‘The Man From Toronto’ Available Now on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital

The comedy The Man From Toronto is available now on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and digital from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

In the film, Teddy Jackson (Kevin Hart) is a bumbling entrepreneur who can’t make any of his ideas work. Taking his wife on a vacation getaway, Teddy ends up at the wrong Airbnb and is mistaken for a vicious assassin known as “the man from Toronto.” When the real assassin (Woody Harrelson) arrives, the two realize that they have to work together to escape tenacious FBI agents, bloodthirsty hired killers and a handler (Ellen Barkin) who wants her money back. 

The film originally streamed on Netflix.

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‘Champions’ Digital, Peacock Release Slated for April 28, on DVD and Blu-ray May 2

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will release the sports comedy Champions for standard digital purchase and VOD rental April 28, followed by a Blu-ray and DVD release May 2. The film will also be available to stream on Peacock starting April 28.

Woody Harrelson stars in the film about a former minor-league basketball coach who, after a series of missteps, is ordered by the court to manage a team of players with intellectual disabilities. The cast also includes Cheech Marin, Ernie Hudson and Kaitlin Olson.

Champions earned $16.1 million at the domestic box office and has been available for premium digital purchase or rental (PVOD) since March 28.

Home video extras include commentary from director Bobby Farrelly; 12 Deleted Scenes; a “Keeping It Friendly” featurette about how the filmmakers and cast became involved with the film; a “Woody and the Team” featurette about how Harrelson took on the role of a team leader both on and off screen; and the featurette “Casting the Friends.”

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Woody Harrelson Comedy ‘Champions’ Hits Premium Digital

The Woody Harrelson comedy Champions is now available for premium digital rental (PVOD) and premium digital sale (PEST) at digital retailers from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. 

From filmmaker Bobby Farrelly (There’s Something About Mary, Me, Myself & Irene, Fever Pitch), the comedy stars Harrelson as a former minor-league basketball coach who, after a series of missteps, is ordered by the court to manage a team of players with intellectual disabilities. He soon realizes that despite his doubts, together, this team can go further than they ever imagined.

The film has earned more than $15 million at the global box office.

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Woody Harrelson, Matthew McConaughey to Star in Half-Hour Comedy for Apple TV+

Apple TV+ has announced a series order for a 10-episode half-hour comedy starring Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey.

Created by Emmy Award winner David West Read (upcoming “The Big Door Prize,” “Schitt’s Creek” and Broadway’s & Juliet), who will also serve as executive producer, the new comedy will be produced for Apple TV+ by Skydance Television.

The untitled comedy is an odd couple love story revolving around the strange and beautiful bond between McConaughey and Harrelson. Their friendship is tested when their combined families attempt to live together on McConaughey’s ranch in Texas.

In addition to starring, Harrelson and McConaughey will executive produce alongside Read. David Ellison, Dana Goldberg and Matt Thunell will serve as executive producers for Skydance Television with Bill Bost and Jeremy Plager.  

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This series marks the latest collaboration for Apple TV+ and Skydance Television, and joins “The Big Door Prize,” which also hails from creator Read, and recently held its world premiere at SXSW ahead of its global debut on Apple TV+ on March 29. It will also join the second season of Apple’s “Foundation,” produced by Skydance Television, and set to premiere this summer.

Oscar Nominee ‘Triangle of Sadness’ Headed to Disc April 25 from Criterion

The Academy Award nominated satire Triangle of Sadness will arrive on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray April 25 from The Criterion Collection. The film is already is available through digital retailers from Lionsgate.

Writer-director Ruben Östlund examines the status-obsessed culture of wealth, beauty and privilege in his English-language debut, which won the Palme d’Or at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival. Triangle of Sadness was nominated for three Oscars at the 95th Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.

In the film, a model-influencer couple (Harris Dickinson and Charlbi Dean) are invited an all-expenses-paid cruise filled with wealthy guests — but an act of fate turns their Insta-perfect world upside down. The cast also includes Dolly de Leon, Zlatko Burić, Henrik Dorsin, Vicki Berlin and Woody Harrelson.

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The Criterion edition sports a new 4K digital master with a 5.1 surround DTS-HD master audio soundtrack. The 4K Ultra HD package will include a 4K disc of the film, and a regular Blu-ray with the film and bonus material.

Extras include an interview with Östlund and filmmaker and actor Johan Jonason; two behind-the-scenes featurettes, one about the film’s special effects and another about a challenging day on set; and the film’s trailer.

Triangle of Sadness also marks the final film for Charlbi Dean before her death from a bacterial infection in August at age 32.

