‘The Outpost’ Takes Over as Top Redbox Disc Rental; ‘Tax Collector’ Again Tops Digital Chart

Screen Media’s war drama The Outpost took over the top spot on the Redbox kiosk disc rental chart the week ended Aug. 23. The film, directed by Rod Lurie, is based on the book by Jake Tapper about the Battle of Kamdesh during the War in Afghanistan.

The Outpost was No. 5 on the Redbox On Demand chart, which tracks digital rental transactions.

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Scoob! dropped to No. 2 after four weeks in the top spot in the top spot on Redbox’s kiosk disc rental chart, which tracks DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals at the company’s more than 40,000 red kiosks.

The top title on the Redbox On Demand chart was again RLJ Films’ The Tax Collector, its third week as the top digital title.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s You Should Have Left was the No. 3 disc rental for a third week, and held onto the No. 3 spot on the Redbox On Demand chart.

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Another Universal title, DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour, climbed to No. 4 on the disc chart but slipped to No. 7 on the digital chart.

Warner’s direct-to-video Deep Blue Sea 3 slid to No. 5 on the kiosk chart and No. 6 on the On Demand chart. Redbox offered early availability of the disc prior to its wide Aug. 25 release.

Rounding out the top five on the On Demand chart was Universal’s remake of The Invisible Man at No. 2, and Sony Pictures’ Fantasy Island at No. 4.

Other new releases debuting on the disc rental chart included Universal’s Emperor at No. 6 and Distribution Solutions’ Open 24 Hours at No. 7.

Top DVD and Blu-ray Disc Rentals, Redbox Kiosks, Week Ended Aug. 23:

  1. The Outpost — Screen Media
  2. Scoob! — Warner
  3. You Should Have Left — Universal
  4. Trolls World Tour — Universal
  5. Deep Blue Sea 3 — Warner
  6. Emperor (2020) — Universal
  7. Open 24 Hours — Distribution Solutions
  8. Survive the Night — Lionsgate
  9. Archive — Lionsgate
  10. The Wretched — IFC

 

Top Digital, Redbox On Demand, Week Ended Aug. 23:

  1. The Tax Collector — RLJ
  2. The Invisible Man (2020) — Universal
  3. You Should Have Left — Universal
  4. Fantasy Island — Sony Pictures
  5. The Outpost — Screen Media
  6. Deep Blue Sea 3 — Warner
  7. Trolls World Tour — Universal
  8. The Silencing — Lionsgate
  9. Dolittle — Universal
  10. Homefront — Universal

 

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‘The Outpost,’ ‘Deathstroke’ Top Slate of New Disc, Digital Releases

Despite the lack of theatrical titles, the home entertainment marketplace is once again getting a fresh batch of new releases on both the physical media side and the digital side.

Topping the slate of new disc releases available Aug. 18 is Screen Media’s The Outpost, a war drama directed by Rod Lurie that is based on the book by Jake Tapper about the Battle of Kamdesh during the War in Afghanistan. The film, which stars Orlando Bloom, was scheduled to premiere at the 2020 South by Southwest Film Festival, but in the wake of the festival’s cancellation it was released via VOD, and in a handful of open theaters, on July 3. The film is available on DVD and Blu-ray Disc and may also be purchased or rented through digital retailers.

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Also new, to Blu-ray Disc, is Warner Bros.’ Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons: The Movie, a 2020 direct-to-video animated superhero film compiling the CW Seed series “Deathstroke: Knights & Dragons” produced by Warner Bros. Animation. The film has been available through digital retailers since Aug. 4.

Two other new releases worthy of note, Military Wives and Emperor, come from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and are available on DVD and digital only.

Military Wives is a 2019 British dramedy starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Sharon Horgan. It was directed by Peter Cattaneo, from a screenplay by Rosanne Flynn and Rachel Tunnard. The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2019.

Emperor, directed by Mark Amir, is based on the life story of Shields Green, an escaped slave who travels north and has chance encounters with Frederick Douglass and John Brown.

A complete list of new disc and digital releases, compiled each week by the Media Play News market research team, can be found here.

Military Drama ‘The Outpost’ on Disc Aug. 18

Screen Media will release the military thriller The Outpost on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Aug. 18.

Based on best-selling non-fiction book The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor by Jake Tapper, the film depicts the story of a unit of U.S. soldiers stationed at the remote Combat Outpost Keating, located deep in the valley of three mountains in Afghanistan, as they defend against an overwhelming Taliban attack. The Battle of Kamdesh, as it came to be known, was the bloodiest American engagement of the Afghanistan War in 2009 and Bravo Troop 3-61 CAV became one of the most decorated units of the 19-year conflict.

