One reward of more than a decade of reviewing home-video releases of indie films is watching already loved studios and distributors expand their catalog beyond their original scope.
Philadelphia-based Breaking Glass Pictures is a prime example. The recent Breaking DVD release of the 2018 drama "Lost Child" reflects this and provides a good companion to the (reviewed) Breaking August 2018 DVD release of the day in the life of teenage redneck film "Moss." These edgy southern-fried films are a great expansion from the edgy more substance than skin gay-themed films that Breaking continues adding to its catalog.
A perfect example of the not-so-missing link in this evolution is the Breaking April 2017 release of "Fair Haven." This reviewed film has Tom Wopat of "The Dukes of Hazzard" playing the widowed father of a kind and gentle farmboy who returns from conversion therapy that does a great deal of harm and no good.
The following YouTube clip of the Breaking trailer for "Child" highlights the Blu-ray worthy cinematography that features the Ozarks. This promo. additionally conveys the Southern Gothic vibe of the film.
"Child" opens with a seemingly obligatory scene for "you can't go home again" films about a boomerang kid who is a native son or daughter returning after leaving in disgrace years ago. The first images either are a bus rolling through the bucolic landscape of the area or get right to that public transportation pulling up to the center of the arena of action. The main character disembarks and gets into the old pickup of the ride to the childhood farm or shabby house in the woods that has a key role in the underlying angst.
Our tortured soul this time is recently discharged soldier Fern. She is returning to Clampett country after teen trauma that results in her moving out of the family home and then enlisting in the army. She moves back into the family house in the wake (no pun intended) of the death of her father, This relocation ties into a mission to find and care for her brother Billy.
Life experiences taking their toll and general unease related to being a woman living alone in a cabin in the woods are enough to put Fern ill at ease. A neighbor with good intentions strongly urging her to get either a gun or a dog and the man down the street looking like he is straight out of "Deliverance" contribute to the tension.
Fern meeting the titular dirty but civilized 10ish boy Cecil in the nearby woods is the final element that puts all the pieces in place for "Child." The lad ain't talkin' but agrees to come home for vittles and to spend the night. A one-night stand returns to haunt Fern when she learns that the day job of bartender Mike is a social worker. Fern not wanting to subject Cecil to the evils of a foster home prompt her to agree to let him stay with her a bit longer.
Fern mysteriously getting sick and literally aging overnight prompts consulting a country doctor. This licensed professional attributing this condition to the presence of Cecil indicates this his method of providing healthcare does not significantly differ than that of Granny in "The Beverly Hillbillies."
The essential folklore is that a malevolent forest-dwelling spirit takes the form of a young boy and convinces a good Samaritan to take it in so it can do plenty of harm. Odd behavior by Cecil proves that he is own worst enemy.
Meanwhile, Fern reuniting with Billy involves the most surprising and disturbing twist in this extremely gothic film. Not only is he not glad to see his sister, he considers her a primary root of all past and present evil.
A familiar aspect of this is one sibling running off and not only failing to protect a brother or sister but leaving that person behind to contend with all the highly toxic family drama. In many respects, this is analogous to an alcoholic wanting to put things right with someone whom that drunk seriously hurt. The intent is noble and the need for redemption is strong, but related righteous resentment remains high.
The stress of Fern leads to drama with Cecil that supports the theory that he is not like other boys; this leads to the lad experiencing dreaded trauma. It additionally involves Fern playing Nancy Jo Drew by pursuing a lead regarding the identity of Cecil.
All of this culminates in conclusions that make sense for a story set in a rural area that has a large of population of poorly educated people raised on superstition and harsh discipline. Breaking deserves strong credit for bringing this tale that does not sensationalize this culture to us city folks.
The quartet of DVD extras is equally consistent with the art-house style of "Child." Each special feature examines an aspect of the making-of the film. These include the production "process," the "story & performance," the Ozarks, and writer/director Ramaa Mosley.
'Cinemability: The Art of Inclusion' DVD & VOD: Everything You Always Were Embarrassed to Ask About Disabled People in TV & Film
The fact that virtually no one knows that October is National Disability Employment Month makes the October 5, 2018 VOD & DVD releases of the Gold Pictures documentary "Cinemability: The Art of Inclusion" to celebrate that recognition that much more important. This film being full of movie and TV clips and A-List participants (such as narrator Jane Seymour) meeting the genre ideal of being equally entertaining and educational is the icing on the cake.
The following YouTube clip of the official trailer for this movie by wheelchair-user producer/director Jenni Gold provides a strong sense of the comprehensive scope of the film in terms of the aforementioned clips and celebrity participants. This promo. having clips from "Freaks" and "South Park" shows that Gold does not pull any punches regarding telling how it is and how is was.
The overall theme of "Cinemability" is that the portrayal of disabled people in films and television series greatly influences how the general movie-going public perceives people who are different. It is believed that Jamie Foxx, who is well-known for playing blind music-legend Ray Charles, is the talking head who notes that using the media to depict people with a particular disability in a certain way is the first step toward obtaining support for legislation to address an issue that affects that population. Foxx also is the center of a notable scene in which he discusses allowing himself to be temporarily blinded for his Oscar-winning portrayal of Charles; "Ray" director/writer Taylor Hackford provides further insights regarding that film.
Oscar-winning deaf actress Marlee Matlin provides many of the most relatable and amusing ancedotres in "Cinemability." She discusses the positive impact of seeing a deaf character on the sitcom "Happy Days." Matlin further shares many other memories that include her hilarious portrayal of a deaf attorney on the sitcom "My Name is Earl."
A related aspect of this is watching Peter Farrelly and other filmmakers talk about simply not making a disability an aspect of a character. An even more controversial topic that Gold tackles is the practice of using an able-bodied actor to play a disabled character. Beloved producer/director/writer the late Garry Marshall perfectly addresses this by commenting that he solely bases his casting choices on the acting ability of the person auditioning for the role.
The tremendous time that Gold devotes to finding and incorporating the clips and getting the hardest-working people in show business demonstrates the love associated with this documentary; the degree to which it makes viewers think about disabled people in reel and real-life shows that it pays off.
Shout! Factory releasing "Saved by the Bell: The Complete Collection" on October 2, 2018 is the latest example of Shout! awesomely furthering the Unreal TV mission of saving classic and cult-classic sitcoms from obscurity. The scope of this set including EVERYTHING from "Bliss" to "Vegas" allows once-and-future fans and newbies to the halls of Bayside High to fully embrace the Zack Attack spirit of the series, Shout! releasing comparable complete series sets of virtually every program that this post mentions provides a sense that that distributor is the perfect home for "Bell."
Shout! notes that the presentation order of the episodes has the seal of approval of producer Peter Engel. Further, it seems that the episodes are the original broadcast versions.
The main thing that earns "Bell" its place in pop culture history is the perfect blending of elements that begin with arguably a happy accident, The majority of the cast first appear in the 1988-89 Disney Channel series "Good Morning, Miss Bliss." The intended focus of that series is the titular eighth-grade teacher (Hayley Mills of "The Parent Trap") in Indianapolis. In true Disney-style, John F. Kennedy Junior High is clean and lacks any of the ills that plague most junior highs and high schools,
The intended formula is an "A Story" that centers around the personal and/or professional life of Carrie Bliss; the "B Story" revolves around a tween problem of a student, who almost invariably finds equal parts solace and solution in the figurative arms of Bliss.
The pilot illustrates both the aforementioned formula and the reverse lesson of most sitcoms that the adults provide most of the appeal in the series. Bliss starts a romance at the same time that cute and charming scamp Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) faces his summer-camp girlfriend being a JFK student. The "sit" that provides the "com" this time is that eighth-grader Zack told the girl that he was in the ninth grade.
The classmates of Zack include nerdy Samuel "Screech" Powers (Dustin Diamond) and BAP Lisa Turtle (Lark Voorhies). Richard Belding (Dennis Haskins) is their principal.
The talent of Disney for finding cute young male actors with the exuberance of puppies on caffeine pills pays off large both for Gosselaar and for tweens, teens, and tweens and teens at heart all over the world., This demographic adores Goselaar, who can be considered the older brother of Ross Lynch of the Disneycom "Austin and Ally." Early clips of Lynch show that he has the same charm and enthusiasm as "Bliss" era Gosselaar. The parallels continue with both actors subsequently literally showing in mind and body that they are all grown up.
Disney not renewing "Bliss" sets the mental gears of Engel in motion; he sees perfect symmetry between the "Bliss" kids and the dearth of Saturday-morning fare that targets the aforementioned 12-and-up demographic, This leads to transferring all of the aforementioned characters except Bliss to Bayside High in southern California.
The copious insight in the numerous special features include the intended homage to classic sitcoms in "Bell." Casual observance indicates that this show is a modern-day "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis." The central everyteen embroils his oddball outcast best friend in schemes to make high school easier and/or best his rival for the hot girl. We learn that Engel actually has "The Phil Silvers Show" (a.k.a. "Sgt. Bilko) in mind with charming conman Zack lavishing praise on authority figure Belding while running circles around him.
The aforementioned appeal of Gosselaar results in Zack immediately establishing himself as the center of "Bell" and the BMOC at Bayside. Introducing jock/Army brat A.C. Slater (Mario Lopez) brings in a Reggie to give "Archie" serious competition before those boys figuratively (if not literally) kiss and make up later in the series, The two other new kids on the block are girl next-door/object of the affection of both Zack and Slater Kelly Kapowski (Tiffani-Amber Thiessen) and literal girl next-door/feminist/scholar Jessie Spano (Elizabeth Berkley).
Both the high school and "College Years" of the gang largely focus on comic variations of teen and post-adolescent angst. We have boys making fools out of themselves in elaborate efforts to get girls, boys seeking to take rivals out of the picture, trying to pass driver's ed., facing tough teachers, outlandish schemes to earn money to conceal "sins," rifts between friends, etc.
The broadest insight that Engel provides in special features in "Collection" is that "Bell" relatively accurately depicts the high school experience. A stated objective is to support viewers who either are in high school or are anxious about what they will face on achieving that milestone. The effectiveness of that effort including most of the cast portraying his or her actual age evokes thoughts of Gosselaar once dissing fellow teen series "Beverly Hills 90210" by commenting that he was not 30 when he was in high school.
The comments of Engel triggered the thought that kids often are included in a series to provide a relatable character for their real-life counterparts; this led to memories of being a prep. school boy whose academic career paralleled that of the older "Facts of Life" girls. That particularly enhanced the experience of watching the high-school years of Blar and Jo.
The parallel continues with "Life" undergoing significant S2 changes that set the tone for the rest of the nine-year run of that show.
Like "Life," the high-school years of "Bell" are the best. "Jessie's Song" that has the titular over-achiever develop a hilariously dramatic addiction to caffeine pills is cemented as a top-ever campy TV episode. We also get Zack using his powers (no pun intended) for good rather than evil when he learns that Kelly cannot afford to attend the prom. This arguably is when Kelack becomes destined for the "Wedding in Vegas" around which the 1994 TV movie that wraps up their story is centered, Zack having to become an American gigolo with Gilbert Gottfried playing his pimp is one of several ways that that film supports the policy that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
The comprehensiveness of "Collection" allows the enjoyment of "Bell" to extend beyond seeing Zack proportionately physically and emotionally mature; the detailed episode guide facilitates picking and choosing your favorite episodes and/or eras. The aforementioned bonus features, which include interviews with most cast members, provide additional perspective that evoke happy thoughts in current fans and will encourage new devotees to embrace the spirit of the series.
