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DVD Reviews
Jul 15, 2020

Gunsmoke: The Final Season
And so with this CBS/Paramount DVD release, Gunsmoke ends its unprecedented 20-year run, wrapping up an incredible 635 episodes. While a couple of series have since beaten Gunsmoke, namely Law & Order, The Simpsons, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, with more seasons and/or episodes, that doesn't take into account Gunsmoke's far greater per-season output in its early years, or the much longer running times of both the half-hour and later hour-long episodes. Nor does it factor in star James Arness's appearance in every episode (and later TV movies), or the long runs of so many regulars, including supporting and bit players. Regardless, the label's commitment to finish out Gunsmoke on DVD deserves our gratitude, especially their wise decision to remaster the entire series, and to even add some fine extra features in its last seasons. I'...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jul 10, 2020

Tokyo Olympiad
Perfectly timed given the postponed 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Criterion's stand-alone Blu-ray release of director Kon Ichikawa's Tokyo Olympiad (Tokyo orinpikku, 1965) is not just the best of the Olympic Games films, but a great film generally. Even if, like this reviewer, you have minimal interest in sports, it's enthralling from beginning to end and, in retrospect, quite moving. The 1964 Summer Olympics marked two sea changes: it symbolized Japan's resurrection from the ashes of the Second World War into a peaceful, first-world nation, but equally significant the Games themselves were the last largely unsullied by politicization (shattered by the terrorist acts at the 1972 Games in Munich) and commercialization. The athletes are true amateurs without big corporate sponsors and the Games' message of peace and international friendship is so genuine, so hopeful, it's both exhilarating to see...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Apr 14, 2020

Army of Shadows (Reissue)


Written and directed by Jean-Pierre Melville and based on a novel by Josepeh Kessel, 1969's Army Of Darkness begins when a French man named Philippe Gerbier (Lino Ventura) is hauled into an internment camp in the Nazi occupied France of 1942. Here he meets a few of his bunkmates and befriends a young communist who helps him plan an escape. Before that happens, however, he's released. He winds up back in Marseille where he reconnects with members of The French Resistance whose first order of the day is to execute a member of their own group who, under pressure from German forces, essentially squealed on them. As the walls in the building as paper thin' and there's no good knife around, the young man is strangled, his body left covered on a mattress in the corner of the room.

From here we get to know some of Gerbier's collaborators such as Le Masque (Claude Mann)...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Apr 10, 2020

Beyond The Door


Beyond The Door

Directed by Ovidio G. Assonitis (as O. Hellman) and released in 1974, a year after The Exorcist proved to be box office gold, Beyond The Door introduces us to Jessica Barrett (Juliet Mills), her husband Robert (Gabriele Lavia) and their two kids, smart-mouthed Gail (Barbara Fiorini) and pea soup loving Ken (Davd Colin Jr.). They live a good life and seem quite happy together, but when it turns out that Jessica is pregnant, things get a little tense. Regardless, they decide they'll make the best of the situation but after a visit to Dr. George Staton (Nino Segurini), a man who also happens to be their best friend, Jessica realizes that something is odd: she figures she can't be more than a few weeks into her pregnancy, while he insists she has to be at least three months.

From there, things start to get strange in the Barrett ho...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Mar 26, 2020

The Beatles: Made on Merseyside
Back in DVD's glory days, when stores were overflowing with them, you would often have to watch out for so-called "music" discs that were actually not authorized by the artists and didn't include any music from them- instead just containing interviews of anyone remotely associated that they could find. Many of these discs were about the Beatles- in fact some of the very first budget titles out were "Alf Bicknell's Beatles Diary" and "Beatles Celebration". Today the supply of discs in stores is not as plentiful, but a few of these titles still make it out. Checking out "Made on Merseyside" I was expecting it to be that sort of disc, but I've had enough long-time interest in the Beatles that it might still be worth watching.

This focuses on the very early years of the grou...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Mar 25, 2020

Gunsmoke: The Complete Eighteenth Season
(Note: Reviews of Gunsmoke: The Eighteenth Season and Gunsmoke: The Nineteenth Season are identical. In preparing them I watched at episodes and the extras from both sets.)
Nearing home plate, CBS/Paramount's Eighteenth and Nineteenth of 20 season sets of Gunsmoke (1955-1975) nearly finishes off the classic series. Many wondered if the label would complete the series before the DVD format went kaput, so their determination to see it through deserves our gratitude. I've been reviewing Gunsmoke sets since the First Season was released in July 2007. The program was so prolific, upwards of 40 episodes per season in its early days, it's been impossible to watch everything in broadcast order. As new sets have been released, I typically watch 7-8 representative episodes then return to where I left off which, at present, is still Gunsmoke during its b...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Mar 25, 2020

Gunsmoke: The Complete Nineteenth Season
(Note: Reviews of Gunsmoke: The Eighteenth Season and Gunsmoke: The Nineteenth Season are identical. In preparing them I watched at episodes and the extras from both sets.)
Nearing home plate, CBS/Paramount's Eighteenth and Nineteenth of 20 season sets of Gunsmoke (1955-1975) nearly finishes off the classic series. Many wondered if the label would complete the series before the DVD format went kaput, so their determination to see it through deserves our gratitude. I've been reviewing Gunsmoke sets since the First Season was released in July 2007. The program was so prolific, upwards of 40 episodes per season in its early days, it's been impossible to watch everything in broadcast order. As new sets have been released, I typically watch 7-8 representative episodes then return to where I left off which, at present, is still Gunsmoke during its b...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Mar 21, 2020

Mister America
Tim Heidecker (Tim Heidecker) is running for office. He's working out of a hotel room with only one other campaign employee, Toni Newman (Terri Parks), trying to get himself on the ballot in the upcoming election for San Bernandino County's District Attorney. Specifically, Tim's looking to defeat incumbent District Attorney Vincent Peretti (Don Pecchia), a man he consistently describes as the city's "rat problem," with big, but "very doable" dreams of eliminating "100% of crime" in the area. He's even hired a filmmaker named Josh Lorton (Eric Notarnicola) to follow him around and document the journey. Unfortunately, for Tim, the media seems to have no interest in him, he's struggling to collect the right number of signatures to get on the ballot, and worst of all, his former associate Gregg Turkington (Gregg Turkington) is hellbent on calling him out about his horrific past. Perhaps unfairly obscure...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Mar 18, 2020

I Got You Babe: The Best of Sonny and Cher Volume 1
I can never get enough of old musical and comedy variety shows these days. I remember them being rather cheesy from what I can remember of their original airings, but they are yet another thing that gets better with age. There were many of these throughout the 1960s and 70s, anchored by star hosts with a never-ending parade of different guest stars every week to do their own musical numbers and join in the comedy sketches. Sonny and Cher were two of the biggest stars in this genre- in 1971 they were set to take up residency for a live show in Las Vegas when they had to cancel because CBS offered them a weekly TV show, five episodes of which are featured here.

...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 27, 2020

The Twilight Zone : Season One


Rod Serling's efforts on the original The Twilight Zone is, in a word, legendary and it remains, decades since it debuted, an incredibly influential body of work. The series was revived in the second half of the eighties and then again in the early two thousands an in April of 2019, Jordon Peele, Simon Kinberg and Marco Ramirez brough the popular anthology series back, albeit this time to CBS's streaming platform, CBS All Access. Peele not only serves as one of the show's executive producers, but also as the host and narrator, just as Serling did in the original run.

Paramount has now compiled the ten episodes that make up the first season and brought them to DVD. Here's a quick rundown of the episodes, which we'll keep reasonably vague in order to avoid spoilers.

The Comedian: Samir Wassan (Kumail Nanjiani) is struggling to get his standup comedy ca...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 10, 2020

Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame In Concert
Time-Life has released yet another repackaging of their Rock & Roll Hall of Fame discs, this one containing three previous releases: Two four-DVD sets "Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Concert" (the same title as this entire box set) which covers the induction ceremonies from 2014-2017, followed by the "Encore" set which actually contains the four shows prior to that, and concluded with the 3-disc "25th Anniversary Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Concerts" performed in 2009. I figured it was time for me to check these out having never seen any of them, and being a fan of a large variety of music.

