The Amazon Original movie "Coming 2 America," which is an unnecessary sequel to the forgettable 1988 Eddie Murphy film Coming to America" aptly proves Murphy's Law. That theory is that anything that can wrong will go wrong.
Getting a sequel to the more successful (and entertaining) Murphy "Beverly Hills Cop" franchise would have been more exciting and (hopefully) more amusing. Fans would have loved seeing Murphy as a police "suit" now tormented in the same manner that he harassed his superiors back in the day. Alternatively, we could have gotten the titular Axerl Foley as a bounty hunter or a private investigator,
"2" follows the tried-and-rarely true pattern of sequels to "stranger in a strange land" movies. Murphy's African Prince Akeem, who spends much of the first film looking for a bride in the titular country, now lives in a beautiful house with his beautiful wife and their three daughters in his native land of Zamunda. Omma, the eldest offspring, would be line to inherit the throne if her reproductive organs were not on the inside.
History is repeating itself in the form of Omma facing an arranged marriage of inconvenience. The element of being doomed to repeat a forgotten past extend to the groom of the probable runaway bride being the son of General Izzi (Wesley Snipes), who is the not-so-benevolent ruler of the neighboring nation.
A solution presents itself in the form of Akeem learning that his adventures in Queens resulted in bastard son Lavelle (Jermaine Fowler). Akeem persuading the newly discovered fruit of his loins to move to Zamunda introduces a strong "Fresh Prince of Bel Air" vibe to "2" Homegirl/Baby Momma Mary (Leslie Jones) comes along in a failed attempt to contribute hilarity to this predictable and mostly humorous production.
History further repeats itself as Lavelle falls in love with the commoner who is charged with physically grooming his guy for the role that Akem is trying to prepare his to play.
Much of the fault of this lies within the stars. A surprisingly lackluster Murphy has none of the humor or energy on which his career is based.
Fowler deserves credit for not playing Lavelle as the homebody stereotype that is a big part of the persona of his leading man, but he does not get the audience to care about him any more than we care for the elderish statesman version of Akeem. The fact that the same was true in the original makes one wonder why they even bothered to make Murphy "Face the Music."
"2" further suffers from a lack of consistent tone. One does not know if Team Murphy is trying for a raucous comedy, a timely romcomdram about the caste system in a royal family, or even a musical extravaganza as the few bizarre Bollywood-style numbers indicate.
The big picture this time is that "2" shows that direct-to-VOD films essentially are one step above the broadcast network made-for-TV movies of the '70s and '80s. This is very apt as to this next chapter in a story that should have been left to collect dust on the shelf.
Icarus Films and Distrib Films take a Spring Break rest from their typical joint releases of "ripped from the headlines" French crime dramas to release the fun-for-all-ages family comedy "10 Days With Dad." The only fault as to this charming and witty movie is that the title translates more closely to "10 Days Without Mom."
The following trailer accurately shows how this joy that all of us badly need during the never ending pandemic combines the stay-at-home Dad theme of "Mr. Mom" with the more specific concept of parents trying to manage a houseful of rambunctious and quirky kids around which the HILARIOUS 2007-14 Britcom "Outnumbered" is centered. This chaos is particularly relatable to Covid-era parents who have not gotten a break from their offspring for a year and counting.
Our story begins with the seemingly mandatory 21st century opening scenes of chaos followed by the beginning of the end that shows how the characters come to experience that series of unfortunate circumstances. In this case, we see temporarily single father Antoine walking away from a scene of mass destruction ala James Bond and just about every other action hero and parody thereof.
The fateful moment occurs roughly two weeks earlier. Stay-at-home mom Isabelle is at the end of a particularly tough day on which she feels especially stressed and old when HR manager Antoine adds the straw that breaks the back of that beast of burden. He soon learns that that is not the time for his pillow talk to include his opinion that Isabelle is living the good life.
The variation of the tried-and-true "trading places" sitcom trope is Mom is taking a solo vacation for the titular time period. The scene in which that warning goes unheeded is one of the best in this movie that literally does not have a dull moment.
Fairly literally turning a deaf ear to his wife results in Antoine having a comparable rude awakening on Isabelle having her bags packed, being ready to go, and the taxi outside blowing its horn. She does know when she is coming back and is very happy to go.
The hilarity commences with the kids making the first in a series of awesome changes to the i-Phone profile name of Dad. This is ahead of Dad leaving to drop the kids off at school only to realize that he and the youngsters do not know how to get to that educational institution.
This relates to the appeal of the everykids in the family. Fourteen year-old Arthur, who is responsible for Isabelle abandoning her career as an attorney, is a nice young man with a healthy interest in his peers of the opposite sex. Roughly 12 year-old Chloe plays soccer.
Rambunctious 10 year-old Maxime is the most entertaining child; his antics include snorkeling in the living-room aquarium and snatching defeat from the jaws of victory by being caught playing a video game after convincing Mom that he is too sick to go to school.
The humor that baby-of-the-family Jojo contributes mostly is in the form of babbling that usually refers to the substance that currently is in his diaper. Jojo contributes to a hard truth in that the baby sitter tells Antoine that a good father knows what his two-year old is saying. For the record, your not-so-humble reviewer understands the message behind every utterance of his cat.
Of course, the house soon becomes a shambles and the work of Dad suffers at a time that he up for a promotion and finds himself in competition with a younger and more charming co-worker who also is the cousin of a Hollywood star. This makes the growing pains of our family very apt.
Concern as the extent to which Isabelle will go Greek while trying to get her groove back further drives the story.
The build-up to the aforementioned fireworks begin with the baby sitter dramatically quitting amping up the resentment of the kids at a time that Dad needs them to be good team players at a corporate event. Personal relatability this time is considering corporate spouse duty as channeling Samantha Stephens of "Bewitched" without the fun of being able to turn clients into monkeys.
All of this leads to a near-Hollywood ending in which the family does not fully live happily ever after but the kids are alright. The even bigger is that the audience is left desperately wanting more.
The CBS Home Entertainment February 23, 2021 complete-series DVD set of the 2013-16 Comedy Central series "Inside Amy Schumer" provides the second bite at the apple that makes physical media so awesome. This convert to the comedic stylings of the titular foul-mouthed darling of the Comedy Central roasts was not adequately grabbed by the Schumer pilot to grant it a season-pass on a near-capacity Tivo; watching the DVDs of this three Emmys winner showed the error as to that hasty judgment.
The tried-and-true formula of "Inside" is a series of sketches, stand-up that takes a page from the "Seinfeld" playbook, person-on-the-street interviews, and "Amy Goes Deep" segments. These episodes often loosely revolves around an amusingly "adult" theme, such as STDs and penis size.
Schumer additionally treats us to parodies of television commercials. The award for the best faux ad goes to a short about "Finger Blasters" which are chicken tenders that are designed for dipping.
Presenting a twisted version of the trope of "the nicest kids in town" descending on Mom's kitchen in search of an after-school treat is hilarious. A scene-stealing teen boy, whose stand-out moments including trying to persuade a girl to a triple-finger blast only then to sniff the finger, is a sketch highlight.
The following YouTube clip of the "Finger Blasters" sketch allows you to judge Amy for yourself.
"Deep" often provides insight into a world about which viewers have limited knowledge. These include a former telephone sex line operator, a well-endowed man, and a porn producer. A highlight of the talk with the filmmaker is the tale of the consequences of getting too close to the action. Schumer being Schumer even manages to make a chat with a young boy a little edgy,
The broad (pun intended) appeal of the Schumer humor is that it is funny because it true. On a related note, Comedy Central deserves praise for airing content that definitely offends people who cannot take a joke. There is NO doubt that Schumer tells such prudes to "pleasure" themselves.
The self-involved callous disregard persona of Schumer is one of her best sides. A highlight of this is a sketch in which she plays a woman obsessed with her sandwich order while having lunch with a man talking about being near the World Trade Center on 911. A similar bit has Schumer reliving the "trauma" of an objectively not-so-unpleasant flight in a segment on a television series about surviving great hardship.
A related look at whiners is a hilarious sketch in which Schumer faces an intervention for being addicted to buying a round for the house. Suffice it to say that this is not limited to nights of drinking.
We also get copious material as to Schumer essentially being a man with his reproductive organs on the inside. This includes a sketch in which a group of guys at the local bar get worked up seeing the Schumer character prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that she is one of the boys.
The best example of all the Schumor (and her many guest stars) is a sketch in which Zach Braff ("Scrubs") plays the husband of the Schumer character. A poker night with with the boys includes crude tales of sleazy hook-ups.. The Braff character getting shot down every time that he tries to share encounters with the Schumer character provides plenty of laughs. Schumer providing a wonderful raunchy climax ends this social commentary on a perfect note.
CBSHE supplements all this with unaired sketches and interviews and behind-the-scenes footage. We also get outtakes that supplement the bloopers that leave us wanting more at the end of each "Inside" episode.
These belated thoughts on the Pixar film "Soul" streaming on Disney+ commence with sharing the joy as to this film exceeding every expectation. The starting point is the film looking visually stunning viewed on a Sony 4K television; this is compared to the meh video quality of (reviewed) "Wonder Woman 1984" on HBO Max.
A related note is that "Soul" is the COVID-19 era equivalent of appointment TV from the era before widespread VCR ownership. A personal coping mechanism as to a virtual lockdown is to anticipate a special movie and watch it while eating a favored theater-style snack. Not having to smuggle such treats in a cineplex is a bonus.
The bigger picture (no pun intended) is that the tale of frustrated middle-aged jazz pianist Joe (Jamie Foxx) facing enormous obstacles as to fulfilling his life's ambition truly appeals to kids of all ages. If anything, the existential issues are a little over the heads of toddlers and tweens.
