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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

: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

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
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

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

: 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

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
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

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
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

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
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
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

DVD Reviews
Oct 26, 2018

Nick Jr.: Snow Awesome!
Themed DVD collections have been Nick Jr.'s bread and butter for more than a decade now: they've all but abandoned chronological season sets, so the recent appearance of their new winter-themed collection Snow Awesome is hardly surprising at this point. Six episodes (11-22 minutes each) from three of their female-led shows are included on this one-disc release, which is a nice change-up. Oddly enough, two are advertised as "all-new holiday specials" but, according to episo...Read the entire review

DVD Reviews
Oct 25, 2018

Saved By The Bell: The Complete Collection
Originally created by TV writer Sam Bobrick and developed by producer Peter Engel, Saved by the Bell (1989-93) outgrew humble origins to quickly become an enduring and popular teen sitcom -- which, at the time, was a genre that didn't exist. First envisioned as a teacher-focused series called Good Morning, Miss Bliss in 1988, it was retooled for younger audiences with a bigger spotlight on the (mostly new) students and a more fun and colorful atmosphere. Both were necessary with the show's new timeslot on NBC: Saturday mornings, where it was head-to-head against cartoons that had dominated the landscape for ...Read the entire review

DVD Reviews
Oct 25, 2018

American Horror Story: Cult
The Season:Part of what elevates installments in the horror genre from being scary to being legitimately good comes in how it reflects upon the monstrosities of humanity itself, how it makes the ugly side of people into something tangible. Unless it's a story based on real events, that sort of commentary typically gets concealed within metaphors and symbolism, creating some breathing room between the enjoyment of the horror from the real-world details of what it sets out to critique, whether it's personal ailments like psychological disorders and sexually-transmitted infections or more social concerns like racism and xenophobia. The latest installment in American Horror Story, Cult, not only doesn't try to hide the target of its c...Read the entire review

DVD Reviews
Oct 24, 2018


For the Peak TV run we've been on lately, and the way things have risen more towards dramatic fare for obvious reasons, comedic shows have had their own rebirth the last few years. And in HBO's Barry, we get a dark comedy with a strong ensemble. When the Emmys were rolling in September and the show earned trophies for Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, I couldn't help but think "damn right," because its unique voice is one worth experiencing.

SNL vet Bill Hader plays the eponymous character Barry, a loner who went through a combat tour in Iraq and, upon his discharge from the Army, was welcomed by Fuches (Stephen Root, Get Out), a mentor who turned Barry into a hitman and Fuches was his handler. The pair became tired of doing jobs in the Midwest and moved to California to do a hit for some Chechen...Read the entire review

DVD Reviews
Oct 24, 2018

Etoile aka toile
In 10 Words or LessBefore Black Swan, there was EtoileReviewer's Bias*Jennifer Connelly
ballet, old European horror
methodical films
Dopey endings
The FilmRead the entire review

DVD Reviews
Oct 23, 2018

Go Tell the Spartans

Ted Post liked to direct Clint Eastwood in the 60s and early 70s; I guess that would have been like directing Tom Hanks in the 90s, an almost guaranteed success and a huge crutch for any filmmaker. Rawhide, Hang 'Em High, Magnum Force; that is some of Post's best work, and he threw in Beneath the Planet of the Apes for good measure. But the magic would run out when Post moved toward the end of his career, and Go Tell the Spartans is definitely not an example of his prime years. Burt Lancaster and Co. couldn't deliver a strong enough product to support the message that was being relayed, an expose on war that made its...Read the entire review

DVD Reviews
Oct 22, 2018

Sesame Street: Elmo's World: Elmo Explores

As my young son grows from infant to a lively toddler, we were looking for ways to entertain him recently. Having seen the Sesame Street magic work on him before, I wanted to see if I could press my luck with a "spin-off" of sorts from the franchise, featuring one of its popular current cast members, such as it was.

It's going to date me a little bit when I first wrote this because Elmo (the furry red baby monster?) first appeared in 1985 and dang, I thought he didn't appear until like the last decade or so, go figure. Anyway, Elmo has a long-running segment that is called "Elmo's World," aimed at toddlers and covers things like Father's Day, families, calendar seasons and the like. Running about 12-15 minutes in length, the format is simple; Elmo intros the topic, a cell-phone named "Smarty" pops by to provide more information on same, Elmo "chats" with a speechle...Read the entire review

DVD Reviews
Oct 15, 2018

Modern Family: Season 9
In 10 Words or LessAfter eight years, the series begins to show its ageReviewer's Bias*good sitcoms
Modern Family, The vast majority of the cast
new sitcom kids
Change for ch...Read the entire review

