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Mix Picks: Doctor Mirage #1

Mix Picks: Doctor Mirage #1

Nick Robles Variant Cover

Finally, the return of the Death-Defying Doctor Mirage! It’s been over three years since Shan Fong has starred in her own mini-series. Sure, she’s appeared in the Valiant Universe in recent mini-series like Incursion, but she deserves a starring role. Previously in Doctor Mirage, the stories revolved around her deceased husband that Shan can see as a ghost, Hwen. Now not only can she not find Hwen, but her house is in shambles as a new character enters the scene by the name of Grace Lugo who seems to know more about what’s going on than Shan does.

Before you open up this new #1, you’ll notice at the bottom right hand corner the names Magdalene Visaggio (writer), Nick Robles (artist), Jordie Bellaire (colorist), and Dave Sharpe (letterer). This is a uniquely stellar creative team that any publisher right now should be proud to have put together, and is a testament to editor Lysa Hawkins’ insights into the industry. Magdalene is a rising star in the industry with two Eisner nominations under her belt already for Kim & Kim and Eternity Girl, Nick Robles’ career has been skyrocketing as he’s gone from Alien Bounty Hunter at Vault Comics to Euthanauts at IDW to this Valiant Entertainment mini-series in short time, Jordie Bellaire is an Eisner Award winning colorist and firmly established as one of the best in comics, with Dave Sharpe as the most seasoned member of the team having literally lettered thousands of comics. All of this comes together masterfully creating a one of the best visual experiences in comics on the stands right now.

This latest installment in Doctor Mirage feels more like the spiritual successor to Vertigo than anything else coming out now. Between the creators, the subject matter, the tone, everything. If you miss Vertigo, pick up Doctor Mirage.

Not familiar with Doctor Mirage? Don’t worry about it! This is a great introduction to the character. Not familiar with Valiant? Don’t worry about that either! This comic is laser focused on Shan Fong so you don’t have to worry about a lot of Valiant continuity. It’s a very welcoming read.

We don’t want to spoil too much for you, so if we haven’t convinced you yet you can check out the preview pages below. The first page alone is so expertly crafted that we could write an essay just breaking that down alone. You can go buy it today at your local comic shop or on ComiXology!

Oh, one last thing before you check out those preview pages. We’re going to predict right here right now that this will get Jordie Bellaire another Eisner nomination for Best Coloring.

REVIEW: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

REVIEW: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

REVIEW: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum

There’s little original about John Wick the character or the film series, so the reason he is a smash success action hero is all due to Keanu Reeves’ performance. Derek Kolstad created the man in the black suit and his dog, overseeing the direction of the three films although the latest installment, John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, required four screenwriters: Kolstad, Shay Hatten, Chris Collins, and Marc Abrams. That’s never a good sign.

We pick up exactly ten minutes after John Wick Chapter 2, with our hero on the outs with the High Table. He’s on the run with a $14 million bounty on his head and few willing to associate with the “excommunicado” man. Wick is not without resources and manages to get out of New York, using his sole “Get out of Jail” free card.

As he leaves the Big Apple, the Adjudicator (Asia Kate Dillon) arrives to admonish Winston (Ian McShane) and Bowery King (Laurence Fishburn) for their own culpability in Santino’s (Riccardo Scamarcio) death. They have a week to resign their posts or face the consequences.

Wick, meanwhile, winds up in Casablanca seeking guidance from an old friend, Sofia (Halle Berry), presents his marker, and is guided toward the Elder (Saïd Taghmaoui). There, promises are made, sacrifices made, and the tables are set for the action and mayhem to begin in earnest. Before long, we’re back in New York and the tension increases.

While there are shifting alliances throughout, you gain a greater sense of the loyalties Wick has earned through his career, finally allowing us some greater insight into his background. It’s always great to see Reeves and McShane together, such a cool vibe set against the New York City Continental.

By the film’s end, the status quo has shifted and the table is et for chapter four, which the current box office suggests is inevitable.

With Berry and Anjelica Houston (as the Director), the female quota has increased, just not sufficiently. This is an old school male dominated world of violence, with a dollop of spiritualism, that makes it feel antiquated. Things move briskly and the action set pieces are high-octane – and plenty of fun to watch. As we learn more about this world and the rules of engagement, we’re nicely drawn in deeper, making us want to learn more, a testament to Kolstad and director Chad Stahelski, who has now helmed all three films for a consistent look and feel.

