The Disney March 26, 2019 DVD release of the February 2019 Disney Channel live-action "Kim Possible" movie does the 2002-2007 Disney Channel series of the same name proud. This includes excellent jobs recreating the unique exteriors of primary locations Chez Possible, Middleton High that the titular teen titan and goofy sidekick Ron Stoppable attend, and home of the naco Bueno Nacho. The homage continues with an awesome live-action remake (complete with Ron getting pantsed) of the series opening credits.
Although this tribute centers around scientist-turned-evil-genius Dr. "Drew" Drakken (Todd Stashwick) with a long history with the Possible family, other "Batman" '66 style villains also receive shout outs. Denying Lord Monkey Fist and Senor Senor Junior this honor is a travesty that the anticipated sequel hopefully will remedy.
The following YouTube clip of the "Possible" trailer includes a look at the Bond-style old open that also provides the origin story. This promo. additionally highlights the girl power vibe of the film.
Saying much more than that "Possible" is similar to the 2005 Disney Channel animated feature "Kim Possible: So the Drama" runs the risk of major spoilers. Suffice it to say that Draken (coiced by John DiMaggio in the series) again subjects Kim (Sadie Stanley of "Coop and Cami Ask the World") to specialized insidious psychological warfare.
The larger plot of Draken and henchwoman Shego (Taylor Ortega) is to swipe experimental government tech. with literally mind-altering potential,
The "B" story that truly is so the drama is straight out of "The Brady Bunch." Middle-school star/national hero Kim and Ron (Sean Giambrone of "The Goldbergs") are now lowly high-school freshman. Kim frienemy sophmore Bonnie does all that she can to add insult to that injury.
The "Brady" vibe continues with Kim and Ron befriending damaged new kid in town Athena; efforts to help this outcast fit in when she soon surpasses Kim on the soccer field, the classroom, and even on missions. This leads to the film moral that there is more to life than being the best.
Worlds collide when a mission to rescue Athena leads to a girls' night out on which Ron and a CGI Rufus the naked mole rat tag along. The ensuing highly Disneyfied Bond-style climax brings the main portion of the film to a satisfying end; the epilogue (including stingers) sets the stage for the aforementioned "Kim Possible II." We sadly have been waiting years for the PROMISED "Teen Beach Movie IV."
The copious short-and-sweet DVD extras begin with cute audition footage of our stars and goes on to a Q & A in which Stanley and Giambrone answer allegedly random questions from fans. We also get a music video of Stanley singing the infectious "Possible" theme. Be prepared to repeeately sing "call me, beep me, if you really want to reach me."
Getting over disappointment regarding the sadistically misleading title of the 1943 WWII propaganda film "The Gorilla Man" allows thoroughly enjoying the recent Warner Archive DVD release of this B movie. The titular primate is wounded warrior Capt. Craig Killian, who earns that nickname for climbing skills that he demonstrates in our story.
The textbook fun begins with Nazi agent Dr. Dorn, who uses his private sanitarium on the English coast as a cover, learning through his literal spy network that the ship carrying Killian's Heroes back to Mother England from a commando raid was sunk. The rest of the story is that that band of brothers is expected to come ashore near the aforementioned medical facility.
A series of seemingly fortunate events leads to an oblivious Killian becoming a guest of Dorn and the even madder Dr. Ferris. A subsequent reveal that Dorn has a stranglehold on his associate turns out to be very apt. The coercion of Nurse Kruger is more despicable.
The plot thickens on Dorn learning that Killian is desperate to give British General Devon important information about a Nazi incursion. This leads to a collateral damage scheme to discredit Killian so that his superiors literally will not take him at his word.
The insidious Nazi manipulation leads to Killian having his credibility increasingly impaired, trying to stay one step ahead of the London police, and racing to try to keep the body count low. His inadvertently repeatedly acting as his puppetmaster desires does not help things.
Director of 101 projects D. Ross Lederman and writer of 154 scripts Anthony Coldeway earn their filler feature an A with a perfect climax. The usual suspects all convene at the scene of the crime where Ferris does his thing for his fun and for the profit of Dorn. Meanwhile, Killian is on site thanks to his aforementioned talent. The general and his senior staff meeting to discuss the now-imminent threat from the Jerrys provide the final piece of the puzzle.
The real fun come when Dorn overplays his hand and the general's daughter shows that she is capable of far more than lying back and thinking of England; the final shot does strongly indicates that she will be doing that later that evening.; one can only hope that she gets a chocolate bar and a pair of stockings for her trouble.,
The Breaking Glass Pictures DVD release of the unrated director's cut of the 2017 HIGHLY erotic drama "Adonis" greatly pushes the envelope even regarding the edgy and often explicit Breaking films. Like the (reviewed) film "Utopians" (2015) by Scud, "Adonis" pulls off the tough trick of successfully combining erotic, pornographic (i.e., appealing to prurient interests), and artistic elements. This gay-themed film joining the ranks of comparable straight films is another example of the expression "You've come a long way, Baby" applying to people all along the Kinsey Scale.
The following YouTube clip of the Breaking trailer for "Adonis" provides a strong sense of the erotic and the stylized artistic elements while including a tantalizing taste of the pornographic aspects.
A scene in "Adonis" in which star Adonis He, who plays opera singer turned porn star/nude male model/high-rent boy in upscale bro thel Yang Ke, is confronted with his appearance in "Utopians" removes any doubt regarding the connection between these two films in an apparent indirect trilogy. The character whom He plays in the earlier film is a young man who meets a professor who uses the Scud mixture of eroticism and pornography to help the boy realize his true self and be comfortable with his sexuality.
The life of Ke is more turbulent then his younger self/counterpart in "Utopians." He is raised by a single mother and apparently follows a family tradition regarding the nature of his birth. He first literally takes to the streets when the opera company for which he is singing for his supper goes bankrupt., This indicates the truth of the statement that it is over when the fat lady sings.
The opening scenes of "Adonis" perfectly illustrate the combined themes of the film and portend of things to come that also have already come to pass. Scud pays homage to both "The Lord of the Flies" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (not to mention "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers") by having Ke awaken naked in a lush forest. We see equally naked masked post-adolescents peer out from the foliage and descend from the trees to surround this visitor,
Much of the rest of this highly symbolic movie centers around a film shoot in which Ke spends his 30th birthday laying on a cross while a large group encircles him and takes their turn at center stage topping this star. The extent of the brutality of each penetration varies according to a combination of the aggressiveness of the top and the degree to which he succumbs to the goading of the director. The nature of the film, the camera angles, and one money shot all indicate that at least some of the sex acts are real.
Although it is somewhat ambiguous, it seems that Ke is taking a "lay back and think of England" approach to losing his cherry in a few different ways, This apparently is the narrative context for the scenes that show what led to this.
We see Ke living an unconventional but happy childhood; like the rest of the film, this ties into what is to transpire.
We also see how Ke goes from being an opera singer to a sex worker. This begins with posing for nude pictures on a city street. The response of viewers to the aftermath of that photo shoot state a great deal about the personality of that individual.
Ke then quickly meets his mentor/protector/agent/pimp. This leads to the aforementioned job catering to the needs of wealthy men. A movable feast and a private party are highlights from that period in the life of Ke.
This employment leads to a houseboy gig for a creepy older perv. and ultimately to the film shoot that Scud has unfold throughout. A highlight there is one of the boys getting a little rough from the start shows that at least Ke (if not He) realizes that he is not ready for the rough ride ahead. The lesson here is that you sometimes must take 20 or more for the team. This leads to a very symbolic payment that disappoints viewers who anticipate several money shots that would have been even more symbolic.
Ke survives the central ordeal to follow the porn star path of banking on his celebrity and his savings to truly become a respectable businessman. This leads to a strong probability of achieving the American dream only to learn that some people will always consider him a piece of meat despite his quitting the business.
All of this ends with everything going back full circle that puts the opening scenes in perfect context. The overall theme is that all of us are our own worst enemy, and that even people willing to literally and figuratively prostitute themselves may have more worth than believed.
As indicated throughout this post, "Adonis" is notable for appealing to higher and baser sensibilities. The story is well-written, all play their roles well, you will respond consistently with your own essence, and your thoughts will be equally provoked.
The DVD extras begin with entertaining clips of the aforementioned gang of 20 or more. This naked men figuratively sing their thoughts on topics such as where they see themselves at 30. The other extras are a series of "making-of" features.
The joint first and lasting impressions while watching Warner Archive's Blu-ray release of the 1962 Doris Day musical "Billy Rose's Jumbo" are that they do not make 'em like that anymore and that it is amazing that Blu-ray can make a metrocolor film from an era in which that technology was cutting edge look so sharp. The second first impression is that including the auteur's name in the title does not follow the same tendency of those films being not-so-good ala "Stephen King's ..." or "Tyler Perry's ..."
The all-star leading cast of "Jumbo" consists of multi-talented Day as Kitty Wonder, the multi-talented daughter of circus owner Anthony "Pop" Wonder. The true show business legend Jimmy Durante plays Pop, and the back cover art on the Blu-ray set reports that he is in the cast of the 1935 original Broadway production of "Jumbo." Pop is one of the then-69 year-old Durante's final film roles.
Well-known funny lady Martha "The Big Mouth" Raye, who is best known to gen Xers as Benita Bizarre on "The Bugaloos" and Mel's mother on the sitcom "Alice," plays Durante's most loyal performer/fiancee of 14 years Lulu. She is also known for suing David Letterman over an off-color joke at her expense.
Pop's gambling addiction and an ongoing campaign by rival circus owner John Noble to either acquire the film's titular character, who is a widely talented performing elephant, or drive the roughly turn-of-the-century Wonder Circus out of business keep Kitty very busy regarding ensuring that the three-ring show goes on. Textbook definition character actor Dean Jagger, whose credits include the awesome storyteller in the very special "The Partridge Family" Christmas episode, plays the not-so-noble Noble.
The fact that true jack-of-all-trades and master-of-several Sam Rawlins, played by Stephen Boyd, arrives at a particularly tough time for the Wonder Circus seems to be too good to be true turns out to be the case. The audience learns half-way through the film that Sam has the daddy of all ulterior motives for helping the Wonders.
The award for most fun cameo goes to a pre "The Addams Family" John Astin as an eccentric bi-plane pilot.
Day et al do a great job with the Rodgers and Hart score; our Archive friends have located and restored the original Overture, and the toe-tapping starts with "The Circus on Parade." A traditional circus parade aptly accompanies this one.
It is also fun to discover that the classic "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World," which is reprised several times, is from this show. The even-more catchy, and equally reprised, tune "Sawdust, Spangles, and Dreams" is equally memorable.
As Archive shares, beyond legendary showman Busby Berkeley stages the dazzling circus performances. These feature genuine circus performers. Of course, Jumbo steals the show.
The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, of "Jumbo's" trailer (which the Blu-ray set includes) provides a good sense of the film's fun with only minor spoilers. It also demonstrates the sharp contrast between the standard definition version of the film and the spectacular Blu-ray enhancement.
The award for best special feature goes to an incredibly adorable Tom and Jerry cartoon "Jerry and Jumbo" in which the titular mouse teams up with a very cute baby elephant to give the titular cat a well-deserved difficult time. A 1933 Vitaphone musical short "Yours Sincerely" is also fun.
On a more general note regarding this release, "Jumbo" evokes strong memories of the circus museum in Sarasota, Florida and prompts a strong desire to return.
The grande finale of this review is that it is fun for kids of all ages, with the exception of surly adolescents who dislike everything, and is guaranteed to evoke at least a few smiles.The award for best special feature goes to an incredibly adorable Tom and Jerry cartoon "Jerry and Jumbo" in which the titular mouse teams up with a very cute baby elephant to give the titular cat a well-deserved difficult time. A 1933 Vitaphone musical short "Yours Sincerely" is also fun.
On a more general note regarding this release, "Jumbo" evokes strong memories of the circus museum in Sarasota, Florida and prompts a strong desire to return.
The grande finale of this review is that it is fun for kids of all ages, with the exception of surly adolescents who dislike everything, and is guaranteed to evoke at least a few smiles.The award for best special feature goes to an incredibly adorable Tom and Jerry cartoon "Jerry and Jumbo" in which the titular mouse teams up with a very cute baby elephant to give the titular cat a well-deserved difficult time. A 1933 Vitaphone musical short "Yours Sincerely" is also fun.
On a more general note regarding this release, "Jumbo" evokes strong memories of the circus museum in Sarasota, Florida and prompts a strong desire to return.
The grande finale of this review is that it is fun for kids of all ages, with the exception of surly adolescents who dislike everything, and is guaranteed to evoke at least a few smiles.
The Warner Archive March 26, 2019 Blu-ray release of the 1966 Doris Day romcom "The Glass Bottom Boat" offers a threefer in terms of combining a typical Doris Day comedy, a beach movie of the era, and an equally era-apt Cold War comedy.
The following YouTube clip of Day and co-star Arthur Godfrey singing the catchy theme from "Boat" provides a good sense of the fun of the film.
Day plays premature widow Jennifer Nelson, who is an entry-level public-relations worker at an aerospace research lab that roguish Elon Musk of the '60s Bruce Templeton (Rod Taylor) owns and operates. The film title refers to the tourist vessel that the father (Godfrey) of Nelson owns and operates on Catalina Island. An element of "com" enters in the form of Nelson supporting the family business by swimming below the boat while dressed as a mermaid.
Nelson and Templeton meeting under embarrassing circumstances while engaged in their typical weekend activities introduces the "rom" element. Later meeting at their day jobs enhances this element. More '60slicious fun come in the form of Dick Martin of "Laugh-In" fame portraying the playboy business partner of Templeton.
The Cold War aspect relates to the degree to which Nelson and Templeton develop their "rom" coinciding with the increased espionage activity related to a government contract. This provides the context for Paul Lynde to play a comically overzealous security officer who ultimately finds his job to be a drag.
The real fun begins when Nelson gets wind of Mr. Right and his colleagues suspecting her of treason. This girl subsequently seeking to turn the tables on her bosses finds her embroiled in genuine life-threatening intrigue.
The beach movie vibe relates to the catchy theme that Day sings, Templeton almost literally learning about the quantity of fish in the sea, and a couple of scenes in which a boat runs amok in a busy harbor.
All of this makes "Boat" a perfect example of an escapist '60s comedy. Day sticks to the independent woman whom Mother would love for you to bring home if being scorned is not causing her to "Hulk" out. There also is ample good clean slapstick and holding up the military-industrial complex to gentle but well-deserved ridicule.
Archive does equally well regarding the DVD extras; we get three entertaining featurettes related to the film, the highly stylized Chuck Jones Oscar-winning cartoon "The Dot and the Line," and the theatrical trailer for "Boat."
The Film Movement May 14, 2019 DVD release of the 2016 documentary "Bosch The Garden of Dreams" provides a well-produced equally entertaining and educational art-history lesson before many of us turn off our brains for the summer on Memorial Day weekend. As often is the case, the life story of Early Netherlandish painter Hieronymous Bosch is as interesting as the tale of his work "The Garden of Earthly Delights,"
The following YouTube clip of a "Bosch" trailer illustrates (pun intended) the complexity of the man, and the work. You also get a sense of the art world notables, including author Salman Rushdie, who participate in making the film.
The titular artwork is a massive three-panel painting that presents an intentionally strong "And there was light" vibe when the two side panels are opened to reveal the work. The Prado Museum in Madrid opens its doors to allow "Bosch" to be made.
Many of the seemingly countless aforementioned talking heads use the life of Bosch to provide context for their comments on one of the seeming countless scenes in the painting. The larger context is that Bosch, if that is his real name, belongs to a religious order for which he creates "Garden." This aspect of the art reflecting the artist includes a scene in which a film participant points out that a "Garden" image of Jesus speaking with Adam and Eve has the son of God looking at the painting viewer.
The copious (often terrifying) surreal images in "Garden" prompt discussing dreams in the context of the psyche of Bosch, The even more fascinating element of this is the theory of the nature of dreams. Under this theory, Bosch has a very disturbed mind,
The path of "Garden" in its early years seals the deal regarding the story of Bosch being worthy of a Hollywood blockbuster. A regime change leads to a purist undergoing extreme torture to avoid having the painting fall in the wrong hands. The spoiler is that resistance proves to be futile, but "Garden" ends up in arguably a greater place of honor than one would expect.
We further get a sense of the arguably sloppy technique of Bosch. It is surprising to learn that this pro essentially does not color within the lines. However, this helps explain why this art so closely reflects the artist.
The bigger picture (pun intended) is that "Bosch" addresses visiting and thinking about a painting and its artist in an era in which they vast majority of the very few of us who still look at great art only spend a few minutes looking at a reproduction of it online or in a coffee-table book. Even fewer of this small minority take the time to really study and appreciate the result of an artist pouring his or her soul into a project.
The Film Movement DVD release of the 2014 Italian dramedy "Cam Girl" is an entertaining fable for our dystopian times. It also follows the pattern of Movement films presenting universal themes.
The relatability begins with 20-something aspiring Madwoman Alice successfully pitching an idea at the marketing firm where she is a freelancer with what she thinks is a reasonable dream of full-time employment. This reflects both many Millennials not wanting to pay the dues that the the job that they want requires and formerly gainfully employed Gen Xers now being white-collar day laborers.
Alice gets her reality check at the same time that friend Rossella is tiring of being exploited at her cam girl job, other friend Martina is working hard to make a women's basketball team, and waitress Gilda wants to help grease-monkey boyfriend with a personal financial crisis. This leads to Alice organizing the group into starting a cam girl site that pays above the going rate and otherwise offers a desirable work environment.
The aforementioned entertainment stems from the trauma and drama associated with the new normal. Alice has great difficulty managing her intertwined professional and personal lives. This largely comes down to the basic capitalist challenge of both having enough money to keep the business viable and paying labor fair compensation for his or her services. This is not to mention Alice not telling her Cinderella-caliber evil sister and mother how she pays her rent.
Meanwhile pretty woman "Ross" is dating a trust fund baby whom she meets on the job. The obstacles to happily ever after extend beyond whether Ross being a working girl precludes bringing her home to meet the family and the reception that she will receive if that occurs. The happy couple must decide their comfort level regarding bringing things to the next level.
The drama for Gilda revolves around the jealousy of her man. The initial suspicions of Mateo are bad enough; his reaction on learning how his girlfriend earns his money is very typical of reel and real-life ingratitude,
Of course all this comes to a head as the wolves of varying degrees of figurativeness come to the door. The spoiler is that human nature wins out over loyalty.
The overall message is that women can succeed in business so long as they are willing to pay the heavy prices for playing with the boys.
The Dekkoo Films March 12, 2019 DVD of the 2017 S1 of the Dekko network series "Woke" (nee "Les Engages") is highly relatable both to LGBT folks and anyone who has ever worked with a community organization. The broader perspective regarding this show about the lives. loves, and politics of the volunteers of the Lyon-based Point G gay-rights group is that it can be considered the French version of either the British or the American version of the gay-themed dramedy series "Queer As Folk.'
The 16 European and American awards for the aptly titled "Woke" further reflect the international appeal of the series. It really is about the men and the women in your office and your neighborhood.
The following YouTube clip of a "Woke" trailer emphasizes many of the international elements of the series. We see gayby Hicham poorly respond to a confrontation by "Mom" and get glimpses of the Kinsey Scale of lust-to-love that reflects the range of gay relationships.
The focus of "Woke" initially is divided between our leads. Closeted Muslm student Hicham (Justin) is living a life of quiet desperation with his sister Hadjet. The love and support of this well-meaning mother figure includes encouraging him to contact a presumed female object of his affection. Hadjet subsequently showing up unannounced at the quasi love shack of Hicham also strikes a chord with roughly 10-percent of the global population.
Meanwhile, Point G leader/bookshop owner/gay slut Thibaut (Brian) is pursuing all his passions in Lyon. The crisis du jour is that the mayor is basing denying a permit for a Gay Pride festival on the argument that gay people already have enough rights. Of course, hypocrisy soon enters the picture.
A later Point G campaign to locate witnesses to the beating of a volunteer who keeps his apartment by being a rent boy reflects the positive spirit of "Queer." An aspect of this is that discovering a strong gay community often fills the void left regarding lifestyle-based estrangement from blood relatives,
The rest of the story is that Hicham and Thibaut have a history that apparently is comparable to frequent (also aptly named) camp-out behavior that a lack of official approval by the Boy Scouts does not deter. The results of a personal survey is that every gay man who was a scout had his first sexual encounter with another guy during a scout event,
The past of Hicham and Thibaut involves the former hitting the latter in response to a request for a kiss during a non-scout camping trip. This is relatable to the many gay men whose early days of repression and/or ignorance manifest in cruelty toward teen friends who already know and accept that they like other boys "in that way."
The prior encounter and being increasingly woke in the present prompt Hicham to run away from home to join the gay circus. His rude awakening includes a relatable moment in which calf dyke lesbian Murielle berates this guy whom she has never met before for his inadvertent intrusion into ladies' night at the Point G headquarters. The outrage of Murielle relates to male intrusion on the one night of the week that the boys let the girls use the clubhouse.
Hicham soon thereafter has an uneasy reunion with Thibaut. What we know about our troubled activist and what we soon learn both show why he allows his former assailant to share his space, but not his bed.
The aforementioned organizational conflict (not to mention a form of theft that also is not unheard of in the Boy Scouts) leads to politics that turn very dirty. The end result is that charismatic and compassionate Thibaut becomes president/puppet. He has not-so-charismatic or compassionate board member/drag queen/puppetmaster Claude to thank for the rise to power.
On a more positive note, Hicham largely is a poster-child for the modern gay man. The aforementioned victories in the hearts and minds of the hoi polloi allow this nice young man to hold out for a loving and mutual relationship. The facts that he is seeking Mr. Right, rather than Mr. Right Now, and is not looking for love in all the wrong places or in too many faces show that we've come a long way, Baby. It further proves that gay men have achieved the worst nightmare of Brian Kinney of the U.S. "Queer As Folk" that fags have become boring suburban couples.
This perfect storm (including a chance encounter with the one who got away) prompts season-ending soul-searching for Thibaut. The best perspective this time comes from a real-life publicist for a major US studio who states that he understands why artistic temperamental people are artistic and temperamental.
All of this has fans of quality gay-themed dramedy eager for the Dekko DVD release of "Woke" S2.
The Warner Archive April 9, 2019 pristine Blu-ray release of the black-and-white 1958 CinemaScope cult classic "Frankenstein 1970" evokes strong thoughts of the similarly off-beat 1994 film "Ed Wood." This quirky tale also will bring the 1974 Mel Brooks film "Young Frankenstein" to mind.
This meta film opens with the titular monster pursuing the lady in the lake; we soon learn that this merely is a scene in a Golden Age of Television production of the classic tale. This commentary on the small-screen taking over the silver screen is contrary to "1970" using the relatively new CinemaScope film format for the production.
The Scooby gang that is making the movie-of-the-week consists of all the stock characters. Brave and bold director "Fred" is doing his best to maintain order; young blonde starlet "Daphne" is dreaming of stardom; more down-to-earth and brainier secretary "Velma" is trying to do her job while fighting off not entirely unwelcome advances. Goofy cameraman "Shaggy" rounds out the group. The overlapping personal and professional histories of the group members add a particularly Hollywood touch to the story.
The original "Frankenstein" story more fully enters the picture regarding the same-old story of house-rich and cash-poor Baron Victor von Frankenstein (Karloff) temporarily sharing the infamous castle where it all went down with "those meddling kids." An awesome 50s B-movie element enters in the form of Frankenstein using his Air B-n-B money to buy a nuclear reactor for use in his quest to restart the family business. The rest of this aspect of the story is that forced research for the Nazis has negatively impacted the mind of our mad scientist.
Another amusing aspect of this is that the baron has aspirations of obtaining a trophy bride of Frankenstein. This tie-in with "Dracula" extends to the baron being a skilled hypnotist whose lack of an uncle may be why he has never learned that with great power comes great responsibility.
A combination of classic farce and traditional horror film combine to amp up the body count as the Baron seeks to put his new chums to use. A scene in which an oblivious "Daphne" repeatedly narrowly avoids being grabbed by the major-domo turned robotic stooge. This fully bandaged shuffling creature still managing to capture prey evokes good thoughts of "The Mummy."
Of course, the law eventually begins closing in on the baron. This equally predictably leads to a grand confrontation that shows both that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it and that every family business suffers from each generation lacking the same level of mad skills as the one that precedes it.
Archive keeps the fun going with a DVD extra in the form of a '50s-era TV spot.
The Virgil Films separate DVD and Blu-ray releases of the 2018 drama "Borg v. McEnroe" is one of many examples of those of us who are not sports fans missing out on a great movie because of bias against the overall subject of a movie. A personal example from this guy who has never watched "Raging Bull," "Bull Durham," or any "Rocky" film is that getting a review of the complete series of the Aaron Sorkin dramedy "Sports Night" corrected missing out on that terrific program.
As the title indicates, "Borg" centers around the genuinely historic 1980 Wimbledon showdown between the titular tennis stars. What the title does not indicate is that the movie provides strong insight into the psyches of the competitors and presents the main event in a very compelling manner.
An amusing aspect of "Borg" is having volatile Disney Channel veteran Shia LeBeouf play McEnroe, who is best known for having a short temper that results in throwing his tennis racket and verbally abusing match officials. One such incident evokes thoughts of the "Get That Pigeon" theme from the vintage Hanna-Barbera cartoon "Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines," A scene during the heated titular showdown in which McEnroe first is entirely prone on the court and then gets on his hands and knees may prompt sadistic viewers to have "assume the position" thoughts.
The aforementioned insight comes courtesy of alternating scenes that show the competitors in the years and the days leading up to the main event. Seeing the famously cool and collected Borg lose it on the court in his early years of competitive training is surprising; seeing how he becomes the man that he is in 1980 is an interesting coming-of-age story,
For his part, we see the many quirks of McEnroe that demonstrate the pressure that he feels. We further feel sympathy regarding his valid sense that the entire world is against him. This does not stop us from laughing when he curses out the Wimbledon press corps.
The lack of interest in sports is behind fast-forwarding through roughly one-half of the climatic match. Seeing how that transpires prompts watching the rest of that compelling event with amazing shifting results. The stamina alone of the players warrants each of them getting a trophy.
The excellence continues through the "where are they now" epilogue just before the closing credits. The post-match paths of our subjects is worthy of another film.
The bonus features in the forms of separate interviews with LeBeouf, Borg portrayor Sverrir Gudnason, and director Janus Metz provide further noteworthy insights. Metz expresses the aforementioned sentiments in stating his initial lack of interest in the project because of the surface subject but then reading the entire script in one sitting.
The Warner Archive April 16, 2019 DVD release of the well-remastered 1936 screwball comedy "Three Men on a Horse" is a good reminder that funny never stops being funny and that comedy does not require shock value.
The cred. of "Horse" begins with drector Mevyn LeRoy, whose other credits include "The Wizard of Oz" and "Mister Roberts." In front of the camera, Oscar nominated wise-cracking vaudeville veteran Joan Blondell plays stock floozy with a heart-of-gold Mabel. Fellow vaudeville vet Frank McHugh plays henpecked greeting-card writer Erwin Trowbridge.
The following YouTube clip of the fun-filled "Horse" trailer shows that they don't make those promos like they used to.
Our story begins with a wonderful look at 30s-era suburbia. Erwin and his wife Audrey live in a poorly constructed tract house in the development of her brother Clarence. Erwin is getting ready for his job, and Audrey is yelling for him to throw down his suit so that she can send it to the cleaner.
The Lucy and Ricky vibe continues with Audrey finding a little black book in a suit pocket. Being convinced that the entries are names and telephone numbers of loose women prompts Audrey to call Clarence to come over. The stereotypes continue with Clarence quickly going into a tirade about Erwin being a louse and Clarence having warned Audrey not to marry him.
The plot initially thickens on Audrey and Clarence learning that the notes are horse-race winners that Clarence successfully picks on his daily commute. The suspicious minds are additionally schooled regarding Erwin not actually placing any bets.
The added insult to the injury additionally is the straw that breaks the back of the camel. A COD package containing $48 worth of dresses requires that Erwin defend his male pride in front of Clarence by using money saved for other small luxuries to pay for the couture.
This bad morning drives normally sober Erwin to drink; his bar crawl brings him to the watering hole from which professional gambler Patsy (Sam Levene of "The Thin Man" series) and his two stooges operate. Mabel is the wannabe starlet who is the dame of Patsy and helps keep the boys in gambling money.
Learning that easily duped Erwin is the boy with something extra prompts Patsy and the boys essentially to kidnap their new acquaintance. Much of the ensuing comedy relates to providing a conducive setting for picking the ponies.
For her part, Mabel finds both a kindred spirit and a receptive audience in Erwin. This start of a beautiful friendship does not sit well with Patsy.
Meanwhile a distraught Audrey is lamenting over the disappearance of her husband, and his stereotypical fuming boss is irate over the absence of his employee. An oblivious Erwin merely is trying to please everyone.
Of course, all worlds ultimately hilariously collide. The happy endings this time show that justice prevails in Golden Age comedies.
The Warner Archive April 23, 2019 DVD release of the 1936 drama "Jailbreak" reminds us of the good old days when men talked tough and dolls stood by their guys. This is not to mention a smart mouth likely earning you a sock on the jaw or a kick in the pants.
The plot thickens from the opening scenes in which made man Ed Slayden bursts his way into the successful night club of former associate/current truly legitimate businessman Mike Eagen. Slayden is on the lam from a heist gone bad and demands help from a sheepish Eagen. Although he is no longer a baad man, Eagen slugs a copper with the idea that that the anticipated resulting 30 days in stir will keep him out of circulation long enough protect him from Slayden until the heat dies down.
The rub comes in the form of the adage related to the best-laid plans of mice and mobsters. Eagen runs afoul of a two-strikes mandatory-minimum law that results in a two-year sentence, On top of that, prison guard Dan Stone has it out for the new fish based on their prior dealings.
Things go from bad to worse when Slayden and his gang get collared, resulting in becoming fellow guests of the state with Eagen.
The better news is that loyal Girl Friday Jane Rogers and crusading reporter Ken Williams are on Team Eagen. Rogers is diligently keeping the club doors open and doing everything else that she can to help her boss; Williams is using the power-of-the-press to sway public opinion.
A combination of a prison killing and a treasure hunt further rock the institution and transform "Break" into a traditional whodunit. The latter includes adding to the body count and assaulting Williams in the course of his investigation.. This is not to mention Williams proving during a close approximation of a drawing room confrontation that he is much more than a pretty face.
The titular event barely even is a "B" story as a group of cons decide that they want a variation of an early release. They soon learn that successfully going over the wall is not always a good thing.
"Break" being a Hollywood movie from the era in which the Hays Code is enforced ensures that crime does not pay and that at least some good guys get a happy ending. Everyone else simply gets another day older and deeper in debt.
Wrapping up the four-part series of reviews on the uber-diverse Olive Films August 16, 2016 Blur-ray/DVD releases that has dominated Unreal TV this week with the very groovy psychedelic 1968 dramedy "Wild in the Streets" arguably saves the best for last. This is because this satire regarding granting the actual disenfranchised the vote is very relevant in what arguably is a satirical actual presidential campaign makes it the most relevant of the four.
"Wild," which has a wonderful LSD vibe sound track, opens with '60s style surreal scenes of the oppression/abuse and subsequent drug activity and related rebellion during the childhood and teen years of later counterculture rocker 24 year-old Max Frost. Dreamy Christopher Jones of "Ryan's Daughter" does a terrific job playing Max as someone mainstream enough to (initially) not scare parents while being enough of a rebel to be a teen idol in this era of free love.
Using what seems to be the living room set of the wholesome '50s sitcom "Leave it to Beaver" for the childhood home of Max is almost as awesome as casting top-billed Shelley Winters as his status-obsessed (and later borderline-incestuous) typical '60s housewife mother Daphne.
The action soon shifts to the palatial estate where multi-millionaire commodity Frost lives with his entourage/band. These include adorable 15 year-old Yale Law graduate/accountant/guitarist Billy Gage (who looks as if he is one of My Three Sons). Richard Pryor does well in his early film career role as hilariously named drummer Stanley X.
Classic TV fans will enjoy seeing Kellie Flanagan of the '60s fantasycom "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" as the young daughter of Fergus. As a first aside, Flanagan states during a May 2015 Unreal TV interview that "Wild" star Hal Holbrook is extremely caring and nice. As a second aside, Flanagan gets one of the best lines in the film during her final scene in which she takes Frost to old school.
"Youthful" 38 year-old California Congressman/U.S. Senate candidate Johnny Fergus (played by a wonderfully youthful Holbrook) recruiting Max and the band to play at a campaign rally gets those kids thinking about the real-world issue regarding 18 year-olds being eligible to be drafted and sent to Viet Nam but not being allowed to vote until they are 21. A related thought is that the majority of the American population is 25 or younger.
These events soon lead to Fergus losing control of Max, who begins an aggressive campaign to lower the voting age to 14 as shown in an awesome video courtesy of YouTube. This, in turn, lead to other satirical reforms that take the '60s concept of not being able to trust anyone over 30 to a hilarious extreme. The expert handling of this includes every scene with Fergus and Frost having the other appear much taller than the latter and looking like father-son interaction.
The related hilarity includes what can be considered weaponized LSD, an outraged senior in every sense U.S. Senator witnessing the free-spirited debauchery at Chez Frost, and the straight-laced teen son of Fergus engaging in the cutest form of rebellion ever.
Like all great satire, this exagerated version of reality in "Wild" works because it uses a talented writer and director to determine what likable and/or absurd characters say and do. Being given power is a fantasy of the young, and absolute power corrupts absolutely regardless of who yields it.
On a larger level, "Wild" is fun nostalgia for folks old enough to remember psychedelic cinema and a great look at the "ancient" past for folks who have never seen a corded telephone.
The Mill Creek Entertainment April 16, 2019 Blu-ray of the 1987 USA Up All Night caliber film "Hard Ticket to Hawaii" shows that sexploitation god Andy Sidaris follows the tradition of making a sequel bigger and bolder than an original. "Ticket" is the follow-up to the (reviewed) 1985 Sidaris "classic" "Malibu Express."
The even better news for Sidaris fans is that he states during a "behind-the-scenes" feature for the "Ticket" Blu-ray that that film is the first in series of 12. It is likely that MCE will release the other 11 films in the not-to-distant future.
Speaking of MCE, releasing the shot-on-locations "Malibu" and "Ticket" respectively highlights the SoCal and 50th State beauty of the cinematography.
The following YouTube clip of a "Ticket" trailer provides a perfect sense of the mid-budget '80stastic cheesy fun of this film that warrants a T and A rating.
The titular yacht from "Malibu" makes a cameo in the opening scenes of "Ticket." "Malibu" lead character Cody Abilene apparently has lent cousin Rowdy Abilene (Ronn Moss of "The Bold and the Beautiful" and "The Bay") his love boat. Aptly named race-car driver June Khnockers apparently is not along for the ride either.
Although Cody is the main "Malibu" focus, Rowdy takes a backseat to busty blonde bimbo DEA agents Donna and Taryn. Donna especially looks as if she has spent time in Silicone Valley. She also is notable for being half of an homage to '80s busty blonde bimbo Donna Dixon.
Trained agent Donna and witness protection program participant Taryn work a cover job as pilots for a small cargo and charter service airline. (Insert your own cockpit and joystick jokes here.)
The primary action begins when the girls fly a honeymoon couple to a secluded spot that apparently is as accessible by Jeep as it is by airplane. They have just left the lovebirds to sunbathe and take sleazy Polarioids when they see a high-end radio-control plane land. The rest of the story is that that plane has smuggled diamonds that belong to a Bond villain stereotype who does not like doing things the easy way.
This discovery results in the first of several shootouts that sets the game fully afoot. Highlights include a stereotypical evil drag queen, a slice-and-dice Frisbee, and a lounge-lizard Maire D. The latter provides some of the best humor when the response of a woman to an invitation to sit on the face of the host speculates whether his nose is larger than another organ of his.
Another highlight involves a psychotic skater armed with an explosive sex doll.
A variation of a snakes on the plane plot is the B story in this delightfully C-movie with decent production values but porn-star caliber acting and a lace-thin plot. A stateside mishap leads to the girls transporting a rat-cancer infected snake. Of course, this reptile gets free and goes on a feeding frenzy.
The noose tightens on Rowdy, Donna, and their sidekicks teaming up for a raid; their premature declaration of mission accomplished leads to a final showdown in which the good guys get unexpected help, This involves the best entrance in the entire film.
All of this amounts to "Ticket" being an even bigger dream come true than "Malibu" for horny teen boys whose parents are clueless regarding the nature of these new additions to the home-video library. The appeal to the rest of us is no reason to feel guilty pleasure regarding this nostalgia reminder of how the advent of direct-to-video facilitated making movies such as this.
Mel Brooks provides the most important perspective regarding the Omnibus Entertainment April 2, 2019 DVD release of the well-dubbed serious-toned 2019 English-language documentary "Nazi Junkies." This genius behind "The Producers" reminds us that mocking Team Hitler robs those maniacs of their power. Further, the idea of Herr Adolph "Uber-mensch" Hitler doing more drugs than a crackhouse whore is bizarrely amusing.
The first of two other important related concepts to consider while watching "Junkies" is that even propaganda that supports your view still is propaganda. You must also remember that there is your perspective, the perspective of the other guy, and the truth. "Junkies" seems authoritative and is not unduly sensationalized but still likely only tells a portion of the story.
This two-part docuseries is based on the book Blitzed: Drugs in the Third Reich by Norman Ohler. The first episode focuses on the heavy use of illicit substances by Der Fuhrer. The broader scope of the second episode is on that activity by both the general German population and the members of the military.
The documentation of the drug use of Htler includes the records of personal physician/entourage member Dr. Theodore Morell, whose methodology strongly reflect a better living through chemistry philosophy. A particularly impactful scene discusses Morrell refusing to allow his patient to shoot up anymore because heavy drug use is the cause of the veins of the latter being completely scabbed over. This data and the other evidence of Hitler using every substance known to Hunter Thompson indicates that the birthday of Hitler being 420 is very apt.
The bigger picture is the discussion of Hitler being a man who does not understand the concept of just saying no relating to the turmoil in his life. He recognizes the need to present a strong image, is dealing with increasing dissension in the ranks, and knows that his 1,000-year Reich is going to fall far short of that goal. An especially interesting story is about Hitler going to extreme measures on suffering catastrophic injury hours before frienemy Mussolini is visiting.
Part II suggests that an Army travels on its Previtin, rather than its stomach. The general (no pun intended) idea is that the soldiers, the sailors, and the pilots are pushed to extreme physical limits that require them taking so many drugs that it makes "Jessie's Song" look like a Saturday-morning kids' show. A recently interviewed soldier discusses how the brass doses the chocolate of the unsuspecting grunts to achieve this. The rest of the story is records that show the extent to which the expression "The Rhine Valley of the Dolls' applies to 40s-era Germany.
Part II also includes one of the most horrific stories in this series that is rife with tales of Nazi atrocities. We learn about teen Hitler Youth members being boys sent to do a small man's job that NO ONE should do. These efforts involve being confined in an incredibly cramped space for an extended period to perform what "Junkies" describes as a Kamikaze mission.
The ways in which Parts I and II are tied include a discussion of the drug use in the military when Hitler is a young soldier. Seeing him look very youthful and sporting even odder facial hair then his best-known look is fascinating.
The even bigger picture is that "Junkies" is akin to other documentaries that focus on the human aspects (and related frailties) of Hitler. The general idea is that seeing this super-villain as a man whose reality does not live up to his self-produced hype shows that even the worst monster ultimately is a "Scooby" bad guy in a rubber mask.
KBreaking Glass Pictures continues its limited dickumentary series with the April 9, 2019 DVD release of the 2019 non-fiction film "Bigger Like Me." This self-described extended director's cut of the 2014 film "Big Like Me" further chronicles the efforts of comedian Greg Bergman to remedy endowment-based angst.
"Bigger" is most akin to the (reviewed) 2013 Breaking DVD release "Unhung Hero." That one involves actor Patrick Moote dealing with the same anxiety as Bergman and taking comparable remedies to improve the Marco Rubio-sized hand that he is dealt. Comparing the two films is akin to the decades-long "Bewitched" v. "Jeannie" and "Munsters" v. "Addams Family" debate, One thing that can be stated with certainty is that Moote is much safer than Bergman in the f**k, marry, or kill game.
Although Moote is less crude and explicit in discussing his endowment and in showing what he is packing than Bergman, it seems clear that the latter has a couple of inches in both length and width than his "little buddy" at the start of their journey.
Another difference is that a size-related humiliating rejection of a marriage proposal motivates the desire of Moote to transform his earth worm into a water moccasin. Bergman being in an overall happy marriage at the beginning of "Bigger" shows that he is packing enough heat to adequately satisfy his wife. That relationship becoming rocky later in the film reflects the wisdom of gay columnist Dan Savage in "Unhung." He states that angst about not measuring up can harm a relationship more than falling on the lower end of the bell-end curve.
We also see that 32 year-old Bergman is his own worst enemy; he explicitly states that his natural endowment respectably falls in the "average bear" category regarding both length and width. This guy who spends much of the film naked or only wearing tiny briefs never addresses that losing 50 pounds both would make his junk look proportionately bigger and make him overall more attractive. This is not to mention how manscaping would benefit him. His aforementioned unduly assertive personality is another matter.
Noting the SPOILER that Bergman succeeds in becoming a bigger man is done to show that this prompts him to fully embrace the "if you got it, flaunt it" philosophy. He repeatedly drops trou to his ankles in very public settings without receiving any encouragement to do so. A silly aspect of this is that having to artificially enhance size is not a point of pride. This sincerely is not to say that the chosen people should go around showing passers-by and new acquaintances how either God or heredity has blessed them.
Another way of thinking about this is that most men whose endowment is a valid point of pride generally follow the "speak softly and carry a big stick" philosophy. There is something to be said for providing Mr. or Ms. Right (or Mr. or Ms. Right Now) a (hopefully pleasant) surprise during an initial unveiling in the boudoir.
On a similar note, Bergman shows very poor taste regarding repeated displays of dildos. Having one frequently sticking out of his backpack is bad enough. Numerous woman on the street interviews in which he uses three of these devices in a "Goldilocks" style survey is more creepy than funny.
A DVD bonus deleted scene in which Bergman engages in the above poll in an interview with a surprisingly willing and candid 16 year-old Mennonite girl clearly shows why this exchange does not make the cut even in the extended version.
Scenes in which Bergman and his college-aged little brother openly discuss their endowments and repeatedly wave around the aforementioned marital aids is only slight less creepy than the aforementioned exchanges.
A bigger pet peeve relates to statistics. Early in the film, Bergman joins an organized group of men who formally identify themselves as being among the 55 percent of the male population that is unhappy with their penis size. Bergman goes on to state the goal of every man becoming a one-percenter. The obvious flaw regarding that statement is that virtually every man packing a Magnum would make that size the norm, rather than the except to the rule.
The bottom line regarding all this is that Bergman is sure to entertain fans of Howard Stern and other abrasive raunchy humor. He is a cautionary tale to the rest of us in the form of showing the perils of obsessing about a perceived physical flaw. Our "average Joe" would have been much better off accepting his lot in life and understanding the concept of "TMI."
Briefly returning to "Hero," Moote succeeds where Bergman fails because this presumed member of the "Fantastic Four" has a more legitimate issue than his fellow comedian. Further, Moote displays better humor and perspective. As the aforementioned reference to the game of three indicates, size is not the only thing that matters.
The Wild Eye Releasing January 22, 2019 DVD release of the 2016 comedy-horror "Caroushell" is a prime example of the good that can come from friends contributing their individual talents to a minimal budget movie that is equal parts camp and scare. Learning the origin story of the film from co-writer Aleen Isley in the 45-minute interview reel on the DVD greatly enhances the entertainment value of this future cult classic.
The following YouTube clip of the official "Caroushell" trailer highlights all of the well-presented lowest-common-denominator elements discussed above that justify adding this one to the guilty pleasure section of your home-video collection.
The first of several clever twists comes very early in the film when we learn that the disgruntled amusement-park employee who is lamenting that he don't get no respect is Duke the plastic carousel unicorn. Do NOT call him a horse.
The action then shifts to the working-girl class home of late-teens Laurie, her tween brother Larry (a.ka. Lunchbox), and their single mother. The family casually talking about needing Laurie to watch Larry while Mom dances at a bachelor party provides good humor. A delusion regarding the absence of Dad is the icing on the cake.
Of course, these two worlds quickly collide. Laurie and Larry go the park where the latter rides Duke in a manner that proves his ability to join the family business in a few years. Although Duke has been suffering in relative silence, Larry pushes him to break free of the carousel and get his revenge on the boy. This initially leads to a few wonderfully low-budget slayings.
The action kicks into high gear as Duke tracks the siblings to a parents out of town party (complete with very amusing foreign students) that newly out bronicorn Preston is hosting. Writer/producer Steve Rudzinski steals the show as uptight, clueless, and frustrated pizza guy Joe. This holder of a classic McJob also is the surprising voice of reason in the film,
Duke gaining entrance into the house allows him to increase the body count before enjoying his role in what can be considered a Tijuana production of "Equus." He then eliminates the clutter before zeroing in on his primary prey.
The bro and the ho then literally run for their lives as the animated carnival ride zeros in for the final kill. The fun of this is that the filmmakers do not even try to make this absurd set-up very suspenseful.
All of this amounts to roughly 70-minutes of mindless fun that shows good instincts regarding when to end the party and send everyone home.
The DVD extend well beyond the aforementioned interviews. Wild Eye also includes a blooper reel, deleted scenes, and two trailers.
Regular readers of the Inn Credible New England section in this site know that the Wentworth by the Sea resort in New Castle, NH is a favored destination of your purposeful touron. This literally grand hotel satisfies every criteria on the checklist for inn credible experiences.
As a starting point, the Wentworth is a destination hotel that offers the level of luxury and comfort that supports the Inn Credible theory that spending your travel budget to fly to and stay at a mediocre property (and enduring the aggravation and incidental time and costs of flying) is better dedicated to enjoying a high-end property within a few hours of home. One advantage is being able to fit much more physical (and much less emotional) baggage in your car than is feasible regarding air travel.
A recent two-night rejuvenation journey after a winter of bomb cyclones, extended subzero weather, and a battery in a three-year-old Honda CRV EX struggling to stay alive was just what the armchair psychiatrist ordered. The added appeal of doing this at the Wentworth for a second year in a row (and already looking forward to returning next April) is a a strong "you can go home" vibe of this special place.
A large motivation for choosing the Wentworth for this badly needed period of calm and serenity was a sense of the angel that you know being better than the devil that you do not know, Most seasoned travelers have experienced enough shabby broom closets or equivalent spooky hell nightmares to have some trepidation regarding venturing to a new destination. Further, even the best of virgin territory to you often has a settling-in period that can lead to a restless night in even the most special places.
Both knowing that the Wentworth does everything right and being booked in the same water-view suite that has been my home away from home at least once a year that past three years provided valued pre-trip peace of mind.
The photos below are of the aforementioned accommodation. These images each are worth 10,000 words regarding the Inn Credible philosophy that an aspect of close-to-home travel is treating yoself with an upgrade that greatly enhances the experience.
The welcoming sense literally began before entering the hotel. I stubbornly overloaded myself with my clothes and my tech. (including an awesome HP 360 hybrid laptop/tablet that was a perfect Christmas gift) rather than make two trips. One guest kindly opened the door for me, and two others offered to help ease my load.
Equally stubborn (and foolish) male pride precluded accepting the latter offer. Folks who choose to accept a little help from their friends can utilize the services of the congenial and strong bellmen.
The check-in was very smooth and friendly; arriving at the same suite that I have called home on five prior occasions did feel like a homecoming.
As a New Year's Day 2019 Inn Credible article indicates the Salt Restaurant in the hotel lobby offers a terrific "fun, local, lively" experience. The treats this time included a perfectly mixed Mojito while savoring a brick-over sausage-and-pepperoni flatbread.
The sense that the percentage of guests who bring dogs to the hotel increases every year further adds to the homeyness of the hotel; these furbabies looking as happy as their pawrents is a great endorsement of the hotel.
A related perspective is often teasing the highly significant other of your not-so-humble reviewer about merely sitting around on visiting family in Phoenix and that clan largely doing nothing on annual trips here. The NH seacoast area is wonderful, but a day at the Wentworth is a treat in itself. Sleeping in, taking a swim, relaxing in the room, and meeting someone for dinner nicely filled one day of the trip,
All of this amounts to confidence in stating that virgins and "sluts" alike have no cause to dread staying at the Wentworth and are almost guaranteed to feel like friends and family.
The irony regarding abandoning the typical non-bloggy nature of reviews in this forum to get very bloggy regarding the Bullfrog Films production "Celling Your Soul: No App for Life" is that that film advocates inter-personal communication, rather than expressing yourself through digital forms that include online publications. More specifically, "Celling" writer/director Joni Siani (who is a Boston-area Media and Communication professor) instructs her students to conduct a digital cleanse that includes going cold turkey regarding online activity and texting. Candor requires being unable to not play online games, check Twitter, and conduct Google searches even while watching "Celling."
An amusing aspect of this is that the full-length version of "Celling" is 48 minutes, and the condensed version is 26 minutes. This reflects the text and vine-oriented short attention span of today. A two-hour movie is considered the general outer limit for length in the Nelson household; an agreement to watch a rare three-hour film often requires a pre-viewing agreement in which your not-so-humble reviewer consents to a mid-film break.
The following YouTube clip of the trailer for "Celling" proves the adage about wisdom coming from the mouths of babes.
The root of this work by Siani is her realization that Millennials only know how to communicate via cell phones and the Internet. Her objectives include teaching the importance of face-to-face communication.
The spot-on analysis of Siani explains all this; the root of this evil largely relates to the need for community and for the instant gratification that online communication provides; I am confident that she will not "like" or "retweet" the 280-character online message related to this review and that her reason for doing is the pure one that she addresses in the film.
The next bloggy part of this post is a tale from roughly 2006. I had created a (subsequently deleted) Facebook account due to coercion by a techie friend. As he was inclined to do, this keyboard kid called my landline (which I still actively use) from his cell phone to say that he had posted an annual open-house style party that I attended every year and that he knew that I would attend that year. We went a few rounds of my telling him that I would attend and his demanding that I RSVP on Facebook. I ultimately relented but still believe that requiring that formal online response was absurd.
Of more relevance was hearing the college students of Siani and their literal or figurative high-school age siblings discuss texting being the highly dominant form of communication. An aspect of this was that making a call even on a cell phone was viewed as being limited to an emergency or other very rare circumstances.
Your not-so-humble reviewer feels that largely giving into the prohibition against making calls is losing one of the final battles to maintain civilization; the price of that was going from what once was a practice of short calls to what can be a seemingly endless round of "no, you hang up first" texts in which no one wants to be the rude dude who does not respond to a message.
A cautionary tale in "Celling" was one of the pure definitions of comedy in that it will forever be hilarious to every guy who sees the film and embarrassing to the one to whom it happened. This former high school soccer star/current college student started his story by stating that his former classmates would always know him as the guy who was expelled for sexting.
The brief story was that this guy was in high school when he sent his girlfriend an explicit photo of himself. The aforementioned humor related to the photo being sent to everyone, including under-age schoolmates, in his contact list. A hilarious aspect of this was this guy using the phone of his mother when the photo appeared on that device. The recipients also included his grandmother.
A more relateable story is of a guy who accidentally texted an unkind statement regarding someone to that person while in visual contact with that individual.
Happier stories include the success of the cleanse; being one who almost always succumbs to the temptation of going online on waking up at 3:00 a.m. envies the cleansers who report feeling more rested and having more free time than when tethered to their devices. The tragic story is that Siani will need to pry the Iphone from the cold dead hand of this online journalist
The TLA Releasing DVD of the 2018 film "Cola de Mono" likely wins the award for the most unusual and dark Christmas film ever. It combines the sexual awakening of teen boy Borja with heavy family drama and a very sad aspect of gay life.
The titular cocktail plays a major role regarding the central holiday celebration gone out of bounds in which secrets and repressed emotions come out. A few occasions on which text across the screen provides exposition includes a recipe for this beverage.
Our story begins on a relatively happy note on Christmas Eve 1986; Hyperactive cinephile Borja is driving both mother Irene and slightly older brother Vicente crazy. One family issue is that Vicente is the golden boy, and both Mom and Bro are frustrated that Borja is so immature.
This family moves onto a holiday feast at which Borja becomes a bigger nuisance in proportion to the number of Cola de Mundos that he consumes. This bratty behavior includes teasing Vicente about plans to go out to meet a "friend."
The family then goes their separate ways as Ireme passes out, closeted Vicente goes to a woodsy gay cruising area, and our excitable boy continues drinking and getting restless.
Borja shows that he hates closed doors more than cats by breaking into the room of Vicente. Surprising himself regarding his response to the porn that he finds makes him aware that he and his brother are more alike than he believed.
Vicente coming back from a negative cruising experience and finding his brother both spent and red-handed leads to one form of sibling drama that leads to additional bonding. Things then taking a very dark turn provides more proof that "Cola" is not a Hallmark Channel Christmas movie.
The movie breaks with tradition by ending with a scene several years after the depicted events, rather than by beginning with those events and flashing back to the aforementioned celebration.
These scenes mostly are of the primary '90s venue for anonymous gay sex. They also show that things have come a long way since the '80s,
We then move to a scene that provides a few forms of closure regarding arguably the most memorable Christmas in the history of the family.
Aside from offering a compelling story, all this adds depth in the form of comments on the "nature v. nurture" debate regarding homosexuality and shows that history repeats itself.
The Warner Archive complete-series DVD release of the 1962-63 NBC legal drama "Sam Benedict" shows the value of good source material. Although the cases are fictional, the titular celebrity San Francisco attorney is based on real-life legal eagle/series consultant Jacob W. Ehrlich. The recommended companion release this time is the (reviewed) Archive complete-series DVD set of the 1963-65 drama "Mr. Novak." That fellow quasi-anthology series revolves around the titular rookie teacher typically trying to have a positive impact on a different student in each episode.
A particularly special aspect of this series is an early episode being in color. The best speculation is that this is part of an NBC promotion to encourage viewers to purchase color sets.
That guy who was in that thing Edmond O'Brien stars as essentially sole practitioner Benedict. Secretary extraordinaire Trudy Wagner is his Della Street. Rookie attorney Hank Tambor is more of a tenant than an associate.
The "Benedict" pilot perfectly reflects the spirit of the series. The first challenge facing Benedict is defending a client in a murder trial in which 12 angry men are a hung jury. This provides context for the presiding judge to lecture the "peers" and the audience about the nature of jury deliberations.
On a personal note, the sudden death of a friend presents our hero with a moral predicament. The spendthrift brother of the deceased wants his payoff before the dearly departed is put to rest. On top of that, this sibling is fighting the legal right of the adopted daughter of the dead man to get a piece of the estate. The well-know lesson regarding this is that death brings out the worst in people; the rest of the story is that procrastinating about keeping a will up-to-date can haunt your heirs.
Another early episode is especially Hitchcockian. Benedict is defending the daughter of a long-time family friend in a trial for the murder of her husband. The debate between client and attorney regarding whether to present an insanity defense provides context for discussing when a mental incapacity is a mitigating factor in a legal proceeding. The dramatic climax shows the consequences of repression.
Mental capacity also is an issue when a young widowed Japanese immigrant battles the parents of her late husband for custody of her unborn child. A primary issue here is the extent to which an apparent mental incapacity is attributable to limited English skills. Getting to the root of the problem is one of many instances of social commentary in this cerebral series that equally entertains and provokes thought.
We additionally get a case of a cop killing the college-age son of a one-percenter. The issue extends beyond the validity of lethal force to a more basic dilemma. This career cop must decide whether invoking his Fifth Amendment right to keep his doughnut hole shut is worth the price of definitely losing his job. We also get a taste of the perfect storm that can result when a hair-trigger cop on the verge of burnout conflicts with an arrogant young punk.
This opening statement on the merits of "Benedict" shows that the presented issues remain just as relevant and compelling more than 55 years later. The bigger lesson is that morons who do not learn from history are doomed to shell out big bucks to relive it in court.
The Warner Archive DVD release of the 1977 neo-noir with comic touches film "The Late Show" provides another chance to see that Art Carney of "The Honeymooners" is more than just another pretty face. This movie makes a great companion to the (reviewed) Archive DVD release of the 1979 Carney comedy with serious overtones "Going in Style" and his Oscar-winning performance in the 1974 film "Harry and Tonto."
The behind-the-camera cred. of "Show" includes the work of Oscar winner writer/director Robert Benton. His better known films include "Kramer vs. Kramer," "Bonnie and Clyde," and "Places in the Heart."
This change of pace for Carney and co-star Lily Tomlin gets off on the right note with the perfect balance between exposition and starting the action. Elderly private eye Ira Wells (Carney) is enjoying a quiet evening in his small shabby bachelor pad when an old friend stops by and drops dead within a minute of arriving,
The noirness of this film that showcases the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles continues with Wells reuniting with another old friend at the funeral for the dearly departed. Charlie Hatter (Bill Macy of "Maude") is an increasingly failing talent agent who introduces Wells to former client Margo Sterling (Tomlin).
The deceptively simple case this time is that Sterling wants Wells to rescue her cat Winston, whom a catnapper is holding for ransom in the amount of a debt that Sterling owes that scoundrel.
The plot thickens on Sterling literally bringing her troubles to the front door of Chez Wells by arranging a meeting with the not-so-smooth criminal; this results in gun play that fully sets the game afoot for Wells.
Discovering postage stamps on the body of the recently deceased leads to Wells investigating the theft of that loot in a robbery in which the lady of the house is killed. This investigation brings Wells to the home of fence Ron Birdwell (Eugene Roche). The "muscle" of Ron not hesitating to rough up Wells within a minute of his arrival can be considered nice commentary on a lack of age discrimination.
Wells brings Sterling along on a visit to a usual suspect with hopes of that discussion having the least possible trauma and drama. This pair discovering that someone literally and figuratively beat them to the punch draws our low-rent Remington Steele and Laura Holt deeper into the case.
More fun relates to discovering that Laura Birdwell (Joanna Cassidy) is involved in all the action to an even larger degree then her husband is pure Chandler or Spade.
Wells ultimately shows that snow on the roof does not freeze the brain when he connects the pieces in classic noir fashion. It seems that only pulp fiction can tie together a dead gumshoe, a ditzy damsel in distress, a murder-robbery that involves much more than meets the eye. an extra-marital affair, and a friend who dupes a good buddy into having to figure out all of it.
Benton shows genius in remaining true to gritty noir drama decades after the golden era of that genre, successfully showing new sides of Tomlin and Carney and getting that May-December team to click, and crafting a plot that keeps the twists coming until the end, It is hard to imagine that they can make 'em like that anymore.
Archive keeps the fun coming with a special feature that shows Tomlin bringing Ernestine the telephone operator to the party when she discusses "Show" on "Dinah" with Dinah Shore.
Warner Archive provides animation god Tex Avery an apt homage in releasing the complete series of "The Kwicky Koala Show" on DVD. Avery passed away while working on this swan song, which aired in the 1981-82 CBS Saturday morning lineup. The artistic success of this show relates both to it reflecting an "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" attitude and by showing that the best of this genre is much more than anthropomorphic animated animal antics for cheap laughs.
The continuation of a proud heritage begins with the titular Australia native having the wimpy old-man voice that belies the beast within ala Avery creation Droopy Dog. The bigger picture is "Kwicky" following a variation of the format of the early '60s "talking animals" series of "Kwicky" producers Hanna-Barbera.
Our star is featured in the first cartoon of his show. We get additional shorts that include quasi-"Yogi Bear" homage/quasi-educational cartoon "Crazy Claws" and the "Top Cat" homage "Dirty Dawg." Fillers that consist of the Of Mice and Men style "two stupid dogs" duo George and Joey. Bungle. Their concept is constantly trying failed circus and vaudeville acts. (This site has a review of the Archive CS DVD set of "Dogs.")
"Scooby-Doo" legend Frank Welker brings the strongest VO star power to "Kwicky." Welker plays Dirty Dawg, whose partner-in-crime on the mean streets of their city being actual rodent Ratso adds a "Midnight Cowboy" aspect to this "Top Cat" style series about a couple of low-level hustlers constantly scheming while trying to evade hard-ass beat-cop Officer Bullhorn. All this arguably warrants a comparison to "Les Miserable."
The first outing for Dirty and Ratso essentially is a drag plot. Dirty convinces Ratso to masquerade as a small canine to compete in dog show that has a large cash prize. A "sit" that provides some of the "com" revolves around Dirty using classic cartoon tactics to eliminate the competition. Suffice it to say that that the other contenders for "Best in Show" do not react kindly to that sabotage.
We similarly see a scheme backfire on our pair when they succeed in obtaining entry into what seems to be a posh country club for dogs; they discover that karma can be the mother of all bitches. The same is true regarding a plot to chow down on hospital food.
The next best well-known name in the animation world is better known for his role on the classic sitcom "The Brady Bunch." Allan Melvin (a.k.a. Sam the Butcher) plays dim-witted Joey Bungle. His contributions to the continued failure of his act includes responding to George confessing mid-high-dive that he is afraid of water by moving the tub in which his brother is attempting to land.
John Stephenson is the Rodney Dangerfield of the animation world; this relates to his 254 IMDb credits including many classic cartoon series but most people at best knowing him as that guy that was in that thing. Stephenson channels the snarky effeminate persona that Paul Lynde uses for his predatory canine characters in other HB series to play Kwicky foe Wilford Wolf. The success of this sincerest form of flattery succeeds to the extent of untrained ears likely thinking that Lynde voices Wilford.
A "Kwicky" cartoon that appears in an early episode likely is the intended pilot. Our lead breaks the third wall by directly addressing the audience on coming out of his cute little house. He explains that most people incorrectly believe that koalas are slow. We soon learn that they are very fast.
The conflict this time is that Wilford wants to capture Kwicky to collect a large bounty that a hunter is offering for a koala. Wilford uses his cunning, rather than his Acme-style devices and his physical attributes, in his effort to capture his prey.
Last but not least is "Crazy Claws." The most notable aspect of this series about the titular wildcat with almost adamantium-caliber claws is the aforementioned educational element. Park Service employee Ranger Rangerfield works in botany lessons while trying to keep the peace as dastardly Yosemite Sam clone Rawhide Clyde and his snickering floppy-eared hound attempt to stop that feline. Examples of that schooling include how wild flowers grow and why leaves change colors each autumn.
All of this adds up to great nostalgia for those of us old enough to remember eating junk cereal and staying in our pajamas until noon every Saturday so as not to miss a minute of the joy courtesy of Hanna-Barbera and the Krofft Brothers. Thanks to Warner, Millenmials and Gen Zers can experience some of that magic.
'Conduct! Every Move Counts' Doc on Conducting Competition Shows Potential to Orchestrate Quality Reality Television
The Film Movement January 9, 2018 DVD release of the 2016 documentary "Conduct! Every Move Counts" should do for conducting competitions what the 2002 documentary "Spellbound" does for spelling bees. Both films make contests that most of us never think about compelling to the extent of putting us on the edge of our seats cheering for our favorites.
The even better part of "Conduct!" is that it creates hope regarding reality shows improving both their concepts and their participants. The stakes here are more honorable than marrying someone whom you know for a few months and is populated by people who are much more appealing than the folks on both sides of the judging table in series that promise instant stardom.
The manner in which the competition is presented is another breath of fresh air. There is a COMPLETE lack of prolonged hyped suspense regarding developments, a TOTAL ABSENCE of endless repetitive commentary on a trauma and drama-inducing incident, and almost no backstage turmoil.
The following YouTube clip of a "Conduct!" trailer illustrates every point made above. It additionally includes terrific music.
"Conduct!" centers around the prestigious biennial International Conductors' Competition in Frankfurt Germany. The 5 of the 24 competitors on whom filmmaker Gotz Schauder focuses seem to be selected based on a combination of what makes them good conductors and interesting people for positive reasons, rather than for being ruthless or for having a sob story.
Twenty-seven year old New Yorker Alondra de la Parra is notable for having formed her own orchestra. Her unemotional questionable assertion regarding studying her craft from 6:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. borders on reality-style drama but is a one-time thing.
Despite conflicting reports that Aziz Skokhakimov of Uzbekistan is 19 and 20 years old, he still is the youngest competitor. Further, Skokhakimov clearly has a strong passion for both his craft and for classical music. His reality show moment includes sharing that his motivation for his career includes showing that traditional culture exists in Central Asia.
A segment on the judges selecting the competitors includes the most pure reality-show scene in the film. This is also the most amusing moment and plays a role during a performance by Skokhakimov.
Shizuo Z Kuwahara is another two-fer who has a couple of characteristics that make him fascinating. He returns to the competition after coming in second in the prior one; he also conducts with his hands for a reason that he discusses in his reality show minute.
Andreas Hotz from Germany is interesting as the hometown boy; his home field advantage extends to a strong familiarity with the orchestra that the competitors conduct.
James Lowe of Scotland is distinguishable as the nice guy in the group; this is particularly so regarding his coaching an opponent throughout the competition. This involving a cute thank-you gift is a charming moment that is absent from reality fare.
Much of the film centers around our fab five taking his or her turn rehearsing with the orchestra. All the associated dynamics and personalities are compelling. Further, many audience members will want to show a musician who cruelly berates one of the conductors that a bodily orifice can double as a sheath for a bow.
The bigger picture is that the insight that "Conduct!" provides regarding directing an orchestra is fascinating even to folks who think that Beyonce is one of the three Bs of classical music. We learn that the requirements for being a good conductor include something that seemingly is impossible to define but is known when it is displayed. This also helps explain why the best conductors of local orchestras are well-liked local celebrities.
The Mill Creek Entertainment separate April 16, 2019 DVD and Blu-ray releases of the 2010-13 Showtime dramedy "The Big C" is just what the oncologist ordered. This Emmy and Golden Globe winning series about middle-aged high-school history teacher Cathy Tolkey Jamison (Laura Linney) getting schooled in the realities of stage four (stage five is death) melanoma shows that even the worst of times can provide the best of humor.
The most subtle humor relates to setting "C" in a Minneapolis suburb. Although Cathy lives in a typical TV Land attractive middle-class home, her life is a far cry from that of pioneering working girl Mary Richards of Twin Cities based "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."
"C" is one of three unrelated recent Showtime series that have strong actresses playing courageous middle-aged suburban women in crisis. "The United States of Tara" has Toni Collette playing a woman with a severe case of split personalities. "Weeds" centers around Mary Louise Parker playing a housewife who must resort to selling the titular substance to keep her boys in designer duds.
"C" also is one of the latest additions to well-produced DVD and Blu-ray CS sets of off-beat shows that put art over commerce in the MCE catalog. Recent examples include a reviewed set of "Rescue Me," and a phenomenal award-winning release of "The Shield." The especially strong praise for the latter in a post on that release does not do it justice.
The accolades for "C" include Emmy and Golden Globe Best Actress awards for Linney and an AFI "TV Program of the Year" win.
Our story commences at the beginning of the summer. Cathy is at the final stage of acceptance regarding her grief; a spoiler is that she and her friends and family rotate through all five stages throughout the series.
Cathy is throwing money at the "rich people" problem of wanting a pool in her backyard and wanting it now. The rest of the story is that she wants to enjoy what she believes is a very limited time before her death. One of many rubs is that middle-manager husband Paul Jamison (Oliver Platt) and generally good 14 year-old son Adam do not know why the woman in their life suddenly is acting weird.
For that matter, Paul cannot understand why one display of juvenile behavior in two decades of such antics gets him ousted from the marital home. For his part, Adam is upset that he literally is pulled off the bus to soccer camp and that Mom is very clingy. A hilarious scene has Cathy interrupting a private moment and adding injury to injury by immediately using that moment for a highly embarrassing lesson about how to properly stimulate a woman.
The overall change is that Cathy is putting herself first much more than she ever has and is deciding to stop being polite and to start being real.
Like many cancer patients, Cathy is trying traditional and alternative treatments. Her refusal to undergo chemo. is very reasonable considering that the benefits of that procedure come at the cost of many ill effects. Early examples of alternative medicine include travelling to Canada to be repeatedly stung by bees and staying closer to home for a clinical trial.
The progression of the disease occurs in the context of reel and real-life situations that are exasperating even without piling them on top of a presumably fatal disease.
Cathy must contend with helicopter parents at school, her manic bipolar brother Sean, Adam having a very active puberty complete with a sexual encounter that leads to the entire family getting crabs, and Paul losing his job and being unrealistic about his prospects for new professional employment. This is not to mention the already feisty elderly neighbor lady with Alzheimer's and the self-absorbed former college classmate who re-enters the life of Cathy at both the best and the worst of times.
The bigger picture regarding all this in this era in which virtually all those who practice medicine are in it for the money is the frustration that even those of us with what should be decent health insurance experience getting anything beyond basic medical care. Just in the first two seasons, we see Cathy dealing with a doctor not returning her calls and with being denied approved treatment because of a problem related to notice of coverage. This is not to mention health insurance prompting Paul to take a job that he otherwise would not have accepted.
"C" further tackles the issue of the fine line between compassion and annoying levels of charity. Cathy wants people to be nice to her but does not want to be treated like a porcelain doll. Similarly, Adam quickly tires of being the kid at school with the mother who has cancer.
The nice thing about "C" lasting four seasons is that quality writing and a strong cast draw the audience into the lives of the Jamisons and the people with whom they interact. We come to share their joy and feel their pain right up to the series finale.