Warner Releasing ‘Wonder Woman: Bloodlines’ Animated Movie in October

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the latest DC Universe animated movie, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, digitally Oct. 5, and on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Oct. 22.

The film finds Wonder Woman (voiced by Rosario Dawson) helping a troubled young girl against a deadly organization known as Villainy Inc., whose criminal members have their sights set on invading the Amazon warrior’s home island of Themyscira.

The cast includes Jeffrey Donovan as Steve Trevor, Marie Avgeropoulos as Silver Swan, Adrienne C. Moore as Etta Candy, Kimberly Brooks as The Cheetah and Giganta, Courtenay Taylor as Dr. Poison, Constance Zimmer as Veronica Cale, Nia Vardalos as Julia Kapatelis, Michael Dorn as Ferdinand, Cree Summer as Hippolyta, Mozhan Marno as Dr. Cyber, and Ray Chase as Lead Bandit.

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Extras include the “DC Showcase” animated short Death, inspired by Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman”; the featurette “The Cheetah: Ferocious Archenemy”; and a sneak peak at the next DC Universe animated movie, Superman: Red Son.

The 4K combo pack will include UHD and Blu-ray versions of the movie and a redeemable digital copy. The Blu-ray combo pack will include the movie on Blu-ray and DVD, plus a digital copy.

 

Warner Releasing Supersized ‘Death and Return of Superman’ Animated Movie

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release The Death and Return of Superman on Blu-ray Disc, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and digitally Oct. 1.

The 166-minute movie is the combination of the previously released DC Universe animated movies The Death of Superman and Reign of the Supermen.

The comprehensive The Death and Return of Superman Complete Film Collection Gift Set will include never-before-seen footage, 45 minutes of new bonus features and an exclusive pack-in Steel figurine.

An adaptation of the “Death of Superman” comic book storyline from the 1990s, the movie features Superman sacrificing himself to stop Metropolis from the rampage of an unstoppable alien menace named Doomsday. In his absence, four new super-powered individuals arrive to carry on the legacy of Superman, while the disappearance of his body leads to speculation that he may still be alive.

The voice cast includes Jerry O’Connell as Superman, Rebecca Romijn as Lois Lane, and Rainn Wilson as Lex Luthor.

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The home video will include the new featurette “Long Live Superman,” a look at how the iconic character has become a symbol for hope across the world.

Returning extras from the previously released disc of the individual movies include the featurettes “The Death of Superman: The Brawl That Topped Them All” and “Lex Luthor: The Greatest Nemesis,” plus bonus cartoon episodes “Dark Victory: Parts 1 & 2” from “Legion of Superheroes,” “Heavy Metal” from “Superman: The Animated Series,” and “Panic in the Sky” from “Justice League Unlimited.”

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray combo pack will include The Death and Return of Superman on both a 4K Blu-ray disc with HDR and a regular Blu-ray disc, plus a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray version of Superman: Doomsday, the abridged version of the story that served as the inaugural DC Universe animated movie in 2007.

FandangoNow Creates Playlists for San Diego Comic-Con

With Comic-Con in full swing in San Diego through July 21, FandangoNow, Fandango’s transactional VOD service, is hosting two new playlists devoted to fan favorites and genre films.

Fandango correspondent Alicia Malone, author of the feminist film histories The Female Gaze and Backwards and in Heels, July 19 is moderating a Comic-Con panel entitled “The Future of Film is Female.” The panel on genre films by female filmmakers features Rotten Tomatoes editor Jacqueline Coley, Fast Color director Julia Hart, Terminator producer Gale Anne Hurd and Black Panther cinematographer Rachel Morrison.

Malone has curated a FandangoNow playlist of her favorite female-helmed genre films, including Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman, Mary Harron’s American Psycho, Anna Biller’s The Love Witch, Veronika Franz’s Goodnight Mommy, Karyn Kusama’s Jennifer’s Body, Kathryn Bigelow’s Strange Days, Mimi Leder’s Deep Impact and Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle in Time.

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Also in honor of the convention’s 50th anniversary, Rotten Tomatoes has curated a special playlist of 50 Movies that Defined Comic-Con on FandangoNow, featuring such titles as Iron Man, Twilight and “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Shazam!