John Wick: Chapter 3 is out now from Lionsgate Home Entertainment in a variety of formats including the Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital HD combo pack. The AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.40:1 is marvelous to watch, from the dim interiors to the brilliant desert. It has nicely captured the color palette, surpassed only by the superior Dolby Atmos audio track.

Given how cool Wick has become and the following he has earned, the Special Features could have been better. We have quite a collection, with some better than others. We start with Parabellum: Legacy of The High Table (10:57)  as cast and crew talk the production, Excommunicado (9:44); Check Your Sights (9:55), all about the action; Saddle Up Wick (5:10); Bikes, Blades, Bridges, and Bits (6:35); Continental in the Desert (10:15); Dog Fu (8:04); House of Transparency (7:10); Shot by Shot (8:57) looks at the editing process. Theatrical Trailers, and Behind the Scenes of John Wick Hex (6:54

REVIEW: Godzilla King of the Monsters

REVIEW: Godzilla King of the Monsters

In a world where super-hero films rule the box office, you need something big and spectacular to attract attention. Legendary Pictures, which has cofinanced its share of heroic fare, has licensed the biggest monsters around: Godzilla and King Kong. They have dubbed it the Monsterverse and in Godzilla (2014) and King Kong: Skull Island (2017), they have sewn the seeds for these titans to mix it up for the first time in decades.

This summer’s Godzilla: King of the Monsters expanded that universe by giving us plenty of kaiju, introducing modern day audiences to Mothra, Rodan, and King Ghidorah. They are large and loud and ready to do battle with one another, sweeping mankind out of their way as mere impediments. It also sets up next spring’s Godzilla vs. Kong.

Given what we received, this never should have taken five years to make, ruining whatever momentum the reboot of the 1954 Toho classic, had.  At least they acknowledge its’ been five years and we see where our characters have been.

Dr. Emma Russell (Vera Farmiga) remains with Monarch, working on locating and identifying the MUTOs, now called Titans. We find her now separated from her husband Mark (Kyle Chandler), who has isolated himself from the world, still mourning the death of their son Andrew. He remains a video chat away from daughter Madison (Millie Bobby Brown), who is with mom.

They’re on hand for not only the rebirth of Mothra, but the arrival of Alan Jonah (Charles Dance), an underdeveloped ecoterrorist with a fuzzy agenda. We know he wants control of the reborn Titans, but to what end is unclear throughout. Instead, Jonah is just a bad guy and casting Dance merely works as shorthand since he is given nothing to do.

When he abducts Emma and Maddie, Dr. Ishirō Serizawa (Ken Watanabe) and Dr. Vivienne Graham (Sally Hawkins) convince Mark to rejoin Monarch and help. Jonah is after Ghidorah, slumbering in Antarctica and we learn he was never intended to be part of the monster eco system of eons past. An alien alpha monster, he is threat to Titan and Human alike.

Thank goodness they have Godzilla on their side, even though he gets beaten a lot. The other kaiju have their own battles with the three-headed creature or one another or military aircraft. Now, while the script is wretched, the battles are swell. If you grew up with these monsters, then you’ll be pleased. If all you know is the Pacific Rim kaiju, then see how it should be done.

There’s human betrayal and self-sacrifice, heroic and noble deeds done alone with a dash of redemption. But it’s all too little to give this the emotional heft it needed. Forbes recently complained about the film’s disappointing box office, ascribing it to monster fatigue, which is nonsense. One good monster a movie a year should be part of a well-balanced film diet, just one that nourishes the soul. The 42% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes tells you far more about the film’s failure to connect.

Writer/director Michael Dougherty, who shared script credit with Zach Shields, clearly loves these characters and once he was brought in to replace Gareth Edwards, put in a lot of thought. It just didn’t translate to the script, wasting a rich cast in lead and supporting parts.

The film has been released in the usual assortment of packages including the Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD combo pack. The 4K UHD version, not reviewed here, debuts HDR10+ along with Dolby Vision and HDR10 for improved dynamic rendering.

The 1080p high definition transfer is strong and crisp, capturing the scales and flames in their colorful glory. The Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio soundtrack is up to the challenge, letting the roars and explosions surround you while still letting Bear McCreary’s fine score clearly come through.

The extras are plentiful but unspectacular, much like the film. There’s an audio commentary from Dougherty, who demonstrates his affection and goals.

We then have four almost useless and too-short Monsters 101 — Godzilla: Nature’s Fearsome Guardian (1:01), Mothra: Queen of the Monsters (2:02), King Ghidorah: The Living Extinction Machine (1:32), Rodan: Airborne God of Fire (1:15). You learn more for the somewhat better Evolution of the Monsters — Godzilla 2.0 (8:40), Making Mothra (7:01), Creating Ghidorah (6:24), Reimagining Rodan (5:19).

