breaking glass pictures takes an extreme vacation from releasing gay-themed art house films, grisly horror films, and other edgy fare to make the adorable Disney Channel style family "In the Doghouse" available on DVD. It is adequately cute and has enough fart jokes to entertain tweens and is not too sickly sweet for adult consumption.
The following YouTube clip of the SPOILER-HEAVY "Doghouse" trailer reflects the kids v. adults themes of the movie and provides a good sense of the humor of the film.
One of the most amusing (and breaking appropriate moments) in "Doghouse" comes early in the film. A scene in which recently divorced 35 year-old mom Wendy, her roughly 13 year-old daughter Amanda, and roughly 11 year-old son Nate are wrapping up a visit with dad. The quasi-flamboyant persona of dad indicates the reason for the breakup. This character butching it up a little in subsequent scenes suggest both that the opening scene is one of the first shot and that the director makes the same observation as your not-so-humble reviewer.
Wendy soon bringing amusingly named geeky grocery store manager Dom Massey home to meet the kids only to discover that this dork is allergic to family dog Irving inspires Amanda and Nate to sabotage all future dating attempts. This scheme is relatable to any child of a divorced mother; the sad truth is that many tweens who consider the loser whom Mom brings home to be an unbearable idiot discovers on entering his or her 40s that said train wreck may represent the pick of the litter.
The kids make a surprisingly good team for siblings. Further, the candidness of Nate regarding peeing outside, being flatulent, and other disgusting matters make him a nice change of pace from more traditional sitcom-style tweens.
High school stud boyfriend Dave arriving on the scene presents the kids with dual serious challenges in the forms of the history of Dave and Wendy and the motivation of Dave extending beyond wanting to start over with the one who got away. Poor Irving becomes a pawn in this game.
The climax this time comes in the form of a mad dash that also involves Dad. The truth comes out and everyone (including Irving) achieves the apt degree of happiness.
Anyone with comments or questions regarding "Doghouse" is welcome to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.
The void that the Warner Archive June 26, 2018 Blu-ray release of the 1961 Sergio Leone gladiator film "The Colossus of Rhodes" fills in this meh season of summer movies is for a big-budget action-adventure spectacular that is the guiltiest of pleasures. Fans of spaghetti westerns know that Leone goes on to make the Clint Eastwood "Dollars" trilogy and similar fare.
A technical note is that this epic with a cast of 1,000s of extras is crystal clear and has perfect sound in Blu-ray; the bigger picture is that Archive never fails to deliver regarding its remastering of films.
The titular Rhodesian idol is a mammoth statue that the current (but not necessarily future) monarch has slave labor construct for the dual purposes of representing his great power and to express "don't fuck with me boys; this isn't my first rodeo" to any visitor who harbors (of course, pun intended) an ill intent. All of this occurs on the Mediterranean island of Rhodes (presumably Mypos adjacent) in 280 B.C.
One of best early scenes has a clumsy regicide attempt turn sour on the would-be assassin. This leads to the hero of the film learning words literally to live by.
Greek soldier/Athenian war hero Dario (Rory Calhoun) gets the proverbial more than he bargains for while on the island initially as a guest of the state in a positive sense of that term. A faction that is attempting a coup d'isle make an initial snatch-and-grab effort that proves that you do not bring an ornamental pillar to a dagger fight.
Dario subsequently discovering that he is a guest of Hotel Rhodes in that he can check out but can never leave prompts him to rely on the kindness of a stranger who carries a torch for him. This leads to an ancient version of the Boat People of Cuba. The humor this time relates to our military genius belatedly learning that he is being shanghaied. He just wants to get home, and his hosts want him to deliver a strong message.
The aforementioned colossus soon serves one of its purposes in raining on the plans of the would-be fleers. This results in an incredibly sadistic torture scene that shows both for whom the bell tolls and that the powers-that-be have ways of making Dario talk. We also soon learn that the threat to the the current power structure is more serious and widespread than initially believed.
The background of all this is that the local populace obtains an increasingly strong sense that the new gigantic addition in the harbor and other factors has made the gods crazy mad; the ultimate lesson is similar to the one that is imposed on Pompeii that you do not fuck with Zeus.
A common element throughout all this is the wrestling and close-contact battling between muscular tanned (oft hairy chested) men wearing tunics with plunging necklines and short skirts that makes the line from "Airplane" "Joey, do you like movies about gladiators?" so amusing,
Folks who wish to learn more about "Rhodes" can listen to the commentary by film historian Christopher Frayling that is a Blu-ray special feature,
Jekyll and Hyde (1941) DVD: Spencer Tracy, Ingrid Bergman, and Lana Turner Do a Remake of a Classic Horror Tale Justice
Warner Archive follows its grand tradition of not making cinephiles (or couch potatoes) wait long for "the rest of the story" by releasing the 1941 Spencer Tracy/Ingrid Begrman/Lana Turner version of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" roughly two months after the release of the (reviewed) 1932 version with Frederic March. The only thing better than these separate releases would have been a two-disc set in the equally grand tradition of Archive providing these collections.
The most cool thing about watching the Tracy version after the March one is comparing the overall tones of the movies in the nine years in which time marches (of course pun intended) on in the film industry. The much more melodramatic and grotesque tone of the earlier version reflects early talkies being one step above silents on the evolutionary ladder. For their part, those intertitle wonders have the same exaggerated gestures and enunciation as the stage plays that precede them.
The best way to think about the contrast is that the Hyde of March largely is a combination of The Wolfman and The Phantom of the Opera; the evil persona that Tracy portrays is more of a Norman Bates style monster.