BLU-RAY REVIEW: 

Street Date 7/16/19;
Warner;
Action;
Box Office $140.24 million;
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $44.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of action, language, and suggestive material.
Stars Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Asher Angel, Jack Dylan Grazer, Djimon Hounsou, Faithe Herman, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Marta Milans, Cooper Andrews, Meagan Good, Ross Butler, D.J. Cotrona, Michelle Borth, Adam Brody, John Glover.

The movie based on the character now known as Shazam has been one of the pleasant surprises of late in an entertainment landscape crowded with superhero adaptations.

For his 80th anniversary, the filmmakers have magnificently captured the essence of one of the most influential characters in early comic book superhero history while successfully re-contextualizing him for a world that is now littered with many of the very comic book tropes he helped inspire (and which the film has a lot of fun calling out and subverting).

The story involves a foster kid named Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who is summoned into a magical realm by a wizard seeking to empower a new champion to keep the evil forces of the seven deadly sins at bay. When Billy speaks the word “Shazam,” he is transformed into the hero of the same name, though with an adult body.

The name Shazam is derived from the mythological heroes from which he draws his powers: the wisdom of Solomon, strength of Hercules, stamina of Atlas, power of Zeus, courage of Achilles and speed of Mercury.

The older Shazam version of Billy is played by Zachary Levi, whose goofy charm perfectly embodies the notion of a child trying to be a superhero. The film is essentially the superhero movie version of Big, and you can be sure that the film doesn’t miss its chances to reference that fact.

With Billy still possessing a teenager’s mind while learning to deal with his new powers, he seeks the advice of foster brother Freddy Freeman (not to be confused with the Atlanta Braves first baseman). Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) is a huge fan of superheroes and begins building Shazam’s fan base with YouTube videos showing off his powers, which include flight, superspeed and the ability to shoot lightning bolts from his hands.

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The idea of wish fulfillment is a strong recurring theme in the film, as what kid doesn’t daydream about having fantastic abilities that let them put their worries behind them?

The flipside of Billy’s story is Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong), who as a child was rejected by the wizard and has spent 45 years seeking artifacts to return him to the wizard’s cave. In doing so, he becomes the champion for the deadly sins, giving him the power to seek retribution against those who tormented him over the years.

Sivana wants the powers of Shazam for himself so that the spirits of the sins will be free to rain havoc upon the world once more. This of course leads to another classic battle between good and evil that no good comic book movie should be without.

The parallel journeys of Billy and Sivana force the film into a tricky balancing act that director David F. Sandberg somehow pulls off. In contrast to the lighthearted superhero romp of Billy and Freddy, Sivana’s story is more like something out of a horror film, with scary monsters lurking in the shadows causing pain and destruction.

Another positive side effect of the film is the spotlight it puts on foster families, and it’s interesting this film came so soon after 2018’s very good Instant Family, which also dealt with the subject. The foster storyline gives Shazam! a lot of its heart, and the kids in Billy’s foster family end up serving the plot in a huge way that ends up producing one of the biggest fist-pumping moments for fans of the Shazam comics.

Speaking of which, the character’s tumultuous publication history is a big factor in what may be one of the oddest cinematic coincidences of recent years.

The character was introduced by Fawcett Comics in 1939 as Captain Marvel and became the top-selling comic book of the 1940s, even more popular than Superman. He even inspired DC Comics to give Superman the power of flight, when before the Man of Steel was simply able to jump long distances. Captain Marvel was also one of the first heroes to inspire a family of sidekicks with similar powers, including a female version of the main hero.

Nonetheless, DC sued Fawcett claiming that Captain Marvel was basically a ripoff of Superman, and by the early 1950s Fawcett discontinued the character.

In the meantime, Marvel Comics created its own Captain Marvel in the 1960s and seized the trademark on the name, so that when DC acquired publishing rights to the original Captain Marvel and revived the character in the 1970s it couldn’t use the character’s original name in comic book titles, which is how he became known as just Shazam.

As it turned out, a movie based on the Marvel Comics version would end up coming out just a month before Shazam!, the dueling “Captain Marvel” properties adding to Hollywood lore of similarly themed movies hitting theaters at the same time, like the rival James Bond movies of 1983, multiple Columbus movies of 1992, and the Armageddon vs. Deep Impact asteroid movies of 1998.