The various set pieces are covered with Monarch in Action — The Yunnan Temple (6:59), Castle Bravo (6:19), The Antarctic Base (6:26), The Isla de Mara Volcano (5:56), The Undersea Lair (7:19), reminding you of how strong the set design was.

We then finish with a profile on Stranger Things’ breakout star Millie Bobby Brown: Force of Nature (4:08) and Monster Tech: Monarch Joins the Fight (8:36).

Perhaps the most interesting piece, and the longest, is Monsters Are Real (14:09) with Stephen T. Asma, author of On Monsters, tracing our fascination with monsters back to Gilgamesh; Liz Gloyn, University of London, Barnaby Less, Monsterverse Development, and Richard Freeman, Zoological Director, Centre for Fortean Zoology adding their own two cents.

The least useful piece is Welcome to the Monsterverse (3:44), where Less talks about the worldbuilding but there’s too little content and too many clips from the film itself.

We finished with two Deleted Scenes (5:03), the first a Mark Russell moment as we see his tortured state of mind and continuing sense of loss. The second is a fight between Emma and Maddie, ending with her realizing how the rest of the world is suffering from kaiju attacks. Either could have helped the film.

Thor swearing on a Bible

The Law Is A Ass #448: The (Dare)Devil’s In De Tales

Yes, him, again.

Matt Murdock. Daredevil. The subject of our last six get togethers.

But not to worry, we shan’t be talking about him again. Ever. Daredevil #612 was the last part of a four-part story called “The Death of Daredevil.” So that’s it, isn’t it? Daredevil is dead.

I mean, it’s not like Marvel would kill off a character and then bring him or her back to life, is it?

In Daredevil #609, the start of the four-part story, Matt was hit by a truck while saving a kid. I don’t know if it was a Mack truck or a semi with a hemi or even a hemi-demi-semi-quaver, but it was big. Big enough to send Matt to the hospital and to reevaluate his lot in life. Lots.

And Matt decided what he was going to do, if it was the last thing he did, was to prove that Wilson (The Kingpin of Crime) Fisk rigged the election and wasn’t legally the mayor of New York City. So Matt gathered together a team who could help him assemble the proof he needed to take down Fisk.

For three issues assistant Manhattan district attorney Matt Murdock and his team did just that. Assembled. They assembled more than Bob the Builder on speed. Until finally, Matt had a strong enough case to take to his boss, Manhattan district attorney Ben Hochberg.

Hochberg didn’t agree. Fisk was, after all, the Mayor. He was Hochberg’s boss and set the budget for Hochberg’s office. Hochberg didn’t want to risk rocking the boat by accusing Fisk of rooking the vote. But Matt prevailed on Hochberg with all the powers of persuasion that he could muster in all of five panels and Hochberg relented. He prosecuted Fisk for election fraud.

First Hochberg called Daredevil. Then he called the rest of Daredevil’s team; Cypher, Frank McGee, and Reader, supporting characters in the story that were so unimportant that I almost didn’t even mention them here. Then Hochberg called every character in the Marvel Universe from A-Bomb to Zzzax.

Okay, not really. But he did call Captain America, Thor, She-Hulk, and Spider-Man.

Oh yeah, and then, as the main event, Hochberg called as his final witness, Wilson Fisk.

Now I wish I could say, “not really,” again, but I can’t. Hochberg called the defendant as a prosecution witness.

But I’m not going to write about that; I already have. Several times. In earlier columns, I’ve covered the fact that the Fifth Amendment’s guarantee against self-incrimination means the prosecution can’t call the defendant as a prosecution witness about as many times as Vin Scully’s covered the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Beside which, it’s not like the trial actually happened. Because at the end of the story we learned that…

This is the place where I’d usually issue a SPOILER WARNING, but I’m not going to. If you’re like me and speak fluent cliché then there’s no way anyone can spoil…

…it was all a dream.

Matt was actually still in the ER after being hit by the truck. The whole four parts of “The Death of Daredevil,” including the trial and conviction of Wilson Fisk and his recall as mayor, was a dream Matt was having while the ER doctors were operating on him.

As endings go that one was a Ken Berry; a big F Trope.

So no, I’m not talking about calling the defendant as a witness.

Thor swearing on a Bible

On the other hand, I am going to talk about calling Thor as a witness, because that feat would have required almost as much legal legerdemain as calling the defendant.

