Enhanced ‘Saving Private Ryan,’ ‘Fifty Shades Freed,’ More on Home Entertainment … Plus a Giveaway



Front Row Features

Director Steven Spielberg’s critically lauded WWII epic “Saving Private Ryan” celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with a new 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo release on Tuesday May 8, from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

A DreamWorks Pictures and Paramount Pictures co-production, the epic war drama won five Academy Awards, including Best Director, and two Golden Globes, including Best Director and Best Motion Picture—Drama, and was named by the AFI as one of its 100 greatest American films. Boasting a stellar cast headed by Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Edward Burns, Tom Sizemore, Ted Danson, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Paul Giamatti and Barry Pepper, the film is considered one of the greatest war movies ever made.

Filled with breathtaking imagery, including the astonishingly realistic recreation of the D-Day invasion, “Saving Private Ryan” offers a stunning visual experience on 4K Ultra HD with four times the resolution and more than double the number of colors available with full HD.  The release also boasts a Dolby Atmos soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room (along with the original English 5.1 Dolby Digital mix), as well as Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR), which delivers greater brightness and contrast, as well as a fuller palette of colors.

The 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo pack includes the film on both 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray, access to a Digital copy, and a second Blu-ray with more than three hours of previously released bonus features that take viewers into the past for a look at the real-life events that inspired the film and behind-the-scenes to explore the challenges of bringing that past to life.

The global film sensation sparked by EL James’ best-selling book trilogy returns with the seminal final chapter of the darkly alluring tale that captivated the world. Stay in, complete your collection and experience the climax of this worldwide phenomenon with the ultimate at-home movie night when “Fifty Shades Freed” arrives on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and On Demand Tuesday May 8, from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. It also is available on Digital and the all-new digital movie app Movies Anywhere.

Believing they have left behind shadowy figures from their past, newlyweds Christian (Jamie Dornan, “The Fall,” “Anthropoid”) and Ana (Dakota Johnson, “How to Be Single”) fully embrace an inextricable connection and shared life of luxury. But just as she steps into her role as Mrs. Grey and he relaxes into an unfamiliar stability, new threats could jeopardize their happy ending before it even begins. Directed by James Foley (“House of Cards,” “At Close Range”), “Fifty Shades Freed” also features returning cast members Eric Johnson (“The Knick”), Rita Ora (“Fifty Shades” franchise) as well as Oscar winner Marcia Gay Harden (“Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Miller’s Crossing”).

In addition to both the original theatrical version and a steamy new unrated version, “Fifty Shades Freed” comes with more than 30 minutes of never-before-seen bonus content, including a deleted scene, cast interviews and behind-the-scenes features. You get more passion, more drama and more suspense when you own the final chapter on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital.

Acorn TV features the DVD debut of the new school-based British drama “Ackley Bridge: Series 1” on Tuesday May 8. The British series offers a gritty, funny and truthful insight into the daily drama of teachers, teenagers and families whose lives and cultures collide in a fictional 21st century Northern town. The DVD 2-Disc set features six episodes, plus bonus behind-the-scenes featurette ($39.99, Amazon.com).

“Ackley Bridge: Series 1” made its U.S. premiere in February 2018 on the streaming service Acorn TV, which focuses on British and international television from RLJ Entertainment. “Ackley Bridge: Series 2” already has been commissioned.

After years of racial segregation in a small Yorkshire town, two high schools integrate white and Pakistani students by combining into Ackley Bridge College. But the transition is far from easy for teachers and students alike. Headmistress Mandy (Jo Joyner, “EastEnders”) clashes with her husband, PE teacher Steve (Paul Nicholls, the UK’s “Law & Order”), and free-spirited English teacher Emma (Liz White, “Life on Mars”) deals with her daughter showing up drunk to class. Troublemaker Jordan (Samuel Bottomley, Wolf Hall) creates enemies by disparaging the school, while best friends Missy (Poppy Lee Friar, “Mr Selfridge”) and Nasreen (Amy-Leigh Hickman, “EastEnders”) quarrel when vivacious Missy doesn’t fit in with Nasreen’s conservative Muslim friends. Ackley Bridge is supposed to unite the community but it may just tear it apart.

Tackling complex issues like racism, homophobia, and religious discrimination with clarity and compassion, this timely drama features an ensemble cast including Adil Ray (“Citizen Khan”), Anneika Rose (“Line of Duty”), Arsher Ali (“The Missing”), and Sunetra Sarker (“Broadchurch”).

Inventive crimes, charming scenery, and notable guest stars have set the long-running British crime series “Midsomer Murders” apart from the crowd and won it legions of fans around the globe. Returning with another collection of mysteries from the fan favorite series, “Midsomer Murders: County Case Files” makes its DVD debut from Acorn TV Tuesday May 8. The eight-disc DVD set features 15 feature-length mysteries from Series 16, 17 and 18; and bonus behind-the-scenes featurettes and interviews ($79.99, Amazon.com).  “Midsomer Murders” also can be watched the Acorn TV streaming service.

The cozy villages of Midsomer County reveal their most sinister secrets in this hit British mystery series that has earned a worldwide following. In this collection of Series 16, 17, and 18—which includes the 100th episode of “Midsomer Murders”—DCI John Barnaby (Neil Dudgeon, “Life of Riley”) solves macabre crimes with the help of his new assistant, DS Charlie Nelson (Gwilym Lee, “Jamestown”).

Guest stars include Hayley Mills (“The Parent Trap”), Amanda Burton (“The Commander”), Joe Absolom (“Doc Martin”), Diana Quick (“Brideshead Revisited”), Helen Baxendale (“Friends”), Michael Jayston (“Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”), Sharon Small (“The Inspector Lynley Mysteries”), Robert Bathurst (“Downton Abbey”) and Ann Eleanora Jorgenson (“The Killing”).

Front Row Features doesn’t want you to miss the thrilling cinematic climax of EL James’ “Fifty Shades” trilogy. That’s why we’re giving away a copy of “Fifty Shades Freed” on Blu-ray/DVD Combo Pack to three lucky readers this week. To enter the contest, simply email socalmovieeditor@aol.com by May 15 for your chance to win and hopefully you’ll be seeing Mr. Grey real soon. Good luck!