The Tracy version, which is 15 minutes longer than the March one, also is slower paced than the earlier film. Conversely, this later movie favors getting right to the action over exposition more than the 1932 film. This is in the form of the opening scene being in a (presumably Episcopalian) church service at which the priest is lauding Queen Victoria for elevating the British Empire to an enviable level of propriety following an apparent period of debauchery, This is in contrast to the March "Hyde" beginning with Jekyll preparing to attend a lecture of medical students at which he delivers his speech about the yin and yang of the nature of man that he presents at a dinner early in the remake.
The literal voice from the pulpit in the 1941 version increasingly agitates a clearly flocked up member of the congregation to the point that he erupts in a maniacal laugh that makes the audience believe that Jekyll has released his dark side. Jekyll quickly coming to the aid of his fellow child of Christ shows that that physician is not the only character who goes a little mad sometimes.
Jekyll getting the tortured soul comfortably settled in a padded cell leads to the aforementioned gathering at which he discusses his theory regarding the ability to separate the good and the evil sides in everyone. This event also introduces the audience to Jekyll fiancee Beatrix Emery (Turner) and her very proper father Sir Charles Emery (Donald Crisp). Other guests include Jekyll BFF Dr. John Lanyon (Ian Hunter).
Jekyll and Lanyon heading home sets the stage for the remainder of the film. Working-class barmaid Ivy Peterson having a date turn sour prompts Jekyll to rescue that damsel in distress. He then takes her home primarily to provide medical treatment.
It is believed that this version suggests things to come in a manner that the 1932 film does not. The subsequent scene in the remake has Jekyll confide to Lanyon that the presence of the latter is the only reason that the former turns down an offer by Ivy for payment-in-kind regarding the hovel call.
The encounters with the lunatic and with Ivy prompt Jekyll to take things to the next level by using himself as a lab rat to test his formula that is designed to separate the two extremes of our make up. This, of course, gives birth to Hyde.
Hyde soon reconnects with Ivy in a less violent and graphic nature than in the March version, This coincides with increasing alienation from Beatrix.
All of this leads to the dark passenger of Jekyll coming out to play even uninvited. Once again, the Tracy version of the resulting pursuit and taming of the beast is more sophisticated literature than pulp fiction.
The mixed news regarding which version of "Hyde" is better is that they both have their merits and room for improvement. March plays a member of the gentry and his rural cousin better than Tracy; the overall production values of the 1941 version understandably are better than the 1932 one, and Bergman seems born to play Ivy. At the same time, the faster pace of the earlier film provides stronger entertainment; The best solution is to purchase both DVDs and watch the March one when your inner Hyde is asserting himself (or herself).
Mentioning the differences in the DVD bonus features is mandatory. The release of the 1932 version includes a classic "Jekyll" themed Bugs Bunny cartoon and the trailer for the 1941 film. The Tracy film lacks any extras.
The Warner Archive June 12, 2018 Blu-ray release of the 1957 Gregory Peck and Lauren Bacall (a.k.a. Mrs. Bogart) screwball comedy "Designing Woman" directed by Vincente Minnelli (a.k.a. Mr. Garland) is a prime example of Hollywood royalty transitioning to these charmers as their still bright stars begin fading. Another awesome thing about this Oscar winner for Best Writing is that it shows that Spencer Tracy and Katherine Hepburn do not hold the monopoly on playing deeply in love odd couples whose witty bickering reflects their passion.
Bacall plays titular fashion designer Marilla Brown, who meets quasi-confirmed middle-aged bachelor sportswriter Mike Hagen (Peck) in Los Angeles, The paths of these Manhattanites cross at their hotel where she is vacationing and this guy on a business trip is enjoying a bender in the wake of a windfall.
The next morning finds Mike with a hangover that the audience gets to share, and a refreshed Marilla reuniting with him poolside. This leads to a whirlwind courtship and equally rapid wedding.
The first sign that the honeymoon is over occurs when Marilla changes from comfortable chic to haute couture elegant on the flight east. The rude awakening continues on Marilla seeing the "cozy" bachelor pad of Mike that looks like the abode of fellow fictional New York sportswriter Oscar Madison on its best day. The resolve of Marilla to be a good sport and downgrade to this "shoebox" does not last long.
The hilarity continues with Mike having lunch with soon-to-be-jilted girlfriend stage actress Lori Shanon (Dolores Gray) , who does not take the news well. Suffice it to say that the pants of Mike get soiled to the extent that he must borrow a fresher pair.
One lesson here is that breaking up in an upscale restaurant does not always provide immunity against a scene., This incident also sets the stage for Mike to begin his campaign of preventing his new wife from learning about his very recently extinguished flame.
The introduction of Mike to the luxurious apartment of Marilla and almost immediate meeting of her sophisticated friends from the artistic community is another rude awakening and a step closer to divorce court. The new acquaintances include close friend and Broadway producer Zachery Wilde. Suffice it to say this time that the poker buddies of Mike do not bond with the theatrical folks in the world of Marilla.
The work of Mike literally comes home with him when hilarious wiseguy Johnnie "O" (Chuck Connors) and two of his business associates come for a visit in an increasing aggressive campaign to persuade Mike to abandon a series of articles on corruption related to boxing. A relevant scene has Bacall particularly shine while attending her first boxing match. A spoiler is that Mike fares better at his first fashion show.
The worlds of our leads collide when Zachary hires Lori to star in a show for which a suspicious but still unknowing Marilla is the costume designer. This understandably puts Mike on edge and leads to a predicted scene in which he seemingly is caught with his (currently unsoiled) pants down.
The climax comes as worlds collide again on the New York mob looking to use Marilla as a bargaining chip in their conflict with Mike; This time the action occurs at the office of Marilla. The resulting Minnelli choreographed fight is as epic and exciting as any number in one of his musicals. This scene also reinforces a point about not judging a "chick lit" book by his cover. Suffice it to say this that Patrick Swayze is not the only one qualified to be a roadhosue bouncer.
This always amusing and frequently hilarious film either concludes with Marilla and Mike deciding that love conquers all and live happily ever after or parting as friends with benefits who understand that "Lady and the Tramp" is no more than a Disney cartoon.
The Blu-ray special feature is a highlight. it is a five-minute publicity piece in which real-life MGM costume designer Helen Rose sits at her desk answering questions that the audience cannot hear.
The Film Movement June 19, 2018 DVD release of the 2017 French drama "In Syria" provides another reason to look beyond Hollywood (or New York) for quality films. This production with an incredibly strong live-stage vibe literally brings the conflict in Syria into the living room of a typical Damascus family.
Writer/director Philippe Van Leeuw scoring 12 festivals wins in numerous countries reflects the good job by all in this film that has mother of three Oum Yazan converting her apartment into a "barricaded shelter" for her children, her father, a young couple, and a horny teen boy from the building. This siege mentality results from the constant sniper fire right outside the front door.
The following YouTube clip of a trailer for "Syria" showcases the tension and other drama related to being on the front line of a war.
The film opens with a distressed Oum using water from a large container in the kitchen; the action then shifts to the young couple with a baby dreaming of their flight to Beirut. The husband having an appointment to meet their reputable coyote that afternoon provides reasonable hope of that great escape.
The young boy is the fly on the wall as he plays with his grandfather, watches the aforementioned teen horndog demonstrate a complete lack of game, and witnesses an argument regarding a teen girl taking a shower that is much more serious than this running up the water bill or leaving the next person with tepid bathing.
The drama amps up when the "storm troopers" invade what essentially is equivalent to an "Anne Frank" existence. One member of the group taking the brutal brunt of this invasion further frays already strained nerves.
Other drama comes on learning that an absent resident is a casualty of the fighting; this leads to a harrowing mission, which leads to a few out-of-the-blue twists.
Much of the impact of "Syria" comes from seeing these ordinary people cope in these extraordinarily difficult circumstances. It also makes audience members think about how they would handle being in the shoes of these folks under house arrest.
The Movement bonus short film this time is the French film "Le Pain." This one centers on family, love, and loss regarding the impact of the man of the house disappearing after going out for the titular carb.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Syria" or "Pain" is encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.
The Warner Archive March 13, 2008 DVD relrelease of the 2006 first season of the Julia Louis Dreyfus sitcom "The New Adventures of Old Christine" provides those of use who missed out on the discontinued 2008 release of this season a second bite of the apple. History suggests that Archive will do the same regarding the other four seasons of this amusing show that soon learns the lesson that the adult characters have more long-term comedic potential then those who are not tall enough to ride every rollercoaster.
One of the more amusing aspects of "Christine" is watching Dreyfus play it relatively straight in this traditional sitcom between her stints as the gleefully manipulative Elaine on "Seinfeld" and the titular hilariously foul-mouthed and constantly angered loser who is "a heartbeat away" on her current series "Veep."
The titular mess is women's gym owner Christine Campbell, whose life changes in the pilot drive the series through its respectable five seasons. She is newly divorced from contractor Richard Sr. (Clark Gregg of "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.") and is getting young son Richard Jr. (a.k.a. Richie) ready for his first day at the elite Westbridge (a.k.a. White Bread) School that a Google search awesomely reveals is an actual educational institution.
Adorably slacker/garage-dwelling late-in-life baby younger brother Matthew (Hamish Linklater) plays the Kramer role in that he is doofus loser of the group. The character of comedian Wanda Sykes fills the need for the cynical best friend.
The memorable first day at school involves meeting the WASPy moms who respectively are the queen of Westbridge and her lady-in-waiting. Lindsay rules the school and has dim-witted Marly to do her bidding. Christine suffers an additional hit on seeing her ex sucking face with current main squeeze "young" Christine. This provides further proof that many men desire romantic partners who are younger and prettier than him.
A standout episode revolves around the common sitcom and real-life issue of elaborate birthday parties for children. Old Christine tries to keep up with the Kasdashians but ends up throwing a more basic event. This predictably initially falls flat but turns around in an amusing unexpected manner.
Another one in which actual hilarity ensues relates to the hypocrisy of some liberal ideals. The set-up this time is that Christine is delighted to meet a woman at the school who shares her views regarding the elitist environment. The one-two punch is that learning the status of the new friend creates embarrassment and discovering the rest of the story is an example of something being mortifying when it happens to you and providing everyone else incredible amusement.
The appeal of the concept and the characters of "Christine" reflects the success of "Seinfeld." We see ourselves and the people in our lives in the characters and live vicariously through them in that they act how we would love to respond to the irritants in our lives.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Christine" is encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy,
Indie film god Film Movement proves that the play is the awesome thing regarding the June 12, 2018 DVD of the 2015 film version of "Hamlet." This version of that classic tale of a dysfunctional family with an emo boy is a perfectly filmed production of a live-stage performance at the Manchester (England) Royal Exchange Theater.
The following YouTube clip of a trailer for "Hamlet" highlights the artful staging, the intense trauma and drama, and the best-known scenes from this play.
The stark modern staging is perfect for the tone of the story. Androgynous tall thin blonde-haired blue-eyed actress Maxine Peake ("The Theory of Everything") portraying the titular Prince of Denmark follows the practice of the alternative casting in many modern Shakespearean productions. Her appearance also evokes the thoughts that Portia (rather than Ophelia) is the love interest of Hamlet and that the original Yorick soliloquy includes rambling about guessing that Hamlet did not know him very well and concludes that he did not know him at all.
Other fun comes regarding hearing the numerous Shakespearean quotes that originate in this work. Not only do "Hamlet" virgins learn of the roots of these still popular expressions, their frequent use provides the basis for a drinking game.
The best news is that the poetic Elizabethan prose is very understandable; it is equally cool that Peake expertly delivers the numerous soliloquies that provide the primary narrative. The only disappointment is the lack of musical numbers ala the "Gilligan's Island" take on "Hamlet."
Stage director Sarah Framkcom starts thing out right with a sight of the ghost of the father of Hamlet appearing in a manner that is more "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" than "A Christmas Carol." The action soon shifts to a dinner party at which Hamlet is still moping about the death of his father a few weeks ago and his mother Gertrude is reveling with former brother-in-law/new husband Claudius. The urging of Hamlet to get over it hilariously evokes thoughts of the episode of the '80scom "The Facts of Life" in which well-meaning teen Tootie tries to get a grieving Natalie to attend a Pat Benatar concert.
Hamlet learning that Claudius is guilty of regicide and fratricide sets our already excitable boy further on edge. The related revenge scheme further evokes thoughts of sitcoms by including a plan to present a play that is intended to unnerve Claudius.
Meanwhile, the impact of these events on Ophelia and Polonius (who is the mother of Ophelia) affects brother/son/Hamlet bud Laertes in a manner that strains his friendship with Hamlet. The pop culture analogy this time is to "The Princess Bride."
In true Shakespeare style, the final act consists of heavy emoting and bodies piling up like firewood. This leads to the curtain closing on the story.
The moral in this story that still rings true in the 21st century is to come for the culture and to stay for the relevance. Newly single parents often are are not very loyal regarding the former spouse and often quickly enter a second marriage with the wrong person; it is equally true that the kid is the one who suffers the most. It is equally relatable that the heir has mixed feelings regarding a leadership void in the family business.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Hamlet" is strongly encouraged to email me; you also can connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.
An incredible recent stay at the historic Exeter Inn in Exeter, NH was the highlight to 24 hours in that underrated small town near the New Hampshire coast that mega-watts outshines its higher profile "cousin" just across the Massachusetts border. A luxury hotel, a good walking downtown, and awesome restaurants. Who could ask for anything more?
The 1932 grand hotel has expanded well beyond its roots as a temporary home to visitors of the adjoining Philips Exeter Academy. One of many ways that the recent extensive renovation by the current owners melds the old and the new is keeping the original numbers on the doors while identifying each room with modern markers. Further, a key-card system keeps things current.
The warm welcome begins with Rich or one of his front-desk colleagues greeting you with a smile in a reception area that is much more inviting living room than check-in spot. You can count on beverages all day and tasty baked treats in the afternoon and evening. Arriving on a day that the inn was serving world-class chocolate chip cookies was a treat.
Rich and his peers prove the validity of the theory that good hotel workers either grow up in that demanding profession or are born to it. He demonstrated this in his response to a request to purchase an Exeter Inn t-shirt after discovering a failure to pack a t-shirt.
This front desk clerk extraordinaire cheerfully stated that the inn does not sell t-shirts but that the Exeter Academy bookstore stocks those garments. He then gave perfect directions to that establishment.
The good experience began with finding a $10 t-shirt. That shirt advertising "Philips Exeter 2018" provided the basis for a good fantasy regarding both intelligence and youth.
The biggest treat was staying in the Jacuzzi Suite, which is the best room in the joint. The initial benefit is the suite being at the end of a private hallway at the rear of the inn. It is difficult to image hearing any noise from any guest.
Walking into the suite elicits the desired wow. The living room is the epitome of comfortable chic that is PERFECT for the end of the active day that is part of the Exeter experience. The complimentary bottles of spring water are a particularly nice touch.
The agenda of your not-so-humble reviewer commenced with a trip to the larger seaside city of Portsmouth NH, being granted the gift of an early check-in at the Inn, quickly walking into the retail district for a tasty lunch at The Green Bean (which has genuine Cali cred. and even better chocolate chip cookies than those at the Inn), playing with new French bulldog friends Ripley, Greta, and Harlow at a downtown toy store, exploring the other stores, browsing the farmers' market, and finishing with a self-guided tour of the perfectly-maintained beautiful college-level Philips campus. The hospitality there rivaled that of the folks at the inn.
The enjoyment (and removal of personal Yeti-class stench on this warm summer day) of the suite began with a long soak in the tub that gives the accommodation its name. Past experience with such places led to bringing well-utilized bath salts. This led to rinsing off in the large stall shower with the powerful shower head.
Donning the provided comfy spa robe and slippers while following the tradition of watching the Disney Channel on these trips completed the mellowing out. The logic behind Disney is that the tweencoms are amusing, and the ads and cute promos for Disney offerings are more entertaining than traditional commercials.
A leisurely stroll through the quiet residential streets that surround the inn, an evening soak, and then watching "Bewitched" episodes on a portable DVD player was a perfect end to a highly enjoyable day. Plenty of nightlife is readily available for more ambitious folks.
A good night's sleep was a final treat before heading out the next morning.
Anyone who is interested in hearing more about the Exeter Inn specifically or the general joys of staying at B&Bs and small hotels is strongly encouraged to email me; you also can connect on Twitter via @tvvdguy.
The expression "don't be ridiculous, of course it does" is the apt response to whether the Warner Archive June 19, 2018 DVD release of the 1988-89 fourth season of the 8-season sitcom "Perfect Strangers" shows that this program (which admittedly jumps the shark in S7) stands the test of time. The applicable principle is the observation of Carol Burnett that funny always remains funny.
An additional perspective is that the DVD set serves the purpose of that format by providing another bite of the apple regarding a hit in its day with a limited syndicated run. The modern aspect is that owning the DVD does not leave one at the mercy of the whims of streaming services.
As the review (which illustrates a close link with a top novel of the 21st century) of the Archive DVD release of S3 states, the successful variation of the odd couple formula this time is that uptight cynical 20-something ambitious cub newspaper reporter Larry Appleton (Mark Linn-Baker) shares his apartment and his work space with always cheerful 20-something recent immigrant from the Mediterranean island of Mypos Balki Bartokomous (Bronson Pinchot). This adorkable innocent having the wisdom of the fool shows that natives of industrialized countries often are not superior to our kin from more primitive cultures.
The charm of the constant elan and naivety of Balki is the primary draw of "Strangers." The next most appealing factor is the incredible skill of Linn-Baker and Pinchot at physical humor; they achieve perfect symmetry and often toss each other and themselves around with such flexibility that it seems that their bones are rubber.
The bigger picture is the skill of the writers at keeping the "com" fresh regarding the wacky "sits" in which our Chicago-dwelling dudes find themselves. A highlight of this is skillfully combining the classic storylines of a character accidentally getting hypnotized without the knowledge of the people in his or her life, an alter-ego taking over, and a character facing a tax audit.
We also get a variation of the main men (or women) being forced to fly and land a commercial jet; a Christmas episode that does not center around "A Christmas Carol," "It's a Wonderful life," or "The Gift of the Magi;" and a flashback episode that does not involve a character facing imminent peril. Many of the other episodes are more of the same.
The "Strangers" crew provide sofa spuds who reside in TV Land an extra-special treat by having S4 further setting the stage for the 9-season sitcom "Family Matters" featuring Steve Urkel, who proves that one man's Top-10 sitcom creation is another man's Jar Jar Binks. The roots of "Matters" dates back to the "Strangers" S3 season premiere in which Balki joins Cousin Larry in the basement of The Chicago Chronicle. New friend sassy and loving elevator operator Harriette Winslow comes to the rescue.
S4 introduces Harriette spouse Carl Winslow, the jolly doughnut-loving cop. The involvement of this (seemingly childless) couple with Balarry extends to moving into their apartment building. More fun comes via Harriette telling the boys that something that she wants to discuss with Carl is a family matter. Another episode has an even better reference to the best-known sitcom set in the midwest.
In the spirit of the heart-felt epilogue that ends every "Strangers" episode, the modern lesson regarding this series is that it well-represents the Silver Age of television comedy in which the depicted world is not perfect, unmarried people having sex is not always shameful, and the show does not rely on extreme personalities or innuendo to get laughs. A prime example of this is having the mother-of-all-80s and beyond sitcom mothers Doris Roberts do her thing in an S4 outing.
'Crime Time TV: Hot Streets & Cool Cops' DVD: 'Miami Vice,' Knight Rider,' and Greatest Crime Stoppers' Oh My
Mill Creek Entertainment fully embraces the spirit of summer reruns with the June 5, 2018 DVD collection "Crime Time TV: Hot Streets & Cool Cops." This set includes the full first seasons of the iconic '80s series "Knight Rider" and "Miami Vice" and a DVD set titled "TV's Greatest Crime Stoppers." The latter consists of episodes of vintage series that range from "treasures from the vault" such as "Man With a Camera" and "Mr. and Mrs. North" to more heavily syndicated fare that includes "Mannix" and "Burke's Law."
The popularity of the scruff look and the proliferation of linen suits with pastel t-shirts alone attest to the phenomenal pop culture impact of "Vice." Further, the copious montages set to the greatest hits of the '80s arguably make this series about two young Turks out to collar pushers and porn kings the first "Cop Rock" series.
An amusing aspect of the feature-length "Vice" pilot is the extent to which the pilot of the "fast and furious" action-adventure series "Fastlane" mirrors it 15 years later. We meet undercover cop Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) and his then partner actively working to take down a cocaine godfather when an incident occurs that indicates that the partner is due to retire that day.
New Yorker Ricardo Tubbs (Philip Michael Thomas) soon arrives and convinces Crockett and his superiors to let him in on the fun; of course, the extent to which the case is personal to Tubbs and to which he and Crockett are kindred spirits soon comes out. This leads to the unlikely partnership between a tough black survivor of the mean streets of New York and a good ole Southern boy who is a former football star.
The first regular season adventure pits our boys against a porn kingpin who preys on teen girls. Seeing "Modern Family" star Ed O'Neill play this video pioneer in his "Married With Children" era is fun. The "Fastlane" element is the team working with an undercover fed who may be on Team Darkside.
IMDb perfectly captures the spirit of the next episode with the following description. "Crockett and Tubbs must enlist the help of an unreliable petty thief to bust a drug operation run by a trio of bloodthirsty Jamaicans." The comic mayhem regarding the sting operation that leads to all that is an episode highlight.
"Vice" then moves onto a special two-parter that ties back to the pilot; it is business as usual from there.
"Knight Rider" is best known for making "The Hoff" a household name. The pilot finds undercover cop Michael Long (David Hasselhoff) investigating the '80slicioous crime of microchip theft. His case ending with very high prejudice leads to one-percenter Wilton Knight (Richard Basehart) giving Long the titular identity to go along with his new face and new crusade.
This new career involves Knight teaming up with K.I.T.T., which is a car that makes the Batmobile look like a Vega, to fight all of manner of injustice. Sadly, we do not get the evil twins this season.
Cliched early fun has Knight introducing K.I.T.T, to the concept of a vacation only to have the pair face off against a motorcycle gang that is terrorizing a small town; knowing how things will unfold doe not diminish the joy in watching the events.
The awesome nostalgia of "Crime Stoppers" fulfills the DVD purpose of getting to see classic series with limited syndication runs. The strong retro goodness of this collection makes it particular strong.
The first bit of fun of "Code 3" is that it reflects the successful formula of "Dragnet," which also makes the "Stoppers" cut, in that episodes are based on actual crimes. This one has a resentful redneck as the prime suspect regarding the murder of his wealthy father-in-law. The solving of the case provides equal amusement. More fun comes via seeing that the real-life sheriff of Los Angeles County of the day looks and acts like Floyd the barber from "The Andy Griffith Show."
The 1950-52 "Dick Tracy" TV series is notable for reflecting a media trend. This character and his universe begin life as a comic strip and evolve into a radio show before hitting the small screen. That series reflecting radio roots through extensive (but not annoying) exposition reflects a similar pattern regarding films. Early silents have the exaggerated gesturing as live-stage productions, and early "talkies" retain that technique.
"Mr. and Mrs. North" about amateur crime-solvers millionaire publisher Gerald and socialite wife Pam is the child of "The Thin Man" film series and the parent of the '80s "Hart to Hart" television series.
Other "lost" gems include "Sherlock Holmes," "Sea Hunt," and "I'm the Law."
Anyone with any questions about this sampler pack is encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.
Lionsgate provides Father's Day procrastinators a gift in releasing "Ancient Aliens: 10th Anniversary Edition" on June 12, 2018. This mega-set of that History Channel docuseries is PERFECT for aficionados of ancient history, aliens. all forms of scifi, and conspiracy theories. The best news for everyone is that "Aliens" is a well-produced show that lacks the repetition, cheesy effects, and sensationalism of lesser offerings.
This aptly massive set contains all 135 episodes from the first 10 seasons of the series of literally Biblical proportions that recently wrapped up Season 13. The scope of the "bunking" extends from the dawn of civilization to modern efforts to prevent the hoi polloi from learning the truth. Presenting talking heads who seem sane and knowledgeable is a good thing; the only criticism based on the first two episodes of the series is that "Aliens" seems to exclude opposing views.
"The Evidence" starts things off with a primary focus on ancient Egypt. This episode is very reminiscent of the "Stargate" franchise on Showtime and Syfy. The concept of that show is that the Egyptian gods are hostile aliens who enslave humans to further their evil plans.
The "Evidence" topics include artifacts that strongly indicate that brothers from another planet share their flying technology, discussion of masonry work that seemingly requires advanced stone-cutting methods, and a way-cool segment that suggests that E.T. is to whom the wandering Jews owe thanks for manna.
We further see evidence of an early public airport system and that flying carpets are more than a thing of The Arabian Nights.
"The Visitors" is not a tale of hostile reptilian aliens in meat suits intent on conquering earth; it is a study of how genetic abnormalities and voluntary mutilation respectively reflect ancestors of ALF having terra fever and members of primitive culture worshiping aliens. This includes speculation that ancestors of King Tut are from much further away than either Arizona or Babylonia.
We further get a look at possible ancient forms of geothermal and microwave energy, as well what may be a wireless form of transmitting energy. The evidence this time includes possible explanations for structures that still are standing. We additionally see how language limitations may explain why the proof of inter-planetary interaction in that era is not better documented.
Of course, no discussion of visitors from other planets is complete without a segment on the Roswell crash; the main takeaway is that this may be the first use of an explanation that is comparable to "the dog ate my homework."
The strong parallels between religion and aliens is a highly interesting aspect of these episodes and the rest of the series. A belief in one or more god is the basis for explaining much of what seems to be beyond our capabilities at the time, and believing that a divine entity calls the shots requires as much faith as concluding the existence of advanced life on other planets. From that perspective, "Aliens" can be considered a video bible. This analogy extends to episodes being sure to convert non-believers.
The analogy extends to speculation regarding some Bible stories involving literal aliens.
'Duck Tales Destination: Adventure!' DVD David Tennant Lends Voice and Spirit to Greatest Recent Reboot
Being able to state that the Disney June 5, 2018 DVD release "DuckTales Destination: Adventure!" is all that it is quacked up to be is awesome. These six episodes of the Disney XD reboot (and two bonus episodes of the 1987-90 syndicated OS) follows the December 2017 DVD release of episodes from the XD series in "DuckTales: Woo-oo."
The following YouTube clip of the XD "First Look" promo. for "DuckTales" includes a perfect "25 words or less" summary of the show and highlights the strong animation and humor of the series.
The underlying premise of the OS and the reboot is the effective Disney strategy of getting the most bang for its buck regarding licensed characters, The format this time is that Donald Duck nephews Huey (Red), Dewey (Blue), and Louie (Green) go to live with their great-uncle Scrooge McDuck in search of adventures that often have a profit motive.
The lively and hilarious voice-over performance of Tenth Doctor David Tennant as Scrooge alone makes the XD series well worth watching. Other household names in the cast include Danny Pudi of "Community" as Huey and Bobby Moynihan of "SNL" as Louie.
The very special guest star is "Hamilton" man Lin-Manuel Miranda as fan favorite GizmoDuck in "Beware the B.U.D.D.Y. System." That one is an exceptional cautionary tale on the hazards of self-driving cars and the related issue of not having machines replace humans.
The aptly titled "The Beagle Birthday Massacre!" kicks things off with an escapade that mostly focuses on tag-a-long chick (pun intended) Webbigail "Webby" Vanderquack, who is the granddaughter of the cook/housekeeper for Scrooge. Webby literally missing the boat regarding the latest outing of the boys leads her to meeting bad influence Lena.
This new friend manipulates Webby into crashing the birthday party for Ma Beagle, who is the matriarch of The Beagle Boys trio of criminals who are the nemeses of the McDuck clan. A particularly amusing aspect of this is seeing the multiple variations of Boys bands.
This one is a very special episode in that Webby develops a bond that compensates for not being a full-fledged member of the band of brothers with whom she hangs. Other fun comes regarding Huey and Dewey mercilessly teasing their chill sibling about a past failure.
Disney saves the best for second in having "The Living Mummies of Toth-Ra!" follow "Boys." This one has Scrooge and the gang discover an obliviously exploited lost civilization while exploring an Egyptian tomb. A reference to a pyramid scheme is the best line of any of the six episodes in "Adventure." Additional fun comes in the form of a "Wizard of Oz" element that one of the boys exploits to his own end.
"The Spear of Selene!" is another especially funny outing. Much of the humor in this one relates to mythology and Indiana Jones-style quests. The substance in the journey comes in the form of providing the boys a chance to learn more about their absent mother Della Duck. The special guest star this time is Uncle Donald. Veteran Donald Duck voice actor Tony Anselmo does his thing in this one.
The aforementioned vintage "Ducktales" (which have never been previously released on DVD) provide great fun in allowing comparison of the two series, including the very catchy theme. These episodes also are great nostalgic fun for OS fans.
The very '80s titled "New Gizmo-Kids on the Block" finds our fowl heroes donning the garb of the titular superhero. "Ducky Mountain High" centers around Scrooge competing with a fellow Master of the Universe for ownership of property where money essentially does grow on trees.
The awesomeness of the new "Ducktales" includes staying true to the OS spirit but providing the necessary updates to avoid the youth of today from declaring the reboot lame. This includes giving Huey and his bros modern 'tude.
Warner Archive once again proves the timelessness of Golden Age films with the May 1, 2018 DVD of the 1932 dramedy "The Famous Ferguson Case." The only difference regarding the yellow journalism and the scum who practice it between then and now is that modern "news" gets reported much more quickly and has a correspondingly rapid impact.
The written crawl that opens "Ferguson" gives folks who pay attention a good sense of the conclusion of this feature-film quality B-movie. The gist of this text is the opening statement of an introductory lecture in a Journalism 101 class.
The message starts out by defining "news" and goes onto describe what disreputable members of the fourth estate label as that commodity. The amazing thing is that this statement is even more true in this era in which CNN, Fox News. and other 24-hour news channel must fill the air with programming that must have a large audience even when nothing news-worthy that is of interest to average Americans is occurring.
Orson Welles provides a variation of this sentiment in arguably the second most famous line in "Citizen Kane." The titular William Randolph Hearst character tells an underling "you supply the pictures, I'll supply the war."
A more amusing perspective on "Ferguson" is that it plays out like the darkest ever episode of "The Andy Griffith Show." The sophisticated city folks come to the hick town believing that the locals are morons only to have the local sheriff reveal the urbanites to be the actual fools.
The primary action in "Ferguson" begins on a typical morning in the small upstate New York community of Cornwall. Bruce Foster (Tom Brown) of the Cornwall Courier newspaper is coincidentally on hand when part-time resident New York banker George Ferguson unexpectedly arrives in town. This also coincides with wife Marcia Ferguson being at the station with friend with presumed benefits local banker Judd Brooks. Meanwhile, Mrs. Brooks is at home pregnant with her little dividend.
Everything seemingly being jake leads to Brown returning to the office to flirt with colleague/girlfriend Antoinette "Toni" Martin. Toni particularly dreams of the couple moving on up to live in a deluxe apartment in in the sky in Manhattan.
Everything changes when hot lead cuts both the life and the vacation of George short, This occurs in his bedroom, and Marcia is found bound and gagged nearby. Her story (and she is sticking to it) is that armed intruders are the culprits. However, the clear response of folks who would know is that the lady of the house is lying.
This shooting propels Tom into action; he uses the wire service of the day to send his story to the big guys. This leads to Manhattan-based newsmen (and one woman) arriving en masse. The most notable of the group are smoothing-talking admitted alcoholic Bob Parks, honorable news veteran Martin Collins, and loose Lois Lane Maizie Dickson. Star Joan Blondell gives an award-worthy performance as this woman who has experienced a lifetime of sins in a few years of adulthood.
The new kids on the block waste no time making themselves at home and shamelessly manipulating developments to further their objectives; this extends to blatantly pulling the strings regarding the development of the criminal case.
Additional fun comes regarding Bob seducing Toni on both a professional and personal level. The stars that he puts in her eyes include both making a name for herself among Manhattan reporters and becoming at least his common-law wife. The aforementioned strong performance of Blondell includes her reactions to witnessing what she has seen (and personally experienced) before and futilely tries to convince Toni to not make the same mistakes. One particularly strong scene reveals the extent to which her life has affected Maizie.
For his part, newshound Tom increasingly becomes aware that Toni is just not that into him anymore and no longer is a girl whom he can bring home to mother. He later learns the extent to which you can keep 'em down on the farm after they have given the city slicker the milk for free. The astounding thing is that these used goods seemingly still interest him.
A surprising game changer occurs roughly 15 minutes before the end of "Ferguson." The "pros" awesomely are caught with their pants down and are repeatedly forced to confront the consequences of their actions. All of this ends on a cynical note that shows that everyone is both disposable and replaceable. We further wonder if Tom will ever have the same good instincts regarding women that he has regarding the news game.
'The Awesomes' DVD/Blu-ray/Digital: Seth Meyers and His SNL Buds Give 'The Justice League' Animated Series the 'Drawn Together' Treatment
The awesomeness (pun intended) of the June 5, 2018 releases from Mill Creek Entertainment includes the separate DVD and Blu-ray (both of which include codes for digital copies) complete series sets of "The Awesomes." This 3-season 30-episodes 2013-15 animated Hulu series joins (reviewed) DVD and Blu-ray releases of the fairy-tale-influenced mini-series "The 10th Kingdom" and a (soon-to-be-reviewed) DVD set that includes the complete first seasons of "Knight Rider" and "Miami Vice" as hot-off-the-presses additions to the Mill Creek catalog.
"Awesomes" is the brainchild of SNL alum and current "Late Night" host Seth Meyers and his long-time collaborator Mike Shoemaker with tons of voiceover help from friends who include Ike Barinholtz and Bill Hader. The end result is success where many others fail regarding a superhero spoof. The winning formula this time is placing the guardians of our galaxy in a setting that is very reminiscent of the 2004-07 Comedy Central animated faux reality show "Drawn Together" that has virtually every central casting type from Saturday morning cartoons and video games under one roof "Teen Titans" style.
The following YouTube clip of the "Awesomes" series trailer provides a good primer on the lore and the humor of the show. The even better news is that the Blu-ray version of the show looks much brighter than this promo. The best news is that the trailer includes the top moment from the series.
The pilot begins with Mitt Romney superpowered lookalike Mr. Awesome (Steve Higgins) announcing his retirement after 50 years of leading the titular league. Son Jeremy "Prock" Awesome (Meyers) convincing Dad to let him take over the family business leads to a unanimous walkout by the current squad with the exception of childhood friend Muscleman (Barinholtz). The only other leftover is low-level administrator Concierge (Emily Spiveey).
Desperate times in the form of losing federal government funding and other support if he does not rapidly form a new team prompts Prock (Professor plus Doctor) to recruit misfits who have exceptional abilities but are in the "reject" file because of severe flaws.
Frantic (Taran Killam) is an excitable boy who can run 500 m.p.h. Having the mother of all mommy issues strongly affects the ability of Impresario (Keenan Thompson), who can conjure up any tangible image with his mind. Eleven year-old Asian boy Tim (Bobby Lee) hulks out to a 600-pound Sumo wrestler with the slightest provocation. The remaining problem child is Gadget Girl (Paula Pell), who is a golden girl with a magic bag full of tricks and a lack of understanding that what is appropriate in the '50s is unacceptable in the 21st century.
A need to fill one more slot leads to hiring Hot Wire (Rashida Jones), who can manipulate electricity ala Static Shock. The issue regarding her is the strong possibility that she is a Trojan Horse.
Each group of episodes revolves around a season-long threat. This begins with Awesomes nemesis Dr. Malocchio (Hader) deciding that the retirement of Mr. Awesome provides a good chance for escaping from prison to implement a grand evil scheme. The fun of this includes that plot involving discrediting Awesomes 2.0.
Season 2 finds the surviving team members battling a Legion of Doom that another foe spends the season assembling from individuals whom our heroes offend in one manner or another throughout this season. An example of this is the team learning the truth regarding the saying that Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
The series winds up with the final season-long foe hitting very close to home on many levels. The episodes remain strong, but the underlying premise of the story arc is weak in that the final episodes of the season (and the series) reveals that the wolf in spandex clothing goes to a great deal of unnecessary trouble to achieve his penultimate objective.
The most hilarious episode in the series is the S3 season premiere "Seaman's Revenge," which starts with the standard story of a day off leading to a mission to save the day. The aforementioned glee largely relates to an oblivious Gadget Girl responding to questions about her experiences with Aquaman clone former Awesomes member Seaman. One missed opportunity is not asking her whether she finds Seaman hard to swallow.
The next strongest outing is an S2 one in which The Awesomes agreeing to make a "Drawn Together" reality show goes comically horribly awry. A highlight this time is a team member making a coming out announcement to boost his profile on this show within a show.
Other fun episodes parody scifi and/or superhero staples. These include the gang meeting alternate superpowered versions of themselves, and Meyers and Shoemaker provide a strong outing in which the gang obliviously is leading normal lives. The only disappointment is that evil versions of the good guys lack goatees.
The series finale achieves the modern show ideal of serving equally well as a season finale or the last hurrah for the characters in the event that the series is cancelled. In this case, all is right with the world until a new threat appears in the final seconds. This creates hope for three streaming seasons and a direct-to-DVD movie.
The special feature primarily consist of a one-shot ComicCon panel and trailers and promos for each season.