Before witnesses can testify, they generally have to take the oath and swear “to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help [them] God.” Generally, if a witness isn’t willing to take that oath, the witness is not permitted to testify.

Notice, I said, “generally.” Sometimes a witness doesn’t have to swear an oath before testifying. After all, how could Thor swear so help him God? Thor is a god. Okay, not the Judeo-Christian god name-dropped in the standard court oath, but he is the Norse god of thunder. An oath before the Judeo-Christian God would be meaningless to Thor as he doesn’t believe in that god.

In the same way, Thor couldn’t swear so help him some god in which he believed; say himself or Odin. The Anglo-American system of justice doesn’t recognize any of the gods in which Thor might believe as gods, so it wouldn’t allow a witness to swear so help him one of them.

Now, the Anglo-American system of justice does have a back-up. Witnesses who don’t happen to believe in the Judeo-Christian God, like Muslims; Buddhists; Hindus; or atheists who don’t happen to be in a foxhole, have an alternative. They can affirm under penalty of perjury that they will tell the truth, the whole truth, and yadda, yadda, yadda. But for Thor, even such an affirmation might be a whole yadda nothing.

Thor is, after all, the prince of Asgard. As such he might well have diplomatic immunity from prosecution for crimes committed in America. Even perjury. If that is the case, the affirmation would have no meaning to him and wouldn’t be sufficient to guarantee that he would tell the truth.

Sure Thor could spout off some pseudo-Shakespearean speech and assure the court that, “the word of the Son of Odin is ever my bond” and that he would no more tell defy the laws of man by lying in court than he would defy the laws of gravity by throwing a hammer then flying behind it as it dragged him through the sky.

And maybe the court would believe him and let Thor testify. Or maybe it wouldn’t.

It’s a puzzlement which, fortunately, I don’t have to puzzle over right now. Because I’m not really writing this column right now. It’s all a…

ZZZZZZZ

Wizard of Oz Turns 80, gets 4K Release

Wizard of Oz Turns 80, gets 4K Release

BURBANK, CA, August 22, 2019 – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment announced today that 1939’s acclaimed and beloved classic The Wizard of Oz will be released on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital on October 29th. Directed by Victor Fleming (Gone With the Wind) and starring Judy Garland as Dorothy Gayle, The Wizard of Oz is widely considered to be one of the most influential films in cinematic history.

Adapted from L. Frank Baum’s timeless children’s tale about a Kansas girl’s journey over the rainbow, The Wizard of Oz officially premiered at Grauman’s Chinese Theater on August 15, 1939. The film was directed by Victor Fleming (who that same year directed Gone With the Wind), produced by Mervyn LeRoy, and scored by Herbert Stothart, with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E.Y. Harburg. Ray Bolger appeared as the Scarecrow; Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion, Jack Haley as the Tin Woodman. Frank Morgan was seen in six different roles, including that of the “wonderful Wizard” himself. Dorothy was portrayed by a 4’11” sixteen year old girl who quickly earned her reputation as “the world’s greatest entertainer”– the incomparable Judy Garland.
 
The Wizard of Oz received five Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, and captured two Oscars® — Best Song (“Over the Rainbow”) and Best Original Score — plus a special award for Outstanding Juvenile Performance by Judy Garland. The film was an overwhelmingly popular and critical success upon its initial release and repeated its ability to captivate audiences when MGM reissued the film in 1949 and 1955.
 
Released to wide acclaim and recognition, and with a long-lasting legacy in the film world, The Wizard of Oz owns a place in multiple AFI lists, including: 100 Years… 100 Movies (#6); 100 Years… 100 Thrills (#43); 100 Years… 100 Heroes and Villains (#4); 100 Years… 100 Songs (#1); 100 Years… 100 Movie Quotes (#4); and Greatest Movie Musicals (#3). 
 
In 1989 The Wizard of Oz was part of the inaugural group of films selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant.
 
Using state of the art technology, a new 8K 16bit scan of the original Technicolor camera negative became the basis for the 4K UHD scan.  The process was overseen by MPI colorist Janet Wilson, who has overseen every remaster of The Wizard of Oz for the past 20 years.
 
Ultra HD** showcases 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and a wider color spectrum, offering consumers brighter, deeper, more lifelike colors for a home entertainment viewing experience like never before.  

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of The Wizard of Oz will feature Dolby VisionTM HDR that dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen — frame by frame.
 
The Wizard of Oz will be available on Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for $41.99 SRP and features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the feature film in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc of The Wizard of Oz. Fans can also own The Wizard of Oz in 4K Ultra HD via purchase from select digital retailers beginning on October 29th. 

