Category Archives: Movies

The 13-part miniseries “Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands” heads to Blu-ray and DVD

And you think Shakespeare was tough. Beowulf  is an Old English epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative lines. It may be the oldest surviving long poem in Old English and is commonly cited as one of the most important works of Old English literature. Scholars argue the date of the poem’s origin; the only certain dating pertains to the manuscript, which was produced between 975 and 1025. The author? An anonymous Angle-Saxon poet, referred to by scholars as the “Beowulf poet”.

Now Beowulf comes to life. Of sorts. Public Media Distribution, LLC  is releasing (on October 11) Beowulf: Return to the Shieldlands on DVD and Blu-ray.

Based on the complex protagonist of the classic English poem written between the eighth and tenth century, the series takes place in a mythological place, The Shieldlands, and challenges the notions of good and evil, heroes and villains, and the rule of law against one’s moral code. The drama, a 13-part epic miniseries that originally aired on the Esquire Network, stars Kieran Bew, in the lead role Beowulf; as well as William Hurt; Joanne Whalley; Ed Speleers and David Ajala.

Beowulf returns to his hometown after 20 years only to find the town attacked by a creature and himself accused of murder. This update to the centuries old tale introduces new characters and storylines to bring together an intriguing and epic fantasy action-adventure series.

Wanna read the poem?

“Power Rangers Dino Charge: Rise” is a spook-tacular Halloween treat

We love when we can share treats instead of tricks as Halloween creeps in. Now we offer two. First, a riddle. What do you call an empty hot dog? (Pause, while you think about it.) A hollow-weenie! (pause, while you laugh heartily.)

Secondly: A spook-tacular DVD from Lionsgate. Saban’s Powers Rangers embark on all-new adventures in Power Rangers Dino Charge: Rise, arriving on DVD (plus Digital HD) on September 27. powerrangersdinocharge_v4riseIn this Halloween edition, the Power Rangers must overcome their differences and work together to defend the Earth from evil using their dino-charged powers. Top-rated in its time period with kids 2-11, Power Rangers Dino Charge: Rise will surely keep its devoted fan base on the edge of their seats.

The Power Rangers rise and take action-adventure to the next level as Tyler and Ivan put their differences aside to defuse a bomb; Chase races to free his friends from an underground tomb; Prince Phillip learns that he can’t buy his way into the Power Rangers; and Riley and Koda restore the team’s broken bonds of friendship in these dynamic, thrill-filled adventures.

All together now: Boo!

Disney’s royal lion lair continues with “The Lion Guard: Unlease the Power”

They are lions, hear them roar. Join Kion and his friends as they unite to protect the Pride Lands and maintain the Circle of Life with the new Disney DVD The Lion Guard: Unleash the Power! Save the date: September 20. Packed with action, music and more than two hours of fun, the story proves that when heroes join forces, they are truly a force to be reckoned with.lionguard

The Lion Guard continues the high as it continues the epic storytelling of Disney’s The Lion King. The high works because of Lowe . . . Rob Lowe ‘s vocal talents work magic as Simba. The story follows the adventures of Kion, the second-born cub of Simba and Nala, and his diverse group of friends-Bunga, a fearless honey badger; Fuli, a confident cheetah; Beshte, a friendly and good-spirited hippo; and Ono, an intellectual egret. Together, Kion and his friends make up the Pride Lands’ fiercest, bravest, fastest, strongest and keenest of sight.

Think you will recognize the other voices? Watch and wonder! We’ll give you one clue: Modern Family icon Sarah Hyland plays . . .

 

Tom Hiddleston is swift as he swears that “The Night Manager” was “one of the most challenging and fulfilling experiences I’ve had as an actor”

Watching a film in its uncensored form is usually an important event. Witness Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie in The Night Manager.  Fans can bring home the original uncensored version now that the series has come to Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. The intense spy thriller originally aired on the BBC, and has received four Emmy nominations–Limited Series, Best Actor (Hiddleston), Best Supporting Actor (Laurie) and Best Supporting Actress (Olivia Colman).20150610_amc_nightmanager_2709_press-kit-800x600

The Night Manager, directed by Oscar-winner Susanne Bier (Best Foreign Language Film, In A Better World; 2011) is the first television adaptation of a le Carré novel in more than 20 years and brings together love, loss and revenge in a complex story of modern criminality. The stunning six part series follows former British soldier Jonathan Pine (Hiddleston) who is recruited by intelligence operative Angela Burr (Colman) to infiltrate the inner circle of international businessman Richard Onslow Roper (Laurie). To get to the heart of Roper’s vast empire, Pine must withstand the suspicious interrogations of his venal chief of staff Major Corkoran (Tom Hollander) and the allure of his beautiful girlfriend Jed (Elizabeth Debicki). In his quest to do the right thing, he must first become a criminal himself.

