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Thor’s Blu-ray/DVD Reviews: Jan. 22

Thor Diakow | posted Friday, Jan 25th, 2019

Hit the movie titles for trailer links.

January 22, 2019: First Man, The Hate U Give, Johnny English Strikes Again.

First Man

Based on the book First Man: The Life of Neil A. Armstrong by James R. Hansen and from visionary filmmaker Damien Chazelle, FIRST MAN is the riveting story behind the first manned mission to the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the decade leading to the historic Apollo 11 flight. A visceral and intimate account told from Armstrong’s perspective, the film explores the triumphs and the cost—on Armstrong, his family, his colleagues and the nation itself—of one of the most dangerous missions in history. The critically acclaimed FIRST MAN comes from legendary executive producer Steven Spielberg (Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Schindler’s List) alongside fellow executive producers Adam Merims (Baby Driver, Straight Outta Compton) and Josh Singer (The Post, Spotlight) with a screenplay by Singer allowing audiences to relive the historic achievement in human history that has never been told cinematically. Filled with outstanding performances from an all-star cast led by Gosling and Foy alongside an incredible roster of supporting talent including Kyle Chandler (The Wolf of Wall Street, “Friday Night Lights”), Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, Mudbound), Corey Stoll (“The Strain,” “House of Cards”), Pablo Schreiber (Skyscraper, “Orange is the New Black”), Christopher Abbot (“The Sinner,” Whiskey Tango Foxtrot),  and Ciarán Hinds (“Game of Thrones,” Tinker Tailor Solider Spy).

First Man is a remarkable cinematic achievement that may become more appreciated as the years go by. The sheer technical aspects, mixed with the meticulous historical details, and stunning emotional journey are masterfully conjured by director Damien Chazelle and the rest of the cast and crew. In addition, the bonus features add some fascinating insights which further the appreciation for this marvelous movie.

Bonus Features:
-Deleted Scenes
-Shooting for the Moon – Take an intimate look at the production of FIRST MAN and the collaborative relationship between Director Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling.
-Preparing to Launch – It’s difficult to believe that FIRST MAN is the first major feature film to tell the journey of Apollo 11. Hear from Director Damien Chazelle and his cast why now is the time to tell the story of this historic event.
-Giant Leap in One Small Step – A heroic character study, FIRST MAN sheds light on all the hard working individuals that got us to the moon and back.
-Mission Gone Wrong – Watch as Ryan Gosling reenacts a test piloting sequence gone terribly wrong. Go behind the scenes to see how he trained to nail the landing, performing the majority of his own stunts.
-Putting You In the Seat – Through the use of innovative technology, most of FIRST MAN was shot in-camera. Take an in-depth look behind the lens of this epic film.
-Recreating the Moon Landing – Filmed in IMAX to show the vastness of the moon, find out all that it took to recreate the most famous moment in NASA history.
-Shooting at NASA – Hear from Ryan Gosling and Director Damien Chazelle on how shooting at NASA brought unparalleled authenticity to FIRST MAN.
-Astronaut Training – Go behind the scenes of the three day boot camp each of the actors underwent prior to filming FIRST MAN.
-Feature Commentary with Director Damien Chazelle, Screenwriter Josh Singer and Editor Tom Cross

The Hate U Give

Starr Carter is constantly switching between two worlds: the poor, mostly black, neighborhood where she lives and the rich, mostly white, prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer.  Now, facing pressures from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what’s right. THE HATE U GIVE is based on the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller by Angie Thomas and stars Amandla Stenberg as Starr, with Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, Issa Rae, KJ Apa, Algee Smith, Sabrina Carpenter, Common and Anthony Mackie.

Topical themes and sensational performances collide in this powerful drama. The film is anchored by the tremendous talents of rising star Amandla Stenberg and grounded by solid work from Russell Hornsby and other veterans. The Hate U Give also benefits from an intelligent script and sensitive direction, resulting in one of the more resonant films of last year.

Special Features:
Extended scenes:
-Maverick and Seven Protecting Their Home
-Uprising
-Seven’s Graduation
Featurettes:
-Starting a Conversation
-The Talk
-Code Switching
-The Heart of Georgia
-Thank U Georgia
-Audio Commentary by George Tillman, Jr., Amandla Stenberg, Russell Hornsby, Angie Thomas and Craig Hayes

Johnny English Strikes Again

Rowan Atkinson returns as the much-loved accidental secret agent in Johnny English Strikes Again. When a cyber-attack reveals the identity of all active undercover agents in Britain, the country’s only hope is called out of retirement. English’s new mission is his most critical to date: Dive head first into action to find the mastermind hacker. A man with few skills and analogue methods, English must overcome the challenges of modern technology—or his newest mission will become the Secret Service’s last.

Full of mediocre jokes, Johnny English Strikes Again manages to coast on the charms of its main star, alongside a talented ensemble cast, and some decent sight gags. The predictable pratfalls eventually grow tiresome but it does contain sporadic doses of laughter.

Special Features:
-The Comedy Genius of Rowan Atkinson
-A Cast of Characters
-The Johnny English Legacy
-Virtual Reality Johnny English Style
-The Gadgets
-The Cars
-Locations and Design
-Feature Commentary with Director David Kerr