 

Venom: Let There Be Carnage

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 12/14/21;
Sony Pictures;
Action;
Box Office $212.5 million;
$30.99 DVD, $38.99, Blu-ray, $45.99 UH BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense sequences of violence and action, some strong language, disturbing material and suggestive references.
Stars Tom Hardy, Woody Harrelson, Michelle Williams, Naomie Harris, Reid Scott, Stephen Graham, Peggy Lu.

The follow-up to 2018’s Venom is even more bizarre than its predecessor.

The sequel finds journalist Eddie Brock (Tom Hardy) continuing to co-exist with Venom, the alien symbiote from Marvel Comics that has bonded with him and occasionally takes over his body. Brock is asked to interview death-row inmate Cletus Kasady (Woody Harrelson), who was introduced at the end of the last film, and with Venom’s help is able to uncover where Kasady hid the bodies of his murder victims.

During one meeting, Venom is provoked into attacking Kasady, who bites Brock’s hand and absorbs some of the symbiote, which evolves into a new being named Carnage.

During Kasady’s lethal injection, Carnage emerges and helps him escape from prison. Kasady then seeks out his long-lost love Frances (Naomie Harris), who was separated from him when they were kids because she can scream destructive sonic blasts, earning her the nickname Shriek.

Meanwhile, Venom and Brock have a fight because Venom needs to eat human brains and Eddie won’t let him chow down on bad guys, so Venom detaches from Eddie and starts exploring the world with other hosts, though they aren’t as compatible with him as Eddie was and burn out quickly.

As Brock helps the police track own Kasady, Carnage and Kasady vow to destroy Brock and Venom, setting up a brutal final showdown.

Let There Be Carnage doubles down on all the quirks of the first film, particularly Hardy’s offbeat performance.

Directing duties for the sequel were taken over by Andy Serkis, and the process of making the film is covered in the seven-minute “Let There Be … Action” featurette on both the DVD and Blu-ray editions of the movie.

The Blu-ray also includes several additional interesting featurettes, such as the 10-minute “Eddie & Venom: The Odd Couple,” the five-and-a-half-minute “Sick and Twisted Cletus Kasady,” and the four-and-a-half-minute “Concept to Carnage,” about designing the new villain. Also included is the five-minute “A Fine Romance: Cletus & Shriek,” and the four-and-a-half-minute “Tangled Web: Easter Eggs,” which tracks the films’ references to the comic book source material.

The Blu-ray also includes a three-minute blooper reel, eight-and-a-half-minutes of select scene pre-vis sequences, and six deleted scenes that run a total of nine-and-a-half minutes, mostly including alternate and extended versions of scenes, and an alternate ending.

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2012

4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Sony Pictures;
Sci-Fi;
$30.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘PG-13’ for intense disaster sequences and some language.
Stars John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Danny Glover and Woody Harrelson
.

There’s nothing like a Roland Emmerich disaster film to brighten your day during a pandemic, making our current situation look rosy by comparison.

The director (The Day After TomorrowIndependence Day) has given us many an epic about the end of the world, but none perhaps so gloriously catastrophic as 2012, in which we watch cities collapse and continents crumble as John Cusack mugs his way through the chaos famously predicted by the ancient Mayans. Basically, it’s something about planets aligning, solar flares, the center of the Earth heating up and the world ending in 2012 (Transpose the last two numbers and you get 2021. Hmmm…). But honestly Emmerich fans don’t really dwell too much on the whys and hows of it all. They’re too busy waiting for the next earthquake, volcano explosion and tsunami to wipe out America and the world. Iconic shots include Los Angeles sliding into the ocean, St. Peter’s Basilica rolling over worshippers, and the John F. Kennedy aircraft carrier toppling onto the White House — all of which look disastrously wonderful in 4K with HDR.

Woody Harrelson offers some scene-chewing dark humor as a conspiracy theorist waiting at Yellowstone National Park for the explosion of the super volcano. The president (Danny Glover) and his daughter, a scientist who predicts it all, a Russian oligarch and his mistress, and a plane-flying stepdad all make appearances, but at the core of the film is Jackson Curtis (Cusack), a struggling writer and limo driver who is trying to save his ex-wife and children from pending doom. The actors add to the fun with performances that are, as always in an Emmerich film, bordering on the cartoonish, but just convincing enough to keep audiences relishing the action and going with the premise.

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The 4K disc features Dolby Atmos sound and the Discovery Channel’s 2012 Apocalypse featurette, which speculates on the likelihood of the disastrous events in the film using footage from the movie. Actually, the featurette is interesting because it answers some of the scientific questions one might have about how probable this all is. (Basically, it’s not. Whew!)

Bonus features on the Blu-ray in the combo pack include an interactive Mayan calendar; five featurettes on bringing the epic to life; deleted scenes; an alternate ending; “Picture-in-Picture: Roland’s Vision”; feature commentary; and an Adam Lambert music video.