We wondered how Hiddleston heard the news of his Emmy nomination. ” I didn’t have any expectations, and suddenly my phone started blowing up a couple hours ago,” he recalls. “This is the most wonderful surprise, and honestly the most thrilling thing about it is that it feels like an extraordinary and heartwarming affirmation for the whole team who made The Night Manager. Making The Night Manager was the most fulfilling team effort, and I’m so proud of everybody.”

Pause. “It’s very special because I so enjoyed playing Jonathan Pine,” he adds. “The Night Manager was one of the most challenging and fulfilling experiences I’ve had as an actor. He’s such a complex character—a highly skilled, impeccably courteous, morally courageous, romantic character with a kind of broken heart. I loved playing him. The playing of him was complex in lots of ways in that over the course of the six episodes of the miniseries, the character is called by four different names with four different passports.”

Notice we didn’t ask about Taylor Swift.

 

 

Mike and Dave post a Craigslist ad . . . they need wedding dates and get much more

It really started with an ad on Craigslist. Really.  The ad went up at 9:13 a.m. on February 13, 2013. It read:

TWO MEN NEED WEDDING DATES
My brother and I are looking for wedding dates. We’ve been told by the bride that bringing dates is “mandatory” so we “won’t harass all of my friends all night” and “stay under control.” Rather than ask some fringe women in our lives to go and face the inevitable ‘does this mean he wants to take it to the next level!?’ questions, we’d rather bring complete strangers and just figure it out. Still reading? In anticipation of your questions we’ve developed an FAQ section below. Dave, Mike

What’s in it for me? • An excuse to get dressed up • Open bar & food all night • Eccentric/downright dangerous bro-2-bro dance moves (may need to sign a waiver) • Adventure • Mystery • Suspense • True Love • Royalties once our night’s story is developed into a romantic comedy* *if this happens (we estimate the chances at 85%) we refuse the right to let Ashton Kutcher play either of our characters, however, we will consider him for a supporting role.

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The real Mike and Dave (left) and the big-screen impersonators

SO – What are you fellas like, anyway? Oh us? We’re both in our 20s, single, dashingly tall, Anglo-Saxon, respectfully athletic, love to party, completely house trained, relaxed, passionate, smell great, have cool hair, clean up nice, boast great tie collections, will promise to shave, love our mother, have seen Love Actually several times, controversial, provocative, short-sighted (with a big picture mentality), raw, emotional, sensitive but still bad boys. What should us ladies be like? You should respond in pairs as you’ll want to know at least 1 person at this wedding. Sisters (twins?!) are preferable, but we’ll take friends, or even enemies. You should be attractive or our aunts will judge you, but not TOO attractive or one of our uncles might grope you. You should be relaxed and easy going as we’ll probably make up flattering lies about you on the spot. You should own a dress, or be able to acquire one because we don’t have any. If (when) you respond you should send some pictures of yourself so we know you’ve met the above requirements. Feel free to include a resume; this is a classy wedding and we’re looking for well-rounded women. Interesting/unique pairings are encouraged; don’t be afraid to make yourself stand out! This feels kinda creepy, are you guys Craigslist killers? 3 No. Well, if you want to be techni.. nevermind. No, we aren’t. We just genuinely want to do something different and we don’t see any other way to approach it. What would verify our normalness? Facebook? Instagram? We can have a pre-date screening (interview) prior to the wedding and play 20 questions over a coupla cocktails if you’d like? We’re IN! What now? First off — smart thinking. Email us, send along some pictures, information, high school athletic stats, questions, etc. We’ll take it from there. THE REAL STANGLE BROTHERS

Mike and Dave were surprised by the response it received. As Dave points out: “We thought the only logical way to get dates that knew each other, that would hang out with the two of us, was to put this on Craigslist. We wrote it, kind of thinking it was a joke that we could send to each other.”

With literally thousands of responses, the brothers had soon attracted national attention, discussing their creative dating tactics with Matt Lauer on the Today show and with Anderson Cooper on CNN.

The Stangles were, after all, only doing what came naturally. “I mean, that was kind of the whole point,” Mike says. “We realized that people actually were paying attention to us and so we were cool for the first time in our lives. For a neat little month we went on as many dates as we possibly could.” Adds Dave: “We did a lot of double-dating.”

