By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
Director Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi masterpiece, “Interstellar,” will be released Tuesday Dec. 19 on 4K UHD. Oscar winners Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway co-star as space explorers hoping to find a suitable planet for mankind after Earth has been ecologically devastated. They are joined onscreen by Michael Caine, Jessica Chastain and Wes Bentley. The effects-filled outer space spectacle won an Academy Award for Visual Effects in 2015. The three-disc set comes with the 4K UHD/Blu-ray Combo Pack with Digital copy.
Queen Victoria finds unexpected companionship with a humble servant in the heartwarming and uplifting historic epic, “Victoria & Abdul,” coming to Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand Tuesday Dec. 19, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. The lush period piece also is available on Digital. Directed by Academy Award nominee Stephen Frears (“The Queen,” “Philomena”), this emotional film reunites him with Academy Award winner Judi Dench (“Philomena,” “Shakespeare In Love”) and Ali Fazal (“Furious 7”), Eddie Izzard (“Ocean’s” franchise), Addel Akhtar (“The Dictator,” “The Big Sick”) and Michael Gambon (“Harry Potter” franchise). Dench has received Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations for her performance in the film.
“Victoria & Abdul” tells the story of an unexpected friendship in the later years of Queen Victoria’s (Dench) remarkable rule. When Abdul Karim (Fazal), a young clerk, travels from India to participate in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, he is surprised to find favor with the Queen herself. As the Queen questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance with a loyalty to one another that the Queen’s inner circle attempts to destroy. As the friendship deepens, the Queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes and joyfully reclaims her humanity.
The relationship of the long-reigning British monarch and Abdul Karim is one of the most unique in history. In one of the bonus features, viewers discover why Dench and Fazal were the perfect pair to portray them on screen, and how they developed their own friendship while making the film. Filmmakers, cast, and crew discuss how the authenticity of locations, costumes and props contributed to the realism of the film in another fascinating bonus feature.
Acclaimed director Darren Aronofsky’s (“Black Swan”) psychological drama “mother!” arrives Tuesday Dec. 19 on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD. The film also is available on Digital HD.
Oscar winners Jennifer Lawrence (“Silver Linings Playbook”) and Javier Bardem (“No Country for Old Men”) star in the visually arresting psychological thriller. The film also stars Oscar nominees Ed Harris and Michelle Pfeiffer, along with Domhnall Gleeson, Brian Gleeson and Jovan Adepo.
The “mother!” 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Combo Packs include more than 35 minutes of in-depth bonus content.
Front Row Features film critic James Dawson called “mother!” “a bizarre hybrid of nightmarish surrealism, sly social satire, psychological terror and cellar-dark humor.”
The adoring woman-child wife (Lawrence) of an old-enough-to-be-her-dad poet (Bardem) live in an isolated country house that she has been restoring following a fire. When a smilingly insinuating but vaguely threatening older stranger (Harris) with a persistent cough appears on their doorstep claiming he thought they had a room for rent, the poet invites him to spend the night, despite his wife’s wariness.
When the stranger’s brash, nasty other half (Pfeiffer) shows up, followed by their ferociously argumentative grown sons (the Gleeson brothers). Things quickly go from bad to much, much worse, resulting in the spilling of blood.
Viewers are left wondering whether the hellish scenes like that actually the Lawrence character’s passive-aggressive hallucinations, fragments of an extremely unpleasant dream, or psychotic reactions to that yellow stuff from the medicine-cabinet that she takes whenever she gets a gut-pain or if it’s all in her mind. She goes from confused to exasperated to horrified by her husband’s further acts of inexplicable hospitality, as he refuses to evict increasingly irritating interlopers despite their escalating offenses. What starts out as her slow-burning annoyance at his oblivious inconsideration for her feelings grows into distrust, anger and outright fear.
A bonus feature shows director Aronofsky and the cast discussing the production of the movie and takes viewers through its unexpected finale. Plus, viewers can check out the incredible makeup effects that made the film a visual tour de force.
The film is rated R by the Motion Picture Association of America for “strong disturbing violent content, some sexuality, nudity and language.”
One of the year’s most critically acclaimed films, Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Dunkirk,” arrives on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Tuesday Dec. 19. From filmmaker Christopher Nolan (“Interstellar,” “The Dark Knight” Trilogy) directing from his own original screenplay, he captures the intensity and scope of this significant World War II battle. Utilizing a mixture of IMAX and 65mm film, he brings the drama to life, shooting some of the scenes on location on the beaches of Dunkirk, France, where the actual events unfolded.
The war drama’s ensemble cast includes Fionn Whitehead, Tom Glynn-Carney, Jack Lowden, Harry Styles, Aneurin Barnard, James D’Arcy and Barry Keoghan, with Kenneth Branagh, Cillian Murphy, Mark Rylance and Tom Hardy.
“Dunkirk” was produced by Emma Thomas and Christopher Nolan, with Jake Myers serving as executive producer.
“Dunkirk” will be available on 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack for a suggested retail price (SRP) of $44.95. The 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack will include a 4K Ultra HD disc with the feature film in 4K resolution with HDR, a Blu-ray disc with the feature film in hi-definition, a Blu-ray disc with the special features in hi-definition, and a Digital version of the feature film. The film has been nominated for three Golden Globe awards including Best Picture and Best Director.
“The LEGO Ninjago Movie” arrives on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital Tuesday Dec. 19. The animated adventure stars the voices of Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Fred Armisen, Abbi Jacobson, Olivia Munn, Kumail Nanjiani, Michael Pena, Zach Woods and Jackie Chan.
The second sequel to 2014’s “The Lego Movie” was directed by Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher and Bob Logan.
Jackie Chan (“Kung Fu Panda,” The Karate Kid”) stars as Master Wu; Justin Theroux (“Megamind,” “The Leftovers”) is Garmadon; Dave Franco (“Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising”) plays Lloyd; and Olivia Munn (“X-Men: Apocalypse”) is Lloyd’s mom, Koko. Making up the secret ninja crew, Michael Peña (“Ant-Man,” “The Martian”) is Kai; Fred Armisen (“Portlandia,” “SNL”) voices Cole; Kumail Nanjiani (“Silicon Valley,” “The Big Sick”) is Jay; Abbi Jacobson (“Broad City”) plays Nya and Zach Woods (“Silicon Valley,” “The Office”) voices Zane.
In the battle for Ninjago City, Lloyd (Franco), high school student by day and Green Ninja by night, gets thrown into the ultimate adventure with his secret ninja warrior friends! Led by the wise and wisecracking Master Wu (Chan), they must defeat evil warlord Garmadon (Theroux), The Worst Guy Ever, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad. On their courageous journey, they learn to band together to unleash their inner power in an epic showdown to save the city.
“The LEGO Ninjago Movie” will be available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack for an SRP of $44.95, Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack for an SRP of $44.95, Blu-ray Combo Pack for an SRP of $35.99 and DVD for an SRP of $28.98. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack features an Ultra HD Blu-ray disc with the theatrical version in 4K with HDR and a Blu-ray disc also featuring the theatrical version.
The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in 3D hi-definition, hi-definition and standard definition; the Blu-ray Combo Pack features the theatrical version of the film in hi-definition on Blu-ray; and the DVD features the theatrical version in standard definition. The Blu-ray 3D Combo Pack and Blu-ray Combo Pack include a digital version of the movie in HD. Fans can also own “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” via purchase from digital retailers. “The LEGO Ninjago Movie” also will be available on Movies Anywhere.
One of the most talked about movies of the year, director Darren Aronofsky’s “mother!” is now available to own as a 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo Pack from Paramount Home Media Distribution. Front Row Features is giving two lucky readers a copy of the visually arresting psychological thriller’s 4D Ultra HD release, with one grand prize winner also receiving a “mother!” T-shirt, book and hat. To enter the contest, simply email firstname.lastname@example.org by Tuesday Dec. 26 for your chance to win. Good luck!