‘The Judge’ With Robert Downey Jr. Hits Blu-Ray In January

Robert Downey Jr. & Robert Duvall in The Judge - (Credit: Claire Folger)
Robert Downey Jr. & Robert Duvall in The Judge – (Credit: Claire Folger)

The Judge, a drama headlined by Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall, hits Blu-ray and DVD on January 27 via Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The story centers on Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.), a highly successful defense attorney who returns to his hometown for his mother’s funeral. Hank’s reunion with his family is bittersweet due to his estranged relationship with his father (Duvall), who serves as the town’s judge. When his father’s accused of murder, Hank takes on the most important case of his life. Jeremy Strong and Vincent D’Onofrio play Hank’s brothers with Vera Farmiga starring as the lawyer’s former flame.

The Judge Blu-ray Combo Pack Special Features Include:

  • Commentary from director David Dobkin
  • The featurettes “Inside the Judge” and “Getting Deep with Dax Shepard” (he plays a well intentioned but inexperienced lawyer).
  • Deleted Scenes with optional commentary from David Dobkin

***The Standard DVD edition release has the “Getting Deep with Dax Shepard” featurette.

One of The Judge’s strengths lies in Downey Jr.’s innate chemistry with the ensemble cast. Hank Palmer is a lawyer who’s still living with a chip on his shoulder, only to have those edges slowly worn off by letting go of his past.

Since it clocks in at 141 minutes, The Judge thankfully doesn’t skimp on character development, and one wonders what David Dobkin left out of his final cut. Leighton Meester (Gossip Girl, Country Strong) is wonderful as a young girl who flirts with Hank at a local bar, but her character is understandably under developed (there’s a ton of story to tell in The Judge). Maybe Meester, as well as Samantha Powell’s (Vera Farmiga) relationship with Hank, will be given a bit more “screen time” with deleted scenes.

As it stands, The Judge is one of this year’s most underrated films, and it’s great to see Robert Downey Jr. in a dramatic role that has nothing to do with the Marvel Universe.

During The Judge press conference, Robert Downey Jr. talked about the universality of the film and the joys of working with Robert Duvall.

The Judge - Warner Brothers Home Entertainment
The Judge – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

 

 

 

 

 

Benedict Cumberbatch On Tolkien & The Hobbit’s Heroic Journey

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (opening December 17) is director Peter Jackson’s third and final installment of Bilbo Baggins’ (Martin Freeman) heroic quest against darkness and the evil dragon known as Smaug (voiced by Freeman’s Sherlock Holmes compatriot Benedict Cumberbatch).

Although J.R.R. Tolkien’s undertaking of Middle Earth towers above the fray with its sheer ambition, much of its resonance originates from the simple theme that each individual, no matter how big or small, can be the hero of their own story. In the quote below, Benedict Cumberbatch talks about Tolkien’s idea of heroism?

“With Tolkien you get the feeling it’s about proving that you don’t have to seem heroic. Heroic actions can come from small people. It’s about levels of sacrifice and that’s what is truly heroic – the small deed or the big deed done by the small person.”

Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins - Warner Bros. Pictures & MGM (Photo Credit: Mark Pokorny)
Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins – Warner Bros. Pictures & MGM (Photo Credit: Mark Pokorny)

To hear Benedict Cumberbatch talk about the “epic odyssey” that surrounds The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, click on the media bar below: 

TV Spotlight: American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered Airs Tonight

It’ll be a “White Christmas” for millions of people this holiday season, and in celebration of the holidays (and a great artist), the documentary American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered premieres tonight at 8 pm on PBS (check local listings).

The installment, which serves as the series’ Season 28 finale, centers on Crosby’s illustrious career and his family life (the movie is also available on DVD per PBS Distribution). The documentary also has a holiday encore presentation on Friday, December 26 on PBS at 9 pm.

Narrated by Oscar nominated actor Stanley Tucci (The Lovely Bones), the project features interviews with Cosby’s widow Kathryn, daughters Mary and his sons Harry and Nathaniel.

(l to r) Nathaniel, Mary and Harry with their parents Kathryn and Bing Crosby as seen in "American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered." Photo credit: Courtesy of Bing Crosby Enterprises
(l to r) Nathaniel, Mary and Harry with their parents Kathryn and Bing Crosby as seen in “American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered.” Photo credit: Courtesy of Bing Crosby Enterprises

The project doesn’t sugarcoat the entertainer’s personal life, as it details his own struggles with his first wife Dixie and their sons Gary (he penned the 1983 memoir Going My Own Way), Dennis, Phillip, and Lindsay. Entertainers Michael Feinstein, Tony Bennett, biographer Garry Giddens, and record producer Ken Barnes are also interviewed for the doc.

“I’ve never seen an entertainer more comfortable in his own skin, more certain of who he was,” says Emmy-winning filmmaker Robert Trachtenberg, whose previous American Masters documentaries include Mel Brooks: Make a Noise, On Cukor, Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer and Cary Grant: A Class Apart. “With the new material I’ve found, I think the breadth, depth and candor of his story will hopefully allow people to see him in a new light.”

Photo credit: Courtesy of Bing Crosby Enterprises
Photo credit: Courtesy of Bing Crosby Enterprises

During his career, Crosby amassed almost 400 hit singles, starred in the popular “Road” films with comedian Bob Hope, and won the Oscar for the 1944 flick Going My Way.

For more info, check out the official site for American Masters.

Madden NFL 15 Holiday Edition Conjures Up “Ghosts of Madden Past”

EA Sports
EA Sports

Football is ramping up with playoffs just around the corner, and EA Sports has released a Holiday Edition of Madden NFL 15 which contains over $20 worth of Ultimate Team content. The digitally exclusive iteration of the game is available on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network through January 12, 2015.

EASmadden15_LOGO_4CB_B&W

Gamers who download the title receive the full version of Madden NFL 15, 10 Pro Packs for Madden Ultimate team, and a Ghosts of Madden Past Pack that includes quarterback legend Dan Marino and former Super Bowl champs  Emmitt Smith (running back) and Ray Lewis (linebacker).

Madden NFL 15 is available for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, as well as the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 consoles. For more info, please go to http://www.easports.com/madden-nfl.

Madden NFL 15 - EA SPORTS
Madden NFL 15 – EA SPORTS