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Thursday, September 23, 2021

What to Watch on Vudu: ‘Jungle Cruise,’ ’The Boss Baby: Family Business,’ ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ and More

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Want to know what’s coming soon to digital and what to watch right now on Vudu? Here is your weekly guide to the latest releases:


What are the latest new releases to watch right now?

Jungle Cruise, the latest and one of the greatest movies based on a Disney theme park attraction, is now available on Vudu for digital purchase. Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt star as a mismatched duo navigating the Amazon River in search of a mystical tree that offers extended life, yet for all their bickering, they also have incredible chemistry!

Hot on their trail is Jesse Plemons (Game Night), doing his best Werner Herzog voice as a German prince, and in their way is a trio of immortal 16th century conquistadors, led by Édgar Ramírez (Point Break). Jack Whitehall (The Nutcracker and the Four Realms) also stars in the movie, which delivers on adventure and humor for some old-fashioned escapist entertainment with a fun modern tone and remarkable visual effects. And if you’re a fan of the classic ride, you’ll enjoy plenty of Easter eggs.

If you’re looking for something even more kid-friendly, the DreamWorks animated feature The Boss Baby: Family Business is also now out on digital, for the first time, and available to buy on Vudu. The movie follows up the hit 2017 original, and it’s even better than its predecessor!

Alec Baldwin is back voicing the titular Boss Baby while James Marsden takes over the role of Tim for a story focused on the characters in adulthood. The voice cast also includes Jeff Goldblum as a villainous educator and Amy Sedaris and Ariana Greenblatt as Tim’s daughters. It’s actually one of the best, most heartfelt father/daughter films in years — especially thanks to the two Marsden and Greenblatt duets on the soundtrack.


What movies are great to pair with those new releases?

The most suitable modern movie pairing for Jungle Cruise would be Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, and not just because they’re both based on Disney theme park attractions. Jungle Cruise also achieves a lot of the same sense of humor and adventure of the first POTC movie as well as a similar level of supernatural thrill (you can also pick up all five POTC installments in a bundle).

But I also must recommend the 1951 classic The African Queen. John Huston’s World War I-set adventure film starring Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart was a huge influence on the original Disneyland ride as well as the new Jungle Cruise movie. Also, it’s just one those old movies that doesn’t feel old at all.

Jungle Cruise fans will additionally want to check out Walt Disney’s True-Life Adventures nature films, as they influenced the amusement ride in the early stages, too. They include The African Lion, which is usually cited in Disneyland histories, plus Jungle Cat, which relates more to the setting and and a certain character in the new movie. Or, you can just pick up the best-of compilation..

Other movies that clearly inspired Jungle Cruise include the 1984 adventure film Romancing the Stone, the 1999 action-horror blockbuster The Mummy, and the original Indiana Jones movie, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Those would each make for a great double feature with the new release. As would the stop-motion animated feature Missing Link, the pre-Indiana Jones adventure Secret of the Incas, the Percy Fawcett biopic The Lost City of Z, and the Dwayne Johnson-led Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle.

As for the new Boss Baby sequel, you’ll need to pick up the first movie, of course. There’s also the animated series continuation, The Boss Baby: Back in Business (of which the first two seasons are available). You might also be inspired to watch the 2002 DreamWorks animated feature Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron by its cameo in The Boss Baby: Family Business.

If the original Boss Baby reminded you of the live-action comedy Look Who’s Talking, then now you should be reminded of its first sequel, Look Who’s Talking Too, which similarly introduces a talking baby girl to the mix. And if you just want another great father/daughter(s) animated feature, I recommend DreamWorks’ Despicable Me trilogy — all three are available together in a bundle — as well as Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro.


Are there any other big movies coming out this week?

Another hit sequel featuring beloved animated characters is out on Vudu this week (and currently available for pre-orders). Space Jam: A New Legacy, which stars NBA legend LeBron James alongside Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety and the rest of the iconic Looney Tunes gang, arrives on Friday, September 3. A loose follow-up to the 1996 original starring Michael Jordan with the same toons, this new live-action and animation hybrid pits the basketball pro against an evil algorithm (played by Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle) in order to save his son.

Expect cameos from numerous characters from other Warner Bros. cartoons and movies, including The Iron Giant, The Matrix, Mad Max: Fury Road and DC superhero fare like Batman. But also be prepared for a heartwarming father/son story at its center.

Don’t Breathe 2 is also out on Vudu this Friday. Unlike the other sequels highlighted so far, this one is definitely not family-friendly. The follow-up to Fede Álvarez’s 2016 horror movie stars Stephen Lang reprising his role as Norman Nordstrom, a blind Gulf War veteran who was last seen sadistically killing and torturing a bunch of would-be thieves who’d invaded his home.

This time, the ex-Navy SEAL must hunt down the gang who’ve abducted his adopted 11-year-old daughter. While this installment is less of a horror movie than the original, you can still expect Norman to lay down some very violent justice against the kidnappers when he finds them, so be prepared for plenty of gore.


What are some great workplace movies and TV shows to buy this week?

In honor of Labor Day coming up this weekend, Vudu has a special Workplace Movies & TV sale. Of the television series included, the must-have and must-binge titles include Parks and Recreation and the original UK version of The Office, both available in their entirety in a single bundle, plus Mad Men and Superstore

For those of you looking to “work” overtime with a double feature, I recommend the following movie pairings for tone and/or setting: Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street with Adam McKay’s The Big Short; Wall Street with The Firm; The Apartment with Office Space; 9 to 5 with Baby Boom; Big with Vice Versa; Big Night with Good Burger; Kevin Smith’s Clerks with Wayne Wang’s Smoke; the Ron Howard duo Gung Ho and The Paper; and Broadcast News with Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgandy.