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Scott Eastwood portrays Staff Sergeant Clint Romesha and Caleb Landry Jones portrays Specialist Ty Carter (who also appears in the movie), who were awarded the Medal of Honor. Orlando Bloom plays Captain Ben Keating. Director Rod Lurie, himself a former soldier and graduate of West Point, cast several other veterans of the American military in various roles, including Henry Hughes and Daniel Rodriguez.

Robert the Bruce

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Screen Media;
Drama;
$24.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray;
Not rated.
Stars Angus Macfadyen, Anna Hutchison, Zach McGowan, Gabriel Bateman, Talitha Bateman, Brandon Lessard, Diarmaid Murtagh, Emma Kenney, Patrick Fugit, Jared Harris, Nick Farnell, Shane Coffey, Melora Walters.

The historical drama Robert the Bruce seems like what the result would be if Braveheart were made as a low-budget independent film instead of a big-budget blockbuster.

The comparison is apt, given that this year marks the 25th anniversary of Mel Gibson’s Oscar-winning saga of Scottish hero William Wallace (recently re-released as a handsome 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Steelbook by Paramount. And Angus Macfadyen, who played Robert in Braveheart, returns to the role in Robert the Bruce, making it something of an under-the-radar sequel. In fact, according to some strains of folklore, the nickname Braveheart is more accurately applied to Robert the Bruce, the 14th century king of Scotland who led his people to independence from England.

Robert the Bruce depicts no major battles or sprawling adventures for its main characters. Rather, it’s a more personal story of a disheartened leader struggling to find the inspiration to carry his mission through to victory.

The film touches on a few legends regarding The Bruce, beginning with his defeat of John Comyn (Jared Harris) in hand-to-hand combat to claim the Scottish crown. Later, after suffering defeat after defeat in battle and on the run from local opportunists looking to cash in on a bounty placed on his head by the English, Robert hides out in a cave and witnesses a spider spin a web despite numerous hardhips — a famous Scottish tale that relates Robert’s resolve to fight on despite the odds.

Stumbling through the snow, Robert is found by the family of a young widow (Anna Hutchison), who nurse him back to health despite being pledged to support England. For much of the film, Robert is relegated to a background character, leaving the film as much about the spirit of the Scottish people who both inspired and drew inspiration from The Bruce, as it is about the legendary king himself.

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Production of the film took on many forms through the years, with Macfadyen developing the project for more than a decade with hopes of returning to the character. The screenplay was eventually pared down from a Europe-spanning epic to the more intimate story of a family rescuing a man from the show who just happens to be the future king. Lest anyone forget the film’s origins, however, the name of William Wallace is dropped several times throughout the film, particularly during Robert’s battle with Comyn.

The story is a slow burn, but the cinematography is gorgeous, with snowy Montana effectively subbing in for Scotland for much of the film.

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The Blu-ray offers a couple of good bonus materials, including a feature-length commentary track with Macfadyen and director Richard Gray, who aren’t shy about discussing the film as a companion to Braveheart.

Also included is a solid 11-minute behind-the-scenes featurette.

The Jesus Rolls

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 5/5/20;
Screen Media;
Comedy;
Box Office $0.02 million;
$24.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray;
Rated ‘R’ for strong sexual content, language throughout and brief nudity.
Stars John Turturro, Bobby Cannavale, Audrey Tautou, Christopher Walken, Jon Hamm, Pete Davidson, Susan Sarandon, J. B. Smoove, Gloria Reuben.

The biggest source of audience interest in The Jesus Rolls will likely center on the return of John Turturro to the role of Jesus Quintana, the trash talking bowler he played in 1998’s The Big Lebowski.

Quintana was one of the more memorable supporting characters of Big Lebowski despite appearing in just two scenes with less than four minutes of total screen time. However, Turturro was interested in revisiting the character, and received special permission from the Coen Brothers to make him the central character of his own movie.

While Quintana’s presence as the focus of this new film might make it a loose spinoff and spiritual sequel to The Big Lebowski, once the curiosity factor wears off what’s left is a rather bland attempt to spread the character’s quirky appeal throughout a feature-length story that comes up just shy of 90 minutes.