One thing I'm not a big fan of however is awards shows, as they're typicall...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 05, 2020

Gunsmoke: The Complete Seventeenth Season
(Note: Reviews of Gunsmoke: The Sixteenth Season and Gunsmoke: The Seventeenth Season are identical. In preparing them I watched at episodes and the extras from both sets. Give me a break.)
Despite the steady decline of the DVD format, CBS/Paramount deserves a lot of credit for seeing the 20-season run of Gunsmoke (1955-1975) through all the way to the finish line. For the show's last five seasons, it appears that the label has decided to release full- rather than half-season sets, a wise decision, and they've even added a most welcome supplement. I've been reviewing Gunsmoke sets since the First Season was released in July 2007. The program was so prolific, upwards of 40 episodes per season in its early days, it's been impossible to watch everything in broadcast order. As new sets have been released, I typically watch 7-8 representative episodes then ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 05, 2020

Gunsmoke: The Complete Sixteenth Season
(Note: Reviews of Gunsmoke: The Sixteenth Season and Gunsmoke: The Seventeenth Season are identical. In preparing them I watched at episodes and the extras from both sets. Give me a break.)
Despite the steady decline of the DVD format, CBS/Paramount deserves a lot of credit for seeing the 20-season run of Gunsmoke (1955-1975) through all the way to the finish line. For the show's last five seasons, it appears that the label has decided to release full- rather than half-season sets, a wise decision, and they've even added a most welcome supplement. I've been reviewing Gunsmoke sets since the First Season was released in July 2007. The program was so prolific, upwards of 40 episodes per season in its early days, it's been impossible to watch everything in broadcast order. As new sets have been released, I typically watch 7-8 representative episodes then ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jan 31, 2020

Lynyrd Skynyrd - I'll Never Forget You: The Last 72 Hours Of Lynyrd Skynyrd

I think both in fictional movies and documentaries, when airplane trouble happens when a musical act is one of the passengers on the plane, the comedy to diffuse the tension is palpable, whether it is a tribute to "The Night the Music Died" when the Big Bopper, Richie Valens and Buddy Holly passed, or when members of Lynyrd Skynrd died in a 1977 plane crash. Neverthless, I'll Never Forget You attempts to put some emotion into the tragic event.

The film is based on the novel by Gene Odom, friend of singer Ronnie Van Zandt and who wrote the book that serves as the foundation for the film. In it, he, along with others that survived the crash (backup singer Leslie Hawkins and guitar roadie Craig Reed) as they share their thoughts on the crash and offer some thoughts on the days and hours leading up to the tragic events.

So when it comes to the film itself, the sto...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Dec 18, 2019

Sesame Street's 50th Anniversary Celebration!
This second DVD release from Shout Factory Kids celebrating Sesame Street's 50th anniversary consists of a special made this year for prime time on both HBO (where the show has moved for its first run episodes) and PBS (which still presents the show delayed after the HBO showings, and with an annoying "E/I" symbol at the top of the screen to count towards the FCC's required hours of "educational programming" each week- in that regard it's likely for the better that its new primary home is HBO.) Like the 25th anniversary special, which was one of the very first DVD releases back in 1997, this focuses mostly on songs from the show but most of them are new performances, done on the show's set, rather than archival clips. There's a number of celebrity appearances but for some reason Joseph Gordon-Levitt, born after I had already outgrown the show on TV, was chosen to be the main "star". He takes a cab t...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Dec 04, 2019

Star Trek: Discovery - Season Two
This review necessitates an unusually long premise, so bear with me. I'm a lifelong casual fan of the Star Trek franchise, from the original 1966-69 series through The Next Generation and, a bit less so, Deep Space Nine and all the feature films made up to that point. In the minority, I also regard Star Trek Voyager as the best, most daring of the "Next Generation" era shows, but didn't care for Star Trek: Enterprise, as its post 9/11-era teleplays seemed to swing the Star Trek universe hard to the right, in directions that seemed in stark opposition to the original intentions of the franchise's late creator, Gene Roddenberry. That series ended in 2005. Four years later J.J. Abrams's Star Trek feature film attempted to "reboot" the Star Trek universe, with new actors playing characters from the original 60s show. I pretty much loathed everything about it, m...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Nov 20, 2019

Sesame Street: 50 Years and Counting
Sesame Street was one of the only things I was allowed to watch on TV in my early years, and it's no question that it helped to shape me. It was one of the first times that TV had been used to educate children on things like numbers and spelling without being either boring or silly. Its creators had noticed that children memorized TV commercials easily, so they thought the same approach could be used to make them learn things that were actually important. The resulting show has been in a format of clips, primarily focusing on Sesame Street itself with its Muppet and human inhabitants, but also interspersed with separate sketches featuring those characters and some live-action or animated segments that I always felt took place in another universe- having some educational value and a unique quality to them, but having absolutely nothing to do with the main characters or setting, and they were never co...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Oct 29, 2019

Life with Lucy: The Complete Series
For Lucille Ball completists, the release of Life with Lucy (1986), her ill-fated final sitcom, is most welcome. I Love Lucy/The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour (1951-60), The Lucy Show (1962-68), and Here's Lucy (1968-74) kept her on the network airwaves nearly constantly for a quarter of a century, but her return to theatrical features with Mame (1974) flopped badly, with Ball singled out for atypically harsh reviews. After that she did annual television specials for a few years, and was a frequent presenter at award shows. In November 1985 she starred in The Stone Pillow, a TV-movie in which she played an elderly homeless woman, and while that program received mixed reviews it did well enough in the ratings to prompt Ball and her (second) husband, comedian-producer Gary Morton, to dip into the sitcom well that had served her so reliably well and for so long....Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Oct 23, 2019

Gunsmoke: The Fifteenth Season, Volume One
Not hot on its heels but still less than a year after the CBS/Paramount release of Gunsmoke: The Thirteenth Season comes Season Fourteen. After assuming for years that the DVD format would be dead long before the label's run made it to The Twentieth and Final Season of Gunsmoke, I'm actually starting to think they might just make it, at least they can if they manage to crank out the last the last six years over the next three or so. As headlines continue to herald the end of hard media (e.g., Samsung's announcement about stopping manufacturing of Blu-ray and 4K players), the reality is that mass numbers of consumers still like DVD and Blu-ray. The aggressiveness of the industry in pushing streaming has undeniably taken hold, but as an increasingly niche but still heartily viable market, there's no reason both formats can't hang on into the foreseeable future. I've been r...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Oct 23, 2019

Gunsmoke: The Fifteenth Season, Volume Two
Not hot on its heels but still less than a year after the CBS/Paramount release of Gunsmoke: The Thirteenth Season comes Season Fourteen. After assuming for years that the DVD format would be dead long before the label's run made it to The Twentieth and Final Season of Gunsmoke, I'm actually starting to think they might just make it, at least they can if they manage to crank out the last the last six years over the next three or so. As headlines continue to herald the end of hard media (e.g., Samsung's announcement about stopping manufacturing of Blu-ray and 4K players), the reality is that mass numbers of consumers still like DVD and Blu-ray. The aggressiveness of the industry in pushing streaming has undeniably taken hold, but as an increasingly niche but still heartily viable market, there's no reason both formats can't hang on into the foreseeable future. I've been r...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Oct 10, 2019

Robin Williams Comic Genius


The title of this DVD goldmine for fans of Robin Williams' stand-up and improv work can be described with a word that Williams used frequently in his acts over the decades: Redundant. After his singular success in stand-up, film, and TV, everyone should know at this point that the Comic Genius description comes prepackaged with the name. It was for me when I first came to San Francisco for grad school in late 2002, but I mostly knew of Williams' genius through his film roles, a cornucopia of comedic and dramatic work that showcased his immensely versatile talent.