2012 is one of those 4K discs that enthusiasts are going to want pop into their player to show off their home theater.

Disaster Film ‘2012’ Coming to 4K UHD Jan. 19 From Sony

The disaster film 2012 will come out on 4K Ultra HD Jan. 19 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

From Roland Emmerich, director of The Day After Tomorrow and Independence Day, comes the action-adventure movie about the end of the world, starring John Cusack, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Amanda Peet, Danny Glover and Woody Harrelson. As the world faces a catastrophe of apocalyptic proportions, cities collapse and continents crumble.

Bonus features on the 4K disc include Dolby Atmos sound and Discovery Channel’s 2012 Apocalypse featurette. Bonus features on Blu-ray include an interactive Mayan calendar; five featurettes on bringing the epic to life; deleted scenes; an alternate ending; “Picture-in-Picture: Roland’s Vision”; feature commentary; and an Adam Lambert music video.

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Honoring History With ‘Midway’

Director-producer Roland Emmerich is known for epic science-fiction battles between humans, aliens and monsters, but it was the film of an actual battle in World War II that he waited two decades to make.

While collaborating with Emmerich on another project, screenwriter Wes Tooke asked the director, “What’s the one that got away?”

Emmerich told him it was the story of the battle of Midway, the 1942 clash between the American fleet and the Imperial Japanese Navy that marked a pivotal turning point in the Pacific Theater. He’d tried to make it while at Sony 20 years earlier, but the budget and subject weren’t right for the studio. Thus, with Tooke as screenwriter, Emmerich got together a production team to film Midway, based on the real-life events of this heroic feat, telling the story of the leaders and sailors in the battle.

Midway is available on digital, DVD, Blu-ray Disc and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from Lionsgate.

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“I wanted to make this movie for 20 years, and I’m glad I finally made it,” said Emmerich in the disc commentary.

“Roland insisted that we make every effort to make all aspects of the film as accurate as possible,” Tooke said. “Everything that happens onscreen, in terms of historical events, is factual and in chronological order. It begins in December 1941 with Pearl Harbor and ends in June with the Battle of Midway. It is the most dramatic six months in the history of warfare.”

The cast includes Ed Skrein, Patrick Wilson, Luke Evans, Aaron Eckhart, Nick Jonas, Darren Criss, Mandy Moore, Dennis Quaid and Woody Harrelson.

Quaid plays Admiral William “Bull” Halsey.

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“Midway is an amazing story, and it has never been told right,” he noted in the extras.

Harrelson is legendary Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, who is given the position of Commander in Chief, Pacific Ocean Areas, famously termed “the most difficult job in the world,” after the attack at Pearl Harbor.

“Everybody was very conscientious about trying to make it real, and I think they got it right,” said Harrelson in the extras.

One hard-to-believe fact about the Midway battle is the harrowing way the dive-bombers attacked the Japanese ships. It was one of the aspects of the battle that got Emmerich interested in telling the story. In the film, viewers travel along with the pilots as they plummet precipitously toward the target, drop the bomb and pull up at the last minute.

“I wanted to show how incredibly dangerous these dives were,” Emmerich said in the extras. “What these people did — they were pretty much missiles, what we do today with missiles. They were manned missiles, these planes. The later you deployed a bomb, the more chance you had to hit a target.”

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The authenticity didn’t stop there. Filmmakers were scrupulous in recreating the era and the weapons of World War II, building replicas of both the torpedo- and bomb-dropping planes, as well as other equipment right down to the screws, nuts and bolts that aren’t used anymore. They were also able to shoot at historic locations.

“When you’re looking at a building that has bullet holes on the side of it from the attack in 1941, you know, ‘OK, we’re going to tell this story as truthfully as we can,”’ said Wilson, in the extras.

Nick Jonas plays radioman Bruno Gaido in ‘Midway.’

Wilson plays Edwin Layton, a U.S. Navy intelligence officer, just one of the actual participants in the battle who are memorialized in the film. Nick Jonas, who was offered many parts, chose to play radioman Bruno Gaido, known for heroically shooting down a Japanese plane before it hit his carrier. He was later lost in the battle. “I wanted to do justice to Bruno because he was a real American hero,” he said. Skrein is Dick Best, the unsung hero pilot of Midway who destroys Japanese ships, but never flies again due to injury.

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Emmerich was also careful to acknowledge the bravery of the Japanese, casting several renowned Japanese actors.

“When you make a war movie and you show one side as the bad guys and the other side as the good guys, I think you don’t do war justice because I think you have to understand what was the Japanese side,” he said in the extras. “It enlightens people. It shows that they are also human. They’re also brave.”

The director hopes the film is able to stand as a testament to the Greatest Generation.