The too-numerous to individually mention accolades for "Soul" include 45 awards.
The following "Soul" trailer provides a good sense of the concept of the film while highlighting the superb animation that shames the other exceptional Pixar titles.
The "fun-for-all-ages" concept commences with the opening scenes of middle-school band teacher Joe, who is an exception to the rule that those who can't do teach, trying to get his untalented, and/or/lazy, and/or unmotivated students to develop a "you're in the band" proficiency. The insult that is added to this injury is that Joe has never made it as a working musician.
The game-changer comes in the form of a former student getting Joe an audition as the fill-in pianist for the renowned Dorothea Williams (Angela Bassett) Quartet. Although this is music to the ears of Joe, his running to tell Mama is a letdown in that she feels that never having made it as a musician supports sticking with the security of the stability of the teaching gig.
Joy on being selected to join the Fantastic Four leads to a distracted Joe emulating '20s silent classics in the form of obliviously narrowly avoiding fatal accidents until dropping in on the workplace of Ed Norton of "The Honeymooners." This leads to an out-of-body experience on a moving stairway to Heaven.
Believing that Heaven can wait, Joe attempts a great escape. This results in his ending up in the Great Before.
This limbo has elements of the MUST-SEE 1991 Meryl Streep comedy "Defending Your Life" in which the recently departed face a hearing that determines that whether the place from which they can check out any time but can never leave will be Heaven or Hell, Pixar borrows from its literal emotion-laden tween angst film "Inside Out" by having Before be the place that adorable blob-like souls are prepared for entering the bodies of newborns.
The process begins with a blob seemingly randomly assigned to a hive that establishes a general personality. Folks who recall the pre-VCR era will find particular humor in an observation that an undue number of these future essences end up in the self-absorbed community. The final stage before sending a soul to inhabit an infant is a deceased person serving as a mentor to a soul to provide the spark that drives that future meat suit.
Fugitive Joe is assigned problem-child 22 (Tina Fey), who has defeated Mother Teresa and many other historic figures in her quest to avoid going to earth. Not-quite hilarity ensues in a manner that leads to emulating the MUST-SEE Carl Reiner 1984 comedy "All of Me" in which the soul of the character whom Lily Tomlin plays possesses the body of the character whom Steve Martin portrays.
In typical Disney fashion, both Joe and 22 receive enlightenment and figuratively if not literally live happily ever after. The "Kobayashi Maru" style cheating to thwart an anal bureaucrat greatly adds to the joy of the conclusion. The final film homage is a stinger that directly pays homage to the end-of-credits clips in "The Muppet Movie" and "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
The appeal of "Soul" extends beyond candy-coating deep thoughts in an entertaining story. This film, like "Inside Out" and the Pixar film "Coco," aptly shows that its audience is maturing to a point that it can handle (and savor) more vegetable with its fluffy confections.
An upcoming DVD release from aptly named Indican Pictures shows that two films that are awesome in their own right can form a righteous unlikely friendship. "Zombie Bro," which is available on streaming platforms and that has a January 26, 2021 DVD release, successfully unites two very different worlds.
Non-musical "Bro" combines the best of the all-singing all-dancing Disney "Zombies" franchise that reflects "ARGH v. Board of Education" and (personal fave) 1995 dark-comedy "Welcome to the Dollhouse."
"Dollhouse" centers on the trials and tribulations of hysterically awkward (aptly named) seventh-grader Dawn Wiener. Dawn having to contend with a "little princess" younger sister is one of several common elements as to "Bro."
The fantastic four festival wins for "Bro" include a Best Feature Film award at the 2019 Indie Gathering International Film Festival and "Best Young Actors" honors at the 2019 Shart International Comedy Film Festival.
The following "Bro" trailer PERFECTLY conveys the dark humor as to the dysfunctional nuclear family dynamics that are at the center of arthouse Blumhouse film.
The opening scenes show that writer/director May Grehan strikes the ideal balance between exposition and getting down to business. Tween Francine (aka Frankenstein) provides voice-over narration to accompany crayon drawings of her family that clearly is not the Cleavers.
The action shifting to a family dinner at which Francine is considered the problem child despite comically gory evidence that titular sibling Teddie is not like other boys. The blissful ignorance that is characteristic regarding the golden child in a family includes that Teddie merely has a form of virus. This pretense extends to having to throw a dog chew toy to lure him into the garage where he must be locked when he is home alone. An apt aside is that dogs love chew toys because the squeak sounds like the crushing of the bones of prey.
Another piece of this puzzle is that Francine is a loner/loser at school, where she is the regular victim of scene-stealing bullies. These boys being blatantly selective as to their offensive remarks is a film highlight.
A series of seemingly fortunate events lead to Francine and a fellow outcast attending a school dance; The 'rents granting the wish of Teddie to tag along fully sets things in motion. The "dancing" of Teddy is another memorable scene in this never-a-dull-minute movie.
The inevitable climax as to Teddie fully showing that he is an excitable boy further proves that the low kid on the family totem pole don't get no respect. Learning whether this extends to Teddie hating Francine's guts requires watching the film.
The appeal of this well-told tale extends beyond the aforementioned blending of genres. Most of us with siblings either are the Teddie or the Francine in the family. Grehan, who presumably is the Francine of her clan, shows that this directly reflects how the 'rents treat each kid. The "King Lear" element at the end of "Bro" is the icing on the cake.
Olive Films continues establishing itself as a spectacular source of the best cult films out there with the Blu-ray release of the 1984 comedy "The Ratings Game" 30 years after this directorial debut of Danny DeVito has seen the light of day. This film is notable as well as the first made-for-pay-TV movie to air on Showtime.
The essay that is part of the awesome booklet on "Game" that the BD includes explains that Showtime effectively takes an "its not TV" approach in selecting its first original movie. The primary criteria is that this be one that the broadcast networks would not air. This is two years before Showtime brings us the hysterically creative "It's Garry Shandling Show."
"Ratings" further reflects the expansion in quantity (and proportional decrease in quality) as the fledgling cable industry scrambles for content; "Ratings" gives rise to theatrical films, such as the John Ritter/Pam Dawber movie "Stay Tuned" and the Weird Al project "UHF," that center around parodies of television genres.
The subversive premise of "Game" is that New Jersey trucking magnate turned aspiring Hollywood television producer Vic DeSalvo (deVito) is hysterically peddling horrendous ideas for television shows, such as the "Three's Company" rip-off "Sittin' Pretty," around the established networks only to universally be escorted out by security.
Not accepting that resistance is futile regarding all this rejection, DeSalvo cons his way into the office of an executive at the blackpoltation UPN-caliber (a.k.a. Underpaid N) MBC network. (MBC even has a 'Diff'rent Strokes"/"Webster" clone series.) The perfect timing of that meeting results in the MBC executive buying "Pretty" for a hysterical reason.
In typical DeVito fashion, DeSalvo finds a way to counter the tactic of the network president to limit the airing of "Pretty" to a pilot. MBC scheduling said pilot to air opposite a World Series game prompts DeSalvo to successfully rig the television ratings so that his show beats the baseball game.
The cynicism behind that successful ploy and the resulting "success" of "Pretty" and orders for several other DeSalvo shows reflects the desire of Showtime for a "not TV" movie. Two of the "best" DeSalvo shows are "Nunzio's Girls" about a pimp and his three hos and the even more offensive "Goombas" cartoon series about a stereotypical working-class Italian family.
Long-time DeVito spouse (and "Cheers" star) Rhea Perlman costars as Francine, the abused ratings company employee who facilitates the scam. As she points out, the reality in the pre-streaming and DVR '80s is that a relatively miniscule number of ratings families essentially dictates what the networks air. Actual quality is completely irrelevant.
The audience additionally gets the treat of seeing a plethora of current and future (mostly NBC) television stars in cameo roles. The earliest notable one is Jerry Seinfeld as a network executive who hilariously tells DeSalvo which concepts are selling that season. One spoiler is that this list does not include shows about "nothing."
We also get "Seinfeld" costar Michael Richards as DeSalvo's chauffeur/henchman, "Cheers" costar George Wendt as the father of a ratings family. "Night Court" star Selma Diamond as the mother of Francine, etc.
The award for most special cameo goes to "Bowery Boys" veteran Huntz Hall as an elderly legendary comedy film star.
Aside from "Ratings" very belatedly escaping from the vault, one of the most awesome aspects of the film is that it reflects the period before a change in national attitude from "f**k 'em if they can't take a joke" to "f**ked if you tell 'em a joke. (The reviewed documentary "That's Not Funny" wonderfully documents this.) The satirical portrayals of Italians alone may well have kept Showtime away in 2016.
Olive further shines regarding the plethora of special features on the "Ratings" BD. The highlight of these are the four "Ratings" era comedy shorts that DeVito directs. The standout of these is "The Selling of Vince D'Angelo."
"D'Angelo," which provides the basis for "Ratings" is a mockumentary on a sleazy New Jersey mayoral candidate who is a clone of DeSalvo. The "funny because its true" aspect of this one is that that campaign has a great deal in common with the 2016 presidential race.
The best news as to the WWE-produced 2015 Christmascom "Saanta's Little Helper" starring WWE legend Mike 'The Miz' Mizanin is that Mizanin does not literally or figuratively play a "lunkhead wrestler" beyond frequently showing that he is too sexy for his shirt. This oft-amusing and occasionally hilarious tale of "Greed is Good" businessman Dax the Ax (Mizanin) clearly is an effort of Mizanin to emulate Arnold Schwarzenegger in his roles in the kidcoms "Kindergarten Cop" and "Jingle All the Way."