And, as if Shazam not being allowed to use his original name weren’t enough, Marvel’s movie wasn’t even based on the original version of its own Captain Marvel, but a rebooted version with a previously obscure female superhero taking up the mantle.

In another coincidence, both Captain Marvel movies would feature Djimon Hounsou, who plays the wizard in Shazam! and reprises his Guardians of the Galaxy role as a Kree soldier in Captain Marvel.

In fact, Shazam! is something of an amalgamation of the current superhero movie trend. Like Spider-Man: Homecoming, it plays a Ramones song over an animated end credits sequence (though Shazam!’s serves the motifs of the movie better).

Adam Brody and D.J. Cotrona, who in 2007 had been cast in a now-canceled “Justice League” movie, finally get their chance to play superheroes in Shazam!. Mark Strong returns to the DC Comics fold having previously played Sinestro in the awful Green Lantern movie. And with his role as Sivana’s father, John Glover has now played the father of two DC supervillains,, having played Lex Luthor’s father on “Smallville” (he’s also voiced “The Riddler” in Batman cartoons and played a villain in Batman & Robin).

The Shazam! Blu-ray contains a sequel of sorts in the form of a four-minute motion comic called “Superhero Hooky” in which Billy must explain why he and his foster siblings ditched school for a superhero adventure.

The Blu-ray also includes a whopping 16 deleted scenes that run about 37 minutes in total. About half of them are alternate or lesser-developed versions of sequences in the final film, taken from an earlier cut before the story was tweaked to add a bit bigger scale. There are also some fun additional moments featuring the Shazam family, and a tease of a future supervillain to be played by Dwayne Johnson.

Among the behind-the-scenes material, the most comprehensive is the 27-minute “The Magical World of Shazam,” which delves into all aspects of the production. The making of the climactic battle is the focus of a separate 10-minute scene study. The three-minute “Super Fun Zac” puts a spotlight on Levi in the title role, while the six-minute “Shazamily Values” looks into the foster family aspect of the movie.

Finally, the history and identity of the character is touched upon on the six-minute “Who Is Shazam?”

Sinister Superhero Flick ‘Brightburn’ Flying to Digital Aug. 6, Disc Aug. 20 From Sony

The superhero horror story Brightburn is coming to digital Aug. 6 and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and DVD Aug. 20 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

Producer James Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Slither) presents a subversive take on the superhero film, asking the question: What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister?

Elizabeth Banks, David Denman, Jackson A. Gunn, Matt Jones and Meredith Hagner star.

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Bonus materials include:

  • three “Quick Burns” vignettes, hosted by Banks, producer James Gunn and director David Yarovesky;
  • the “Hero-Horror!” featurette, in which producer James Gunn and screenwriters Brian and Mark Gunn discuss the genre-bending category;
  • the “Nature vs. Nurture” featurette, about what motivates the film’s antihero;
  • and filmmaker commentary with Yarovesky, director of photography Michael Dallatorre, and costume designer Autumn Steed.

‘Avengers: Endgame’ Arriving Digitally July 30, on Disc Aug. 13 From Disney

Disney will release Marvel Studios’ blockbuster Avengers: Endgame digitally July 30 (including Movies Anywhere), and on Blu-ray, DVD, 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray and on demand Aug. 13.

The 22nd film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe concludes the first “Avengers” saga that has spanned 11 years, beginning with 2008’s Iron Man. The film, in which the Avengers take one final stand against Thanos, has earned $834.9 at the domestic box office. Its $2.75 billion worldwide box office tally is the highest-ever for a film in its initial theatrical run (without a re-release).

Bonus features include a tribute to Stan Lee; the tale of Robert Downey Jr.’s casting as Iron Man; the evolution of Captain America; Black Widow’s dramatic story arc; directors Anthony and Joe Russo’s experience at the helm of both Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame; the making of an epic battle scene with the women of the MCU; the creation of Bro Thor; deleted scenes; a gag reel and more.

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The digital release, available in 4K Ultra HD, HD and SD, offers access to an exclusive extra highlighting the love story of Steve Rogers (Captain America) and Peggy Carter.

Consumers can also buy a digital bundle of all four films in the Avengers franchise, which includes Marvel’s The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

The film’s theatrical run is expanding June 28 with an introduction by the Russo Brothers and additional post-credits footage.