“I’m thrilled that we had the opportunity to tell this story because young people today don’t always know the stories about those who fought for their freedom,” Emmerich said. “I think that without the generation who fought in WWII, our world would be very different.”

4K ULTRA HD / BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Audio Commentary by Roland Emmerich
  • “Getting It Right: The Making of Midway” Featurette
  • “The Men of Midway” Featurette
  • “Roland Emmerich: Man on a Mission” Featurette
  • “Turning Point: The Legacy of Midway” Featurette
  • “Joe Rochefort: Breaking the Japanese Code” Featurette
  • “We Met at Midway: Two Survivors Remember” Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer

 

DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Audio Commentary by Roland Emmerich
  • “Getting It Right: The Making of Midway” Featurette
  • “The Men of Midway” Featurette
  • Theatrical Trailer

Zombieland: Double Tap

BLU-RAY REVIEW:

Street Date 1/21/20;
Sony Pictures;
Comedy;
Box Office $73.09 million;
$30.99 DVD, $34.99 Blu-ray, $45.99 UHD BD;
Rated ‘R’ for bloody violence, language throughout, some drug and sexual content.
Stars Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Zoey Deutch, Avan Jogia, Rosario Dawson, Luke Wilson, Thomas Middleditch.

The original Zombieland in 2009 was such a delightful surprise that most fans considered a sequel to be an inevitability. Yet the years without one started to pile up, save for a pilot episode in 2013 of a TV adaptation for Amazon Prime Video that wasn’t picked up.

Ruben Fleischer, director of both the original film and this 10-years-later follow up, recalls in his commentary that plans for the sequel stalled because the creative team wasn’t satisfied with the script, so it was put on hold. Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick at least tried to resurrect the concept on Amazon, albeit with a new cast, before moving on to pen the “Deadpool” movies. Fleischer himself went on to direct Venom.

Eventually, though, they found a concept that works, and here we are with the hilarious Double Tap, dropping back in on the post-apocalypse to see how the core quartet of Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) have adjusted to a decade of life fighting zombies.

Pretty well, it turns out. They’ve taken up residence in the abandoned White House, while Columbus and Wichita have graduated to a full-fledged romantic relationship. That leaves the now grown-up Little Rock a bit restless to find a boyfriend of her own, so she hits the road with a pacifist musician named Berkeley (Avan Jogia), who promises to take her to a walled off commune where weapons are banned and the residents hide out from the zombie hordes by getting stoned in a village atop a skyrise.

So the rest of the group sets off to find her, joined by Madison (Zoey Deutch), a ditzy blonde they find living at the mall.

The zombies have also evolved into different sub-groups, some smarter than others, some harder to kill than others, which ups the danger factor of their road trip.

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The joy of the “Zombieland” movies is that they fully embrace the blood, gore and dystopian flavor of the genre, while at the same time spoofing the hell out of it. This time around, the movie even engages in a bit of self-parody, such as when Columbus and Tallahassee encounter another duo (Luke Wilson and Thomas Middleditch) whose personalities are eerily similar.

The casting of Middleditch as a doppelganger for Eisenberg is but one example of the film’s meta-humor, owing to Eisenberg’s performance as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, and Middleditch as the tech startup CEO on HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” The similarity in their characters is so pronounced that Fleischer even calls Eisenberg “Tom” at one point in his commentary. Oops.

There are quite a few running gags at play in Double Tap, from an expansion of the survival rules introduced in the first film, to the elaborate “Zombie Kill of the Week” cutaways, to the search for the ideal post-apocalyptic vehicle, to reflections of the past 10 years from the point of view of a society frozen in 2009. And the filmmakers have filled the screen with enough clever background details that it may take several viewings to fully appreciate.

At its core, though, as with the first film, Zombieland: Double Tap is anchored by the winning chemistry of its cast and the audience’s eagerness to spend more time with them.

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The Blu-ray is loaded with some great bonus materials, starting with the aforementioned director’s commentary, which offers some good behind-the-scenes information.

The making of the film is also the focus of five featurettes totaling nearly 35 minutes, covering the creation of the film’s memorable vehicles and sets, to the new cast members, and a look at making the fantastic mid-credits sequence that calls back to a memorable cameo from the first film.

Another two-minute video gives viewers a director’s-eye view of one of the film’s notable fight scenes.

Fans should be especially thrilled by the nearly 13 minutes of deleted scenes on the disc, which offer some great character moments that didn’t quite work for the film’s pacing but offer some interest tidbits on their own, particularly when it comes to the Columbus/Wichita relationship.

Rounding out the extras are an amusing five-minute blooper reel and a 30-second PSA using the film’s premise to encourage viewers to prepare their own emergency survival kits.