Holiday Travel Tip
‘Twas the night before Christmas … and DC dropped a final holiday gift.
The upcoming release of Superman: Red Son includes the all-new DC Showcase animated short, Phantom Stranger. Here are the first images from Phantom Stranger depicting the two lead characters – the Phantom Stranger (voiced by Peter Serafinowicz of The Tick fame) and the mysterious Seth (voiced by Smallville‘s Michael Rosenbaum).
Phantom Stranger has Bruce Timm (Batman: The Killing Joke) at the helm as executive producer & director, and the short is written by Ernie Altbacker (Teen Titans: The Judas Contract). Set in the 1970s, the short follows young adult Jess as she joins her friends at a party in a dilapidated mansion hosted by the mysterious Seth. When odd things begin to happen to Jess and her friends, the Phantom Stranger intervenes to try and save her from a dreary fate. In addition to Serafinowicz and Rosenbaum, “Phantom Stranger” also features the voices of Natalie Lander, Grey Griffin and Roger Craig Smith.
The Phantom Stranger was created by John Broome, Carmine Infantino, and Sy Barry for the short-lived eponymous series with Phantom Stranger #1 cover-dated August/September 1952. After a five-issue run, it was canceled, only to be resurrected in the late 1960s. While initially reprinting the original run, under dynamic Neal Adams covers, new material began to appear. The series found its footing and a growing fan following, during the run by Len Wein and Jim Aparo. The character, in various incarnations, has been a mainstay member of the DC Universe’s supernatural community ever since.
Superman: Red Son, an Elseworlds entry in the popular series of DC Universe Movies, arrives from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting February 25, 2020, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack on March 17, 2020.
It has been an exceptionally disappointing year for smart, serious science fiction on the screen. In a short period, we had the crash and burn of Ad Astra and Lucy in the Sky, the latter of which has been made available for streaming by Fox Home Entertainment ahead of its inevitable release on disc.
Where Noah Hawley’s Legion was a surreal character study that got you involved with the characters, this film, co-written with Brian C Brown and Elliott DiGuiseppi, keeps every character at arm’s length. We open with mission specialist Lucy Cola in space and follow her re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere.
Clearly, like so many real-world astronauts, the experience was deeply affecting, but unlike the others, she is now forever altered and no one notices. Those closest to her, such as her husband Drew (Dan Stevens) and grandmother Nana Holbrook (Ellen Burstyn), seem oblivious.
At NASA, her psychiatrist Will Plimpton (Nick Offerman) and colleague Mark Goodwin (Jon Hamm) suspect something’s off, but the former does little about it while the latter embarks on a torrid affair with her. He’s been to space and becomes the only one she even attempts to articulate how being among the stars has altered her perceptions.
Over time, Lucy begins spiraling out of control with minimal efforts to help her, while Mark gives up on her in favor of Erin Eccles (Zazie Beetz), an astronaut/rival. All of which builds up to Lucy being denied a return to space so stalks Mark accompanied by her niece Blue Iris (Pearl Amanda Dickson.
The back half of the film is heavily influenced by the 2007 incident that saw Capt. Lisa M. Nowak arrested after attacking Colleen Shipman, an Air Force captain she saw as a romantic rival.
Across the 2:05 of the running time, we don’t get to know any character with any depth nor do we sympathize with Lucy as reality slips from her grasp. There’s a sterility to the storytelling that leaves you looking at your watch and wondering who thought this was a good way to make a film.
Kudos to Hawley and cinematographer Polly Morgan for playing with the aspect ratio, making it an actual part of the story, honing in and out of Lucy’s perceptions.
The streaming edition was reviewed and looks just grand on your home television screen. The film is accompanied by four Deleted Scenes (9:47), one of which attempted to show another side of Lucy and one which gave Mark some character. There are four other pieces — Directors Journey (5:12), Creating Magical Realism (6:50), Making Space (5:42), Lucy Cola (4:15) – are all too short and all too on the surface to be involving or help explain how this misfired.
