‘A Man Called Otto’ Tops U.K. Weekly Home Entertainment Sales Chart Through March 29

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s A Man Called Otto rose to the top spot on the U.K.’s Official Film Chart, the weekly home entertainment sales listing. Overtaking several previous chart toppers, the Tom Hanks-starring family drama managed the feat on digital retails sales only.

A close second in unit sales was Sony’s Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical, which rebounded one spot to No. 2, finishing just ahead of Universal Pictures Home Entertainment’s Puss in Boots: The Last Wish at No. 3.

The previous week’s No. 1, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment’s Elvis, dropped three spots to No. 4, while the studio’s DC comics-based Black Adam rose three spots to No. 5.

The week’s highest new entry was Paramount Home Entertainment’s comedy-drama Babylon (No. 6), with Margot Robbie and Brad Pitt leading an ensemble cast showcasing the rise and fall of several characters in the decadent and depraved early days of Hollywood.

Paramount’s Top Gun: Maverick was No. 7, while Keanu Reeves enjoyed two consecutive spots in the top 10 with John Wick: Chapter 2 (No. 8) and John Wick (No. 9) — both apparently released by Warner in the U.K. — following the theatrical release of John Wick: Chapter 4. John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum also enjoyed a retail resurgence at No. 14.

Finally, Sony’s Whitney Houston: I Wanna Dance With Somebody (No. 10) rounded out the week’s top 10.

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The Official Film Chart Top 10 – March 29, 2023

Rank Previous Week
Movie Distributor
1 5 A MAN CALLED OTTO SONY PICTURES
2 3 ROALD DAHL’S MATILDA THE MUSICAL SONY PICTURES
3 2 PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH UNIVERSAL
4 1 ELVIS WARNER
5 8 BLACK ADAM WARNER
6 NEW BABYLON PARAMOUNT
7 7 TOP GUN: MAVERICK PARAMOUNT
8 RETURN JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2 WARNER
9 RETURN JOHN WICK WARNER
10 4 WHITNEY HOUSTON: I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY SONY PICTURES

© Official Charts Company 2023

Sony Pictures Sets Home Release Dates for ‘A Man Called Otto’

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced home release dates for the Tom Hanks starrer A Man Called Otto, about a grumpy widower whose life changes after he makes an unlikely friend.

The film will be available for rent or purchase through digital retailers on Feb. 28, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD on March 14. 

Bonus features include a making-of documentary titled “Breaking The Rules: Making A Man Called Otto“; the music video to the end credit song “Til You’re Home,” with Rita Wilson and Sebastián Yatra; and a deleted scene.

Hanks stars as Otto, a grump who no longer sees purpose in his life following the loss of his wife. Otto is ready to end it all, but his plans are interrupted when a lively young family moves in next door, and he meets his match in quick-witted Marisol. She challenges him to see life differently, leading to an unlikely friendship that turns his world around.

Based on the New York Times best-seller A Man Called Ove, A Man Called Otto earned nearly $61 million at the domestic box office.

Elvis

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 9/13/22;
Warner;
Drama;
Box Office $150.29 million;
$19.99 DVD, $24.99 Blu-ray, $29.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for substance abuse, strong language, suggestive material and smoking.
Stars Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge.

Director Baz Luhrmann spotlights the career of Elvis Presley with his usual visual flair and penchant for musical embellishment. In this case, the King of Rock ‘N’ Roll’s unique rockabilly blend of country, gospel and R&B would nominally make the subject matter a nice fit for him.

Narratively, however, Luhrmann decides to examine Presley’s life through the perspective of his manager, Colonel Tom Parker (Tom Hanks), who was widely considered one of the most disreputable men in the entertainment industry, and likely fleeced Elvis out of millions of dollars of potential earnings.

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Austin Butler gives an energetic performance as Elvis, pouring his heart out in the musical numbers to re-create the King’s signature stylings that made the ladies swoon.

The key role of Parker, however, doesn’t quite fit in tonally with the proceedings, as he seems less like a real person and more like it’s just Hanks with some over-the-top make-up and a bad accent. Famously, this is the role that Hanks was filming in early 2020 when he was among the first celebrities to become infected with COVID-19.

