Collection of Main Characters” runs 8:43 and profiles both the three lead characters and the actors who play them.

“A Conversation With James McAvoy and M. Night Shyamalan” is a 5:10 segment of the pair interviewing each other.

The 2:54 “Bringing the Team Back Together” looks at the various members of the cast and crew who previously worked with Shyamalan.

The 2:16 “Raven Hill Memorial” chronicles filming at an old asylum, and the 1:56 “Night Vision” delves into bringing the film’s storyboards to life.

Rounding out the list are “David Dunn vs. The Beast” (2:11) “Glass Decoded” (2:52), “Breaking Glass: The Stunts” (1:28), “Connecting the Glass Universe” (2:54), “M. Night Shyamalan: Behind the Lens” (2:46), “The Sound of Glass” (1:50) and “Enhancing the Spectacle” (2:53).

‘Glass’ Breaks Out on Digital April 2, Disc April 16 From Universal

Glass, from writer-director M. Night Shyamalan (The Sixth SenseSigns), is coming to digital (including Movies Anywhere) April 2 and to 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and on demand April 16 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film earned $107.9 million in theaters.

Glass completes Shyamalan’s grounded-in-reality, comic-book thriller trilogy, started with Unbreakable and Split. It stars James McAvoy (SplitAtonement)Samuel L. Jackson (Hitman’s Bodyguard, “Avengers” Franchise, Unbreakable), Bruce Willis (Unbreakable, Die Hard), Sarah Paulson (Ocean’s Eight, “American Horror Story”) and Anya-Taylor Joy (SplitThe Witch). The story offers s closer look at the world of the Elijah Price, also known as Mr. Glass (Jackson), David Dunn (Willis) and Kevin Wendell Crumb (McAvoy) as they experience a series of escalating encounters in an escape from an asylum and embark on a battle of good versus evil.

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More than 60 minutes of special features on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and digital include:

  • “The Collection of Main Characters,”a look at all the main players and how they fit in the universe created by Shyamalan;
  • “Bringing the Team Back Together,” in which the cast and crew share personal stories of why Shyamalan’s productions feel like seeing family again;
  • “David Dunn vs. The Beast,” an in-depth look at the animalistic face-off between David Dunn and the Beast;
  • Glass Decoded,” in which Shyamalan unveils some secrets of continuity and style from across the trilogy;
  • “Breaking Glass: The Stunts,” about the stunts that show the superhuman strength of the Beast;
  • “Connecting the Glass Universe,” exploring Shyamalan’s stylistic approach to the trilogy and the concept of a comic book movie grounded in reality;
  • “M. Night Shyamalan: Behind the Lens,” in which the cast and crew discuss Shyamalan’s meticulous approach to storytelling;
  • “The Sound of Glass,” in which composer West Dylan Thordson elaborates on his use of string instruments to create tension, and explains why recording the score on-location enhanced the tone of the movie;
  • “Enhancing the Spectacle,” in which the VFX team provides details on the task of using CGI to intensify the narrative;
  • “Raven Hill Memorial,” about the Raven Hill Memorial Hospital location;
  • “Night Vision,” a look at the the storyboards and their similarity to the final shots in the film;
  • an alternate opening with an introduction by Shyamalan;
  • deleted scenes with introductions by director Shyamalan;
  • and “A Conversation with James McAvoy and M. Night Shyamalan.”

 

DVD special features include the alternate opening, deleted scenes and “A Conversation with James McAvoy and M. Night Shyamalan.”

Ocean’s Eight

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Warner;
Comedy;
Box Office $139.32 million;
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $44.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for language, drug use, and some suggestive content.
Stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Rihanna, Helena Bonham Carter, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Mindy Kaling, Richard Armitage. 

Ocean’s Eight is pretty much exactly the movie one might expect from the premise of making a female-centric version of an “Ocean’s” heist movie.

Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, sister of George Clooney’s character from the “Ocean’s” trilogy, who gets out of prison and gathers her former cohorts for a scheme to steal an expensive necklace during the Met Gala.

Their plan is to convince a famous actress (Anne Hathaway) to wear the jewels, and through the franchise’s usual series of complicated maneuvers find a way to swap it for a fake and sneak off with the goods. Debbie also might want some revenge against a former boyfriend who got her sent to prison in the first place.

So, naturally, the plan seems to get more out of control with every detail while the twists and turns become more far-fetched. It’s best not to think too much about the logic of all of it.