Universal City, California, December 19, 2019 – With the clock ticking down, an NYPD detective is plunged into the midst of a large-scale conspiracy, while trying to bring forth justice in 21 BRIDGES, arriving on Digital February 4, 2020 and Blu-ray™, DVD and On Demand on February 18, 2020 from STXfilms and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. 21 BRIDGES is a gripping thriller that keeps audiences captivated with its twists and turns as the gray area between cop and criminal becomes more apparent. Hailed as a “battering ram of a movie” (The New York Times), the suspense and nonstop action of 21 BRIDGES allows viewers to take part in uncovering the many layers of the conspiracy themselves.
Led by Chadwick Boseman (Marvel’s Black Panther, 42) as the film’s fearless protagonist, 21 BRIDGES features an all-star cast with Sienna Miller (American Sniper, Foxcatcher), Stephan James (If Beale Street Could Talk, Homecoming), Emmy Award® winner Keith David (Cloud Atlas, Platoon) with Taylor Kitsch (True Detective, Friday Night Lights) and Oscar® winner J.K. Simmons (Whiplash, Spider-Man). 21 BRIDGES is directed by Brian Kirk (Game of Thrones, The Tudors) and written by Matthew Michael Carnahan (World War Z, Deepwater Horizon) and Adam Mervis (The Philly Kid, The Shakespeare Theorem). As their first major project since Avengers: Endgame, Anthony and Joe Russo (Community, Avengers: Infinity War) produce alongside Mike Larocca (Spy, Rise of the Planet of the Apes), Robert Simonds (Bad Moms, The Wedding Singer), Gigi Pritzker (Hell or High Water, Ender’s Game), Logan Coles (Message from the King, Heaven), and star Chadwick Boseman.
21 BRIDGES follows an embattled NYPD detective (Boseman), who is thrust into a citywide manhunt for a pair of cop killers after uncovering a massive and unexpected conspiracy. As the night unfolds, lines become blurred on who he is pursuing, and who is in pursuit of him. When the search intensifies, extreme measures are taken to prevent the killers from escaping Manhattan as the authorities close all 21 BRIDGES to prevent any entry or exit from the iconic island.
BLU-RAYTM, DVD & DIGITAL BONUS FEATURES:
• Deleted Scenes
• Feature Commentary with Director Brian Kirk
21 BRIDGES will be available on Blu-rayTM, DVD and Digital.
• Blu-rayTM unleashes the power of your HDTV and is the best way to watch movies at home, featuring 6X the picture resolution of DVD, exclusive extras and theater-quality surround sound.
• Digital lets fans watch movies anywhere on their favorite devices. Users can instantly stream or download.
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Sienna Miller, Stephan James, Keith David with Taylor Kitsch and J.K. Simmons
Casting By: Avy Kaufman, CSA
Music By: Henry Jackman and Alex Belcher
Costume Designer: David Robinson
Edited By: Tim Murrell
Production Designer: Greg Berry
Directory of Photography: Paul Cameron, ASC
Executive Producers: Rachel Shane, Adrian Alperovich, Mark Kamine, Todd Makurath, Wang Zhongjun, Wang Zhonglei, Felice Bee, Adam Fogelson
Produced By: Anthony Russo, p.g.a., Joe Russo, p.g.a., Mike Larocca, p.g.a., Robert Simonds, Gigi Pritzker, Chadwick Boseman, p.g.a., Logan Coles, p.g.a.
Story By: Adam Mervis
Screenplay By: Adam Mervis and Matthew Michael Carnahan
Directed By: Brian Kirk
TECHNICAL INFORMATION BLU-RAY:
Street Date: February 18, 2020
Selection Number: 64202526
Layers: BD 50
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 2.39:1 Widescreen
Rating: R for violence and language throughout
Languages/Sound: English – DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish
Run Time: 1 hour 39 minutes
TECHNICAL INFORMATION DVD:
Street Date: February 18, 2020
Selection Number: 64202525
Layers: DVD 9
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 2.39:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: R for violence and language throughout
Languages/Sound: English – Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH and Spanish
Run Time: 1 hour 39 minutes
John Krasinski is hoping fans want more silence because he and Paramount Pictures have a sequel to A Quiet Place ready for 2020. In fact, they have release a teaser ahead of the first trailer, which is expected on New Year’s Day.
