Animated Family Film ‘Swift’ Flying to Disc April 7 From Shout!

The animated Swift flies to Blu-ray and DVD April 7 from Shout! Kids.

Featuring the voice talent of Kate Winslet (Titanic) as Blanche, Willem Dafoe (The Lighthouse, Finding Dory) as Yves, and Josh Keaton (Voltron: Legendary Defender) as Manou, the film follows Manou, a sweet bird who grows up believing he is a seagull like his parents. He strives to swim, fish and fly like them, but feels that he is not very gifted. To his great shock, Manou discovers that he was adopted, and is actually the offspring of the much-hated swifts. After a tragedy, Manou has to navigate the differences between swifts and seagulls, and ultimately try to find his own identity — and save his friends and family along the way.

Bonus features on the Blu-ray and DVD include an interview with Dafoe, a look at the making of the film and the theatrical trailer.

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‘Motherless Brooklyn’ Comes Home in January

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the drama Motherless Brooklyn through digital retailers Jan. 14, and on Blu-ray Disc and DVD Jan. 28.

Inspired by Jonathan Lethem’s novel by the same name, Motherless Brooklyn is directed by, written by and produced by Edward Norton, who also stars as Lionel Essrog, a lonely private detective living with Tourette Syndrome who ventures to solve the murder of his mentor and only friend, Frank Minna (Bruce Willis).

Norton aimed to transpose Lethem’s contemporary characters into a different period and plot and gave it a distinctive atmosphere by moving the story to 1950s New York City.

The cast also includes Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Bobby Cannavale, Cherry Jones, Michael Kenneth Williams, Leslie Mann, Ethan Suplee, Dallas Roberts, Josh Pais, Robert Ray Wisdom, Fisher Stevens, Alec Baldwin and Willem Dafoe.

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Motherless Brooklyn earned $9.3 million at the domestic box office.

The film is nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Original Score for its music composed by Daniel Pemberton. The film also features an original song written and performed by Thom Yorke.

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The Blu-ray and DVD will include a code redeemable for a digital copy of the film as well as the making-of featurette “Edward Norton’s Methodical Process.” The Blu-ray will also include deleted scenes and a commentary by Norton.

‘The Lighthouse’ Comes Ashore on Digital Dec. 20, Disc Jan. 7

The Lighthouse arrives on digital Dec. 20  and on demand, Blu-ray (plus digital) and DVD Jan. 7 from Lionsgate.

Directed by Robert Eggers (The Witch), The Lighthouse stars Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson in a hallucinatory tale of two lighthouse keepers on a remote and mysterious New England island in the 1890s. As an approaching storm threatens to sweep them from the rock and strange apparitions emerge from the fog, each man begins to suspect that the other has become dangerously unmoored.

The film made $10.2 million in domestic theaters.

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Special features include an audio commentary with the co-writer and director Eggers, a making-of featurette, and deleted scenes.

‘Weird Science,’ Bigelow’s Debut ‘The Loveless’ and Classic ‘Hold Back the Dawn’ Coming to Blu-ray From Arrow and MVD in July

The 1980s teen comedy Weird Science, Kathryn Bigelow’s debut feature The Loveless and the classic Oscar nominee Hold Back the Dawn are among the films on the July Blu-ray slate from Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group.

First up July 2 is the late 1970s rock-n-roll comedy FM. Oscar-nominated John A. Alonzo directs this story of radio station mutiny. After being forced to play more commercials, including military recruitment ads, DJs and other employees take control and fight their corporate bosses by playing as much music as possible. The new HD release, transferred from the original camera negatives, features extras including a new interview with the film’s star Michael Brandon; a new interview with writer Ezra Sacks; “The Spirit of Radio,” a newly filmed video appreciation of the era of FM radio and the FM soundtrack by film and music critic Glenn Kenny; a gallery of original stills, promotional images and soundtrack sleeves; original trailers; a reversible sleeve featuring two original artwork options; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by writer and critic Paul Corupe.

Due July 9 is Oscar-winner Bigelow’s debut feature (co-directed by Monty Montgomery) The Loveless. Set in the 1950s, The Loveless is the story of a motorcycle gang heading to the races in Daytona. Along the way they stop in a small southern town, leaving the locals less they pleased. Willem Dafoe, also making his debut, stars. The Loveless is presented restored and in HD for the first time, with a new transfer approved by Montgomery and director of photography Doyle Smith. Extras include a new audio commentary with Montgomery, moderated by Elijah Drenner; making-of featurettes; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Gilles Vranckx; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Peter Stanfield.

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On July 16 come two releases, 1941’s Hold Back the Dawn and 1990s horror flick The Chill Factor.

Nominated for six Oscars, Hold Back the Dawn stars Charles Boyer and Olivia de Havilland in the story of one man’s hope of making it to the United States by marrying a citizen. The plan is to leave his would-be bride upon making his way into the country, but the plan has a few hiccups thanks to a determined immigration officer and a true love that begins to blossom. Presented in HD for the first time, the release includes extras such as new audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin; “Love Knows No Borders,” a newly filmed video appreciation by film critic Geoff Andrew; a career-spanning onstage audio interview with de Havilland recorded at the National Film Theatre in 1971; an hour-long radio adaptation of Hold Back the Dawn from 1941 starring Boyer, Paulette Goddard and Susan Haywood; a gallery of original stills and promotional images; the original trailer; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jennifer Dionisio; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by writer and critic Farran Smith Nehme.