Our story begins with Dax being gleefully callous in providing a community center notice of an impending eviction. A teen boy not backing down is one of the best scenes in the film. The subsequent scene outside the center shows that that this one is personal for Dax.
The real Santa witnessing this event (and personally experiencing the arrogance of Dax) does not deter Saint Nick from his scheme to make Dax his Ho (aka Ho Ho Ho). This highly coveted "Number One" position at the North Pole can be considered EVP of Operations.
One bump on the road to the job with Santa is an evaluation by personal trainer elf Billie (AnnaLynne McCord), who has no interest in being a hero. Undue preachiness enters the picture as to Billie having the genetic "deformity" of round ears providing the blessing of passing as a "normie" so that she can covertly evaluate Dax; the "curse" is that this feature precludes Billie from playing all the reindeer games.
Corporate ruthlessness enters the picture in the form of Eleanor (WWE "diva" Paige). Eleanor believes that being the daughter of the recently retired Ho Ho Ho entitles her to being a heartbeat away from ruling the North Pole.
The delight continues with always spot-on "one-take wonder" character actor Tom McLaren portraying mortgage company rep. Harvey, who is the bitch that delivers Dax karma regarding foreclosures. McLaren making the most of that scene and his two subsequent brief (but highly memorable) appearances verifies that he rocks. His enthusiasm for the foreclosure and smile on conquering his foe are highly reminiscent of greedy banker Milburn Drysdale of '60scom "The Beverly Hillbillies."
The action then shifts to Billie expressing her own mischievous delight as to putting Dax through a series of humiliating tests to show that he is worthy of a job that he only knows is highly prestigious.
These adventures begin with going into a biker bar wearing an elf hat and moving onto dressing in a mascot costume and waiting on a birthday party full of spoiled brats at a Chuck E. Cheese's clone restaurant. The delight this time includes "Santa" director/sitcom god Gil Junger playing the restaurant owner. The grand finale is Billie conceding that Dax is justified in dispatching the birthday boy with extreme prejudice.
In true Christmas film spirit, these trials (and a subsequent one at a clone of the Springfield Retirement Castle) gradually thaw the heart of Dax; he fully has drunk the egg nog by the time that he is invited to the home office.
The WWE element enters the picture most prominently when Eleanor exercises her right to challenge the appointment of Dax to the post. This leads to a hilarious competition among the two contenders, who seem to be working without a net.
This leads to closure back on earth, which leads to the inevitable happy ending.
The DVD extras include an AWESOME behind-the-scenes feature in which the principals in front of and behind the scenes share favorite childhood Christmas memories. Though this may result in a smackdown, I confess to not watching a short about Paige.
The Mill Creek Entertainment "Retro VHS Style" Blu-ray of the 1988 Jeff Goldblum/Cyndi Lauper comedy "Vibes" provides a good reminder of the wonderfully quirky concepts of films, such as "Big Trouble in Little China" and "The Golden Child," of the era. This alone makes "Vibes' an excellent "Retro" choice; posts on similar "Retro" no-reason-to-feel-guilty pleasures can be found in the MCE section of this site.
Ala fellow (reviewed) "Retro" film "Hudson Hawk, "Vibes" opens with the highly odd events that set the stage for the rest of the film. In this case, ne'er do wells are high in the mountains of South America in search of a lost city of gold; what ensues can be considered Montezuma's revenge.
What occurs next in "Vibes" evokes thoughts of early scenes in classic '80s comedy "Ghostbusters." Sylvia Pickel (Lauper) is participating in research to measure the abilities that she enjoys courtesy of spirit guide Louise, who both whispers in the ear of her psychic friend and allows her to travel outside of her body,
Meanwhile, Nick Deezy (Goldblum) is demonstrating his ability to psychically connect with someone by touching an object with which that person has had contact.
Harry Buscafusco (Peter Falk) provides the (deceptive) final piece of the puzzle; he recruits Deezy and Pickel to accompany him to Ecuador by telling them that he needs their help to find his missing son.
Amusement ensues as forces collide and the truth comes out; all of this climaxes at the original scene of the crime in a scene that PERFECTLY illustrates the FX of the '80s.
The appeal this time relates to seeing '80s pop culture queen Lauper do what she does so well while Goldblum demonstrates his equally era-apt trademark deadpan style.
The facts that the taglines for the Christmas film "Saving Santa" are "Adventures of a Time Traveling Elf" and "Boldly Go Where No Christmas Has Gone Before" indicates that this truly delightful tale is not your father's Christmas fable. Blu-ray and DVD versions of "Santa" hit real and virtual store shelves on November 1, 2013.
This scifi yuletide story centers around aforementioned time-traveling elf Bernard, voiced by "The Hobbit's" Martin Freeman. Bernard scoops reindeer poop at Santa's stables but strives to be an inventor at Santech, which provides Mr. Claus with the gadgets and gizmos that he requires.
The primary obstacle to Bernard achieving his desired career change is that his inventions, which includes a reindeer translation device that does not transmits in English, does not quite work. As is typical in this type of story, the other scientist elves somewhat cruelly exclude Bernard from their games. Rather than laugh and call him names, they toss him out on the street.
The crisis that prompts Bernard to (repeatedly) engage in the aforementioned time travel comes in the form of an invasion by the wonderfully named rapid package delivery company executive Neville Baddington. Tim Curry does a wonderful G-rated version of Dr. Frank-N-Furter from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" in voicing Neville.
Neville's twin disclosed motivations are desires to acquire the technology that allows Santa, voiced by genuine comedy legend Tim Conway, to make worldwide deliveries overnight and to get Neville's oppressive mother and boss Vera off his back. Charlotte Rae arch-nemesis Joan Collins of "Dynasty" makes Joan Crawford seem like June Cleaver of the '50s sitcom "Leave it to Beaver."
Although Bernard must time travel to "put right what once went wrong," he has an advantage over "Quantum Leap's" Dr. Sam Beckett in that he gets the chance to keep returning to the past "time after time." Like the titular character in the Jean-Claude Van Damme film "Timecop," the time-traveling version of Bernard must avoid contacting any other version of himself.
No one with the literary skills that comprehending this review requires should be surprised that things work out in the end. The great fun relates to seeing how Bernard achieves his mission. Additionally, there a very nice twist at the end brings the story back to the opening scenes.
Even nicer aspects of "Santa" are that it is a holiday film that adults can truly enjoy. The CGI animation is very well-done and has awesome backgrounds and bright colors; the voice actors are well-known and perfectly cast; the story maintains a nice pace and has enough classic scifi (including a Scottish elf frantically stating a need for more power) and action-adventure references to entertain those of us whose current bedtimes do not require asking to stay up late to watch "Frosty" and "Rudolph," and the songs are genuinely catchy.
The final "naughty or nice" evaluation of this one is that it is a great option for stuffing a stocking and is worth popping in the Blu-ray or DVD. On a related note, being placed on Santa's naughty list for "encouraging" people who do not move at traffic lights or leave parking spaces because they are talking or texting on their phones to move should provide for an automatic appeal.
A recent NPR review of a television series provides a perfect perspective as to the Corinth Films DVD release of the 2012 indie film "Two Hundred Thousand Dirty." The NPR personality expresses confusion as to if the show is a comedy or a drama; the conclusion is that that uncertainty means that the program is like real life. The same is true as to "Dirty."
The following "Dirty" trailer illustrates how writer/director/cast member Timothy L, Anderson successfully combines the slacker working-class slob style of Kevin Smith with the wonderfully perverse dark humor of the Coen Brothers.
The opening scenes of mattress store "clerk" Rob wearing a dingy bunny suit while sitting on the toilet in a no-tell-motel perfectly sets the tone for the film. The Smithesque dialogue consists of Rob speaking with fellow employee/future-partner-in-crime Manny (Coolio) about that pair deviating from their practice of working kids' event by booking a plushie fetish session.
The rest of this story is that the suspicion of Rob that he knows the woman who is dominating the session turns out to be accurate; this commences the series of events that introduce the Coen Brothers element.
The action then shifts to Manny, Rob, their manager Preston, and fellow strip-mall rat Martin keeping up with the Smiths. Their day job consists of hanging out inside and in front of the comically failing Affordable Mattress store where Manny and Rob disparage everything that Preston says. The very few customers show that one man's pain is another man's fall-on-the-floor hilarity.
The illogical decision to add Isabelle to the already bloated staff allows for the introduction of the femme fatale. She seduces Rob into agreeing to kill her estranged husband from an arranged shotgun marriage of convenience. Although Rob agrees to go to the mattresses for love and money, Manny and Martin only have the latter motive.
The ensuing Coenesque twists include Rob essentially agreeing to being a double agent, a foul deed going bad, and a body dump becoming absolute rubbish.
The final scene is not surprising but still entertains in a take-the-money-and-run manner. It also proves that dames ain't nothin' but trouble.
The numerous special features include the original "Martin" audition video, a crowdfunding video featuring Anderson, and a music video.
A Pacific Northwest streaming service that shall remain shameless helps fill the void as to a dearth of live theater by offering the Leslie Jordan ("Will and Grace") one-man show "My Trip Down the Pink Carpet." This recap of several decades in show business evokes good thoughts of the similar fare of Jordan BFF (and righteous son of a preacher man) Del Shores. Neither out-and-proud dude is afraid to tell it like it is.
The following trailer highlights the elfin effervescence of this member of the Screen Actors' Guild who would qualify for membership in the Lollipop Guild. His use of the oversized boxes on the minimalist stage may as well be the large rocking chair of Lily Tomlin's Edith Ann.