The official synopsis: Following the deadly events at home, the Abbott family (Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe) must now face the terrors of the outside world as they continue their fight for survival in silence. Forced to venture into the unknown, they quickly realize that the creatures that hunt by sound are not the only threats that lurk beyond the sand path.
Krasinski is once more writing and directing with the film being produced by Michael Bay, Andrew Form, Brad Fuller, and Krasinski. The film characters created by Bryan Woods & Scott Beck.
BURBANK, CA (December 18, 2019) – What if the Man of Steel was raised behind the Iron Curtain? So begins DC’s acclaimed Elseworlds story, Superman: Red Son, the next entry in the popular series of DC Universe Movies. Produced by Warner Bros. Animation and DC, the feature-length animated film arrives – along with a new DC Showcase animated short, Phantom Stranger – from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment on Digital starting February 25, 2020, and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack on March 17, 2020.
Superman: Red Son will be available on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (USA $39.99 SRP; Canada $43.99 SRP) and Blu-ray Combo Pack (USA $24.98 SRP; Canada $34.97 SRP) as well as on Digital. The 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc in 4K with HDR, a Blu-ray disc featuring the film in hi-definition, and a digital version of the movie. The Blu-ray Combo Pack features a Blu-ray disc with the film in hi-definition, a DVD with the film in standard definition, and a digital version of the movie.
Based on DC’s famed Elseworlds tale from 2003, Superman: Red Son takes place in an alternate reality where the spaceship bearing the last survivor of Krypton crash lands – not in rural Kansas, but in Stalinist Russia. Can this Cold War-era Earth survive the coming of a Soviet Superman?
Golden Globe-nominated actor Jason Isaacs leads a stellar cast as the voice of the alternate, Soviet take on Superman. Isaacs, one of the stars of the Harry Potter film franchise, Star Trek: Discovery and more than 120 films and television series, gets his turn as a Super Hero after three memorable appearances in DC Universe Movies as famous Super-Villains from the DC library. Isaacs previously voiced Sinestro in Green Lantern: Emerald Knights, Lex Luthor in Justice League: Gods and Monsters and Ra’s al Ghul in Batman: Under the Red Hood.
Joining Isaacs is Diedrich Bader (American Housewife, Veep, The Drew Carey Show) as Lex Luthor, Amy Acker (Angel, Person of Interest, The Gifted) as Lois Lane, Vanessa Marshall (Young Justice, Star Wars Rebels) as Wonder Woman, Phil Morris (Seinfeld, Doom Patrol) as James Olsen, Academy Award winner Paul Williams (Goliath, Phantom of the Paradise) as Brainiac, Roger Craig Smith (Batman Ninja, Batman: Arkham Origins) as Batman, Sasha Roiz (Grimm) as Hal Jordan, Phil LaMarr (Futurama, Pulp Fiction, Justice League/Justice League Unlimited) as John Stewart, Jim Meskimen (Parks and Recreation, Impress Me) as John F. Kennedy, Travis Willingham (Critical Role, Batman: Bad Blood) as Superior Man, William Salyers (Regular Show, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders) as Joseph Stalin, and Winter Ave Zoli (Sons of Anarchy, Bosch) as Svetlana.
Superman: Red Son is produced and directed by Sam Liu (Reign of the Supermen) from a script by J.M. DeMatteis (Batman: Bad Blood, Constantine: City of Demons). Jim Krieg (Batman: Gotham by Gaslight) is co-producer. Amy McKenna (The Death of Superman) is producer. Executive Producers are Sam Register and Bruce Timm (Batman: The Animated Series).