The film is presented mostly as a contrast between Elvis’ desire to have a memorable and significant life, and Parker’s efforts to control him like a figurative puppet master (coincidentally, Elvis is hitting Blu-ray not long after the release of Disney’s live-action Pinocchio, in which Hanks plays a literal puppet master, Geppetto). As presented in the film, Elvis grows to resent Parker for what he sees as hampering his fame.

Luhrmann covers the touchstones of Elvis’ career, from his fascination and incorporation of African-American musical styles, to his 1968 comeback special and his multiyear residency in Las Vegas at the International Hotel. The film’s central thesis is that Parker’s financial needs led him to push Elvis to perform to the point of burning out the superstar that he turned to drugs to cope, facilitating his early death at the age of 42.

The tug-of-war between these two aspects of the film, Elvis biopic and Colonel Tom Parker character study, don’t always make for a smooth presentation, though it’s certainly fun to watch. In addition to a steady supply of Elvis music, Luhrmann as he is prone to do mixes in some anachronistic selections such as hip-hop to really set the mood.

The film is colorful and glitzy and offers a dazzling HD presentation with such detail that viewers can practically feel the sweat dripping from Elvis’ face.

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The Blu-ray includes a number of featurettes that delve into the making of the film. The centerpiece is the 22-minute “Bigger Than Life: The Story of Elvis,” which covers the production in general. More-specific topics are covered in the seven-and-a-half-minute “Rock ‘N’ Roll Royalty: The Music and Artists Behind Elvis”; the eight-minute “Fit for a King: The Style of Elvis,” about the costumes; and the seven-and-a-half-minute “Viva Australia: Re-creating Iconic Locations for Elvis,” about the challenges of building several decades worth of historical settings in the land down under.

Also included are a lyric video for the song “Trouble,” and a “Musical Moments” mode that allows viewers to jump to specific songs as they’re performed in the movie.

 

Pinocchio (2022)

STREAMING REVIEW:

Disney+;
Family;
Rated ‘PG’ for peril/scary moments, rude material and some language.
Stars Tom Hanks, Cynthia Erivo, Luke Evans, Guiseppe Battiston, Kyanne Lamaya, Lewin Lloyd. Voices of Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Benjamin Evan Ainsworth, Lorraine Bracco, Keegan-Michael Key.

Disney’s new iteration of Pinocchio is so devoid of charm or originality that it amplifies the question of if there’s any reason the studio continues to pump out live-action remakes of its animated classics aside from just being cynical cash grabs.

That’s doubly shocking in this instance considering the director is Robert Zemeckis, the cinematic visionary behind the likes of Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit and Forrest Gump.

The look and feel of the film is completely faithful to Disney’s 1940 animated version, which is so iconic that the signature tune of “When You Wish Upon a Star” has basically become the company’s theme song.

That song is central to this version as well, while Zemeckis and his longtime composer Alan Silvestri added some new songs that, while fine on their own, seem a bit too modern for the proceedings.

Another longtime Zemeckis collaborator, Tom Hanks, plays Geppetto the wood-carver, with make-up to give him the appearance of Disney’s animated version of the character. The live-action version adds some dark pathos to the character, making him a lonely widower who carves a puppet in the image of his dead son.

He names him Pinocchio because he carved him out of pine, and “Pinocchio” is a mash up of the Italian words for “pine” and “eye.” Characters then proceed to make several jokes about his name being such a play on words, while overlooking that in English it sounds like a combination of pine and oak, a double pun for something made of wood.

Anyway, Geppetto sees a bright star on a clear night, and makes a wish he doesn’t quite disclose, which in the original movie was for the puppet to become a real boy. In this version it’s probably for the literal resurrection of his dead son, which the Blue Fairy (Cynthia Erivo) interprets as bringing the puppet to life, and she does, though with complications. Namely, that being a puppet, Pinocchio starts out as a blank slate, so, as in the original, the Fairy names Jiminy Cricket as his conscience, with the understanding that if Pinocchio behaves and learns the values of right and wrong, he could become a real boy.

Jiminy, voiced by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who is doing his level best to bring life to the proceedings (no pun intended), also serves as the narrator of the story, giving him a kind of fourth-wall omniscience as he explains things to the audience. Luckily for him, Disney still won’t give him the fate he has in Carlo Collodi’s original book, when Pinocchio squishes him for daring to offer advice.