The hilariously candid Jordan quickly establishes that he clearly is the voice of gay men of a certain age who grow up (but do not come out) during a not-so-enlightened era. This includes the tale of his mother taking him to the movies for the first time when he is four.
The rest of this story is that the film is "Darby O'Gill and the Little People," which results in Sean Connery being the first crush of Jordan. The additional hilarity that ensues involves Jordan using the backseat of the family woodie as the stage for his first concert on the way home.
"Remington Steele" era Pierce Brosnan playing the same role for the next generation of gay men indicates that the "Bond" folks know their secondary audience.
Another story that is relatable to roughly 10-percent of the male population is how Jordan first comes to get his groove on at a gay bar, The manner in which he is literally and figurative embraced seems par for the course. This one evokes thoughts of the perfect performance of Jordan in the (reviewed) filmed performance of the Shores play "Southern Baptist Sissies." This time, Jordan is the veteran taking the gayby under his wing.
Jordan further regales the audience with his fresh-off-the-bus tale of (inexplicably) being cast as a tough G-man on an '80s-era Robert Urich series. Everyone on the set making a (presumably failed) effort to get Jordan to butch it up is a "Trip" highlight.
Jordan discussing this mission impossible while bouncing around the stage with the velocity of a pinball channels his tour-de-force performance as aging drag queen Brother Boy in the (reviewed) Shores tour-de-force film "Sordid Lives." A highlight of that film has a hilariously agitated Brother Boy telling Cruella De Vil caliber villain psychiatrist Dr. Eve (Rosemary Alexander) of his limited success with an exercise that involves forcing himself to think of women while pleasuring himself.
A surprising omission as to the reminiscing about this part of his life is Jordan not saying Jack about his two-season supporting role on the John Ritter/Markie Post/Billy Bob Thornton sitcom "Heart's Afire." Many of us would have loved to have been a fly on the wall of that set.
The arguably best story involves Jordan buying panties for high spirit Beverly D'Angelo during the filming of the Shores lost cult-classic "Daddy's Dyin' Who's Got the Will." Thanks to Jordan, many people know the intimate details as to what comes between D'Angelo and her Calvins.
Another highlight is a monologue about being an Emmy presenter with Cloris Leachman, This one involves Leachman, who stated in the '70s that she has a third nipple, keeping her cool after a wardrobe malfunction.
Jordan wraps all this up with grand self promotion by promoting the book version of "Carpet;" in this spirit, your not-so-humble reviewer will state just as shamelessly that having Jordan sign a copy would be an appreciated act of Southern hospitality.
Icarus Films and Distrib Films once more joining forces by releasing the French film "My Dog Stupid" (2019) on DVD on December 8, 2020 is the latest example of those cinephiles' gods showing North American what they are missing. Stating that "Stupid" hits EVERY right note as to a film is not an understatement. The strongest endorsement is eliciting chuckles and "aws" from a not-so-humble reviewer who almost always remains totally silent during a movie.
On a broader level, "Stupid" achieves the film ideal of being highly entertaining while provoking thoughts. It additionally has the live-stage vibe that is a hallmark of a film worth savoring and pulling off the shelf every few years. This one also meets the Icarus/Distrib standard of being a foreign film that easily could be remade shot-for-short and line-for-line in the U.S.
This mid-brow version of "Marley and Me" further evokes thought of a review by another site about another film. The writer of that piece notes that an inability to determine if that movie is a comedy or a drama makes it like real life. That quality evokes thoughts of the novels (and awesome film adaptations of those works) of literary god John Irving, who is a lighter version of his peer John Updike. The element of once (and future?) literary giant Henri Mohen ("Stupid" director Yvan Attal) experiencing a parallel midlife crisis and chronic writer's block brings "Wonder Boys" by demigod novelist Michael Chabon to mind.
The following Distrib "Stupid" trailer validates all of the above.
The aptly novel approach, which divides the film into chapters, of "Stupid" begins with voice-over exposition of Henri as he drives home through a deluge after one in a long series of distressing meetings about a new writing projects. This narration tells the viewer more about our lead, who aches for a Roman holiday, in a few minutes than he or she learns about a real or reel person in a year.
The plot thickens on Henri dreading entering Chez Mohen only to find the titular soaking wet bullmastiff lurking in the bushes. This not-so-gentle giant making himself at home allows the hilarity (and trauma-and-drama) to ensue. The overall big picture as to this is that all four adult (or soon-to-be-adult) offspring live at home with Henri and unhappy spouse Cecile (Charlotte Gainsbourg), whose marital history includes an affair to remember.
The not-so-fantastic four siblings consist of stoner/horndog Raph, Pauline who is dating "quirky" combat vet/scene stealer Hugues, surfer/below-c level student Gaspard, and rebel with a chip on his shoulder Noe. One of best chuckle-inducing exchanges has an ungrateful child remind Henri that he has not written anything of quality for 25 years and Dad commenting that that coincides with his having his first kid.
An equally symbolic scene during this portion of the film has Stupid clearly show Hugues both who is the boss and who is his daddy. This common theme includes an incident with potential to test the limits of the right of an employee to be free from unwanted sexual activity in the workplace. The apt message here is that the literature major/lackey is the office bitch in a few senses of that term.
The morning after involves the rude awakening that one of the boys harbored the fugitive canine the night before. This leads to Henri adopting Stupid to assert the place of Henri in the home in which he is the sole means of support of every inhabitant.
The subsequent events are highly relatable both to the "kids" that experience them and the parents that endure them. The only difference is the perfect storm in the form of all four dependents (not to mention Mom) having concurrent extreme turmoil in their lives.
The strongest societal message is the sad-because-it-is-true undue sense of entitlement of the parasitic Millennials. They demand, rather than request, money from their personal ATM while not giving him the respect that he would receive from a stranger on the street.
"Stupid" further stays true to life by having some of the kids turn out alright, some not so much, and every member of the Mohen family live a life of quiet desperation to one degree or another. Sharing that all this provides Henri the material for his second great French novel is not much of a spoiler.
"Christmas in the Smokies" (2015) puts a strong down-home twist on the holiday miracle theme of the not-so-ghostly trio of yuletide DVDs from Imagicomm Entertainment and Insp Films. This series begins with the (reviewed) "Christmas on the Range" and will wrap up with "Christmas on the Coast."
The following "Smokies" trailer highlights the well-balanced humor and drama (as well of the obligatory scruff of the male frienemy) that are hallmarks of these classics that provide increasingly required holiday cheer.
The sit that provides the romcomdram this time is that Shelby Haygood (Sarah Lancaster of the reviewed Imagicomm joint "Blue Ridge") is battling the local evil developer for ownership of the well-preserved 40 year-old Haygood Farm. The rest of the story is that country-music star/high school sweetheart Mason Wyatt returns to his hometown in disgrace after a highly embarrassing performance on a Southern-fried version of "Dancing With the Stars."
A series of unfortunate circumstances result in Mason living in the Haygood barn for the month of December. Of course, relations between this good ole boy and the girl that he callously left behind thaw as the thermometer drops.
It is equally predictable that all of this climaxes with a Christmas Eve last-minute effort by Shelby to not lose her manger and the rest of her property. The uncertainty includes whether history will repeat itself as to Mason.
This one is distinguishable from the copious amount of basic-cable quality holiday fare (not that there is anything wrong with that) in that it overall is less over-the-top than many otherwise comparable movies and puts a nice twist on the end. Seeing Barry Corbin of "Northern Exposure" fame play a kinder-and-gentler version of Maurice from that cult classic is another nice treat.
Imagicomm also provides its usual gift in the form of separate "Behind-the-Scenes" and "Cast Interviews" features.
The November 10, 2020 separate DVD and Blu-ray releases of the 2020 third entry in the "Bill & Ted" franchise "Bill and Ted Face the Music" allows those of us who have not stepped in a movie theater since February 2020 to verify our low expectations of this film.
The disappointment is in the form of the laziness in which once (but not future) comedy gods Chris Matheson and Ed Solomon resurrect the titular valley boys guardians of the galaxy (and beyond). Although one can understand why Alex Winter (Bill) is on board, the mystery is why Keanu Reeves (Ted), who presumably read at least a script outline before signing on, agreed to this project.
The bigger impression is that "Music" either should have been released direct-to-video, on basic cable, or on a streaming service.
The following spoiler-laden trailer for "Ted" having copious clips from the scenes in Hell is apt as to the feeling of being that far south of the border while watching the film.
Our saga begins with the most bodacious film "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" (1989) in which George Carlin shines as time-traveler from the future Rufus, who is charged with helping our heroes make it through high school so that they can create the music that saves the universe. The aptly named "Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey" (1991) has the boys battling evil doppelgangers while literally trying to cheat death.
Despite the clear ravages of time on the wannabe Lennon and McCartney, "Music" starts strong. After brief exposition on the decline and fall of our manboys' Wyld Stallyns, the action shifts to the latest wedding of trophy wife Missy to a relative of one of the guys. The not-so-best man speech has strong humor, and some literally and figuratively old faces have come to the party.
Things fall apart when the aging Stallyns rock out with an unbearably screeching song that is meant to further convey the current status of our past-their-primetime players.
The biggest bit of casting trouble comes when Kristen Schaal of the oft-hilarious Foxcom "Bob's Burgers" pops out of a time machine that is a significant upgrade from the old-school telephone booth that the boys use. One spoiler is that that vehicle is not bigger on the inside then it is on the outside.