But I didn't know much about his stand-up work, coming from a country where his HBO specials weren't available. A San Francisco native who became a beloved figure of the city as his fame rose; he represented the perfect welcome for me as I bought his 2002 Live on Broadway special on DVD on my first day in th...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Aug 21, 2019

Amazing Grace

The story of Amazing Grace might be just as intriguing and emotional as the film itself. Sydney Pollack (Tootsie) directed the film that showed Aretha Franklin's two-night performance at the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles in 1972, but they could never sync the print with the audio tracks, which were released as a live album in 1972, and a subsequent complete recordings set was released years later. Pollack gave the film to Alan Elliott before his death in 2008 and allowed him to complete the film. And was thwarted two different times by Franklin (citing image rights reasons) before her death in 2018. Shortly thereafter, Franklin's family agreed to the release of the film late last year.

And man, what a performance it is. The church appears to be fairly nondescript, maybe a little intim...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jul 19, 2019

Cielo
:Back in my head-trippy days I would often wonder, if I were religious, to what religion would I belong? I guess I spent some time taking a tiny bit from Buddhism and a lot from Rastafarianism, (if you know what I mean) but mostly acted under the rules of, well, nothing. But, I would frequently tell people that were I to form my own religion, it would definitely have at its source the sky. (Anachronistic, I know.) But is it anachronistic? Alison McAlpine's rapturous documentary Cielo might change your mind.Not that Cielo is a religious documentary at all, that was just my personal in' to understand this movie, gorgeous, stately, and down-to-earth. The movie involves Chilean folks in and around the Atacama Desert, a really great place to observe the night sky. The 78 minute film connects with astronomers and those who scratch out a living on the desert floor. These suppo...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jul 15, 2019

The Brady-est Brady Bunch TV & Movie Collection
Gather round, kiddos, for this review of The Brady-est Brady Bunch TV & Movie Collection will, as never before, attempt to make sense of this unkillable piece of pop culture iconography. Your humble reviewer was in the thick of things when The Brady Bunch, the 1969-74 family sitcom, staked its claim onto the American consciousness, and can offer a bit perspective those generations, just before and since, can't quite reconcile. But before we do that, let's first point out that this compact if unruly boxed DVD set, with a total running time of around 75 hours (!) of material includes with one notable exception just about everything Brady-related one might possibly ever want: the original series; The Brady Kids animated spin-off; The Brady Girls Get Married TV movie and its short-lived sitcom follow-up, The Brady Brides; A Very Brady Christmas, a later TV ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jul 10, 2019

Peppa Pig: Peppa Easter Bunny

Not going to lie, think I'm a touch melancholy when it comes to this installment of Peppa Pig. I've reviewed several of these titles for "The Talk" already, largely because my son has liked seeing them and has a little bit of the merchandise from the show. However, I think we may have moved on a little? Someone has started taking note of different shows on Nick Jr., and I'm not sure how to handle it.

Anyway, Peppa Pig The Easter Bunny is a collection of self-explanatory episodes around Easter and the Easter bunny. The web shorts run about 5-6 minutes each and don't overstay their welcome, running just over one hour in total. Ranging from Series 3-5, they get into all of the members of Peppa's family (Daddy and Mommy Pig and Peppa's little brother ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jul 01, 2019

Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In: The Complete Fourth Season
Well, I guess I had to see it to believe it. After reviewing Time-Life's set of Laugh-In's third season, where all 26 episodes were affected by a serious mastering error, I didn't think the problem would have carried over to any of the other sets. In this set of the fourth season with 26 more episodes from the show's 1970-71 season, ONE episode (#22) seems to have come out right but the remaining 25 are still afflicted. I'll talk more about that in the quality section, but first a bit about the show itself:

Dan Rowan and Dick Martin still haven't let up by this point, continuing the show's mostly anarchic format that filled an hour-long slot each week when network TV...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jun 17, 2019

Sesame Street: Awesome Alphabet Collection

As my two-year old goes from infant to toddler and is more of a sponge soaking up data and information I try to keep his media above board with things on education, and having Sesame Street as your driver in the club bag is a clutch one I have to say. He can watch Elmo, or Kermit or Bert and Ernie with content while I get his meals ready, and he gets the chance to learn something in the process. So yeah, damn right I grabbed Awesome Alphabet Collection as a surrogate parent!

The disc is less a series of show episodes and more focused on segments, all of which surround a particular letter of the alphabet, that the Sesame Street puppets and humans talk through in a means of education and illustration. Occasionally a celebrity will pop by, whether its singers like Norah Jones, Pharrell Williams or Smokey Robinson, or actors like Ricky Gervais (Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jun 14, 2019

Better Call Saul - Season 04

Back when I was half joking about the acumen with which Better Call Saul was going in its second season, you knew that it would head down a sad yet inevitable road, right? Jimmy (its second season) would become Saul eventually, despite his best efforts otherwise.

There are two big changes that have occurred since I wrote a lot of words down about the show; one being the death of Jimmy's brother Chuck (Michael McKean, This is Spinal Tap) and the introduction or reacquainting if you will of Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito, Breaking Bad), both of which occur in Seaso...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jun 13, 2019

The Man With The Magic Box
In 10 Words or LessA beautiful, complicated sci-fi political statementThe MovieIt's not necessary to have a working knowledge of Poland's recent political history to get the point of The Man with the Magic...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jun 10, 2019

PAW Patrol: Ultimate Rescue

Lately I've been using Paw Patrol the same way I had (and sorta still) use the Peppa Pig films for my son, albeit in a different way lately. In the past I'd been using them as a means of occupation while his meals for the day are made, now they are tied in to how he goes to bed the previous night. We're in sleep independence now, and if he does not stay in his bed or room, no Paw Patrol the next morning. We're not at a live or die without it point yet, but we could be getting there?

The premise of the show is very much like one you may be accustomed to when you were a kid and discovered television for the first time; a group of friends (in this case, dogs) join up when they are called upon to solve a case, for lack of a better word. It's storytelling 101, introduce characters, provide confl...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jun 03, 2019

The Dick Cavett Show: Inside the Minds of... Volume 3
In 10 Words or LessDick Cavett interviews a quartet of great black comediansThe ShowThough the box makes no mention of it, the theme of this collection of episodes of The Dick Cavett Show, is obviously iconic black comedians, delivering five ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
May 28, 2019

London Fields




And in this corner, released just in time to frighten us on Halloween, we have one of the worst films of 2018, a ghastly gimmick cluster bomb that will have audiences gasping for the air that has been sucked out of the room by the worst acting you will see this century; London Fields! It really ought to be heralded, this monstrosity of a movie, so that future audiences can be forewarned, or else it ought it be completely wiped from our memories, so that none of us who have seen it will have to live with the pain. Rarely, if ever, does cinema swing this hard and miss, unless it's trying to in order to make a point; no ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
May 03, 2019

The Alice Howell Collection
: From where we are now, it's weird to think of these silent comedies as being filmed and released 25 to 35 years after the advent of motion pictures. I mean, with the first true examples of 'film' coming from the mid-1880s, you\\\\'d think that by 1914 a picture like Shot in the Excitement, featuring early film comedienne Alice Howell, would look more sophisticated. Aah, but those were the olden days, when horse-drawn carriages still regularly shared the road with motor cars. This 2-disc collection of silent motion picture comedies, curated by Steve Massa and Ben Model, features Alice Howell, one of the earliest and well-renowned stars of slapstick comedies, who was active from 1914 to 1926 or so. The titles included here on disc one are the aforementioned Shot in the Excitement (1914, 14 minutes), Father was a Loafer (1915, 13 minutes), ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Apr 29, 2019

Grand-Daddy Day Care

So I think Universal's Grand-Daddy Day Care may be the final part of an unwanted trilogy? Follow me for a second; there was 2003's Daddy Day Care with Eddie Murphy, then 2007's Daddy Day Camp with Cuba Gooding Jr. Now there's this one, and I'd imagine a Grand-Daddy Day Camp isn't far away. Or maybe it is and that's the idea, to make people forget about these things.