DVD Reviews
Oct 12, 2018

Truth or Dare (Syfy; 2017)
The Film:Despite the iffy visual effects and a few larger-than-life performances, I'm a pretty big fan of the movie Jumanji, in which four people are forced to finish a game while every roll of the dice creates real-world, deadly obstacles for them to endure. While designed for children and older audiences, there's a certain caliber of suspense and terror emergent from that concept that works regardless of the intended audience, partly in anticipation of what's to come and partly in how the players adapt to their new challenges. It might be kind of unusual to compare a 90s kids adventure film to the likes of bloody, R-rated contemporary film lik...Read the entire review

DVD Reviews
Sep 25, 2018

PAW Patrol: Halloween Heroes
PAW Patrol continues to be Nick Jr.'s most popular show in recent years, packed with all the harmless action and cornball jokes that kids and most parents can't help but snicker at. Halloween Heroes is the newest themed collection of PAW Patrol episodes on disc; it doesn't really change anything about the show's formula or characters but doesn't have to. Most episodes go like this: the six PAW Patrol canines (klutzy firefighter Marshall, aquatic expert...Read the entire review

DVD Reviews
Sep 21, 2018

You Will Be Mine (2009)
Marie (Judith Davis) is looking forward to her first semester at a prestigious music conservatory, where she will learn to hone her piano skills with some of the best mentors in France. To save money, she has arranged to move in with her childhood best friend Emma (Isild Le Besco), who has a spacious studio apartment near the school, and who has lived alone since her father passed away. It seems like a perfect arrangement, until it becomes clear that Emma has sexual feelings for Marie that border on psychotic, and Marie quickly finds herself trying to hide from Emma, escaping first with her classmate boyfriend Sami (Johan Libereau), and then back home for a spell, only for Emma to lure Marie back into her psychological and emotional spider web.You Will Be Mine is a psychosexual thriller with some interesting ideas lingering at the fringes, but one which fails to buck the basic genre trappin...Read the entire review

DVD Reviews
Sep 20, 2018

Won't You Be My Neighbor?

I remember growing up with the Pittsburgh produced, PBS aired Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and I seemed to have good memories about it. I'm not sure at what point cynicism was introduced to my life and our paths separated for the balance of Rogers' life, but on the surface it would appear that Rogers maintained a certain sense of innocence and respect for children and the adult cast members around him that could certainly be appreciated in 2018. And Won't You Be My Neighbor attempts to give us that.

The documentary from director Morgan Neville (20 Feet From Stardom) interviews a menagerie of folks who had some sort of connection to Rogers in his life or through the show. Old cast and crew members share their thoughts on how he worked and what he was like. If you leave those segment...Read the entire review

DVD Reviews
Sep 12, 2018

Well-remembered as the first of many knockoffs of Steven Spielberg's game-changing Jaws, William Girdler's Grizzly (1976) was more nightmare fuel for anyone whose parents were tricked (again?) by the film's soft PG rating. Long story short: humongous bear terrorizes peaceful campers, devouring his victims after swatting off claws and other body parts like a hot knife through butter. Warnings to close the park are ignored, victims pile up, and the pros are finally called in to slay the savage beast. Even the ending is cribbed di...Read the entire review

DVD Reviews
Aug 31, 2018

LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis

Before getting into Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis, I have a random story here, which I've scantly harkened back to in similar DC Comics/Lego/Warner collaboration efforts. My almost two-year old is a fan of Moana, and watched it a ton, to the point where instead of saying TV' to request us turn it on, he says Moana.' Recently though, I successfully weaned him onto stop action movies, specifically Wes Anderson stop action movies. So now he watches Isle of Dogs for the doggies, I watch it for the jokes. Viva parental trickery!

Anyway, Rage of Atlantiswas written by Jim Krieg, who has done work on animated films about Green Lantern and the Justice League in various efforts, and directed by Matt Peters, who did artwork for severa...Read the entire review

DVD Reviews
Aug 31, 2018

Bye Bye Germany
Bye Bye Germany DVD Review
DavidBermann (MoritzBleitbreu) leads the way for the group attempting to leaveGermany. He has several ideas for how to raise the money to saygoodbye to Germany for good. Each individual ends up sellingoverpriced linen. They essentially become...Read the entire review

DVD Reviews
Aug 31, 2018

24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters
24x36: A Movie About Movie Posters DVD Review
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DVD Reviews
Aug 29, 2018


RBG begins with an audio montage of a horde of hard-right conservative commentators talking about a woman who, in their minds, is un-American and is on her way to destroy the nation. This montage is played over statues of founding fathers and other American monuments founds across Washington DC. The woman they're so scornful and afraid of is a tiny little octogenarian with a kind and quiet voice, yet a force to be reckoned with when it comes to fighting for equal rights of all Americans. Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's life is a stirring and powerful reminder that progress for the marginalized takes tenacity and an inexhaustible fighting spirit. That's why this pre-credits opening is perfect: There will always be those fighting tooth and nail to crush progress, but the promise of the American system allows those without power to fight back. Just don't expec...Read the entire review

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