|A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOODTHE NEIGHBORHOODA BEAUTIFUL DAYNEIGHBORHOODHBO|
Welcome back, fans of physical media. There are several great Blu-ray releases hitting the shelves this week, and if you’re one of those weirdos like me who cherishes physical copies, you’re going to want to grab some if not all of these. These are the new Blu-ray releases you should check out this week.Knives Out
One of the most entertaining movies of last year, Rian Johnson‘s Knives Out is both a send-up of and a loving tribute to whodunits – specifically locked room mysteries in which a gaggle of colorful characters are all treated as suspects. Daniel Craig‘s private detective Benoit Blanc gets top billing here, but he’s actually a secondary character. The film truly belongs to Ana de Armas, playing Marta, the immigrant nurse of a wealthy author Christopher Plummer. After the author turns up dead by apparent suicide, things take a turn for the surreal as the dead man’s family jockey for his inheritance. Johnson has so many tricks up his sleeve here that it borders on the absurd – and that’s part of the fun. Just when you think you’ve got Knives Out figured out, a new twist arises and shows you how wrong you’ve been.
Why It’s Worth Owning on Blu-ray:
You might assume that knowing the twist or rather, twists of Knives Out makes for a less-fun rewatch. But you’d be wrong! Knives Out is inherently rewatchable. In fact, rewatching it helps you pick up on the clues you missed the first time around. In addition to the film itself, you get two different commentary tracks – one with Rian Johnson, DOP Steve Yedlin, and frequent Johnson player Noah Segan; one Johnson recorded to be used in theaters. Johnson is a filmmaker who knows his stuff, making his commentary tracks must-listens. And if that isn’t enough for you, there’s a 2-hour making-of featurette.
Special Features Include:Audio Commentary by Writer-Director Rian Johnson, Director of Photography Steve Yedlin, and Actor Noah Segan In-Theatre Commentary by Rian Johnson Deleted Scene: “Bicycling Accident” with Optional Audio Commentary by Rian Johnson Deleted Scene: “Don’t Do Anything Rash” with Optional Audio Commentary by Rian Johnson “Making a Murder” Eight-Part Documentary “Rian Johnson: Planning the Perfect Murder” Featurette Writer-Director and Cast Q&A Marketing Gallery “Meet the Thrombeys” Viral Ads Frozen 2
There seem to be two camps regarding Frozen 2. On one side you have those who think this is a step-down from the original. And then on the other you have people like me, who think this is, in fact, the superior film. The original Frozen is good, don’t get me wrong. But it kind of runs out of energy midway through, and never really recovers. That doesn’t happen...
Although “The L Word: Generation Q” may have tried desperately to speak to a “new generation” of queer women and non-binary folks, fresher creative voices quickly rose to the top in its place. Though people still watched. Showtime’s “Work in Progress” was the best queer comedy of the year, Netflix’s “Feel Good” was an unexpected delight, and “Vida” is returning just in time for queer audiences to catch up on the best show about queer women of color on TV. Yet another contender released a promising first trailer today: “Betty” is a stylish and youthful portrait of Brooklyn teen skaters that already appears extremely queer.
The six-part half-hour arrives on HBO from filmmaker Crystal Moselle, who quickly made waves in 2015 with her her riveting documentary hybrid “The Wolfpack.” “Betty” is adapted from her second feature, the similarly hybridized “Skate Kitchen,” which followed a group of teenage girl skaters in New York City. The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews and was released by Magnolia Pictures that year.
In his B+ review of “Skate Kitchen” out of Sundance, IndieWire’s Eric Kohn wrote: “The streetwise alternative to ‘Girls,’ the movie weaves together such a complete vision of its subjects that the rest of the world barely exists. Of course, there's a long-standing precedent to capturing this subculture — ‘Kids’ did it, with more adventurous storytelling twists, more than 20 years ago — but Moselle's subjects hold their own with the surprising ability to clarify their emotions through the cathartic process of hanging out.”
“Betty” features many of the film’s original stars, most of whom had not acted before, including Kabrina Adams, Dede Lovelace, Nina Moran, Rachelle Vinberg, and Ajani Russell. All accomplished skaters in their own right, the first trailer shows the charismatic crew navigating various crushes and friendship trials with compelling panache and humor.