‘Fast Color’ Arriving on Digital June 18, Disc July 16 From Lionsgate

The female superhero movie Fast Color arrives on digital June 18 and Blu-ray (plus digital), DVD and on demand July 16 from Lionsgate.

Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beauty and the BeastA Wrinkle in TimeMiss Sloane), Lorraine Toussaint (Selma, TV’s “Into the Badlands,” TV’s “Orange Is the New Black”), Saniyya Sidney (FencesHidden Figures, TV’s “The Passage”), Christopher Denham (TV’s “Billions,” ArgoShutter Island), and Academy Award nominee David Strathairn (2005, Best Actor, Good Night, and Good Luck), the film follows a young woman whose superhuman abilities keep her on the run until she finally decides to go home and search for help.

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Extras include a making-of featurette and audio commentary with writer-director Julia Hart and writer-producer Jordan Horowitz.

Captain Marvel

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 6/11/19;
Disney/Marvel;
Action;
Box Office $425.98 million;
$39.99 Blu-ray, $39.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and brief suggestive language.
Stars Brie Larson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Annette Bening, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Clark Gregg.

The 21st film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain Marvel, is the most entertaining backstory for a pager you’re likely to see.

First and foremost, the film answers the question of who Nick Fury was contacting in the post-credits sequence of Avengers: Infinity War as half of all life in the universe was turning to dust as a result of Thanos’ snap. And in doing so, it provides the introduction of a key hero who would otherwise be considered little more than a deus ex machina in Avengers: Endgame.

The film serves as a prequel for the rest of the MCU (aside from the World War II setting of Captain America: The First Avenger), and its 1995 setting is a big indicator of what direction the humor and soundtrack are going to go.

It starts off as something of a space opera, shades of “Guardians of the Galaxy,” focused an alien task force that includes the warrior Vers (Brie Larson). The team is helping the Kree Empire (the blue aliens seen in other MCU movies and the TV series “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) fight a war against the shape-shifting Skrulls.

When a mission goes awry and Vers finds herself captured by the Skrulls, she escapes to Earth, where the Skrulls are searching for a mysterious power source.

After encountering S.H.I.E.L.D., she learns she is really Carol Danvers, a human test pilot believed killed several years before in a crash that in actuality was an attack that left her with superpowers and no memory of her previous self.

Carol’s abilities in the film have been frequently compared with a hero from” rival DC Comics: Superman, which is interesting considering that Danvers” is also the last name of Supergirl’s human alter ego. She also wouldn’t even be the first Captain Marvel to be compared with Superman — that would be the Fawcett Comics Captain Marvel from the 1940s that was eventually acquired by DC Comics and renamed Shazam to avoid confusion with the Marvel Comics version of the character. (That the Shazam! movie would finally hit screens just a month after Captain Marvel is one of cinema’s great coincidences.)

Captain Marvel attempts to fiddle with the tropes of the superhero origin story by using a flashback mystery structure, which is a nice exercise in technique even if Vers’ true identity will only be a mystery to anyone who hasn’t seen the film’s trailers beforehand or has any passing familiarity with her comic book history (or has already seen the movie, of course). There are other surprises to be had and some subversion of expectations, which balances it all out.

It’s a perfectly entertaining adventure that doesn’t rise beyond more than mid-level Marvel at best (which in the greater scheme of things is still pretty good). It has fun filling in some pieces of the larger Marvel franchise, though it could use a lesson in subtlety.

The film is at its strongest when it involves Carol on her mission, be it as part of the Kree Starforce, or paired with the younger version of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson, effectively de-aged by the magic of computers) in a kind of buddy cop movie.

The film is ultimately a piece of bright, cheery fun that will light up HD TV screens with warm colors and the kind of razzle-dazzle we’ve come to expect from Marvel’s cosmic adventures.

This was also the first MCU movie released after the death of Marvel legend Stan Lee, and contains one of his best cameos in the franchise, calling back to what he was actually up to in 1995. That’s in addition to the touching opening tribute that presents the Marvel Studios logo with video from his various cameos over the years.

These are the only tributes to Stan Lee on the Blu-ray, though, as there isn’t a separate bonus feature devoted to it, aside from a mention in the commentary track from co-directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.

Otherwise, the commentary is a fairly typical back-and-forth in which they discuss various behind-the-scenes challenges, story points and their enjoyment of working with certain actors.