The first problem is that Schaal is so tightly associated with "Burgers" and uses her distinctive voice from that series so closely that any "Burgers" fan cannot help but picture Louise Belcher to the extent of mentally saying "no you ..." every time that Schaal's character Kelly is told to do something,
The other problem is that Team Music unnecessarily makes Kelly the daughter of Rufus; the tween girl persona of Kelly (and oft of Schaal) can be considered the anti-Carlin.
The first of many nods to a more commercially and artistically successful franchise involves Kelly escorting our designated saviors back to the future; namely, 2720 San Dimas, California. The purpose of that mission that Bill and Ted have no choice as to accepting is to write the song that will save the universe ahead of already existing timey-wimey chaos fully erupting.
The men of a certain age opt for the characteristically easy way out; in this case, they set out steal the most-important song ever from their future selves. What one hopes would have been hilarity ensues.
Meanwhile the teen daughters of Bill and Ted set out on their own excellent adventure. These girls who support the theory that the apple does not fall far from the tree travel through time to (comparable to "Adventure") recruit the best musicians from several eras to become Stallyns. This dream team includes Jimmi Hendrix and Mozart.
The worlds of dads and daughters collide when (ala "Journey") the gang ends up in Hell and must contend with a grudge-holding Death. Of course, reports of the deaths of Bill and Ted are premature.
The "climax" provides a solid bookend to the aforementioned wedding scene. The boys figuring out the destined venue is slightly less clever than the "Partridge Family" style deduction (which includes an element of playing the tambourine) that saves the universe.
The closing credits, which both show great fan love and honor the noteworthy (pun intended) moral of "Music," are well worth watching. The best that can be said about the stinger at the end is that it hopefully puts the nail in the coffin of this once great franchise.
Team Ted further chintzes out as to bonus feature; we get just under 90 SECONDS total of clips of interviews and scenes from the film. TOTALLY HEINOUS!
The Film Movement Classics division of arthouse legend Film Movement fully goes above-and-beyond as to the Blu-ray restoration of the lost 1961 Peter Sellers comedy "Mr. Topaze" (a.k.a. "I Like Money"). This flawless upgrade of the 35mm prints in the BFI National Archive allows current fans of social-commentary laden offbeat comedy to watch the successful directorial debut of Sellers. This tribute to a great follows the (reviewed) Classics BD release of Alastair Sims films.
One spoiler is that the titular soft-spoken and quirky French school teacher (Sellers) is an early version of the Sellers character Chance the Gardener (a.k.a. Chauncey Gardener) in the MUST-SEE Sellers comedy "Being There."
The aptly quirky Movement trailer for "Topaze" validates that this is a film that only Sellers could make in front of and behind the camera.
We meet Topaze as a teacher of French descent at a small French school in a small French town; the opening scenes depict him leading his students through the street ala a mother duck. This concludes with a charming verbal quiz as to their field-trip destination.
The plot thickens on Topaze clumsily pursing the pretty young teacher, who is the daughter of the tyrannical headmaster, across the hall. This coincides with Topaze failing to convince musical-comedy star Suzy (Nadia Gray) to have her nephew enroll in the school. The final coffin nail is hammered in a hilarious scene in which Topaze shows that resistance is not futile as to his failure to bend to severe pressure to change the grade of a student even in a manner that allows the pretense that the upgrade is justified.
Meanwhile, Suzy and lover/corrupt council member (Herbert Lom of the "Pink Panther" franchise) Castel Benac find that the dupe on whom they are relying to allow Benac to secretly profit as to a government contract is not so stupid; suffice it to say that this guy knows the score and wants more than his share of the profits.
The writing on the wall is neon as to the pair of schemers discussing the need for a front who does not know his back from his elbow. This leads to the newly unemployed Topaze becoming the figurehead president of the company of Benac. The subsequent lesson as to the wisdom of the fool has some parallels with "There." The bigger picture this time is that "Topaze" is the first of many occasions on which Lom greatly suffers at the hands of Sellers.
The epilogue provides the best payoff as it becomes clear that the older and wiser Topaze clearly is the smartest guy in the room; this is not to mention the lesson that the loss of innocence can turn a puppy into a wolf of Wall Street.
The plethora of extras begin with a crisp-and-clear version of the 33-minute Sellers short "Let's Go Crazy" with "Goon Show" co-star Spike Milligan. Sellers plays numerous characters ranging from Groucho Marx to a elderly society matron in this zany film that is fully set at a night club. The highlights include musical performances by some of the top acts of the day.
"The Poetry of Realism" is a video essay on Marcel Pagnol, who is the playwright of "Topaze." A 24-page booklet has essays on Sellers and on the rediscovery of the "Topaze" prints at the BFI.
Time Life awesomely follows up its recent (reviewed) epic DVD release of concerts, television shows, documentaries, etc. of Cher with the even more phenomenal "Dolly: The Ultimate Collection" celebrating the 50-year career of Dolly Parton. This perfect gift for any of the numerous demographics to which the modern queen of country appeals is only available by visiting the Time Life website. Being able to get away with just sticking a bow on the sturdy decorative box is a nice feature.
The only disappointing aspect of the below well-produced and comprehensive Time Life promo. for "Dolly" is that it does not follow the company tradition of having the titles scroll across the screen over scenes of the American Idol of the hour belting out her hits and appearing in clips from the series and other productions featuring her that comprise this 19-DVD, 35-hour set.
The preaching to the choir aspects of this set are numerous episodes of the '70s daytime series "Dolly" and the '80s primetime variety show of the same name, the two '80s Christmas specials, and the concerts. This not to mention "Tonight Show" appearances and the seven episodes of "The Porter Wagoner Show" that provided Parton a big break.
Highlights of the '70s series include Parton peers/friends Emmy Lou Harris and Linda Ronstadt appearing in one episode and the parents and 12 siblings of Parton providing the entertainment in another outing. A terrifically bizarre duet of the Tony Orlando and Dawn hit "Knock Three Times on the Ceiling" with Kenny Rogers in another episode is must-see.
The regular primetime "Date With Dolly" segment having Patrick Duffy and Parton co-star Burt Reynolds playing two of the gentlemen callers is just as much fun. This is not to mention the cold opens featuring the star in a bubble bath. Parton fully channels Carol Burnett with a twist by ending each episode with a witty Q&A session. The quick wit that Parton displays here fully reflect the spirit of her song "Dumb Blonde" in which this master of all media shows that she ain't no stereotype.
All of this (and the rest) is great fun for those of us who are more familiar with the mainstream hits, film roles, and big and busty persona of Parton. Seeing the wide variety of her work, learning that she wrote the Whitney Houston hit "I Will Always Love You," discovering that "Islands in the Stream" apparently is a gay anthem, shows that she once was the hardest working woman in show business is enlightening.
The bonus disc that includes the BBC documentary "Dolly Parton: Here I Am" is a personal favorite in this enormous set (truly, no pun intended). It fills in many gaps as to the tale of growing up poor with 12 siblings, being a child country-music star, and moving to Nashville at 18 to fully become a star.
An awesome "behind-the-scenes" segment tells the tale as old of time as to Wagoner getting jealous when Parton begins to eclipse him. The response of Parton makes it clear that she knows how to make her point without biting the hand that currently is feeding her.
The segment on the film debut of Parton in "9 to 5" is one of the most interesting in "Here." We learn how producer/star Jane Fonda gets the idea to recruit Parton for the film and also get the perspective of co-star Lily Tomlin. This is not to mention the extent to which Parton nails the titular theme.
The big picture this time is that watching even roughly one-third of "Collection" clearly demonstrates the perfection combination of charm, talent, shrewdness, and ambition that earns Parton the respect and admiration of even us damn Yankees.
Watching "Flintsones" DVDs (complete with spot-on Dino bark to entertain my cat) right before the live online presentation "Del Shores the 'Stuff' Stirrer" on October 4, 2020 was like going from 0 to 69 in two seconds.
Coincidentally watching an episode of the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" spin-off "Phyllis" that afternoon provided a more apt aperitif before the Shores performance. The titular former Real Housewife of Minneapolis/current boomerang widow ensured that a "Gilmore Girls" style chat with teen daughter Bess covered the top three taboo subjects of sex, religion, and politics. Son-of-a-preacher man Shores took that theme to the next stratosphere.
The first aside is that Shores is very brave to work without an audience. Doing a monologue without audience feedback is very tough; there is no way to know if you still have the hearts and minds of the fans. As one who has stopped listening to a once-favored NPR show that used-to-be taped before a live audience and who gets much less joy from "Last Week Tonight With John Oliver" these days, it is uplifting to sincerely write that Shores scores every time even without a net, He consistently shows that he is an Everygayman.
The second aside before getting down to business is a sincere apology to Shores if he is annoyed that I am not leaving the raunch to the professionals. A related aside is that the admission fee for "Stirred" is the best $20 that I have ever spent for an experience that did not involve physical contact.
The tremendous appeal of "Stirrer," which was streamed from the homey dining room of Chez Shores, began with a sense that our host was channeling Queen Dorothy Parker and her knights of the Algonquin Round Table. As the fully-clothed Shores stated after reminding audience members that the event was clothing optional (suffice it to say that your not-so-humble reviewer fully embraced the spirit of the evening), the evening was intended to be a virtual visit with friends. His warm nature made it very easy to imagine sitting around the table playing with his chihuahuas and eating cheesecake while sharing the details of our sordid lives.
As one who likes to think of himself as a member of the outermost edge of the inner circle of Shores, this intimacy (aside from any nudity) was very nice after seven months and counting of moderate-to- severe isolation.
Another big theme of the evening further evoked thoughts of "The Golden Girls." Shores scratched the surface by noting that his general outspokenness and ready willingness to discuss sex made him comparable to a Southern woman. The next level was the aforementioned vibe of the presentation; going a bit deeper watching the "Girls" at gay bars during its network run was serious business to the extent of turning off the music during the episode.
