The Mix : What are people talking about today?

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Skyscrapers of the Midwest by Joshua W. Cotter

The memory of a book is not the same as an initial assessment

, or a re-read. Looking back, when starting to write about Joshua W. Cotter’s excellent graphic novel Skyscrapers of the Midwest , I see that I read it at almost the same time as Nate Powell’s Swallow Me Whole. At the time, I said Skyscrapers was my favorite, but I’ve thought about Swallow much more often in the past decade, and returned to Powell’s work in a way I haven’t for Cotter.

So which of the two is “better”? 2008 Andy thought it was Skyscrapers. The default Andy of about 2010-2020 would probably say Swallow if asked to choose between the two. And today, after I’ve just re-read Skyscrapers?

Today I think I’m going to say picking between two books by completely different people is a silly game, that books are not in competition with each other in any sense other than for attention in the moment. The world is wide; there’s room for everything. There’s especially lots of room for strong books.

But today I have just re-read Skyscrapers. And I seem to be avoiding writing about it directly – maybe because what I wrote in 2008 is still entirely applicable and I don’t really have anything to add to that. This is the story of a boy who probably is a semi-fictionalized version of Cotter himself, at the age of 10 in 1987. I wrote about a lot of the impressive elements of the story a decade ago, and I only have a few things to add to that.

There’s a subplot here about a young man – eighteen or twenty, I guess – who looks a lot like the young protagonist and is in a bad relationship (almost entirely because of him) with a woman of the same age. Reading Skyscrapers this time, I wondered if that was supposed to be a flashforward, the same boy a little older. I don’t think so: the rest of the book is set in 1987, and there’s no transitional elements to imply that shift in time. More importantly, he interacts with the main plot once, so he must be a different person – maybe similar, maybe a warning of what the protagonist could become.

There’s also some fake-nonfiction elements as part of the package – the letter column is answered by a cowboy named “Skinny Kenny,” as the biggest example, but there are also some fake ads and similar stuff. This is loosely incorporated into the overall story, since “Skinny Kenny” replies to letters that, at least in one case, is clearly by a character in the story and is about the story.

But those are the only major pieces I didn’t mention in my old post: otherwise, I agree with what 2008 Andy said. This is impressive, and it still struck me in 2021 as a lot like a more humanist, less formalist version of a Chris Ware story: similar elements about a similar childhood, with the story heading in a different direction and with a very different art style. In Ware, the story is about how a boy is irreparably broken – whether because of comics, or just adjacent to comics isn’t really important. For Cotter, the hermeticism of a boy’s imagination is both positive and negative, like so many things in life, and his characters need to have other connections, especially to family, to get through those tricky years.

We do sense that this boy will get through; he won’t be broken like a Ware character. And I’m reminded that I’ve lost track of what Cotter has been doing for the past decade, so I really should see if he’s done anything else this strong.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

In. by Will McPhail

This graphic novel is just too damn good to be Will McPhail’s first book-length project. He has to have a drawer-full of stuff, or maybe he’s published short work somewhere. The drawing I completely believe; I’ve seen his cartoons and they’re assured enough that I believe he could easily make the jump from single panels to juxtaposed images. But the story here? How does someone go from a one-line joke to a full-realized story of almost three hundred pages?

So, um, yeah, this is pretty good. In. is apparently the first long narrative Will McPhail has created, and it works from beginning to end.

It’s about this guy, Nick, who lives in a big city (not unlike McPhail, who lives in Edinburgh, though this city is more vaguely New York) and works as an artist (also not unlike McPhail). He’s got a sister, Anne, and a mother, Hannah, and early on he meets a woman, Wren, who could turn into a girlfriend if everything goes right.

But he feels like he doesn’t connect with people, like he just skates across the top of conversations, saying generic things back and forth with people, and never gets to know anyone. He’s not sure if he wants to get deeper into other peoples lives, but he feels like he’s missing something, as if he’s just play-acting at life. In fact, he’s actually play-acting in the first contemporary scene of the book, as if this is how he thinks adults, or normal people, act with each other.

But then he connects, unexpectedly – he says something really honest and really listens to the answer. McPhail illustrates this conversation, and similar ones later in the book

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, as a surreal scene that Nick falls into – it’s related to the topic, loosely and visually, but McPhail is not illustrating what Nick learns. Instead, he’s showing what it feels like: a visual, comics metaphor for a deep human connection.

