The Warner Archive May 2019 DVD release of the 1941 screwball romcom "Unexpected Uncle" shows that social commentary can be entertaining and not preachy when presented in the proper form. In this case screenwriter Delmer Daves of many classics such as "An Affair to Remember" and "A Summer Place" once again demonstrates his scribe skills.
This depth is the tasty not-so-subtly hidden pill in the peanut butter in the form of the main screwball romcom that is reminiscent of the 1942 Claudette Colbert screwball romcom "The Palm Beach Story," which share its titular setting with "Uncle." In this case Anne Shirley of "Anne of Green Gables" plays shop girl Kathleen Brown, who gets involved with part-time playboy/full-time hard-working business executive Johnny Kerrigan. Charles Colburn plays titular Dutch uncle Seton Mansley.
Seton is walking along minding his own business when he literally runs into Kathleen fresh off of getting fired for not responding as desired to an aggressive come-on by Johnny. Seton not only quickly makes things right but gets his new friend the afternoon off.
Johnny returning to the scene of the crime and still not taking no for an answer leads to our central trio enjoying the good life. Like all good uncles of every variety, Seton soon knows that his "niece" loves her new suitor despite the many outward contrary indications.
The pre-honeymoon is cut short when Johnny must rush back to literal Kerrigan City to keep his shoe empire from falling apart. Seton and Kathleen come along for the ride and end up respectably living at Chez Kerrigan.
The social commentary begins with Johnny representing the stereotype of the poor little rich boy for whom money cannot buy happiness. This extends to Johnny quickly ignoring his fiancee in favor of his business and getting upset when she does not live up to the image of the perfect corporate spouse.
This opens the door to learning the not-so-surprising back story of Seton. Suffice it to say that this adds a "Christmas Carol" element as to Seton wanting Johnny to avoid the same fate as the older man.
This leads to the seemingly mandatory dramatic fleeing of Kathleen; the resulting climax is highly entertaining and includes a couple of good twists. This is not to mention throwing in a little more social commentary.
The TLA Releasing April 23, 2019 DVD release of the 2018 drama "Sunburn" allows cinephiles to get a sense of the type of movie that Woody Allen would have made if he was born in the '70s and was Portuguese. The twist in this tale of yuppies with a long mutual history enjoying a weekend retreat at a vacation home is that an unwelcome guest has made the rounds of the group.
Filmmaker Vasco is hosting current significant other Joana and gay couple Francisco and Simaio for a few days of dancing, drinking, and lounging by the pool at his gorgeous home in the country. An opening scene in which the group comfortably and frequently trades off dance partners shows that all currently is well.
The trouble in paradise begins with a dramatically ignored call by "the one who got away" David. The persistence of this interloper leads to his wrangling an invitation to join the festivities. The rest of the film revolves around trauma and drama associated with the expected arrival of this man who has neither been seen nor heard from in a decade.
The raw nerves spoil the party as the folks who were in the arms of each other now are at the throats of each other. Much of this relates to the current relationships being rebounds from the post-David era of the one from whom he got away.
David represents one of an apparently few occasions on which Vasco plays for the other team; the subsequent events this time lead to Vasco and Francisco actually exchanging blows. This relates to Francisco playing the role of the younger and the cuter trophy member of the gang, who never fully achieves inner-circle status.
The history between David and Joana also indicates that he is a switch-hitter. The drama there extends beyond David leaving an unwanted parting gift on hitting and quitting it. This experience apparently is behind a failure of Joana and Vasco to take their relationship to the next level.
For his part, Francisco receives confirmation that he is not the soulmate of Simaio; it seems as well that Simaio has the role of younger and cuter in his relationship with David.
The angst of Francisco coming out in the one soft-core scene in "Sunburn" provides a film highlight. One hint is that this encounter both gives him a chance to be the older and less cute member of the couple and shows that giving some guys what they want essentially requires making them shut up and take it like a man despite assertions that they are not into that kind of stuff.
This "day in the life" film bring us to 24-hours after the opening scene. All are a little older, much wiser, but not necessarily more happy. The same is true of the audience, which learns the lessons of the characters and discovers the full meaning of the title of the film.
The Icarus Films March 27, 2018 DVD release of the charming 2014 French family comedy "Nicholas on Holiday" provides equally strong (and entertaining) reminders that spring is on the way and that the blessings and the curses of family summer vacations are universal. The bigger picture is that "Nicholas" joins the ranks of films such as "Dirty Dancing" that provide a look at resorts that cater to long-term stays by families. One difference is that nobody tries to put Nicky in a corner.
"Nicholas" opens with the titular pre-adolescent narrator about to be sprung from his Parisian elementary school for the summer. He learns early in this vacation that his family is going to break with their tradition of going to the mountains and are headed to the sea for a few weeks. Part of the cuteness relates to this trip requiring a separation from the figurative girl-next-door.
Copious amounts of the kid-friendly humor relates to "Granny" being an Endora-level thorn in the side of her son-in-law. One of the best scenes regarding this comes early in the film. "Mere" makes the argument regarding taking her mother on the trip that making an elderly person spend the summer in Paris is cruel; "Pere" responds that he is glad to take an old person with them, just not Granny. Mere winning by having Granny come along is predictable to anyone familiar with the relevant dynamics in the reel and real worlds.
More hilarity ensues when great frustration regarding a traffic jam en route to the resort prompts Pere to take an ultimately ill-advised shortcut. Incurring the wrath of the masses regarding his detour is only part of his problem.
On arriving, Nicholas joins a group of stock character young boys. These include the annoying know-it-all, the almost albino nerd, the kid who will eat anything, and the younger kid who is a cry baby.
The primary complication comes in the form of weird girl Isabelle. The threat of a pre-teen romance prompts Nicholas and his posse to implement several plans to deter her. The most amusing of these include a comically botched effort to present a bad boy image and a separate act of sabotage that is designed to send the girl and her clan packing.
For her part, Mere gets a taste of stardom that causes Pere great distress. This also requires balancing pursuing literal fame and fortune with being a housewife.
For his part, Pere hysterically obsesses about his relationship with his boss. This leads to sitcom staple of writing a letter in haste and repenting at leisure. The manner in which Pere resolves this is another highlight of "Nicholas."
One common element of all this is that Nicholas is an everykid whose efforts to influence anything that effects him epically fail. This, in turn, leads to a textbook example of something being tragic when it happens to us and hilarious when it befalls someone else.
In the end, our family returns to their everyday life. Like all real and reel tales such as theirs, the titular vacation influences some aspects of this but mostly is a fond memory.
Breaking Glass Pictures takes a short respite from releasing provocative in every sense edgy fare to offer the charming 2018 German family film "The Little Witch" on DVD. This joins the (reviewed) Disney Channel-like film "In the Doghouse" and the (also reviewed) tween-friendly scifi movie "Watch the Sky" as kinder-and-gentler items in the Breaking catalog.
The titular sorceress is the tender age of 127 in witch years and looks like a roughly 20 year-old muggle. Her Rudolph syndrome at the beginning of the film is that the adult witches are not allowing her to play their reindeer games. The issue is the determination that the witch is too young to join in annual festivities that include dancing.
Ignoring the advice of her talking raven friend Abraxas, the witch straddles her broom and flies off to crash the party. Everyone has fun until the powers-that-be discover the interloper, This leads to old-school punishment in the forms of giving the girl with something extra one year to learn the thousands of spells in a massive book "or else" and by essentially confiscating her wheels.
The comeuppances immediately lead to the ultimate walk-of-shame and more long-term transform our heroine into a more studious individual. Mild hilarity ensues regarding some of her efforts to cast spells going awry.
The literal rest of the story is that the rhymes-with-witch villainous Rumpumpel pops in several times intent on finding cause to cast out the little witch. This includes an equally amusing and child-friendly tense scene in which this unwelcome visitor shows up during the commission of the dual sins of entertaining children and casting spells in their presence. The general idea is that children should be scared (if not eaten) and not delighted.
Our rogue spellwoman further digs her figurative grave on using her powers for good, rather than evil, on another occasion on which Rumpumpel is lurking about.
This leads to the climax that is a year in the making; the little witch proves during her final exam that every little thing she does is magic. This leads to awesome in that she shows her tormentors to not fuck with her. Stating that this a game-changer is a massive understatement.
The first moral of this story are that being cruel to children and dictating your values to them is not the way to win their hearts and to keep the old ways alive. The second moral is that no one ever is to old to enjoy a cute movie.
The Breaking Glass Pictures DVD release of the 2018 micro-budget horror film "Epidemic" contributes to the proof both that Breaking has good instincts for edgy art-house fare and that there are seemingly endless variations of the deadly plague sub-genre of fright flicks. The additional fun of dysfunctional relationships in this on-location movie filmed in Allentown, Pa. provide the best entertainment.
The following YouTube clip of a SPOILER-LADEN trailer for "Epidemic" highlights the aforementioned aspects of the film.
The upcoming 30th birthday party of everymillennial Dana provides the main arena for the carnage in which far few who enter leave. Concluding that inviting remarried alcoholic father Rufus regarding whom Dana has a long-term estrangement makes sense is the most puzzling and unbelievable aspects of the film.
An amusingly unlikely coincidence that sets the primary action in motion involves the preparation of gal pal Mandi for celebrating Dana reaching an age that she no longer can be trusted leading to discovering a not-so-concealed secret room. The exploration of Mandi leads to a mishap that equally can be considered letting the genie out of the bottle and opening Pandora's box.
The secret room also requires a brief detour into Blogland. Videos of people discovering a door in a floor, a secret passage, etc. in their homes are catching up with footage of frolicking felines on YouTube. A personal experience somewhat validates the authenticity of such assertions and includes the bonus of potential creepiness regarding buying a house.
The seller of my current house being tremendously supportive regarding a move to unfamiliar territory had the side effect of learning that he was obsessed with this dwelling to the extent of going out of his way to drive past it after the sale; he likely continues doing so more than three years later. This validates the decision independent of this to change the locks and the alarm code within a few days of moving.
The seller repeatedly referred to leaving a time capsule and bragging that I never would find it. Concluding that it merely was buried in the yard, I was inadequately intrigued to undergo a treasure hunt.
A leaky pipe a year after moving led to opening up a drop-down basement ceiling; that led to discovering a creepy cache of report cards, old newspaper articles, photos, and other family treasures but nothing of monetary value. The spoiler this time is that one man's treasured mementos are another man;s trash. A related amusing part of this is that the layout of the cellar and finding several niches down there had already earned it the title of "serial killer basement."
Returning to our main topic, Mandi having an immediate and severe reaction to exposure to a substance in the previously sealed room does not deter her from attending the party. This leads to predictably infecting the people who are most near and dear to her by spewing all over them. This, in turn, leads to spreading the love.
Rufus indulging in liquid courage before arriving at Ground Zero makes him literally late to the party. This, in turn, proves that stupid is as stupid does. Rather than try to help the party goers or report the incident, this concerned father grabs the ailing birthday girl and brings her to the sterile environment of a no-tell motel. The feverish Dana makes it a literal hot-sheets lodging establishment.
Although everything largely plays out predictably, ambiguity regarding whether horrific visions and a semblance of a happy ending are real or Memorex keeps things interesting. The bigger picture is that justified paranoia regarding the spread of a literal or figurative plague adds an iota of credibility that keeps things interesting.
Breaking excels just as well regarding the extras that most of its releases include. These include a lively and amusingly self-deprecating interviewer with Rufus portrayor/Breaking insider Andrew Hunsicker. We also get outtakes from this film about an outbreak.
The Virgil Films May 21, 2019 DVD release of the documentary "billion dollar Bully" is equally entertaining and educational regarding ALLEGED malfeasance by Yelp regarding sales tactics. Writer/director Kaylie Milliken hits the nail on the head in commenting on the opposing objectives regarding Yelp presenting a public image as site for objective reviews but being driven by sales revenue from having businesses advertise to have their companies more prominently displayed.
The most important context regarding "Bully" is that there is your side, the side of the other guy, and the truth. The numerous people whom Yelp is believed to have done wrong whom Milliken interviews seem sincere and mostly admit to lacking a smoking gun regarding their assertions.
At the same time, we do not hear from anyone who considers Yelp CEO/co-founder Jeremy Stoppelman a god. Personal bias enters in the form of assuming that Stoppelman being among the arrogant Millennial tech. guys who are too young to have the life experience required to properly run a country makes him a guy with whom you would like to have a cup of coffee so that you can throw it in his smug (actually) smirking face.
The above comment leads to the disclaimer that this post strays far more into Blogland than roughly 99-percent of reviews. As is the case regarding the other exceptions, this time it is personal.
The following YouTube clip of a trailer for "Bully" illustrates the heavy propaganda element of the film. The reminder here is that even propaganda that supports your side is propaganda. This promo. supports this through a few shots of the outdated ambush technique in which the filmmaker sets up a camera in front of a corporate headquarters and either seeks a meeting with an executive or merely confronts employees as they enter and leave the building. One cannot blame a highly compensated person not wanting to interrupt his or her day to sucumb to an ambush or Yelp for not wanting someone who may be an assistant or an IT person speaking for the firm.
Milliken chooses wisely in opening her film with interview footage of an Italian man who owns a pizzeria and is to "Bully" what the quirky little boy who makes Young Sheldon look like Zac Morris is to the 2002 spelling bee documentary "Spellbound."
The restauranteur discusses the old country pattern of a "legitimate businessman" calling attention to the potential for "accidents," the business subsequently experiencing relatively small incidents such as thrown rock through the window, the "insurance" agent showing up again to offer protection against future harm, and the harm either escalating or stopping depending on the answer of the entrepreneur.
The asserted Yelp variation is the company making repeated solicitations and the Yelp ratings of the targeted business either rising or falling depending on the response to that unsolicited pitch.
Man (and woman) on the street interviews reflect the thoughts of many of us. Most comments relate to being sincere when writing online reviews and having faith that everyone else is doing the same. A personal filter is the consistency of both negative and positive reviews and if they jibe with personal experience at places that I have frequented.
Milliken does not address the other side of the coin. There have been numerous times that a business has gone on the attack in responding to a sincere negative Trip Advisor or Yelp review. That has risen to the level of one business threatening severe legal action if I did not remove a Trip Advisor review and the hotel that put me in the "shabby broom closet" that posts in the "Inn Credible New England" section of this site often mention not being far behind.
The true life personal perspective this time is a now-former friend commenting one night that he has not been charged for cable for years; the news the very next day is that his cable is turned off. I had not given the comment any thought and did not call the cable company. I fully suspect that the guy whose free ride abruptly ended will go to his grave thinking that I ratted him out.
Returning to our main story, the alleged manipulation of Yelp reviews begins with having Yelp employees barrage a listing with many negative reviews. That company also is charged with putting positive reviews in a hard-to-find filtered section of a listing. A personal search for a link to filtered reviews for several businesses failed. One advertised site has several posts that comment that the writer cannot understand the basis for the negative reviews.
Perhaps more importantly, we learn that any business cannot opt out of being listed on Yelp. An even more egregious claim is that Yelp must give an advertising company permission to alter the hours of operation or other basic information on a listing on that site.
Milliken adds highly relevant good humor via numerous clips from an episode of the social-commentary-laden animated series "South Park." This outing has citizens of the titular small Colorado town constantly shakedown local businesses for absurd preferential treatment. The direct threat is that a bad Yelp review is the price for non-compliance with an unreasonable request.
The big picture personal perspective regarding all this begins with my reaction on learning about Trip Advisor many years ago. I asked a techie friend what stopped someone from maliciously posting an unfairly negative review; his response of "nothing" said all that needed to be stated,
On another note, I accurately predict regarding my negative business reviews on any site triggers someone who has never written a review posting a glowing review that directly contradicts my post. A prime example of this is my fair review of a pricey B n B that states among other things that the only hanging space is two cloakroom style hooks and that the only hangers are two beat-up wire ones. A review that went up the day after mine was posted was from a virgin reviewer who praised the copious hanging space and commented about the nice hangers. The tone was EXACTLY the same as that of the inn keeper.
The dump which got those two reviews subsequently closing supports the thesis of Milliken that negative reviews (regardless of their sincerity) can break a place, The lesson for these Main Street moguls is to treat your customers right.
I am never malicious in a review (or in a post on this site), but often refrain from dipping my pen in any poison regarding a bad experience if there is a reasonable effort to make an experience pleasant. Trying to put right what once went wrong often earns a positive review,
The question for anyone who disagrees with this review of the single Warner Archive May 28, 2018 DVD release of the final two seasons of the 1986-93 ABC sitcom is how many of these releases have you reviewed? How many? Your not-so-humble reviewer has reviewed the prior four single-season Archive DVD releases of the series. Any who gets this opening joke likely will enjoy (and agree with) this post.
Remember as well that I have a plan and that everything will work out just fine.
The "Starngers" release is notable both for allowing owning the complete series and for coming on the heels of the (reviewed) Archive DVD release of the ninth and final season of the 1976-85 CBS sitcom "Alice." That TV Land series set in a Phoenix diner has many parallels with the equally amusing "Strangers." These common elements extend well beyond parallel episodes about live Thanksgiving turkeys.
The "Strangers" premises is that uptight Chicago resident Larry Appleton (Mark Linn-Baker) opens his apartment door in the pilot to find his goofy naive fresh-off-the-boat cousin Balki Bartokomous (Bronson Pinchot) standing there. This sets the series-long premise of this bonded odd couple having their conflicting personalities and world views exasperate the "sit" of the week that provides the "com" for the episode.
The first few S7 episodes revolve around the period leading up to the wedding of Larry and series-long (and long-suffering) girl of his dreams flight attendant/neighbor Jennifer. A very special two-part episode has love conquering all when the couple is comically waylaid on their way to the chapel to get married.
A dual homage comes in the form of Larry and Balki transforming into Laurel an Hardy in a black-and-white episode that has them building a gazebo; a black-and-white S6 episode has our leads become Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton of "The Honeymooners."
"Mork and Mindy" veteran producer/writer Dale McRaven takes a page straight out of fellow Garry Marshall series "Happy Days" by having Balki and series-long (and long-suffering) girl of his dreams flight attendant Mary Ann have the EXACT same form of reconciliation as Joanie and Chachi before that couple ties the knot in the "Days" series finale. Of course, hilarity ensues in the period leading up to the wedding ceremony of Balki and Mary Ann.
Compared to the long and twisted path to the altar for the Arcolas and the Bartokomouses, the variation of the Disney "Shaggy Dog" movie as to Mork marrying Mindy relatively is a wedding-cake walk.
McRaven also "Marshalls" his skills regarding several S7 aand S8 episodes. Just as "Mork" increasingly focuses on Mork home-planet Ork (including a visit to that world), many of the final "Strangers" episodes revolve around the Mediterranean island of Mypos from which Balki hails. The king of the country dying while visiting Chicago creates great turmoil that requires posthumous shenanigans in an episode with shades of both "King Ralph" and "Weekend at Bernies."
We also get a special two-parter in which the oft-mentioned mama of Balki is finally seen; the family resemblance is due to Pinchot playing both roles. The "sit" this time is that Mama guilts Balki into returning to Mypos, and Larry follows to persuade his cousin/best friend/rooommate to return to Chicago.
The trip to Mypos highlights an odd aspect of the final seasons of "Strangers." Even accounting for the girls being flight attendants, Larry and Balki spend very little time with their new wife and (through much of these episodes) special girl respectively.
Balki again follows the lead of "Coosin Larry" by putting a bun in the oven of Mary Ann soon after Larry knocks up Jennifer; this relates to an earlier "Perfect Strangers Babies" episode in which Linn-Baker and Pinchot portray toddler versions of their characters
All of this builds to a series finale that covers many bases regarding both "Strangers" and sitcom cliches. An overdue Jennifer convinces the boys to take her up in a hot-air balloon. Ala an "Alice" episode, a comical mistake that is true to the series results in the balloon going out of control.
Jennifer goes into labor in the balloon as Larry and Balki experience having an outing turn into a life-threatening adventure one last time.
The cliches continue with flashbacks in the final minutes of the episode and the cast taking their final bows as the end credits roll.
All of this (along with the catchy "Strangers" and "Alice" themes) show that Archive is the go-to source of the ones that they no longer make 'em like.
'The Prisoner of Second Avenue' Blu-ray: Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft Awesomely Play Neil Simon Says
The wonderfully restored Warner Archive May 14, 2019 Blu-ray release of the 1975 Jack Lemmon and Anne Bancroft urban comedy "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" is the epitome of something that is tragic to the person experiencing it being hilarious to the rest of us. The very strong live-stage vibe of "Prisoner" relates both to master playwright Neil Simon (also of the reviewed similar Archive BD release of "The Goodbye Girl") being the writer and the film being based on a 1971 hit Broadway play. The BD enhancements make both films look MUCH better than their '70slicious theatrical releases.
Stating that Lemmon is the perfect choice for beleaguered middle-aged middle-management New Yorker Mel Edison illustrates that cliches are cliches because they are true. One only need watch Lemmon in the 1973 film "Save the Tiger" to see that no one plays a white-collar dude experiencing the mother-of-all-mid-life crises better. A memorable scene in that one has the character of Lemmon lamenting his financial obligations.
The MUST-SEE 1962 film "The Apartment" and the equally good 1992 "Glengarry Glen Ross" illustrate the skill of Lemmon at playing a stereotypical lovable loser who finally snaps after years of abuse by masters of the universe.
One further only look at "The Odd Couple" to see that Lemmon also a master at roles that require equal parts drama and comedy. No one does it better. Baby, he's the best.
Mrs. Robinson (Mrs. Brooks in real life) herself Anne Bancroft does equally well as long-suffering loving and supportive spouse Edna Bancroft. An awesome part of her role is proving the cliche that at least one person in a committed relationship must be the stable one.
A notable cameo has Sylvester Stallone bumping into Mel after the latter has snapped; a less recognizable F. Murray Abraham of "Amadeus" plays an awesome stereotypical NY cabbie in an early scene. His appearance, performance, and role make one think that Judd Hirsch is playing the part.
Simon does his usual expert job sadistically heaping increasingly horrific insult on injury that New Yorkers endure everyday until the damn dam inevitably bursts. This starts with Mel trotting to get to his bus stop just ahead of that vehicle only to have the modern-day Ralph Kramden driving it literally pass him by. This is the beginning of the end in the form of Mel and Edna is a dystopian version of the "American Gothic" painting.
One of the biggest blows comes when 48 year-old Mel loses his job; the modern relatability of this is the 1,000,000s of middle-aged professionals jobs who found themselves unemployed around 2008 and know that they will never get comparable employment.
The bigger picture is that the '70s is the beginning of the end of the era in which the man gets "the job" on graduating high school or college and receives fair rewards for doing his job properly until he retires 40 years later with a pension that allows him and his wife of the same period to continue enjoying the life style to which they have become accustomed. Any sane person know that that social contract between employee and employer (and husband and wife) is more obsolete than disco and polyester leisure suits.
A desire to keep spoilers to the minimum is behind merely stating that the next few months find Mel and Edna suffering through a sweltering New York summer as they experience virtually every evil that can plague Manhattanites and out-of-towners alike. The aforementioned talent of Simon for depicting this makes one seriously wonder why anyone would choose to live in that city.
Additional fun comes in the form of clever bumpers; director Melvin Frank contributes to the live-stage vibe by separating scenes with shots of Manhattan accompanied by parody radio news broadcasts read by Dan Rather and other real reporters.
The aforementioned unhappy ending is equally awesome because it reflects the gritty realism that makes many '70s New York films so special. Mel and Edna do live to fight the rest of their days, but he does not get an 11th-hour offer of the job of his dreams, and they do not get to have the witty and privileged one-percenter lifestyle of Nick and Nora Charles. The moral is that reality bites even for folks who have been out of college for 20 or more years.
Archive awesomely supplements this classic film with truly special bonus features. These begin with Bancroft appearing on the "Dinah" talk show that her friend Dinah Shore hosts. Much of fun of this relates to these women discussing a recent doubles tennis game with their fellas Mel Brooks and Burt Reynolds.. The obligatory film clip includes entertaining outtakes.
We also get a five-minute making-of feature that also includes much of the aforementioned footage that ends up on the editing-room floor.
The Disney March 26, 2019 DVD release of the February 2019 Disney Channel live-action "Kim Possible" movie does the 2002-2007 Disney Channel series of the same name proud. This includes excellent jobs recreating the unique exteriors of primary locations Chez Possible, Middleton High that the titular teen titan and goofy sidekick Ron Stoppable attend, and home of the naco Bueno Nacho. The homage continues with an awesome live-action remake (complete with Ron getting pantsed) of the series opening credits.
Although this tribute centers around scientist-turned-evil-genius Dr. "Drew" Drakken (Todd Stashwick) with a long history with the Possible family, other "Batman" '66 style villains also receive shout outs. Denying Lord Monkey Fist and Senor Senor Junior this honor is a travesty that the anticipated sequel hopefully will remedy.
The following YouTube clip of the "Possible" trailer includes a look at the Bond-style old open that also provides the origin story. This promo. additionally highlights the girl power vibe of the film.
Saying much more than that "Possible" is similar to the 2005 Disney Channel animated feature "Kim Possible: So the Drama" runs the risk of major spoilers. Suffice it to say that Draken (coiced by John DiMaggio in the series) again subjects Kim (Sadie Stanley of "Coop and Cami Ask the World") to specialized insidious psychological warfare.
The larger plot of Draken and henchwoman Shego (Taylor Ortega) is to swipe experimental government tech. with literally mind-altering potential,
The "B" story that truly is so the drama is straight out of "The Brady Bunch." Middle-school star/national hero Kim and Ron (Sean Giambrone of "The Goldbergs") are now lowly high-school freshman. Kim frienemy sophmore Bonnie does all that she can to add insult to that injury.
The "Brady" vibe continues with Kim and Ron befriending damaged new kid in town Athena; efforts to help this outcast fit in when she soon surpasses Kim on the soccer field, the classroom, and even on missions. This leads to the film moral that there is more to life than being the best.
Worlds collide when a mission to rescue Athena leads to a girls' night out on which Ron and a CGI Rufus the naked mole rat tag along. The ensuing highly Disneyfied Bond-style climax brings the main portion of the film to a satisfying end; the epilogue (including stingers) sets the stage for the aforementioned "Kim Possible II." We sadly have been waiting years for the PROMISED "Teen Beach Movie IV."
The copious short-and-sweet DVD extras begin with cute audition footage of our stars and goes on to a Q & A in which Stanley and Giambrone answer allegedly random questions from fans. We also get a music video of Stanley singing the infectious "Possible" theme. Be prepared to repeeately sing "call me, beep me, if you really want to reach me."
Getting over disappointment regarding the sadistically misleading title of the 1943 WWII propaganda film "The Gorilla Man" allows thoroughly enjoying the recent Warner Archive DVD release of this B movie. The titular primate is wounded warrior Capt. Craig Killian, who earns that nickname for climbing skills that he demonstrates in our story.
The textbook fun begins with Nazi agent Dr. Dorn, who uses his private sanitarium on the English coast as a cover, learning through his literal spy network that the ship carrying Killian's Heroes back to Mother England from a commando raid was sunk. The rest of the story is that that band of brothers is expected to come ashore near the aforementioned medical facility.
A series of seemingly fortunate events leads to an oblivious Killian becoming a guest of Dorn and the even madder Dr. Ferris. A subsequent reveal that Dorn has a stranglehold on his associate turns out to be very apt. The coercion of Nurse Kruger is more despicable.
The plot thickens on Dorn learning that Killian is desperate to give British General Devon important information about a Nazi incursion. This leads to a collateral damage scheme to discredit Killian so that his superiors literally will not take him at his word.
The insidious Nazi manipulation leads to Killian having his credibility increasingly impaired, trying to stay one step ahead of the London police, and racing to try to keep the body count low. His inadvertently repeatedly acting as his puppetmaster desires does not help things.
Director of 101 projects D. Ross Lederman and writer of 154 scripts Anthony Coldeway earn their filler feature an A with a perfect climax. The usual suspects all convene at the scene of the crime where Ferris does his thing for his fun and for the profit of Dorn. Meanwhile, Killian is on site thanks to his aforementioned talent. The general and his senior staff meeting to discuss the now-imminent threat from the Jerrys provide the final piece of the puzzle.
The real fun come when Dorn overplays his hand and the general's daughter shows that she is capable of far more than lying back and thinking of England; the final shot does strongly indicates that she will be doing that later that evening.; one can only hope that she gets a chocolate bar and a pair of stockings for her trouble.,
The Breaking Glass Pictures DVD release of the unrated director's cut of the 2017 HIGHLY erotic drama "Adonis" greatly pushes the envelope even regarding the edgy and often explicit Breaking films. Like the (reviewed) film "Utopians" (2015) by Scud, "Adonis" pulls off the tough trick of successfully combining erotic, pornographic (i.e., appealing to prurient interests), and artistic elements. This gay-themed film joining the ranks of comparable straight films is another example of the expression "You've come a long way, Baby" applying to people all along the Kinsey Scale.
The following YouTube clip of the Breaking trailer for "Adonis" provides a strong sense of the erotic and the stylized artistic elements while including a tantalizing taste of the pornographic aspects.
A scene in "Adonis" in which star Adonis He, who plays opera singer turned porn star/nude male model/high-rent boy in upscale bro thel Yang Ke, is confronted with his appearance in "Utopians" removes any doubt regarding the connection between these two films in an apparent indirect trilogy. The character whom He plays in the earlier film is a young man who meets a professor who uses the Scud mixture of eroticism and pornography to help the boy realize his true self and be comfortable with his sexuality.
The life of Ke is more turbulent then his younger self/counterpart in "Utopians." He is raised by a single mother and apparently follows a family tradition regarding the nature of his birth. He first literally takes to the streets when the opera company for which he is singing for his supper goes bankrupt., This indicates the truth of the statement that it is over when the fat lady sings.
The opening scenes of "Adonis" perfectly illustrate the combined themes of the film and portend of things to come that also have already come to pass. Scud pays homage to both "The Lord of the Flies" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (not to mention "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers") by having Ke awaken naked in a lush forest. We see equally naked masked post-adolescents peer out from the foliage and descend from the trees to surround this visitor,
Much of the rest of this highly symbolic movie centers around a film shoot in which Ke spends his 30th birthday laying on a cross while a large group encircles him and takes their turn at center stage topping this star. The extent of the brutality of each penetration varies according to a combination of the aggressiveness of the top and the degree to which he succumbs to the goading of the director. The nature of the film, the camera angles, and one money shot all indicate that at least some of the sex acts are real.
Although it is somewhat ambiguous, it seems that Ke is taking a "lay back and think of England" approach to losing his cherry in a few different ways, This apparently is the narrative context for the scenes that show what led to this.
We see Ke living an unconventional but happy childhood; like the rest of the film, this ties into what is to transpire.
We also see how Ke goes from being an opera singer to a sex worker. This begins with posing for nude pictures on a city street. The response of viewers to the aftermath of that photo shoot state a great deal about the personality of that individual.
Ke then quickly meets his mentor/protector/agent/pimp. This leads to the aforementioned job catering to the needs of wealthy men. A movable feast and a private party are highlights from that period in the life of Ke.
This employment leads to a houseboy gig for a creepy older perv. and ultimately to the film shoot that Scud has unfold throughout. A highlight there is one of the boys getting a little rough from the start shows that at least Ke (if not He) realizes that he is not ready for the rough ride ahead. The lesson here is that you sometimes must take 20 or more for the team. This leads to a very symbolic payment that disappoints viewers who anticipate several money shots that would have been even more symbolic.
Ke survives the central ordeal to follow the porn star path of banking on his celebrity and his savings to truly become a respectable businessman. This leads to a strong probability of achieving the American dream only to learn that some people will always consider him a piece of meat despite his quitting the business.
All of this ends with everything going back full circle that puts the opening scenes in perfect context. The overall theme is that all of us are our own worst enemy, and that even people willing to literally and figuratively prostitute themselves may have more worth than believed.
As indicated throughout this post, "Adonis" is notable for appealing to higher and baser sensibilities. The story is well-written, all play their roles well, you will respond consistently with your own essence, and your thoughts will be equally provoked.
The DVD extras begin with entertaining clips of the aforementioned gang of 20 or more. This naked men figuratively sing their thoughts on topics such as where they see themselves at 30. The other extras are a series of "making-of" features.
The joint first and lasting impressions while watching Warner Archive's Blu-ray release of the 1962 Doris Day musical "Billy Rose's Jumbo" are that they do not make 'em like that anymore and that it is amazing that Blu-ray can make a metrocolor film from an era in which that technology was cutting edge look so sharp. The second first impression is that including the auteur's name in the title does not follow the same tendency of those films being not-so-good ala "Stephen King's ..." or "Tyler Perry's ..."
The all-star leading cast of "Jumbo" consists of multi-talented Day as Kitty Wonder, the multi-talented daughter of circus owner Anthony "Pop" Wonder. The true show business legend Jimmy Durante plays Pop, and the back cover art on the Blu-ray set reports that he is in the cast of the 1935 original Broadway production of "Jumbo." Pop is one of the then-69 year-old Durante's final film roles.
Well-known funny lady Martha "The Big Mouth" Raye, who is best known to gen Xers as Benita Bizarre on "The Bugaloos" and Mel's mother on the sitcom "Alice," plays Durante's most loyal performer/fiancee of 14 years Lulu. She is also known for suing David Letterman over an off-color joke at her expense.
Pop's gambling addiction and an ongoing campaign by rival circus owner John Noble to either acquire the film's titular character, who is a widely talented performing elephant, or drive the roughly turn-of-the-century Wonder Circus out of business keep Kitty very busy regarding ensuring that the three-ring show goes on. Textbook definition character actor Dean Jagger, whose credits include the awesome storyteller in the very special "The Partridge Family" Christmas episode, plays the not-so-noble Noble.
The fact that true jack-of-all-trades and master-of-several Sam Rawlins, played by Stephen Boyd, arrives at a particularly tough time for the Wonder Circus seems to be too good to be true turns out to be the case. The audience learns half-way through the film that Sam has the daddy of all ulterior motives for helping the Wonders.
The award for most fun cameo goes to a pre "The Addams Family" John Astin as an eccentric bi-plane pilot.
Day et al do a great job with the Rodgers and Hart score; our Archive friends have located and restored the original Overture, and the toe-tapping starts with "The Circus on Parade." A traditional circus parade aptly accompanies this one.
It is also fun to discover that the classic "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," which is reprised several times, is from this show. The even-more catchy, and equally reprised, tune "Sawdust, Spangles, and Dreams" is equally memorable.
As Archive shares, beyond legendary showman Busby Berkeley stages the dazzling circus performances. These feature genuine circus performers. Of course, Jumbo steals the show.
The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of "Jumbo's" trailer (which the Blu-ray set includes) provides a good sense of the film's fun with only minor spoilers. It also demonstrates the sharp contrast between the standard definition version of the film and the spectacular Blu-ray enhancement.
The award for best special feature goes to an incredibly adorable Tom and Jerry cartoon "Jerry and Jumbo" in which the titular mouse teams up with a very cute baby elephant to give the titular cat a well-deserved difficult time. A 1933 Vitaphone musical short "Yours Sincerely" is also fun.
On a more general note regarding this release, "Jumbo" evokes strong memories of the circus museum in Sarasota, Florida and prompts a strong desire to return.
The grande finale of this review is that it is fun for kids of all ages, with the exception of surly adolescents who dislike everything, and is guaranteed to evoke at least a few smiles.The award for best special feature goes to an incredibly adorable Tom and Jerry cartoon "Jerry and Jumbo" in which the titular mouse teams up with a very cute baby elephant to give the titular cat a well-deserved difficult time. A 1933 Vitaphone musical short "Yours Sincerely" is also fun.
On a more general note regarding this release, "Jumbo" evokes strong memories of the circus museum in Sarasota, Florida and prompts a strong desire to return.
The grande finale of this review is that it is fun for kids of all ages, with the exception of surly adolescents who dislike everything, and is guaranteed to evoke at least a few smiles.The award for best special feature goes to an incredibly adorable Tom and Jerry cartoon "Jerry and Jumbo" in which the titular mouse teams up with a very cute baby elephant to give the titular cat a well-deserved difficult time. A 1933 Vitaphone musical short "Yours Sincerely" is also fun.
On a more general note regarding this release, "Jumbo" evokes strong memories of the circus museum in Sarasota, Florida and prompts a strong desire to return.
The grande finale of this review is that it is fun for kids of all ages, with the exception of surly adolescents who dislike everything, and is guaranteed to evoke at least a few smiles.
The Warner Archive March 26, 2019 Blu-ray release of the 1966 Doris Day romcom "The Glass Bottom Boat" offers a threefer in terms of combining a typical Doris Day comedy, a beach movie of the era, and an equally era-apt Cold War comedy.
The following YouTube clip of Day and co-star Arthur Godfrey singing the catchy theme from "Boat" provides a good sense of the fun of the film.
Day plays premature widow Jennifer Nelson, who is an entry-level public-relations worker at an aerospace research lab that roguish Elon Musk of the '60s Bruce Templeton (Rod Taylor) owns and operates. The film title refers to the tourist vessel that the father (Godfrey) of Nelson owns and operates on Catalina Island. An element of "com" enters in the form of Nelson supporting the family business by swimming below the boat while dressed as a mermaid.
Nelson and Templeton meeting under embarrassing circumstances while engaged in their typical weekend activities introduces the "rom" element. Later meeting at their day jobs enhances this element. More '60slicious fun come in the form of Dick Martin of "Laugh-In" fame portraying the playboy business partner of Templeton.
The Cold War aspect relates to the degree to which Nelson and Templeton develop their "rom" coinciding with the increased espionage activity related to a government contract. This provides the context for Paul Lynde to play a comically overzealous security officer who ultimately finds his job to be a drag.
The real fun begins when Nelson gets wind of Mr. Right and his colleagues suspecting her of treason. This girl subsequently seeking to turn the tables on her bosses finds her embroiled in genuine life-threatening intrigue.
The beach movie vibe relates to the catchy theme that Day sings, Templeton almost literally learning about the quantity of fish in the sea, and a couple of scenes in which a boat runs amok in a busy harbor.
All of this makes "Boat" a perfect example of an escapist '60s comedy. Day sticks to the independent woman whom Mother would love for you to bring home if being scorned is not causing her to "Hulk" out. There also is ample good clean slapstick and holding up the military-industrial complex to gentle but well-deserved ridicule.
Archive does equally well regarding the DVD extras; we get three entertaining featurettes related to the film, the highly stylized Chuck Jones Oscar-winning cartoon "The Dot and the Line," and the theatrical trailer for "Boat."
The Film Movement May 14, 2019 DVD release of the 2016 documentary "Bosch The Garden of Dreams" provides a well-produced equally entertaining and educational art-history lesson before many of us turn off our brains for the summer on Memorial Day weekend. As often is the case, the life story of Early Netherlandish painter Hieronymous Bosch is as interesting as the tale of his work "The Garden of Earthly Delights,"
The following YouTube clip of a "Bosch" trailer illustrates (pun intended) the complexity of the man, and the work. You also get a sense of the art world notables, including author Salman Rushdie, who participate in making the film.
The titular artwork is a massive three-panel painting that presents an intentionally strong "And there was light" vibe when the two side panels are opened to reveal the work. The Prado Museum in Madrid opens its doors to allow "Bosch" to be made.
Many of the seemingly countless aforementioned talking heads use the life of Bosch to provide context for their comments on one of the seeming countless scenes in the painting. The larger context is that Bosch, if that is his real name, belongs to a religious order for which he creates "Garden." This aspect of the art reflecting the artist includes a scene in which a film participant points out that a "Garden" image of Jesus speaking with Adam and Eve has the son of God looking at the painting viewer.
The copious (often terrifying) surreal images in "Garden" prompt discussing dreams in the context of the psyche of Bosch, The even more fascinating element of this is the theory of the nature of dreams. Under this theory, Bosch has a very disturbed mind,
The path of "Garden" in its early years seals the deal regarding the story of Bosch being worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster. A regime change leads to a purist undergoing extreme torture to avoid having the painting fall in the wrong hands. The spoiler is that resistance proves to be futile, but "Garden" ends up in arguably a greater place of honor than one would expect.
We further get a sense of the arguably sloppy technique of Bosch. It is surprising to learn that this pro essentially does not color within the lines. However, this helps explain why this art so closely reflects the artist.
The bigger picture (pun intended) is that "Bosch" addresses visiting and thinking about a painting and its artist in an era in which they vast majority of the very few of us who still look at great art only spend a few minutes looking at a reproduction of it online or in a coffee-table book. Even fewer of this small minority take the time to really study and appreciate the result of an artist pouring his or her soul into a project.
The Film Movement DVD release of the 2014 Italian dramedy "Cam Girl" is an entertaining fable for our dystopian times. It also follows the pattern of Movement films presenting universal themes.
The relatability begins with 20-something aspiring Madwoman Alice successfully pitching an idea at the marketing firm where she is a freelancer with what she thinks is a reasonable dream of full-time employment. This reflects both many Millennials not wanting to pay the dues that the the job that they want requires and formerly gainfully employed Gen Xers now being white-collar day laborers.
Alice gets her reality check at the same time that friend Rossella is tiring of being exploited at her cam girl job, other friend Martina is working hard to make a women's basketball team, and waitress Gilda wants to help grease-monkey boyfriend with a personal financial crisis. This leads to Alice organizing the group into starting a cam girl site that pays above the going rate and otherwise offers a desirable work environment.
The aforementioned entertainment stems from the trauma and drama associated with the new normal. Alice has great difficulty managing her intertwined professional and personal lives. This largely comes down to the basic capitalist challenge of both having enough money to keep the business viable and paying labor fair compensation for his or her services. This is not to mention Alice not telling her Cinderella-caliber evil sister and mother how she pays her rent.
Meanwhile pretty woman "Ross" is dating a trust fund baby whom she meets on the job. The obstacles to happily ever after extend beyond whether Ross being a working girl precludes bringing her home to meet the family and the reception that she will receive if that occurs. The happy couple must decide their comfort level regarding bringing things to the next level.
The drama for Gilda revolves around the jealousy of her man. The initial suspicions of Mateo are bad enough; his reaction on learning how his girlfriend earns his money is very typical of reel and real-life ingratitude,
Of course all this comes to a head as the wolves of varying degrees of figurativeness come to the door. The spoiler is that human nature wins out over loyalty.
The overall message is that women can succeed in business so long as they are willing to pay the heavy prices for playing with the boys.
The Dekkoo Films March 12, 2019 DVD of the 2017 S1 of the Dekko network series "Woke" (nee "Les Engages") is highly relatable both to LGBT folks and anyone who has ever worked with a community organization. The broader perspective regarding this show about the lives. loves, and politics of the volunteers of the Lyon-based Point G gay-rights group is that it can be considered the French version of either the British or the American version of the gay-themed dramedy series "Queer As Folk.'
The 16 European and American awards for the aptly titled "Woke" further reflect the international appeal of the series. It really is about the men and the women in your office and your neighborhood.
The following YouTube clip of a "Woke" trailer emphasizes many of the international elements of the series. We see gayby Hicham poorly respond to a confrontation by "Mom" and get glimpses of the Kinsey Scale of lust-to-love that reflects the range of gay relationships.
The focus of "Woke" initially is divided between our leads. Closeted Muslm student Hicham (Justin) is living a life of quiet desperation with his sister Hadjet. The love and support of this well-meaning mother figure includes encouraging him to contact a presumed female object of his affection. Hadjet subsequently showing up unannounced at the quasi love shack of Hicham also strikes a chord with roughly 10-percent of the global population.
Meanwhile, Point G leader/bookshop owner/gay slut Thibaut (Brian) is pursuing all his passions in Lyon. The crisis du jour is that the mayor is basing denying a permit for a Gay Pride festival on the argument that gay people already have enough rights. Of course, hypocrisy soon enters the picture.
A later Point G campaign to locate witnesses to the beating of a volunteer who keeps his apartment by being a rent boy reflects the positive spirit of "Queer." An aspect of this is that discovering a strong gay community often fills the void left regarding lifestyle-based estrangement from blood relatives,
The rest of the story is that Hicham and Thibaut have a history that apparently is comparable to frequent (also aptly named) camp-out behavior that a lack of official approval by the Boy Scouts does not deter. The results of a personal survey is that every gay man who was a scout had his first sexual encounter with another guy during a scout event,
The past of Hicham and Thibaut involves the former hitting the latter in response to a request for a kiss during a non-scout camping trip. This is relatable to the many gay men whose early days of repression and/or ignorance manifest in cruelty toward teen friends who already know and accept that they like other boys "in that way."
The prior encounter and being increasingly woke in the present prompt Hicham to run away from home to join the gay circus. His rude awakening includes a relatable moment in which calf dyke lesbian Murielle berates this guy whom she has never met before for his inadvertent intrusion into ladies' night at the Point G headquarters. The outrage of Murielle relates to male intrusion on the one night of the week that the boys let the girls use the clubhouse.
Hicham soon thereafter has an uneasy reunion with Thibaut. What we know about our troubled activist and what we soon learn both show why he allows his former assailant to share his space, but not his bed.
The aforementioned organizational conflict (not to mention a form of theft that also is not unheard of in the Boy Scouts) leads to politics that turn very dirty. The end result is that charismatic and compassionate Thibaut becomes president/puppet. He has not-so-charismatic or compassionate board member/drag queen/puppetmaster Claude to thank for the rise to power.
On a more positive note, Hicham largely is a poster-child for the modern gay man. The aforementioned victories in the hearts and minds of the hoi polloi allow this nice young man to hold out for a loving and mutual relationship. The facts that he is seeking Mr. Right, rather than Mr. Right Now, and is not looking for love in all the wrong places or in too many faces show that we've come a long way, Baby. It further proves that gay men have achieved the worst nightmare of Brian Kinney of the U.S. "Queer As Folk" that fags have become boring suburban couples.
This perfect storm (including a chance encounter with the one who got away) prompts season-ending soul-searching for Thibaut. The best perspective this time comes from a real-life publicist for a major US studio who states that he understands why artistic temperamental people are artistic and temperamental.
All of this has fans of quality gay-themed dramedy eager for the Dekko DVD release of "Woke" S2.
The Warner Archive April 9, 2019 pristine Blu-ray release of the black-and-white 1958 CinemaScope cult classic "Frankenstein 1970" evokes strong thoughts of the similarly off-beat 1994 film "Ed Wood." This quirky tale also will bring the 1974 Mel Brooks film "Young Frankenstein" to mind.
This meta film opens with the titular monster pursuing the lady in the lake; we soon learn that this merely is a scene in a Golden Age of Television production of the classic tale. This commentary on the small-screen taking over the silver screen is contrary to "1970" using the relatively new CinemaScope film format for the production.
The Scooby gang that is making the movie-of-the-week consists of all the stock characters. Brave and bold director "Fred" is doing his best to maintain order; young blonde starlet "Daphne" is dreaming of stardom; more down-to-earth and brainier secretary "Velma" is trying to do her job while fighting off not entirely unwelcome advances. Goofy cameraman "Shaggy" rounds out the group. The overlapping personal and professional histories of the group members add a particularly Hollywood touch to the story.
The original "Frankenstein" story more fully enters the picture regarding the same-old story of house-rich and cash-poor Baron Victor von Frankenstein (Karloff) temporarily sharing the infamous castle where it all went down with "those meddling kids." An awesome 50s B-movie element enters in the form of Frankenstein using his Air B-n-B money to buy a nuclear reactor for use in his quest to restart the family business. The rest of this aspect of the story is that forced research for the Nazis has negatively impacted the mind of our mad scientist.
Another amusing aspect of this is that the baron has aspirations of obtaining a trophy bride of Frankenstein. This tie-in with "Dracula" extends to the baron being a skilled hypnotist whose lack of an uncle may be why he has never learned that with great power comes great responsibility.
A combination of classic farce and traditional horror film combine to amp up the body count as the Baron seeks to put his new chums to use. A scene in which an oblivious "Daphne" repeatedly narrowly avoids being grabbed by the major-domo turned robotic stooge. This fully bandaged shuffling creature still managing to capture prey evokes good thoughts of "The Mummy."
Of course, the law eventually begins closing in on the baron. This equally predictably leads to a grand confrontation that shows both that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it and that every family business suffers from each generation lacking the same level of mad skills as the one that precedes it.
Archive keeps the fun going with a DVD extra in the form of a '50s-era TV spot.
The Virgil Films separate DVD and Blu-ray releases of the 2018 drama "Borg v. McEnroe" is one of many examples of those of us who are not sports fans missing out on a great movie because of bias against the overall subject of a movie. A personal example from this guy who has never watched "Raging Bull," "Bull Durham," or any "Rocky" film is that getting a review of the complete series of the Aaron Sorkin dramedy "Sports Night" corrected missing out on that terrific program.
As the title indicates, "Borg" centers around the genuinely historic 1980 Wimbledon showdown between the titular tennis stars. What the title does not indicate is that the movie provides strong insight into the psyches of the competitors and presents the main event in a very compelling manner.
An amusing aspect of "Borg" is having volatile Disney Channel veteran Shia LeBeouf play McEnroe, who is best known for having a short temper that results in throwing his tennis racket and verbally abusing match officials. One such incident evokes thoughts of the "Get That Pigeon" theme from the vintage Hanna-Barbera cartoon "Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines," A scene during the heated titular showdown in which McEnroe first is entirely prone on the court and then gets on his hands and knees may prompt sadistic viewers to have "assume the position" thoughts.
The aforementioned insight comes courtesy of alternating scenes that show the competitors in the years and the days leading up to the main event. Seeing the famously cool and collected Borg lose it on the court in his early years of competitive training is surprising; seeing how he becomes the man that he is in 1980 is an interesting coming-of-age story,
For his part, we see the many quirks of McEnroe that demonstrate the pressure that he feels. We further feel sympathy regarding his valid sense that the entire world is against him. This does not stop us from laughing when he curses out the Wimbledon press corps.
The lack of interest in sports is behind fast-forwarding through roughly one-half of the climatic match. Seeing how that transpires prompts watching the rest of that compelling event with amazing shifting results. The stamina alone of the players warrants each of them getting a trophy.
The excellence continues through the "where are they now" epilogue just before the closing credits. The post-match paths of our subjects is worthy of another film.
The bonus features in the forms of separate interviews with LeBeouf, Borg portrayor Sverrir Gudnason, and director Janus Metz provide further noteworthy insights. Metz expresses the aforementioned sentiments in stating his initial lack of interest in the project because of the surface subject but then reading the entire script in one sitting.
The Warner Archive April 16, 2019 DVD release of the well-remastered 1936 screwball comedy "Three Men on a Horse" is a good reminder that funny never stops being funny and that comedy does not require shock value.
The cred. of "Horse" begins with drector Mevyn LeRoy, whose other credits include "The Wizard of Oz" and "Mister Roberts." In front of the camera, Oscar nominated wise-cracking vaudeville veteran Joan Blondell plays stock floozy with a heart-of-gold Mabel. Fellow vaudeville vet Frank McHugh plays henpecked greeting-card writer Erwin Trowbridge.
The following YouTube clip of the fun-filled "Horse" trailer shows that they don't make those promos like they used to.
Our story begins with a wonderful look at 30s-era suburbia. Erwin and his wife Audrey live in a poorly constructed tract house in the development of her brother Clarence. Erwin is getting ready for his job, and Audrey is yelling for him to throw down his suit so that she can send it to the cleaner.
The Lucy and Ricky vibe continues with Audrey finding a little black book in a suit pocket. Being convinced that the entries are names and telephone numbers of loose women prompts Audrey to call Clarence to come over. The stereotypes continue with Clarence quickly going into a tirade about Erwin being a louse and Clarence having warned Audrey not to marry him.
The plot initially thickens on Audrey and Clarence learning that the notes are horse-race winners that Clarence successfully picks on his daily commute. The suspicious minds are additionally schooled regarding Erwin not actually placing any bets.
The added insult to the injury additionally is the straw that breaks the back of the camel. A COD package containing $48 worth of dresses requires that Erwin defend his male pride in front of Clarence by using money saved for other small luxuries to pay for the couture.
This bad morning drives normally sober Erwin to drink; his bar crawl brings him to the watering hole from which professional gambler Patsy (Sam Levene of "The Thin Man" series) and his two stooges operate. Mabel is the wannabe starlet who is the dame of Patsy and helps keep the boys in gambling money.
Learning that easily duped Erwin is the boy with something extra prompts Patsy and the boys essentially to kidnap their new acquaintance. Much of the ensuing comedy relates to providing a conducive setting for picking the ponies.
For her part, Mabel finds both a kindred spirit and a receptive audience in Erwin. This start of a beautiful friendship does not sit well with Patsy.
Meanwhile a distraught Audrey is lamenting over the disappearance of her husband, and his stereotypical fuming boss is irate over the absence of his employee. An oblivious Erwin merely is trying to please everyone.
Of course, all worlds ultimately hilariously collide. The happy endings this time show that justice prevails in Golden Age comedies.
The Warner Archive April 23, 2019 DVD release of the 1936 drama "Jailbreak" reminds us of the good old days when men talked tough and dolls stood by their guys. This is not to mention a smart mouth likely earning you a sock on the jaw or a kick in the pants.
The plot thickens from the opening scenes in which made man Ed Slayden bursts his way into the successful night club of former associate/current truly legitimate businessman Mike Eagen. Slayden is on the lam from a heist gone bad and demands help from a sheepish Eagen. Although he is no longer a baad man, Eagen slugs a copper with the idea that that the anticipated resulting 30 days in stir will keep him out of circulation long enough protect him from Slayden until the heat dies down.
The rub comes in the form of the adage related to the best-laid plans of mice and mobsters. Eagen runs afoul of a two-strikes mandatory-minimum law that results in a two-year sentence, On top of that, prison guard Dan Stone has it out for the new fish based on their prior dealings.
Things go from bad to worse when Slayden and his gang get collared, resulting in becoming fellow guests of the state with Eagen.
The better news is that loyal Girl Friday Jane Rogers and crusading reporter Ken Williams are on Team Eagen. Rogers is diligently keeping the club doors open and doing everything else that she can to help her boss; Williams is using the power-of-the-press to sway public opinion.
A combination of a prison killing and a treasure hunt further rock the institution and transform "Break" into a traditional whodunit. The latter includes adding to the body count and assaulting Williams in the course of his investigation.. This is not to mention Williams proving during a close approximation of a drawing room confrontation that he is much more than a pretty face.
The titular event barely even is a "B" story as a group of cons decide that they want a variation of an early release. They soon learn that successfully going over the wall is not always a good thing.
"Break" being a Hollywood movie from the era in which the Hays Code is enforced ensures that crime does not pay and that at least some good guys get a happy ending. Everyone else simply gets another day older and deeper in debt.
Wrapping up the four-part series of reviews on the uber-diverse Olive Films August 16, 2016 Blur-ray/DVD releases that has dominated Unreal TV this week with the very groovy psychedelic 1968 dramedy "Wild in the Streets" arguably saves the best for last. This is because this satire regarding granting the actual disenfranchised the vote is very relevant in what arguably is a satirical actual presidential campaign makes it the most relevant of the four.
"Wild," which has a wonderful LSD vibe sound track, opens with '60s style surreal scenes of the oppression/abuse and subsequent drug activity and related rebellion during the childhood and teen years of later counterculture rocker 24 year-old Max Frost. Dreamy Christopher Jones of "Ryan's Daughter" does a terrific job playing Max as someone mainstream enough to (initially) not scare parents while being enough of a rebel to be a teen idol in this era of free love.
Using what seems to be the living room set of the wholesome '50s sitcom "Leave it to Beaver" for the childhood home of Max is almost as awesome as casting top-billed Shelley Winters as his status-obsessed (and later borderline-incestuous) typical '60s housewife mother Daphne.
The action soon shifts to the palatial estate where multi-millionaire commodity Frost lives with his entourage/band. These include adorable 15 year-old Yale Law graduate/accountant/guitarist Billy Gage (who looks as if he is one of My Three Sons). Richard Pryor does well in his early film career role as hilariously named drummer Stanley X.
Classic TV fans will enjoy seeing Kellie Flanagan of the '60s fantasycom "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" as the young daughter of Fergus. As a first aside, Flanagan states during a May 2015 Unreal TV interview that "Wild" star Hal Holbrook is extremely caring and nice. As a second aside, Flanagan gets one of the best lines in the film during her final scene in which she takes Frost to old school.
"Youthful" 38 year-old California Congressman/U.S. Senate candidate Johnny Fergus (played by a wonderfully youthful Holbrook) recruiting Max and the band to play at a campaign rally gets those kids thinking about the real-world issue regarding 18 year-olds being eligible to be drafted and sent to Viet Nam but not being allowed to vote until they are 21. A related thought is that the majority of the American population is 25 or younger.
These events soon lead to Fergus losing control of Max, who begins an aggressive campaign to lower the voting age to 14 as shown in an awesome video courtesy of YouTube. This, in turn, lead to other satirical reforms that take the '60s concept of not being able to trust anyone over 30 to a hilarious extreme. The expert handling of this includes every scene with Fergus and Frost having the other appear much taller than the latter and looking like father-son interaction.
The related hilarity includes what can be considered weaponized LSD, an outraged senior in every sense U.S. Senator witnessing the free-spirited debauchery at Chez Frost, and the straight-laced teen son of Fergus engaging in the cutest form of rebellion ever.
Like all great satire, this exagerated version of reality in "Wild" works because it uses a talented writer and director to determine what likable and/or absurd characters say and do. Being given power is a fantasy of the young, and absolute power corrupts absolutely regardless of who yields it.
On a larger level, "Wild" is fun nostalgia for folks old enough to remember psychedelic cinema and a great look at the "ancient" past for folks who have never seen a corded telephone.
The Mill Creek Entertainment April 16, 2019 Blu-ray of the 1987 USA Up All Night caliber film "Hard Ticket to Hawaii" shows that sexploitation god Andy Sidaris follows the tradition of making a sequel bigger and bolder than an original. "Ticket" is the follow-up to the (reviewed) 1985 Sidaris "classic" "Malibu Express."
The even better news for Sidaris fans is that he states during a "behind-the-scenes" feature for the "Ticket" Blu-ray that that film is the first in series of 12. It is likely that MCE will release the other 11 films in the not-to-distant future.
Speaking of MCE, releasing the shot-on-locations "Malibu" and "Ticket" respectively highlights the SoCal and 50th State beauty of the cinematography.
The following YouTube clip of a "Ticket" trailer provides a perfect sense of the mid-budget '80stastic cheesy fun of this film that warrants a T and A rating.
The titular yacht from "Malibu" makes a cameo in the opening scenes of "Ticket." "Malibu" lead character Cody Abilene apparently has lent cousin Rowdy Abilene (Ronn Moss of "The Bold and the Beautiful" and "The Bay") his love boat. Aptly named race-car driver June Khnockers apparently is not along for the ride either.
Although Cody is the main "Malibu" focus, Rowdy takes a backseat to busty blonde bimbo DEA agents Donna and Taryn. Donna especially looks as if she has spent time in Silicone Valley. She also is notable for being half of an homage to '80s busty blonde bimbo Donna Dixon.
Trained agent Donna and witness protection program participant Taryn work a cover job as pilots for a small cargo and charter service airline. (Insert your own cockpit and joystick jokes here.)
The primary action begins when the girls fly a honeymoon couple to a secluded spot that apparently is as accessible by Jeep as it is by airplane. They have just left the lovebirds to sunbathe and take sleazy Polarioids when they see a high-end radio-control plane land. The rest of the story is that that plane has smuggled diamonds that belong to a Bond villain stereotype who does not like doing things the easy way.
This discovery results in the first of several shootouts that sets the game fully afoot. Highlights include a stereotypical evil drag queen, a slice-and-dice Frisbee, and a lounge-lizard Maire D. The latter provides some of the best humor when the response of a woman to an invitation to sit on the face of the host speculates whether his nose is larger than another organ of his.
Another highlight involves a psychotic skater armed with an explosive sex doll.
A variation of a snakes on the plane plot is the B story in this delightfully C-movie with decent production values but porn-star caliber acting and a lace-thin plot. A stateside mishap leads to the girls transporting a rat-cancer infected snake. Of course, this reptile gets free and goes on a feeding frenzy.
The noose tightens on Rowdy, Donna, and their sidekicks teaming up for a raid; their premature declaration of mission accomplished leads to a final showdown in which the good guys get unexpected help, This involves the best entrance in the entire film.
All of this amounts to "Ticket" being an even bigger dream come true than "Malibu" for horny teen boys whose parents are clueless regarding the nature of these new additions to the home-video library. The appeal to the rest of us is no reason to feel guilty pleasure regarding this nostalgia reminder of how the advent of direct-to-video facilitated making movies such as this.
Mel Brooks provides the most important perspective regarding the Omnibus Entertainment April 2, 2019 DVD release of the well-dubbed serious-toned 2019 English-language documentary "Nazi Junkies." This genius behind "The Producers" reminds us that mocking Team Hitler robs those maniacs of their power. Further, the idea of Herr Adolph "Uber-mensch" Hitler doing more drugs than a crackhouse whore is bizarrely amusing.
The first of two other important related concepts to consider while watching "Junkies" is that even propaganda that supports your view still is propaganda. You must also remember that there is your perspective, the perspective of the other guy, and the truth. "Junkies" seems authoritative and is not unduly sensationalized but still likely only tells a portion of the story.
This two-part docuseries is based on the book Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich by Norman Ohler. The first episode focuses on the heavy use of illicit substances by Der Fuhrer. The broader scope of the second episode is on that activity by both the general German population and the members of the military.
The documentation of the drug use of Htler includes the records of personal physician/entourage member Dr. Theodore Morell, whose methodology strongly reflect a better living through chemistry philosophy. A particularly impactful scene discusses Morrell refusing to allow his patient to shoot up anymore because heavy drug use is the cause of the veins of the latter being completely scabbed over. This data and the other evidence of Hitler using every substance known to Hunter Thompson indicates that the birthday of Hitler being 420 is very apt.
The bigger picture is the discussion of Hitler being a man who does not understand the concept of just saying no relating to the turmoil in his life. He recognizes the need to present a strong image, is dealing with increasing dissension in the ranks, and knows that his 1,000-year Reich is going to fall far short of that goal. An especially interesting story is about Hitler going to extreme measures on suffering catastrophic injury hours before frienemy Mussolini is visiting.
Part II suggests that an Army travels on its Previtin, rather than its stomach. The general (no pun intended) idea is that the soldiers, the sailors, and the pilots are pushed to extreme physical limits that require them taking so many drugs that it makes "Jessie's Song" look like a Saturday-morning kids' show. A recently interviewed soldier discusses how the brass doses the chocolate of the unsuspecting grunts to achieve this. The rest of the story is records that show the extent to which the expression "The Rhine Valley of the Dolls' applies to 40s-era Germany.
Part II also includes one of the most horrific stories in this series that is rife with tales of Nazi atrocities. We learn about teen Hitler Youth members being boys sent to do a small man's job that NO ONE should do. These efforts involve being confined in an incredibly cramped space for an extended period to perform what "Junkies" describes as a Kamikaze mission.
The ways in which Parts I and II are tied include a discussion of the drug use in the military when Hitler is a young soldier. Seeing him look very youthful and sporting even odder facial hair then his best-known look is fascinating.
The even bigger picture is that "Junkies" is akin to other documentaries that focus on the human aspects (and related frailties) of Hitler. The general idea is that seeing this super-villain as a man whose reality does not live up to his self-produced hype shows that even the worst monster ultimately is a "Scooby" bad guy in a rubber mask.
KBreaking Glass Pictures continues its limited dickumentary series with the April 9, 2019 DVD release of the 2019 non-fiction film "Bigger Like Me." This self-described extended director's cut of the 2014 film "Big Like Me" further chronicles the efforts of comedian Greg Bergman to remedy endowment-based angst.
"Bigger" is most akin to the (reviewed) 2013 Breaking DVD release "Unhung Hero." That one involves actor Patrick Moote dealing with the same anxiety as Bergman and taking comparable remedies to improve the Marco Rubio-sized hand that he is dealt. Comparing the two films is akin to the decades-long "Bewitched" v. "Jeannie" and "Munsters" v. "Addams Family" debate, One thing that can be stated with certainty is that Moote is much safer than Bergman in the f**k, marry, or kill game.
Although Moote is less crude and explicit in discussing his endowment and in showing what he is packing than Bergman, it seems clear that the latter has a couple of inches in both length and width than his "little buddy" at the start of their journey.
Another difference is that a size-related humiliating rejection of a marriage proposal motivates the desire of Moote to transform his earth worm into a water moccasin. Bergman being in an overall happy marriage at the beginning of "Bigger" shows that he is packing enough heat to adequately satisfy his wife. That relationship becoming rocky later in the film reflects the wisdom of gay columnist Dan Savage in "Unhung." He states that angst about not measuring up can harm a relationship more than falling on the lower end of the bell-end curve.
We also see that 32 year-old Bergman is his own worst enemy; he explicitly states that his natural endowment respectably falls in the "average bear" category regarding both length and width. This guy who spends much of the film naked or only wearing tiny briefs never addresses that losing 50 pounds both would make his junk look proportionately bigger and make him overall more attractive. This is not to mention how manscaping would benefit him. His aforementioned unduly assertive personality is another matter.
Noting the SPOILER that Bergman succeeds in becoming a bigger man is done to show that this prompts him to fully embrace the "if you got it, flaunt it" philosophy. He repeatedly drops trou to his ankles in very public settings without receiving any encouragement to do so. A silly aspect of this is that having to artificially enhance size is not a point of pride. This sincerely is not to say that the chosen people should go around showing passers-by and new acquaintances how either God or heredity has blessed them.
Another way of thinking about this is that most men whose endowment is a valid point of pride generally follow the "speak softly and carry a big stick" philosophy. There is something to be said for providing Mr. or Ms. Right (or Mr. or Ms. Right Now) a (hopefully pleasant) surprise during an initial unveiling in the boudoir.
On a similar note, Bergman shows very poor taste regarding repeated displays of dildos. Having one frequently sticking out of his backpack is bad enough. Numerous woman on the street interviews in which he uses three of these devices in a "Goldilocks" style survey is more creepy than funny.
A DVD bonus deleted scene in which Bergman engages in the above poll in an interview with a surprisingly willing and candid 16 year-old Mennonite girl clearly shows why this exchange does not make the cut even in the extended version.
Scenes in which Bergman and his college-aged little brother openly discuss their endowments and repeatedly wave around the aforementioned marital aids is only slight less creepy than the aforementioned exchanges.
A bigger pet peeve relates to statistics. Early in the film, Bergman joins an organized group of men who formally identify themselves as being among the 55 percent of the male population that is unhappy with their penis size. Bergman goes on to state the goal of every man becoming a one-percenter. The obvious flaw regarding that statement is that virtually every man packing a Magnum would make that size the norm, rather than the except to the rule.
The bottom line regarding all this is that Bergman is sure to entertain fans of Howard Stern and other abrasive raunchy humor. He is a cautionary tale to the rest of us in the form of showing the perils of obsessing about a perceived physical flaw. Our "average Joe" would have been much better off accepting his lot in life and understanding the concept of "TMI."
Briefly returning to "Hero," Moote succeeds where Bergman fails because this presumed member of the "Fantastic Four" has a more legitimate issue than his fellow comedian. Further, Moote displays better humor and perspective. As the aforementioned reference to the game of three indicates, size is not the only thing that matters.