By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
The 24th James Bond film adventure “Spectre,” arrives on Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday, Feb. 9.
A cryptic message from the past sends James Bond (Daniel Craig) on a rogue mission to Mexico City and eventually Rome, where he meets Lucia Sciarra (Monica Bellucci), the beautiful and forbidden widow of an infamous criminal. The British spy infiltrates a secret meeting and uncovers the existence of the sinister organization known as SPECTRE (thus, the title).
Meanwhile back in London, Max Denbigh (Andrew Scott), the new head of the Center for National Security, questions Bond’s actions and challenges the relevance of MI6, led by M (Ralph Fiennes). Bond covertly enlists Moneypenny (Naomie Harris) and Q (Ben Whishaw) to help him seek out Madeleine Swann (Lea Seydoux), the daughter of his old nemesis Mr. White (Jesper Christensen), who may hold the clue to untangling SPECTRE’s web. As the daughter of an assassin, she understands Bond in a way others cannot.
As Bond ventures towards the heart of SPECTRE, he learns of a connection between himself and the enemy he seeks, played by Christoph Waltz. The spy action-adventure took in more than $850 million in worldwide box office receipts when he was theatrically released last year. Released through Albert R. Broccoli’s EON Productions, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios, and Sony Pictures Entertainment, this Bond is directed by returning Bond director Sam Mendes, with Craig reprising his role as 007 for the fourth time. The screenplay is by John Logan and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade and Jez Butterworth, with a story by John Logan and Neal Purvis & Robert Wade.
The Blu-ray includes a behind-the-scenes look at how Mendes filmed the lavish opening sequence in Mexico. Both the Blu-ray and DVD include Mendes’ video blog and more. “Spectre” also is available on Digital HD.
“Playin’ for Love,” an urban comedy directed by and starring Robert Townsend is available on DVD Tuesday, Feb. 9. The comedy tells the story of Coach Banks (Townsend), who is used to calling all the shots for his championship high school basketball team and in his own love life. But that’s about to change when he meets, Talisa McCoy (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), the mother of a star player, new to Jackson High. She’s a beautiful, strong-willed single mom, with her own ideas on a winning team as well as the perfect man. Now, this coach will have to learn a few new plays if he’s going to stay in the game. “Playin’ for Love” also stars Esai Morales, Jenifer Lewis, Melyssa Ford and Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs.
From Columbia Pictures comes the action-packed horror comedy “Freaks of Nature,” debuting on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Tuesday, Feb. 9, from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.
Humans, vampires and zombies have uneasily co-existed but a sudden alien invasion forces a trio of misfit high school students, played by Nicholas Braun (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower”), Mackenzie Davis (TV’s “Halt and Catch Fire”) and Josh Fadem (“Miss March”), to unite in order to save their hometown from extinction.
Joining them in the epic struggle to stay alive—or at least undead—is a all-star cast that includes Joan Cusack (“Shameless”), Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”), Keegan-Michael Key (“Key and Peele), Ed Westwick (“Gossip Girl”), Vanessa Hudgens (“Spring Breakers”), Denis Leary (“The Amazing Spider-Man”) and Patton Oswalt (“Young Adult”). This horror-comedy includes several bonus features, including a gag reel, alternate opening and deleted scenes.
Oscar winner Sandra Bullock stars in the political satire “Our Brand is Crisis,” now available on Blu-ray and Digital HD. The title stems from a 2005 documentary that revealed modern-day political campaign marketing tactics that showed how strategists, pollsters, advisors and marketers manipulate elections using whatever tools at their disposal. These guns-for-hire aren’t ideals-driven but money-driven. They’ll work for whoever is willing to pay the most for their highly desirable, highly effective skills.
This dramatized version, written by Peter Straghan (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”) and directed by David Gordon Green (“Pineapple Express”) stars Bullock as an all-but-retired political strategist who is practically dragged out of her remote cabin to run the campaign of a former Bolivian leader trying to get back into power. As “Calamity” Jane Bodine must outsmart her longtime nemesis, Pat Candy (Oscar winner Billy Bob Thornton, “Sling Blade”), who represents a popular challenger. His bag of dirty tricks seems to have no bottom in this high-stakes race.
The dramedy, produced by George Clooney, also stars Anthony Mackie, Joaquin de Almeida, Ann Dowd, Scott McNairy, Zoe Kazan and Reynaldo Pacheco as players in this political game.
The Blu-ray includes a featurette on Bullock, who challenged the filmmakers to change the film’s lead role from male to female, and collaborated with the director to develop the character.