Box Office Smash ‘The Meg’ Hits Blu-Ray Waters In November

The Meg, which amassed over $525 million worldwide, is hitting Blu-ray and DVD on November 13 via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment (its digital release is set for October 30).

Aside from the great idea of having action Jason Statham attempt to take down a 75-foot shark dubbed the Megaladon, the picture is also directed by ever ready veteran Jon Turteltaub, the filmmaker behind the successful National Treasure films and the 2013 charmer Last Vegas. Ruby Rose, Li Bingbing, and Rainn Wilson round out The Meg’s ensemble.

Special features on the disc include the featurettes “Chomp On This: The Making of The Meg” and “Creating The Beast.”

Were you a fan of The Meg and are you looking forward to its Blu-ray and digital release? Feel free to comment below!

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Blu-Ray Spotlight: Sandra Bullock Leads A-List Cast In Engaging ‘Ocean’s 8’

Sandra Bullock is good friends with Gravity co-star George Clooney (he also executive produced Our Brand Is Crisis), so the A-list actress seems like the perfect choice to steer the Ocean’s franchise into a new direction. Ocean’s 8, which hits Blu-ray and DVD on September 11, proved to be a box office hit (it made over $294 worldwide) and a sequel (though it hasn’t been announced) should be in the offing.

Just released from prison, Debbie Ocean (Sandra Bullock) concocts a plan to steal a $150 million diamond necklace that will be worn by actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway) at the Met Gala. Along with her partner-in-crime Lou (Cate Blanchett), the pair enlist a hacker (Rihanna), diamond expert (Mindy Kaling), pickpocket (Awkafina), fashion designer (Helena Bonham Carter), and a Connecticut based fence (Sarah Paulson) to pull off the operation. Though Ocean’s Eleven filmmaker Steven Soderbergh and Clooney are not present, Ocean’s 8 follows the tried and true formula while carving out territory of its own. Filmmaker Gary Ross (Free State of Jones) brings a light touch to the proceedings, and fans of the previous films should also be satisfied with the breezy yet intricately woven Ocean’s 8.

Special features on the Blu-ray include two deleted scenes which give a bit more spotlight to Sarah Paulson’s character (her banter with Bullock, most notably in the second scene, is fun to watch). Most of the cast, Ross, co-writer Olivia Milch (Deadwood producer David Milch is her father), costume designer Sarah Edwards are among the interviewees who discuss the movie in the featurettes “Ocean’s 3.0,” “Reimagining the Met Gala,” and “A Heist In Heels.” 

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Blu-Ray Review: Guy Pearce Powers Twisty Thriller ‘Spinning Man’

One of Guy Pearce’s best known roles was as an amnesiac whose memory slightly comes back to him via Polaroid pictures in Memento, and in Spinning Man he’s afflicted with a similar condition.

Evan Birch (Pearce) is a college philosophy professor who, although being a family man (Minnie Driver plays his wife), has lecherous tendencies to his students. When a 17-year-old girl (Odeya Rush) goes missing, Detective Malloy (Pierce Brosnan) places Evan as the primary suspect. Alexandra Shipp co-stars as a fellow student who finds herself attracted to Evan, and her infatuation may lead to disastrous results.

Director Simon Kaijser infuses his thriller with an immersive feel, as we see the events unfold primarily through Evan’s eyes. Since Evan has his share of memory lapses and has an interesting take on morality (thanks to his philosophical pursuits), he’s a refreshingly unpredictable character. Driver also does solid work in the feature, which had me guessing about Evan’s guilt right until the very end. The Blu-ray comes with a much needed director’s commentary, and Kaijser thankfully clears up the film’s intricately woven ending (fyi, my interpretation of the final events were entirely wrong, so I appreciated the commentary track). Also included are four minutes worth of deleted scenes and the “Inside Spinning Man” featurette.”

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Blu-Ray Spotlight: ‘Father Figures’ Is A Family Comedy With A Ton of Heart

Father Figures

Now out on Blu-ray and DVD Father Figures centers on Kyle (Ed Helms) and Peter (Owen Wilson), fraternal twins who, on their mother’s (Glenn Close) wedding learn that their late father is actually not their dad! Determined to find their biological father, the pair go on a quest where they meet several guys who could be their dad (Terry Bradshaw plays himself, JK Simmons is a criminal, and Christopher Walken is a veterinarian).