The Chill Factor, also known as Demon Possessed, is the only film directed by producer Christopher Webster. In the film, a group of friends out on a snowmobile trip seek refuge when one of them gets knocked unconscious following an accident. They locate an abandoned cabin to take cover. The cabin happens to hold a number of bizarre religious artifacts, and they mistakenly awaken a terrible evil. Extras include a new audio commentary with special effects artist Hank Carlson and horror writer Josh Hadley; a new on-camera interview with makeup artist Jeffery Lyle Segal; a new on-camera interview with production manager Alexandra Reed; a new on-camera interview with stunt coordinator Gary Paul; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Marc Schoenbach; and for the first pressing, only a collector’s booklet featuring new writing by Mike White.

Steelbook packaging

Due July 23 is the 1980s John Hughes classic Weird Science available in regular and steelbook packaging. Starring Anthony Michael Hall, the comedy follows a pair of nerds that attempt to create the perfect woman via their computer. The release features a new 4K restoration from the original negatives and includes the original theatrical version as well as the extended version. As an added bonus, a standard definition transfer of the edited-for-TV release is included. Additional special features include an archive making-of documentary; new interviews with special makeup creator Craig Reardon, composer Ira Newborn, supporting actor John Kapelos and casting director Jackie Burch; a reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Tracie Ching; and for the first pressing only, an illustrated collectors’ booklet featuring new writing on the film by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas and Amanda Reyes.

Aquaman

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 3/26/19;
Warner;
Action;
Box Office $334.52 million;
$28.98 DVD, $35.99 Blu-ray, $44.95 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for language.
Stars Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Ludi Lin, Nicole Kidman, Temuera Morrison.

It’s a bit amazing to think that the Justice League member so often derided as “the one who talks to fish and is useless on land” is now the subject of the highest-grossing movie based on a DC Comics character at the worldwide box office.

Already a regular target of parody shows such as “Robot Chicken,” the Aquaman character was famously used as the centerpiece of a storyline on HBO’s “Entourage” involving a blockbuster movie version directed by James Cameron — poking fun at both Cameron’s penchant for water movies and the idea that anyone would ever make an Aquaman movie.

Well, the real film, directed by James Wan, certainly dispels any notion that Aquaman isn’t suited for the big screen. Coincidentally, with this film and Furious 7, Wan became the only director other than Cameron (with Avatar and Titanic) to guide two films from separate franchises into the global box office’s billion-dollar club.

Jason Momoa takes on the title role, his third film appearing as the character, after a cameo in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and an expanded presence in Justice League. His larger-than-life persona and carefree attitude serve the film well by helping the audience accept the bizarreness of the worlds being created without the need to take it too seriously.

Arthur Curry (Momoa) is the product of the unexpected love of a lighthouse keeper (Temuera Morrison) and the Queen of Atlantis (Nicole Kidman) who ends up at his shore when she escapes an arranged marriage. Arthur’s unique heritage gives him superhuman abilities, such as strength, invulnerability, the ability to swim fast and a telepathic bond with sea creatures.

With his reputation as a hero established in Justice League, Arthur is sought out by the princess Mera (Amber Heard) to claim the throne of Atlantis from his half-brother (Patrick Wilson), who wants to destroy the surface world.

To do that, he and Mera must embark on a quest to locate a mythical weapon that will allow him to assert his claim as the rightful king of Atlantis.

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The story will draw a lot of comparisons with Black Panther in that both deal with heroes introduced in earlier films, with their own films focused on tying their origins into storylines involving taking control of their hidden kingdoms away from maniacal family members who want to conquer the outside world. Tonally, the film is more like Thor: Ragnarok, which also deals with a battle for the throne of a powerful kingdom. These recent superhero movies have certainly embraced that Shakespearean power dynamics motif lately (which may just speak to how most comic books can be reduced to a few fundamental tropes before all the personality and detail that makes them popular are added).

Aquaman

Between the “Game of Thrones”-esque political intrigue and “Indiana Jones”-style adventure subplot, much of the film’s success owes to its sense of fun and its willingness to depict absolutely anything on screen despite how absurd it is while treating it as epic. Wan fills almost every frame with fantastic imagery awash in vibrant color that really shines through in its high-definition Blu-ray presentation. Many of the scenes look as if Wan pulled them directly from a comic book, and even makes Aquaman’s traditional orange and green costume look cool, which should no doubt please fans of the character.

The Blu-ray includes more than an hour-and-a-half of featurettes detailing all the aspects of the production, from Momoa’s casting, to the stunt work, to the development of the depictions of the undersea kingdoms that comprise the Atlantean realms.

One of the more interesting videos in this regard is the “Kingdoms of the Seven Seas,” a profile of underwater politics hosted by Dolph Lundgren, who plays the ruler of one of them. Between this and his recent turn in a “Rocky” retrospective on the Creed II Blu-ray, Lundgren has been pretty busy on the Warner lot hosting bonus videos.