Robbie Fox (In the Army Now) and David Steinberg wrote the screenplay that Ron Oliver directed. It tells the story of Frank (Reno Wilson, Officer Downe), a bestselling author who hasn't had a hit in a while. He and his wife take in his father in law Eduardo (Danny Trejo, Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Apr 24, 2019

Tickled
In 10 Words or LessA thrilling mystery that starts with ticklish guys The MovieAs Tickled establishes quickly, David Farrier is apparently well-known in his native New Zealand as a human-interest reporter, interviewing celebrities and coverin...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Apr 19, 2019

Records Collecting Dust II
On one hand music sales have remained abysmal in recent years, with fewer places to buy it and existing stores cutting back on their selection. On the other hand, the strange revival of vinyl records continues, which I can't get behind entirely (I adopted the CD format about two years after it was introduced, and it was a revelation then) but applaud for at least keeping people interested in actual media and not disposable downloads. Jason Blackmore shot the documentary "Records Collecting Dust" with West Coast punk rock figures discussing and showing off the records that meant a lot to them, and has since followed that up with this sequel that shifts to the East Coast, primarily the Washington DC area. He goes into several of their homes, or in some cases used record shops or public hangouts, where we're treated to a basic show and tell of record collections (which are NOT collecting dust, but love...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Apr 19, 2019

The Invisibles




We've rarely, if ever, seen the Holocaust from this unique perspective or portrayed in this seldom-used style; The Invisibles shares with us a story that's not exactly unknown, but nonetheless important, and presented in a way that will get our attention anew. Hollywood often brings us tales of WWII, of battles against the Nazis, of concentration camps, of holding onto humanity during a time of madness. But we seldom see the war from inside Germany, and especially not from the Jews who lived there when their very existence was illegal. This is their story, four young Berliners who refused to leave their homes to be shipped to...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Apr 16, 2019

Last Resort
In 10 Words or LessMiami Beach, photography and Jewish cultureThe MovieThe Last Resort is powered by the gorgeous photography of Andy Sweet and Gary Monroe, a pair of young photographers who made it their mission in the late 70s to document ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Apr 15, 2019

Archer: Danger Island Season 9

Archer headed into its ninth season and approached the (still?) magical 100-episode mark but placing its characters into an interesting environment. Long ago Sterling Archer moved from the government espionage in a Mad Men era to the same practice in the Miami Vice 80s, to a film noir backdrop in Season Eight. In Season Nine? Well, it's different, in that it's set in the late 1930s and the only parallel I could remotely relate it to would be Raiders of the Lost Ark.

In Season Nine, the characters you've grown to love play similar character but not exact ones. Archer (H. Jon Benjamin, Bob's Burgers) and his mother Mallory (Jessica Walter, Arrested Development) retain their names. From there, Cyril (C...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Apr 11, 2019

American Vandal: Season One
The Season:Have you ever watched a crime show or murder mystery and thought that the connecting of dots and human error involved with important evidence seemed orchestrated or contrived? Set aside a little time and check out some true crime stories, often chronicled on TV shows like The First 48, Forensic Files, or even episodes of NBC's Dateline, and you'll find that the discovery of a "convenient" item or the elaborate thought-process behind certain evidence is common and has a long, documented history. Netflix's landmark show Making a Murderer -- a decade-long documentary chronicling the murder accusations and courtroom woes of Steven Avery -- became a household name based on this idea, to such a degree that it spawned a...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Apr 08, 2019

Can You Ever Forgive Me?


Melissa McCarthy plays against type in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, an adaptation of Lee Israel's biography of the same name about her elaborate forgeries of letters from deceased poets and writers. A quiet, darkly funny and occasionally sad film from Marielle Heller (The Diary of a Teenage Girl), Can You Ever Forgive Me? sees McCarthy play Israel and Richard E. Grant tackle the role of Israel's friend and con artist Jack Hock. An unlikable, socially awkward and generally irredeemable pair, Israel and Hock are nonetheless redeemed by the actors who play them, as McCarthy and Grant manage to find the humanity in two broken humans. McCarthy's subdued performance is worthy of the praise it got at year's end award ceremonies, and the film presents its larger-than-l...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Apr 08, 2019

Chef Flynn
In 10 Words or LessA prodigy chef and his motherReviewer's Bias*documentaries
cooking
kids missing out on childhood
parents who resent their kids' success
The MovieFl...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Apr 08, 2019

At the Drive-In
The unique pleasures of the Drive-In movie theater experience are hard to come by these days. Prolific in the 1950s, usually out in the sticks where they nixed hick pix, their numbers have dwindled from more than 4,000 to less than 300, most of those barely hanging on. One such venue, the Mahoning Drive-In, located in Lehighton, in rural Pennsylvania, is the subject of Alexander Monelli's excellent documentary At the Drive-In (2017). Movies had been exhibited outdoors since the early silent days, but the first official drive-in theater is generally thought to have been one built by chemical company magnate Richard M. Hollingshead, Jr. in Pennsauken, New Jersey, in 1933. However, it wasn't until after World War II that drive-in theater construction began in earnest, from roughly 1949-1959. Movie attendance was in sharp decline, and for that reason almost no new indoor theaters were built durin...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Apr 01, 2019

Kidding: Season One
Kidding Season One DVD Review
Jeff (Jim Carrey) is aworld renownedand beloved television host for a c...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Mar 29, 2019

Last Race

At first glance, The Last Race would appear to look at the origins of auto racing in the 20th century for outsiders like myself, but when you get into the weeds of it, the story, characters and storytelling has an Errol Morris type of flavor to it (appropriate given the location), looking at a topic that few would have thought to consider, letting it flow organically and with minimal interruption, and is a nice surprise.

In Michael Dweck's feature-film debut, he looks at Riverhead Raceway, a modest race oval stretch in Long Island. Open for almost 70 years, its owners are Connie and Eddie Partridge, a couple in their 80s who have repeatedly fended off offers to sell the track so that the races can continue. The Partridges are interviewed, along with some drivers and fans of the races as they talk about what it means to them. On the other side, various land developer...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Mar 28, 2019

Tea With The Dames




How often do four wise and amazingly talented women come together to discuss their acting careers and to reminisce on old times? More often than we knew, apparently, but for one night only they will allow us to sit in and listen, which could not possibly be more rare. Four friends with ties that go back 50 years and an incredible amount of collective experience have invited filmmakers to their party, and the audience is the lucky plus one. Roger Mitchell may commonly direct fairly dull pictures (udson, My Cousin Rachel), but he knew how to get to the right place at the right time here, and we are just fortunate to hav...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Mar 20, 2019

The Apparition




The Apparition should not be confused with the 2012 film of the same name, starring Ashley Greene, Sebastian Stan, and Tom Felton, about a spirit brought forth by a college experiment that haunts a young couple. I'm sure that sort of apparition flick comes a dime a dozen, but this one, the 2018 French drama, is something else all together. Instead of ghosts, this movie tackles religion, which can be confusing since, what's the difference? Thinking you saw a dead person in your hallway and thinking you saw the Virgin Mary on a hill is basically the same, fictional experience, and each fantasy has its fervent supporters wh...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Mar 19, 2019

Shoplifters
An excellent, socially-conscious family drama, Hirokazu Kore-eda's Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku, or "Shoplifting Family," 2018) won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Foreign Language Film, among many other prizes. Understated with almost uncannily authentic performances, it's heart-wrenching but entirely believable and universal in its concerns. For Japanese audiences particularly, much of what happens story-wise resonates because stories like those presented in the film turn up with alarming regularity on the evening news. In short, it's one of the best Japanese features in years. The film really deserves better treatment than this DVD-only release, which offers not a single extra feature. In present-day Tokyo, ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Mar 18, 2019

No Solicitors
This one was a decent surprise- while the cover makes it look like another low-budget "torture porn" horror movie, it's actually more of a dark comedy which is apparent from the ironically sunny opening. The concept is certainly fun- the victims here are all people who came up and rang the doorbell to sell or push something, often interrupting dinner or whatever was going on. The Cutterman family even has a "No Solicitors" sign clearly above their doorbell, but these people had to ring it anyways so it's hard to feel too sorry for them.