This road comedy, which if one judges by the poster, may seem like an innocuous, forgettable affair but surprisingly the flick has a ton of heart and, running at 113 minutes, a well developed storyline. Credit goes to director Lawrence Sher for making Kyle, who is a stuffy proctologist, a rather unlikable dude for a substantial portion of the narrative. Peter, a millionaire who lucked into his money (he’s the logo for a popular drink), is the more easygoing of the two, and his zest for life absolutely rubs Kyle the wrong way. Bradshaw, Simmons, and Walken all have their moments to shine, but it’s Katt Williams as a hitchhiker they pick up along the way who steals the show.

Along with being a solid and ultimately heartwarming comedy, Father Figures also has 21 minutes of deleted scenes that are featured on both the Blu-ray and DVD versions. These sequences included more moments with Glenn Close, a bonding moment between Kyle and his son, and a scene from Peter and Kyle’s childhood that establishes their rivalry. Overall, Father Figures is definitely worth a look if you’re a fan of the two leads but, more importantly, if you dig comedies that unabashedly pulls your heart strings. 

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Blu-Ray Spotlight: ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ Scores On All Fronts

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESSThe age of physical media may be going the way of the dodo bird, but there are still legitimate cases to be made for having an extensive Blu-ray collection. Streaming your films may be wonderful if your internet never gets laggy, but from my perspective having a disc handy, especially with first rate features, is absolutely necessary.

Murder on the Orient Express, ambitiously directed by Kenneth Branagh (who’s also convincing as Hercule Poirot), is an absolute visual stunner. Branagh brings his underrated cinematic scope (for examples, check out his flicks Hamlet and Thor) into Agatha Christie’s immersive world, as Poirot investigates the passengers on a train where someone was recently murdered.

Boasting an all-star cast that includes Daisy Ridley, Penelope Cruz, and Michelle Pfeiffer (delivering the film’s most standout performance!), Murder on the Orient Express is a must-have if you love watching a beautifully mounted production that’s anchored by first rate stortyelling.

Click on the media bar to hear Daisy Ridley talk about what makes Murder on the Orient Express a unique film:

Murder on the Orient Express also boasts an array of special features, but the crown jewel of the extras are its deleted scenes. The 16 minutes worth of extra footage brings a more comedic element to the proceedings, as Poirot’s obsessive grooming is played for laughs. Also included is a surreal montage sequence which Branagh cites as an homage to the Salvador Dali scene in Spellbound. Last but not least, there is an extended section at the Arasta Bazaar which introduces all the major players of the film (the final scene is much more brisk). The extras also include several featurettes (including a spotlight on Agatha Christie and the music behind the film) as well as commentary from Branagh and screenwriter Michael Green.


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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi

Blu-Ray Spotlight: Julia Roberts And Ensemble Are A ‘Wonder’ In Memorable Film


wonder5

Don’t let the the plotline fool you, as Wonder is not an overly sappy family drama that aims for the lowest common denominator. For one, the picture, which is based on R.J. Palacio’s 2012 novel, is directed by The Perks of Being a Wallflower filmmaker Stephen Chbosky. As with Perks, Chbosky approaches the material with insight, preferring to let this refreshingly intricate story (and not cloying emotion) lead the way.

The storyline centers on Auggie (Room’s Jacob Tremblay), a boy with a facial deformity who enters fifth grade. Home schooled and sheltered by his parents (Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson) and older sister Via (Izabela Vidovic), Auggie has a hard time fitting in thanks to a bullying classmate (Bryce Gheisar) and his friends. Slowly but surely, Auggie makes a couple of friends and gradually finds that school actually has its merits.

The tale may be predictable, but Chbosky frames his narrative by giving various characters their own moment in the film to shine. For example, Via has her very own subplot which deals with her own feelings of neglect (Vidovic, who does a stirring monologue in the picture, is a revelation). Noah Jupe, who plays Auggie’s best friend Jack, is also given his own section of the story which also bolsters the narrative. Roberts and Wilson, though they are the film’s A-list stars, are just a small part of the overall picture, as Tremblay’s excellent performance is ultimately the star of the picture.

Special features on the Blu-ray include a five-part documentary, three featurettes (a look at the making of the soundtrack, “What a Wonderful World”, “A Child’s Sense of Wonder”), audio commentary from Chbosky and Palacio, and a music video (“Brand New Eyes”). The DVD version comes with the commentary, music video, and the soundtrack featurette.

Click on the media bar below to hear Julia Roberts talk about one of the themes behind Wonder:

Wonder is now out on Blu-Ray and DVD.

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Posted by: Greg Srisavasdi