Ultra HD Blu-ray and Blu-ray Elements

The Wizard of Oz Ultra HD Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:

  • Commentary by John Fricke with Barbara Freed-Saltzman, Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, John Lahr, Jane Lahr, Hamilton Meserve, Dona Massin, William Tuttle, Buddy Ebsen, Mervyn LeRoy and Jerry Maren.
  • 1990 CBS Special “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: The Making of a Movie Classic.”

The Wizard of Oz Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:

  • Commentary- Commentary by John Fricke with Barbara Freed-Saltzman, Margaret Hamilton, Ray Bolger, Jack Haley, John Lahr, Jane Lahr, Hamilton Meserve, Dona Massin, William Tuttle, Buddy Ebsen, Mervyn LeRoy and Jerry Maren
  • The Making of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Storybook (narrated by Angela Lansbury)
  • We Haven’t Really Met Properly…
    • We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Frank Morgan”
    • We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Ray Bolger”
    • We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Bert Lahr”
    • We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Jack Haley”
    • We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Billie Burke”
    • We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Margaret Hamilton”
    • We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Charley Grapewin”
    • We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Clara Blandick”
    • We Haven’t Really Met Properly: “Terry”
  • Music & Effects Track
  • Original Mono Track
  • Sing Along Tracks
  • Audio Jukebox
  • Leo is on the Air Radio Promo
  • Good News of 1939 Radio Show
  • 12/25/1950 Lux Radio Broadcast
  • Stills Galleries
    • Oz on Broadway
    • Pre-MGM
    • Sketches and Storyboards           
    • Richard Thorpe’s Oz
    • Buddy Ebsen
    • Oz Comes to Life
    • Behind the Scenes
    • Portraits
    • Special Effects
    • Post Production
    • Deleted Scenes
    • Original Publicity
    • 8/15/1939 Hollywood Premiere
    • 8/17/1939 New York Premiere
    • 2/29/1940 Academy Awards® Ceremony
    • Oz Abroad
    • Oz Revivals
  • Trailers

BASICS
Ultra HD Blu-ray                                                                    $41.99
Standard Street Date: October 29, 2019

Ultra HD Blu-ray Languages: English, Castillian Spanish, Parisian French, Brazilian Portuguese, German, Italian, Japanese

Ultra HD Blu-ray Subtitles: English SDH, Latin Spanish, Parisian French, Brazilian Portuguese, Complex Chinese, Castilian Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, German SDH, Italian SDH, Japanese, Norwegian, Swedish

Running Time: 101 minutes
Rating: Rated PG

Action-packed Anna Debuts on Disc in Sept.

Action-packed Anna Debuts on Disc in Sept.

An all-star cast leads the electrifying action film, Anna, arriving on Digital September 10 and on 4K Ultra HD™ (plus Blu-ray™ and Digital), Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and On Demand September 24 from Summit.

Street Date: 9/24/19
4K Ultra HD™ + Blu-ray™ + Digital SRP: $29.99
Blu-ray™ + DVD + Digital SRP: $24.99
DVD SRP: $19.98

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
An all-star cast leads the electrifying action film, Anna, arriving on Digital September 10 and on 4K Ultra HD™ (plus Blu-ray™ and Digital), Blu-ray™ Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and On Demand September 24 from Summit.

Introducing Sasha Luss in the title role, Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, and Oscar® winner Helen Mirren (2006, Best Actress, The Queen) kick ass in this stylized action-thriller about one of the world’s most feared government assassins, Anna Poliatova. Written and directed by Luc Besson (La Femme Nikita, Lucy, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets), the film is an action-packed thrill ride that will keep you on the edge of your seat from start to finish. Experience sensational fight sequences in four times the resolution of full HD with the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, which includes Dolby Vision, bringing the action to life through ultra-vivid picture quality. When compared to a standard picture, Dolby Vision can deliver spectacular colors never before seen on a screen, highlights that are up to 40 times brighter, and blacks that are 10 times darker. Additionally, the 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack features Dolby Atmos, which will transport viewers from an ordinary moment into an extraordinary experience with moving audio that flows all around them. Incuding never-before-seen featurettes, the Anna 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $29.99, $24.99, and $19.98, respectively.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
Beneath Anna Poliatova’s striking beauty lies a secret that will unleash her indelible strength and skill to become one of the world’s most feared government assassins. An electrifying thrill ride unfolding with propulsive energy, startling twists and breathtaking action, Anna introduces Sasha Luss in the title role with a star-studded cast including Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, and Academy Award® winner Helen Mirren.