“Elseworlds tales from DC’s vast library of stories have long electrified fans across the globe, and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment has now begun to mine these fascinating stories – first with last year’s release of Batman: Gotham By Gaslight, and now with Superman: Red Son,” said Mary Ellen Thomas, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Senior Vice President, Originals, Animation and Family. “Together with Bruce Timm’s animated short, Phantom Stranger, this combination of unique storytelling promises to entertain in unexpected ways.”
Superman: Red Son Special Features
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital
Superman: Red Son will also be available on Movies Anywhere. Using the free Movies Anywhere app and website, consumers can access all their eligible movies by connecting their Movies Anywhere account with their participating digital retailer accounts.
Fans can also own Superman: Red Son via purchase from digital retailers beginning February 25, 2020.
4K UHD Combo Pack, $39.99 USA, $43.99 Canada
Blu-ray Combo Pack, $24.98 USA, $34.97 Canada
Blu-ray Languages: English, Spanish, French
Blu-ray Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
4K Blu-ray Languages: English, Spanish, French
4K Blu-ray Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
Running Time: 84 minutes
PG-13 for violent content, bloody images, suggestive material, language, thematic elements, and some smoking.
BURBANK, CA – Viewers can’t stop talking about yesterday’s exhilarating Watchmen season finale. Starting today, those viewers – along with new fans – can relive all of the excitement of HBO’s new #1 scripted series as Warner Bros. Home Entertainment brings Watchmen: Season 1 to Digital for the first time today for $34.99 Retail in HD and $24.99 Retail on SD (in Canada $39.99 Retail HD and $29.99 Retail SD). In its series premiere, Watchmen drew 1.5 million Viewers, becoming the second-highest rated HBO original series debut of the past three years, only behind Big Little Lies. Currently “certified fresh” with a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, the digital release of Watchmen: Season 1 includes all nine episodes plus over 75 minutes of bonus content, including nearly 60 minutes of never-before-seen features.
Set in an alternate history where “superheroes” are treated as outlaws, Watchmen embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name while attempting to break new ground of its own. Watchmen is created and executive produced by Damon Lindelof (Lost, The Leftovers) and reunites him with Academy® and Emmy® Award winning actress Regina King (The Leftovers, Southland, If Beale Street Could Talk) leading the cast as Angela Abar/Sister Night. The series also stars Emmy® Award winner Jean Smart (Legion, Dirty John), Don Johnson (Miami Vice), Tim Blake Nelson (O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Leaves of Grass), Hong Chau (Homecoming), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Aquaman), Andrew Howard (Bates Motel), Jacob Ming-Trent (Ray Donovan), Tom Mison (Sleepy Hollow), Sara Vickers (The Crown) and Dylan Schombing (Sharp Objects), with Academy Award® winner Louis Gossett Jr. (An Officer and a Gentleman), and Academy, Emmy® and Tony® Award winning actor Jeremy Irons (The Lion King, Reversal of Fortune) .
Produced for HBO by White Rabbit in association with Warner Bros. Television, the series was created for television by Lindelof based on characters co-created for DC by Dave Gibbons. The series is executive produced by Lindelof, Tom Spezialy, Nicole Kassell, Stephen Williams and Joseph E. Iberti.
“There has been an overwhelming reception of Watchmen’s debut season from both fans and critics alike, beginning with the very first episode to last night’s finale,” said Rosemary Markson, Senior Vice President Marketing, Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. “This is a true testament to the creators, producers and actors behind the series and we are thrilled to release Season One immediately on digital beginning today.”
Watchmen: The Complete First Season will also be released on Blu-rayTM and DVD in 2020.
9 ONE-HOUR EPISODES
The first season of Watchmen will be available to own on Digital. Digital purchase allows consumers to instantly stream and download to watch anywhere and anytime on their favorite devices. Digital movies and TV shows are available from various digital retailers including Amazon Prime Video, AppleTV, Google Play, Vudu and others.