The Lionsgate October 16, 2018 complete-series Blu-ray release of the lush and lavish 2014-17 Starz series "Black Sails" is the perfect way to get in the mood for lush and lavish Oscar contenders that are sure to hit the big screen in December. A related note is that the beauty and the well-orchestrated complexity of the 38 episodes in this four-season series require savoring it as much as "binging" on a gourmet meal ruins the experience and makes you feel unwell after the experience.
The two Sound Editing and one Special and Visual Effects Emmys that "Sails" wins illustrates that executive producer Michael Bay puts his talents for grandeur and explosions to good use. Shooting the series on location further enhances the episodes.
The first bit of shameful commerce is that the incredible audio and video of the Blu-rays and the copious truly special features (more below) make choosing this set over watching it on Starz or streaming it a no-brainer. A related note is that these attributes make this roughly $50 set a perfect gift for anyone who likes period pieces, pirates, and/or the Caribbean. Although stealing it from a brick-and-mortar store honors the theme of "Sails," such behavior is completely unacceptable in 2018.
The first confession is admitting to never having read the source material of this prequel to the classic Robert Louis Stevenson novel Treasure Island. The only recognized name in "Sails" is that of a pre-Long John Silver, whose fame extends to having a descendant with a successful film career. The second confession is that "Sails" not being conducive to binging limits the scope of this review to the first two seasons; the final two will be watched in the next several weeks.
Our tale of the courage of the fearless crew that pirate captain leads begins in 1715, which is roughly 20 years before the time period of Island. The "civilized" world allows pirates to rule New Providence Island and the capital of Nassau. There is prosperity and more peace than can be expected in a place that operates in this manner.
The pilot episode perfectly sets the tone and hooks the audience; Silver soon shows himself to be the Dr. Smith of the merchant ship on which he is a crew member. Rather than help his fellow seamen fend off an attack by dread pirate Captain Flint and his pirates of the Caribbean, Silver hides in a locked room. While there, Silver obtains paper with the information that Flint is seeking.
Silver subsequently further keeps up with the Smiths in falsely asserting to the pirates that he is the cook, which is a valued position on any ship. This leads to Silver literally jumping ship to join the crew of Flint. A later incident shows why Jewish people label pork as trayf.
The pilot also educates viewers about the rules of law that govern pirates; Flint soon learns the harsh reality of any pirate captain being like a prime minster in that he serves at the pleasure of the crew and can be voted out anytime. A related aspect of this is that pirates are compensated in the form of a percentage of the booty that they plunder. Raids such as the one in which Silver is the catch-of-the-day that do not net any treasure result in Flint facing a challenge to his leadership.
This law of the sea is fascinating because it illustrates both that not much has changed in 300 years and that the means by which formal governments operate is not much different than the rules that pirate ships follow. The response to the new candidate for captain include below-decks politics that are equivalent to back-room deals. The more entertaining part is the false accusations and a confrontation that many politicians clearly would relish.
After surviving the challenge to his leadership, Flint once again devotes most of his attention to pursuing his personal white whale. The object of his obsession is the Urca de Lima, which is a ship that Flint believes is heavily laden with gold. The contribution that Silver can make regarding that quest is the only thing that has him avoid walking the plank.
Meanwhile back in Nassau, 18th-century Ivanka Trump Eleanor Guthrie is operating the brokerage business of her absent father, The basic system is that Eleanor buys the cargoes that the pirates liberate from their former owners; Guthrie then sells the goods. The risks to her continued good fortune include the sins of her father and a push to terminate the rule of the pirates.
A whorehouse with relatively liberated employees is the third side of the commerce triangle in Nassau; the first season shows how all three elements inter-relate and make strange bedfellows.
Speaking of prostitution, one of the best S1 scenes involves a negotiation for a recreational facility during the 18th-century equivalent of dry dock. One spoiler is that this discussion prompts the fun of chanting "Fuck Tent! Fuck Tent! Fuck Tent!" This also involves a cute scene in which an invitation for a "quick fuck" clearly involves pup tents but does not necessarily include the filthy whore.
We additionally get flashbacks to the aforementioned civilized world; these provide context that include showing how becoming a pirate makes Flint an entirely new person in more ways than one; this insight includes other members of the "Sails" crew.
The pursuit of the Urca is central to much of the S1 action; we also see how the related issues of maintaining peace and conducting commerce in Nassau create strange and shifting bedfellows; a notable aspect of this is a pirate crew learning the true meaning of the expression "don't fuck with me, boys." Another scoundrel who cannot produce a strong and sturdy mast discovers that Hell hath no fury like a prostitute left unsatisfied.
S1 ends on a terrific note that demonstrates the true meaning of the expression "so close, yet so far away."
As other reviewers note, "Sails" fully finds its sea legs in S2; it seems like deja vu all over again when we see pirate captain Charles Vane raid a merchant ship. The defeated crew peacefully surrendering creates an expectation that Vane is going to do things the easy way. We soon learn that Homie the pirate don't play that. This leads to Vane even more aggressively seeking dominance over the pirate community.
S2 additionally provides the second chapter in the pursuit of the Urca treasure, which aptly becomes a bargaining chip in pursuits of happiness. The S2 finale aspect of that aptly is pure gold and heightens excitement regarding S3.
The new girl in town also becomes a bargaining chip on a few levels, She is being held hostage for ransom but also is a valuable peace offering in events that determine the future of Nassau. This prompts a sort of a homecoming in which more secrets are revealed and regarding which it seems that thieves are the only one with any honor. All of this (and several other developments) offer Bay a chance to stage the epic battles for which he is so well known. Other mayhem comes in the form of slit throats and orchestrated "accidents."
Students of history and folks who use a Google search as a half-assed form of cheating know the outcome of the power struggle for New Providence Island; "Sails" shows that getting there is all the fun.
The bigger picture this time is Bay putting a more realistic spin on "The Pirates of the Caribbean" franchise and "The Pirates of Penzance" operetta sparks interest in early 18th-century world history. Everything is even more connected in that era than it is now, and we see how things evolve. We further learn that there are at least 50 shades of gray between the titular canvases under which the pirates sail and the white sails of the "good" guys.
The Blu-ray for each season has copious spectacular special features that demonstrate the love of the cast and crew. The S1 bonuses focus on creating the series and the oft-mentioned historical context. This culminates in several S4 roundtable features on topics that include "The Legends of Treasure Island" and "Fearless Fans."
This incomplete discussion of "Sails" proves that there is more than enough reason to get on board regarding the series; it truly is a unique series with feature-film quality acting and cinematography.
'Secret Scouts and the Lost Leonardo': YA Novel for All Ages About Dutch Kids in King da Vinci's Court
Interest in the hot-off-the-presses YA novel Secret Scouts and the Lost Leonardo originates with a hope of being among the first to discover the next Harry Potter caliber book series, This inaugural outing for Dutch sisters Lisa and Sophie and the bros next door Jack and Tom does not seem to be quite that captivating. However authors/parents Dennis and Wendel Kind tell a fascinating tale that lacks any dull moments. They additional offer proof that European and North American tweens generally talk, think, and act alike.
The following YouTube clip of the trailer for Leonardo both demonstrates a clever marketing technique for a book and provides a strong sense of the fun and adventure that awaits readers of all ages. One disclaimer is that some depicted scenes get cut from the novel.
The adventure begins with a crazy ermine lady neighbor giving the girls an old sketch that this woman acquires from the former occupant of the house where the sisters live with their mother and their art historian father. The girls and their buds then enter the forbidden territory of the study of the father of the girls, Horseplay by the boys leads to discovering a secret room behind a study bookcase. The treasures within include an old notebook.
Our young detectives soon correctly suspect that both the sketch and the book are the work of the titular Renaissance man; they next determine how to combine the discovered fruits of his labor to pay him a visit. This leads to these meddling kids both literally and figuratively having a hand in real-life work of da Vinci. These incidents explaining some mysteries regarding that work keeps things interesting in the context of a art-history lesson.
The manner in which the quartet reasons out things and get adults to provide necessary information is amusing to readers with secondary sexual characteristics and should allow younger readers to fantasize about being in the shoes of these adventurers. This fun includes a serious discussion about the need to appropriately dress for their journey and how to make sure that they arrive at the right place at the right time.
Speaking of journeys, getting there is more than half the fun this time,. The girls coincidentally going to Paris and visit the Louvre soon after acquiring their treasure trove helps them put the pieces together. We also get a teacher being duped into believing that he merely is quenching a thirst for knowledge.
All of this ends on a cliffhanger that relates to a period that likely seems to be as ancient as fifteenth-century Italy to the Millennials but is the not-so-distant past to those of us who can legally drink.
A glimpse of the future reveals that the next adventure for the scouts involves events that some will consider an obamanation.
Warner Archive releasing the penultimate 1983-84 eighth season of the workplace sitcom "Alice" provides a nice Halloween treat; this DVD set almost guarantees that Archive will release the final season in time to give your favorite sofa spud the complete series on DVD for Christmas. The final holiday note is that Archive deserves thanks for keeping the packing style consistent for every release.
One spoiler regarding S9 is that it follows the modern sitcom trend of a grand finale. Every lead character has a big life change that makes him or her much happier than he or she was when the series began.
A review of the Archive S7 release provides a chance to read about prior adventures of the titular waitress/aspiring singer (Linda Lavin) and her wacky co-workers at Mel's Diner in Phoenix. It is hoped that the posts on the earlier seasons will be copied from Unreal TV 1.0 to this site by the end of 2018.
Archive beginning the S8 set with two S7 episodes that were intended to air in S8 demonstrates the typical Archive integrity. The third episode "Mel is Hogg-Tied" is the actual S8 season premiere; it also is an early cross-over episode. Additional fun comes in the form of this outing being a twofer regarding "Alice" themes.
The cross-over comes in the form of sleazy redneck good ole boy Boss Hogg of the fellow CBS series "The Dukes of Hazzard" visiting the diner. The first half of the twofer is that he is there for reasons that include visiting Southern-fried waitress Jolene Hunnicutt (Celia Weston of "Modern Family). Hogg is one of the long string of relatives who create comic mayhem on coming to visit a relative who works at Mel's. Aptly the mother of all such guests is Carrie Sharples (Martha Raye), who is the mom of diner owner Mel. Carrie makes 12 such visits throughout the run of the series.
The second half of the twofer is in the form of the Mel foolishly losing ownership of the diner; the rest of the story every time is that the gang must join forces to comically put right what once went wrong. The solution this time fully cements that formula.
The two S8 Carrie episodes have surprisingly dark notes. The first one has her apply for a job as a nightclub singer only to blatantly be told that she is too old for the job; one warning is that this one includes a scene with Raye and Lavin in "Flashdance" style aerobics outfits that you never will be able to unsee.
The second Carrie episode begins with that frequent flyer having a near-death experience that profoundly affects her. Her subsequent devotion to telling the truth leads to a revelation that greatly upsets her son. One spoiler is that there are fewer laughs than usual in this one,
We further get Lavin enjoying her occasional indulgence in playing another character. This time it is Debbie Walden, who is the Jewish mother landlady of Vera. The "sit" that leads to "com" is Mel stringing along this lonely lady in order to taste her goodies.
Although we are deprived of an S8 episode in which a celebrity who plays himself or herself paying a heavy price for coming into the diner, we do get Florence Henderson as singer Sarah James. James comes into the diner seeking directions and finding a fiance. One spoiler is that this does not involve Carol Brady getting busy with Reuben Kincaid.
The icing on the wedding cake is that S8 includes the biggest occasion in "Alice" lore since the S4 departure of fan fave. Flo. (A review of the Archive release of the spinoff "Flo" also is near the top of the list of posts to copy over from Unreal TV 1.0.) S8 E7 is a lucky one for ditzy waitress Vera (Beth Howlnd). She meets and soon marries cop/soulmate Elliot Novak. The "com" includes a wacky misunderstanding leading to Elliot being the second husband of Vera.
The two "issues" episodes provide another reason to watch; Mel learns a hard lesson about the importance of making his business handicapped accessible. The other outing is a twofer regarding cruelty to circus animals and the importance of not discriminating against people based on am unusual physical characteristic.
The appeal of all this is that "Alice" reminds us of a kinder and gentler sitcom era in which most characters were likable and the good heart of the "villain" earned that person a great deal of leeway. Further, the writers provided adequately amusing comedy to not have to rely on shock value. Not only can you watch "Alice" with your grandparents, all of you can equally enjoy it,
The Film Movement October 9, 2018 DVD release of the 2016 Austrian biopic "Egon Schiele: Death and The Maiden" is particularly special for many reasons. The first accolade relates to this DVD being released a couple of weeks before the centennial of a notable date in the life of early 20th-century Viennese artist/Bohemian Schiele.
Another basis for praise is that Film of the Month Club selection "Egon" represents two elements that make Movement spectacular. It is right at home with the other biopics of European figures in the Movement catalog; the bigger picture is that it is one of the compelling foreign films that makes Movement a leader in releasing such films in North America. The ongoing copying of reviews of Movement releases from Unreal TV 1.0 and new posts such as the one to the Movement section of this site illustrate this grand tradition.
The several 2017 Austrian Roma Gala awards generally speak to the quality of "Egon." The two Best Actress awards that Valerie Pachner wins for portraying Wally Neuzil, who is a muse/lover of Egon and is the model for the titular painting, reflects the quality of the performances by the entire cast.
The well-executed contrasting time shifts are another element that makes "Egon" effective. The narrative begins on a gray and dreary 1918 day in Vienna. Gerti finds her brother Egon and his wife Edith extraordinarily ill in his stereotypical run-down artist's garret. A doctor is sent for just ahead of the action moving back eight years.
The incredible contrast between the appearance and circumstances between Egon in 1910 and 1918 makes one want to find out what occurs in the intervening 8 years; writer/director Dieter Berner does an excellent job filling in that gap. We meet younger Egon shockingly painting a gleeful nude 16 year-old Gerti. The bad touching that this sibling revelry includes is completely playful.
The circumstances of the conversation introduce an odd element to Egon that she is too young to join him and his artist friends for an evening at a club at which naked performers stage tableaus. This outing introduces the audience to exotic (and erotic) Moa Mandu, who the first in the string of models that Eqon seduces into his studio and his bed.
The strongest sense of the Bohemian lifestyle soon follows as Egon, Gerti, Moa, and the artists with whom Egon has formed a cooperative go on an extended vacation at a rented home. Folks who have tried a comparable social experiment can relate to the jealousies and other resentments that ensue. This is not to mention the additional elements of siblings testing the limits of their modern relationship and Egon not realizing that being a kept man is a privilege, rather than a right.
The ongoing pattern of shifting between the 1918 present of the film and the past continues with the narrative returning to badly bed-ridden Egon. The audience learning the tragic news garners tremendous sympathy.
The story advances to Egon meeting the very independent and modern Wally, who truly is his match. This coincides with the rising fame of the latter, It also is the beginning of the end in many ways as The Great War becomes an increasing strong presence in the lives of our characters.
Seeing how the war affects Egon both provides fascinating insight into his character in both senses of that term and highlights the contrasts of the impact of the war among those with some form of elite status and ordinary boys who become cannon fodder. One aspect of this is the degree to which a man who can avoid many of the horrors of war decides to do his duty.
The war years also are among the most interesting in the personal life of Egon. By this time, the audience knows how the relationship between him and the sisters who obtain great entertainment from living across the street from his studio. This also puts a seemingly harsh attitude in 1918 in perspective,
The roughly final 15-minutes of "Schiele" occurs in 1918; the excellent instincts regarding this extend beyond allowing the audience to see how the principals get there and the bases for their principles. This alone makes the film particularly powerful; the epilogue really drive the point home.
The broadest perspective regarding all this that makes Egon a perfect subject for a film set in the 1910s is that those eight years of his life perfectly reflects the times. This includes seeing how a radical move by his father shapes his psyche for better and for worse.
Movement enhances the "Schiele" experience by choosing particularly wisely regarding the short film that accompanies every Club selection. The artistic sketches that comprise the animation in the 2017 "Nothing Happens" tell the tale of townfolks who gather for no apparent reason other than a desire to go along with the crowd.
The Shout Select division of Shout! Factory already makes lovers of mob movies and dark comedy an offer that they cannot refuse regarding the October 23, 2018 Collector's Edition of the 1995 film (not-to-be confused with the current Epix series) "Get Shorty." Folks who order "Shorty" directly from Shout! have a chance of becoming a made man by snagging a free "while they last" poster with new artwork.
Select further sweetens the deal by having this release coincide with Select making the (reviewed) fabulous Blu-ray of fellow '90s phenom comedy "City Slickers" available on real and virtual store shelves everywhere.
Like "Slickers," the scenery and the cinematography of "Shorty" look incredible on the 4K remaster of the Blu-ray. In this case, we start out with the bright hues of Miami and move on to all the many styles that are Los Angeles.
The aspects that make "Shorty" Select worthy include the dream team in front of and behind the camera. This starts with director Barry Sonnenfeld putting the same talent for dark humor that he displays in films that include the "Addams Family" and the "Men in Black" franchises to good use in this film about retired Miami loan shark turned aspiring film producer Chili Palmer (John Travolta). The good source material for Sonnenfeld this time is the comic crime-novel by the Stephen King caliber prolific author Elmore Leonard.
Travolta chooses wisely in making "Shorty" his follow-up to "Pulp Fiction" in this era in which he plays ticking time-bomb tough guys. His equally perfect cast mates include Gene Hackman as horror-film producer Harry Zimm, who has aspirations of making a film with substance, Rene Russo as B-movie actress with a history Karen Flores, and Danny DeVito essentially as Danny DeVito in the guise of actor Marin Weir. Actors who join the fun via cameos in which they play very true to type include Bette Mider, Alex Rocco, James Gandolfini, and Dennis Farina.
The following YouTube clip of the Shout trailer for "Shorty" provides another great endorsement for this must-see over-and-over film. Despite including roughly 15 vines of highlights, these images do not scratch the surface regarding the memorable moments.
The wonderful absurdity of "Shorty" commences with the opening Miami scenes in which antagonism between Palmer and fellow wise-guy Ray "Bones" Barboni (Farina) escalates on Bones hilariously making Palmer his bitch and our protagonist responding in kind. The subsequent events land Palmer in La La Land looking for Weir both to collect a debt and to pitch the story of the events that lead to his relocation.
Further complications arise in the form of the investors in a Weir film learning that their money is not being used in the agreed-to manner. Throwing in a psychotic drug-dealer with a world-class itchy trigger finger largely rounds out the fun.
The real fun (and hilarity) ensues when Palmer must keep several highly volatile spheres in the air while doing his best to avoid having any of them blow up in his face, Of course, the themes of this incredibly meta film include the similarities between how the mob conducts business and how supposedly legitimate Hollywood operates; this also proves the adage "its funny because its true."
The best truly is saved for last; we get both the mother of all cameos in the film and have a wonderful homage to the Mel Brooks comedy "Blazing Saddles," One spoiler is that there is no indication that the craft-services table at the movie-within-a-movie serves baked beans,
A highlight (and apparent Select standard) in the aforementioned bonus features is a roughly 30-minute documentary in which all the principals discuss their literal and figurative roles, DeVito steals the show regarding both his reminiscing about being recruited to play Palmer and the team getting "Fiction" auteur Quentin Tarantino to entice Travolta into playing Palmer. Another of the many features is a home-movie reel of filming scenes.
These bonuses emphasize the sad fact that Hollywood currently seems to lack folks with the talents that make a film like "Shorty" succeed. The simple-but-brilliant concept surpasses the theme of anything in the multiplex and the folks in front of the camera seem either to be stars rather than actors or are well past their prime.
The wrap regarding all this is that Shout! provides a chance to revisit the beginning of the end of art winning out over commerce regarding at least some studio fare.
The Warner Archive Blu-ray release of the 1948 Blu-ray release of the 1948 noir classic "Key Largo" provides a chance to add it to your collection of perfectly remastered films (including the recently reviewed "Dark Passage") starring Mr., and Mrs. Humphrey Bogart. The magic of Blu-ray allowing custom-made marathon viewings validates that the sexual chemistry between Bogart and Bacall equals that of Affleck and Damon. One difference is that no pop songs celebrate the magic regarding Batt.
This John Huston film further is notable for having a particularly strong Orsonian quality is that it has the look and themes of a Welles films. This is on top of the live-stage feel that is attributable to "Largo" being based on a play of the same name.
The opening scenes prove that the reputation of Bogart precedes him. The audience believes that his character Frank McCloud is involved when the local po po stops the bus on which he is traveling to search for less than honest injuns who are fugitives from justice. We quickly learn that McCloud is as clean as a brothel on a Tuesday afternoon.
The real fun begins when a hostile motley crew provides McCloud an unfriendly welcome on his arrival at a tourist hotel on the titular Florida island. This shady lot includes drunken floozy Gaye Dawn (Claire Trevor in an Oscar-winning role). Dawn aptly steals the show in a later scene in which mob boss Johnny Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) literally makes her sing for her liquid supper.
The reception thaws on the group learning that WWII vet McCloud is there to visit the family of a man who served under him and who died in combat. Bacall plays Nora Temple, who is the widow of the dead soldier. Lionel Barrymore shows much of his broad range in playing the wheelchair-bound father of the man/hotel owner James Temple. The beloved James additionally is the unofficial mayor of Key L:argo.
McCloud shows bad timing for him and perfect timing for the audience in arriving hours before a highly symbolical hurricane is due to hit the island. Everyone in front of and behind the camera plays his or her part especially well regarding the increasing barometic and other pressures ahead of the weather event,
Things escalate to the point of Rocco holding McCloud and the Temples hostage as Rocco, his thugs, and his moll both wait out both the storm and the arrival of a business associate.
Huston PERFECTLY stages the confrontations between Rocco and McCloud and/or Temple. These typically include exchanging philosophies.
The foul weather ceasing does not coincide with the storm blowing over. McCloud and Rocco still have a score to settle and Nora needs to discover if she can connect with her "Nick" in time.
The above discussion of "Largo" provides many reasons why this Blu-ray is worthy of inclusion in your film library. The broader perspective is that the film is a perfect example of how great they used to make them and of they don't make 'em like that anymore.
It is difficult to imagine assembling a dream team that is comparable to a director like Huston working with such a talented cast that both can give nuanced performances and play off each other as well as this group,
The Warner Archive October 9, 2018 Blu-ray release of the 1974 TV Movie "Bad Ronald" reminds us of the Golden Age of such guilty pleasure gems. This one has the bonus of the still-modern element of having a psycho covertly living in the walls of your home. This cult status also favors buying the Blu-ray, rather than relying on almost surely spotty inclusion on a streaming service,
This variation of "Psycho" begins with the titular excitable high-school senior (Scott Jacoby) enjoying a birthday party with his domineering mother Elaine (Kim Hunter). She is sharing her high aspirations for her boy when he cuts things short to visit the object of his affection over the objection of his mother.
The reception that dorky Ronald receives on showing up when the girl of his dreams and the other cool kids are swimming is either hilarious or heartbreaking depending on your perspective, It does prove that kids say the cruelest things.
Ronald is fresh off this experience when a subsequent encounter is the straw that broke the camel's sanity in that push comes to fatal shove. This sends Ronald into the arms of the one woman who loves him; Elaine responds in a manner that leads to Ronald simultaneously breaking the records for the amount of time that a teen boy spends locked in the bathroom and goes without changing his tightie-whities.
The plot thickens when Ronald ventures out one day to find Elaine gone and the house empty of all furniture. This changes when Mr. and Mrs. Wood move in with their three teen daughters. Fun casting related to this includes having ubiquitous '80s actor Dabney Coleman play Mr. Wood. We also get Ted Eccles of kidcom "Dr. Shrinker" fame as Duane Matthews, who is the object of the affection of one of the Wood girls and the brother of the homicide victim,
A combination of Duane telling the Wood family the history of the house and of Ronald increasingly haunting the abode particularly puts the younger members of the family ill at ease. A relatable aspect of this is the many times throughout our lives when we are certain that we had now missing food or that an object seemingly has been tampered with.
The aforementioned modern aspect enters the picture in this regard. One sign of our Dystopian Days is the regular urban myths and facts about a former owner of a house restricting his residence to a concealed area out of economic necessity and/or a disturbed mind. The really scary part is that this often can continue for extended periods before being discovered.
The tension nicely builds as Ronald increasingly loses his grasp on reality in proportion to becoming obsessed with the girls next door. Things proverbially hit the fan when the mice going away prompts the cat to prey. A highlight of this is Duane ending up in a position that will delight folks who fall within the overlap between people who enjoy S&M and "Shrinker" fans.
Things rapidly wrap up in an inevitable manner the removes any doubt regarding the erroneous belief of Elaine that Ronald is destined to be a brain surgeon.
'Lifetime Double Feature' DVD: Two More Yuletide Yarns About Christmas Business Making Strange Bedfellows
Lionsgate separately releasing two double-feature DVDs of 2017 Lifetime Network Christmas movies on October 23, 2018 provides both a chance to be alternative on Halloween and to start getting in holiday spirit. Watching all four on one day provides a chance to relive memories of marathon viewings during family reunions at which these movies are the only thing that everyone likes.
This post "Wrapped Up in Christmas" and "Snowed Inn Christmas" follows the recent review of the "A Very Merry Toy Store" and "Four Christmases and A Wedding" release.
One spoiler for folks who lack time to read these articles because they already are frantically decking the halls and searching online (R.I.P. Toys R Us) for the hot new toy is that the general theme of all four films is the same; the distinguishing characteristics are the actors of the '80s and '90s who star in them and the nature of the conflict of the couple that we know will end up together in the end,
The pattern begins with the movie being set in roughly mid-December. Our central character is a 30-something woman who is experiencing work-related stress that brings her in conflict with the 30-something man of her dreams and/or bane of her existence.
This Sam and Diane directly or indirectly clash until the woman finds a solution that makes both of them happy. This leads to a Christmas period kiss at or near the end of the film. The lesson for unattached folks who are looking for love in all the wrong places and in too many faces is to just wait for Christmas and find a bone of contention with spouse material,
Starring Kim "Tootie" Fields of the '80scom "The Facts of Life alone earns "Wrapped" most-favored nation status. Fields plays Courtney, who is the busy executive/mother who is the sister of shopping mall executive Heather (Tatyani Ali of the 80scom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.") The '80s fun continues with having Jasmine Guy of "A Different World" play their mother. Joseph Marcell of "Prince" plays their father,.
The conflict this time is that the loud and flashy boss ('80s personality Jackee Harry) is conditioning Heather getting a long-coveted promotion on Heather implementing a Christmastime plan to cancel the leases of low-performing mall tenants to clear the way for more profitable stores.
Brendan Fehr of "Roswell" playing disillusioned former attorney/current aspiring artist Ryan who is helping his surrogate mother Aunt Patty at her toy store in the mall predictably puts that shop in the crosshairs of Heather. The clever resolution is notable and should inspire real-life malls in this era in which even Nordstroms are closing their doors.
The very romcomcentric companion movie "Snowed-Inn Christmas" has Bethany Joy Lenz of "One Tree Hill" play online journalist Jenna Hudson. Andrew Walker of "Radio Active" plays her polar-opposite co-worker Kevin Jenner. The conflict this time is a "Glengarry Glen Ross" competition in which it is heavily implied that first prize is continued employment and second prize is a chance to try writing for another webzine.
As the title implies, an element of "Snowed" is the couple getting stranded at a boutique hotel in Santa Claus, Indiana en route to their assignment a week before Christmas. Indications that Mr. and Mrs. Clause are their hosts both adds a particularly strong Christmas note and ensures that a Christmas miracle will occur.
The focus on thawing relations is especially strong in this one; Jenna learns a great deal about why Kevin lacks sentiment and seeks thrills. He sees the uptight "witch" from the office let down her hair and show her human side. This culminates in a grand gesture that helps seal the inevitable deal.
As the above musings demonstrate, the appeal of both films (and of the two in the other set) show the broad appeal of this fare, provides good escapism, and makes one think that a Christmas miracle is not entirely impossible.
'The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From A Mythical Man' Theatrical and VOD: When Legendary Comedian Crashes Your Party, You Tell Him He's A God
Gravitas Ventures fully embraces its awesome pop culture documentary side with the current theatrical run of "The Bill Murray Stories" Life Lessons From a Mythical Man" This film additionally hits VOD platforms on October 26, 2018. "Murray" perfectly represents similar fare that currently is reviewed on Unreal TV 1.0 and will make its way to Unreal TV 2.0 in November 2018.
Writer/director Tommy Avallone investigating reports of Murray being a modern-day Mary Poppins who shows up completely unexpected and spreads joy before vanishing into the night or the afternoon perfectly blends old and new school.
Tweens and teens of the '70s and '80s have fond memories of first watching Murray display his comedic nerdy and swarmy sides in the early days of "SNL" (Nee "Saturday Night Live.") We then see him join Tom Hanks in playing oddball goofballs in '80s comedy films that make us long for that Silver Age of big screen humor.
ANY boy born between 1960 and 1970 who does not include "Ghostbusters," "Stripes," "Meatballs," "Caddyshack," and "Groundhog Day" ("What About Bob" is optional) on his list of 100 favorite movies deserves to have his lunch money taken away and being given an atomic nudgie in 2018.
The new school element enters the picture (pun intended) regarding the manner in which the tales of Murray spread. Social media reports and online videos of Murray jamming with a band at a house party, reading poetry at a construction site, thrilling fans at a baseball game, etc. spread these urban legends faster than tales that involve a friend of a friend at camp or a guy who lives in the same college dorm as an older sibling. Canadian girlfriends from camp are an especially rich source of this lore.
The similarities between the Murray stories and the '70s and '80s sitcom "Alice" contribute another old school element. An occasional plot in that series revolves around a waitress being alone in the diner in which the show is set when a celebrity playing himself or herself unexpectedly stops by. The "com" related to this "sit" centers around the server trying to convince co-workers that the tale of the encounter is true,
A new school aspect is the current weekly NPR news quiz "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me." The central concept of this series is having contestants try to determine which of three news reports on a particular subject is true,
The Murray stories may have been a topic on "Wait Wait," If so, the following reports may have been the options. Murray appeared on a street in Cleveland on Halloween night and joined a family for trick-or-treating; Murray showed up at an Austin watering hole and began tending bar; Murray appeared at a Safeway in Bethesda, Maryland and began bagging groceries. The awesomeness of the Murray stories is that even the two that are not the intended correct answer may be true as well
The following YouTube clip of a trailer for "Murray" perfectly highlights the equally good entertaining and educational aspects of this documentary.
The good news is that most of "Murray" does the legendary subject justice; the bad news is that the painfully bad cold opens may want you to walk out of the theater or to stop watching at home. Candor requires sharing a strong desire to personally do exactly that and subsequent glee regarding sticking with the film. The neutral news is that throwing Avallone just a little shade is designed to encourage people to keep watching. The best news is that the stinger after the closing credits is MUST SEE. It reflects EVERY great aspect of the stories and leaves us wanting more.
The narrative that warrants scorn relates to "Murray" opening with a couple of groups discussing mysterious sightings that we soon learn involve Murray. These tales include the subject of the shock and awe showing up at a college party and doing the dishes and reading poetry at a building site. The one that prompted stopping the video was the story of a guy coming up behind someone at a urinal and placing his hands over the eyes of the man with his hands full. This leads to an image of grotesque looking Murray leering in the doorway of the men's room.
The armchair director advice is to COMPLETELY cut out the cold open and to start the film with images of the Woody Allen character Zelig, who pops up among historic figures. A "Forrest Gump" theme is an alternative. That would segue into the contrasting nature of the Murray stories.
"Murray" VASTLY improves after the opening credits, Avallone discusses the urban legends of the sightings and tantalizes viewers by sharing that he has the toll-free number that people use to contact this actor. Sadly, he blurs the digits.
We do see Avallone record and delete several voice mail messages that are designed to entice Murray to participate in the film. We also learn that Charleston, South Carolina being Ground Zero regarding Murray sightings prompts our host to take us there,
The first Charleston story is one of the best in "Murray." In true "Wait, Wait" fashion, we directly hear from someone with direct knowledge of the story. A wedding photographer discusses taking location photos of a happy couple when the future groom starts making odd faces. It turns out that Murray is behind the photographer and accepts his invitation to pose with the couple, Avallone shares one such photo.
Much of the rest of the film centers around stories in which Murray more fully literally and figuratively joins the party. This includes chipping in for a beer run.
Avallone presents all of this in the context of the philosophy that Murray espouses in his comedic and dramatic film roles. Although "Murray" does not address this, these clips further remind us that Murray agrees to do "Ghostbusters" in exchange for being allowed to star in the WWI period piece "The Razor's Edge."
We also get treated to insight by talking heads who know Murray; the icing on the cake is footage of the man of the hour doing improv. at Second City in Chicago. The context this time is how the improv. training shapes the psyche of Murray in ways that his visits reflect.
In addition to a decades' long love of Murray, a personal experience makes "Murray" special to your not-so-humble reviewer. A friend had coerced me into helping build a chicken coop at his hobby farm in a ruralish Boston suburb a few years ago. A lumber company had dumped all of the wood in the front yard.
I did not want to be there in the first place, and my friend would not get off his phone. I soon grabbed a big heavy piece of wood and started dragging it to the back of the house in an effort to move along the project. I could feel someone pick up the other end behind me a few minutes later.
Utilizing language that is inappropriate for this family friendlyish forum, I used just about every word previously banned on broadcast television in commenting on my friend finally hanging up and helping build HIS coop. The person behind me did not say a word.
I turned around after dropping the wood and saw Murray standing there, He had his trademark goofy grin on his face and asked "do you kiss your mother with that mouth?" I was equally shocked and embarrassed and profusely apologized. Murray soon put me at ease and helped us move the rest of the wood.
I turned around when we moved all the wood; I wanted to invite Murray to join us for soda and cookies, but he was gone. He said a few times that afternoon that no one would believe me if I told them about our encounter. I did not want to take video of it out of concern of offending Murray, and I got my friend to also refrain from doing so.
The bottom line regarding all this is that Murray is out there making our days. It clearly adequately delights him enough to keep him doing so. "Murray" helps skeptics believe us when we share our story.
'Lifetime Double Feature' DVD: 2 Guilty Pleasures Christmas Tales With Sabrina & Slater & Christine & Rosewood
Lionsgate separately releasing two double-feature DVDs of 2017 Lifetime Network Christmas movies on October 23, 2018 provides both a chance to be alternative on Halloween and to start getting in holiday spirit. Watching all four on one day provides a chance to relive memories of marathon viewings during family reunions at which these movies are the only thing that everyone likes.
This post is on the "A Very Merry Toy Store" and "Four Christmases and A Wedding" release; a review of "Wrapped Up in Christmas" and "Snowed Inn Christmas" is scheduled for the weekend of October 19. .
One spoiler for folks who lack time to read these articles because they already are frantically decking the halls and searching online (R.I.P. Toys R Us) for the hot new toy is that the general theme of all four films is the same; the distinguishing characteristics are the actors of the '80s and '90s who star in them and the nature of the conflict of the couple that we know will end up together,
The pattern begins with the movie being set in roughly mid-December. Our central character is a 30-something woman who is experiencing severe work-related stress that brings her in conflict with the 30-something man of her dreams and/or bane of her existence. They directly or indirectly clash until the woman finds a solution that makes both of them happy. This leads to a Christmas period kiss at or near the end of the film. The lesson for unattached folks who are looking for love in all the wrong places and in too many faces is to just wait for Christmas and find a bone of contention with spouse material.
The set du jour starts out with the personal favorite (and arguably most goofy) movie of the four. "A Very Merry Toy Store" stars Melissa Joan Hart of "Sabrina the Teenage Witch" as Connie Forrester, who owns the titular Mom-and-Pop retail establishment in New Britain, Connecticut. Connie and competitor Will DiNova (Mario Lopez of "Saved By the Bell") must at least partially kiss and make up to survive the threat that the owner (Billy Gardell of "Yes, Dear") of a large regional toy chain presents.
The fun of this one extends beyond the dirty and not-so-dirty business tactics. The "Love Boat"caliber casting goes well beyond having Sabrina and Slater essentially play kissing cousins turned feuding neighbors. We get "Aunt Zelda" portrayor Beth Broderick as the mother of Connie, a slightly butched up Mario Cantone of "Sex and the City" as the mayor/realtor, and Dan Amboyer as the amusing goofy younger brother of Connie. This is not to mention voice actress Tara Strong as the love interest of a clueless Randy.
The following YouTube clip of a trailer for "Toy Store" provides a good sense of the aforementioned Lifetimey fun.
"Four Christmases and A Wedding" is more of a traditional Lifetime movie than "Store." The emphasis is on getting one chance a year to make it work with Mr. Right, rather than on dropping the fists and grabbing the hips.
This one has Arielle Kebbel of the "90210" reboot playing event-planner extraordinaire Chloe Taylor. Her "its complicated" relationship centers around dreamy corporate executive Evan Mathers (Corey Sevier). Fun casting comes in the form of having Markie Post of "Night Court" play the mother of Chloe and Judge Reinhold of "Beverly Hills Cop" play the love interest of Mom.
The "complicated" part relates to Evan meeting Chloe at the annual Christmas event that she plans; he is in town visiting his sister ahead of moving overseas. Evan returns the following year with a girlfriend in tow, his being single the year after that does not make things any easier for this not-yet happy couple.
The following YouTube clip of the trailer for "Wedding" shows how it combines the spirits of Lifetime and of Christmas.
As the above musings demonstrate, the appeal of both films (and of the two in the other set) show the broad appeal of this fare, provides good escapism, and makes one think that a Christmas miracle is not entirely impossible.
The recent Indiepix Films DVD release of the 2014 drama "So Bright Is the View" provides proof that Millennial "Girls" (ala the HBO series of that name) the world over experience the same forms of angst. The understanding of the modern female psyche is so strong that it is surprising that this film is from a brother writing/directing team. It is almost certain that Michael and Joel Florescu have a sister whom they know well.
The following YouTube clip of a trailer for "Bright" showcases the "Girls" elements of the life of central mid-20-something Estera in Bucharest. We see her interact with the people such as her emo boyfriend, her roommate, and her manipulative mother,
The opening scenes in "Bright" that revolve around Estera and her newly arrived visiting cousin further establishes it as a modern film. Their discussion involves a few dramatic and traumatic matters. The action then follows the script for most recent productions in that it moves back in time several months to begin the narration of events leading to the aforementioned conversation.
This earlier scene is rather bizarre in that we barely see a man and a woman in tall grass far in the distance. They are talking about odd aspects of her fetus, and it is unclear at that point that the woman is Estera.
The action rapidly shifts to the apartment of Estera. She and her roommate are having a very "Girls" style discussion regarding the life of Estera. The topics include unread correspondence from her mother, job issues and related expectations for career advancement, her relationship with her boyfriend, etc.
A scene-stealer soon enters the picture in the form of comically aggressive visiting businessman "Mike." He is a family friend from his old country (and their current one). A scene in which he bullies Estera, and the server and the manager at a restaurant during a "friend" interview is hilarious. This obnoxious behavior is more than adequate to deter any reasonable person from eating the food that is served after the continuous abuse.
The virtually promised prospect of employment in Atlanta both excites Estera and causes angst that includes the role of her boyfriend in this anticipated new life. Mike further showing his true nature in a subsequent meeting is as hilarious as his antics in the restaurant but both should deter Estera from working with him and prompt him to sleep with one eye open.
Things begin unraveling even further when the confidence of Estera erodes during a meeting with her boss. Many of us can relate to entering such a conversation with expectations of a pat on the back and walking out feeling the impact of a kick in the ass.
The outcome of all this is equally universal. Estera gets a reality check that shows that giving every kid who plays soccer a trophy hinders that person later in life.
Breaking Glass Pictures stays true to its commitments to distributing edgy and/or gay-themed fare regarding the DVD release of the 2014 thriller "Lyle." This one has "Transparent" star Gaby Hoffman as expectant mother Leah, who has reason to believe that something is Satanic in the state of Williamsburg (Brooklyn).
The following YouTube clip of the SPOILER-LADEN "Lyle" trailer shows the mix of indie film and big-budget thriller that makes the film unique.
The nature of the relationship between stay-at-home mom Leah and long-term partner/professional musician June most likely is the basis for Breaking adding "Lyle" to its impressive catalog; the theme of this couple being just like many straight ones in that Mom stays home with the titular toddler while pregnant with the second child and "Dad" works long hours (which strains the "marriage") and largely views Mom as a hysterical female is true to the Breaking philosophy that movies with gay leads can be just like ones in which the main characters are straight.
In typical New York City horror movie style, "Lyle" opens with our couple and their child touring a too-good-to-be-true Brooklyn apartment. Although Leah is skeptical from the beginning, June essentially tells her not to worry her pretty little head about it. The incredible deal on the place and weird landlady Karen being obsessed with getting knocked up are the primary sources of the angst of Leah.
The first indication that Leah has good reason to worry her pretty little head is that Lyle begins acting very strangely; a subsequent indication that Karen is not being truthful regarding a statement that a child never has lived in the apartment triggers additional concern.
The spidey sense of Leah goes off the charts after a tragic event involving Lyle. This prompts an investigation that uncovers evidence of prior nefarious doings in the building. All this supports the theory that just because someone is paranoid does not mean that no one is watching.
In classic thriller style, the conflict escalates to a point that Leah does not trust anyone, and all efforts to soothe her fail. This leads to a climax and ending very similar to another film in which a mother-to-be fears that evil forces have a role in her pregnancy.
Hoffman does a good job carrying most of the film; her portrayal of Leah is sympathetic and mostly believable; harm befalling a child is tough for most mothers, and feeling that you cannot trust your life partner is distressing. Throwing in a threat to an unborn baby is enough to stress out anyone.
Breaking further follows its successful formula by including a short film by "Lyle" writer/director Stewart Thorndike. This one involves the bizarre home life of a child.
A combination of laziness and of "I could not have said it better myself" is behind allowing the Shout Select division of good friend of classic and cult fanboys Shout! Factory to speak for itself regarding the October 16, 2018 Collector's Edition release of the Oscar-winning 1991 comedy "City Slickers."
The mission statement on the back-cover of the "Slickers" Blu-ray provides an excellent sense of the raison d'etre of these releases. "Designed with the film lover in mind, SHOUT SELECT shines a light on films that deserve a spot on your shelf. From acknowledged classics to cult favorites to unheralded gems, SHOUT SELECT celebrates the best in filmmaking, giving the love and attention they deserve. Past recipients of that adoration include "The Moderns" and the noir double-feature "Farewell My Lovely" and "The Big Sleep."
One more bit of necessary housekeeping before sharing thoughts on "Slickers" itself is that the film looks mahvelous, simply mahvelous in this 4K restoration. The bright lights far from the big city are indescribably vibrant. This is not mention contrasts such as red-toned rugged terrain and clothing such as a colorful bandana and a New York Yankees cap set against a literally sky-blue sky.
The numerous bonus features, which include audio commentary by stars Billy Crystal and Daniel Stern, are the icing on the cake. A 28-minute documentary "Back in the Saddle: 'City Slickers' Revisited" alone provides incredible background on the film. Crystal himself discusses his being reborn to make this movie.
Veteran comedy writers Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel show good instincts regarding the challenge of providing exposition and grabbing the attention of the audience. The first scenes are of radio ad salesman Mitch Robbins (Crystal) and his two best friends running with the bulls at Pamplona. It is clear that they are American tourists in over their heads and that sporting-goods salesman/womanizing cradle robber Ed Furillo (Bruno Kirby) is the instigator. The third stooge is henpecked Phil Berquist (Stern), who is a manager at a grocery store that his father-in-law owns.
A nice ode to comedies of the '60s and early '70s comes when this cold open leads to entertaining animated credits that further help keep eyes glued to the screen. The original "Pink Panther" films are the textbook examples of this technique.
An intertitle roughly 15 minutes into the film tells the audience that it is a year later. This day is notable as the 39th birthday of Mitch; a literal rude awakening is the first in a series of events that are devastating to Mitch and hilarious to the audience. It is apt that Mitch would have been better off staying in bed.
This onset of a mid-life crisis for Mitch coincides with his buddies buying him a two-week trip going on a Colorado cattle drive. His loving wife, whom the special features tell us is based on the real-life Mrs. Billy Crystal, convinces him to get back in the saddle after life has knocked him off the horse.
Ganz and Mandel continue showing why they get the big bucks when we meet the fellow titular urbanites who accompany the three friends on the adventure. Josh Mostel and David Paymer play a paper-thinly disguised Ben and Jerry of ice cream fame, we also get a father and son who practice dentistry together, and original film Supergirl Helen Slater as the odd-woman out.
Anyone with any familiarity with "Slickers" knows that Jack Palance steals the show in his Oscar-winning role as no-nonsense trail boss Curly. The aforementioned bonuses include Crystal entertainingly discuss what happens when Jack meets Billy.
Hilarity fully gets underfoot on the drive when Mitch inadvertently causes a stampede. After the dust literally and figuratively settles, Curly orders this nemesis to accompany him on a mission. This leads to the mutual understanding that countless sitcoms show us result when two foes are trapped together. This segment also introduces the other scene stealer Norman the calf.
Of course, things go from bad to worse until Mitch and his posse essentially must land the pilotless jet. It is equally inevitable that this experience makes men out of these Peter Pans and allows them to achieve inner peace. Suffice it to say that the laughs continue until the cows come home (and even longer).
The depth of "Slickers" is what adequately distinguishes it from hundreds of other summer comedies to warrant Select treatment. As mentioned above, reaching middle-age often triggers a sense that having a beautiful wife and house (not to mention children and job) is not enough. We further are victims of unpleasant body changes and the senioritis in the form of coasting at a job that no longer excites us. We see how throwing in the element of the romance of the Old West provides good fodder for a film.
'Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc' Blu-Ray: Before She Was A Star Musical About The Maid of Orleans
Icarus Films provides young girls everywhere cause to rejoice regarding the October 2, 2018 Blu-ray release of the 2017 French musical "Jeannette." One note for parents is that the moppet in your life likely will want to repeatedly watch this song-and-dance filled feature.
The aforementioned appeal reflects the practice of producers of action-adventure fare who include brave adventurous boys in their stories. Just as many tween boys of the late '80s fantasize about being 13 year-old Wesley Crusher on "Star Trek: The Next Generation," girls from 5-to-10ish may see themselves in pre-Joan of Arc shepherd Jeannette before she gets the flock out of the pasture and literally fights for God and country. Modern-day Jeannettes will further delight in the simplistic songs and the dancing that largely consists of the same twirling and swaying in which they engage at home and recitals.
Our story begins (and mostly occurs) in the pasture where Jeannette spends most of her time, She laments in song and to her friend Hauviette about the invading British forces. The primary dilemma is how to quell the invasion and restore peace without almost literally fighting fire with fire (no pun intended). Attempted intervention by local nun Madame Gervaise, and the appearance of three saints seals the deal. Anyone who has tried to get a young girl to put on her shoes so that you can go do something that she dislikes can relate.
The next portion of the film moves ahead several years and has a teen Jeannette enlisting the aide of the brother of her father to be her ally regarding Pere at least not preventing her from joining a group of soldiers. Folks with even a moderate knowledge of history knows how this works out.
As mentioned above, "Jeannette" makes a historic figure very accessible and will encourage many young viewers to read more about Joan of Arc. It provides the rest of us a broader perspective regarding this righteous warrior. It further is beautifully shot and demonstrates that the mindset of 8 year-old girls has not dramatically changed since 1425.
The Blu-ray bonuses include deleted scenes and a feature on filmmaker Bruno Dumont.
The bad news is that the 1956 scifi horror thriller "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" being a prominent topic in film study and political science courses precludes giving the Olive Signature division of Olive Films October 16, 2018 Blu-ray release of this classic due regard. The first good news is that the copious in-depth and insightful bonus features do show "Body" proper regard and give current students a good shot at boosting their grade at least a notch.
Audio commentary by "Body" stars Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter (and by Gizmo's birth dad Joe Dante) further enhances the Signature release of the film.
The second good news is that the recently beefed-up Olive Films section of Unreal TV 2.0 includes reviews of other cult classics that Signature has shown tremendous love. The first releases are the 1952 classic Western "High Noon" and the more campy 1954 Joan Crawford Western "Johnny Guitar." This collection including the lesbiancentric 1996 neo-noir film "Bound" demonstrates the range of Signature,
"Body" is based on the novel The Body Snatchers by Jack Finney. The aforementioned special features shows how this tale of the fruit of seeds from outer space replacing ordinary townfolks in a '50s Everytown U.S.A. speaks to (hilariously named) producer Walter Wanger. We additionally get the perspective of director Don Siegel.
As the oft-mentioned extras remind us, one aspect of "Body" that makes it notable is being the first in a long series of "pod people" films that still entertain movie goers and provide sitcom writers who are desperate for a Halloween episode script fodder for a dream-sequence. However, this does not prevent Siegel and his team from borrowing from "Citizen Kane" and many other classics.
Just as "Kane" opens with the death of the titular William Randolph Hearst pod person and goes on to portray the key events in the life of the clone, the first scenes in "Body" show a crazed and disheveled Dr. Miles J. Bennell (McCarthy) restrained in a hospital and ranting about the titular offensive. This leads to a psychiatrist agreeing to hear his story in order to calm him down.
"Body" then depicts an equally standard opening scene; we see a train pull into the station at Santa Mira, California. The protagonist (Bennell) disembarks and meets his nurse. The audience learns on the ride to the office both that Bennell has good-natured arrogance and that he is returning from a two-week trip to a medical conference. Bennell learns that chaos in the form of people flooding his office with claims of replicas replacing locals has erupted in his absence,
The mystery deepens when Bennell finds his office empty and all seeming quiet on this western town front. Things get more interesting when Becky Driscoll (Wynter), with whom Bennell has an "its complicated" past, shows up after an extended absence, This reunion leads to a joke about divorce that is shocking for the '50s but very funny in 2018.
The initial investigation by those "meddling kids" Bennell and Driscoll bears little fruit until they experience a major breakthrough. This phase of the investigation ultimately leads to hot pursuit of Bennell and Driscoll that includes era-apt propaganda in the form of coaxing the couple by telling them that they will be much happier if they no longer think or feel.
The bonus regarding this is that falling asleep creates a significant risk of a fate different then death, Seeing Bennell being particularly clever in evading his former friends and neighbors is another aspect of "Body" that distinguishes it from other '50s scifi fare.
The quality continues to the end; the opening scenes establish that Bennell does not lose his humanity. However, suspense remains whether "Abner" believes "Gladys" that "witches" are among us. The outcome demonstrates why "Body" has endured so long.
The final mention of the numerous short documentaries and related material in the Signature release is that the filmmmakers never divulge their intents regarding "Body" being right or left-wing propaganda. That ambiguity adds to the fun of the film and reminds us of a kinder and gentler (although equally paranoid) era,
The October 2, 2018 DVD release of "The Beverly Hillbillies" S5 coinciding with the CBS DVD releases of the (reviewed) "The Love Boat" S4 V1 and the (soon-to-be-reviewed) "Boat S4 V2 sets starts October well for sofa spuds who are facing increasingly cold and stormy days at home. The facts that CBS recognizes the profitability of these sets and that "Boat" and "Hillbillies" remain in syndication decades after their original broadcast runs are the strongest endorsements of their staying power. One warning is that watching these episodes WILL result in subconsciously singing the themes to yourself.
For the benefit of the folks who both are unfamiliar with "Hillbillies" and do not want to spend roughly 30 seconds watching the opening credits, the concept is that titular "poor mountaineer" Jed Clampett (Buddy Ebsen of "Barnaby Jones") moves his daughter Elly May and two other relatives (i.e., dim-witted nephew Jethro and feisty elderly mother-in-law Granny) to the titular upscale community after he strikes oil.
TV Land history includes that the original title of the series is "The Hillbillies of Beverly Hills." That title appears in the opening credits of the pilot episode that the CBS S1 DVD set includes.
Much of the "com" results from "sits" that either involve the backwoods folks not understanding city ways, clashing with "civilized" neighbors, or taking a page from "The Andy Griffith Show" by having rural-style common-sense win out over urban knowledge. Their urban friends comically greedy bank president Milburn Drysdale (Raymond Bailey) and his truly long-suffering Radcliffe-educated secretary "Miss" Jane Hathaway (Nancy Kulp) do their best to keep all concerned happy.
S5 gets off on an apt foot by having Drysdale return from vacation a few hours before Jethro and Granny get back from visiting the kinfolk back in the hills, The central "sit" that provides "com" in this one is the haul from the latter journey includes a crank telephone that Granny wants to connect to a party line in Beverly Hills. One spoiler is that it turns out that $60M cannot buy everything.
Things take a slightly dark turn in a "very special" two-part episode early in S5. This one revolves around a con that has a city girl masquerade as a girl from back home as part of a "badger game" that involves getting incriminating photos of Jed. Part of the fun relates to the grifters not realizing with whom they are dealing.
A series highlight comes roughly in the middle of S5. 1910s-'20s movie star Gloria Swanson plays herself in an episode that fully embraces the wacky misunderstanding aspect of "Hillbillies." A mistaken belief that Swanson is destitute prompts the clan to visit her with an offer of help. This leads to true hilarity in a "I'm ready for my close-up, Mr. Clampett" resolution.
Another S5 episode has John Wayne stop by as himself. The "sit" this time is that a peaceful dispute with an Indian tribe leads to involving The Duke to address what is believed to be a pending raid.
Two separate episodes with a common element have the Clampetts believe that little green men have landed almost literally in their backyard and that a hippopotamus is a giant hog. This is not to mention another story arc that has a man in a gorilla suit pay the price for monkeying around with these hard-working folks.
The aforementioned longevity of "Hillbillies" primarily relate to the timeless humor associated with an "alien" not understanding how we live. It is easy to imagine Orkan Mork of (the reviewed) "Mork and Mindy" joining the Clampetts in identifying a large concrete basin full of water as a "cement pond."
More guilty pleasure comes via those of us with toxic neighbors relating to the torment that those "dreadful hillbillies" cause next-door neighbor Mrs. Drysdale. Few (if any of us) must contend with farm animals destroying our yards or with fully noxious odors from cooking outside invading our space. However, nuisances such as frequently barking dogs and feral children that can be even more nerve-wracking than livestock make many of us want to rid the area of these undesirable clans.
The twofer that Warner Archive provides regarding the September 18, 2018 DVD release of the 1938 prison drama morality tale "Over the Wall" begins with this movie being a textbook example of the lost gems Golden Age B-movies that comprise a significant portion of the Archive catalog. The "two" begins with this release continuing the tradition of Archive leitmotifs. The theme this time is prison dramas, and the set includes the reviewed Warner Bu-ray release of the 1973 classic film "Papillon" about the obsessive efforts of the boy with the butterfly tattoo to escape from Devils Island.
The first of the numerous elements that make "Wall" Archive worthy begins with the unusual source material. This tale of hot-tempered brawling Irishman Jerry Davis is based on a book by real-life Sing Sing warden Lewis E. Lawes. The clear message that that well-known prison strives to rehabilitate, rather than punish, establishes both that it is the polar opposite of Devil's Island and that Davis either is going to be a better man for a dead one at the end of film.
"Wall" further reflects the studio system. The liner notes on the DVD back cover share that "Warner Bros.' celebrated 'Singing Cowboy' Dick Foran trades in his leathers for a prison jumper" to play Jerry. It is highly likely that most (if not all) the supporting characters and all the extras are largely selected based on who is available during the time allotted for making "Wall."
"Wall" not being shy about depicting the stereotypes of the era is another source of entertainment. Jerry is a perfect depiction of a 20-something New York punk who needs very little provocation to bust a window or a head; his much-younger brother Jimmy seems destined to head down the same road. Jimmy additionally represents the humorous stereotype of a prepubescent boy of the '30s who looks and sounds like a grown-ass man. This makes a scene in which the lad must relinquish the death seat and move to the bitch seat in the car of Jerry funny.
The Irish stereotype continues with the father of Jerry and Jimmy having a brogue that makes him sound as if he is fresh of the boat even though his wife lacks any Irish accent, The man who is at least in his 60s picking a fight with Jerry helps complete the picture.
Other period-specific glee relates to the spinning headlines that provide substantive exposition and a swinging pendulum of a clock accompanying months flying by to indicate the passage of time.
True to form with this type of film, Jerry barely avoids becoming a guest of the state the first time that he gets his Irish up. Of course, he ignores the advice to temper his temper.
The impetus for the events that lead to the unfortunate incarceration of Jerry is his sleazy fight manager setting him up for a literal fall in a fight that is the venture of a legitimate businessman. Emotional and physical pain prompts our raging bull to track down his manager. That altercation leads to the manager pushing up daises.
The judicial proceeding that concludes with convicting Jerry of manslaughter occurs in what aptly can be described as a boxing kangaroo court. This leads to his getting locked up in the aforementioned correctional institution.
The arrogance and related defiance of Jerry on going inside figuratively (and hilariously) places him in the bitch seat in a manner that provides numerous highlights, Modern audiences know that the real-life wake-up call would have involved a badly bruised body and Jerry becoming the wife of one or more inmates.
Prison chaplain Father Neil Connor is the primary force behind the effort to provide Jerry a form of deliverance other than the type described above. Of course, that initial effort fails.
The first turning point occurs when Jerry passes a test of character. His showing his true nature reaps immediate benefits, We next get a '30s version of a jailhouse rock that lets Foran showoff his singing voice. A positive aspect of this is that his songs provide the same type of pleasant surprise as when Jim Nabors demonstrates that his singing style is nothing like the high-pitched Southern accent of Gomer Pyle. A less-nice aspect of this scene in "Wall" is that a stereotype involving two black inmates is not laughable but is excusable in the context of the era.
The climax commences with Jerry getting a chance to prove his innocence; this results in a fast-paced final 10-minutes as Connor and other supporters try to prevent Jerry both from reverting to his old ways and from being his own worst enemy, Seeing these men team up in the name of truth, justice, and the American way strongly suggests that they would go on to star in a television series about street-wise detectives if "Wall" was made in the '70s.
Additional appeal of this highly dated fable is that it reminds us of a much happier time in which prisons had some success at rehabilitating inmates and did not just release them on the streets stronger and more crime savvy than when they entered. On the "order" side of things, this period also is known for having a judicial system with proper due process, participants who favored justice over wins and/or expediency, and in which one went wrong was more easily put right,
'Perfect Strangers' S5 DVD: Odd Couple Cousins Find Themselves in More Sublimely Ridiculous Situations
The Warner Archive September 25, 2018 DVD release of the 1989-90 fifth season of the ABC sitcom "Perfect Strangers" brings us over the hump regarding home-video sets of this eight-season show. This release also provides hope regarding every season being available as snow begins melting roughly six months from now. People interested in learning more about "Strangers" things are encouraged to check out the Unreal TV 2.0 review of the third season and post on the fourth one.
The pedigree of "Strangers" producers Robert L. Boyett and Thomas L. Miller including the "Strangers" spinoff "Family Matters" shows that the team both knows what the public wants and has a talent for catch-phrases that delight fans and annoy less-enamored folks. Trust me; I know what I'm doing.
The S5 "Strangers" episodes provide the perfect context for discussing the talent of Boyett and Miller for producing a likable TV show that enhances tried-and-true elements with nice surprises. The tried-and-true begins with the odd couple roommates concept of high-strung 20-something Appleton, Wisconsin native Larry Appleton (Mark Linn-Baker) sharing a Chicago apartment with his laid-back and childlike fresh-off-the-boat naive cousin/co-worker Balki Bartokomous (Bronson Pinchot). The writers deserve great credit for keeping the "Beverly Hillbillies" style element of "Strangers" fresh after four seasons. An example of this is an S5 episode that has Balki seeing a dentist for the first time.
We also get a nice twist on the evil twin cliche. Even fresher off-the-boat cousin Bartok (Pinchot) visits from Los Angeles, He is a smooth talker who quickly and repeatedly takes advantage of Balki. This adds a "Its A Wonderful Life" element to the episode in that we see how Balki may have turned out on moving to America but for relatively (pun intended) patient and kind Cousin Larry mentoring and supporting him.
"Strangers" shines even better than it knows regarding a very special two-part episode that offers a treasure trove of sitcom gems. The bonanza begins with Larry hoping to make his visiting father (a.k.a. Uncle Walter) proud of his boy. Having James Noble, who is best known of playing the governor on the fellow ABC sitcom "Benson," checks the box for having a popular actor guest star.
The familiar elements continue with the underlying "sit" leading to the regular "com" in the form of Larry ignoring a warning of Balki leading to mayhem that includes two characters in conflict getting locked in a room. Having the "how many times have you ..." joke turn against Larry later in the episode is even more awesome.
The placing of beloved characters in mortal danger that delights viewers comes when the boys and Dad get trapped in a basement that is filling with water. The bonus is an enhanced ticking time bomb in the form of a electrical box that will fry our friends when the water level reaches it. Several decades of television shows and the fact that "Strangers" gets an additional 3.5 seasons makes the fact that the boys escape not much of a spoiler.
The episode title provides the presumably unintended bonus. The words "Father Knows Best?" obviously refers to the '50s nuclear-family sitcom of that name that lacks punctuation in its title. The tidbits from a vintage interview with "Best" star Billy Gray includes that "Dad" Robert Young wanted the title to include the question mark to indicate that his family guy character was not necessarily the smartest guy in the room.
The bonus fun in the interview relates to Gray, who is well-known for a marijuana bust, once laughing and saying "you don't smoke, do you?" The only admissions regarding that are once finding the pot holder in the kitchen of a high school friend hilarious and going to great lengths to avoid my mother on some Friday nights while living with her for a few months after college.
"Strangers" fans further get the "Larry plans a vacation from Hell" episode. The well-intentioned amateur travel agent books the boys and their girls a stay at the worst-ever Caribbean resort. Of course, this includes a strong risk of not making it back alive,
Another outing sets the stage for the sitcom staple of a Rashomon episode in which characters tell different accounts of the events that lead to the interaction in the opening scene. In this case, the drama relates to a bad dude crashing a corporate retreat.
The bigger picture is that the shrewd instincts that keep "Strangers" on the air so long (and warrant a tie-in to the HBO drama series "The Leftovers") include a respect for tradition that largely avoids the series looking dated. The absurd native garb of Balki is amusing in any era and the business casual attire of Larry is adequately timeless. Further, most plots avoid '80s (and '90s) centric references. As the few episodes described above show, the "sits" could mostly occur during any era. One exception is that Trip Advisor protects against staying at dumps,
The final word is time is don't be ridiculous, buy the DVD.
The CBS Home Entertainment October 2, 2018 DVD set of "The Love Boat" S4 V1 is an apt Unreal TV 2.0 inaugural post on a CBS release in the wake (no pun intended) of many such reviews on Unreal TV 1.0. An amusing aspect of this is that a world-class publicist named Tiffany is a former representative of this division of the Tiffany network.
An aside is that this simply mahvelous set (which includes an option of watching the always fun "next week on 'The Love Boat'" promo. that kept viewers excited all week) presents the episodes much better than the butchered and commercial-laden versions on MeTV. This huge fan of that series gave up on those reruns after two weeks but revels in the S4 V1 versions.
Please stay tuned both for a review of "Boat" S4 V2 and for the Unreal TV 1.0 articles on CBS releases to make their way onto Unreal TV 2.0. The icing on the cake is an upcoming post on the CBS October 2, 2018 DVD release of "The Beverly Hillbillies" S5, which includes the series highlight episode with Gloria Swanson.
Sofa spuds whose knowledge of "Boat" is limited to this mid-70s to mid-80s anthology providing large and small screen stars of Christmases past, present, and future current a higher profile are missing half the story. "Boat" essentially is a reboot of the 1969-74 comedy anthology series "Love American Style (which also has CBS releases) that does not limit the setting of its tales all across the relationship spectrum to a cruise ship that typically travels from Los Angeles to Mexico and back again.
The general concept of "Boat" is that the aforementioned celebrities usually play passengers who typically board the titular Pacific Princess in one of three categories. Happily in love, in the period between love and goodbye, or single but not necessarily looking to mingle. These cruisers first bond with one of the crew members who are series regulars and then experience trauma and/or drama before ending the cruise at least wiser and often happier.
Watching the 11 hour (or more) long episodes in the S4 V1 shows that this 1980-81 season is a particularly strong one, The bigger picture is that a TV writers strike is behind delaying the season premiere; this also is the broadcast season in which America learns "Who Shoot JR." A spoiler regarding that one is that resolution in "Dallas" provides good fodder for a cross-network crossover with "Boat."
The S4 season-premiere of "Boat" perfectly illustrates the fun and the themes that make this series '80stastic. Tom Hanks gets his second acting credit by playing a college friend of assistant purser Burl "Gopher" Smith just as Hanks' sitcom "Bosom Buddies" is premiering. The rub is that the former campus Romeo and current playah degrading Gopher prompts the latter to pretend that gal pal/cruise director Julie McCoy is his main squeeze. This charade stirs up feelings that may lead to the co-workers literally and figuratively docking in San Pedro.
The tables are turned in a later episode that has a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader recruit Gopher to help w her fend off an aggressive suitor. This storyline turns particular dark until the squad uses girl power to save their savior.
Meanwhile in S1 E1, comedian Nipsey Russell plays a member of group of Korean War soldiers who are having a min-reunion with their rough-and-gruff sergeant whom Vic Tayback of '80scom "Alice" plays. This leader unduly reliving old days prompts the group to persuade a cabin cleaner (Doris Roberts then of the sitcom "Angie") to pretend to like him. Of course, the Roberts and the Tayback characters enter a real relationship that his learning of the initial deception jeopardizes.
The numerous highlights of the two-hour second S4 episode include it being one of several extended episodes in the set. It also is one of the two completely separate episodes that is filmed during a "very special" cruise that starts in St. Thomas before going through the Panama Canal and then back to the home port of Los Angeles. Both episodes will teach most viewers new things about the Canal.
The second episode also is one of two in this set with a unifying theme. This cruise has several engaged couples vying in a contest to win fabulous prizes. The other cruise has the ship transporting several two and four-legged passengers to a horse race in Acapulco. The disco group The Village People boarding to perform and to race their horse in that one that also has the aforementioned cheerleaders contribute to making that one especially memorable. Gopher racing the People singer who dresses as an Indian perfectly captures the spirit of "Boat."
The episode with the engaged couples has "Happy Days " (yes, CBS has released ""Days" sets) star Erin Moran play an engaged woman whose mother comes on board to discourage her from tying the knot, Moran "Days" co-star Donny Most plays the best friend/best man of a preemptive runaway groom who is engaged to a character whom "Dallas" star Charlene Tilton plays.
The Golden Age representation includes Debbie Reynolds playing a character who forms a friendship with potential benefits with Captain Stubing (Gavin MacLoed) after leaving her husband. MacLoed "Mary Tyler Moore Show" co-star Ted Knight plays a man with sub-zero cold feet who has a comically frequent on-again-off-again engagements with a character whom Rue McClanahan plays in a break between "Maude" and "The Golden Girls." Fellow "Golden Girl" Betty White plays a character married to real-life White spouse Allen Ludden in the horse episode,
Another highlight of the contest episode has Ann Jillian and Dawn Wells play fellow judges of Gopher who want to score with him on every level. Oft-divorced resident doctor Adam Bricker trying to push his buddy out of the way is equally pure "Boat."
This brief discussion of a few episodes in this set should evoke fond memories by current fans and show "virgins" that the classic theme song accurately "promises something for everyone." Seeing the TV Land and silver screen celebrities in pure escapist stories is the perfect cure for an era in which literally every week brings a new event that risks the federal government imploding, "Boat" provided the perfect way to decompress on Saturday nights in the '80s and offers more intense therapy in in the 2010s.
The final endorsement is that your not-so-humble reviewer gets a great deal of review DVDs and Blu-rays but pre-ordered the S4 Vi set to have it on his release date. He also has bought every previous CBS set of "Boat."
'Papillon' '73 Blu-ray: 'Butterfly' McQueen Shows He Does Know Plenty About Birthing Devil's Island Escape Plans
The disappointment regarding the Warner Archive September 18, 2018 Blu-ray release of the epic 1973 Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman docudrama "Papillon" has ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the quality of the film or the incredibly clear Blu-ray remaster. The negative aspect is that the titular boy with the butterfly tattoo (MacQueen) and his well-heeled counterfeiter friend/fellow prisoner (Hoffman) do not adequately bond with a third character to warrant a Devil's Island triangle reference.
Archive continues its solid tradition of leitmotifs by pairing this Blu-ray with a DVD release of the (soon-to-be-reviewed) 1938 B-movie "Over the Wall" based on a story by real-life Sing Sing warden Lewis E. Lawes. "Papillon," which is a '70s sensation based on the film and the massively best-selling memoir on which is based, chronicles the incredible efforts of safecracker Henri Charriere to escape the aforementioned French Ghana prison camp. The nickname of this man relates to the aforementioned ink on his chest.
Writing the book makes sharing that Charriere ultimately succeeds not much of a spoiler. However, like most film and television stories, the entertainment value is watching the compelling story of his prison break.
Adding horrific abuse that includes sadistic starvation of prisoners who must wear filthy pajama-like striped uniforms contributes a disturbing concentration camp vibe to this classic film. Of course, McQueen doing his usual excellent job portraying an obsessively determined tough guy and Hoffman channeling creepy scumbag Ratso Rizzo to play Louis Dega superbly bring the script by famously blacklisted screenwriter Dalton Trumbo to life.
The impact (which includes the concentration camp vibe) begins with the naked new fish assembled in a courtyard. They are instructed about what lies ahead before being told to dress just ahead of a heavily guarded walk of shame through crowded city streets. The spectacle/ritual aspect of this greatly establishes the tone of the film.
Some of the limited but very good humor of "Papillon" relates to the conviction of that man. He is an admitted safecracker but is convicted for murdering a pimp. The response to that alleged crime makes it seem as if France puts men who keeps both whores and tricks in line on the same social level as Nobel Prize winners.
The prisoners then board a sea-worthy vessel that evokes thoughts of a slave ship; they are herded aboard and crammed into locked below-deck cages; their bathing consists of a fire hose blasting water through the bars. We additionally see them being served what already likely is watered-down soup on the deck in in the pouring rain.
The savvy Papillon uses this time to begin plotting his escape; learning that Louis is a good candidate to provide the capital for that venture is the start of a beautiful friendship,. Louis realizing that Papillon can help assure living to bride guards another day seals the deal.
One of the best scenes in the film revolves a scheme for desired employment. Our boys are a heartbeat away from literally making the best of a bad situation when Louis experiences karma. Stating that Papillon and Louis end up to their elbows in alligators is not far from the truth.
Subsequent events result in Papillon experiencing a massively unfortunate incarceration; his adhering to the principle of snitches get stitches is what makes that particularly bad situation worse. These scenes additionally prove that McQueen waz robbed regarding not even being nominated for a Best Actor Academy Award.
The nature of the extended absence makes the heart of Louis grow much fonder for his protector. Things quickly going awry with their Plan C for escape turns this film into a dark variation of a Bob Hope and Bing Crosby road movie, This also provides the context for additional beautiful travelogue scenery that makes good use of Blu-ray technology.
The end of this portion of the adventure will make you want to shout "that bitch" despite fully knowing that doing so ensures that you will go to actual Hell. The self-righteous betrayal of Papillon is bad enough; the insult that is added to the injury reinforces what virtually every Catholic school student has ever asserted.
This leads to resuming the battle of wills regarding which the guys in charge seem to not realize that someone with nothing to lose has no reason to stop trying to get away. Making it clear that punishment, rather than rehabilitation, is the goal of the imprisonment does not help matters.
As stated above, this 20th-century Hollywood movie delivers a happy ending. Determining how Charriere becomes one of the few men to ever beat the house and whether Louis makes it as well requires watching the film. One hint is that Papillon shows that he is more resourceful than the professor of "Gilligan's Island" fame.
The 12-minute bonus feature "The Magnificent Rebel" greatly enhances the "Papillon" experience. This making-of documentary from the time of filming the movie introduces us to the real Charriere and shows how the filmmakers boldly go where no man has gone before. We further get to see the state of the prison facility in the early '70s.
The bottom line regarding all this is that the biggest reason that the film continues to thrive to the extent of warranting a recent remake is that all the folks in front of and behind the camera realize that the devil is in the details.
'Queen of Outer Space' Blu-ray: Zsa Zsa Gabor Dispels Myth Men Are From Mars and Women From Venus Do Not Want Them
Warner Archive belatedly goes to camp in releasing the 1958 CinemaScope film "Queen of Outer Space" on September 25 2018, rather than during the summer. The better news is that this wonderful blend of '50s kiddie matinee serials and "Star Trek" OS (in addition to a strong dose of the Hanna Barbera cartoon "Josie and the Pussycats") is well worth the wait. Further, the literally and figuratively alien landscapes and the bright and bold (pun intended) "Trek" style clothes and interiors look fabulous in Blu-ray.
The lack of references to probing Uranus or other mentions of that planet is the only one of two disappointment regarding "Queen." The second letdown relates to star Zsa Zsa Gabor, who is well known for slapping a police officer in 1989, not slapping any of the men in the movie.
It is hoped that feminists take the amusing chauvinism of the era in context. The literal battle of the sexes and the humor related to the titular monarch and her subjects being voluptuous females are very amusing from the perspective of someone watching the film 60 years after the release.
Knowing that a JOKE that we get a look at a Hillary Clinton administration is sure to cause great offense reflects that our time lacks a sense of humor regarding many topics. Archive deserves tremendous credit for not slapping (no pun intended) the same "reflects the less-enlightened society of the time" disclaimer on "Queen" that are placed on some DVD sets of vintage cartoons.
The following YouTube clip of a trailer for "Queen" includes every element described above. The video being standard-def. and seemingly not remastered highlights the awesome job with the Blu-ray version.
The kiddie-matinee vibe begins when Captain Nel Patterson (Eric Fleming who is born on the Fourth of July), de facto second-in-command Lieutenant Mike Cruze (cartoon voice actor and comic character actor Dave Willock), and hunky womanizing Lieutenant Larry Turner get the grunt duty of providing harmless middle-aged Professor Konrad Uber service to the "Deep Space Nine" space station regarding which he literally and figuratively is a principal architect. This occurs in the far-off future of 1985.
The Saturday afternoon at the movies sense continues with the cheesy effects associated with our quartet approaching the aforementioned space station while that facility is under attack from a ray. That beam hitting its mark destroys the station and makes the ship the next target.
The aim of the weapon of mass destruction ultimately being true disables the ship and has it crash in one of the best comically low-budget special-effects scene in "Queen." The men soon determine that they are on Venus.
A literal rude awakening occurs when a group of women dressed in knockoffs of '60s-era Starfleet uniforms captures the men and takes them to their titular leader. One spoiler is that no red skirt is harmed in the filming of this scene,
The glee of our testosterone-fueled heroes on finding themselves the only males among a group of space babes lessens on learning that the queen has made Venus a true matriarchy and comes to the table with an actual feminazi attitude of extreme prejudice regarding earth in general and men specifically. Her policy is to eliminate the threat of the men and their planet before they can attack.
The literal saving grace of the skipper, the first mate (and the professor) is the character whom Gabor portrays, Talleah is a scientist who is among a group that does not consider men evil per se and does not advocate blowing up a planet as a preventative measure. The potential for offensive humor this time relates to the opening to comment that Talleah and her followers advocate a coup d' tata.
These covert agents aid and abet the enemy noncombatants in a manner that will put the bubble-gum chase music from "Josie" and "Scooby-Doo" in the heads of every child of the '70s. A scene in which the pursued and the pursuing duck in and out of doors in a long hallway is especially awesome in this regard.
This leads to the inevitable Venusian standoff. Our bros and their hos face off against the ruling party. Suffice it to say that that outcome involves very masculine behavior. The epilogue perfectly reflects the time and shows that Kirk is not the only pig in space.
The Lionsgate October 9, 2018 DVD release of the 2018 Lifetime Movie Network film "Her Stolen Past" shows that the spirit of these films live on; the ONLY disappointment regarding this thoroughly modern melodrama is that it does not star an '80com actress or a lead in a procedural.
The delightfully campy premise this time is straight out of the Harlequin novel of the same name. The suspense, drama, and romance begins when newbie medical resident Sonya Daniels (Shanice Banton of "Degrassi: The Next Generation") comes home to attend the funeral of her murdered mother. What happens next is pure Lifetime and Harlequin. An observation regarding this is that it is a shame that Sonya finding true love requires a relatively high body count.
The facts that Sonya is orphaned and that her beloved mother was murdered in an underground parking lot seem to not unduly phase her. Finding a mysterious diaper bag while cleaning out the home of her mother does trigger a relatively strong response that amplifies on finding a birth certificate in a pocket of the bag.
Romance enters the picture on Sonya hiring dreamy former cop/current private detective Brandon Hayes (Michael Xavier of "Bitten") to investigate the decades-old kidnapping of the baby to whom the certificate relates. The rest of the story is that the mystery infant is the birth child of a local wealthy couple that owns a corporation that is on the verge of a major event. Of course, all this ultimately ties together,
The dual sleuthing of Sonya and Brandon reveals that her mother is up to her elbows in the whole mess Discovering the circumstances of the kidnapping and the reasons for wanting to silence both Sonya and her mother are more surprising than learning the current identity of the child,
An amusing aspect of "Past" involves Brandon spending the night at the inherited house of Sonya after a home invasion. Having Brandon fold the sheets on the couch the next morning clearly is included ONLY to show that nothing happened, This scene is despite the house having at least two bedrooms.
All of this leads to a wonderful pulp fiction climax in which the blameless and the partially innocent are at the mercy of the villain and are about to meet their maker until the dashing hero crashes in and saves the day. The epilogue does include a nice twist.
The primary appeal of all this is the ongoing guilty pleasure fun of Lifetime movies. The producers play it smart by figuratively keeping to the script, The production team further plays it smart by preventing "Past" from looking dated. The clothing and house styles are traditional but still look modern, and the use of tech. is limited. Further, there are not any era-specific references.