The rest of the book looks like McPhail’s cartoons: line art with light washes of gray for emphasis and texture. But the surreal sections are fully painted, and striking every time they appear. (McPhail also signposts that a color scene is about to begin by zooming into the speaker’s face and showing their eyes in color: another nice visual metaphor about seeing that only works in comics.)

I don’t want to detail what the story is about from there: every story is in the telling of it. Nick does start out a bit immature, a bit unconnected – that’s the point – and learns how to be different. Along the way, McPhail does things right both big (those surreal scenes, the overall flow of the book, all of the characterization) and small (a dozen throwaway joke names for coffee bars and alcohol bars, an amusingly arch depiction of Nick and Wren’s first sexual encounter).

One of the most impressive things, particularly for a first book, is that I can point to something like a dozen things that McPhail does really well, and nothing at all that I’d seriously criticize. No book is perfect, but I’d be hard-pressed, even as a former editor, to point to anything in In. that I’d have red-penciled or asked for revisions on.

So: yeah. Really impressive. Thoughtful, deep, meaningful, lovely. Takes advantage of the comics form brilliantly, though I can still see someone wanting to turn this into a movie. (They’d probably screw it up, since it’s already as good as it can be, but it would have four great parts to entice various actorly types.) If you haven’t read it, you probably will want to.

Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Zachary Levi Trades Magic Word for Pigskin in American Underdog

Zachary Levi Trades Magic Word for Pigskin in American Underdog

SANTA MONICA, CA (January 18, 2022) – Based on the inspirational true story of two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl MVP, and Hall of Fame quarterback Kurt Warner, American Underdog arrives on Digital February 4 and on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and Digital), Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and Digital), DVD, and On Demand February 22 from Lionsgate. From The Erwin Brothers (I Still Believe and I Can Only Imagine) and screenwriters Jon Erwin (I Still Believe and I Can Only Imagine) & David Aaron Cohen (Friday Night Lights) and Jon Gunn (I Still Believe), the film stars Zachary Levi (Shazam!, Thor: The Dark World, Chuck, Academy Award® winner Anna Paquin (Best Supporting Actress, The Piano, 1993; X-Men franchise, The Irishman), Ser’Darius Blain (Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Jumanji: The Next Level, Charmed), and Primetime Emmy® Award nominee Dennis Quaid (Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Movie, The Special Relationship, 2010; The Day After Tomorrow, Far From Heaven, In Good Company). 

American Underdog tells the inspirational true story of Kurt Warner (Zachary Levi), who went from a stockboy at a grocery store to a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, and Hall of Fame quarterback. The film centers on Warner’s unique story and years of challenges and setbacks that could have derailed his aspirations to become an NFL player – but just when his dreams seemed all but out of reach, it is only with the support of his wife, Brenda (Anna Paquin) and the encouragement of his family, coaches, and teammates that Warner perseveres and finds the strength to show the world the champion that he already is. American Underdog is an uplifting story that demonstrates that anything is possible when you have faith, family and determination. Based on the Book “All Things Possible” by Kurt Warner with Michael Silver. Screenplay by Jon Erwin & David Aaron Cohen and Jon Gunn. Directed by The Erwin Brothers.

The  American Underdog 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, and DVD will be available for the suggested retail price of $39.99, $39.99, and $29.96, respectively.  4K ULTRA HD / BLU-RAY / DVD / DIGITAL SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Audio Commentary with Directors Andrew and Jon Erwin, and Producer Kevin Downes
  • “Inspired” Featurette
  • “Making the Cut” Featurette
  • “A Coach’s Faith” Featurette (on 4K and Blu-ray™ only)
  • “New to the Scene: Hayden Zaller” Featurette
  • “Meet the Champion” Featurette
  • “Behind the Game” Featurette
  • American Underdog: Behind the Story” Featurette
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary by Andrew Erwin
  • Theatrical Trailer (on 4K and Blu-ray™ only)

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Year of Production: 2021
Title Copyright: American Underdog © 2021 American Underdog