Shores subsequently delved deeper by sharing a temperate exchange in which he told his verbal attacker that gay men substitute the biological families that either reject or do not understand them with their gay friends. The work of Shores on the classic Showtime series "Queer As Folk" further proves that this self-proclaimed minor gay celebrity knows that of which he speaks.
On a lighter note, Shore amped up his typical candor with a monologue on the proper way to be the third wheel with a couple. The apt sordid confession of your not-so-humble reviewer that validates this wisdom of Shores is spending years hitting a spot for a friend that his husband could not reach. The related note this time is Shores hilariously reporting global statistics prompted an out-of-this-world ego boost that exceeds a perfect hands-free record.
The sharing continued with Shores telling about how shooting himself in the foot led to his becoming a Democrat. This was after Shores told the audience about his copious use of gun oil,
The title of "Stirrer" refers to Shores mostly gleefully but sometimes inadvertently engaging in Twitter wars. This begins with Scott Baio blocking Shores for the latter showing him who is in charge. The seeming cast of 1,000s also includes reality-show stars who reasonably and unreasonably take umbrage at remarks by Shores. The tie for best bit during this segment is between an awesome mea cupla by Shores and his offending Jerry Falwell, Jr. by offering to write a screenplay of the story of the sordid affair between Rev. and Mrs. Falwell and a pool boy who apparently can dive deep.
The G-rated portions of "Stirrer" proved the Carol Burnett theories that funny always is funny and that making people laugh does not require "blue" humor. A bit on the English teacher mother of Shores correcting the grammar of "Sordid" favorite Aunt Sissy equally entertains and educates.
Learning that the impish charm of Shores dates back to his childhood and that his mother has the PERFECT response to his mischief provided another bonding moment.
Shores wraps all of this up with wonderful tales of working the presidential primary in Mississippi. His speaking for all gay men extends beyond reminding the more moderate members of that 10-percent that any love for the Republican party is not mutual; Shores keeps his audience captivated in discussing door-to-door canvassing bringing him to the home of a shirtless hunk who apparently was welcome to stuff the ballot box of our righteous political activist.
The only apt way to end these musing is that Shores always del-ivers an insightful performance that stimulates the two most important male organs.
Omnibus Entertainment does indie-film god parent Film Movement very proud as to the September 22, 2020 DVD release of the sublime 2018 quirky comedy "The Dancing Dogs of Dombrova." "Dombrova" is EXACTLY what we need today. It easily is the most witty and charming film that your not-so-humble reviewer has seen since watching the (reviewed) biodramedy "Stan and Ollie" in January 2019.
The well-deserved festival love for "Dombrova" includes Best Feature and Best Director honors at the 2019 Canadian Film Fest.
The following "Domdrova" trailer provides a moderate "Fargo" vibe as to the offbeat sensibility and the barren setting of the film.
Our story begins with squabbling siblings Aaron and Sarah fresh off the plane from Canada and seeking transportation at a Polish airport. Writer/director Zack Bernbaum expertly conveys their relationship early on by having uptight bureaucrat rely on the statement of an airport worker that there are no cabs only to have disaffected Sarah being right as to a nearby car meeting their uber need.
Additional early exposition establishes that our reluctant tourists are in Poland to fulfill a dying wish of their grandmother. Contrary to the assertion in "Seinfeld" that "In Poland, we all had ponies," the grandmother owned the titular prancing pooch. The grandkids are there to retrieve the bones of the dog so that they can be buried in Canada with the grandmother.
The driver, who becomes a friend and regular chauffeur, takes the visitors from The Great White North to the requested address. This figurative dead-end results in Aaron and Sarah finding themselves in a vacant lot where they are the subject of the vacant stares of the men who are sitting there.
The next stop is the guest house run by a tough-but-compassionate middle-aged woman whose cooking reflects the principle that no part of an animal should be wasted. Her sister provides the room service at the establishment.
The driver from the night before showing up with her teen son in tow introduces that scene stealer/detective of humanity to the film. The insights of that lad include that even a baseless charge of child molestation can be effective in meeting your goals.
This leads to civil servant Ian meeting his match at the local hall of records; that man shows that an expedited request is not always a timely one.
The subsequent wacky adventures include encounters with a local priest and with a peer of the grandmother who has a very old school attitude. Throughout all this, Aaron and Sarah gain a greater understanding of each other.
Bernbaum saves some of the best for last as things culminate in a final desperate measure that is proportion to the times. This involves the taxi driver showing the extent to which she is willing to take one for the team.
All of this shows that a relatable story in the right hands can delight and amuse.
God to lovers of the eternal musical-comedy series of the '60s and '70s Time Life awesomely follows up its (reviewed) "Best of Sonny and Cher" DVD set with the September 15, 2020 release of "The Best of Cher."
The new bonus-dripping 8 discs take us from the late-70s "Cher" CBS musical comedy series, which is comparable to Laverne keeping the laughs coming after Shirley bails in the final season of their sitcom, to the 2013 Lifetime "Dear Mom, Love Cher" documentary. The latter has our enduring living legend reminisce with mother Georgia Holt. One spoiler is that this one shows that the apple lands directly under the tree.
The fun begins with the February 9, 1975 pilot episode of "Cher." The titular entertainer stays true to form by opening the show belting out a tune while (barely) dressed in one of seemingly infinite outfits that Bob Mackie has designed for her throughout the decades. This leads a little bit of a downer opening monologue in which Cher comments on her no longer living a pro Bono existence.
An incestuous element of this series is that it is produced by George Schlatter; Schlatter also is the brains behind the (reviewed) late '60s-early '70s phenom "Laugh-In," which is out on DVD thanks to Time-Life. Schlatter contributes his two cents to "Cher" in a DVD bonus interview.
The '70stastic guests that help Cher get her groove back are Elton John, Bette Midler, and Flip Wilson. Highlights include Flip Wilson alter-ego Geraldine attending a class-reunion with Cher hilariously tacky alter-ego Laverne. We also get Elton John singing a wonderful rendition of "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds," joining Cher to rock out with one his classics, and doing a medley with Cher and Midler.
Guests in subsequent episodes include soon-to-be Cher spouse Greg Allman, "Love Boat" darling Charo. "Laugh-In" star Lily Tomlin, "Carol Burnett Show" fall-on-the-floor-funnyman Tim Conway, "Charlie's Angel" Kate Smith, and far too many other Disco Age A-listers to mention,
The wonderfully bizarre April 3, 1978 "Cher...Special" begins with a Cher monologue that turns back time to when she feels like an ugly duckling teen and segues to her performing numerous parts in an extended medley of songs from "West Side Story." This leads to performances that range from country queen Dolly Parton to new wave group "The Tubes."
The March 7, 1979 special "Cher... and Other Fantasies" finds our star the apparent prisoner of an impish creature played by Elliott Gould. The Gould character repeatedly sends Cher into rooms in an office building from Heck. The vignettes involve situations such as Shelley Winters, who essentially is forced to eat dirt and returns the favor, playing a woman who sells angst. We also get Andy Kaufman as a bizarre version of Adam just arriving in The Garden of Eden.
The aforementioned "Mom" does a good job keeping the story of gypsy and tramp (but not thief) Holt light and entertaining. We additionally get interesting insight into (almost aborted) life of Cher. A mug shot of our gay icon is one of numerous vintage images. Learning at the end that all of this is an infomercial for the new album of Holt does make the audience feel duped.
The "Mom" disc includes a fun 1987 "Superstars and Their Moms" segments that greatly overlaps Mom. The most fun of this is seeing Carol Burnett as we mostly likely have never seen her before.
An even more fun bonus on this disc has Cher and talk-show host James Corden playing truth-or-dare with some of the most disgusting food known to mankind. This one makes many of us wonder if we would emulate Cher in chowing down on a gag-worthy item to avoid saying one nice thing about Donald Trump.
Music takes center stage over comedy and nostalgia in the August 1999 recording of the Cher MGM concert.
The big picture this time is that "Best" preserves numerous highlights from the "Star Wars" of celebrities in that the woman of the many hours is a goddess to three generations (and counting) of fans. This truly is one that the entire family can enjoy while (largely thanks to Trump) essentially subject to house arrest for the foreseeable future.
The Universal Pictures Home Entertainment separate DVD and DVD/BD sets of the John Stewart ("The Daily Show") joint "Irresistible" (2020) provides a great chance to see a film that truly is one for our dystopian times. The extreme divisiveness regarding every aspect of American society screams now more than ever for the impish wit and charm of writer/director Stewart.
Casting "Daily" veteran Steve Carrell as prominent Democratic campaign manager/spin doctor Gary Zimmer is the icing on this tasty cupcake. This "Office" guy puts his deadpan wit and condescending arrogance/exasperation to good use as a DC insider essentially living a self-imposed exile in Hooterville. Think Michael Scott in a town full of Dwight Schrutes,
The quasi Mary Matalin to Zimmer's James Carville is his Republican counterpart Faith Brewster (Rose Byrne). This "Irrestistible" aspect aptly adds a '90s vibe to this film that is a a mash-up of the politicom "Wag the Dog" and films"loosely based" on the Matalin/Carville relationship.
The following "Irresistible" trailer provides an excellent "25-words-or-less" synopsis of the wonderfully cynical themes of the film; we also get good doses of the well-produced humor that make this one worth adding to your home-video library.