The ad worked. A movie was made. They also landed a book deal. The deals were thanks to a friend, who happened to be a trainee at CAA, who spotted their viral ad on Craigslist.

And so we cordially invite all to the comedy event of the year. Adam Devine plays Mike and Zac Efron plays Dave in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates, coming to Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD + Blu-ray + Digital HD on September 27 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment. A true life comedy: In order to avoid embarrassing their family, hard-partying brothers Mike and Dave place an online ad to find “respectable” dates for their sister’s Hawaiian wedding. Instead, the boys find themselves out-hustled by an uncontrollable duo (played by Anna Kendrick and Aubrey Plaza). Based on hilarious true events, Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates is the perfect marriage of over-the-top humor and outrageous fun. The home releases doesn’t divorce themselves from extras . . .  there are more than 90 minutes of wildly inappropriate content, including never-before-seen extended and deleted scenes

No gifts needed.

Don’t skip “Skiptrace”; Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville and a fluffy and funny flick

The critics may not have skipped their praise for Skiptrace, but we found it as funny as a bowling ball that serves another purpose: Possible murder weapon.  Jackie Chan and Johnny Knoxville team up in the hilarious action-packed buddy comedy, arriving on Blu-ray (plus Digital HD), DVD (plus Digital) and Digital HD on October 25 from Lionsgate. The film is currently available On Demand.

For years, by-the-book Hong Kong detective Benny Chan (Chan) has tried to avenge his partner’s murder at the hands of a drug lord. Chan’s Chan meets freewheeling American gambler Connor Watts (Knoxville), who has an important piece of evidence that will bring the man who murdered Chan’s partner to justice.

Those expecting a hard-boiled film noir should remember this fick comes from acclaimed director Renny Harlin; think Die Harder, Cliffhanger, Deep Blue Sea. Fluff and funny.

Julie Walters, again, proves why “Indian Summers” is “a terrific melodrama with brains.”

America is still reeling from a record-breaking hot summer and an Indian Summer is in the wings. We’d much rather savor Indian Summers . . . the continuing story of love, death and unbridled ambition, set in British India’s exotic summer capital in the ’30s that has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “a terrific melodrama with brains.” PBS Distribution will be releasing “Masterpiece: Indian Summers Season” on DVD and Blu-ray on September 27. The program will also be available for digital download.

The series stars Julie Walters (below) plus “a constellation of strong performances” (Los Angeles Times)—among them Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Nikesh Patel and Jemima West. New this season are Art Malik, Rachel Griffiths, Blake Ritson and James Fleet.indian-summers-s1-julie-walters-6-things-1920x1080

Viewers will recall that last season ends with colonial official Ralph Whelan (Lloyd-Hughes) deftly playing his hand to be the next Viceroy of India and engaged to American socialite Madeline Mathers (Olivia Grant). Learning that Madeline is penniless, he decides to marry her anyway since she impresses all the right people. However, Madeline doesn’t know that Ralph has a mixed-race son, Adam, by his former lover Jaya, or that Ralph was complicit in hanging an innocent man for Jaya’s murder.

In other action, Ralph’s sister, Alice (West), is secretly having an affair with Ralph’s Indian head clerk, Aafrin Delal (Patel), while Aafrin is clandestinely aiding the Indian independence movement. All of these events revolve around the social scene in India’s summer capital, Simla, presided over by crafty military widow Cynthia Coffin (Walters).

As Season 2 opens, it is three years later, 1935. Ralph and Madeline are married. Aafrin has just returned from an official posting in Bengal, where he has fallen in love with freedom-fighter Kaira Das (played by Sugandha Garg) and also befriended firebrand nationalist Naresh Banerjee (Arjun Mathur), who is menacingly paranoid. Just as unbalanced is Alice’s estranged husband, Charlie Havistock (Ritson), who has shown up from England, determined to humiliate her for deserting him with their young son.

Adding to the intrigue is the Maharajah of Amritpur (Malik), the fabulously wealthy ruler of one of India’s princely states. A man of influence and strong appetites, he holds the key to Ralph’s future—in concert with his sensual English mistress, Sirene (Griffiths), whose face is strangely familiar to Simla’s expats.

And then there is Ralph’s rival, Lord Hawthorne (Fleet), who has the aristocratic lineage for the viceroy’s job but is having trouble adapting to the culture of the subcontinent. Still, he has no problem turning on the charm to Leena Prasad (Amber Rose Revah), the attractive former teacher at Simla’s mission school.