4K ULTRA HD / BLU-RAY / DVD SPECIAL FEATURES
• “Dressing a Doll: Costumes of Anna” Featurette
• “Anatomy of a Scene: Restaurant Fight” Featurette
• “Unnesting a Russian Doll: Making Anna” Featurette
• “Constructing the Car Chase” Featurette

CAST
Sasha Luss – Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Kanye West: Wolves
Luke Evans – Dracula Untold, Beauty and the Beast, Fast & Furious 6
Cillian Murphy – Inception, Red Eye, Sunshine
Helen Mirren – The Queen, Hitchcock, Gosford Park

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Year of Production: 2018
Title Copyright: Anna © 2018 EUROPACORP – TF1 Films Production. All Rights Reserved. Artwork & Supplementary Materials © 2019 Summit Entertainment, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Type: Theatrical Release
Rating: R for strong violence, language, and some sexual content.
Genre: Action, Thriller
Closed-Captioned: N/A
Subtitles: Spanish, English SDH
Feature Run Time: 119 minutes
4K Format: 2160p Ultra High Definition 16×9 2.39:1 Presentation with Dolby Vision
Blu-ray Format: 1080p High Definition 16×9 2.39:1 Presentation
DVD Format: 16×9 2.39:1 Presentation
4K Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Audio™
Blu-ray Audio: English Dolby Atmos, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Audio™
DVD Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Audio, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Audio

Toy Story 4 Comes Home in Oct.

Toy Story 4 Comes Home in Oct.

BURBANK, Calif. (August 22, 2019) — This summer, Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 4 took audiences on a hilarious and heartwarming road trip with Woody, Buzz Lightyear and the whole gang, earning a 98 percent critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes and more than $1 billion at the global box office. Packed with old friends and new faces, the fourth film in the beloved Toy Story series, which leads Woody to an unexpected fork in the road, arrives home on Digital in 4K Ultra HD™, HD, and Movies Anywhere Oct. 1, and on 4K Ultra HD™, Blu-ray,™ DVD Oct. 8.
 
Fans who bring home Toy Story 4 will be treated to over an hour of bonus features celebrating the film’s iconic characters, Pixar’s filmmaking team and the legacy of Toy Story, which began as the world’s first fully computer-animated feature film released nearly 25 years ago. Extensive extras includes deleted scenes such as an alternate ending, an all-new featurette with an endearing look back on Woody and Buzz’s legendary friendship throughout the years; entertaining studio stories shared by members of the Pixar team; a nostalgic look back at the creation and first storyboard screening of Toy Story with filmmakers; and the pioneering efforts of Pixar artists who created the sets, characters, look and feel of the original film and much more.
 
In Toy Story 4, Woody (voice of Tom Hanks) has always been confident about his place in the world, and that his priority is taking care of his kid, whether that’s Andy or Bonnie. So, when Bonnie’s beloved new craft-project-turned-toy Forky (voice of Tony Hale) calls himself “trash,” Woody decides to teach Forky how to embrace being a toy. But a road-trip adventure, including an unexpected reunion with his long-lost friend Bo Peep (voice of Annie Potts), shows Woody how big the world can be for a toy. In addition, carnival prizes Ducky (voice of Keegan-Michael Key) and Bunny (voice of Jordan Peele) bring a new level of fun to the film.
 
The must-own, fourth installment in the Toy Story series will be packaged several ways to ensure families get the most out of their in-home entertainment experience. Toy Story 4 arrives home a week early on Digital 4K Ultra HD™, HD and SD with two exclusive extras including a deleted scene, “Bonnie’s Playtime”.  A physical copy of the film is available as a 4K Ultra HD™ Combo Pack (4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and Digital Code), a Multi-Screen Edition (Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Code) and a single DVD. Fans who wish to relive all four Toy Story adventures may opt for a Digital bundle, which is available for pre-order.
 
BONUS FEATURES (may vary by retailer)
            Blu-ray & Digital:

  • ‘Toy Stories – The Toy Story 4 cast and crew share their love of toys!
  • Woody & Buzz – Take a look at the relationship between these two legendary characters.
  • Bo Rebooted – Discover how Team Bo reimagined all aspects of Bo Peep’s identity to arrive at the fully realized character seen in the film.
  • Toy Box – Enjoy a collection of mini-docs on the film’s memorable new characters, featuring the voice actors, director Josh Cooley and Pixar artists talking about the many elements that make these characters fun and lovable
  • Let’s Ride With Ally Maki – Ally Maki, voice of Giggle McDimples, learns all about Pixar’s dialogue recording process from director Josh Cooley and his team.
  • Deleted Scenes introduced by director Josh Cooley including:
    • Scamming Playtime
    • Bo Knows Hippos
    • Desperate Toys
    • Knock-Offs
    • Recruit Duke
    • She’s The One
  • Audio Commentary, Trailers and more!

