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Spider-Man: Homecoming (a J!-ENT 4K Ultra HD Disc Review)

October 17, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” may not be featuring the Spider-Man that I grew up reading but I will say that “Spider-Man: Homecoming” was entertaining to the point that I watched it multiple times already because I really enjoyed watching the film.  The way I see it, if the “Spider-Man” trilogy or the next two films didn’t win you over, this movie may.  Wonderful story, loved the characters and this film was just a lot of fun and I highly recommend it!

Images courtesy of © 2017 Marvel. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Spider-Man: Homecoming

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2017

DURATION: 133 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 2160p 4K Ultra High Definition, 2:39:1 aspect ratio, English Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 compatible), French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio,  French, Spanish, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Audio Description, SUBTITLES: English, English SDH, Arabic, Cantonese,  Chinese, Dutch, French, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Spanish and Thai

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13

RELEASE DATE: October 17, 2017


Based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko

Directed by Jon Watts

Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Jon Watts, Christopher Ford, Chris McKenna, Erik Sommers

Producer: Kevin Feige, Amy Pascal

Executive Producer: Victoria Alonso, Avi Arad, Louis D’Esposito, Jeremy Latcham, Stan Lee, Matt Tolmach, Patricia Whitcher

Co-Producer:  Mitchell Bell, Eric Hauserman Carroll, Rachel O’Connor

Music by Michael Giacchino

Cinematography by Salvatore Totino

Edited by Debbie Berman, Dan Lebental

Casting by Sarah Finn

Production Design by Oliver Scholl

Set Decoration by Lauri Gaffin

Costume Design by Louise Frogley


Starring:

Tom Holland as Peter Parker/Spider-Man

Michael Keaton as Adrian Toomes/Vulture

Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark/Iron Man

Marisa Tomei as May Parker

Jon Favreau as Happy Hogan

Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts

Zendaya as Michelle

Donald Glover as Aaron Davis

Jacob Batalon as Ned

Laura Harrier as Liz

Tony Revolori as Flash

Bokeem Woodbine as Herman Schultz/Shocker

Tyne Daly as Anne Marie Hoag

Garcelle Beauvais as Doris Toomes


A young Peter Parker/Spider-Man (Tom Holland), who made his sensational debut in Captain America: Civil War, begins to navigate his newfound identity as the web-slinging super hero. Thrilled by his experience with the Avengers, Peter returns home, where he lives with his Aunt May (Marisa Tomei), under the watchful eye of his new mentor Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.). Peter tries to fall back into his normal daily routine – distracted by thoughts of proving himself to be more than just your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man – but when the Vulture (Michael Keaton) emerges as a new villain, everything that Peter holds most important will be threatened.


It is well-known that there is friction between Marvel Studios (which is currently owned by Disney) and their Marvel’s deal with FOX which gave them ownership to the X-Men films (and formerly the “Fantastic Four” films) which prevents the interaction of characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to co-exist.  But one big question that many have wondered is if one of the most iconic characters, Spider-Man, which the films are with Sony Pictures, would ever appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe films.

And when it was announced that Sony Pictures, Marvel Studios and Disney would collaborate and allowed Spider-Man to be featured in a MCU film, not only was it unprecedented, fans applauded the studios of working together.

Spider-Man would be featured in “Captain America: Civil War” and now we have a new Spider-Man film which allows Tony Stark (Iron Man) and even Captain America to be featured in a Sony Pictures film, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.

The film begins not long after the Battle of New York (as featured in the first “Avengers” film).  Adrian Toomes (portrayed by Michael Keaton) owns a salvage company and is contracted to clean up the city of the destroyed alien Chitauri technology that have littered the streets of New York.

As Adrian sees the financial possibilities of obtaining this technology, the Department of Damage Control (D.O.D.C.) and a partnership with Stark Industries and the U.S. government have come in to take over, upsetting Adrian because he hired a lot of helped and spent his own money for the operation.

Having lost the job, his men reveal that they still have some of the alien technology.

Fastforward eight years later (following the events that took place in “Captain America: Civil War”), Peter Parker went to help Tony Stark/Iron Man and when taken home, is told that if they need him, they will call. Meanwhile, Happy Hogan (portrayed by Jon Favreau) would be watching over him.

And while Peter lives a double life as an intelligent studying at the Midtown School of Science and Technology, he takes on thugs or helps people with issues around the city, growing bored and wanting to do something huge.  He lives with his Aunty May (portrayed by Marisa Tomei) and hangs out with his best friend Ned (portrayed by Jacob Batalon) and has a crush on Liz (portrayed by Laura Harrier).

Meanwhile, we see that Adrian Toomes and his men have utilized the technology to pull of major theft of alien technology and selling it to the highest bidder and becoming wealthy because of it.

One device made is a shocking device and the person utilizing the technology would be known as The Shocker, while Toomes has a vulture like apparatus that allows him to fly and use the machinery as a weapon.

One day, as Spider-Man is out patrolling, he discovers a group of thieves dressed up with Avengers masks trying to rob a bank near his home.  Spider-Man goes to stop them but is shocked that they have alien technology that can literally destroy buildings quickly and another that makes him utilizing magnetic technology.

When he goes back home and sneaks in, Peter is unaware that his friend Ned is in his room and now Ned knows his secret that Peter is Spider-Man.

And as Peter tries to keep his double life in check, he is wanting to know more about the people using the alien technology despite the warning he receives from Tony Stark that he must stay on the ground.  Will Peter’s pursuit of who is using the Chitauri put him in true danger, especially of the people who are close to him?


VIDEO:

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is presented in 4K Ultra High Definition ala 2160p 4K Ultra High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio).

The film looks absolutely magnificent in 4K Ultra HD and Spider-Man’s outfit is vibrant, colors and visual effects look magnificent and with each passing year, I can’t help but be in awe of how these MCU films look better and better.

Videophiles will no doubt be happy with this release.

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: To watch 4K Ultra HD, you will need a 4K UHD TV with HDR and an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player + a high-speed HDMI (Category 2) Cable.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

Lossless audio quality is equally impressive. Presented in English Dolby Atmos (TrueHD 7.1 compatible), French 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French, Spanish, Thai 5.1 Dolby Digital, English Audio Description.

The lossless audio is no doubt immersive considering the amount of action featured in this film.   Each shockblast, each web shot by Spider-Man, hearing the Vulture’s steel wings in action to the many numerous situations that involve explosions and weaponry, these sound effects for this film is truly marvelous.  Similar to the picture quality, for audio, lossless audio for this film is magnificent!

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Arabic, Cantonese, Chinese, Dutch, French, Indonesian, Korean, Malay, Spanish and Thai

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” comes with the following special features (on the Blu-ray Disc):

  • The Spide Study Guide – Watch the film with informative pop-ups and hidden references.
  • Gag Reel – (2:17) Bloopers from “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes – (16:17) Featuring ten deleted and extended scenes.
  • A Tangled Web – (6:12) Stan Lee and filmmakers discusses Spider-Man becoming part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
  • Searching for Spider-Man – (8:05) A featurette about Tom Holland and having him as Spider-Man.
  • Spidey Stunts – (5:48) A featurette about the stunts on “Spider-Man” and how when Tom Holland auditioned for the film, he was doing stunts and using his gymnastic/dance background in the film.
  • Aftermath – (4:48) A featurette about the expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe and incorporating storyline elements (featured in the “Avengers” film) to Spider-Man.
  • The Vulture Takes Flight – (6:02) A featurette about creating the antagonist, the Vulture on film.
  • Jon Watts: Head of the Class – (5:30) A featurette about hiring Jon Watts as the director of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and how he takes the character somewhere that has never been done for character on film.
  • Pros and Cons of Spider-Man – (3:28) Tom Holland and Jacob Batalon discussing the pros and cons of Spider-Man.
  • Rappin with Cap – (2:26) Featuring all four Captain America school films.
  • Photo Gallery
  • Trailers

EXTRAS:

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” comes with a slipcover, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray disc and an UltraViolet Digital HD code.


Growing up as a fan of “Spider-Man”, it has been interesting cinematic experiences.  From the Sam Raimi trilogy featuring actor Tobe Maguire in the 2000’s and the Marc Webb films starring Andrew Garfield in 2012 and 2014.  I was entertained by those films.

But with the Marvel Cinematic Universe establishing a well-oiled machine showcasing Marvel’s well-known characters interacting in each other’s films, one of the troubling situations was knowing that various superhero teams or superheroes featured from one studio, may not appear in the Disney/Marvel Studios films.

And when it was announced that Sony agreed to a collaboration for Spider-Man to be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, first with “Captain America: Civil War” and now with “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and I see this as a win-win, for the studios but also the fans who have seen the MCU and how these characters and films tie together as a major plus.

But with numerous Spider-Man films, how would “Spider-Man: Homecoming” do compared to the other films?

For one, there is no rehash of how Spider-Man became a hero, no Uncle Ben, no jocks vs. geeks storyline.  No Mary Jane Watson.  No Gwen Stacy.  In fact, no one knew what to expect from filmmaker Jon Watts (known for indie films, “Cop Car” and “Creative Control”), especially as the film had numerous writers such as Jonathan Goldstein, John Francis Daley, Watts along with Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna and Erik Sommers.

And probably the unknown is what made this film so enjoyable for me.  We saw how Spider-Man was recruited by Tony Stark in “Captain America: Civil War”, but what happened after that film is what many wondered how “Spider-Man: Homecoming” would end up.

The film would kick off by creating a tie-in to the first “Avengers” film with showing how Adrian Toomes owning a salvage company, taking alien high-technology from the ravaged streets of New York and then being kicked to the curb by the government and Stark Industries.  But Toomes and company managed to keep some of that alien technology and eight years later, he and his crew would be able to create superpowered weaponry with the salvaged Chitauri technology and become an arms trafficker.

Meanwhile, Peter Parker who served with Iron Man and other Avengers would now be returned back home and would need to report to Happy Hogan, the former head of security of Stark Industries.  While wanting to be in major skirmishes like the Avengers, Peter Parker for now will be the neighborhood crime-fighting hero, even if it means walking elderly across the street or vandalism.

But meanwhile Peter is trying to balance school and uses his superhero front working with Stark Industries as a “student internship” and trying to enjoy his teenage life with his buddy Ned while enjoying the presence of his high school crush, Liz from afar.

But life changes for Peter when he discovers Toome and their crew trying to use Chitauri technology for crime and because of their deadly weapons, he was nearly killed until Tony Stark utilized one of his costumes to save Peter.  But Peter wanting to prove himself to Tony Stark pursues the criminals not realizing the full extent of the danger that awaits him but also how with great power comes great responsibility.

The major difference between this Peter Parker than other incarnations of Peter Parker is that this is a modern film.  The costume that Peter Parker wears utilizes technology from Stark Industries giving him a wide range of selections for combat and even has an assistant built in to the costume.  And part of the entertainment factor is seeing Parker learn what his costume is capable of.

Meanwhile, as for Peter, another key difference is that while he is often bullied by Flash, unlike the first trilogy and the comic books, Flash is not an athlete but a part of Peter’s decathlon team.  Modernized for today’s generation, I liked how the film portrayed Peter, Ned, Liz, Flash as smart, intelligent teens and showcasing geeks as “cool” unlike the past where the geeks were always tormented by the jocks.

The film mirrors today’s world society and one of the things that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has done was to show diversity.  The film showcases a white teen who has a crush on an African American teen, her mother is married to a Caucasian man, the film features Peter Parker’s best friend Ned who happens to be a Filipino.

It may not mean a lot to some people but for those who have been wanting to see diversity, wanting to see situations that mirror real life and have wanted Hollywood to showcase diversity will definitely get that with “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.

The film looks absolutely fantastic on 4K Ultra HD and the lossless soundtrack is immersive and quite active thanks to the plethora of action sequences.  And you also get a numerous special features included as well.

Overall, “Spider-Man: Homecoming” may not be featuring the Spider-Man that I grew up reading but I will say that “Spider-Man: Homecoming” was entertaining to the point that I watched it multiple times already because I really enjoyed watching the film.  The way I see it, if the “Spider-Man” trilogy or the next two films didn’t win you over, this movie may.  Wonderful story, loved the characters and this film was just a lot of fun and I highly recommend it!

The Lost City of Z (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 12, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Jim Gray’s “The Lost City of Z” is an entertaining film based on a true story of the mysterious disappearance of explorer Percy Fawcett in 1925. Featuring a wonderful performance by Charlie Hunnam., while the film shows one man’s dream, his ambitions as an explorer and his drive, we also see a man consumed by this obsession to find the lost ancient city where the risk is high.  I found it to be a satisfying and entertaining film but it may not be for everyone.  But I still feel it’s a film worth recommending!

Images courtesy of © 2016 LCOZ Holdings LLC. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: The Lost City of Z

FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: 141 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 2:40:1 aspect ratio, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English DTS Digital Surround 5.1, Subtitles: English SDH, Espanol

COMPANY: Broad Green Pictures

RATED: PG-13 (Violence, Disturbing Images, Brief Strong Language and Some Nudity)

RELEASE DATE: July 11, 2017


Based on the book by David Grann

Directed by James Gray

Screenplay by James Gray

Produced by Jeff Abberley, Diane Miller Levin, Jamie Patricof

Executive Producer: Julia Blackman, Marc Butan, Jessica Chastain, Mickey Liddell, Jennifer Monroe, Joanne Sennitt, Pete Shilaimon, Michael Tollin, Robbie Tollin, Kevan Van Thompson

Co-Producer: Katie McNeill

Music by Harry Gregson-Williams

Cinematography by Andrij Parekh

Edited by David Coulson

Production Design by Suzie Davies

Art Direction: Jan Kalous, Dan Taylor, Magdalena Zemanova

Set Decoration: Charlotte Watts

Costume Design: Bina Daigeler


Starring:

Charlie Hunnam as Percy Fawcett

Robert Pattinson as Henry Costin

Sienna Miller as Nina Fawcett

Tom Holland as Jack Fawcett

Edward Ashley as Arthur Mansley

Angus Macfadyen as James Murray

Ian McDiarmid as Sir George Goldie

Clive Francis as Sir John Scott Keltie


The Lost City of Z tells the incredible true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who journeys into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the region. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment who regard indigenous populations as “savages”, the determined Fawcett- supported by his devoted wife, son and aide de camp returns time and again to his beloved jungle in an attempt to prove his case, culminating his mysterious disappearance in 1925.


In 1925, British geographer, archaeologist and explorer Percy Fawcett and his eldest son disappeared during an expedition to find “Z”, Fawcett’s name for an ancient lost city in the jungles of Brazil.

The mystery of the disappearance of both men have been discussed and debated for decades and to this very day, no one knows the what happened to both men during their expedition.

While there have been numerous films, stories and characters based on Percy Fawcett’s explorations, probably the best known inspirations of Fawcett include Professor Challenger (for Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Lost World”) and may be a possible inspiration for Indiana Jones.

But to explore Percy Fawcett, author David Grann explored the life of Captain Percy Fawcett in his 2009 non-fiction book “The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession the in Amazon” and how he fell in love or was obsessed of trying to find “Z”.

The book received critical praise and also criticism but it is no doubt a fascinating exploration of Fawcett and his accomplishments.  Enough to receive a film adaptation courtesy of filmmaker/screenwriter James Gray (“The Immigrant”, “We Own the Night”, “Two Lovers”).

The film stars Charlie Hunnam (“Pacific Rim”, “Sons of Anarchy”, “Children of Men”), Robert Pattinson (“Twilight” films, “Remember Me”), Sienna Miller (“Foxcatcher”, “Burnt”, “Stardust”), Tom Holland (“The Impossible”, “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, “Captain America: Civil War”), Edward Ashley (“In the Heart of the Sea”, “Last Tango in Halifax”, “Winter”), Agnes Macfadyen (“Braveheart”, “We Bought a Zoo”, “Equilibrium”), Ian McDiarmid (“Star Wars” films) and Clive Francis (“Mr. Turner”, “Sharpe’s Company”).

And now the film will be released on Blu-ray and DVD courtesy of Broadgreen Pictures/Amazon Studios.

The film begins in the early 1900’s and introduces us to Percy Fawcett (portrayed by Charlie Hunnam), a skilled horseman, marksman and a man married to Nina (portrayed by Sienna Miller) and has a baby named Jack.

As Percy is sent to London to meet with officials of the Royal Geographical Society, because Bolivia and Brazil are close to war due to their mutual boundary, the British government are asked to survey it.  And Percy is given the job to lead the survey party but also to help restore his family’s good name.

With the assistance of Cpl. Henry Costin (portrayed by Robert Pattinson), who has knowledge of the Amazon rainforest.  And as the two and their party go through the Amazon forest, their Amazonian scout Tadjui tells them stories of a city covered in gold and full of people but hidden deep inside the jungle.  No one believes Tadjui until Fawcett discovers advanced broken pottery and small stone statues and realizes that Tadjui may be telling the truth.

When Fawcett returns, Nina had given birth to their second son but she also discovered a conquistador text which has information about a city deep in the Amazon jungle.  As Fawcett meets renowned biologist James Murray (portrayed by Angus Macfayden), Murray funds the expedition to fin what Fawcett has dubbed the mysterious city as “The Lost City of Z”.

But what happens when Fawcett, Costin, Murray and others revisit the Amazon jungle?  And through the years of trying to look for this lost city, how would his children, growing older, especially his wife and eldest son Jack (portrayed by Tom Holland) feel about Charlie’s obsession with the lost city and not being there for his own family?  Will Fawcett ever find “Z”?


VIDEO:

“The Lost City of Z” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39 1 aspect ratio). Featuring close-ups with very good detail, the film looks very good as a lot of the scenes were shot outdoors.

Cinematography by Darius Khondji (“Amour”, “Midnight in Paris”, “Se7en”) is fantastic!

I didn’t notice any major artifacts, banding or issues with picture quality during my viewing of the film.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“The Lost City of Z” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, DVS 2.0 and Espanol DTS Digital Surround 5.1. Dialogue is crystal clear and surround channels utilize environment ambiance.

Subtitles are in English SDH, Espanol and Francais.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“The Lost City of Z” comes with the following special features:

  • Feature Film Commentary –  Featuring audio commentary by director James Gray.
  • Adventure in the Jungle – (2:21) A short featurette with interviews with James Gray and cast.
  • Expedition Journal – A photo gallery from the film.
  • From Novel to Screen – (3:10) A featurette about bringing David Grann’s non-fiction book to the big screen.

Part of the fascination of watching James Gray’s “The Lost City of Z” is knowing there was an explorer who would go far and find the lost city of a legendary city known as “Z”.

And adding more dimension to the film is reading the plethora of articles surrounding Gray’s exploration and the mystery surrounding what may or may not have happened to Percy Fawcett and his eldest son.

Was he obsessed with “Z”?  What was it that allured Percy Watson to leave his family to go to the Amazon jungle?

Part of the difficult of creating a movie about Watson is by going off information, may it be fact or fiction but then adding your own personal human understanding of how one would feel and then put it on film.  Filmmaker James Gray discusses this about how he interpreted various things, from his research and was able to craft the film.

But Gray’s interpretation, while still one of the stories of what may have happened to Percy Watson and his eldest son Jack is still a mystery and may be kept a mystery that will attract attention as much as the disappearance of American pilot, Amelia Earhart.  A lot of theories but no one knows the truth of what happened to them and throughout the years, people who are still fascinated by the mystery will continue to make films, write articles and more stories that make them more legendary.

There are many men and women who are driven by their goals and while others may hurt in the process, what we do know is that Gray was consumed by being the person of finding “Z”, no matter the danger.  It was his path that surpassed his wanting to be there for his family.  According to the film, he felt that as the adventurer, his wife would be the caretaker of the children.

The film does try to show the independent side of Nina, who challenges her husband for not bringing her to the Amazon and also the pain that his eldest son Jack has carried for his father not being there for him.

Part of the problem for this type of film is that it takes a while to generate any significant climax because the film is presented in arcs.  The first expedition of discovery, the second expedition with bringing someone who was not fit to travel in the jungle to ruin the expedition and the third featuring Percy and Jack.   For those who are captivated by the determination of Percy, will no doubt be drawn by the adventure.  But for those seeking some sort of build-up, it’s kind of hard when you know how this film will pretty much end.

For me, I’m of the former who enjoys the determination and persistence of one being driven to being the first man to discover a long lost ancient city, taking on any adversity that comes his way.

I know that for a few of my female friends who have watched the film, they thought Percy was a jerk for leaving his family for years to pursue this adventure.  Either way how you feel, it’s valid.  What Percy did in terms of an explorer was cool in an archaeological way, but in terms of leaving your children with a mother for years, to the point that your children don’t know who you are, that’s not really cool at all.

But once again, this film is based on David Grann’s non-fiction book and also included filmmaker James Gray’s own interpretations as well.  If anything, the subject matter will no doubt make one want to do research after the film is over.

As for the Blu-ray, the film looks wonderful in HD.  With the lush greens of the jungle, close up details are fantastic and for the most part, having a film shot outdoors, especially with the wonderful cinematography by Darius Khondji, added to the wonderful visuals of the film.

Lossless audio is also just as great with wonderful ambiance being captured of the jungle to the surround channels.  Dialogue and music are crystal clear and there are numerous special features included as well.

Overall, Jim Gray’s “The Lost City of Z” is an entertaining film based on a true story of the mysterious disappearance of explorer Percy Fawcett in 1925. Featuring a wonderful performance by Charlie Hunnam., while the film shows one man’s dream, his ambitions as an explorer and his drive, we also see a man consumed by this obsession to find the lost ancient city where the risk is high.  I found it to be a satisfying and entertaining film but it may not be for everyone.  But I still feel it’s a film worth recommending!

Edge of Winter (a J!-ENT DVD Review)

September 14, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 

While “Edge of Winter” has its tense moments, I couldn’t help but think how the film could have been made better if various plots involving the mother or some exciting rescue attempt was made. As banal it would have been, it would have still provided an ending with closure. But with how the film ended, I wasn’t satisfied with the ending at all.  But the film could have been worse or even tragic. which I’m glad wasn’t the case.

Images courtesy of © 2016 Wild Ontario men, Inc. and Baker Boys Productions Inc. All Rights Reserved.


DVD TITLE: Edge of Winter

YEAR OF FILM: 2016

DURATION: 89 Minutes

DVD INFORMATION: 2:40:1 Widescreen, English, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Chinese Traditional, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Thai

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (Language and Some Violence)

AVAILABLE ON: September 27, 2016


Directed by Rob Connolly

Written by Rob Connolly, Kyle Mann

Produced by Jonathan Bronfman, Kyle Mann

Co-Producer: Aaron Barnett, Michael Risley

Executive Produced by Jeff Sackman

Cinematography by Norm Li

Edited by Greg Ng

Casting by Kerry Rock

Production Design by Craig Lathrop

Art Direction by Andrea Kristof

Set Decoration by Mary Kirkland

Costume Design by Joanna Syrokomia


Starring:

Joel Kinnaman as Elliot Baker

Tom Holland as Bradley Baker

Percy Hynes White as Caleb Baker

Rachelle Lefevre as Karen

Shaun Benson as Ted

Shilo Fernandez as Richard


Recently divorced and laid off from his job, Elliot Baker (Joel Kinnaman, Suicide Squad; Run All Night) is desperate to spend more time bonding with his sons, Bradley (Tom Holland, Captain America: Civil War) and Caleb (Percy Hynes White, Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb). What starts as family day trip to teach his boys how to shoot turns into a nightmare when they become stranded. As they retreat to a desolate cabin, Elliot’s mounting fear of losing custody pushes him to the edge. The brothers quickly realize that the man responsible for keeping them safe has now become their biggest threat.


Rob Connolly has worked on the production-side of filmmaking for a variety of shorts, but in 2016, Connoly directed and co-wrote alongside Kyle Mann (producer of “Capote”, “Push” and “Wrecked”) the psychological thriller, “Edge of Winter”.

The film stars Joel Kinnaman (“The Killing”, “RoboCop”, “Run All Night”, “Safe House”), Tom Holland (“Captain America: Civil War”, “The Impossible”, “Locke”, “In the Heart of the Sea”), Percy Hynes White (“The Grand Seduction”, “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb”) and Rachelle Lefevre (“Twilight” films, “White House Dawn”, “Under the Dome”).

And now will be released on DVD courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

The film begins with Elliot Baker (portrayed by Joel Kinnaman), an unemployed outdoorsman who is happy to have his sons Bradley (portrayed by Tom Holland) and Caleb (portrayed by Percy Hynes White) stay with him for a short while, while his ex-wife Karen (portrayed by Rachelle Lefevre) go off on their winter vacation.

The kids have not stayed with their dad all that long, but immediately they get a taste of his temper when they find his rifle and start playing with it and are caught by him.

But while we get to see Elliot’s temper, he then decides to take the kids to go out to the country and use the rifle.  He wants to see his kids grow up to be good men and he sees this as perfect bonding time.

Bradley and Caleb are brothers that are often arguing with each other and Caleb often wanting to get the same opportunities as his older brother.

So, when Bradley starts to take a shot with the rifle, he hurts his arm and gives up, which shocks Elliot.  But you can tell that Bradley is not having as much fun with his father.

As for young Caleb, he starts enjoying the time of shooting the rifle with his father.  But when his father has him shoot at a rabbit, Caleb is left stunned that he shot a live animal and then watching his father put the rabbit out of his misery.

Wanting to see Bradley happy, Elliot then decides to bust through a gated area and have Bradley give his oldest son a chance to drive in the part of the country, despite the fact that Bradley doesn’t have a license.

And all goes well until, both brothers start to fight again and young Caleb is wanting to drive.  This causes Bradley to crash the vehicle into a wall of snow and the snow gets stuck.

Elliot’s temper starts to flare again but he decides to find a way to get the truck out of the snow because of the frigid temperatures.

But as the three are inside the truck, trying to keep warm, Caleb accidentally lets a secret slip that their new stepfather received a promotion and that the entire family are planning to move the family to London.

This leaves Elliot distraught and emotional that he furiously starts pounding on the steering wheel, scaring the boys and seeing that their father has anger issues and is quite unstable.

With the three in the middle of nowhere, Elliot and his sons take a trip cross-country to find shelter.

And for Elliot, the emotionally distraught father starts to consider, what if he and his sons live in the middle of nowhere, living off the land, so they can’t be taken away from him.  And if anyone gets near them, he will protect his children and prevent anyone from taking his sons away from him by force.

Meanwhile, both boys feel that their father has lost it and because there is no cell phone signal in the middle of nowhere, they are unable to call out for help.  With his father having a tight leash on them, can they escape?