Digital Launch: December 16, 2019
EC Runtime: Approx 77 minutes
Digital HD: $34.99 SRP US / $39.99 SRP Canada
Digital SD: $24.99 SRP US / $29.99 SRP Canada
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – From producer James Cameron and director Tim Miller (Deadpool), comes “the Terminator movie we’ve been waiting for” (Scott Menzel, We Live Entertainment). TERMINATOR: DARK FATE arrives two weeks early on Digital January 14, 2020 and on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD January 28 from Paramount Home Entertainment.
The Digital*, 4K Ultra HD, and Blu-ray releases are packed with over an hour of bonus content, including deleted and extended scenes, in-depth featurettes taking fans through the process of reimagining the world after Judgment Day, a look at the climactic final showdown, and a visual effects breakdown.
In addition, the Digital release will include access to two more featurettes and previz sequences showcasing how the action was planned out prior to filming. Plus, select digital platforms will offer film commentary by director Tim Miller and editor Julian Clarke, as well as an introduction and commentary on the deleted scenes
The 4K Ultra HD disc and 4K Ultra HD Digital releases feature Dolby Vision®, which brings entertainment to life through ultra-vivid picture quality with spectacular colors, highlights that are up to 40 times brighter, and blacks that are 10 times darker**. The film also boasts a Dolby Atmos® soundtrack remixed specifically for the home to place audio anywhere in the room, including overhead**. In addition, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Combo Packs include access to a Digital copy of the film.
Decades after Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) prevented Judgment Day, a lethal new Terminator is sent to eliminate the future leader of the resistance. In a fight to save mankind, battle-hardened Sarah teams up with an unexpected ally (Arnold Schwarzenegger) and an enhanced super soldier to stop the deadliest Terminator yet. Humanity’s fate hangs in the balance in this action-packed thrill ride from Tim Miller, the director of Deadpool, and producer James Cameron.
BONUS FEATURES ON 4K ULTRA HD COMBO, BLU-RAY COMBO & DIGITAL*
ONLY AVAILABLE ON DIGITAL*
o Factory Fight
o Air Battle to Humvee Falling
o Humvee Dam
Commentary by director Tim Miller and editor Julian Clarke
The TERMINATOR: DARK FATE DVD includes the feature film in standard definition.
PARAMOUNT PICTURES and SKYDANCE and TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX Present
In Association with TENCENT PICTURES A LIGHTSTORM ENTERTAINMENT / SKYDANCE Production
“TERMINATOR: DARK FATE” LINDA HAMILTON ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER MACKENZIE DAVIS
NATALIA REYES GABRIEL LUNA DIEGO BONETA
Visual Effects & Animation by INDUSTRIAL LIGHT AND MAGIC Music by TOM HOLKENBORG
Costume Designer NGILA DICKSON Editor JULIAN CLARKE, ACE
Production Designer SONJA KLAUS Director of Photography KEN SENG
Executive Producers DANA GOLDBERG DON GRANGER EDWARD CHENG
JOHN J. KELLY TIM MILLER BONNIE CURTIS JULIE LYNN
Produced by JAMES CAMERON, p.g.a. DAVID ELLISON, p.g.a.
Story by JAMES CAMERON & CHARLES EGLEE & JOSH FRIEDMAN & DAVID GOYER & JUSTIN RHODES
Screenplay by DAVID GOYER & JUSTIN RHODES and BILLY RAY
Directed by TIM MILLER
TERMINATOR: DARK FATE
Street Date: January 14, 2020 (Digital)
January 28, 2020 (4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD)
U.S. Rating: R, violence throughout, language and brief nudity
Canadian Rating: 14A, violence, coarse language
Yes, we know. But he would have done it for us. Miss you, fella.
Shortly after HBO released Game of Thrones: The Complete Eighth Season, the Golden Globe nominations were unveiled and its considered a surprise that the series was virtually shut out. After the long wait, the truncated final season arrived this year and rather than take a victory lap, it was showered with complaints.
When the series, adapting George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire novels, arrived, people were stunned at its scope, sweep, violence, sensuality, and strong performances. You weren’t sure who to root for as the status quo kept shifting and beloved characters kept dying in unexpected, messy ways.