Digital Exclusive:

  • Anatomy of a Scene: Prologue – Filmmakers and crew review key scenes of the movie and dissect the practical and technological methods used to bring them to life.
  • Additional Deleted scene –  Bonnie’s Playtime

 Toy Story 4 Cast and Crew
Toy Story 4 welcomes both veteran and new voices, including Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Annie Potts as Bo Peep, Tony Hale as Forky, Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele as Ducky and Bunny, Madeleine McGraw as Bonnie, Christina Hendricks as Gabby Gabby, Keanu Reeves as Duke Caboom, Ally Maki as Giggle McDimples and Joan Cusack as Jessie. The voice cast also includes Jay Hernandez, Lori Alan, Bonnie Hunt, Kristen Schaal, Emily Davis, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Blake Clark, the late Don Rickles and Estelle Harris.
 
Toy Story 4 is directed by Josh Cooley, and produced by Mark Nielsen and Jonas Rivera. Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich and Pete Docter are executive producers, and Stanton and Stephany Folsom wrote the screenplay. Longtime “Toy Story” collaborator Randy Newman composed the score and wrote two new original songs, “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away,” performed by Newman, and “The Ballad of the Lonesome Cowboy,” which is performed by Chris Stapleton for the end credits.

Product Specifications
Product SKUs: Digital = 4K UHD, HD, SD
Physical = 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (4K UHD+Blu-ray Feature+Blu-ray Bonus +Digital Code), Multi-Screen Edition (Blu-ray Feature+Blu-ray Bonus+DVD+Digital Code) and DVD
Feature Run Time: Approximately 100 minutes
Rating:  G in U.S. and Canada
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio: 4K UHD Blu-ray = English Dolby Atmos, English, Spanish and French 7.1 Dolby Digital Plus, English 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio
Blu-ray = English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, English 5.1 DTS-HDHR, English 2.0 Dolby Digital, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Descriptive Audio
DVD = English, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital, English 2.0 Dolby Digital,
 English 2.0 Descriptive Audio
4K UHD Digital = English Dolby Atmos (platform dependent), English 7.1 (platform dependent), English, Spanish & French 5.1, English, Spanish & French 2.0
HD Digital = English 7.1 (platform dependent), English, Spanish & French 5.1, English, Spanish & French 2.0
Subtitles: 4K UHD Blu-ray = English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles
Blu-ray = English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles
DVD = English SDH, Spanish and French Subtitles (French subtitles are on Canadian DVD only)
Closed Captions: English (DVD and Digital)

Bond 25 Named

Bond 25 Named

It will have been five years between Bonds, a seemingly unconscionable amount of time but if we can wait five years for a Godzilla movie, this one is certainly worth it as well.

MGM announced today the title for James Bond 25, No Time to Die, coming in April 2020. Here’s the official announcement:

LOS ANGELES – August 20, 2019 – James Bond Producers, Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli today released the official title of the 25th James Bond adventure, No Time To Die. The film, from Albert R. Broccoli’s EON Productions, Metro Goldwyn Mayer Studios (MGM), and Universal Pictures International is directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga (Beasts of No Nation, True Detective) and stars Daniel Craig, who returns for his fifth film as Ian Fleming’s James Bond 007. Written by Neal Purvis & Robert Wade (Spectre, Skyfall), Cary Joji Fukunaga, Scott Z. Burns (Contagion, The Bourne Ultimatum) and Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Killing Eve, Fleabag) A Day To Die is currently in production. The film will be released globally from April 3, 2020 in the U.K. through Universal Pictures International and in the U.S on April 8, from MGM via their United Artists Releasing banner.

No Time To Die also stars Rami Malek, Léa Seydoux, Lashana Lynch, Ben Whishaw, Naomie Harris, Billy Magnussen, Ana de Armas, Rory Kinnear, David Dencik, Dali Benssalah with Jeffrey Wright and Ralph Fiennes.

In No Time To Die, Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica.  His peace is short-lived when his old friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology.

