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John Bunny - Film's First King of Comedy

Wed, 22 Nov 2017 12:10:07 PST

Recommended

(image) The Movie:

When people think of silent comedians, Charlie Chaplin, or possiblyBuster Keaton, leap to mind. Before either of those star becamefamous however, John Bunny was drawing in audiences with theone-reelers he was making at Vitagraph. Now largely forgotten, evenamong silent film fans, this important actor from the early days ofcinema gets some attention in John Bunny: Film's First King ofComedy. This short (41 minutes) documentary looks at thecomedian who was billed as "the man who makes more than thepresident" and made over 150 films during his five-year career.

John Bunny came from a sea-faring family. His father and grandfatherwere both mariners and his mother advised him not to go to sea...until he was 21 years old. But breaking with tradition Bunny went tothe theater. Based in New York, John played the circuit as part of aminstrel show and took smaller roles in pl...Read the entire review




Mystery Science Theater 3000: Volume XXXIX

Sun, 19 Nov 2017 10:08:02 PST

Recommended

(image) The Movies:

It's a bitter sweet day for Mystery Science Theater fans...Shout! Factory has released the last (probably) collection ofepisodes from the original run of the show. While it's great thatthree new episodes (and a disc of bonus material... more on thatlater) are out on DVD, it's sad that there are eleven installmentsthat have never been released, and probably never will be, becauseof copyright issues. Still, these three shows from the Mike yearsare solid, and the set, rather aptly, includes the very lastepisode.

The shows included in this set are:

Experiment 601 - Girls Town:

Mike (referring to Mel Torme): He's like a youthful Jabbathe Hut!

This first episode from season six features the installation of theUmbilicus, a tube that runs from the Satellite of Love to Deep 13,and allows items to be sent between the Mads and the SoL. It'...Read the entire review




Welcome to Happiness

Thu, 16 Nov 2017 07:14:38 PST

Rent It

(image) In 10 Words or Less
A junior-varsity Magnolia

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Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Nick Offerman, Keegan Michael Key, Paget Brewster
Likes: Josh Brener, quirky films
Dislikes: Style without substance
Hates: Old accepted corporate sexism

The Movie
If you make a movie with Nick Offerman, Keegan Michael Key and Paget Brewster, there's a very good chance I will watch it. That's why you cast great, high-profile actors like this trio, even if they are filling small roles. You know what you are getting with them and what you're getting are quality performances that will raise the overall quality of the film they are in. That's the case when it comes to Oliver Thompson's feature debut, Welcome to Happiness. Bu...Read the entire review




Moka

Wed, 15 Nov 2017 12:25:53 PST

Recommended

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Director: Frederic Mermoud
Starring: Emmanuelle Devos, Nathalie Baye, Diane Rouxel
Year: 2016

The understated French drama of the year is Moka, a revenge tale without the revenge. This is a style that we see every season, the quiet, heavy, high-character, low-action, French film that critics are supposed to eat up and convince audiences that they should like too. And sometimes it works, sometimes we relate to you that a foreign film of this genre is exactly that, weighty but wonderful. Moka, I'm afraid, doesn't fall into that category. It is dramatic, yes, it is familiar, which isn't always unwelcome, but it lacks the punch needed to make up for the slow speed of its story. Basically, this film is an average ...Read the entire review




Glory (2016) aka Slava

Mon, 13 Nov 2017 06:57:05 PST

Rent It

(image) Tzanko Petrov (Stefan Denolyubov) lives quietly and simply. He has a rabbit, which he is devoted to caring for. He lives in a small one-room apartment, rarely seems to eat, and sets his watch, a gift from his father to him, by calling the operator for the time. During the day, he walks the train tracks looking for loose bolts, and tries to overlook his fellow employees siphoning gas out of train cars, to be sold illegally. One day, Tzanko finds something wholly unexpected on his route along the tracks: a bag of money, lying on the tracks. Tzanko, a man of honor, turns the money into the transit authority, which provides an opportunity for Julia Staykova (Margita Gosheva), the transit PR director, to generate not just some good special interest press for the railway company, but also political points for the local minister.