Enriching the new season is the dilemma faced by Aafrin’s sister Sooni (Aysha Kala), who wants to use her law degree to benefit the people but faces family pressure to submit to an arranged marriage. Fate intervenes to give her the choice of three very different suitors.

Of course, the big story is the inexorable push toward Indian independence, which is being promoted peacefully by Gandhi and less temperately by someone who promises “to blow them all up until it is raining hands and bloody feet!”

“Churchill’s Secret” is a riveting drama about Winston’s historic hidden truth

We all have secrets . . . but Winston Churchill, perhaps he greatest statesman of the twentieth century, kept one  in his most difficult hour: a debilitating stroke which he seeks to hide from the world. The fascinating story in told in PBS Distribution’s Masterpiece: Churchill’s Secret, arriving on DVD on September 13.

Based on a true incident in the life of Winston Churchill and directed by three-time Emmy nominee Charles Sturridge, Churchill’s Secret  is an adaptation of Jonathan Smith’s acclaimed 2015 novel, The Churchill Secret: KBO, which was hailed as “delightful, funny, heart-warming” by The Mail on Sunday (London) and praised for its “elegance and wit” by The New Statesman (London). “KBO” in the book’s title stands for Churchill’s favorite advice in the face of adversity: “keep buggering on.”

Sir Michael Gambon,74,smokes a cigarette whilst on set of ìSecret Churchillî in London. The ITV drama follows the story of a nurse guiding the ailing Churchill back to health during his final years in power at his Kent home. Set in the summer of 1953, it is based on book, The Churchill Secret: KBO, by Jonathan Smith, which tells the story of the PM's secret stroke. Credit Byline:Eagle Eyes_Exclusive. 28/6/2015
Sir Michael Gambon,74,smokes a cigarette whilst on set of “Churchill’s Secret”

Churchill stars Michael Gambon, in one of those performances that deserves awards. The action opens in the summer of 1953. Churchill, 78, is prime minister for the second time and as pugnacious as ever—until he is felled by a severe stroke while hosting a state dinner at 10 Downing Street. Lady Churchill (played by Lindsay Duncan) manages to conceal the seriousness of her husband’s sudden incapacity, while he is evaluated by his personal physician, Lord Moran (played Bill Paterson), and later transported in worsening condition to his country home, Chartwell.

Summoned to care for the apparently dying prime minister is a remarkable young nurse, Millie Appleyard (Romola Garai), who treats the world’s most famous man as she would any other difficult patient: with compassion, firmness, and occasional indulgence. In the weeks that follow, the two bond over the Victorian poet William Ernest Henley, whose celebrated poem, Invictus (Latin for “unconquered”), helps inspire Churchill to relearn to speak, stand and walk.

He is also determined to hold onto the reins of power, and the program tells the astonishing story of a bedridden, incapacitated leader who plots to outwit the high government officials who are maneuvering to replace him. Chief among these is Anthony Eden (Alex Jennings), Churchill’s right-hand man and designated successor.

Then there is Churchill’s family, of whom Lord Moran observes, “There’s a price to pay for greatness, but the great seldom pay it themselves.” Those who paid were Churchill’s children, who grew up in the permanent shadow of their exuberant and ambitious father. When Diana, Randolph, Sarah and Mary arrive at Chartwell to comfort their stricken parent, all except Mary fall to bickering and boozing—hardly an environment conducive to convalescence.

Through it all, Lady Churchill tries to keep the family peace and above all save some portion of her husband’s declining years for herself—far away from the demands of war and politics. As for Winston, a strange vision and a hit song haunt him from the early ’20s: “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles.” What could it mean?

Turner Classic Movies offers a free online course in slapstick movies, seriously

Groucho, Harpo, Chico, sometimes Zeppo. Buster, Charlie, Harold, W.C., Bud and Lou. Film fans, especially those who savor slapstick know the names and their films.

Turner Classic Movies is inviting movie lovers, comedy fans and online learners from around the world to a free, flexible online course, TCM Presents Painfully Funny: Exploring Slapstick in the Movies. Enjoy multimedia course materials, daily emails with movie clips and conversation starters and ongoing interactions with fellow film fans on the TCM message boards or at #SlapstickFall.

In this Ball State University course, you will explore the greatest slapstick gags in movie history by showcasing 56 classic films released between 1914 and 2004. Spanning almost a century of filmmaking, we will watch, discuss, and analyze the best comedy gags ever filmed involving physical comedy, broad humor and outrageous situations.unnamed

The course will run concurrently with Turner Classic Movies’ Ouch! A Salute to Slapstick programming event, airing every Tuesday and Wednesday in September 2016.