Other members of the creative team are; Composer Dan Romer, Director of Photography Linus Sandgren, Editors Tom Cross and Elliot Graham, Production Designer Mark Tildesley, Costume Designer Suttirat Larlarb, Hair and Make-up Designer Daniel Phillips, Supervising Stunt Coordinator Olivier Schneider, Stunt Coordinator Lee Morrison and Visual Effects Supervisor Charlie Noble. Returning members to the team are; 2nd Unit Director Alexander Witt, Special Effects and Action Vehicles Supervisor Chris Corbould and Casting Director Debbie McWilliams.

Casino RoyaleQuantum Of Solace, Skyfall and Spectre have grossed more than $3.1 billion in worldwide box office collectively. Skyfall ($1.1 billion) and Spectre ($880 million) are the two highest-grossing films in the franchise.

REVIEW: American Gods Season 2

REVIEW: American Gods Season 2

American Gods arrived on Starz with a stellar cast and terrific source material, the novel by Neil Gaiman. It had pedigreed producers in Bryan Fuller, who ankled his shot at Star Trek: Discovery to devote himself fulltime to this; and Michael Green, a superb writer with tons of genre credits. It was visually arresting, emotionally moving, and stunningly weird.

Then there’s the second season. Fuller and Green were jettisoned amidst problems with the skyrocketing budget that exceeded $10 million per episode and their increased deviation from the novel. When Starz finally settled on Jesse Alexander to showrun the season alongside of Gaiman, a novice at television production. They scrapped the first six scripts while Starz cut the order from ten to eight episodes to save money and delayed release marking two years between seasons. Kristen Chenoweth and Gillian Anderson left in support of the ousted producers so their roles needed to be recast.

What viewers received this spring was a mess. Plodding, dark, hard to decipher – pick your adjectives. It got to the point where you find yourself putting off watching it and doing so more out of loyalty to Gaiman and/or the novel than genuine affection for the show.

Out now as a three-disc Blu-ray box set (with Digital HD code) from Lionsgate Home Entertainment, the series does hew closer to the novel as the stakes in the war between the old gods and modern gods escalates.

It’s still a delight to watch Ian McShane, Orlando Jones, Emily Browning, and Pablo Schreiber play their parts. The guest cast was strong with the radiant Cloris Leachman, William Sanderson, Lee Arenberg, and Laura Bell Bundy among others.

And yet…

The concepts remain strong and the extra time compared with novel has allowed for characters to grow and evolve, but the pacing is deadly slow, scenes are too dark to follow, and the emotional intensity is lacking pretty much until the penultimate episode when a beloved character is dispatched. It’s been reported that McShane and Jones wound up adlibbing many of their lines, so much so that Jones received screen credit.

Ex-con Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle) remains caught between factions, more confused than an active participant in the struggle. He also has to struggle with spending time with his dead wife Laura (Emily Browning), who has eclipsed him as an interesting personality on the series.

For a struggle of ideologies, ancestral memory versus current experiences, its often spoken of more than played out, much to my regret. It is nice, though, to have more than your typical assortment of Norse and Greek gods, and at least we have an international assortment that will send some scurrying to the Internet to learn more about. Episode six, as we watch the gods arrive in the New World, was perhaps the season’s strongest episode.

It would have been nice to have a mythology primer as a special feature. Instead, we have The House on the Rock: Setting the Stage (Patton Oswalt hosts a San Diego Comic-Con panel), The Second Coming: Neil Gaiman on Season Two (oh, the jokes we could make here), and Gods and Ends: Random Musing from the Cast, which could describe one or two of this season’s episodes.

The 1080p video transfer in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio looks nice and rich on a home screen. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 sound is a fine match.

Stepping in to showrun season three, yes there will be one, is The Walking Dead’s Charles “Chic” Eglee, which finally will take us to the Lakeside portion of the novel. He and Gaiman, who is not a showrunner this time, have broken down the third season and even laid out plans for a fourth. So you may want to watch this as homework for better times ahead.

Once and Future

Mix Picks: Once & Future #1

Y’know, maybe it’s just because comics just got done with telling an Arthurian story THAT TOOK THIRTY YEARS TO FINISH, but I’m looking for something a bit more… fast-paced, you know what I mean?

Luckily, here comes BOOM! and Kieron Gillen, Dan Mora, and Tamra Bonvillain with Once & Future #1, a rip-roaring old-timey adventure story with fun protagonists I’ve never encountered before (though I could easily see Diana Rigg in one of the roles, and I’m not telling you more than that) and what hints and a very different way of telling a story that we all thought we knew.

You can pre-order the paperback, of course, but it won’t be out until March and I think you could really do with something light-hearted now, don’t you? It’s been a rough week. Get #1 now and have some laughs.

Oh, there’s a trailer, too; but you’d only be spoiling the discovery. However, if you must…