Eric Roberts is Dr. Lewis Cutterman, just recognized as the nation's top brain surgeon. He's quite the professional. His wife Rachel (Beverly Randolph) is a nurse at his hospital, and she's always cheerful. But they have a secret- a secon...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Mar 15, 2019

Sesame Street: Celebrate Family

I learned early on as the father of a newborn that the magic of Sesame Street is real. Look, everyone tells you that you should limit your child's exposure to television and we do that in our home, but sometime you've got to do meal prep for said child and be focused on it, and showing your little one how Big Bird, Bert, Ernie and Oscar roll.

"Celebrate Family" shows the young one in your house five separate stories that highlight families in various contexts; new (or at least recent) character Abby has dinner at Elmo's house and watches his family work to make dinner, and we see Elmo's Dad. Cookie Monster and his mother have some time as the former tries to figure out a last-minute Mother's Day gift, and Abby meets her new stepbrother.

Perhaps one of the things that makes Sesame Street such a long-standing tool in the family toolbox is that it doesn't...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Mar 13, 2019

The Front Runner




Spotlight-style dramas are currently selling for a dime a dozen, and that's no surprise at all. Audiences have always been eager to buy expos s and true life crime stories, they speak to our less-than-empathetic natures and our baser desires to see people caught & punished. We also like to play the judge; just look at the current trends of making a murder docuseries, serial killer analysis, deep reporting podcasts. Americans like to feel like they are in the know, and they like to feel superior to; enter this genre of film. Fast paced, real life, doing wrong, getting caught; we eat it up, and Hollywood has taken notice. The ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Mar 11, 2019

Family Guy: 20 Greatest Hits
It would have seemed unlikely that Family Guy, cancelled from network TV after 3 seasons, would end up celebrating its 20th anniversary, but indeed it has. The animated series owes a lot to DVD for its success and rebirth, as the season sets released after its cancellation sold so well that it was soon picked up again. Being one who can't stand the presentation of broadcast TV since the late 90s, this was how I discovered it as I was buying just about everything that came out on DVD at that time. At first glance, it looks like just an animated parody of family sitcoms- Creator Seth MacFarlane voices oafish Peter Griffin, the head of the family, as well as infant son Stewie who is far smarter than his age a...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Mar 04, 2019

Possum
: Writer/director Matthew Holness stretches dread like taffy in Possum, his cinematic adaptation of his own short story. In our Google-influenced world, it's interesting to note that the third entry when one types 'Possum movie' completes as 'Possum movie explained'. That entry, however, is instructive, as Holness' black, bristly-haired confection is neither an easy swallow, nor a neatly wrapped package. On the other hand, it is an uneasy tour-de-force filled with haunting cinematography and two stunning performances. While Possum is absolutely on its own merits, you need to ready yourself for a macabre, minimalist meditation, and if that sounds groovy to you, you'll not do much better. There's not much in the way of plot, beyond mention of an abducted teen, and a sad man, Philip (stolid, wounded Sean Harris) who spends his time in a dilapidate...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 27, 2019

Gunsmoke: The Fourteenth Season, Volume One
Not hot on its heels but still less than a year after the CBS/Paramount release of Gunsmoke: The Thirteenth Season comes Season Fourteen. After assuming for years that the DVD format would be dead long before the label's run made it to The Twentieth and Final Season of Gunsmoke, I'm actually starting to think they might just make it, at least they can if they manage to crank out the last the last six years over the next three or so. As headlines continue to herald the end of hard media (e.g., Samsung's announcement about stopping manufacturing of Blu-ray and 4K players), the reality is that mass numbers of consumers still like DVD and Blu-ray. The aggressiveness of the industry in pushing streaming has undeniably taken hold, but as an increasingly niche but still heartily viable market, there's no reason both formats can't hang on into the foreseeable future. I've been r...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 27, 2019

Gunsmoke: The Fourteenth Season, Volume Two
Not hot on its heels but still less than a year after the CBS/Paramount release of Gunsmoke: The Thirteenth Season comes Season Fourteen. After assuming for years that the DVD format would be dead long before the label's run made it to The Twentieth and Final Season of Gunsmoke, I'm actually starting to think they might just make it, at least they can if they manage to crank out the last the last six years over the next three or so. As headlines continue to herald the end of hard media (e.g., Samsung's announcement about stopping manufacturing of Blu-ray and 4K players), the reality is that mass numbers of consumers still like DVD and Blu-ray. The aggressiveness of the industry in pushing streaming has undeniably taken hold, but as an increasingly niche but still heartily viable market, there's no reason both formats can't hang on into the foreseeable future. I've been r...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 26, 2019

Peppa Pig: When I Grow Up

I continue to add to my arsenal of childcare by video by grabbing my third Peppa Pig DVD to review (my first one is reviewed here and my second one is reviewed here), because I find myself enjoying these? They're worth a laugh, my kid continues to enjoy them, why go against a good thing.

"When I Grow Up" is another in a continually rolling release of Peppa DVDs, similar in variety and format to the others as well. A handful of episodes from the show ranging in various years (in this case, 2009-2018) are included, some that may have a commonality, maybe they don't. But they're not for your enjoyment and belief suspension, they're for your child's.

And they get their universe expanded a little bit by being exposed to doctor...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 26, 2019

The Car: Road to Revenge
: File The Car: Road to Revenge under sequels pertaining to franchise naming rights got on the cheap, because really who was looking for a sequel to the semi-obscure '70s cult 'classic' some 40 years later? Who indeed? Primarily dudes surfing Netflix in the middle of the night, I'd gather. To that end, if you can't sleep you could find worse ways to kill 90 minutes than watching this daft, CGI-gory action/sci-fi bit of clap-trap. Which, in the ancient parlance of DVD Talk, means you can cautiously choose to . The Car: Road to Revenge gets off to a cracking start as vengeful (yeah, you heard me) District Attorney Caddock (Jamie Bamber) is making a name for himself by convicting weirdo human traffickers and other losers, and delighting as they're executed right there in the courtroom by contained explosion. Nanny State, for sure. Unfortunat...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 25, 2019

Peppa Pig: Princess Peppa

When I looked at my first Peppa Pig DVD a few months ago, I don't think I was prepared for what would come next in my home. Maybe when I was watching these with my two-year-old, it triggered something for him because now, it is his to-go source of entertainment in the mornings while Dad and Mom make his breakfast and on weekdays, meals for school. Buddy, go back to Llama Llama!