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Written and directed by Turturro, The Jesus Rolls is essentially a remake of the 1974 French farce Going Places, which itself was based on the novel Les Valseuses, the title coming from a slang term for male genitals.

Upon being released from prison and told that another arrest will likely get him locked up for life, Quintana proceeds to do little else but commit petty crimes in support of a bohemian lifestyle. Hooking up with his best friend Petey (Bobby Cannavale), the pair steal a vintage sports car belonging to a tough-talking hairdresser (Jon Hamm) and make off with one of his stylists (Audrey Tautou), who confesses that in her promiscuous adventures she has never had an orgasm. In search of someone with more potential appreciation for their skills in the arts of pleasure, Jesus and Petey decide to pick up a random woman (Susan Sarandon) just being released from prison. This sets them down a path of establishing their own unconventional family unit to enable their carefree ways.

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The application of an existing story framework is certainly not out of bounds for a follow-up to Big Lebowski, which itself borrowed the structure of a Raymond Chandler crime novel.

The Jesus Rolls manages to emulate the stream of consciousness tone of Big Lebowski, and the two films are further connected through the heavy use of Gipsy Kings music (stemming from the fact that Quintana was originally introduced while a Gipsy Kings cover of “Hotel California” was playing). Turturro also provides the requisite fan service of reprising a few of Quintana’s notable lines from Big Lebowski, expands on a few details revealed about the character in his first appearance, and even works in one scene of him going bowling.

Otherwise, though, Turturro could be playing anybody, and the film completely stands on its own.

This latter point may explain why Turturro and Cannavale never directly mention The Big Lebowski in their commentary track for the film (the Blu-ray’s only bonus feature). Turturro also never discusses what motivated him to play Quintana in particular in his version of Going Places, though much of the commentary is devoted to his admiration for the French source material, and comparing the elements of them he included. The pair also discuss the process of low-budget indie filmmaking, and enjoy the acting touches provided by their fellow castmates.

They seem more amused by the material than many viewers might be, but the film does manage to find a few honest laughs in its own right.

All in all, some fun performances, fabulous music and Turturro’s commitment to one of his signature characters offer enough of a reason to at least check it out, especially for Big Lebowski fans.

‘The Jesus Rolls’ Spins on Disc May 5

Screen Media will release the comedic crime caper The Jesus Rolls on Blu-ray Disc and DVD May 5. The film is available now through digital retailers and VOD.

The film was written by, directed by and stars John Turturro as Jesus Quintana, the character he originally played in The Big Lebowski, in a new adventure based on the French farce Les Valseuses.

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After being released from prison, Jesus and his best friend Petey (Bobby Cannavale) steal a vintage car for a no-holds-barred joyride, the first of a series of escalating bad decisions that finds them pursued by the car’s gun-toting owner (Jon Hamm) and on the run with free-spirited shampooist Marie (Audrey Tautou).

The cast also includes Christopher Walken, Pete Davidson and Susan Sarandon.

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‘Robert the Bruce’ Skipping Theaters, Heads to Digital April 24

Screen Media has canceled the upcoming theatrical release of the docudrama Robert the Bruce and will instead release the film through digital platforms and video-on-demand April 24.

The film is something of an unofficial sequel to Braveheart, picking up the story of Scottish king Robert the Bruce and his fight to free Scotland from English rule. Angus Macfadyen, who played Robert the Bruce in Braveheart in 1995, reprises the role and also co-wrote the film.

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The story finds Robert the Bruce injured in battle and hiding out from the English army. He is nursed back to health by a widow and her family, who risk their lives for the hope of a free Scotland in defiance of their clan, which is pledged to support England.

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The film coincides with the 700th anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, when Robert the Bruce declared Scotland a free land. It’s also the the 25th anniversary of Braveheart.

Screen Media is a division of Chicken Soup for the Soul.

Screen Media, 3rd Fathom Films Join Allied Vaughn MOD Service

Screen Media Ventures and 3rd Fathom Films have joined the Allied Vaughn manufacture-on-demand service.

Screen Media Ventures, owned by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, acquires the rights to independent feature films for the United States and Canada and has a library of more than 1,500 motion pictures. The company also owns Popcornflix, an ad-based direct-to-consumer online video service with five channels and thousands of television episodes and movies. The first Screen Media titles under the deal, streeting Oct. 22, include the family film Fishtales (2007), starring Billy Zane and Kelly Brook; the horror flick Evil Feed (2014), about group of young martial artists who infiltrate an underground pit fighting ring where the loser is chopped up and served in a Chinese restaurant; the comedy FDR: American Badass (2011), in which FDR fights werewolves and saves the world, all from the comfort of his wheelchair, starring Barry Bostwick, Lin Shaye and Kevin Sorbo; the comedy Freshman Orientation (2004), about a college freshman who feigns being gay to be near a beautiful co-ed; and the drama Getting High (2006), about two artists on the verge of success who are determined to find a way out of their drug-fueled abyss.