Our story begins on election night 2016 with the upset victory of Trump over Clinton; we all know how that worked out. Four years later, Zimmer finds a potentially game-changing online video of democrat/veteran/farmer Jack Hastings (Chris Cooper) raising a fuss at a council meeting in his rural Wisconsin town, Zimmer makes the hastings decision that his getting that man elected mayor will be an important step toward turning that swing state to the Democratic side in the upcoming presidential election.
Hilarity ensues as we witness the political games that are par for the course inside the Beltway but not the Bible Belt. We also see the aforementioned patronizing attitude of Zimmer towards the "hicks," and said "real Americans" show up that city slicker.
The success of Zimmer brings Brewster to town to create bad faith as to Hastings. This leads to Zimmer v. Hastings: This Time It Is Especially Personal. The fun here includes a manufactured scandal and a perfect example of the risks of relying on general demographics. All of this makes Topher "Dumb Ass" Grace ("That '70s Show") being a member of Team Zimmer apt.
Stewart saves the very best for last ala a series of twists that are straight out of Golden Age Hollywood. This awesome cynicism shows that you truly cannot trust or underestimate anyone.
The copious home-video bonuses include deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a couple of "making of" features.
The term "uncut and uncensored" fully applies to the DVD set of the sublimely ridiculous Del Shores joint "Sordid Lives: The Series" and partially applies to supporting cast member Jason Dottley. Disdain for Dottley does not preclude speculating that the camera adds 10 inches; another possibility is that Shores got his hands (pun intended) on the famous Dirk Diggler prosthetic. That full-frontal and other racy content suggests that these versions of the episodes did not air during the top-rated run of "Series" on basic cable.
This new addition to the catalog of DelShores.com provides a good chance to add a DVD of a series that is not widely syndicated to your home-video library. The general cred. of this one extends beyond auteur Shores putting his Freddie Mercury Players to good use.
"Series" additionally has a strong live-stage vibe, and Shores has enough faith in the intelligence of the viewer to not include a laugh track. The series highlights include GROSSLY obese convenience store clerk Vera of "32.09" fame falling on the floor and Shores doubling down by the next shot being the legs of Vera flailing above her counter.
All of this illustrates the Rule of Three as to television and film. The theory is that a single individual cannot produce, direct, and act well. Shores shows that there are exceptions to that rule,
Shores does follow the rule of Brticoms; that wisdom is that making 12 exceptional episodes a season is better than producing 22 mediocre ones.
The wish fulfillment aspects of "Series" extend well beyond providing a prequel to Shores' (reviewed) opus film "Sordid Lives." Both works depict the trials and the tribulations of the working-class rednecks of Winters, Texas whose local dive actually is called Bubbas. Their story continues with the (reviewed) "Lives" film sequel "A Very Sordid Wedding." One can only hope for "Sordid Lives: Electric Boogaloo."
Delkies know that the entire "Sordid" franchise is based on the life of son of a preacher man Shores. Delkers know enough to cringe when the pet of the neighbors of chain-smoking Aunt Sissy (PERFECTLY cast Beth Grant) gets the goat of that ripped-from-the-headlines "Mama's Family" caliber character. The same principle applies as a reference to a little person.
Soapcom "Series" aptly begins its continuing story, complete with episode-ending cliffhangers, on April 6, 1998. This death date of Queen of Country Tammy Wynette has a large impact on Queen of the Mental Institution Earl "Brother Boy" Ingram (Leslie Jordan). Brother Boy constantly dresses in drag as Wynette and amuses the maddening crowd by lip-synching to Wynette records.
It all comes together when Wynette daughter Georgette Jones sings along. That relates to a transvestite in a coma storyline. I know; I know; its serious. "Lives" removes any doubt at whether he will pull through. We all would hate anything to happen to her,
"Lives" provides the full exposition as to how Brother Boy finds himself to be a decades-long guest of the state. This cult classic also allows Jordan and Rosemary Alexander (as "Shrinkie Dearest" Dr. Eve) to fully play off of each other when Brother Boy fully digs in his stilettos regarding his "failure to participate in his own recovery." Whether resistance is futile as to this Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd dynamic remains to be seen.
Another strong prequel element occurs as to family matriarch Peggy Ingram engaging in a long-term sordid affair with Nolette spouse GW, whom Beau Bridges masterfully portrays in the stage and film versions of "Lives." Shores does friends of both Dorothies a HUGE solid by casting "Maude"/"Golden Girls" star Rue McClanahan as Peggy.
The icing on the cake is Shores helping McClanahan get a leg up (pun intended) on co-star/rival Bea Arthur, who is known for saying that she has done everything except rodeo and porn. The salacious content of "Series" warrants giving McClanahan, who has a few PG-13 sex scenes, the win as to one of those genres.
Considering that a swan dive that McClanahan takes in "Series" is highly significant to the franchise, it is apt that this show is her swan song. It is beyond awesome that Golden Boy Shores writes her such a well-suited role for her final regular gig.
Additional star power comes in the form of Shores recruiting his fan Olivia Newton John to reprise her role as honky-tonk singer/convicted arsonist Bitsy Mae Harling, who (like Sissy) has a cute and sassy real-life namesake. Seeing that Bitsy-Mae and Peggy are two-of-a-kind and that Heaven can wait because they're gonna get it right this time is another of the plethora of Southern-fried treats that Shores dishes out.
The "and the rest" fun of "Series" includes a prescription drug addiction, hilarious mutual spousal abuse between GW (who does not have a leg on which to stand) and Noletta, and a crazy ex-girlfriend, We also get Shores friend and confidante Emerson Collins (who is must-see in the (reviewed) Shores opus"Southern Baptist Sissies") as a hilarious psycho one-night-stand to the max whose money shot comes in the series finale.
All of this makes for an awesome marathon (rather than "binge") viewing accompanied by Lone Star beer, pork rinds, and deep-fried Twinkies.
The Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Blu-ray (BD) release of the 1980 Olivia Newton-John/Gene Kelly musical fantasy "Xanadu" excitingly exceeds high expectations regarding this feel-good scifi musical fantasy comedy of the '80s. It is almost guaranteed that you will not check the time or see how much longer the movie has to go and will shake your self out of a near trance and say "it's over?" at the end of the movie.
A funny aspect of this review considering the magical element of the film is that your sometimes humble reviewer got the BD essentially for free when factoring in the value of a movie money promotion while shopping at a normally avoided big box store. Thinking that Kira the muse of the film is behind this provides pleasure.
The following YouTube clip of video for the titular song provides a perfect sense of the spirit and themes of "Xanadu." You simply cannot help but feel really good while watching it and the film itself.
One of the more prominent attributes about this highly infectious film from future Hollywood royalty Joel Silver, Brian Grazer, and "High School Musical" choreographer Kenny Ortega is that it (largely) adheres to an awesome philosophy that 80s comedy darling Tracey Ullman stated before the premiere of her '80s sketch comedy show that brought "The Simpsons" to life. Ullman declared that the musical numbers in her show would makes sense and not merely be people bursting into song in the middle of the street. "Xanadu" stays true to that with the exception of an elaborate song-and-dance number during a stereotypical "shopping for a new look" number at an '80s style boutique.
Other overall totally tubular (pun intended) aspects of "Xanadu" include "Tron" style neon special effects and an extended musical number with New Wave gods "The Tubes." These keyboard kids totally rock out in their orange neon jumpsuits.
The film opens with frustrated painter Sonny Malone, whom Michael Beck of the terrifically uber-violent literally banned in Boston film "The Warriors" portrays, throwing the pieces of his latest sketch out the window. This inadvertently summons the nine Greek goddess sisters who are the muses who inspire artists. This coming-to-life sets the scene for the first of several musical numbers featuring songs by ELO and/or Olivia Newton-John.
Sonny coming out to plaaay by roller skating a short while later has muse Kara, whom Newton-John plays with great spirit, literally bump into him for a quick kiss only to dash off. This (along with another magical encounter with Kira) inspires an ultimately successful pursuit of his dream girl. A later rollerskating scene features an amusing nip slip,
Sonny also befriending '40s-era clarinetist Danny McGuire (played by Kelly) puts the rest of the puzzle together. The need of Danny for help fulfilling his dream of opening a night club and the desire of Sonny for a feasible creative outlet provide a basis for their beautiful friendship. Kira covertly guiding the enterprise greatly contributes to the fun.
Classic movie fans further will enjoy the homages to the Kelly classic "Singin' In the Rain." On bringing Danny home with him, Kelly remarks that a a silent film star once owned the house. A later scene has Sonny and Kira putting an '80s slant on a classic "Singin'" number.
Seeing Danny and Sonny work well together and mutually enjoy the music from their generations is both charming and a nice reminder of friendlier times. Millennials typically see even Gen Xers as fossils, and those of that demographic often consider the "kids" of today as ADHD morons who lack a work ethic and spend their whole lives looking at their phones. As in all things, the truth lies somewhere between those extremes.
One scene in which Sonny tries a little magic of his own perfectly illustrates how "Xanadu" grabs you and is oh so different than the movies of today. Anyone with a heart wants him to succeed and thinks that he will do so. A modern film would have him literally fall flat on his back and obtain a positive audience response.
The arguably cutest scene is also one of the most memorable. A music video that animation legend Don Bluth (whose work includes "The Secret of N.I.M.H." and "Anastasia") draws has our young lovers start as human and morph into fish and fowl while retaining a great deal of their human characteristics. Birdie Sonny stumbling and falling is hilarious.
All of this amounts to a fun film that looks very dated but allows escaping into a bright sunny world full of music that looks and sounds wonderful in BD format.
The "making of" feature meets the definition of the best of features and the worst of features. Director Robert Greenwald, Bluth, Ortega, and many behind-the-camera folks offer interesting insight into the humble beginnings of "Xanadu" and share how the interest of Newton-John and initially less enthusiastic involvement of Kelly helped the film develop.