I kid. As I've discovered, not only is Peppa available on a lot of YouTube channels, but there is a certain sort of Pixar/Disney/I don't know what, sense of maturity to the cartoons. Not so much that the kids would notice, but in some episodes, it can really be something as quick as a camera look, or a gentle pan in to a character's face, or a loud noise, that can make the parents laugh too. Maybe it's the Stockholm Syndrome talkin...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 20, 2019

Rick & Morty Season 1-3
: There's this little show called Rick and Morty, from the Adult Swim network, and if you don't know it, or worse, don't like it, I pity you, dog. No really. Wubba Lubba Dub Dub or something! Rick and Morty is the brainchild of two dinguses named Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, and it's pretty much the epitome of animated comedy for arrested adolescent males raised on The Simpsons, with a splash of Devil Doll and Radiskull thrown in for good measure. As such, it has a lot to tell us about the state of America, circa 2016, if you know what I'm saying. (If you do, let me know, because I don't think I do.) It's also fiercely smart, packed-to-the-gills with High Concept, and (depending on how drunk or stoned you are) incredibly funny. It's even funny if you're not f-ed up, but being in such a state certainly doesn't hurt. This set collects previousl...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 19, 2019

Chicago - Now More Than Ever: The History Of Chicago
I was introduced to Chicago in the early 1980s, when their big hit "Hard to Say I'm Sorry" was all the rage- the sort of sappy ballad that I just hated. Their follow-ups such as "You're the Inspiration" had me simply write them off as a band that only did those kind of songs, staples on "adult contemporary" format stations. Later I heard a song that was much older but very catchy, "25 or 6 to 4" and was amazed to learn that it was by the same group. This had me checking out more of their earlier music and I was amazed at the difference- no light piano, strings or sappy lyrics here, just harder rhythms with a unique horn section reminiscent of Blood Sweat and Tears. I thought "Wow, they used to be great, what happened?" Of course I soon learned that this sort of thing has happened with a lot of bands that have been active for a long time, their sounds changing sometimes for the better, often for the ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 19, 2019

Dick Cavett Show: And That's The Way It Is
Talk show host Dick Cavett (b. 1936) is rightly remembered as having one of the very best talk shows on television. His unusual combination of Yale-educated intellectualism and Nebraska-bred midwestern ordinariness, a kind of perpetual state of halting slight embarrassment, charmed audiences. They appreciated his self-deprecating humor and, most significantly, his eclectic guests. His smart conversations spurred many guests who'd rarely (or never) turn up on The Tonight Show, "Joey Bishop" or "Mike Douglas": esteemed writers, firebrand political activists, out-of-the-mainstream rock stars, and reclusive actors like Brando and Katharine Hepburn. More than a decade ago, Shout! Factory released a superb series of boxed sets to DVD, one devoted to "Hollywood Greats" like Fred Astaire, Robert Mitchum, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Kirk Douglas and others. "Comic Legends" featured the likes of Wo...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 19, 2019

Dick Cavett Show: Inside The Mind Of....
Talk show host Dick Cavett (b. 1936) is rightly remembered as having one of the very best talk shows on television. His unusual combination of Yale-educated intellectualism and Nebraska-bred midwestern ordinariness, a kind of perpetual state of halting slight embarrassment, charmed audiences. They appreciated his self-deprecating humor and, most significantly, his eclectic guests. His smart conversations spurred many guests who'd rarely (or never) turn up on The Tonight Show, "Joey Bishop" or "Mike Douglas": esteemed writers, firebrand political activists, out-of-the-mainstream rock stars, and reclusive actors like Brando and Katharine Hepburn. More than a decade ago, Shout! Factory released a superb series of boxed sets to DVD, one devoted to "Hollywood Greats" like Fred Astaire, Robert Mitchum, Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock, Kirk Douglas and others. "Comic Legends" featured the likes of Wo...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 14, 2019

River Runs Red




I adoringly follow John Cusack both cinematically and politically, but I have limits on both fronts, and it seems like we just reached the point down the film road where, if he's gonna pull over here, I'm staying in the car. He doesn't always choose the best projects, but then he drops something like Love & Mercy and you feel glad you stuck by his side all these years. On the flip side, sometimes he costars in River Runs Red for no other reason that you can discern other than money, because you know that's the only way they could get you to show your face in something...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 11, 2019

I Am Not a Witch
In present-day Zambia, fear of witches remains high: the public identifies women they believe to be witches, and those women are put into public service by the government, working in the fields with white ribbons attached to big spools preventing them from running away. They are also a tourist attraction, sitting politely for tourists (especially foreigners) who want to gawk and take pictures of these mysterious and supposedly dangerous people. Things change when nine-year-old Shula (Margaret Mulubwa) is charged with witchcraft and put into service, expected to render guilty verdicts in local court cases. Before long, the huckster government agent in charge of Shula's care, Mr. Banda (Henry B.J. Phiri) is exploiting her in order to make money, unaware that Shula increasingly recognizes the unreasonable and unfair paranoia that have changed the course of her life forever.I Am Not a Witch is ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 11, 2019

Heavy Trip
In 10 Words or LessIt's not This is Spinal Tap, but it's funReviewer's Bias*comedies, quirky foreign films
Finland, music-focused films, road movies
DVD-only releases
death m...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 11, 2019

Death House




It's nice to be one of the few people who has seen an under-the-radar, low-budget, throw-cares-to-the-wind horror flick, because there's a sense of community that comes with watching something that precarious, that delicately connected and held together. It might be strange to think of horror as being fragile, with the monsters and the decapitations and the blood and whatnot. But that's exactly what the genre is, a delicate balance between production, money, fandom, and expression, with the resulting final product usually something that almost no one sees. I try to keep that in mind when I watch b-horror, the time and energy and work that g...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Feb 04, 2019

Slice
In 10 Words or LessLive-action supernatural horror cartoon funReviewer's Bias*Synth scores, Paul Scheer
Fun horror, Zazie Beetz, Chance Bennett
DVD-only releases
Disappointing clima...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jan 30, 2019

Our Cartoon President: Season One with World Class Amenities
When political times are bad, humor is often the only remedy. Stephen Colbert tries to help here with an animated parody of President Donald Trump, his family and staff- first seen in small segments on his "Late Show" but expanded to a half-hour series for Showtime (where there's much less content restriction.) Everyone, on both political sides, is depicted here as caricatures as you'd see in newspaper political cartoons- Trump with an orange face and obviously fake hair, his wife Melania looking and talking a bit like "Natasha" from Rocky and Bullwinkle, daughter Ivanka as a stereotypical "valley girl" and (now-former) Attorney General Jeff Sessions oddly as a small gnome-like being, to name just a few. Each episode is given a loose plot that seems to exist mainly just to support the jokes the wri...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jan 16, 2019

Adventure Time: The Final Seasons
It would be impossible to make an argument against the case of "Adventure Time" being a cultural phenomenon. Launched in 2010 from Cartoon Network, the series was the brainchild of Pendleton Ward who served as storyline writer for eight of the series' 10 seasons amongst other credits. Over nearly a decade since the Finn the Human (voiced by Jeremy Shada) and Jake the Dog (voiced by voice acting legend John DiMaggio) treated viewers to a whimsical, irreverent and wholly original adventure in the debut episode "Slumber Party Panic", the series has gone on to spawn countless off-shoots. Numerous video games that captured the spirit of the show even when some were plagued by rote gameplay, multiple comic lines, and entire games spawned from the series' unique parody of pop culture have captured the imagination (as well as wallets) of fans, both fanatical and causal alike. However, as the old adage g...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jan 14, 2019

Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood
In 10 Words or LessA charismatic guy, a fascinating life and Hollywood's secretsReviewer's Bias*Hollywood history, good documentaries
LGBTQ documentaries
gossip
hoarding
T...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jan 14, 2019

La Boyita (aka The Last Summer of La Boyita)
Jorgelina (Guadalupe Alonso) has not yet entered puberty, but her curiosity about the changes that are going to happen to her have already taken hold. She steals medical books from her parents and peeks at the diagrams and pictures of women's bodies until she can't stand to keep looking, and she is alternatively fascinated by and infuriated with her older sister, Luciana (Maria Clara Merendino), who has already started getting her period and goes to the beach to try and spend time with boys. All Jorgelina wants is to spend another fun summer playing in the trailer on their property known as La Boyita, but when it's clear that isn't going to happen, she decides to spend the summer at her father's house out in farm country. There, she meets a young man named Mario (Nicolas Treise), working as a farmhand on his father's farm. Jorgelina is attracted to Mario, lying in her wading pool and whispering his nam...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jan 14, 2019

What Will People Say




A foreign language candidate out of Norway came to America this summer and was mostly missed by audiences, including myself. The critics that saw the film sung its praises, but otherwise it slid under the radar and went under-seen, which needs to be remedied. I came across it by accident, knowing nothing about Iram Haq's strong debut five years previous, I Am Yours. The Pakistani-Norwegian director tells emotional stories about women living where two cultures clash, and attempting to steer their way through expression and emotion while this battle rages on. What Will People Say is a coming-of-age tale from this perspective, a look at how the most exciting time of a young person's life can quickly become a waking nightmare when she is restrained from...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jan 10, 2019

Love, Gilda

There are a lot of female comedians and comic actors working today on stage, in movies and on television, and one would imagine if they had to put together a Mount Rushmore of influences on their work, Gilda Radner would easily make the list. The Second City alum and member of Saturday Night Live's Not Ready for Prime Time players initial cast held her own and some of her male cohorts at times with characters like Roseanne Roseannadanna before moving on from the weekly grind of late night sketch comedy, ultimately to be taken from the world much too soon at the age of 42 due to ovarian cancer. Lisa D'Apolito combined with Radner's estate teamed up to make Love, Gilda, using a wealth of audio tapes, journals, pictures and home movies of Radner throughout her life.