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Trouble begins when Geppetto decides to send Pinocchio to school, and the naïve puppet becomes so overwhelmed by the temptations of the real world he falls into all sorts of misadventures, just like in the original movie — a couple of con men sell him to the abusive puppeteer Stromboli, and he winds up at an amusement park that turns kids into donkeys for slave labor.

While the movie uses Geppetto’s collection of cuckoo clocks to jam in all sorts of references to other Disney movies, including Roger Rabbit, it leaves the most obvious opportunity for self-parody just sitting there in the form of Pleasure Island, which gets a new song but little else in the way of an update from the original film (remember, Disneyland wasn’t built until 15 years after the animated Pinocchio was released). Perhaps Tim Burton turning his Dumbo remake into a satire of Disney’s theme park empire right under their noses was a bit too much to bear.

The Stromboli sequence is perhaps the biggest deviation from the original, as Pinocchio meets a kind girl who once dreamed of being a ballerina before a leg injury left her in a brace, so she operates the ballerina puppet that Pinocchio seems to have a thing for, not realizing that she isn’t alive like he is. It’s amusing, and a bit sweet, serving to establish that Pinocchio as a wooden boy has abilities that real children wouldn’t.

Pinocchio disappearing from school kicks of the subplot of Geppetto setting off to find him (dragging his cat and goldfish along for some reason), leading to the famous scene where they all become trapped in the belly of a whale, which in this film is some sort of mutant sea monster that has swallowed enough ships his belly looks like a pirate’s cove.

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Using the original film as the template for the live-action designs, rather than using the original source material to re-interpret some of the scenes, just leads to some situations that animation can get away with seem especially bizarre in a real-world setting (aside from the central conceit of a magical living puppet). For instance, why are the con-men still presented as a fox and a cat who act like people, when other animals in the film are just animals, and why can some animals talk to each other while others can’t?

The main problem is that the film makes no case for why anyone should watch it instead of the animated version — the visual style is the same, the CGI isn’t integrated very well, and any differences don’t improve upon anything from the original, including a new ending that tries an end-run around audience expectations but is just abrupt and unsatisfying.

In the more than 80 years since its release, the original film’s primary motif of an artificial being striving to find humanity has become a staple of science-fiction and fantasy, providing ample fodder for a new Pinocchio to attempt to re-interpret, but this version barely even tries.

Baz Luhrmann’s ‘Elvis’ Available for Premium Digital Ownership Aug. 9, on Disc Sept. 13

Director Baz Luhrmann’s biopic Elvis arrives for premium digital ownership at home Aug. 9 and on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD Sept. 13 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The film, which stars Austin Butler and Tom Hanks, tells the story of Elvis (Butler) through the prism of his complicated relationship with his enigmatic manager Colonel Tom Parker (Hanks). As told by Parker, the film delves into the complex dynamic between the two spanning more than 20 years, from Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America. Central to that journey is one of the significant and influential people in Elvis’s life, Priscilla Presley (Olivia DeJonge).

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Special features on digital, 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray include “Bigger Than Life: The Making of Elvis“; “Rock ‘n Roll Royalty: The Music & Artists Behind Elvis”; “Fit for a King: The Style of Elvis“; “Viva Australia: Recreating Iconic Locations for Elvis“; and the “Trouble” lyric video.

Elvis has so far grossed nearly $130 million at the domestic box office, according to Box Office Mojo. The film earned $106 million internationally for a worldwide gross of more than $235 million. 

New Live-Action ‘Pinocchio’ Movie to Debut on Disney+ Ahead of D23 Expo Return Sept. 8

Disney is set to premiere new live-action movie Pinocchio on Disney+ Day Sept. 8, ahead of the return of the media giant’s D23 Expo: The Ultimate Disney Fan Event in Anaheim, Calif. The subscription streaming VOD service will host special experiences for fans and subscribers, and premiere new content from its brands, including Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic in the coming months.