We also learn of the impact of limited distribution by the studio affecting the preliminary response to the film. It soon making the art-house circuit and later becoming a Broadway musical shows the American public ultimately knows a good thing when it sees it.
The "worst of " aspects involves the lack of participation by Newton-John and Beck. Even if Universal offered little or no money, it seems that our former young lovers could show fan love by taking a couple of hours to discuss the film. We always root for your characters and bought the BD (if not the Newton-John soundtrack), a little reciprocation would have been nice.
A review-ending invitation regarding "Xanadu" is that any muse who comes across this post should feel free to show up and do her thing. Some of us do still believe in fairies.
The first impression of the July 21, 2020 Warner Brothers Home Entertainment DVD/BD/4K releases of "Scoob!" is a comment by Jon Stewart on "The Daily Show" during the late-90s "Renaissance" of mid-budget films based on television shows of the '70s and the '80s. Stewart observes that television series are television series because their concepts are not good enough to warrant making them movies. The perspective of the highly significant other of your not-so-humble reviewer that the "Scooby" productions that stay true to the campy and highly silly style of the '70s-era fare are the better one evokes thoughts of the line in the Woody Allen film ("Stardust Memories?") in which a fan tells the fictionalized version of Allen that she likes his funny films better than his serious ones.
The fault of "Scoob!" lies not within the stars but in the increasing WB emphasis of art over commerce. As to the animated world, this begins with WB essentially literally following in the footsteps of media mogul/former Jane Fonda spouse Ted Turner by purchasing the Hanna-Barbera library.
The embarrassment of riches as to this is the awesome Warner Archive line of DVD sets of Golden Age of HB series. The plain embarrassment is the Warner suits, who repeatedly prove that they do not know Jack, still struggling to squeeze blood from stone-cold franchises, such as "Scooby-Doo." The MBAs should let our beloved chidhood friends enjoy at least a dignified semi-retirement.
The following trailer for "Scoob!" illustrates much of the above beginning with the inexpensive CGI and showing the flat humor of the film. WB blatantly shows that it knows that there are enough "Scooby" fans out there to fill the presumed cineplex seats when the film was made to not worry about quality. Speaking from the perspective of a HUGE "Scooby" fan, seeing the trailer in September convinced me to wait for the DVD release after the presumed theatrical run.
"Scoob!" starts out very cute and relative strong with a pup not yet named Scooby-Doo on the run (and the lamb) from the law when he meets awkward friendless pre-adolescent Shaggy. The two soon bond over their love of "unique" combinations of food.
These BFFs meet the rest of the pre-adolescent Scooby gang while trick-or-treating. The game soon is afoot, and those meddling kids solve their first mystery.
An entertaining fast-paced montage, which pays homage to '70s-era "Scooby," brings us to the present. A now teen Mystery, Inc. has a solid reputation and is looking to bring things to the next level. This effort, ala "The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries" and the more recent "Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?," involves meeting with an animated version of "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell.
Cowell acts true-to-form in bluntly assessing the strengths and the weaknesses of the Scooby gang. The latter includes the determination that Shaggy and Scooby are dead weight. This, in turn, leads to a parting of the ways between that pair and the rest of their peers.
Subsequent events lead to HB '60s-era villain Dick Dastardly being desperate to capturing Scooby-Doo, who is integral to a dastardly (in both senses of the word) plot to open the gates of the Underworld (a.k.a. Hell). This scheme leads to our slacker and his not-so-little-dog too essentially travelling over the rainbow to team up with the son of '70s-era Scooby ally Blue Falcon (who has taken over the family business) and wonder dog Dynomutt. Of course, the band gets back together before the action fully gets underway.
The ensuing measures to stop Dastardly involve numerous too-fun-to-spoil HB Easter eggs; the failure to capture the spirit of the original makes sharing a cameo by '70s-era HB superhero Captain Caveman a non-spoiler.
The climax, like much of 3/4 of the film involves a moral. A member of the gang takes one for the team by literally going to Hell out of friendship and loyalty. This is on top of messages that include not letting other people make you feel badly about yourself.
Aside from the general flaws of "Scoob!," there are many dead spots. I hope that my attention span is greater than that of the children that are a target demographic, and I was terribly bored several times. This mainly occurred during tedious chase scenes that seemed prolonged in order to bring "Scoob!" to roughly the feature-film limit of 90 minutes.
The disappointment continues with the dearth of extras at least as to the DVD extras. This merely is a not-so-helpful tutorial on how to draw Scooby. One at least would have hoped for recording session outtakes or a classic "Scooby" episode,
Being a HUGE fan of the public and private personas of writer/director/monologist/activist/chihuahua-lover/son of a preacher man/righteous dude Del Shores of (reviewed) "Sordid Lives " fame provides a good perspective for sharing thoughts on the Breaking Glass Pictures DVD of the 2012 Shores one (awesome) man show "Del Shores: Sordid Confessions." One spoiler is that this hilarious nowhere-ready-for-primetime special is far raunchier than the other Shores performances, all of which are subjects of posts on this site, that are available on DVD.
Shores discussing in "Confessions" that he is observed mentally filing away a sordid tale during a lunch largely sums up his style. His material is funny because it tells the truth about what fools these white-trash mortals be. This is especially true as to the latest (reviewed) Shores project "Six Characters in Search of a Play."
A sincerity and a willingness to name names when warranted are another large part of the appeal of Shores. A prime example of this is a "Confession" about working with gorgeous young actor Randy Harrison during the tenure of Shores as a writer on the Showtime gay-themed drama "Queer As Folk."
Shores gives Harrison credit for being co-operative on the set but dishes about this thespian regularly publicly criticizing the writing on the series. Shores discussing the writers getting their revenge evokes thoughts of a QAF scene in which a nearly naked Harrison is drugged and placed in a sling during an orgy. The only personal criticism of Shores is that the writers do not have that incident lead to what should have been the inevitable conclusion.
The raunch element particularly comes out (no pun intended) as to Shores, who has two wonderful daughters with his compassionate ex-wife, discussing his "slut" period in the wake of his marriage to a sordid man who majorly dun him wrong. The highlight of this part of the show is the tale of taking a relationship with a man glacially slow from the gay perspective only to discover that this guy has a cringe-worthy defect that will prompt every gay viewer to immediately Google images of that condition.
Being the righteous dude that he is, Shores still tries to please this Mr. Right (as opposed to Mr. Right Now) despite the seeming impossibility of turning a corner.
Additional hilarity ensues as Shores confesses his macro and micro (no pun intended) fetish regarding short people as to whom he uses the non-pc term "midgets". The account of one such man with a long "third leg" but short temper provides additional entertainment regarding this topic.
The big picture this time goes back to the same era as the filming of "Confessions." A timely post on a DVD of a stand-up performance by British comedian Russell Brand SLAMS Brand for "sins" that include his act being an extended highly whiny therapy session as to which Brand not only saves the co-pay for that treatment but likely makes millions from folks who pay him to endure that almost unbearable catharsis.
Shores openly and constantly admits that his "Mama's Family" style upbringing has provided him a career. The difference between him and lesser performers is that he knows how to tell his Bible Belt tales in a way that both entertains and lets us feel his pain.
Breaking does its usual stellar job as to DVD extras. We get a "behind-the-scenes" feature that includes Shores showing his inner circle what comes between him and his Calvins. This bonus further provides an inspiration for December 7 birthday gifts.
A more "naughty" extra is footage of the photo shoot of the "Confessions" poster, which also is the DVD cover. This both allows hearing the beloved dogs of Shores and proves that he is hands-on regarding getting things right in a manner that makes one want to scream "me too".
The Film Movement Classics division of Film Movement expands a recent Eurocentric pattern that largely consists of vintage films from Ealing Studios and/or Alistair Sim, which are reviewed in the Film Movement section of this site, to separately release the French tragromcomdram "Serie Noire" on DVD and Blu-ray on April 14, 2020. Adding "Serie" to the incredibly broad Movement catalog provides a chance to see why Time Out considers it one of the 100 best French films of all time.
The '70stastic realistic grittiness of "Serie" looks especially good in the remastered Blu-ray edition right from the opening scenes of middle-aged door-to-door salesman Franck Poupart releasing his frustration before going to the seedy house of "la tante" in search of handyman/boxer Tikides, who is behind in his payment on a suit. This soon leads to Auntie bargaining with Franck to give her a quilted robe in exchange for a tryst with her niece Mona. It is clear that this is the not the first time that Aunty has engaged in this form of bartering.
The next scene in which Mona is resigned to taking one for the team but Franck is protecting the virtue of both his new friend and himself is one of the best in the film. It also is the start of a not-so-beautiful friendship between these two persons who are slaves in their own ways.
The additional desperate times that lead to the "Strangers On a Train"/"Throw Momma From the Train" style desperate measures revolve around Franck's wife Jeanne amping up her crazy and his boss Staplin taking a very hard line on learning that Franck has been skimming from the top,
This is not to mention things turning equally personal and violent as to Tikides.
The aforementioned plot revolves around Franck essentially using one stone for a murder of crows; this wicked deed largely goes off as planned but leads to wonderfully darkly comic fallout that involves all concerned.
The first awesome message of "Serie" is that you should never have an amateur do a job that requires a professional; a related message is that the boss always acts in his or her own best interest and never truly is the friend of an employee.
The home-video extras are the featurettes "Serie Noire, The Darkness of the Soul" and an interview with director Alain Cormeau and star Marie Trintignant (Moma). Classics also includes an always insightful written essay on the film du jour.