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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...
The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.
In this edition, watch as stuntment recreate a fight scene from The Mandalorian with some low-rent props and visual effects in the middle of a dojo. Plus, Patrick H Willems, or rather some of his collaborators, put together a video essay on Labyrinth and the themes of capitalism in 1980s America, and you can get a lesson on how to draw a Walt Disney caricature.
First up, some professional stuntmen, with the help of some local cosplayers and propmakers, got together in Atlanta Judo Midtown to recreate a fight scene from The Mandalorian in a very low budget style. But the camera work and cheap digital effects make this video from Legend of Micah a little more stylish than your average sweded video elsewhere on the web.
Next up, since things are crazy right now with coronavirus, Patrick H Willems takes a backseat to video essays this week. Instead, his collaborators Jake and Matt took advantage of the situation to do a video essay about the 1980s cult favorite Labyrinth starring David Bowie and how it fights back against the idea of greed being good.
Finally, Walt Disney Animation Studios animation supervisor Michael Woodside sat down to teach you how to draw a Disney-Style caricature of Walt Disney himself. It’s all in honor of the annual caricature show curated by the studio, and it’ll help you pass the time while you’re stick at home with nothing to do. Maybe you can even try to draw a caricature of someone else like this too.
The penultimate episode of the penultimate arc of Star Wars: The Clone Wars seemed like a small story, documenting the struggle of the Martez sisters and Ahsoka Tano to escape the Pyke Syndicate, but it opened up into a whole new world of Star Wars. It added context to stories we’d thought had been completed, added characters from Star Wars Rebels into the mix, and ties directly into the struggles of Mandalore. Let’s dive deeper into “Dangerous Debt”.The Hunt For Ziro
Trapped in a Pyke Syndicate cell in the captivity of the great Marg Krim, Ahsoka and Rafa Martez argue about the right course of action and where to lay the blame for their situation. As they fight, Rafa reveals why she and her sister stay away from topsiders, stick to each other, and generally distrust the Jedi. Then, she tells a tale that fits neatly between previously seen episodes of The Clone Wars. Rafa talks about Ziro the Hutt’s prison break, led by Cad Bane. We saw most of this in the season one finale of The Clone Wars, “Hostage Crisis.” That episode ends with Cad Bane leaving with Ziro the Hutt in speeders into Coruscant after holding a number of Senators, including Padmé Amidala, hostage.
Rafa’s story takes it a step beyond what we saw. The Martez family is impacted specifically by a bounty hunter that perfectly matches the description of Cad Bane. Her parents were killed when Bane shot a transport to create a distraction for his getaway with Ziro. The distraction worked and Bane and Ziro got away.
After the incident1, a green-skinned Jedi came to comfort the Martez sisters with a tone-deaf response. It seems as though this Jedi was likely Luminara Unduli, the master of Barris Offee, the padawan who framed Ahsoka for murder. Ahsoka offers a strong, heartfelt apology, realizing just how wrong the Jedi she left behind might have been.
It was a touching moment in the episode and a fascinating look at how Ahsoka views her experience.The Mandalorians
A delightful surprise in this episode was the inclusion of a trio of Mandalorians. Who were these mysterious warriors? We have the identities of two of them. The first is Bo Katan Katee Sackhoff who would eventually take possession of the Darksaber and become the leader of Mandalore in the final season of Star Wars Rebels. She mentions her interaction with Ahsoka on Carlac, which were events that occurred in the fourteenth episode of the fourth season of The Clone Wars, “A Friend in Need.” In that episode, Ahsoka saw herself up against Death Watch and Bo Katan was there as part of their cadre. Bo Katan left that organization after Maul killed her leader, Pre Vizsla voice by Jon Favreau, and her sister, the Duchess Satine. Katan ended up helping Obi-Wan Kenobi weather the conflict and didn’t otherwise appear again on the timeline until Star Wars Rebels....
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: