The CBS Home Entertainment July 16, 2019 pristine DVD release of the 2019-20 14th (and penultimate) season of the procedural series "Criminal Minds" provides a good chance to either revisit this long-running program or to discover what you have been missing. The nice surprise for folks in the latter category is that "Minds" shows that ageist prejudice regarding these broadcast-network mysteries is unwarranted in this case.
A very cool aspect of this is that "Minds" warrants comparison to the CW paranormal investigation series "Supernatural." Episodes of both shows, which each just wrapped up their 14th seasons ahead of their 15th and final ones, typically begin in the same manner. The cold open consists of a combination of the most recent trauma and drama in the lives of the central characters and the initially unrelated events around which the action of the week centers.
The compelling nature of both series largely involves how the personal and professional lives of our heroes overlap.
The similarities continue with the FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU) springing into action in a more upscale manner than the creature-hunting Winchester brothers of "Supernatural;" the civil servants go "wheels up" in their private jet to bring their "monster" to justice as opposed to the siblings jumping in their in their 67 Chevy to do their best to put right what once went wrong.
Our best "minds" use their brains to figure out "whydunit" as the first step to figuring out "whodunit" and go on to prevent it from happening again. The brawn primarily in the form of two hunks is there to ensure that the bad guys are subdued with a minimum of harm to all interested parties.
Another parallel is that programs celebrate their 300th episode in their 14th season. In the case of "Minds," we get a threefer in the form of this one also being the season premiere and the conclusion to the 13th-season season-ending cliffhanger. The basic plot is that quirky computer genius (a.k.a. girl in the chair) Penelope Garcia (Kirsten Vangsness) and adorakble boy genius Special Agent Dr. Spencer Reid (Matthew Gray Gubler) get taken hostage by the already identified psycho of the story.
Much of this one revolves around fully bringing the band back together before Reid becomes a highly symbolic 300th victim. Tying all this into an earlier (and largely forgotten) case in which recently deceased in real-life Luke Perry guest stars is way cool.
"Minds" actually dips its toes into "Supernatural" territory in two episodes. "The Tall Man" is more than a sort of a homecoming for team-member Jennifer "JJ" Jareau (AJ Cook). She learns that you cannot go home again when a report of the local bogeyman brings her back to her hometown, where the past essentially returns to haunt her. A more positive aspect of this is that learning from history prevents it from repeating.
"Sick and Evil" has the BAU group investigating murders at documented haunted houses in a small town. This one has an especially offbeat charm.
More mundane cases involve a "Village of the Damned" outing involving hypnotized children, several cases of self-justified vigilante justice with extreme prejudice, and two feds separately pursuing their own unauthorized agendas.
The final episode hits all the right notes in that it is a perfect season finale that also serves as a solid last hurrah for "Minds" in the event of there not being a 15th season. The team starts out doing its usual expert job determining the method to the madness that prompts their latest road trip. This wraps up in plenty of time for an event that is more than a season in the making and that involves a very special guest star. In other words, we see that our "friends" get to live as happily ever after as is possible considering their jobs that often reflect their highly troubled pasts.
One final regarding this finale is the DVD-included deleted scene makes one wish that it made the cut in favor of some of the frivolity in the final scenes.
CBS Home Entertainment deserves kudos merely for including DVD special features this late in the game. Going above-and beyond both regarding these extras and their placement in the set warrants a figurative pat on the back.
We start with "300: A Celebration" just ahead of the season premiere. This one has Executive Producer Erica Messer, the aforementioned cast members, and the rest of the ensemble (including veterans Paget Brewster and Joe Mantegna) entertainingly discuss how they have come a long way, Baby, and show that they still are going strong.
The amusingly titles bonus after the season finale discusses that milestone, and the aptly titled "Season 14: The Truth of the Matter" that follows all this takes a broader perspective that also demonstrates that cast and crew still enjoy going to work everyday. Even not-so-astute viewers of the episodes can sense that love of the game.
A gag reel and "The Actors on Directing," in which several cast members discuss working behind the camera round out these additional reasons for buying the DVDs, rather than streaming episodes.
The Virgil Films DVD of the 2017 Ralph "Daniel San" Macchio day-in-the-life film "Lost Cat Corona" is a textbook example of a fun quirky indie comedy; it has faded stars playing oddball characters, urban on-site shooting, and a bizarre set-up that provides ample "sits" for good "com."
The aforementioned former Karate Kid plays King of Queens Dominic, whose wife Connie (Gina Gershon) is an even more formidable opponent than the evil Coba Kai (COBRA KAI!) group of martial-arts experts that torment the kid.
Our story begins with Dominic happily starting his day off when Hurricane Connie blasts him for allowing family cat Leonard to run away. The arguments with which Connie browbeats Dominic include that she must spend the day at the hospital with her mother, who is having minor surgery.
Dominic initially enlists the aid of morally-challenged buddy Ponce to find the kitty. Their adventures include finding money that seems ear-marked for a very specific purpose, We also learn that Dominic has a near-obsession for maps and later find out the reason for that strong interest. This is not to mention going fairly deep into the mind of Dominic by the end of the film.
Dominic subsequently interrupts the search for the cat to attend the wake for the father of cop friend Sal (Adam Ferrara). For his part, desperate times in the form of an immediate need for a significant amount of money drives Sal to the separate but equally desperate measures of selling merchandise that "fell off the truck" and of effectively seeking a rebate of a funeral-related expense,
Timid Dominic gets involved in the sale of the hot goods to the extent of unwillingly becoming the contact of the buyer. The scene in which the deal goes down is one of several that demonstrate the talent of Macchio for comedy.
Meanwhile, Connie is enduring constant complaining by her mother; This does not deter the younger woman from regularly haranguing Dominic over the telephone. Another character letting the air out the balloon of Connie is cathartic for the audience.
Dominic truly is an everyman when his encounter with two delinquent truant teen boys finally pushes him over the edge; watching this guy who just wants to find his cat and salvage the rest of his day off put the punks in their place is beyond awesome. Dominic soon setting the adolescents up for another fall further adds to the perfection.
Like all good things, "Cat" comes to an end. This is special in that it reinforces that all of us are connected and must endure our own personal Hells. We additionally are reminded that we are lucky to not be cats, who must live nine lives.
The Breaking Glass Pictures May 7, 2019 DVD release of the 2019 mockumentary "Strawberry Flavored Plastic" again shows the Breaking talent for finding art-house films with mainstream appeal. A combination of "Strawberry" broadly following the formula of "The Blair Witch Project" and being set in real-life upstate New York town Peekskill, which is the setting of the sitcom "The Facts of Life," allows dusting off the 20 year-old joke "The Blair Warner Project." That humor relates to the name of a "Facts" character.
"Facts" also inspires a joke that sums ups a theme of "Strawberry." Fictional documentarians Errol and Ells do not think of a their film subject as a serial killer; they think of their film subject as Noel.
The following YouTube clip of the Breaking trailer for "Strawberry" shows how well that the mockumentary genre can succeed in the right hands.
Errol and Ellis initially think that Noel is a one-trick-pony as to a murder of passion for which his debt to society is paid. By the time that they realize that their subject is a natural-born serial killer who still actively pursues his hobby, they are in very deep. They ultimately put both art and commerce forefront by continuing to make the movie.
Aidan Bristow does a wonderful job playing Noel as a guy who seems a little off but adequately harmless. This performance partially makes it believable that Errol and Ellis continue to hang around even after learning the awful truth.
A "bad dog" moment is a game-changer in that the filming of the show goes on in a revised manner. This rude awakening also increases tension that real-life writer/director Colin Bemis portrays so well that digging up his basement and checking out his refrigerator is not entirely unwarranted.
In true 21st-century film style, the beginning of the end is relatively anti-climatic. The best is yet to come in the final few scenes. This reinforces the "peace, love, and understanding" principle that everyone has something to offer and touches the lives of everyone with whom he or she makes a connection. We also get a sense of imitation being the most sincere form of flattery.
The special features include deleted scenes.
The most important takeaway regarding this inaugural product-review post is that APC makes excellent battery back-up products. Your not-so-humble reviewer has used them for far more years than he would like to admit and ALWAYS has been satisfied.
The second most important aspect of this post on the new 1000 VA/600 watts APC model BR100MS is that a mishap (which is due to no fault by APC) allows tying this article into a classic sitcom. Please stay tuned for that important message.
The real starting point is that the aging and increasingly unreliable US power grid is behind the aforementioned heavy reliance on APC products; this also is the impetus for a back-up generator that was a figurative life-saver for a several days' outage in October 2017 and a major convenience as to several shorter power failures. The rest of the story is that actual computers and electronic devices, such as televisions and 4K players, that heavily rely on computer components do not handle abrupt power surges and outages well.
A related note is that the predecessor of the current APC unit provided especially important backup that the new unit has undertaken. Trying to make a long story short, the battery in a then two-year-old HP laptop losing its ability to recharge resulted in that device frequently shutting down even when operating off of electricity. Efforts to bypass the battery were highly impractical.
Rather than give HP the satisfaction of spending $100 to replace a battery in an a laptop that was going to be mothballed in a couple of years, I pulled out the bad battery and plugged the laptop into the APC. That saved me during one brief outage,
The set up of the BR1000MS was very easy and improved on far-from-fatal flaws in older models. Connecting the battery itself was very intuitive, and literally making the connection was very smooth. MUCH older models sometimes required a bit of wrestling to connect that battery, and one made a very dramatic spark. APC customer service did its usual excellent job regarding that one.
Other peace-of-mind comes from a 3-year warranty on the device itself and a lifetime $250,000 warranty on the connected electronic products.
The way-cool front display has easy-to-see and understand status reports that include the charge level of the battery and the estimated remaining time that you can run your device (or devices) off the battery. The maximum stated time is 92 minutes. As of this writing, this feature remains untested. It would be VERY helpful in case of not getting right back to my desk during a power failure.
There also are two USB charging ports that allow simultaneously using and charging a cell phone or tablet. This feature also is untested.
An easily resolved mishap roughly a week after setting up the BR1000MS relates to the aforementioned sitcom connection. It also is relevant regarding a non-fatal pet peeve with many APC products.
When setting up the BR1000MS, I plugged the laptop and a few other office items into some of the six combination battery and surge-protection outlets. These included a rarely used laser printer.
I was nearing the end of a long and frustrating day when I wanted to print something. I turned on the printer and almost immediately had my laptop, my monitor, and the printer shut down. I also experienced the BR1000MS beeping loudly, the status light going from green to red, and an "F02" error display.
Trying to restore the BR1000MS after unplugging it likely would have been easier had I followed the wise principle of RTFM. Instead, I simply disconnected the battery and then reconnected it.
I called APC tech. support, which has never failed me. The very nice and patient technician was extremely helpful and NEVER made me feel stupid.
He initially explained to me that my device was a 600-watt one that limited the total wattage of devices plugged into a battery/surge outlet to that amount. We determined that my laptop likely drew roughly 200 watts of power, and the tech. went above-and-beyond in looking up the specs. of my laser printer online. He stated that that device drew 525 watts when initially powered up.
We discussed that I incorrectly assumed that the physical size of a UPS always corresponded with its capability. The tech. noted that the next APC model up was an 810-watt UPS, which is the same physical size as the BR1000MS. He also stated that that one would better meet my needs.
Our conversation included the fact that most consumers are not adequately savvy to know the wattage of devices or which UPS best meets their needs.
This discussion evoked thoughts of a scene in an early episode of the '60scom "Green Acres," which revolves around transplanted (pun intended) New York lawyer Oliver Wendell Douglas and his not-so-bright socialite wife Lisa moving to the farming community of Hooterville.
The relevant "sit" that provides the "com" is that Oliver is explaining to Lisa that the generator that provides their dilapidated farmhouse electricity has a limit of seven. He then tells her the number of each kitchen appliance and states that she cannot simultaneously use any combination of these devices that exceeds seven. This leads to a comedic bit involving things such as being able to use the toaster and the coffee pot at the same time but not the dishwasher and the coffee pot, This culminates in an image of the generator harmlessly exploding.
This leads to the pet peeve related to APC; the not-so-fatal flaw of many devices from that company is that the number of battery/surge outlets often create a false expectation regarding the number of devices that you can plug into those outlets. In this case, the six such outlets in the BR1000MS would not allow for plugging in my laptop, my printer, and my monitor. This is not to mention the other four low-wattage items in my work area.
It seems that the BR1000MS back-up outlets can handle my laptop and monitor. That leaves four other outlets for five devices. Another perspective is that four battery/surge outlets are as useful as mammaries on a male bovine. HOWEVER, that imperfection should not preclude purchasing an APC device. It only requires being a little bit more savvy than you would be regarding most other purchases.
It sincerely is hoped that these thoughts are helpful. PLEASE leave any comments or questions below.
'That's Not Funny' Documentary: Study of Societal Shift From F**k 'Em If They Can't Take A Joke to F**ked If You Tell 'Em a Joke
The awesome recent award-winning documentary "That's Not Funny" by charming and highly knowledgeable die-hard comedy fan Mike Celestino is the perfect film for those of us who remember when people reasonably reacted to humor based on properly understanding the context of jokes. Simply using "blue" language in a controversial manner or mining humor from a subject that is very personal to some was inadequate to make you Public Enemy Number One in those good old days.
The following clip, courtesy of YouTube, expertly conveys the theme of "Funny" and provides a sense of the astonishing plethora of hilarious clips of comedy bits in the film.
The fact that your (occasionally) humble reviewer feels compelled to use asterisks regarding a word that every reader f**king well knows that he is using in the subheading of this post nicely illustrates the point of Celsetino in the film that he expertly narrates, writes, and directs and that he aptly describes as "a dead serious documentary about comedy."
As shown below, an even more relevant prediction from someone other than Celestino during the mid-90s is that the efforts in that era to unduly regulate Internet content included speculating that online references to a classic '60s sitcom would be to "The D**k Van D**e Show." This further illustrates the view of Celestino regarding the importance of understanding context.
Celestino nicely covers this form of undue censorship both with an overview of the uproar regarding the must-see Geoge Carlin "seven words you can't say on television" routine and the modern trend of using the term the "n word" in lieu of the word to which it refers.
The discussion of the former includes a clip of a wonderful early SNL skit from the good old days in which an interviewer whom Chevy Chase plays increasingly angers an interviewee whom Richard Pryor plays by using increasingly offensive racial terms.
A personal interest in "Funny" also extends to the sense of humor of your reviewer. One relevant example is stating on talking to friend within MINUTES of learning of the kidnapping of the school girls in Nigeria that a Nigerian prince had just emailed an offer to repay me with interest if I sent him money to pay the kidnappers ransom. I then added "too soon?" in making this joke.
My friend, who laughed and awesomely replied "its never too soon" understood one of the main points in "Funny;" humor must be understood in the context of the intent of the joke. It was clear in this case that the humor related to the flood of scam emails allegedly from African royalty, rather than the abduction of girls.
This example further demonstrates another well-presented point of Celestino; one must understand the REASONABLE sensitivities of the audience. I would not have told the joke to a friend or relative of a current or past captured girl.
Celestino starts this well-organized analysis of how comedy has reached the stage that folks with unduly sensitive natures regarding some topics are ruining it for the rest of us with a discussion of vaudeville and early films. This segment awesomely includes a hilarious skit from "The Dick Van Dyke Show" in which the titular star performs a bit in which he derives huge laughs from repeatedly injuring himself while presenting a lecture that praises modern audiences for evolving to the point of not laughing at the physical pain of others. Oh, Rob!
A portion of the extensive look at the broad range of humor directed at Adolph Hitler that is designed to make that record-breaking mass-murdering maniac (of course, that is just one opinion) seem less menacing illustrates that aspect of the power of laughter. (Celestino earns extra points for knowing of the one-episode Britcom "Heil Honey; I'm Home" that did not go further for obvious reasons. The annoying Jewish neighbors are heilarious.)
The personal note this time relates to making jokes in the wake of watching a documentary on Hitler relatives in the United States. One example of this is a wife in New Jersey telling an irate man who wants to call the Hitlers down the street after their dog poops in his yard that he must let it go.
A more "ripped from the headlines" topic in "Funny" is the deadly violent manner in which some Muslims react to someone merely depicting Muhammad in even a non-offensive manner. This "chapter" in the film focuses on the "South Park" treatment of this subject several years ago and includes the hilarious manner in which Trey Parker and Matt Stone ultimately end the story arc.
The scope of "Funny" also includes specific high-profile scandals related to comedians such as Michael Richards and Daniel Tosh who find themselves the subject of public scorn.
The most satisfying clip has the late great Joan Rivers expressing justifiable indignation in response to a heckler. Her stating that the offensive joke is funny and that an assumption of the audience member is inaccurate makes one watching "Funny" want to stand up and cheer.
Celestino ends all of this with a wonderful sitcom-style "this is what we learned" statement that is truly insightful and not at all sappy. One can only hope that this can lead to being able to joke about reporting a burned out light bulb in a Warsaw hotel to see how many people come to replace it without ultimately having to apologize for that remark.
The special features include interviews with Greg Proops and other notable comedians on the topics in "Funny." The following clip, again courtesy of YouTube, of an alternate trailer for the film is full of terrific segments from these discussions.
Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Funny" is strongly encouraged to emailme. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy. The message to offended readers who drop this site based on my humor is that I am sincerely sorry that I unintentionally offended you but do not apologize for what I wrote. I (and many others) consider it amusing and (presumably like Celestino) understand the intent and context regarding it
Writer/director Autumn McAlpin fully embraces the modern-woman girl-power of the 2016 "Ghostbusters" reboot with the July 12, 2019 theatrical/VOD/digital release of "Miss Arizona." Also, like "Ghostbusters," McAlpin pays wonderful homage to the past in a very woke fashion.
The first of a few asides is that the title of "Arizona" relates to a classic riddle. The question is "why was the Miss America pageant short a contestant?" The answer is "because no one wanted to be Miss Ida Ho."
The "elevator speech" recap of the ""Arizona" concept is that a former beauty queen turned trophy wife forms a sisterhood of the travelling misfits and learns the value of hos before bros.
The following YouTube clip of an "Arizona" trailer follows the same principle as the above synopsis. This promo. rapidly takes us through the entire movie and even briefly provides the life story of each major character.
The second aside in this post is that the always-amusing and often hilarious "Arizona" coming attraction honors the humor of the HILARIOUS nine-minute indie film "Trailer: The Movie" (2001). IMDb PERFECTLY describes that one as "when two filmmakers discover their blockbuster is really just a bust, they cut together every half-decent shot into a misleading trailer to dupe audiences and save their careers."
The traditional aspects of "Arizona" begin with this almost literally "day in the life of" film commencing with titular American beauty Rose (Johanna Braddy) waking up in bed next to negligent power-agent husband Rick (Kyle Howard). She then wakes up growing boy 10 year-old Sawyer and serves her men a delicious nutritious breakfast because their maid has the day off.
Rick heading off to New York to attend the Tonys, and Sawyer going to school ahead of a sleepover leaves Rose with an empty nest.
Our lady of leisure becomes a lady who lunches on Rick calling her to demand that she perform her corporate spouse duty. The aside this time is that your not-so-humble reviewer refers to this as Samantha Stephens duty without the fun of being able to turn the client into a monkey when asked to attend a corporate event.
Rose gathering with her fellow real housewives of Beverly Hills leads to her volunteering to teach a life-skills class at a women's shelter that afternoon. The ensuing unfortunate circumstances lead to the hilarity with a touch of "Orange is the New Black" that ensues in the film.
Rose arises to find male shelter manager Bigs largely indifferent to her presence. He offers this rich white lady (avec sash and tiara) who has always lead a privileged life minimal support in her effort to reach the down-and-out shelter residents. These folks on whom enlightenment is being forced are even less receptive.
The imminent arrival of an uninvited guest requires that the shelter residents run, do not walk, to the nearest exit. Car trouble leads to Rose becoming their chauffeur.
A chance encounter drives (no pun intended) the rest of the action. Shelter resident Leslie (Robyn Lively of "Teen Witch") sees the car of her husband at the home of his cousin. This is of particular interest because the husband is guilty of parental kidnapping, and Leslie does not know where he is keeping their offspring.
Subsequent subterfuge results in the group learning where the kids are stashed; the gig being up leads to a frantic car chase.
The type of treat that makes indie films so special follows when the women go to a police station for assistance. A cop played by master of deadpan Tom McLaren ("Expelled" and "All American Bikini Car Wash") is surprised to find a former acquaintance in the station waiting room. He gets good mileage from merely saying "You again? Keep you nose clean." and walking out before the woman can respond.
Rose discovering that she cannot rely on her friends and family leads to the closest homage of the entire film. She and her new friends find themselves in West Hollywood (aka WeHo) in desperate need of money.
Discovering a drag-queen contest leads to the Lucy and Ethel caliber crazy scheme of having the former Miss America contestant compete. One character aptly refers to the classic Julie Andrews cross-dressing period-piece comedy film "Victor"/"Victoria."
It seems that McAlpin has a "Must See" show in mind when taking the film in that direction. An episode of the '90scom "Wings," which revolves around two brothers operating a struggling commuter airline on Nantucket, finds one of the brothers and the "girl" to the "two guys" stranded in New York. Their solution is to have the woman compete in a drag contest so that they can get enough money to return to their island.
Personal experience shows that McAlpin is well-tuned into the drag-queen mentality. They generally are a vicious lot that equally steal the clothes almost literally off the back of the others and get very upset when that occurs. At the same time, some of these boys who put so much into their art can be the nicest people in the world.
Suffice it to say that a permed "Cher" out there does not take kindly to being mistaken for Fran Drescher, and that anyone should be cool with adoration that includes a kiss on the cheek from a nice queen.
Worlds collide and revelations are achieved during the contest. Finding out about the secret life of an acquaintance is another true-life aspect of this portion of "Arizona."
This long strange day and night ends with a neo-Hollywood ending that involves the standard unexpected angel as well as Rose getting her groove back.
Although largely presented as a feminist fable, the message of this movie that should appeal to everyone from their teens to their 80s comes from another classic film. Everyone of every gender and sexual orientation should be excellent to each other.
Warner Archive continues making the best movies of which you never heard available by releasing the 1932 thriller with social commentary "Roadhouse Murder" on DVD on June 11, 2019. Archive using the term "the deadly Dykes" in the back-cover synopsis enhances this joy.
The following YouTube clip of an Archive promo., for "Roadhouse" is of a pivotal sequence that wonderfully illustrates the vintage early talkie feel of this highly theatrical film. The flawed picture quality of this clip also highlights the much better images and sounds of the Archive DVD.
Like a full gamut of '30s films, our story begins in the bullpen of a newspaper; in this case, a disgruntled veteran reporter is expressing his job dissatisfaction in strong language for films of that era, We soon see the basis for those sentiments.
The toxic editor who inspires the ill will subsequently turns his wrath on cub reporter Charles "Chick" Brian. Chick does good by catching a loose woman red-handed with hot ice and by getting a photo of her in literal hot water. This dame having a friend in a high place kills both the story and the immediate potential for Chick to advance his career.
This blow prompts Chick to take secret girlfriend Mary Agnew, who is the daughter of homicide Inspector William Agnew, for a ride in the country, Things take a combined "It Happened One Night" and "Scooby-Doo" turn when a sudden deluge requires that this unmarried couple without any physical baggage take shelter at The Lame Dog Inn. The manner in which the innkeeper takes advantage of the assumed vulnerability of these guests is a "Roadhouse" highlight.
Things going bump in the night lead to our nice young people discovering the titular crime and knowing whodunit.
Rather than immediately finger the perps, Chick decides to frame himself with the idea that his story literally will be front-page news. The rest of this career-advancement plan involves entrusting Mary, whose name literally is kept out of the papers, with a figurative smoking gun. The rest of her job is to produce this compelling evidence before Chick becomes a permanent guest of the state.
"Roadhouse" then uses a technically advanced method for the era in a variation of using shots of newspaper headlines as an exposition device. This clearly shows Chick is both the story and the author of his tale.
The honeymoon ends on Chick being caught in the worst place at the worst time. This leads to the climatic courtroom scene that seems mandatory for most Golden Age films of every genre. A nice twist ensues courtesy of a chain-of-custody issue requiring that Mary (with help from Dad) does more than just stand by her man.
More fun comes via the cynicism that pervades "Roadhouse" creating the possibility that truth, justice, and the American way will not prevail.
The scoop regarding all this is that "Roadhouse" reminds us of the era in which even B-movies have strong merits.
Aside from the awesomely juvenile premise, the greatest thing about the book "The Finger: A Comprehensive Guide to Flipping Off" is that it is a reality after a presumably drunken evening during which the co-authors think to document the history and every other aspect of an act in which most of us engage to varying degrees. The best way to describe the appeal of the book is that those of us in 90 percent in the general population who have extended said digit in the face of an offensive individual say that we find it immensely satisfying; the other 10 percent are liars.
This tome with a nifty lenticular image of the titular act presumably graces the shelves of some Spencer's Gifts; it definitely is available through a Seattle-based online retailer that both shall remain nameless and deserves to be the frequent recipient of the gesture around which the book is centered.
One can further speculate that real-life Greendale College (or Grant College for children of the '80s) Evergreen State College either has or will offer a course based on this book. If so, attending the final exam is worth flying to Washington state.
The heavily (and hilariously) illustrated book begins with an overview of the subject and goes on to discuss the centuries-old origin of the gesture that modern society knows and loves. This portion of the book also dispels a long-standing myth regarding the topic.
One of many notable elements of "The Finger" is documentation of covert use of this form of communication; this includes a photo of a 19th century team photo and a propaganda image that demonstrates that POWs remain loyal to truth, justice, and the American way.
We further see photographic proof that puttin' on the Ritz is not the only activity of Rockefellers and other household names. The context of the latter often involves paparazzi or the heat of a sports competition.
Wonderful humor relates to an extensive section on foreign variations of hand gestures that express great disdain; beyond being informative and entertaining, this provides a chance to enhance travel experiences with plausible deniability in the form of being a stupid American who alleges that he (or she) knows not of which he (or she) expresses.
A related portion of "Finger" addresses variations of the American method for indicating that someone is "Number One." This extends well beyond the "I'll turn up the volume" technique that the book reminds us that the '80s film "The Breakfast Club" highlights. (A personal variation from high school days is the quilt-o-gram in which the gesturer is shrouded in a blanket and tells the offensive peer that he or she has a special message before turning to that individual and delivering the communication.)
The authors add genuine substance regarding covering legal proceedings surrounding the making of the gesture (almost always involving a driving incident and often having an element of interaction with a law-enforcement official.) The gist of this is that said gesture MOSTLY does not violate obscenity laws and OFTEN receives protection under freedom-of-expression principles. However the wisdom related to an abundance of caution suggests not doing the crime unless you are willing to do the time.
A desire to not further run the risk of a reader vigorously extending his or her offensive digit at his or her screen regarding spoilers as to this book is prompting concluding this review with a hearty endorsement of it.
Warner Archive once again shows its perfect instincts by releasing the crystal-clear (bordering on 4K quality) Blu-ray of the 1980 Clint Eastwood comedy "Bronco Billy" on July 9, 2019. Summertime is the season of tacky lowest-common-denominator attractions such as the failing Wild West Show that the titular urban cowboy (Eastwood) is hoping to keep afloat.
The bigger picture this time is that "Billy" perfectly reflects the films of Eastwood before he turns auteur by directing films such as "Bird" and "The Bridges of Madison County." "Billy" comes in the era in which Eastwood moves from the spaghetti westerns that solidify him as a household name to the time in which he makes the Dirty Harry films and the lowest of the low-brow comedies "Every Which Way You Can" franchise. All this is decades before he talks to the invisible man at the Republican Convention.
The final piece of this puzzle is that reel- and real-life Eastwood leading lady Sondra Locke plays "Billy" love interest heiress experiencing a reversal-of-fortune Antoinette Lily (a.k.a. Miss Ida Ho).
The following standard-def. '70slicious trailer of "Billy" highlights the almost literal night-and-day difference between the theatrical presentation of the film and the Blu-ray. The contrast between the washed-up red of the convertible of Billy and the bright and shiny showroom red of the one in the Archive version is incredible. This is not to mention the numerous era-specific elements that include this promo. featuring Scatman Crothers ("Chico and the Man" and "Hong Kong Phooey") as sidekick/sage Doc Lynch.
The melange of westerns and "Loose" relates to Billy struggling to keep his oh-so-cheesy wild west show going. The early scenes of acts such as Chief Big Eagle (Dan Vadis) doing a rattle-snake dance and a seemingly all-American boy doing rope trips while dressed as an insurance salesman on vacation at a dude ranch provide the picture.
The rest of this part of the story is that we see Billy showing off his riding, shooting, and knife-throwing skills. He does this with the help of the latest in a long string of lovely assistants/bimbos.
Meanwhile off the reservation, Antoinette crosses paths with Billy at an Idaho city hall. He is buying a permit so the show can go, and she is about to marry wimpy John Arlington (Geoffrey Lewis) so that she can inherit a fortune and he can be a kept (but sexually frustrated) man. John indisputable gets the best line in the film as to his being denied any semblance of marital bliss.
A very light "Harry" element enters the picture when Antoinette discovers on awakening the morning after her nuptials that the honeymoon is over. John and all of her money are gone. This ultimately leads to the evil stepmother and the family attorney conspiring to convince John to confess to murdering Antoinette. The compensation for this unfortunate incarceration is $500,000.
Worlds collide when the desperate but not serious status of Antoinette leads to this New York socialite joining the motley crew of Billy. Her rude awakening this time involves quickly learning the variation of the ass, gas, or grass principle that Billy enforces as to the caravan that brings his group from town to town. It does take awhile for the kisses of Billy to drive Antoinette delirious.
"Harry" also enters the picture when a night out at a redneck bar goes Big Dan's with respect to Antoinette and leads to Billy also having to rescue the aforementioned boy-next-door on learning that he is on the run from the law. This leads s to a "Smokey and the Bandit" style showdown that it is a "Billy" highlight.
A subsequent surprise family reunion leads to more trauma and drama; this leads to a celebration of truth, justice, and the American way.
The strong appeal of all this begins with Eastwood obviously fully embracing this role that perfectly reflects his career. We also see how this spirit (and the associated '70s "free to be you and me" philosophy) permeates the film that we badly need in our hostile dystopian present.
Mill Creek Entertainment continues to celebrate the spirit of summer camp by adding a spectacularly remastered Blu-ray release of the 2003 made-for-TV movie "The Stranger Beside Me: The Ted Bundy Story" to a plethora of cheesetastic recent home-video releases. The "I Heart the '90s" offshoot of the equally good "Retro VHS" series from MCE is a prime example of this.
The only fault in "Stranger" is not in stars Billy Campbell and Barbara Hershey ("Beaches") or the good production. The not-so-fatal flaw is with the source material in the form of the 1980 true-crime bestseller of the same name by Ann Rule. The fact that the full name of "Strangers" begins with "Ann Rule Presents" further illustrates this annoying (and arguably unprofessional) approach to the subject. Bundy (Campbell), not Rule (Hershey), is the real star, This is especially so considering that Rule is slow on the uptake regarding the hobby of her pal.
Like many other successful biopics, "Stranger" acknowledges that most viewers already know the story and are interested in supplementing our knowledge. Thus, rather than starting at the beginning, "Stranger" commences with Bundy being pulled over in a 1978 traffic stop in Florida that both he and the majority of the viewers know will not end well for him,
Bundy then uses his one telephone call to phone a friend by reaching out and touching Rule, who is in Seattle. The action then shifts back to 1971 and Bundy and Rule working together on a suicide-prevention hotline. The good part of that scene relates to it illustrating the charm of Bundy that is an asset regarding his hobby; the bad part is that this also is used to provide exposition regarding former cop Rule being an insightful and talented true-crime reporter.
Worlds soon collide as a series of girls going missing and/or being found dead prompts Rule to take a hard-line with her teen daughter. We also see Rule offhandedly note that the evidence could point to Ted as the perpetrator.
The rest of this part of the story is that Bundy is involved in a serious romantic relationship and is preparing to move to Utah to attend law school. The lesson here is the common one that we and our significant others do not show our crazy until a ring is put on it.
This narrative continues with Bundy putting his intellect and his aforementioned charm to good use in luring his victims via a variation on the perverse tactic of child molesters getting their victims to look for a non-existent lost puppy. Another difference is that big girls are the ones in peril in this case.
We ultimately catch up with the present as law-enforcement co-operation leads to connecting Bundy with several murders in multiple states. Highlight in this portion of "Stranger" include Bundy aptly using the cunning of a zoo animal in an effort to no longer be a guest of the State.
Watching Bundy present his own defense at his murder trial provides reason to doubt the validity of the Twain expression that a man who represents himself has a fool for a client. The related admiration of the judge for the courtroom skill of Bundy is another good twist.
This portion of the film further focuses on the cult-style celebrity status that Bundy achieves. It seems that the popularity of this guy is not so far from the level of fandom that the Beatles achieve in their prime.
"Stranger" further is due credit for pulling one more rabbit out of the hat near the end. We learn that there was cause for early intervention that might have produced a more favorable outcome for all than how things worked out,
The bigger picture is that "Stranger" provides especially good hot-weather fun by reminding us that stories that show that truth is stranger than fiction provide excellent fodder for broadcast and basic-cable networks.
The devotion of Warner Archive to the full gamut of films and television from the sublime to the ridiculous (and the ridiculously sublime) makes its June 25, 2019 DVD release of the 2015 documentary "The Madness of Max" a perfect addition to the Archive catalog. This epic 157-minute film is a raucous detailed homage to the 1979 cult-classic "Mad Max." As "Madness" states a few times, several have tried to emulated that post-apocalyptic action-adventure film but have not matched it.
Much of the fun of "Madness" includes filmmakers Gary McFeat and Tim Ridge bringing "Max" star Mel Gibson and the rest of the band back together. This includes the "roadies" including writer/director George Miller. Writer/producer Byron Kennedy died in an accident on July 17, 1983 but is represented in archival interviews and by his parents.
A related note is that McFeat effectively takes an almost pure cinema-verite approach to his subject. He lets his "cast of thousands" directly tell their stories, interspersed with film clips and behind-the-scenes footage. The overall effective is of an exceptionally detailed audio-commentary of "Max."
The bigger picture this time is that "Madness" chronicles the making of a film from concept, to revised concept, to production, to release, to the response of critics and the general public, to the legacy of the movie.
Both of our stories begin with Miller and Kenendy telling how personal experience inspires the original concept of a film about things getting personal for a present-day cop; this leads to the idea of enhancing the story and setting in an not-too-distant post-apocalyptic future. Ironically, the rest is history.
Although Gibson offers a significant amount of insight. "Madness" shares the wealth regarding the focus on the cast. One of the more interesting stories is the strong cred. of Hugh Kaays-Byrne (who appears in "Madness"), who plays crazed nemesis Toecutter.
Much of "Madness" focuses on the Dartmouth fratboy attitude that permeates the actual making of the film; we see how Byrne and the actors who play his biker gang fully go method to a scary extent. Highlight (no pun intended) include pinning real human hair to threatening notes and using blood as an ink to express their feelings about "The Bronze," aka the pigs.
One of the most insightful comments refers to the tremendous fun of watching the cast and the crew create exhilarating special effects on a high-school musical budget. The relevant remark is that most movies get to do 32 takes when filming a scene, and that "Max" gets one bite at the apple. This relates to the memory of the 32 takes coming while writing the script, which includes every camera angle.
One of the best stories in "Madness" ties together every great element of both that documentary and its subject. We hear the full story of the filming of a scene involving a rocket car. This includes both the lesson that it never hurts to ask and insight regarding the fallout from a stunt gone wrong.
We subsequently hear about how an angel at Warner International helps "Max" reach a wide audience; this leads to an awesome reminder that spreading the word about the latest cool thing does not require social media. A related note is the amusing reminder that a restrictive film rating can be interpreted as a guarantee of the true gen.
The fun wraps up with the supporting cast telling of fans still approaching them about "Max." Their embracing such contacts reinforces that they had the time of their lives making the film.
The fun for fans of "Max" and even folks who have never seen it extends beyond sharing in the glee of the product of guys gone wild; we get a great reminder of what can happen when actors fully check their egos at the door and will VOLUNTEER to do everything necessary to make the movie. This is not to mention that producing good effects requires more brains than bucks and is possible without the benefit of CGI. Old-school folks know that live always is better than Memorex.
Mill Creek Entertainment chooses well in releasing the phenomenal 4K version of the spectacular 2002 IMAX documentary "Space Station" on July 9, 2019. This celebration of the American ideal is very apt for the July 4 period. Having American idol "Born on the Fourth of July" star Tom Cruise narrate the film is the icing on the cake.
MCE kindly includes a Blu-ray version of "Station" for folks who do not have a 4K player.
Additionally, "Station" is a perfect follow-up to the (reviewed) December 2018 MCE 4K+Blu-Ray+Digital release of the equally epic documentary "Beautiful Planet," which shows earth from the perspective of the ISS. Both films are from highly talented director Toni Myers.
The following YouTube clip of a "Station" trailer offers a good sense of the film achieving the documentary ideal of being equally entertaining and educational.
The expectations exceeding elements begin with the opening scenes and continue to the final seconds. The first images are of a CGI operation on the space station; this technology being standard for IMAX films such as "Station" does not make this segment surprising, The twist comes on learning that we are watching an astronaut on earth using a highly advanced simulator.
Cruise and Myers then fully collaborate in showing us how future ISS residents use an enormous water tank on earth to simulate the conditions under which they will need to join two large key components of the station way up in the atmosphere before they try to get back to here, We clearly see regarding this that practice must make perfect,
The indisputably best shot of "Station" soon follows. Myers gets a very dramatic shot of the lift-off of the rocket that transports the construction crew to the partially completed ISS. Although the entire film makes you feel as if "you are there," these images and sounds particularly provide a sense of being front-and-center for the action.
The action then shifts to the ISS, where we see the men and women at work. We witness some of the construction for which we saw the crew prepare on earth. We also see the related fun and challenges associated with brushing your teeth and performing other daily activities in a zero-gravity environment. Those of us with TMI regarding the water supply on the station have a bonus ick factor. Suffice it to say that the ISS engineers seem to be fans of the Kevin Costner film "Waterworld."
An especially cute scene shows both ends of the conversation in which the crew uses a ham radio to answer questions from a group of elementary school students. The kids do not say the darnedst things but still entertain.
One of the biggest takeaways from this depiction of this successful international project is the observation that one does not see countries from space. All of us should take that message to heart.
The special features maintain the same high standards as those of "Station."
"Adventures in Space" is a delightful short in which Myers, the ISS crew, and representatives from NASA and Lockheed Martin discuss the fun and the challenges of this labor of love. These include the crew using the ingenuity for which they get the mediocre bucks to overcome obstacles related to filming in space.
"Expedition 7" has the titular crew host an open house at their home away from home; this tour awesomely expands on "Station"and "Adventures." The new information includes the challenge of sleeping in an environment in which your hand floats unless tethered down.
The appeal of every film mentioned here is that they put life on earth in perspective and show what we can accomplish when we opt to all just get along.
The Breaking Glass Pictures June 18, 2019 DVD release of the 2018 "coming-of-age age war musical" period piece "Kanarie" fully demonstrates the regard of Breaking for the spirits of both Pride and the '80s. The film also shows that not learning the lessons of apartheid and government-condoned homophobia back them are condemning us to repeat aspects of both 35 years later.
The following YouTube clip of a "Kanarie" trailer does just as well highlighting all of the three seemingly incompatible elements of the film as writer/director Christiaan Olwagen does blending them.
"Kanarie" opens on a high note; 18 year-old Johan is having great fun wearing a wedding gown and clowning around with his sister. This glee leads to a dare for Johan to walk down the street of his small conservative town in that garb. The rest of the story is that the parents of that excitable boy/fan of Boy George and Depeche Mode are prominent pillars of the community.
All starts out well and leads to one of a few fantasy musical numbers that are straight out of the MTV of the era. Things come crashing down in a way to which all of us who have shed off our repressions and expressed pure joy only to have the real world provide an abrupt rude awakening can relate.
The expression "out the frying pan, into the fire" is very apt regarding the news that awaits Johan on his return from his walk-of-shame. He learns that his number has come up and that he must enter the South African army for his two years of service. The rest of the story is that this is an era in which the actual battle regarding apartheid is at a peak.
Johan receives less-than-anticipated relief when his musical talents earn him a spot in the titular South African Defense Forces Church Choir. That group travels around performing for the folks back home. The rude awakening this time is that the military is very effective at reminding the songbirds that they still are soldiers.
The next scenes evoke strong thoughts of the 1988 Neil Simon semi-autobiographical non-musical war movie "Biloxi Blues." That film has Brooklyn draftee Jerome (Matthew Broderick) traveling to the titular Southern city for basic training before being shipped off to show Mr. Hitler that the nephews of Uncle Sam have something to say about how The Little Corporal is running things.
Like Jerome, Johan boards a train for his first military home away from home. Both boys also travel with those who at least will be near (if not dear) to them for the foreseeable future. In the case of Jerome, this is rotund high-voiced hyper-active (queen?) Ludolf and their (not-so-little) corporal, whose behavior screams for him to become a victim of friendly fire.
One difference is that Johan and his band (pun intended) of brothers is headed to the Valhalla Air Force Base in Swartkop.
Beyond that, the similarities between "Biloxi" and "Kanarie" are so strong that one must think about whether come elements are from the former or the latter. An example of this is a white soldier in "Biloxi" concealing that one of his parents is black. Another "Biloxi" scene has two gay soldiers getting caught in the act prompting a witch hunt.
Johan and Ludolf soon meet and bond with Wolfgang Muller, who shares the enthusiasm of Johan for the pop music of the day.
Much of the good humor of "Kanarie" comes courtesy of scenes with the stereotypical host families with whom they stay while on tour. These include a motherly type and a Mrs. Robinson who clumsily tries to seduce the lads.
It is during this period that Johan and Wolfgang truly become brothers at arms. The problem is that Johan is uncomfortable about even accepting (let alone embracing) that he is gay. He puts this in the context that Boy George is keeping at least one foot in the closet.
Of course, all this leads to final act drama as Johan faces the dual pressures of being in the military and singing in a church choir. The means by which he receives at least a quantum of solace shows that there was more enlightenment than generally considered in the mid-80s.
The bigger (and highly relatable) picture this time is that virtually all of us experience a first or second coming-of-age on concluding our high-school career. We experience the larger world by entering college, enlisting in the military, or immediately becoming a wage slave. The common lessons that come with these experiences is that we must adapt or perish and that that does not always come with the luxury of to thine own selves be true.
Olwagen nicely expresses the times that are a changing in the South African in the '70s and '80s and what makes his characters from that era tick in an insightful DVD extra, This feature also provides good behind-the-scenes secrets.
The Mill Creek Entertainment June 4, 2019 "I Heart '90s" BD release of the 1997 Jean-Claude Van Damme action-adventure film "Double Team" reminds us that the multiplex fare of that decade extends beyond bright-and-bold teencoms, such as the "Heart" releases of "Excess Baggage" and "Opportunity Knocks." This also is the era in which musclemen, such as Van Damme and Schwarzenegger, revel much more in kicking ass than taking down names. These studs also make it clear that even not running out of bubble gum would have changed anything.
Dennis Rodman co-starring in "Team" further reminds us that several NBA stars tried their hand at acting in the '90s.
The following YouTube clip of a "Team" trailer provides a good sense of why the film appeals to the 12 year-old boy or tomboy in all of us. There potentially will be plenty of blood.
Our story begins with a cold open in which secret-agent man Jack Quinn (Van Damme) is recovering a massive amount of plutonium that criminal mastermind Stavros (Mickey Rourke) has sold to the highest bidder. These elements (along with other aspects of "Team") will evoke thoughts of the even-more guilty pleasure 1986 film "Never Too Young to Die" starring rockers John Stamos and Gene Simmons.
Quinn shows that his mission is not impossible, and the action shifts ahead three years as Quinn, Jack Quinn is living a quiet life of luxury with pregnant wife Kathryn at their "cottage" in the South of France. Just when Quinn thinks that he is out, "they" pull him back in to finish off Stavros once and for all.
The prep. for this new mission includes a visit to highly-Q flamboyant arms dealer Yaz (Rodman) to stock up on needed supplies. Of course, the pair clashes and trade barbs.
This leads to Quinn not taking full advantage of his second bite at the apple. His "punishment" consists of exile at the paradise of "The Colony," which ala "The Village" of the classic British series "The Prisoner," is where agents who have outlived their usefulness but are too dangerous to roam free are sent to live out the rest of their lives. "Team" even has a "Rover" like massive inflatable bubble, which aptly look more like a basketball in this film.
The rest of this part of the story is that Kathryn and most of the rest of the world think that Quinn is dead.
General tenaciousness and a strong motive prompt Quinn to plot a successful elaborate great escape. Of course, Stavros and Kathryn play prominent roles regarding this.
Quinn once again calls on Yaz to outfit him; one difference is that the latter tags along this time.
It is equally predictable (and fun) that the confrontations amp up as the opposing forces clash; this leads an awesomely old-school showdown in the coliseum. Of course, three men enter and two men leave. This leads to an effort to clean up a remaining loose end.
The appeal of all this is that the tried-and-true elements provide 90 minutes of escapist cathartic fun in which larger-than-life characters let us see their somewhat idealized world in which the hero bounces back at least until he has fully outlived his usefulness.
Warner Archive awesomely illustrates the positive evolution of Hollywood films regarding gay-themed stories with the November 7, 2017 DVD release of the 1997 dramedy "Love! Valour! Compassion!"
As the text on the DVD back cover notes, the secret to Terrence McNally bringing his Tony-winning play to the rainbow screen is reuniting the band back and having Jason Alexander join the group as stereotypical middle-aged queen Buzz, whose quirks include believing that virtually every celebrity is gay.
The warranted comparisons to "Golden Pond" and "The Big Chill" prove a primary point of "Love!" and other modern films centered around homosexual characters; boys who like other boys (and girls who like other girls) have the same highs and lows as everyone else. The biggest difference (especially until the recent past) is that estrangement from relatives, the AIDS crisis, and remnants of discrimination that include marriage inequality contributed to gay men like those in the play bonding in groups such as the one around which the film centers.
Gregory is the center of the group in that he is their common thread and owns the country house in New York state where they gather over Memorial Day, July Fourth, and Labor Day one summer. Gregory is a successful middle-aged choreographer and is the partner of younger and cuter blind legal assistant Bobby.
The standout in the cast is John Glover ("Smallville"), who plays aptly surnamed twins John and James Jeckyll. Accompanist pianist John is the unlikable pity friend of the group. He primarily is invited along out of sympathy for not having any place else to go for Memorial Day weekend. His bringing along hunky 20-something Latino dancer boyfriend Roman, who is not shy about stripping down to skinny dip and sunbathe, likely plays a role in this pair returning for the other two weekends.
Kind and gentle AIDS patient James Jeckyll comes on the scene on the Fourth of July; his sweet nature and strong contrasts with his brother quickly earns him the hearts of the gang; this leads to an unlikely (but tender) relationship with incestuous elements.
The remaining boys in the band are long-term couple/business consultants Arthur and Perry.
The Memorial Day weekend sets the stage (no pun intended) for much of the drama to come. The largest theme is the AIDS crisis, which divides the gay community as much as it does this group. Some members feel that it is important to discuss this, and others want to pretend that this horrible disease does not exist. The positive members of the group fear what is to come, and those who are negative still dread the worst.
Everyone in the group regularly thinks of people whom they have lost. An powerful aspect of all these elements is a character expressing resentment toward monogamous couple Arthur and Perry being spared the disease and these men responding in kind.
This weekend also involves an illicit tryst with a highly symbolic act related to the practicality of crying.
The second act over July 4th lets the audience and the characters catch up on the developments (including fall-out from Memorial Day) of the roughly six months since their last gathering. This also involves Bobby experiencing trauma to which most people can relate.
The end-of-summer third act includes much more symbolism as we learn a great deal about the fates of the men and they essentially cleanse their sins.
Mill Creek Entertainment wonderfully puts the camp back in summer with the June 4, 2019 pristinely remastered Blu-ray double-feature "Mindwarp (1992) and "Brainscan" (1994). The leitmotif is a virtual-reality experience gone horrifically wrong.
MCE chooses well in pairing these films; the common themes extend well beyond the VR element, and viewers aptly are promised a total of approximately three-hours of escapist fun that lacks a dull moment.
"Mindwarp" is the darker of the two films; it occurs in a post-apocalyptic era in which elite Inworlders (a.k.a. Dreamers) never venture out and spend most of their time in their ideal virtual worlds ala "Ready, Player One."
A quarter-life crisis for 20-something Judy kicks things into high gear. Tired of living a fantasy, she wants real-world experience. This results in her being thrust into the "Mad Max" badlands beyond her safe space. This not-so-teenage wasteland is populated by not-so-teenage mutant warriors known as Crawlers, who are hunting the most dangerous game.
Last-minute salvation arrives via Stover, who is a typical grungy hero played by Bruce Campbell (""Ash vs. Evil Dead"). Their honeymoon period is very short-lived thanks to a Crawler raid on Chez Stover.
Judy becomes a somewhat honored guest of the Crawlers, and Stover is treated more like a host., Both get an up-close-and-personal look at how the Seer operates things; the pair further get a sense of how all things are relative,
A way-cool aspect of "Mindwarp" is how it shows that VR tech. can create an "Alice in Wonderland" or "The Wizard of Oz" existence, This continues through to the awesome twists at the end.
"Brainscan" is the more campy of the two films and looks and sounds especially good in BD. Additionally Edward Furlong ("Terminator 2") contributes a strong '90s vibe in his portrayal of teen gamer Michael.
Michael truly is the victim of a bad influence when slacker best bud/fellow slasher film aficionado Kyle induces him to try the titular new CD-Rom game. Each of the four discs essentially arriving in a
plain brown wrapper adds to the nostalgic fun. This is on top of the film being a Tipper Gore caliber commentary on the evils of computer games.
It is all fun-and-games at first when Michael virtually becomes the killer in the first round of the game. This perspective puts the teen in control as the victim gets the Lizzie Borden treatment; the rude awakening the next morning is that the stiff is a real murder victim.
Michael also soon learns that accepting the terms-and-conditions of the game invites the mischievously evil The Trickster into his life and home in a manner reminiscent of both "Weird Science" and "Poltergeist."
The Trickster becomes an even worse influence than Kyle in that he compels his new minion to continue a killing spree to avoid ending up in juvie. This includes a few felonious acts that hit close to home.
The rest of the story is that police detective Hayden (Frank Langella) is having increasing interest in Michael as a person. Much of this relates to the theory that the perp. always returns to the scene of the crime.
The real fun begins when The Trickster fully involves the literal girl-next-door in the fun-and-games. This leads to Michael having to make another in a series of very tough choices. This is not too mention all this occurring at a time that the figurative noose is tightening around the neck of our excitable boy.
The first big finale twist shows the extent to which The Trickster is phallic; the next one fully proves that boys will be boys.
As indicated above, lovers of good bad-movies cannot ask for anything better than this double feature.
The accolades for the remastering of the Warner Archive June 25, 2019 Blu-ray release of the 1944 Oscar-winning Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer classic "Gaslight" is that it goes beyond looking and sounding pristine to having visual depth that rivals that of 4K. Praise for this masterful production of a live-stage hit is that even cinephiles/veteran Blu-ray reviewers can mistakenly recall this George Cukor as being a Hitchcock film.
Hitchcock blonde Ingrid Bergman EARNS her first of three Oscars for her spot-on portrayal of naive and vulnerable newlywed Paula, who falls victim to the long-game plan of scoundrel Gregory (Charles Boyer) if that is his real name.
Other notable casting includes a 17 going on 18 Angela Lansbury playing cheeky maid Nancy, the thoroughly delightful Dame May Whitty playing daffy elderly neighbor Miss Thwaites, and Orson Welles entourage member Joseph Cotten playing Scotland Yard detective Brian Cameron with at least one form of personal interest in the perils of Paula.
The following YouTube clip of a "Gaslight" trailer PERFECTLY captures the 1895 goth vibe of the film,. This promo. strongly suggests that the film could be titled "The Bride of Jack the Ripper,"
As real-life (and equally attractive) Ingrid Bergman daughter Pia Lindstrom reminds us in a MUST-SEE modern behind-the-scenes BD onus feature, the legacy of "Gaslight" includes that term still being used to refer to someone trying to make us think that we are crazy. Minimally, all of us have had someone insist that they repaid an unsatisfied debt or that the now-gone last can of a highly desired beverage in the refrigerator was never there,
The bigger picture is that studies and anecdotes prove that we and the highly significant others in our lives do not fully show our crazy until a ring has been put on it.
A shamelessly shilled 1946 radio broadcast in which Bergman and Boyer reprise their roles provides yet another compelling reason to add this release to your home-video library.
Our prologue consists of the sensationalism in the immediate wake of the brutal murder of the opera-star aunt/guardian of Paula in her London home. The conclusion is that this killing is collateral damage in a failed burglary to purloin exceptionally valuable jewels.
The rocks remain unaccounted for when we catch up with our Victorian-era Patrick Dennis a decade later. Paula is in Italy studying with a maestro, but her new romance with Gregory is creating a sour note.
The audience is much more woke than Paula regarding her new husband soon manipulating her into moving into the long-shuttered scene of the crime that she fled 10 years earlier. An early bit of gaslighting involves a smoking gun that is very obvious even by "Scooby-Doo" standards.
The gaslighting and associated emotional abuse quickly escalate to the point that Paula is convinced that the gaslight in the fixtures lowering and raising and the things going bump in the night are all in her head. Lindstrom shares the lengths to which Mom goes to make that aspect of the performance convincing.
EVERY cat who has fallen on the floor while rolling over during a nap and every human who has had his or her stupidity thrown in his or her face can relate to the feelings of Paula when Gregory viciously berates her for the mishaps that befall her.
Meanwhile, Brian is monitoring developments and protecting Paula to the legally allowed limit. Nancy is becoming increasingly brazen in a manner that suggests that she soon will be the harlot of the house.
All of this climaxes in true Hitchcock fashion as every loose end is expertly wrapped up. However, this being a British film creates the possibility that there will not be a Hollywood ending.
The recent Olive Films Blu-ray release of the gay-themed dramedy "Partners" is a great example of the '80slicious titles that comprise a significant percentage of the Olive DVD and Blu-ray catalogs. The brat pack classics "Class" and "Making the Grade" are two of scads of bodacious examples of these films.
The following YouTube clip of the "Partners" theatrical trailer nicely showcases the early '80s style of the film, the good performances, and the era-appropriate humor.
"Partners" takes a nice twist on the odd couple theme by pairing hunky homophobe cop Benson pair with closeted desk jockey officer Kerwin for an undercover mission in West Hollywood to investigate the murders of young gay men. Dreamy funny Ryan O'Neal and very talented John Hurt play Benson and Kerwin respectively.
Veteran gruff character actor character actor Kenneth McMillian, who perhaps is best known as rough but kind costume shop owner Jack Doyle on the '70s sitcom "Rhoda," shines as the stereotypical commanding officer of the pair. His threatening to put police detective Benson back in uniform and on the beat in the worst part of the city and his aggressively pushing a very insecure Kerwin out of the closet to get the men to work together are highlights.
The comedy cred. of "Partners" relates to James Burrows, who is behind "Rhoda" and too many other to mention classic sophisticated '70s and '80s sitcoms, directing the film. The street cred. comes from having Francis Veber, whose gaycom credits extend well beyond "La Cage Aux Folles" and the "Folles" American cousin "The Birdcage," scribe the film.
The early scenes in "Partners" have Benson and Kerwin set up housekeeping in a West Hollywood apartment building. Benson stereotypically hurls slurs at Kerwin and is otherwise brutal. The submissive manner in which Kerwin reacts both reflects the less accepting '80s regarding alternate sexual orientations and is a perfect analogy for the verbal abuse that many black people passively accepted for years before expressing their own well-deserved pride.
Other outdated prejudice comes in the form of both Benson and the commanding officer of the team discount theories of Kerwin simply because he is gay, Anyone who has been in the position of knowing that he or she is right but cannot get people to listen can relate to this.
Benson getting his eyes opened on finding himself on the other end of sadistic gay bashing by the police is another positive message in an era in which even seeming to be gay can have serious negative consequences.
An unduly brief cameo by Jay Robinson as the old queen landlord of the boys is a real treat for fans of the Sid and Marty Krofft '70s Saturday morning show "Dr. Shrinker" in which Robinson plays the titular madman with an evil mind who is as crazy as you'll ever find. Being able to joke "so that's what happened to Igor" in response to the landlord sharing the tale of the end of a 20-year relationship is some compensation for his very limited screen time.
Much of the humor predictably comes from the assignment requiring that a devastatingly humiliated Benson wears revealing and/or fetish clothes and subjects himself to equally unwelcome groping by gay men. A particularly embarrassing bow-and-arrow "outfit" of an oiled-up Benson is a personal favorite.
Seeing Kerwin and Benson grow as a professional and a personal team is very sweet; one especially endearing scene has Benson express great delight in having Kerwin surprise him with a homemade gourmet feast to celebrate their one-week anniversary.
The supporting actors and the extras who play the members of the West Hollywood community representing a wide spectrum of the population is another awesome aspect of "Partners." A blond haired blued eye preppy who is attracted to Kerwin is one of the more likable secondary characters; others in the group are disco queens, leathermen, and just ordinary blokes.
On a larger level, "Partners" is very far from being a documentary on the Stonewall riots or other significant moments in gay history but does provide an entertaining history lesson on the attitudes toward gay people in the early days of the pride movement. The strong probability that many gay men did not see the film in the theater out of fear of being labelled as homosexual is an aspect of this. Olive allowing the men to buy the Blu-ray and throw a fabulous fondue party to watch it is a good thing.
Warner Archive aptly celebrates its 10th anniversary with the Perfect 10 June 11, 2019 DVD release of the 1937 Robert Young ("Father Knows Best") screwball romcom "Married Before Breakfast." This nicely remastered film goes beyond the typical Archive standard of showing that they ought still make 'em like that to being a movie that can be made word-for-word and shot-for-shot today and still provide roughly 90-minutes of quality escapist fun.
The following YouTube clip of this overlooked gem wonderfully highlights many of the copious Depression-era elements of the film.
Young plays inventive everyman Tom Wakefield, whom we meet on the brink of selling what he thinks is his perfected cream that removes facial hair without having to use a razor. As is the case in many of these films, his dreams are dashed just as he believes that he literally can make an honest buck and enjoy the lifestyle to which he would like to become accustomed while he is young (no pun intended) enough to enjoy it.
The rest of the beginning of the story is that Tom is engaged to practical June Baylin, who never has had to worry about from where her next gourmet meal was coming. She is standing by her man but strongly prompts an attitude adjustment.
The first of several nice twists comes when an outfield-adjacent angel tracks down Tom to offer him $250,000 in 1937 dollars for his invention. The faith of that investor in the ability of Tom to work out a figuratively fatal flaw is one of many feel-good aspects of "Marriage."
Our excitable boy then literally puts his fresh-off-the-presses nouveau riches to good use. He takes a large step toward making June an honest woman and bestows exceptional personalized largese on his landlady and his neighbors at his immaculate and well-run boarding house. He goes one step further in hiring Tweed the valet, whom Tom renames Senior for a reason that makes perfect sense in the context of the film.
The chance encounter that changes everything in every romcom occurs when Tom goes to a travel agency to book a honeymoon cruise. Agent Kitty (perhaps literally) going the extra mile to deliver the tickets leads to an overnight adventure that evokes thoughts of the 1985 Martin Scorsese dark-comedy "After Hours."
The genesis of this is Tom taking his he can't do a little because he can't do enough attitude to heart in trying to help Kitty overcome an obstacle that is delaying her marriage to insurance-agent Kenneth. The "sit" that drives much of the rest of the "com" in "Marriage" is that a promotion for Tom is conditioned on selling a policy to a very reluctant milkman named Mr. Baglipp.
Tom responds by pledging to get the milkman to deliver by getting him to buy a policy for which Tom will pay the premiums. The related promise is that Kitty will get the titular nuptials.
The adventure begins with a visit to Chez Baglipp; not sealing that deal despite a criminally diligent effort leads to an obsessed Tom dragging Kitty along on a crusade to convince Baglipp to purchase some "protection."
The too numerous to mention (and too amusing to spoil) misadventures begin with Tom renting a taxi for use in his plan. Before the sun comes up, Tom and Kitty will tangle with both cops and robbers as well as start a fire. This is not to mention taking a bus passenger for a ride.
Of course, Tom keeps putting off his increasingly angry fiancee throughout all this. As time goes by, it becomes clear that his odds for a June wedding are slim to none.
"Marriage" follows a wonderfully circuitous route to the courtroom scene that provides the setting for many a Golden Age comedy and drama. The icing on the wedding cake comes in the form of more action, adventure. and laughs that ensue after the judicial proceedings conclude.
All of these moving parts provide fun as to which boy (if any) will end up with which girl and if the good intentions of Tom will literally lead to his writing a check that he cannot cash.
It is equally valid to say that "Married" has a dull moment and will leave you wanting more,
The too-numerous-to-mention Warner Archive Blu-ray and DVD releases of classic Hanna-Barbera animated series has long made Archive the darling of literal and figurative children of the '60s through the '80s. Two relatively obscure examples that are especially close the heart of sugar-cereal loving sofa spuds are the 1972-73 Saturday-morning "Flintstones" clone "The Roman Holidays" and the ready-for-primetime "All in the Family" satire "Wait 'Til Your Father Gets Home" from the same era.
Archive particularly stepped up its animation domination game with several (and rapidly counting) 2019 releases. Standouts from earlier this year include the reviewed (1993-95) series "Two Stupid Dogs" V1 and the even more awesomely old-school (also reviewed) "Kwicky Koala" CS from the early '80s.
Archive is building on this by establishing a pattern of releasing several DVD or BD sets of HB series each month over the past few months. Standouts include a phenomenal reviewed BD set of "Jonny Quest" OS CS, and an (also reviewed) "Popeye: the 1940s" V2. Long-awaited upcoming releases include "Lippy the Lion and Hardy Har Har" CS AND the even more obscure "Johnny Cypher in Dimension Zero" CS.
All of this is shared in the context of the Archive June 25, 2019 DVD release of "Wally Gator" CS. The broadest context of this 1962-64 series begins with these adventures of the anthropomorphic reptile being a prime example of the "talking animals" era of HB ahead of Spider-man and his amazing friends invading Saturday morning prompting HB to shift its focus to "Quest" and other scifi and/or adventures of humans. "Gator" also is similar in style and theme (down to the appearance and demeanor of the local beat cop) as the HB 1961-62 primetime series "Top Cat."
Each "Gator" episode centering around Wally either escaping from his Bronx Zoo habitat and experiencing comic trauma-and-drama that sends him scampering home or having events at the zoo cause him distress arguably helps inspire the HB 1971-72 series "Help, Its the Hair Bear Bunch." Other similarities include HB all-star Daws Butler (Wally) providing main characters in each series voices and Archive having a "Bunch" CS DVD. Further, a 1970s syndicated series teams up "Wally," "Lippy," and "Touche Turtle." Fairly safe money is on Archive pulling "Touche" from the vaults before the end of 2019.
"Wally" starts strong with "Droopy Dragon." This one pays homage to the 1932 classic film "The Most Dangerous Game" that involves hunting humans. Wally goes over the wall only to find himself being pursued by a senile nobleman who mistakes him for a dragon. "Dragon" also immediately establishes "Wally "as one that they won't make 'em like that anymore. Wally smokes cigars, is constantly shot at (as he is in several other outings), and is the victim of copious other cartoon violence that literally does not leave a scratch on him. Real-life buzzkills roughly a decade later ruin all this fun.
Another prime example of "Wally" not reflecting our modern times is an episode centered around a return to his native Everglades. Our star being a Florida native is not enough to avoid having a rough Confederate alligator (complete with a rebel cap) label him a Yankee and oust him from the swamp. This prompts several thwarted attempts by Wally to emulate General Sherman.
Other notable adventures include playing along to an extent with an Indian boy engaged in a rite of passage, being a key ingredient in a potion of a witch, and having a granted request for a wife lead to spousal abuse.
The appeal of this reflects the value of "Tom and Jerry" and many other classic animation series. The trick is finding fresh and entertaining variations on a tried-and-true theme.
The final thought regarding this lengthy discussion of Archive animation releases in the context of the "Wally" release is that NOBODY did Saturday morning cartoons better than HB in their golden era. These shows should be celebrated for their strong contributions to television history.
Uncork'd Entertainment takes a break from its always awesome dark and perverse fare to celebrate the true spirit of Pride. The Uncork'd June 14, 2019 DVD of the aptly titled 2018 documentary "Southern Pride" goes beyond rightfully asserting "we're here; we're queer; get used to it." This film shows that folks particularly in the Bible Belt sadly still have a long way to come, Baby.
"Pride" is the follow-up (and equally labor-of-love) of director Malcolm Ingram to his multi-award-winning documentary "Small Town Gay Bar." Both films awesomely expand the perspectives of East and West Coast metrosexuals and homosexuals.
The following YouTube clip of a "Pride" trailer aptly covers both the titular sense of self-worth and the opposing prejudice that can make things tough for folks who are part of the moral 10-percent.
Much of the focus of "Pride" is on proud and partnered lesbian Lynn, who owns the Just Us bar in the small city of Biloxi, Mississippi. A surprising theme that gets virtually no mention is that the lesbians and the gay men get along very well. This interaction typically makes the average co-existence of dogs and cats harmonious in comparison.
The titular festival itself takes a backseat to the story of Lynn and of those most near-and-dear to her. These intimates include her Trump-supporting sister, who simply knows when to keep her mouth shut, and trans-gender bartender Daniela. It may well be that the support of Lynn saved the life of her employee.
The inaugural organizing event for the first Pride celebration in Biloxi has the same element as any committee meeting. The practical folks for whom this is not their first gay rodeo strive to keep the expectations of the idealists in check.
Meanwhile, an ill-conceived effort to cash in on Spring break is the first of several setbacks that befall an amazingly resilient Lynn. It seems that the fates constantly conspire to literally or figuratively rain on her parade.
Meanwhile in Hattiesburg, a black gay bar is taking the lead organizing an explicitly black gay-pride event. This portion of "Pride" includes an explanation of the reasoning behind narrowing the focus in that manner. The related theme is the further division in the already small gay community.
As stated above, the impact of "Pride" includes the reminder that many communities are less enlightened than those that haters think of being inhabited by the culturally elite. In many respects, Team Lynn and the guys in Hattiesburg must deal with attitudes that are at least 20 years behind those of most of us.
The summer fun that is the plethora of Mill Creek Entertainment retro "I Love 90s" June 4, 2019 Blu-ray releases continues with the surprisingly entertaining 1997 Alicia Silverstone action-adventure-comedy vehicle (pun intended) "Excess Baggage." This group, which includes the already reviewed Pauly Shore funfest "Jury Duty" and the (reviewed) charming Dana Carvey film "Opportunity Knocks," join the (reviewed) hilarious teencom "Can't Hardly Wait" in this portion of the MCE catalog.
"Clueless" star Alicia Silverstone plays to type in playing Emily, who is the spoiled 18 year-old spoiled daughter of a master of the universe. One difference this time is that her shady dad is the polar opposite of the loving and compassionate attorney who is her "Clueless" parent.
A very '90s-style dreamy Benicio Del Toor plays adorably clueless car thief Vincent, who fills the role of the boy from the wrong side of the tracks who reforms and gets the princess. All this occurs to a soundtrack that can be considered K-Tels Indie Hits of the '90s. This is not to mention this relationship evoking thoughts of the Melissa Joan Hart/Adrian Grenier 1999 teencom "Drive Me Crazy."
Our story begins with Emily in the final stages of her self-imposed and executed kidnapping; she is locked in the trunk of her (of course) BMW awaiting "rescue" when Vincent steals the car without knowing of the titular luggage.
Moderate hilarity ensues when boy meets girl, girl beats boy, and boy handcuffs girl in dingy chop shop bathroom.
The real fun begins with Emily separately purposefully getting "fixer" Ray (Christopher Walken) onthe trail of Vincent and carelessly getting her downtown man in Dutch with the mob. This results in a raucous road trip for our new couple.
Of course, ala "Opportunity," the noose begins to tighten from both directions as Ray and the dim-witted thugs of the mob boss narrow in on their prey. This leads to the typical Hollywood ending accompanied by a hit for Soul Asylum, The Lemonheads, or a comparable group.
Taking things back to the beginning, "Baggage" and the other releases are just what moviegoers need in this hot and humid summer that lacks any truly escapist teencoms at the multiplex.
An "Eureka" moment perfectly reflects the movie-going public service that Olive Films, which fully embraces its 'Cinema Lives Here' motto, provides. Frequent distress regarding the lack of any desirable options at the multiplex led to thoughts that well-produced thrillers were a dead art form.
Lamenting the loss of quality mysteries coincided with the arrival of the Olive Blu-ray of the 1987 John Schlesinger (MUST-SEE "Marathon Man") thriller "The Believers," which is being released on June 25.
Olive pairing this release with a (reviewed) Blu-ray of the cult-classic '60s beach movie "How to Stuff a Wild Bikini" led to recognizing the Olive commitment to keeping discarded subgeenres alive. Those of us familiar with these perfect blends of art and commerce are infinitely grateful to Olive. "Virgins" literally do not know what they are missing,
The exceptional Blu-ray masters of every Olive release are a special treat to "sluts" who have only seen these films in more grainy versions both on the not-so-silver screen and on even HDTVs. You definitely will get immersed like you never have before.
Olive reminds us that the behind-the-scenes cred. of this tale of wonderfully creepy tale of Santeria in the Big Apple extends beyond Schlesinger. Screenwriter Mark Frost is a co-creator of "Twin Peaks." Aptly, a damn-fine cup of coffee is a major plot point in "Believers."
In front of the camera, Martin Sheen delivers a perfect performance as newly widowed and relocated psychologist Cal Jamison.
EVERYTHING about "Believers" screams Hitchcock. This begins with setting the eerie scares in everyday settings and centering the film around an everyman initially thrown into an somewhat unusual circumstance that develops into a terrifying new normal.
Our story begins with a typical morning for Minneapolis residents Cal, his wife, and their young son Chris. A common (and typically minor) household accident leads to a horrific death for the wife that Cal and Chris witness.
The need for change prompts Cal to relocate Chris to New York. The common Hollywood magic as to this is that Cal finds a large, bright, and immaculate two-story apartment on a clean and quiet street. On top of this, pretty and nice landlord Jessica lives across the street. It is difficult to imagine such a place existing and any one that does not costing far more even a psychologist can afford, This is aside from having a landlord so close who also perfectly maintains the place,
The opening scenes also include a very primitive Santeria ritual and a practitioner of that religion playing the Jedi mind-trick on a JFK customs agent.
The worlds first collide when Chris runs off during a Central Park outing. He scurries behind some rocks and stumbles upon the remains of a ritual sacrifice. The subtext of this scene is amusing to viewers who are woke regarding the ritual in which some young men engage in that area of the park.
Cal fully joins the party on police Lieutenant McTaggert consulting him as to the detective investigating a series of murders of boys. That investigator is convinced that the cult committing the crimes has a supernatural hold on him and is out to get him. Stating that the theory that just because you are paranoid does not mean that no one is out to get you applies is not much of a spoiler.
Meanwhile, Cal entering a (perhaps bewitching) relationship with Jessica greatly upsets Chris, who also may be under a spell of his own. Ambiguity regarding both the incident that brings Cal back to New York and as to the reaction of Chris to his father becoming closer to Jessica is part of what makes "Believers" so awesome.
The final piece of the puzzle comes courtesy of the elderly academics who taught the dead wife of Cal; back in the day. ANYONE who has watched the MUST-SEE "Rosemary's Baby" or other similar films knows that any (particularly motherly) New Yorker who seems too good to be true probably is not so nice.
In true Hitchcock style, a perceived threat turns out to be a thwarted savior. We also get the common Hitchcockian element of the all-American boy in the film finding himself in peril and Dad rushing to the rescue. In this case. Chris becomes the chosen one in an unpredictable fashion.
The thrilling extended climax is pure Schlesinger. The unexpected twists galore are a treat in this era in which the conclusion of most movies is obvious in the first 15 minutes. Team Schlesinger goes above and beyond in upsetting the apple cart one more time in the final minutes.
The most important takeaway from "Believers" is that it is scary because it mostly could be true.
The IndiePix Films June 11, 2019 DVD release of the 2013 documentary "Felix Austria!" continues the grand tradition of non-fiction films that do an excellent job chronicling the lives of equally entertaining and eccentric persons. The wonderful "Grey Gardens" about down-and-out relatives of Jackie O is the granddaddy of these films. "Felix" is more like reality showeque film "The Queen of Versailles" about a family that is equally nouveau and riche until they experience a reversal of fortune.
Additional perspective comes courtesy of the affluent '80s trend of the rich and famous purchasing the titles of less well-off and less-well-known British royals.
The following YouTube clip of the IndiePix trailer for "Felix" is a well-edited 25-words-or-less synopsis of the film. It essentially tells how Colorado native Brian Scott Pfeifle becomes the titular highly affected Modesto resident.
The life-changer associated with a pre-quarter-life crisis occurs during the college years of Brian. He receives an inherited box of 60 years of correspondence and other material from upstate New York resident Herbert Hinkel. This archive relates to extensive correspondence with Archduke Otto von Hapsburg, who is the heir to the defunct Austro-Hungarian Empire.
The rest of the story is the Brian has a 50-percent chance of inheriting horrific and fatal Huntington's Disease from his father. Both Brian and Felix wrestle with deciding whether to continue enjoying not-so-blissful ignorance or being tested and potentially discovering an awful truth.
All of this combines to prompt Brian to change his name to Felix and to give himself the royal treatment. His dual quests, each of which independently warrant a documentary, are to learn more about Hinkel and to meet the Archduke.
The journey upstate has moderate tones of the city-lawyer-turned-country-farmer '60scom "Green Acres." A dandified Felix interacts with the local yokels as he seeks to learn more about Hinkel. The outcome is the thing of which good non-fiction and fiction films are made. Suffice it to say that we see that Felix and Herbert are two peas in a pod.
We also travel with Felix to Europe where he hopes for a literal royal reception. The outcome there is fully in the spirit of "Felix."
Letting Felix and his friends and family create good cred. regarding this film that likely does not tell the whole story but presents enough to make us feel that we understand the subject and know how he got to be the man whom he is today.
The rest of the story is that a good film either centers around someone whom the viewer aspires to be, makes you sympathize with that person, or makes the voyeur feel good about himself or herself, Where a "Felix" watcher lands states a great deal about the psyche of that person.
The Virgil Films May 28, 2019 DVD release of the 2018 labor-of-love documentary "Cancer Rebellion" meets the genre ideal of being equally entertaining and educational. In addition, the topic this time is personal for former Acute Myeloid Leukemia patient/producer/director/writer/narratoor Hernan Bobo Baraganan. The star power comes from former rocker/actor (RICKMAN!)/executive producer Roger Daltry.
The following YouTube clip of the "Rebellion" trailer covers comparable ground to the journey of Baraganan in his quest to speak with a cancer kid in every US state. We get a good sense of both the primary theme and of the reversal of fortune that seemingly is mandatory in quest documentaries of this type.
Like the peers whom now 20-something Baraganan gives 15 seconds of fame, his diagnosis comes out of left field. His subjects can relate to his desire to lead a normal adolescent life. All 16 year olds can relate to his hospital release roughly coinciding with that milestone anniversary that allows getting a license to drive.
Other stories include sports injuries leading to diagnoses, blacking out in school without the benefit of a mind-altering substance changing everything, and what seems to be a minor ache being a sign of cancer.
The most amusing story is courtesy of a surprisingly candid teen boy who tells of trying to pleasure himself in his hospital bed while hearing his father talking with nurses just outside the room. A related tale is of the hospital requiring parental permission to have pornography. One lesson here is that even boys with cancer will be boys.
The bigger picture is that all of these kids are doing what they must to prevent their short lives from prematurely ending. They also share the love and support that they receive. One participant who comments that he did not do anything wrong perfectly reflects the proper attitude regarding this disease.
The narrower benefit, which is even closer to the heart of Baraganan, is that speaking with him and seeing the stories of the other kids shows his talking heads that they are far from alone. This is one of the best forms of medicine that that can get.