Nicolas Cage and Two British Classic Comedies on Home Entertainment
PRIMAL. (DVD Artwork). ©Lionsgate Entertainment.

By ANGELA DAWSON                                           

Front Row Features



Nicolas Cage stares down an assassin and a ship full of deadly animals when “Primal” arrives on Digital Tuesday Dec. 31 and on Blu-ray (plus Digital) and DVD Tuesday Jan. 7, from Lionsgate. The film is available On Demand now.

Directed by Nick Powell, in his second collaboration with Cage (“Outcast”), and written by Richard Leder, “Primal” also stars Famke Janssen (“X-Men” franchise, “How to Get Away with Murder”), Kevin Durand (“The Strain,” “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”), LaMonica Garrett (“Designated Survivor,” “Sons of Anarchy”), and Michael Imperioli (“The Sopranos”). An action-packed thriller, “Primal” will be available on Blu-ray and DVD for the suggested retail price (SRP) of $22.99 and $19.98, respectively. A making-of “Primal” is available on the Blu-ray and DVD.

When Frank Walsh (Cage), a hunter and collector of rare and exotic animals, bags a priceless white jaguar for a zoo, he figures it’ll be smooth sailing to a big payday. But the ship bearing Frank’s precious cargo has two predators caged in its hold: the cat, and a political assassin being extradited to the U.S. After the assassin breaks free – and then frees the jaguar – Frank feverishly stalks the ship’s cramped corridors in hot pursuit of his prey, right up until the thrilling, unpredictable climax.

Passport to Pimlico

The 1949 British comedy “Passport to Pimlico” arrives on Blu-ray for the first time in North America, Tuesday Dec. 31, from Film Movement.

During the worst heat wave in years, the sleepy district of Pimlico dozes, at least until London’s last unexploded WWII-era bomb goes off with a deafening roar, flinging its citizens headlong into a fantastic adventure.

Directed by Henry Cornelius (“The Galloping Major”) and written by T.E.B Clarke, (who also wrote the 1951 comedy classic “The Lavender Hill Mob”), the whimsically charming “Passport to Pimlico” was nominated for both an Academy Award for Best Writing, Story and Screenplay and a BAFTA Award (the British equivalent of the Academy Awards). Film Movement Classics brings this Official Selection at Cannes to North America for the very first time on Blu-ray, digitally restored for optimal viewing and loaded with extras.

Investigating the crater caused by the explosion, Arthur Pemberton and his daughter Shirley unearth a buried cellar containing both fabulous riches and an unknown 15th century royal charter from King Edward IV that decrees that Pimlico can be recognized in perpetuity as Burgundian soil. Since the charter has never been rescinded, Pimlico is now legally the long-lost Duchy of Burgundy, and therefore no longer subject to British law, including postwar rationing and pub closure hours. The locals, quick to seize the opportunities, do their best to take full advantage of the situation, while the British government pushes back with all the authority it can muster.

“Passport to Pimlico” stars comedy stalwarts including Stanley Holloway, Hermione Baddeley, Margaret Rutherford and Paul Dupuis. Bonus features include an interview with BFI curator Mark Duguid, locations featurette with film historian Richard Dacre, a restoration comparison, and more.

The Blu-ray is available for $39.95 (SRP).

The Titfield Thunderbolt

Another T.E.B. Clarke title available Tuesday Dec. 31 is “The Titfield Thunderbolt,” from Film Movement.

A comical tale of community spirit, this 1953 comedy classic was directed by Charles Crichton (“A Fish Called Wanda,” “The Lavender Hill Mob”).

The inhabitants of the tiny village of Titfield in the Ealing region of the U.K., endeavor to prove that their single-track railway is a vital form of transportation. This digitally-restored classic from Ealing Studios, whose output from the 1940s and 1950s, helped define the Golden Age for British Cinema and the birthplace of the most delectable crop of films to decorate postwar cinema.

After British Railways announce the closure of the Titfield to Mallingford branch line, a group of local residents make a bid to run it themselves, backed by a wealthy member of the community. Unfortunately, this puts them into direct competition with Crump and Pearce, two unsavory characters who own the local bus company who’ve introduced a brand-new single-decker bus to Titfield and are determined to cease the running of the train by means fair or foul.

Starring Ealing regulars Stanley Holloway, Naunton Wayne, George Relp, John Gregson and Hugh Griffith, this special Film Movement Classics Blu-ray release is loaded with bonus features including a making-of featurette, a Lion locomotive featurette, locations featurette Douglas Slocombe home movie footage, and more.

“The Titfield Thunderbolt” is available for $39.95 (SRP).