Are we celebrating any big movie and TV anniversaries this week?

This week marks the 20th anniversary of Antoine Fuqua’s Training Day, featuring an iconic, Oscar-winning performance from Denzel Washington. Other movies turning 20 this week include Mira Nair’s Monsoon Wedding, the horror movie Jeepers Creepers, Maria Ripoll’s Tortilla Soup, the Shakespeare-inspired teen movie O and Guillermo del Toro’s The Devil’s Backbone, along with the reality TV competition series The Amazing Race.

Meanwhile, the indie sensation Swingers, the sequel The Crow: City of Angels, First Kid, The Trigger Effect, Billy Bob Thornton’s Sling Blade, Nicolas Winding Refn’s Pusher, the Gwyneth Paltrow-led Emma, and the Wachowkis’ debut, Bound, all turn 25.

Going back further, Kenneth Branagh’s Dead Again turns 30, as do the horror sequels Child’s Play 3 and Reese Witherspoon’s film debut, The Man in the Moon. Plus, David Lynch’s Blue Velvet turns 35, the John Belushi comedy Continental Divide turns 40 and the Marlon Brando horror movie The Nightcomers turns 50.

Also, the Marilyn Monroe classic Bus Stop turns 65, Orson Welles’ masterpiece Citizen Kane (considered by many to be the greatest film ever made) and the adventure movie Dive Bomber both turn 80, the brilliant romantic comedy My Man Godfrey starring Carole Lombard and William Powell turns 85 and D.W. Griffith’s historical epic Intolerance turns a whopping 105 years old!

More recent titles with anniversaries include the Jason Statham vehicle Crank, the sci-fi comedy Idiocracy, Todd Field’s Little Children, Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men, Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain, Satoshi Kon’s Paprika, Paul Verhoeven’s Black Book, Stephen Frears’ The Queen, Kevin Macdonald’s The Last King of Scotland, and the historical/biographical features Infamous, Hollywoodland and Bobby, all of which turn 15 years old this week.

Also, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Steve McQueen’s Shame, Steven Soderbergh’s pandemic thriller Contagion, David Cronenberg’s biographical drama A Dangerous Method, the Western drama Blackthorn, the horror flick Shark Night and the George Clooney movies The Ides of March and The Descendants all turn 10.

Plus: looking back to their film festival premieres, Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival, Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, Clint Eastwood’s Sully and Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge are all already 5 years old!


Can you recommend some more great movie deals on Vudu?

With the latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, out in theaters this week, Vudu has a sale on Marvel titles. The most essential previous MCU entries to watch ahead of Shang-Chi are The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man 3 (available on sale in the Iron Man trilogy three-movie collection bundle), each of which shares at least one significant character with the new action movie. Also, you should watch the “Marvel One-Shot” short film All Hail the King, which you can find as an extra that comes with Thor: The Dark World.

Also, because this is another solo superhero adventure and one of the best-reviewed of the MCU bunch, others worth picking up this week include the original Iron Man and Black Panther as well as the similarly comedic Ant-Man and its sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp (available on sale in a bundle with the first Ant-Man movie). And if you haven’t caught up with what happens in the Avengers movies, you’ll need to pick up that bundled collection as well.

For those of you looking to purchase goodies from another Disney-owned brand, Vudu also has a special deal for Pixar features this week called Pixar Fest. In remembrance of actor Ed Asner, who passed away over the weekend at age 91, your first order of business is to snag Up, in which he voices the main character — just be ready to cry more than usual now.

You’ll then want to pick up the following pairings: Coco with Soul, for two different depictions of the afterlife; Onward with Luca, for lighter, creature-focused Pixar fare; Wall-E with Ratatouille, just because they’re two masterpieces from the studio; and of course, Monsters, Inc. with its prequel, Monsters University — which you can collect together in a two-movie bundle.


Which must-see movies are coming soon to Vudu?

Free Guy, the surprise box office hit of the summer, is scheduled to arrive on Vudu in one month — specifically on September 28. The action-comedy stars Deadpool’s Ryan Reynolds as an oblivious, happy-go-lucky non-player character (NPC) in a violent video game. But then he sees the girl of his dreams (rising star Jodie Comer) and becomes more self-aware of his routine existence and suddenly strives to become the hero of his virtual world.

Filmmaker and comedic actor Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) co-stars as the big bad — the boss of the video game’s publisher — in scenes set in the real world. And Lil Rel Howey (Get Out) often steals the show as Reynolds’ still-carefree best friend, Buddy. It’s funny, thoroughly entertaining and particularly satisfying for all the  gamers and the hardcore pop culture fans in the audience.


What are the 10 most popular movies on Vudu?

The biggest hits on Vudu over the last seven days were again led by Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins. That’s the second week in a row for the action movie, which stars Henry Golding in the title role. Marvel’s Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson as the titular Avenger, followed suit with its second-place repeat, as well.

The Aretha Franklin biopic Respect was the top newcomer for the week. The musical drama, which stars Jennifer Hudson as the Queen of Soul, was actually the #1 title for the weekend, following its Vudu debut on Friday. Additionally, the horror sequel The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It and the family film sequel Peter Rabbit 2 both re-joined the top 10 chart this week.

See the full list below.

1. Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe Origins

2. Black Widow

3. Respect

4. F9: The Fast Saga

5. The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It

6. Stillwater

7. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard

8. Peter Rabbit 2

9. The Green Knight

10. Wrath of Man

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