, LLC. Artwork & Supplementary Materials ®, TM & © 2022 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Type: Theatrical Release
Rating: PG for some language and thematic elements
Genre: Inspirational Drama
Feature Run Time: 112 Minutes
Closed-Captioned: N/A
Subtitles: Spanish, French, English SDH
4K Ultra HD™ Format: 2160p Ultra High Definition, 16×9 (2.39:1) Presentation 
Blu-ray Format: 1080p High Definition, 16×9 (2.39:1) Presentation 
DVD Format: 16×9 (2.39:1) Presentation 
4K Audio Status: English Dolby Atmos, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Audio 
Blu-ray Audio:  English Dolby Atmos, English Descriptive Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Audio 
DVD Audio:  English 5.1 Dolby Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Audio, French 5.1 Dolby Audio, English Descriptive Audio 

Alias the Cat! by Kim Deitch

I don’t know if all of the Waldo stories are consistent. I don’t know if they can be consistent, or if Deitch would want them to be.

I kind of hope they aren’t, actually. Memory is flawed, history is misunderstood, the past is a mystery. And demon-creatures shouldn’t be completely knowable, able to be nailed down to a specific timeline.

Alias the Cat!  is a Waldo story: it’s almost twenty years old now, but close to the last major Waldo story to date. It followed A Shroud for Waldo and The Boulevard of Broken Dreams (probably the centerpiece of the Waldo universe) and was in turn added onto by The Search for Smilin’ Ed. Deitch’s most recent book, Reincarnation Stories, is a similar style but doesn’t include Waldo as far as I remember.

What does any of that mean?

Well, Deitch presents himself as an autobiographical cartoonist, one fascinated by popular entertainments of the early 20th century: cartoons, circuses, movie serials, comic strips, carnivals, and so on. Ephemeral stuff, things that are largely forgotten or lost. His big stories, for the last thirty years or so, tend to combine his discovery of some old piece of entertainment with a retelling of that old story – or the circumstances surrounding those people, or a complicated combination of the two. We get comics pages of Deitch talking to the reader directly, about the things he’s discovered, and pages of him doing things in his life, and we also get stretches retelling the history he’s discovered, or – as in this book – supposedly reprinting old comics by someone else from a hundred years before. It all combines together into fictions that mimic non-fiction, as surreal and supernatural elements are first hinted at and then leap into the center of the story.

They’re impossible, and Deitch presents them all as if they’re true. I’d say he presents them “straightforwardly,” but he doesn’t – Deitch portrays himself as excitable, eager to chase down these crazy ideas, as maybe more than a little bit naïve or gullible, someone always ready to believe in a great story.

Alias the Cat! is a three-part story: it appeared originally as three separate comics, in 2002, 2004, and 2005, and each volume has that Deitch energy and enthusiasm – each one has that air of “hey, look at what I just discovered!” They each end inconclusively, with mysteries left unsolved: even the third, even the end of this book and story.

Again, that’s the nature of history, of the kind of stories Deitch tells. There’s only so much Deitch-in-the-story can find out, only so much that has survived a hundred years. Only so much Waldo will tell, or allow to be told.

Waldo is a anthropomorphic character, like a black cat – call him Felix’s evil twin, or dark doppelganger. He was a character in forgotten ’20s cartoons, or a real creature impossibly in the real world, or a supernatural entity centuries old, or a hallucination only seen by the insane: he’s all of those things in turn, or at the same time. He’s a trickster at heart, a hedonist who has been everywhere and done everything and is ready to tell entertaining and possibly even true stories about those places and things.

As Alias the Cat! opens, Deitch-the-character insists he’s never met Waldo, and that he’s not saying that Waldo is a real person in the actual world. He likes Waldo stuff, and likes digging into these old stories, but he’s not some kind of nut, he’s not crazy – he can’t see Waldo. All that will change by the end: meeting Waldo, being crazy, all of it.

Each of the three issues has its own arc and obsessions, from “furries” to Waldo’s time as the charismatic leader of a tropical island, to a forgotten movie serial from the 1910s that strangely paralleled the actual events surrounding its release, to a forgotten New Jersey town populated entirely by midgets. Deitch-the-character keeps getting in deeper and deeper, more excitable and surprised by each new revelation.