Phrases and names seeped into public consciousness just as the series began exhausting the extant prose and then charged ahead while Martin struggled to finish the current novel, in the cycle. Series Executive Producers/Writers/Directors David Benioff & D.B. Weiss got direction from Martin and then increasingly veered off in their own direction. Starting with season seven, we have no idea what’s really going to happen in the source material.
Judging season eight on its own merits reveals that going for six longer episodes rather than more standard-length episodes hurt the build-up to the climax. Events and reactions to events are telescoped, largely designed to isolate Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), pushing her to fulfill her destiny as the Mad Queen.
Her lover and rival, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) remains a largely passive figure in the first five episodes so his action in the finale doesn’t feel particularly heroic. He may not want to be King of the North or even King of the Seven Lands, but he never makes clear what he does want.
It is interesting, though, to watch Daenerys’ rival, Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) refuse to bend the knee or compromise in any way, also isolating her so when she dies, it’s with just her brother Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), who never fully redeemed himself. She is gone, unmourned, and quickly forgotten.
If anyone “wins”, it’s Jon’s sister Sansa (Sophie Turner), who has held the North intact despite misogyny and political strife. But, as the third female pillar of power, she too is isolated. Not from her people like the others, but from her family. To be queen means letting her sister Arya (Maisie Williams) go off to exploring the unknown and for Jon to return to the Wall (unaware that what he wants is to go farther north where he could be free).
The final episode helps redeem the uneven quality of the first five, but as a season, it was more whimper than bang despite the huge opening with the battle against the Night King (Vladimír Furdík), who is ultimately dispatched with relative ease making one wonder what all the fuss was about.
I will give credit to the producers for the irony of Bronn (Jerome Flynn), the ultimate survivor, winding up as Westeros’ Master of Coin. And thank goodness Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) managed to redeem himself, however, consigned to help Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) rule.
The sumptuous look of Westeros remains intact so from a production standpoint, the final season is strong. The music, the performances, the special effects, and so on remain top-notch. It’s the writing that proves most disappointing, a shame since the series was born from the word.
The final season comes in a handsome box set with a lovely 1080p transfer in 1.78:1. Yes, some of the bright effects seem pixilated and some of the night scenes murky, but it accurately captures what we experienced last spring so any fault isn’t to be blamed on the disc. On the other hand, the Dolby Atmos track is superb, as is the lossless Dolby Digital 5.1 track.
A series of this nature tends to generate a lot of special features and this box set skips none of the goodies for those seeking even more Game of Thrones details. Every episode comes with a recap and preview for those with faulty memories. There are also Episode Guides that offer text pop-ups. Every episode comes with Audio Commentaries — Episode One with commentary by Co-Producer/Writer Dave Hill and Production Designer Deborah Riley; Episode Two with commentary by Co-Executive Producer/Writer Bryan Cogman and Daniel Portman (Podrick Payne); Episode Three with commentary by Director Miguel Sapochnik, Director of Photography Fabian Wagner and Camera Operator Sean Savage; Episode Four with commentary by Director of Photography David Franco, Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm), Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandel) and Pilou Absek (Euron Greyjoy); Episode Five with commentary by Director Miguel Sapochnik, Director of Photography Fabian Wagner and Conleth Hill (Varys) or Producer Chris Newman, Special Effects Supervisor Sam Conway, and Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Bauer; Episode Six with commentary by Executive Producers/Writers/Directors David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, and Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen).
Additionally, there is When Winter Falls (29:13), a “making of” documentary on the Battle of Winterfell and Duty is the Death of Love (31:36) for the series’ final episode. The week after the series ended, HBO offered fans Game of Thrones: The Last Watch (1:52:58) which is thankfully included here.
Finally, we have smaller glimpses of King’s Landing (2:55), The Greyjoy Rebellion (5:31), The Blackfyres (5:15), The South (2:30), The Defiance of Duskendale (5:17), Maegor the Cruel (5:18), and, of course, Deleted Scenes (8:28).