VIDEO & AUDIO:

As for the DVD, the picture quality for “Edge of Winter” is as good as one can expect on DVD.   The film is presented in 2:40:1 aspect ratio and audio (English, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital) is primarily dialogue-driven and certain scenes with outdoor ambiance and occasional action sequences.

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Chinese Traditional, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish and Thai.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Edge of Winter” features no special features.


I first discovered Swedish actor, Joel Kinnaman in the 2010 film “Easy Money” and since then, his acting career has been wonderful as he had starring roles in film such as “Suicide Squad”, “Safe House”, the “RoboCop” remake, two more films in the “Easy Money” series and also TV series such as “The Killing” and “House of Cards”.

For the most part, I have enjoyed his films, but immediately, having watched the trailer for “Edge of Winter”, you immediately know where his character is headed as we see an emotionally, mentally unstable father going crazy.

Having watched the film, Kinnaman plays the rugged outdoorsman, Elliot Baker.  A man who hasn’t had luck working in the great outdoors in the lumber industry and because he has tried to restart his life, he has not had much contact with his two children.  But he enjoys being around them, whenever he has the chance.

When his two children, Bradley and Caleb stay with their father for the Winter, as his ex-wife and her new husband go on vacation, we see Kinnaman immediately trying to get his children to be grown men.

But unlike Elliot, his sons are nothing like him.  They care less for the outdoors, they don’t shoot rifles, they are very much different.

And when Bradley tries to shoot a rifle and it hurts his arm, Elliot immediately tries to tease his son of not being man enough and trying to give him a little tough love.  While Caleb wants to shoot a rifle and have fun.  But quickly that fun ends, when Elliot has his son kill a rabbit.  And for young Caleb, the thought of killing a living thing leaves him a sad because he never thought he would go that far, nor did he think he would actually kill the rabbit.

Elliot then tries to teach his oldest son to drive but when his sons start to bicker while Bradley is driving, things go out of control and they get into an accident and the truck is stuck in the middle of nowhere and temperatures are dropping quickly.

But this family outing with their dad starts to go downhill when the kids tell him that they are moving to London with their parents and will not be seeing their father. But their step-father will purchase a plane ticket, so Elliot can visit them in England.  Needless to say, Elliot starts to lose it emotionally, mentally and he literally snaps.

So, the film starts to transition of a film of survival between a father and his two sons as they try to brave the elements and find shelter.

And as we see them go through some challenges, including a scene where Elliot falls through the ice on a frozen lake, what makes you feel could be a redeeming factor of father trying to help his children survive becomes a tale psychological horror as Elliot decides to hold the kids in a cabin, they will live there and live off the land and no one will take his kids away from him.

But it’s when we see people getting close to the cabin, we start to see Elliot start thinking in his head that everyone coming nearby are there to steal his children away from him.  So, Elliot feels to protect his children, he must hurt/kill anyone that comes near the cabin.

And from there on, all hell has broken loose and the children, they realize their father is mentally ill and has lost it and now their lives are in danger.

As the story of a distraught parent is nothing new, the fact that we see in the news of murder suicides especially when a distraught parent handles a divorce or losing their family, mental illness is no doubt a problem in society and watching “Edge of Winter”, we know how bad things can turn out and watching Elliot, he simply has lost it and when he starts attacking and killing people, who he thinks are after his children, we immediately start hoping that the kids can find a way to escape.

As for the DVD, picture quality was good as one can expect on DVD.   The film is presented in 2:40:1 aspect ratio and audio (English, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital) is primarily dialogue-driven and certain scenes with outdoor ambiance and occasional action sequences.  Unfortunately, there are no special features.

While “Edge of Winter” has its tense moments, I couldn’t help but think how the film could have been made better if various plots involving the mother or some exciting rescue attempt was made. Even exploring the source of Elliot’s behavior.  As banal it would have been, it would have still provided an ending with closure. But with how the film ended, I wasn’t satisfied with the ending at all.  But the film could have been worse or even tragic. which I’m glad wasn’t the case.

 

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