This is all fiction, as far as I know. Waldo is not real, Deitch did not meet him, and meeting Waldo didn’t send Deitch into a sanitarium for observation. As far as I know. But how far do any of us know?

Alias the Cat! doesn’t end as well, as definitively as Boulevard or Smilin’ Ed – it’s an uneasy, uncertain ending, an ending about things that didn’t happen rather than about the things that did. Maybe a disappointing ending rather than a triumphant one, but a true ending, an ending based on those bits of history and forgotten popular entertainments, and what’s left of any of them in the modern day.

I don’t know if I’d recommend starting reading Deitch here: I’d recommend running more or less in publication order, or starting with Boulevard if you want to jump forward to the big book. But this is a big middle piece of the Waldo saga; you’ll get here eventually.

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Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Candyman Remake Comes to Disc

Candyman Remake Comes to Disc

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The Vestron Video Collector’s Series unleashes unholy terror when Candyman: Day of the Dead, the third installment in the original Candyman series, arrives on  Blu-ray™ (plus Digital) January 18 from Lionsgate. Based on the characters created by acclaimed horror writer Clive Barker

, this film stars Donna D’Errico (Baywatch, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, 9-1-1), Robert O’Reilly (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), and Tony Todd (Candyman, The Crow, The Flas”). Candyman: Day of the Dead will be available on Blu-ray™ for the suggested retail price of $17.99.

OFFICIAL SYNOPSIS
The Candyman is back, and he’s hooked on revenge! As the Day of the Dead celebration approaches the barrio of East Los Angeles, the tortured ghost is intent upon bringing his family together in a bloody reunion beyond the grave. Challenged to confront the horrifying legend of her ancestor, Caroline (Donna D’Errico, “Baywatch”) must come face to face with the monster who has destroyed her past — and now wants to steal her future — in this third installment of the electrifying Candyman series.

BLU-RAY SPECIAL FEATURES

  • Audio Commentary with Director-Cowriter Turi Meyer and Producer-Cowriter Al Septien
  • Isolated Score Selections featuring an Audio Interview with Composer Adam Gorgoni
  • Interviews:
    • “On The Hook” — An Interview with Actor Tony Todd
    • “A Bloody Legacy” — An Interview with Special Prosthetic Effects Designer Gary J. Tunnicliffe
    • “Decay & Design” — Interviews with Director of Photography Michael Wojciechowski and Production Designer Marc Greville-Masson
  • English & German Trailers
  • Home Video Promo
  • Home Video Trailer
  • Still Gallery

CAST

PROGRAM INFORMATION
Year of Production: 1999
Title Copyright: Candyman: Day of the Dead © 1999, Artwork & Supplementary Materials ®, ™ & © 2022 Lions Gate Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Type: Catalog Re-Release
Rating: Rated R for bloody violence and gore, sexuality and language.
Genre: Horror
Closed-Captioned: N/A
Subtitles: English, Spanish, English SDH
Feature Run Time: 93Minutes
Blu-ray Format: 1080p High Definition, 16×9 (1.85:1) Presentation 
Blu-ray Audio:  English 2.0 DTS-HD Master Audio™

The King’s Man & 3-Film Collection Coming in Feb.

The King’s Man & 3-Film Collection Coming in Feb.

LOS ANGELES

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, CA (January 24, 2022) – Uncover the secrets of the world’s most stylish spy organization and learn how it all began with the ingenious and action-packed origin story The King’s Man. From masterful filmmaker Matthew Vaughn, The King’s Man explores the mythology of the very first independent intelligence agency. Set in the historic WWI era, the lethal yet impeccably trained spies take on the ultimate mission to save the fate of humanity. Add the film to your Kingsman collection on Digital February 18 and on 4K UHD, Blu-ray and DVD February 22.

Also for fans of the stylish spy series comes The Kingsman Collection. All three films, with bonus features, together for the first time. The collection will be available digitally on February 18 and as a collectible SteelBook on February 22.


Film Synopsis
Set during WWI, The King’s Man tells the exhilarating origin story of Kingsman, the world’s very first independent intelligence agency. As a collection of history’s worst tyrants and criminal masterminds gather to plot a war to wipe out millions across the globe, one man must race against time to stop them.