Both the course and the associated films will enrich your understanding of comedy, Hollywood filmmaking, and popular culture. You will be able to share your thoughts online and test your movie knowledge with a worldwide community of students, fans, and film lovers.

Meet your professor, Dr. Richard L. Edwards , and sign up for free at canvas.net/browse/bsu/tcm2/courses/slapstick/

 

The answer is revealed: Why are those birds so damned pissed off? What why are those green piggies such, well, pigs?

It’s a question most people want answered: Why are those damned birds so pissed?

We are here to entertain and educate. In December 2009, people around the world downloaded a game to their phones and started a phenomenon.  Little green piggies had invaded, intent on stealing the eggs of some flightless birds–and these birds were … well, there’s only one word for it: Angry.  How would you feel if someone came to your home and took your kids?

The most downloaded mobile game of all time–Angry Birds and their various editions have been downloaded more than three billion times–comes to the big screen and moviegoers will finally learn how the Angry Birds got their name.

1226792 - ANGRY BIRDS

The first conversations about turning Angry Birds into The Angry Birds Movie began back in 2011 with Mikael Hed and David Maisel.  “I had purchased my 80-year-old mother an iPad, and one day, I heard her swearing at some pigs,” Maisel recalls.  “I got very intrigued–this game is played by kids, by their parents, by their grandparents.  It’s one of the few things in culture today that people of all different generations share.”

According to the film’s producer John Cohen, the classic game was a great starting point for the movie the filmmakers wanted to make.  “Inside the game’s core concept were the seeds of what we believed could grow into a fantastic animated comedy,” he says.  “We had the chance to expand on the game characters, developing the birds into fully fleshed out characters with distinct personalities and fun, unique powers.  But there’s also a strong, emotional idea at the center of the movie: at the heart of the games is a story of angry birds who have had their eggs–their children–taken by these green piggies.  And the birds must launch a search-and-rescue operation to get their kids back.”

Working with the Rovio Entertainment team, the filmmakers developed and expanded the basic ideas from the game.  “This movie is the origin story of how that conflict came to exist between flightless birds and green piggies,” Cohen adds. “It was an incredibly fun opportunity to create a mythology for the Angry Birds universe.  Billions of people have a close personal connection to the games, but the games didn’t really have a backstory that was set in stone. Our playing field was wide open–as if we were starting from scratch with an original idea.  Of course, there were certain important elements that fans know and love from the games–angry flightless birds, with special powers that people will recognize, fighting green piggies, who have stolen their eggs, using a slingshot–but beyond those ideas, we were able to create an original story.”

In fact, Clay Kaytis, who directed the film with Fergal Reilly, says that the built-in audience of the game allowed them to subtly subvert audiences’ expectations.  “People assume they know what the movie is going to be because they’ve played the game,” he says, “but the truth is, we’re creating something that is going to surprise people when they see it.  As filmmakers, we’re making a movie that we would want to go see.”

So, out of the basic premise of the game, the filmmakers created a new story–a character-based comedy.  “Red is certainly an angry bird, and Chuck and Bomb have their problems, but actually, they’re just a bunch of misfits,” says Reilly.  “You really care about these guys–because not only do they have their own problems to deal with, but then they’re dealt the larger problem of the pigs.  They have to save their civilization, even though they’re the most unlikely guys you could ever pick.”

Cohen adds that Red’s mission to manage his anger is a theme that everyone in the audience can relate to.  “Every parent and every kid learns to find a way to work through those tough moments in their lives,” says Cohen.  “I think a lot of kids will identify with Red as he finds a way to channel that energy in a positive direction.”

As the characters took shape on the page, it came time for the filmmakers to cast the actors who would bring them to life.  “When an actor comes into a recording booth to perform, they are stripped of all of the tools in their repertoire–they no longer have their physicality, facial expressions, any movements or gestures, other actors to play against–they are left with only their voice,” says Cohen.  “Great improvisational comedic actors, like Jason Sudeikis, Josh Gad, Maya Rudolph, Danny McBride, Keegan-Michael Key and Kate McKinnon, are able to not only come up with terrific observational comedy ideas, but by doing that, they give their performance a very naturalistic feel, which really helps to bring these characters to life in animation.”

Adds executive producer Mikael Hed.: It’s a magical moment when you hear these actors for the first time in their characters. That’s when the characters start to properly come to life.  The actors inject part of their personality into the characters, and they become so much more real than they’ve ever been before that.”

Now you know. Now you can watch The Angry Birds Movie, now flying around on Blu-ray and DVD from Sony Home Entertainment.