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Directed by Academy Award winner Robert Zemeckis, Pinocchio stars Tom Hanks as Geppetto, the wood carver who builds and treats the puppet Pinocchio (Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) as if he were his own son. Joseph Gordon-Levitt is Jiminy Cricket, who serves as Pinocchio’s guide as well as his “conscience”; Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo is the Blue Fairy; Keegan-Michael Key is “Honest” John; Oscar nominee Lorraine Bracco is Sofia the Seagull, a new character; and Luke Evans is The Coachman. Also in the cast are Kyanne Lamaya as Fabiana (and her marionette Sabina), Giuseppe Battiston as Señor Stromboli, and Lewin Lloyd as Lampwick.

Zemeckis, Derek Hogue, Andrew Miano, Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz are the film’s producers, with Jackie Levine, Jack Rapke, Alexandra Derbyshire and Jeremy Johns the executive producers.

Pinocchio marks the first collaboration between Zemeckis and Hanks since the 2004 animated winter family fantasy The Polar Express.

Apple TV+ Strikes Multiyear Deal With Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s Playtone

Apple TV+ has landed a multiyear overall deal with Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman’s production company Playtone to exclusively develop, produce and distribute all forms of television globally encompassing series, limited series, documentaries and unscripted projects.

Apple’s partnership with Playtone builds on its existing film and series relationship, which includes limited drama series “Masters of the Air,” from Apple Studios, Playtone and Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television. The series follows the true, personal story of the American bomber boys in World War II who brought the war to Hitler’s doorstep. Additionally, Apple Original Films’ Academy Award-nominated “Greyhound,” produced by Goetzman and written by and starring Hanks, is available to stream on Apple TV+.

Playtone’s television productions have earned six Emmy Awards for Outstanding Miniseries or Movie, four Golden Globe Awards for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television, and five Peabody Awards. Goetzman and Hanks are also recipients of the PGA’s Norman Lear Achievement Award in Television.

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Future Playtone projects will join the expanding lineup of series debuting globally on Apple TV+, including the recently released “Pachinko,” the Korean, Japanese and English-language drama based on the novel by the same name; “Slow Horses,” the espionage drama adapted from CWA Gold Dagger Award-winning Mick Herron’s novels and starring Academy Award winner Gary Oldman; “Shining Girls,” a new metaphysical thriller starring and executive produced by Emmy Award winner Elisabeth Moss and based on Lauren Beukes’ bestselling novel; “Now and Then,” the new eight-episode bilingual thriller, among others.

After its launch on Nov. 1, 2019, Apple TV+ became the first all-original streaming service to launch around the world and has premiered more original hits and received more award recognitions faster than any other streaming service in its debut. To date, Apple Original films, documentaries, and series have been honored with over 240 wins and more than 950 award nominations and counting, including this year’s Oscar Best Picture winner CODA.

Warner Slates ‘Green Mile’ for 4K Disc Feb. 22

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release 1999’s The Green Mile on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Feb. 22.

Written and directed by Frank Darabont, and based on the 1996 Stephen King novel of the same name, the film stars Tom Hanks as a prison guard whose sense of humanity is re-awakened when he meets a death-row inmate (Michael Clarke Duncan) whose caring demeanor belies his gruesome murder conviction, and who seems to have a supernatural gift to heal living things.

The cast also includes David Morse, Bonnie Hunt, James Cromwell, Michael Jeter, Graeme Greene, Doug Hutchison, Sam Rockwell, Barry Pepper, Jeffrey DeMunn, Patricia Clarkson and Harry Dean Stanton.

The film was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor for Duncan, Best Sound and Best Adapted Screenplay.

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The 4K combo pack of The Green Mile will include a 4K disc with the film with HDR, and a regular Blu-ray of the film with bonus features. Extras include a commentary by Darabont; additional scenes; a “Walking the Mile: The Making of The Green Mile” documentary; a “Miracle and Mystery: Creating The Green Mile” featurette gallery; Hanks makeup tests; Duncan’s screen test; and the film’s trailers, including the teaser trailer “A Case Study.”

 

News of the World

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Universal;
Western;
Box Office $12.6 million;
$29.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, $44.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for violence, disturbing images, thematic material and some language.
Stars Tom Hanks, Helena Zengel, Elizabeth Marvel, Ray McKinnon, Mare Winningham, Bill Camp, Thomas Francis Murphy, Fred Hechinger.