The movie also comes with an optional two-minute introduction by the directors.

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The Blu-ray includes a two-minute gag reel, nine minutes of deleted and alternate scenes, and six behind-the-scenes featurettes that total about 24 minutes of viewing time.

The seven-minute “Becoming a Super Hero” and three-and-a-half-minute “Big Hero Moment” deal with Larson taking on the role and the significance of having a superhero movie fronted by a female lead, while “The Dream Team” is a three-minute video about the directors.

“The Skrulls and the Kree” offers a three-and-a-half-minute primer on the primary conflict of the film.

The three-and-a-half-minute “The Origin of Nick Fury” gets MCU stars from other movies to discuss his character’s appearance over the years.

Finally, there’s “Hiss-sterical Cat-titude,” a tongue-in-cheek three-and-a-half-minute propaganda video about the cat named Goose that serves a central role in the story.

The digital copy of the film includes a seven-minute visual effects featurette, and a five-minute exploration about crafting an action scene for a Marvel movie. There are also galleries of set photos and concept art.

Vudu has an additional digital exclusive, a three-minute vignette called “Her Story,” which seems like a promotional piece cobbled together from video used in the other featurettes.

MCU Titles Surge at FandangoNow

FandangoNow has seen a spike in sales for all 20 Marvel cinematic universe titles since the theatrical bow of Avengers: Endgame, with all appearing among its top 100 films, according to the service.

FandangoNow is movie site Fandango’s transactional VOD platform.

The site also reported a surge in preorders and first-day sales for Captain Marvel, hitting home this week. The female-driven superhero film is pacing similarly to Marvel’s Black Panther, one of FandangoNow’s most purchased titles of all time, according to the service.

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Captain Marvel is one of the year’s most entertaining films, and one of the most talked-about Marvel movies ever,” said FandangoNow managing editor Erik Davis in a statement. “It’s clear fans want to see lots more of Brie Larson’s high-flying superhero, and are excited to watch all the bonus content, deleted scenes and outtakes, especially after seeing her in Avengers: Endgame.”

According to a FandangoNow survey of fans planning to watch Captain Marvel at home, 91% are excited to revisit Captain Marvel’s origin story at home after seeing her on the big screen in Avengers: Endgame, while 60% plan to watch Captain Marvel at home before they head to the theater to see the MCU’s next chapter, Spider-Man: Far from Home.

Since the release of Endgame, the five best-selling MCU titles are:

  1. Spider-Man Homecoming*
  2. Iron Man
  3. Captain America: The First Avenger*
  4. Marvel’s The Avengers*
  5. Avengers: Age of Ultron*

 

*Available in 4K

 

‘Shazam!’ Flying to Home Video in July From Warner

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the DC Comics superhero movie Shazam! digitally July 2, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray July 16.

The film tells the story of Billy Batson (Asher Angel), a teenager in foster care who is empowered by a wizard (Djimon Hounsou) to become the superhero Shazam (Zachary Levi) to defend the realms of magic from the evil Dr. Sivana (Mark Strong).

The cast also includes Jack Dylan Grazer, Faithe Herman, Grace Fulton, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Marta Milans and Cooper Andrews.

The film earned $138.2 million at the domestic box office.

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The character first appeared in comic books published by Fawcett in 1940 under the name Captain Marvel, and was later acquired by DC.

To avoid confusion with the Marvel Comics character of Captain Marvel (whose own movie will be available for digital download May 28 and on disc June 11), DC eventually changed the character’s name to Shazam, the word Billy says to transform into the adult superhero (also the name of the Wizard who gives Billy his powers).

Shazam is an acronym derived from the names of the six mythological heroes from which the character draws his power: the wisdom of Solomon, strength of Hercules, stamina of Atlas, power of Zeus, courage of Achilles and speed of Mercury.

The Shazam! Blu-ray and special-edition DVD will include an exclusive Shazam motion comic, deleted scenes, a gag reel, a breakdown of the carnival scene, and the featurettes “The Magical World of Shazam,” “Super Fun Zac,” “Shazamily Values” and “Who is Shazam?”

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of Shazam! will feature Dolby Vision HDR and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack.

A 3D Blu-ray is listed for preorder at WBshop.com as well.