“Betty” is directed, co-written, and executive produced by Moselle. Lesley Arfin and Patricia Breen are also co-writers. Arfin, who also EPs, is a comedy writer best known for co-creating the Netflix series “Love” with Judd Apatow and Paul Rust.
HBO will release “Betty” beginning May 1 at 11 pm ET. Check out the exciting first trailer below:
In the film, Lloyd Vogel is the journalist who interviews Rogers for the Esquire profile. In reality, journalist Tom Junod was the mastermind behind the article, but Junod said he asked producers to give him a pseudonym in the film.
In his piece for The Atlantic, the writer states that there were many creative liberties taken with the film, which is why he asked for his name to be changed, as he felt the story was no longer about him. Specifically, the narrative distorts Junod's relationship with his father. The movie depicts Junod getting into a fistfight with his dad at his sister's wedding, something the journalist said never happened. Despite his unconventionalities, Junod said he never rejected his father's principles.
However, the film does get some things about Junod right. Along with writing the Esquire article, Junod really did win two National Magazine Awards and was known to be a bit irritable, something the film captures. Also, Junod said when he sat down to watch the film, he was struck at just how poignant and authentic his relationship with Rogers was portrayed in the film.
Junod even said actorMatthew Rhys' wardrobe, black turtlenecks and Armani blazers, was a staple in his own closet back in the day.
In an interview with PBS News Hour, Rhys said that since he was raised in Wales, he never grew up watching Mr. Rogers, but learned of its value through his young son.
“I dived into YouTube and thought, 'what is going on? It seemed bizarre to me.' Rhys said. “What's been incredible is having a 3-year old son. And for him to be the conduit of what [Mister Rogers] truly is has been eye opening and truly groundbreaking.”
Actor Chris Cooper plays Jerry Vogel in the film — the fictionalized version of Tom Junod's father, Lou Junod.
As the younger Junod mentioned in his Atlantic article, almost everything about his father was dramatized for the film. Nonetheless, Cooper said he enjoyed playing the irascible man.
“The character of Jerry that I played was going to be a really fun challenge,” Cooper said in an interview. “He's pretty multidimensional, pretty off-putting and [a] pretty rude character. And sometimes those are a lot of fun to play.”
Playing Andrea Vogel, but really Janet Junod, Tom Junod's wife, is This Is Us breakout star Susan Kelechi Watson.
In the film, Andrea meets Rogers and develops a friendship with the TV host. In reality, however, Janet Junod and Rogers never met, something Junod said he regretted in his obituary of his late friend.
In an interview with CinemaBlend Watson said she was mesmerized when she first saw Hanks on set in full Mister Rogers regalia.
“[Hanks] embodies Mr. Rogers without trying to be the exact replica,” Watson said. “The essence ... the iconic parts of Mister Rogers, he has. It was like, 'Wow, this is this generation's Mister Rogers.'”
Joanne Rogers is an accomplished musician, and the concert pianist was married to Fred Rogers for fifty years before he passed away.
The couple met at Rollins College and went on to have two sons together. However, in his Atlantic piece, Junod wrote that Fred Rogers could be reticent, rarely disclosing his thoughts even to his wife.
At the Pittsburgh premiere of the film, Joanne Rogers, now 91, spoke to reporters at the Senator John Heinz History Center and discussed her excitement about the movie. Specifically, she said her husband was a huge fan of Tom Hanks.
“I was like, 'are you kidding?' when they told me about Tom Hanks,” Rogers said. “Tom Hanks was Fred's favorite actor. And I didn't know until recently they were sixth cousins.”
Joanne Rogers actually makes a surprise appearance in the film herself, appearing in a brief cameo scene at a Chinese restaurant that the couple used to frequent. But it's actress Maryann Plunkett who plays Fred Rogers' wife in the movie.
Plunkett met with Joanne Rogers as part of her research for the film. When asked about Plunkett's performance, Joanne said the actress did “an amazing job.”
Plunkett has also spoken about the valuable lesson A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood can teach audiences.
“We need this now,” Plunkett said in an interview with The Movie Times. “Kindness. Someone who talks about kindness, about saying, 'I like you just the way you are.' It's not pompous piety; it's purely human, and that's what affected me.”