Bonus Features*

  • The King’s Man: The Great Game Begins Documentary
    • A Generation Lost – Discover how the filmmakers created a richly textured story that explores the origins of the Kingsman spy organization.
    • Oxfords and Rogues – Meet the phenomenal new cast of characters Matthew Vaughn has assembled.
    • All the World’s a Stage – Delve into the meticulous world-building of THE KING’S MAN with interviews, on-location footage, artwork, and details of on-set construction and design.
    • Instruments of War – Experience the analog spy tech and early 20th century weaponry utilized in THE KING’S MAN and see a breakdown of the precise execution and evolution of the major stunts and combat in the film.
    • Fortune Favors the Bold – Join Matthew Vaughn and his team for music scoring and sound design.
    • Long Live the Kingsman – Cast and crew reveal their thoughts about their collective journey through the very special experience of making THE KING’S MAN.
  • Featurettes
    • No Man’s Land – Experience the creative process behind the harrowing knife battle sequence in several stages: rehearsals, storyboards, interviews and on-set footage, culminating with the atmospheric VFX.
    • Remembrance and Finding Purpose – Learn about amazing organizations such as The Royal British Legion and Help for Heroes, two U.K.-based resources for recovery, well-being and employment for military veterans. Also hear why Matthew Vaughn strongly supports their mission.

*bonus features vary by product and retailer

Cast
Ralph Fiennes as Orlando Oxford
Gemma Arterton as Polly
Rhys Ifans as Grigori Rasputin
Matthew Goode as Morton
Tom Hollander as King George / Kaiser Wilhelm / Tsar Nicholas
Harris Dickinson as Conrad Oxford
Daniel Brühl as Erik Jan Hanussen
Djimon Hounsou as Shola
and Charles Dance as Kitchener

Directed by
Matthew Vaughn

Produced by
Matthew Vaughn

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, David Reid and Adam Bohling

Executive Producers
Mark Millar, Dave Gibbons, Stephen Marks, Claudia Vaughn and Ralph Fiennes 

Screenplay by
Matthew Vaughn & Karl Gajdusek

Story by
Matthew Vaughn

Music by
Matthew Margeson & Dominic Lewis

Based on the comic book
 The Secret Service by Mark Millar and Dave Gibbons

Product Specifications
Street Date
Digital: February 18
Physical: February 22

Product SKUs
Digital: 4K UHD, HD, SD
Physical: 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (4K UHD + Blu-ray + Digital Code), Blu-ray Combo Pack (Blu-ray + Digital Code) & DVD

Feature Run Time
Approx. 131 minutes

Rating
U.S. Rated R
*Rated R for sequences of strong/bloody violence, language, and some sexual material.

Aspect Ratio
Digital: 2:39:1
Physical: 2:39:1

U.S. Audio
4K Ultra HD: English 7.1.4 Dolby Atmos, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, French  5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 7.1 Dolby Digital.
Blu-ray: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, English DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.
DVD: English 5.1 Dolby, English DVS 2.0 Dolby, French 5.1 Dolby, Spanish 5.1 Dolby.
Digital: English Dolby ATMOS (UHD only, some platforms), 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, Latin Spanish 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, French-Canadian 5.1 & 2.0 Dolby Digital, English Descriptive Audio 2.0 Dolby Digital (some platforms)

U.S. Subtitles
4K Ultra HD: English SDH, French, Spanish
Blu-ray: English SDH, French, Spanish
DVD: English SDH, French, Spanish
Digital: English SDH, French, Spanish (some platforms)

Mr. Punch by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

To me, the core Neil Gaiman stories are about young people, encountering things they don’t understand. The Ocean at the End of the Lane. “How to Talk to Girls at Parties.” Violent Cases. Coraline, something of an edge case – since the core set of stories are all about a young person like Gaiman.

And, of course, Mr. Punch .

I don’t want to speculate how much of this story is “true.” That’s the wrong question anyway: the truth of a story is the story-ness of it

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, and this is a great story, told beautifully by Gaiman’s words and Dave McKean’s art. (I wish they had worked together more: they are each other’s best collaborators.)