True to the franchise, the film is mostly just an excuse to spend some time with the quirky and likable personalities of the all-star assembly of talent involved. There are even a few cameos from some of the characters from the earlier trilogy (but, alas, Matt Damon’s rumored cameo is nowhere to be found, not even the deleted scenes).

The Blu-ray offers a couple of short deleted scenes totaling less than two minutes.

There are also three behind-the-scenes featurettes that run about 38 minutes in total. One focuses on the cast, one focuses on the caper, and one focuses on how the filmmakers re-created the Met Gala for the story.

‘Oceans 8’ Due on Digital Aug. 21, Disc Sept. 11 From Warner

The caper flick Ocean’s 8 will come out on digital Aug. 21 and 4K UHD combo pack, Blu-ray combo pack and DVD special edition Sept. 11 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The film stars Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, Rihanna and Helena Bonham Carter as a group of thieves targeting $150 million in diamonds to be worn at the Met Gala.

Ocean’s 8 earned $136.5 million at the box office.

The 4K UHD combo pack ($44.95) features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the film in 4K with Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos sound, a Blu-ray disc of the film and special features, and a digital version of the movie. The Blu-ray combo pack ($35.99) features a Blu-ray disc of the film and special features in hi-definition, a DVD with the film in standard definition, and a digital version of the movie. The DVD special edition ($28.98) features a DVD with the film in standard definition and a second DVD with special features in standard definition. The film will also be available on Movies Anywhere.

Special features include deleted scenes and the featurettes “A Heist in Heels,” “Ocean’s Team 3.0” and “Reimagining the Met Gala.”

The Post

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Fox;
Drama;
Box Office $81.88 million;
$29.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for language and brief war violence.
Stars Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Bob Odenkirk, Carrie Coon, Bruce Greenwood, Jesse Plemons, Sarah Paulson, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Matthew Rhys, Alison Brie, David Cross, Zach Woods.

Even before seeing the movie, the obvious question surrounding The Post is why the filmmakers would decide to focus a story about the publication of the Pentagon Papers on the efforts of The Washington Post newspaper when the bulk of the material was broken by The New York Times.

After watching it, though, it’s a lot easier to understand some of the reasons director Steven Spielberg guided the film along the approach it took.

For one, there just seems to be much more storytelling to mine from the Washington Post perspective, whereas a Times POV would likely have been a more straightforward legal drama about the relationship between the press and government.

At the time, the Post was still seen as primarily a local D.C. publication without the broad national following it has now. Financially strapped, the paper issued an IPO that could have been threatened by any legal troubles encountered as a result of publishing the leaked documents copied from a classified report that exposed government deception in the conduct of the Vietnam War.

And that’s on top of the expected discussions of the role of journalism in a democracy and defending the First Amendment against government pushback, with the Times included in all those story points anyway.

There’s also an argument to be made that the primary interest of the film isn’t even about the Pentagon Papers to begin with.

Certainly, looking at the film from the prism of the Pentagon Papers as the subject matter makes it seem like it’s the story of a minor newspaper jumping on the bandwagon of a bigger newspaper to gain stature.

But keeping a bigger picture in mind, the film is much more about how the Post rose in prominence under the leadership of publisher Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) and editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), and that the Pentagon Papers just happened to be the catalyst.

From Spielberg’s perspective, it probably didn’t hurt that this approach also allowed him to devote significant screen time to Graham in depicting the ascension of a female publisher in a man’s world.

Spielberg also seems interested in positioning the film as a prequel of sorts to All the President’s Men, showing how the Post became the paper that drove coverage of the Watergate break-in.

As such, The Post is more fascinating for its procedural aspects and character dynamics for any actual history it’s trying to explore. The film also sees itself as an allegorical commentary on criticism of President Trump’s relationship to the media, and his tendency to label detractors as “fake news,” but these aspects of the film are really only going to appeal to choirs expecting to be preached to. One could be completely oblivious to such perceived messaging and still find the film immensely entertaining. The performances are terrific and the nitty-gritty details of classic print journalism are just fun to see, particularly contrasted with the digital simplicity of today.

The Blu-ray includes a number of good behind-the-scenes featurettes that detail the making of the film and explore the real-life circumstances being explored. This being a Spielberg movie, there’s also a featurette about the music composed by longtime collaborator John Williams, this being their 28th film together.