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3rd Fathom Films is an independent studio based in Atlanta. Its library includes two feature films and 25 short films. Its first release on MOD, due Oct. 18, is The Final Project (2016), about six college students making a documentary about one of the most notorious haunted houses in America.

‘Wonders of the Sea’ Documentary on 4K Blu-ray Oct. 1

Screen Media will release the documentary Wonders of the Sea as a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack Oct. 1.

Narrated by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the film presents a unique journey through the world’s oceans and an examination of threats to it.

From Fiji to the Bahamas, explorer Jean-Michel Cousteau and his children Celine and Fabien embark on a journey around the world. Three years of research went into the development of new filming techniques to capture the beauty and mystique of the sea, making viewers feel as if they are diving alongside the Cousteau family.

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Rarely-seen multicolored creatures perform in an exceptionally vibrant underwater world that promises to fascinate, educate and entertain viewers of all ages.

The Toys That Made Us: Seasons 1 & 2

DVD REVIEW: 

Street Date 5/7/19;
Screen Media;
Documentary;
$29.98 DVD;
Not rated.

This eight-part documentary series that originally premiered on Netflix delves into the history of some of the most influential toy brands from the past 50 years.

With a particular focus on toys that were big in the 1980s, when the loosening of the rules governing television programming blurred the line between content and advertising, it’s no surprise that many of the toy lines profiled here also rank among the most significant pop culture franchises as well.

Fittingly, then, the first episode deals with “Star Wars,” and how the George Lucas space opera forever changed the landscape of movie merchandising, while elevating a small toymaker such as Kenner into a national powerhouse. Not that other major players such as Hasbro and Mattel aren’t represented.

The hour-long episodes are divided into two seasons — one season per disc — and smartly focus on a different toy brand each episode. That allows each episode to find its own voice in telling the story of that particular toy, while letting viewers pick and choose which episodes they want to watch based on which of the toys are of interest to them.

Other season one episodes focus on “Barbie,” “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” and “G.I. Joe.” Season two deals with “Star Trek,” “The Transformers,” “Lego” and “Hello Kitty.”

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Aside from some invaluable under-the-radar lessons about business and marketing, the episodes offer a pure blast of childhood nostalgia, particularly for Gen Xers who grew up in the 1970s and 1980s.

Which isn’t to say that younger viewers can’t find something to enjoy in the show, as most of these toy lines are pretty timeless. Plus, the upcoming third season will look at newer toys such as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” and “Power Rangers” (in addition to “My Little Pony” and professional wrestling toys).

The shows offer a lot of fascinating details about how the toys were created and evolved. The “He-Man” show is entertaining simply for how so many of the line’s creators want to take credit for coming up with it. The story of the creation of Battle Cat is particularly hilarious.

The first disc offers an eight-minute behind-the-scenes featurette with series creator Brian Volk-Weiss, who delves into what his goals for the show were and why certain toys were chosen to be profiled.

It seems like a bit of an odd choice to include “Star Trek,” which has never really been associated with a robust toy line. But as the narrator continually brings up how less successful “Trek” toys have been compared with “Star Wars,” the episode comes across more as an avenue to profile the various toy companies like Mego, Galoob and Playmates that tried their hands at “Star Trek” toy lines over the years, with varying degrees of success.

In fact, the lone deleted scene included with the DVDs is from the “Star Trek” episode, consisting of a two-minute clip of various talking heads wondering why the toys based on the J.J. Abrams “Star Trek” reboot didn’t sell well.

That discussion hints at the challenges that not just toymakers, but any steward of a popular brand face in the rapidly changing information age. Some brands have always had better success than others in crossing from one generation to the next, but the means of instant gratification brought on by the Internet have altered the tactile relationship viewers have with their favorite content, both in the collectability and playability of the merchandise associated with it.

As one of the talking heads notes in the deleted scene, we don’t really have pop culture anymore. We have a customizable culture, in which consumers can focus on their fandoms like never before.

Whatever the case, at least we have shows like “The Toys That Made Us” to help remind us why we love these things to begin with.