British director Paul Greengrass takes a step back from his political thriller comfort zone with a foray into an iconic American genre, the Western, with News of the World, adapted from the 2016 novel of the same name by Paulette Jiles.

In his Blu-ray commentary, Greengrass, who co-wrote the screenplay in addition to directing, reveals he was attracted to the project because he wanted to make something with a happier outcome than his usual fare.

The result is a relatively quiet, contemplative journey through an uncertain period of American history.

Tom Hanks delivers his usual solid performance as Capt. Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a former Confederate soldier in the Civil War who, in the film’s setting of 1870, makes a meager living traveling from town to town throughout Texas to inform the residents of world events by reading from the latest newspapers. Kidd injects the readings with a dash of showmanship to hold the attention of the rapt audiences, though occasionally encounters some hostility when he broaches topics the locals aren’t too keen to hear about (not unlike modern cable news).

On one journey through the back roads, he encounters the remnants of an attack on a wagon that has left as the lone survivor a young blond girl named Johanna (newcomer Helena Zengel), whom he learns was the child of German settlers who had been seized years earlier by Kiowa Indians and raised as one of their own, but had been recently re-captured and was being returned to her family. A local Army officer washes his hands of the matter, suggesting Kidd either wait three months to turn her over to a liaison officer, or accompany her himself — a perilous journey back toward Kidd’s hometown of San Antonia through dangerous terrain that has vastly changed since Kidd last made his way through there.

Compounding Kidd’s task is that Johanna knows nothing of white man’s customs and seems prone to run away any chance she gets.

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The premise plays a bit like an inverse of “The Searchers,” in which John Wayne’s objective was to track down the white girl raised by Indians. As Kidd tries to teach Johanna about her true heritage, she helps him confront some of the demons of his past that led him to a life on the road, and in their bonding they begin to rediscover their purpose. It’s a bit like the Old West version of “Punky Brewster” (the original 1980s version, not the sappy revival).

News of the World is beautifully shot, the Oscar-nominated cinematography showcasing sprawling landscapes of gorgeous but gritty Texas wilderness. This isn’t the romanticized glamorous Wild West of yore, and the hardships of those trying to tame the land come blaring through the screen.

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The News of the World 4K Ultra HD combo pack includes the film on both a 4K and a regular Blu-ray disc, with the same extras on each; the 4K disc offers them in UHD resolution.

In addition to a solo Greengrass commentary that is a good mix of recap and analysis, the disc includes seven deleted scenes running a total of 11 minutes. These offer some interesting character moments, including some backstory about Kidd’s horses.

Also included are four behind-the-scenes featurettes that run about a half-hour in total. The seven-minute “Partners: Tom Hanks & Helena Zengel” focuses on the two main characters, while the seven-and-a-half-minute “Western Action” deals with the challenges of shooting the genre on location. The 11-minute “Paul Greengrass Makes News of the World” is a more generalized look a the making of the movie, covering some of the same ground Greengrass discusses in his commentary. Finally, there’s the four-minute “The Kiowa” featurette that details how modern members of the Kiowa tribe served as consultants on the film to aid the authenticity of the portrayal of the time period and their ancestors.

 

‘News of the World’ Coming to Digital March 9, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD March 23

The Tom Hanks Western News of the World will be available for purchase on digital March 9 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD March 23 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film was previously released as a premium VOD rental.

Set in the 1870s, the film stars Hanks as former Army captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, who moves from town to town as a non-fiction storyteller, sharing the news from the far reaches of the globe. In the plains of Texas, he crosses paths with a 10-year-old girl (Helena Zengel) taken in by the Kiowa people and raised as one of their own. Kidd agrees to deliver the child where the law says she belongs. As they travel hundreds of miles into the unforgiving wilderness, the two face tremendous challenges of both human and natural forces.

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The film is based on the best-selling novel and was nominated for two Golden Globe Awards and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

The release will feature exclusive bonus content, including deleted scenes, feature commentary with co-writer/director Paul Greengrass (Captain Phillips, “Bourne” Franchise), and an inside look into the relationship between movie veteran Hanks and newcomer Golden Globe-nominee Helena Zengel.