The film also includes interviews with many of those who Radner worked with, including Martin Sho...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Jan 02, 2019

Ernie Kovacs: The Centennial Edition
For what would have been Ernie Kovacs' 100th birthday, Shout Factory repackages the two previous Ernie Kovacs Collections into this 9-disc set. It can't be said enough how much of a pioneer Kovacs was in the early years of TV, having fun with and exploiting its capabilities in ways nobody else had thought of- first twisting the conventions of the talk show format (which inspired David Letterman in the 1980s) and then making the first of what could truly be called video art before his untimely death in 1962. The discs in this set are identical to those previously released in the two Ernie Kovacs Collection sets.

Each disc is given its own title, the first of which is "The Early Years" and con...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Dec 31, 2018

Dog Days
In 10 Words or LessStandard rom-com featuring very funny people you likeReviewer's Bias*Dogs, so much of the cast, The State
A good rom-com
BEing disappointed by my favorites
Being ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Dec 31, 2018

The Orville: Season One
Almost universally panned by critics after its FOX debut last September, Seth MacFarlane's The Orville (2017- ) was better received by audiences during its twelve-episode first-season run through the end of that year. This long-gestating series was seen as a dream project for the highly successful MacFarlane, a lifelong fan of Star Trek who would later appear in two episodes of Enterprise and even record an audio commentary for Next Generation ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Dec 20, 2018

Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero
Don't let the pandering cover and oddball premise fool you: Richard Lanni's Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero (2018) is an enjoyable and effective movie that you probably didn't know even existed until now. It's a CGI production about a cute li'l doggie that inadvertently ends up fighting alongside "our boys" in WWI and earning a medal or two in the process, thanks to his street smarts and ability to salute commanding officers -- a story that would be ridiculous if it weren't actually true. Yet even ignoring the real-life historic...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Dec 17, 2018

Nathan For You: The Complete Series
In 10 Words or LessOne of the best comedies ever to grace TVReviewer's Bias*Nathan For You, Nathan Fielder
Prank shows, comedy art
Bad impersonators, creeps
Reality TV
...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Dec 17, 2018

Elf: Buddy s Sing & Cheer Along Edition

Remember the days when Will Ferrell wouldn't do so many forced, unfunny comedies and did films that tried to bring some emotional weight to them? Well, Elf might not have had much emotional gravitas, but of all the films Ferrell's done since leaving Saturday Night Live, this one is the one I find myself watching more than the rest.

Written by David Berenbaum (The Spiderwick Chronicles) and directed by Jon Favreau (Iron Man 2), Ferrell is the Elf in question named Buddy. Buddy lives at the North Pole and is a firm believer in Christmas, the feelings it brings and everything else associated with the holiday. Yet for his feelings and optimism,...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Dec 13, 2018

Americans, The: Season 6

The sixth season was the last for The Americans, the show about the married couple of Philip (Matthew Rhys, Burnt) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell, Waitress), father and mother to two kids and oh by the way, are spies who were born and raised in Russia before moving to America as teenagers. I had been wondering how the show was going to end things for itself whether it was Season Three, Season Four or Season Five. And the genius of the show is that not that it didn't have to go out with a bang, but that it didn't have to.

Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Dec 07, 2018

All The Creatures Were Stirring
"In tone, we wanted it to feel like an episode of The Office, almost, except if Jim got his head blown off three minutes into the episode."
- All the Creatures Were Stirring's audio commentary on "The Stockings Were Hung"Yuletide horror. Horror anthologies. Two great tastes that should taste great together, but how many Christmas horror anthologies have Santa's elves ever bothered to put together? One?! Ugh. Writers/directors David Ian McKendry and Rebekah McKendry couldn't let ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Dec 04, 2018

Black to the Future
In 10 Words or LessNothing is less funny than pre-2016 election comedyReviewer's Bias*Stand-up comics
Lewis Black, political comedy
Late-career comics





DVD Reviews
Dec 04, 2018

The Good Fight - Season Two
The excellent television legal drama The Good Fight returns for its second season on DVD, the series already having been renewed for a third one next year. As I explained in my review of Season One, my wife, Yukiyo, was a binge-watching fan of The Good Wife, the 2009-2016 legal drama that had preceded it, the series starring Julianna Margulies. On her days off from work her eyes would be glued to her laptop for hours, watching five or six episodes, one after the other. I only caught bits and pieces of that show, but then the first year of The Good Fight fell into our unloved DVD screener pool and I grabbed it, mainly so that she could watch it. I'm glad now that I did, because The Good Fight turned out to be a very smart and even boldly political series exploring controversial, ripped-from-the-headlines topics in the Trump era. The very first shot of the first first-se...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Dec 03, 2018

Umbango
Gravel Road Pictures and Indiepix have teamed up for the Retro Afrika collection, consisting of nearly 50 films that have been found and restored from Apartheid-era South Africa. With movies from the 1970s through to the 1990s, this unearthed treasure trove of true independent international cinema has been compiled for digital release, on Indiepix's Amazon Prime channel, as well as a select few that are also being offered as Amazon MOD DVD-R releases. Umbango is the third of the movies I've watched, following Gone Crazy and Fishy Stones, and the best has been saved for last, with this final film, a western, featuring the most successful filmmaking of the trio.KK and Jake have just rolled into a small town and declared themselves the new leaders of it, staking their...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Dec 03, 2018

Fishy Stones (Retro Afrika)
Two men, Robert and Makhosi, have just pulled off a diamond heist, but immediately find themselves pursued by cops with little chance of making it to safety. Instead of being caught with the loot and losing it, they decide to toss it out the window of their car. Shortly thereafter the diamonds are discovered by David and Alex, two young men having a little camping trip together. While they're excited about their valuable find, they're concerned the original owner might come looking for it...a concern that turns out to be warranted when Robert and Makhosi break themselves out of prison and turn up expecting to get their big score back.Fishy Stones is one of the films in Indiepix's new Retro Afrika series, which consists of low-budget motion pictures made in Apartheid-era South Africa, when the region has no access to Hollywood movies. These independent productions provide a fascinating look ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Nov 29, 2018

Star Trek: Discovery - Season One
After the slow-burning fizzle of Enterprise during the early 2000s (no doubt a direct result of franchise over-saturation the previous decade), Star Trek smartly stayed off the small screen for a full twelve years. The overwhelming success of all three reboot films in 2009, 2013, and Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Nov 28, 2018

Gone Crazy (Retro Afrika)
In the 1970s and 1980s, Apartheid-era Africans had essentially no access to mainstream cinema. The solution? Make their own films, across every genre, including ambitious action movies, sweeping romances, and even striking social commentary films that the African government looked down on. For years, these genuinely independent productions were as unavailable to the world as the world's cinema once was to Africa, but with the help of Gravel Road Entertainment, Indiepix has found nearly 50 of these films and has given them digital restorations so that they can be accessible both via DVD-R releases and digital streaming (even the DVD packages carry the Amazon Prime logo). The movies will be collected in the "Retro Afrika" series, and three of the unearthed pictures have been released on MOD DVD: Umbango, Fishy Stones, and this film, Gone Crazy...which, unfortunately, doesn't ha...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Nov 28, 2018

Community - The Complete Series - DVD


Over the last five decades or so, there has been no shortage of sitcoms that take place in educational institutions. They're mostly centered on high school, but college also gets its occasional turn in the form of quirky shows about early adults struggling to find their place in life. Community is special amongst them because it's mainly about misfits of various ages who are trying to grasp a second chance at life. That insightful premise is wrapped about a heightened high concept tone that borderlines on a live action cartoon narrative. The formula that creator Dan Harmon puts together satisfies the Matt Groening-style irreverent and borderline absurdist humor mixed with characters we can immediately relate to, no matter how archetypal they might get in service of any given joke or bit.