It’s a graphic novel about a young British boy, about fifty years ago, remembered by that boy as a man, about twenty-five years later. So it’s now as far back in time itself as the events it depicted were when it was published: this is a 1995 book about things that happened in the late ’60s. The boy is Gaiman. Or he is not. Or, more accurately, that again is not the right question.

It’s the story of how the boy learned about Punch and Judy shows, about his grandfather’s failing seaside business, about family stories. Like all stories about childhood, it’s about memory most of all: what is remembered, how it’s remembered, what looms larger looking back than it did at the time. It is an intensely told story, constructed carefully by Gaiman even as it seems to be narrated off-the-cuff by the man in the story who is and is not Gaiman.

And, most of all, it’s about the questions of childhood: the things you asked at the time, the things you wish you’d asked at the time, the things you know you never would have gotten a straight answer about, and the things you didn’t even think could be questions until much much later.

Punch and Judy shows are alien to Americans: they don’t exist here. I don’t know if they exist in Britain, these days: I get the sense the boy in this book was from the last generation to see that kind of puppet theatre all over the place. So this might be entirely a dispatch from a foreign country: for all of us, everywhere.

That’s entirely right, though: that was the point and purpose of Mr. Punch. It was always a dispatch from the foreign land of childhood, the land we all were born in and can never return to. And it’s just as strong and thoughtful and moving now as it was then. Mr. Punch does not change with time, as Gaiman points out. He is always the same, always there, holding strong his side of the stage, eternally on the puppeteer’s right hand.

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Reposted from The Antick Musings of G.B.H. Hornswoggler, Gent.

Win a Digital HD Code for Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho

Win a Digital HD Code for Edgar Wright’s Last Night in Soho

Edgar Wright’s acclaimed fall film, Last Night in Soho, arrives on streaming services today and will hit 4K UHD, Blu-ray, and DVD on January 18.

Our friends at Universal Home Entertainment have provided us with two digital codes to share with readers. Ellie Turner (Thomasin McKenzie) loves the music and fashion of the Swinging Sixties. In order to win one, please tell us which era provides you with the same affection for its own music and fashion.

Submit your responses by 11:59 p.m., Monday, January 10. The decision of ComicMix’s judges will be final.

From the acclaimed director of fan-favorites such as Baby Driver, Shaun of the Dead and The World’s End comes the “mesmerizing and ultra-stylish” (US Weekly) tribute to 1960s London, LAST NIGHT IN SOHO, available to own for the first time on Digital January 4

, 2022 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-rayTM and DVD January 18, 2022 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. “A stunning achievement of filmmaking” (LA Times), LAST NIGHT IN SOHO is filled to the brim with thrills, suspense and a love of classic film and music in every frame. Own the cinematic masterpiece for the first time, alongside exclusive bonus content, including never-before-seen deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes content and feature commentaries exploring the intoxicating nostalgia, flair and suspense.

In Edgar Wright’s psychological thriller, Eloise (Thomasin McKenzie, Jojo Rabbit, Old), an aspiring fashion designer, is mysteriously able to enter the 1960s, where she encounters a dazzling wannabe singer, Sandie (Anya Taylor-Joy, Emma, “The Queen’s Gambit”). But the glamour is not all it appears to be, and the dreams of the past start to crack and splinter into something far darker.

The “seductive and sophisticated” (NY Times) masterpiece is directed by Edgar Wright, and stars Thomasin McKenzie, Anya Taylor-Joy, Matt Smith (The Crown, Doctor Who) and Michael Ajao (Attack the Block, Silent Witness). The film is co-written by Edgar Wright and Krysty Wilson-Cairns (1917).

BONUS FEATURES on 4K UHD, BLU-RAYTM, DVD AND DIGITAL:

  • MAKING OF FEATURETTES
    • MEET ELOISE – An in-depth look at the character of Eloise and the challenges that star Thomasin McKenzie faced while bringing her to life.
    • DREAMING OF SANDIE – A closer look at the characters of Sandie and Jack and why Anya Taylor-Joy and Matt Smith were the perfect actors to embody the essence of the time period.
    • SMOKE AND MIRRORS – The cast and crew break down how lighting, makeup, special effects, and creative camerawork came together to create a collision between the present day and 1960’s time periods.
    • ON THE STREETS OF SOHO – The cast and crew discuss the importance of shooting on location in Soho and the complexity of transforming the city streets back in time.
    • TIME TRAVELLING – A look into how the music, costume design, and production design of the film work together to immerse the audience into the world of 1960’s Soho.
  • DELETED SCENES
  • ANIMATICS
    • FIRST DREAM
    • SHADOW MEN
    • MURDER
    • FINAL CONFRONTATION
  • EXTRAS
    • HAIR & MAKEUP TESTS**
    • LIGHTING & VFX TESTS**
    • WIDE ANGLE WITNESS CAM
    • ACTON TOWN HALL STEADICAM REHEARSAL**
  • “DOWNTOWN” MUSIC VIDEO**
  • TRAILERS**
  • FEATURE COMMENTARY WITH DIRECTOR/CO-WRITER EDGAR WRIGHT, EDITOR PAUL MACHLISS AND COMPOSER STEVE PRICE
  • FEATURE COMMENTARY WITH DIRECTOR/CO-WRITER EDGAR WRIGHT AND CO-WRITER KRISTY WILSON-CAIRNS

**available on 4K, BD and Digital only

REVIEW: The Mitchells vs. the Machines.

REVIEW: The Mitchells vs. the Machines.

Many worthy films for all audiences flew under the pop culture radar in 2021, released with some fanfare but overshadowed by current events. Take the animated Connected, for example. Announced by Sony for 2020, it briefly arrived in theaters in April before hitting Netflix under the name The Mitchells vs. the Machines.

Now available in a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack, the film is well worth your time and attention. First of all, it’s funny and good for the entire family to enjoy together. Second, it has some fine messages underneath the frenetic pace and stuffed visuals.

Rick (Danny McBride) loves nature and is a bit of a technophobe, setting up a conflict with his daughter Katie (Abbi Jacobson), who is about to attend film school. When their visions clash one more time, he cancels her flight and decides to pack the family into their old station wagon and drive across the country. His wife Linda (Maya Rudolph) and young son Aaron (Mike Rianda) don’t necessarily want to interrupt their lives but off they go.

As they ride the highway, the evil tech genius Mark Bowman (Eric André), having had his PAL (cute) AI declared obsolete, enacts his revenge by having the next generation of PAL programmed to capture all of mankind and launch them into space. Our heroic family narrowly avoids this and it’s up to them to save the world from technology gone wild.

On the macro level, we have the obvious save the world plot, but underneath it, Rick is trying to save not only his family but his relationship with his eldest. The film is stuffed with other characters with an impressive vocal cast with John Legend and Chrissy Teigen playing married neighbors, whose daughter Abbey (Charlyne Yi) is the object of Aaron’s adolescent desire; and a series of PALs, led by Olivia Colman, clearly having fun.

The animation is impressive as it blends the hand-drawn with CGI overlays, letting director/co-writer Mike Rianda pack plenty of action, comedy, and commentary.

The 1080p high-definition transfer is excellent

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, capturing all the colorful nonsense and keeping things crisp. The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack is fine but struggles to keep up in places.

The combo pack has delightfully creative liner notes worth a read. The disc contains not only the theatrical release but Katie’s Extended Cinematic Bonanza Cut! (1:52:48) adding about two minutes of extended/alternate scenes without the CGI enhancements. It also comes with an intro from Rianda.

Special Features include Dog Cop 7: The Final Chapter (8:24), Katie’s student film; Bonus Scenes! (25:18), a collection of deleted and extended scenes; Katie’s Cabinet of Forgotten Wonders (11:24): Katie-Vision!; Dumb Robots Trailer; The Original Mitchells Story Pitch; The Furby Scene – How? Why?; and Pal’s World; The Mitchells vs. The Machines: Or How a Group of Passionate Weirdos Made a Big Animated Movie (12:49); How To… : Audiences learn how to Make Sock Puppets (1:48) and Make Katie Face Cupcakes (1:56); and Audio Commentary: Director Mike Rianda, Visual Effects Supervisor Miks Lasker, Production Designer Lindsey Olivares

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, Co-Writer/Co-Director Jeff Rowe, Producer Kurt Albrecht, Head of Animation Alan Hawkins, and Head of Story Guillermo Martinez —with so many creators chatting, it’s a fun review of their ambitions and reflections.