Another interesting tidbit comes during an analysis of the film’s memorable sequence involving the devolved creatures of the Trench, which plays to Wan’s horror roots. At one point, an excited Wan suggests the Trench should be the basis of its own movie. Unsurprisingly, a Trench spinoff has already been announced.

Finally, the disc includes a three-minute scene from the upcoming Shazam! movie.

‘Aquaman’ Swimming to Home Video in March

Warner Bros. Home Entertainment will release the DC Comics adaptation Aquaman through digital retailers March 5, and on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray March 26.

The sixth installment in the interconnected series of films based on DC Comics, Aquaman picks up with the title character’s adventures after his appearance in 2017’s Justice League. While Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) is content on using his abilities to help people, he is summoned to Atlantis by Mera (Amber Heard), who urges him to assert his birthright as the true king of the undersea kingdom to prevent his half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) from waging a war against the surface world. To do this he must set off on a quest across the realms of the seven seas to recover the ancient artifact that will allow him to unite the oceans and fulfill his destiny as Aquaman.

The cast also includes Willem Dafoe, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Nicole Kidman, Temuera Morrison and Ludi Lin.

Directed by James Wan, the film has earned $325 million at the domestic box office, and $1.1 billion worldwide.

All versions of Aquaman will include a three-minute preview of Shazam, the upcoming live-action adaptation starring Zachary Levi as the DC superhero, due in theaters April 5.

The Blu-ray and DVD editions of Aquaman will also include scene study breakdowns and several featurettes: “Going Deep Into the World of Aquaman,” “Becoming Aquaman,” “James Wan: World Builder,” “Aqua Tech,” “Atlantis Warfare,” “The Dark Depths of Black Manta,” “Heroines of Atlantis,” “Villainous Training,” “Kingdoms of the Seven Seas,” “Creating Undersea Creatures” and “A Match Made in Atlantis.”

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

‘At Eternity’s Gate’ Due Digitally Jan. 29, on Disc Feb. 12

Lionsgate will release At Eternity’s Gate digitally Jan. 29, and on Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 12.

Directed by Julian Schnabel, At Eternity’s Gate focuses on the troubled final years in the life of painter Vincent van Gogh, re-recreating scenes based on van Gogh’s letters, known events and speculation.

Willem Dafoe stars as van Gogh and earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Drama, as well as Best Actor at Venice Film Festival. The cast also includes Rupert Friend, Mads Mikkelsen and Oscar Isaac.

Extras include commentary with Schnabel and co-writer/co-editor Louise Kugelberg, plus the featurettes “Made by a Painter,” “Channeling van Gogh” and “Vision of van Gogh.”

‘Florida Project’ Tops Slate of Lionsgate Releases

Lionsgate Feb. 5 announced several upcoming home video releases, highlighted by the Feb. 20 Blu-ray Disc (plus Digital) and DVD release of the Oscar-nominated The Florida Project.

The critically hailed independent film stars Willem Dafoe, who received an Academy Award nod for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. The film focuses on a budget motel in Florida that is home to a group of people living on the poverty line, including a precocious 6-year-old.

The A.V. Club called the movie, directed by Sean Baker (Tangerine), “one of Willem Dafoe’s most moving performances”. Cast members also include Brooklynn Prince and Bria Vinaite in breakout performances/ Co-written by Sean Baker and Chris Bergoch, The Florida Project Blu-ray and DVD will be available at the suggested retail price of $24.99 and $19.98, respectively.

Another critical hit, The Disaster Artist, arrives on Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and Digital HD March 13 from Lionsgate. Nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and Rotten Tomatoes Certified Fresh, The Disaster Artist stars James Franco, along with Dave Franco, Emmy nominee Seth Rogen, Golden Globe nominee Alison Brie, Josh Hutcherson, Paul Scheer, Zac Efron and Megan Mullally.

The Disaster Artist’s extensive special features include audio commentary with director James Franco, Dave Franco, Tommy Wiseau, Greg Sestero, and more; a gag reel; as well as three featurettes. The Disaster Artist will be available on Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD at $39.99 and $29.95, respectively.

Hellraiser: Judgment, the tenth installment of the “Hellraiser” horror franchise, arrives on Blu-ray ($21.99), DVD ($19.98) and Digital HD Feb. 13. The latest direct-to-video sequel tells the story of three detectives as they struggle to solve a horrifying murder, but instead find themselves thrust into the depths of Pinhead’s hellacious landscape. Extras included deleted scenes and a gag reel.

The action thriller Braven, with Jason Momoa, arrives on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and Digital on April 10. Already available On Demand, the film follows a father and son on a hunting trip that goes wrong, forcing them to defend their home and family. Discs carry a suggested retail price of $21.99 (Blu-ray Disc) and $19.98 (DVD).

Also coming April 10 is the Western Gone Are the Days, featuring Tom Berenger, Lance Henriksen, Meg Steedle and Danny Trejo. The film, about an aging gunman out to perform one last good deed, will be released in a Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and On Demand. The combo pack carries a suggested retail price $21.99 and the DVD is $19.98.