Apart from Season 4, where Harmon stepped out as the showrunner, leaving behi...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Nov 27, 2018

Pin Cushion




I have to be careful, because sometimes I simply enjoy a movie because I'm one of the few who has taken the opportunity to try it out, and sometimes that experience is worth more than the film itself. An indie flick comes along, it goes entirely under the radar, it's not a hidden gem by any means, but just watching gives those few in the audience a feeling of personal attention, and you find yourself rooting for a story and its character with a voracity that perhaps it doesn't deserve. This film is one that's not strong enough to warrant the praise on its own, it needs its status to drum up support. And although I am all for giving support to independ...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Nov 21, 2018

An Interview with God




Faith-based films are making their appearance known far too often, masquerading as real cinema, when all they really are is propaganda for a religion that is slowly dying and is desperate to reach new audiences before it blinks out completely. Or at least, that's a pessimistic (and potentially atheist) take on the genre; an optimist (or Christian/believer/hopeful soul) might see it in a completely different light. That's the inherent problem with this modern movement; you can talk about God in a movie, but making your story completely about one viewpoint is automatically polarizing, and those who haven't fallen for the trick before are...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Nov 20, 2018

Who is America
In 10 Words or LessSacha Baron Cohen returns to embarrass semi-celebs and politiciansReviewer's Bias*Seeing the pompous degraded
Da Ali G Show
Reality "stars"
false equivalen...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Nov 14, 2018

I Married Joan: Classic TV Collection Vol 4
Back in the late 1970s a local UHF station in my Detroit market, WKBD TV-50, ran a summer series consisting of long unseen, rarely syndicated-by-then sitcoms from the 1950s and early- 60s, most of which never turned up anywhere else since. These included The People's Choice (starring Jackie Cooper), How to Marry a Millionaire (based on the movie, and featuring Barbara Eden), December Bride (and its spin-off, Pete & Gladys), Topper, My Little Margie, Love That Bob! (aka The Bob Cummings Show) and others. What prompted the airing of this collection of old shows? Maybe the local station had rights and the prints were collecting dust, or perhaps some enterprising distributor packaged them together and syndicated them nationally. I have no idea. Some of these were pretty tepid, but others were great. The one I liked the most is also by far the m...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Nov 09, 2018

Time Life The Best of The Three Stooges
In 10 Words or LessThe start of slapstick is intermittently funnyReviewer's Bias*Megasets
The Three Stooges, Curley
Moe
Curley Joe shorts




DVD Reviews
Nov 05, 2018

Patient Zero
: Seems like there's a lot of hate for Patient Zero out there. (At least among Amazon reviews.) The haters are wrong, as this patient comes with a cool conceit and a fun blend of movie styles. Most of the ideas aren't really new, but if a bloody psycho-thriller with a twist or two, good performances, and a brisk pace doesn't sound like enjoyable viewing on a dark night, then, as the haters online would say, 'begone, I have nothing to say to you.' Well yeah, when the sexy scientist (Scar-Jo substitute Natalie Dormer) appears in the underground bunker in a world overrun by rabid zombies, you might think writer Mike Le and director Stefan Ruzowitzky are painting by numbers, but then the 'zombie-talking' hero Morgan (Matt Smith) begins to do his thing, and honestly, it's fun and unique. Patient Zero draws liberally from the wells of productions like Day of the Dead...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Nov 05, 2018

Destination Wedding




There exists a group of fans and critics who remember the duo of Ryder and Reeves from Bram Stoker's Dracula and have loved them ever since. Reeves has had the better career, Ryder has had her moments, both are currently working hard (John Wick, Stranger Things), and here they are together again in a romantic comedy that relies almost expressly on their likeabilty factor and their chemistry. Problem is, there also exists a contingent (of which I am a part) that never thought these two were capable actors in any way, t...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Nov 05, 2018

Halloween Pussy Trap Kill! Kill!
This awkwardly yet interestingly titled movie was actually titled Halloween Hell House when it was being shot, and that's a far better title for it. Produced by Cleopatra, who put out a number of great industrial music compliation CDs in the 1990s, this is a watchable low-budget affair but doesn't score many points for originality, being quite similar to the Saw series.

After an opening set in Pakistan that makes one wonder if they're even watching the right movie (this basically introduces us to the movie's two "bad guys" and how they got that way while serving in the military) we go back to Los Angeles and join the all-girl punk band "Kill Pussy Kill" as they're playing a show on Halloween- and they...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Oct 31, 2018

Peppa Pig: Stars

There is something about British children's entertainment or the characters of same that provides a bit of comfort to those who watch it. I mean there are two Paddington movies now and I can't not get the smell of marmalade on toast out of my nostrils, and this bleeds through to other British shows I watch with my son now, the latest of those being Peppa Pig, one in a family of pigs who do the normal human type things.

Created in the UK and first airing in 2004, the show finds Peppa, her younger brother, mother and father and chronicles their experiences. Some of them, like being stuck in a traffic jam, are a little more mundane than others, while we see a pet competition at Peppa's school, or more de rigeur subjects for toddlers like looking at the stars or a bouncy ball of high interest. At a high level, Peppa experiences the subject, has it explained and t...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Oct 31, 2018

Thelma Todd & Zasu Pitts: The Hal Roach Collection 1931-33
Hal Roach Studios produced many of the best short and feature comedies of the silent and early sound era. Roach's most successful films were the shorts and features starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, but his studio also boasted Our Gang (aka The Little Rascals), Charley Chase and others. Roach was a businessman, but making his comedies good was equally important. As he had done earlier with silent great Harold Lloyd, Roach nurtured his properties, favoring strong characterizations over broad slapstick. His was a small company with a family atmosphere, the "Lot of Fun," as it was nicknamed, his pictures distributed by bigger companies (first Pathe, later MGM and finally United Artists), and he gave artists like Stan Laurel (the main creative force behind Laurel & Hardy) much more freedom than the big studios would ever have allowed. The great success of Laurel & Hardy in the last d...Read the entire review





DVD Reviews
Oct 30, 2018

Between Land & Sea
Between Land and Sea DVD Review




DVD Reviews
Oct 30, 2018

The Love Boat: Season Four (Volumes 1 & 2)
The Love Boat (Season Four, Volumes 1 & 2), from the 1980-81 season, chugs right along with its parade of obvious but likeable romantic melodrama and low-brow comedy, its romanticized notions of cruise ship vacations, occasional exotic location shooting and, most importantly, its parade of guest stars: hot and cold TV talent, has-beens, barely-beens, famous-because-they're-famous types, nostalgic TV faces from the past, sports personalities, and sometimes even major old-time movie stars. Though probably few would admit it now, back in the late 1970s pretty much everyone not on a date or otherwise engaged on Saturday night tuned in to ABC's one-two punch of The Love Boat at 9:00 and Fantasy Island at 10:00pm. Though often unpardonably corny and melodramatic, The Love Boat was also daringly innovative from a production standpoint, and so tantalizingly glamorized and exo...Read the entire review





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