There is no reason for Julia to treat Tzanko disrespectfully, nor for Tzanko's...Read the entire review




PAW Patrol: The Great Snow Rescue

Wed, 08 Nov 2017 09:11:13 PST

Recommended

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PAW Patrol continues to be one of Nick Jr.'s most popular franchises; now four seasons deep, a fifth has been ordered and merchandise is still selling like hotcakes. The Great Snow Rescue is the tenth themed collection of PAW Patrol episodes on disc; it doesn't really change anything about the show's formula or characters, and doesn't have to. Most episodes go like this: the six PAW Patrol canines (klutzy firefighter Marshall, aquatic expert Zuma, cons...Read the entire review




Porky Pig

Wed, 01 Nov 2017 06:14:41 PDT

DVD Talk Collector Series

(image) Growing up in suburban Detroit, I was raised on a steady diet of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies featuring Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and Porky Pig. However, the package of cartoon shorts syndicated to WKBD-TV, Channel 50 in Detroit consisted mainly of middle-period "Golden Age" Warner Bros. cartoons from the 1950s. More or less these were the same cartoons that also turned up on "The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour" (among other titles), airing on CBS Saturday mornings. The most famous Warner cartoons, shorts like What's Opera, Doc?, One Froggy Evening, Duck Amuck, etc. were part of these packages.

So popular were these that around the late 1970s another package of syndicated Warner Bros. cartoon shorts turned up, these from the earlier "Golden Age" era of roughly 1944-1948, but this package wasn't around very long, at least not in the Detroit market. Also, CBS for a time began airin...Read the entire review




A Very Brady Christmas

Mon, 30 Oct 2017 14:35:25 PDT

Recommended

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Although the Brady Bunch had previously been exhumed from the cancellation graveyard with the infamous 1976-77 "Brady Bunch Hour" and short-lived "Brady Brides" in 1981, by 1988 America was nostalgic enough for the lovely lady, man named Brady and their three very lovely girls and three boys that a reunion this time would really be appreciated, and what better time to do it than Christmas? "A Very Brady Christmas" brought the group that somehow formed a family head-on into the 1980s and ended up as the year's highest-rated network broadcast, paving the way for one last attempt at a new series "The Bradys" in 1990 which still didn't go anywhere and was canned after just five episodes. This "TV movie event...Read the entire review




Just Shoot Me!: The Complete Series

Sat, 28 Oct 2017 18:12:49 PDT

Recommended

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A complete series collection of Just Shoot Me! arrives onDVD for the first time much to the joy of fans. This series, whichranfor seven seasons, from 1997-2003 is a sitcom from executive producersBrad Grey(The Departed, The Sopranos), Steven Levitan (ModernFamily,Wings), and Bernie Brillstein (Ghostbusters, Alf), and it was created by Steven Levitan (Modern Family). The comedy tacklesthe workplace through the exploration of the behind-the-scenes of a fashionmagazine. It's your typical fashion magazine covering the latestfashion trends, beautytips, models, and dating advice, and the show is a comedicspin on thefashion world and the way magazines are created.

The series revolves around theeccentric employees who work for Blush fashion magazine. One suchemployee is MayaGallo (Laura San Gi...Read the entire review




Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Complete Series

Thu, 26 Oct 2017 08:40:15 PDT

Highly Recommended

(image) The Show:

In today's installment of you are old, did you know that the then-UPN show Buffy the Vampire Slayer quietly celebrated its 20th anniversary this year. Yes, it's 20 years old. Inspired by the 1992 film, the show was received with initial adoration and better than expected critical praise, and exploded into a show that helped dwarf its cinematic older sister with humor and romance sort of in the same vein as the film, but bringing larger themes and conflicts for its characters into larger light, one or two of them being notable historically. With this time marker being ticked off, it was only a matter of time before it was celebrated somehow, and it has been with the usual retrospective ephemera; some books, some occasional ensemble reunions (usually partial), and a boxed set of the show was recently released o...Read the entire review




The Best of the Carol Burnett Show

Sun, 22 Oct 2017 07:37:12 PDT

Recommended

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How things have changed for the Carol Burnett Show on DVD- as the format gained traction, many longed for at least some of it to be released on DVD but all that came early on was a short reunion special with a paltry number of clips and a similar disc after that. A few years after that though, mail-order outfit Guthy Renker started putting out DVDs (and VHS tapes) of complete shows, then Time-Life acquired the rights and put out a staggering number of releases from single discs to mega box sets. As that company tends to do, a number of the individual discs have been included in multiple sets, ...Read the entire review




Bob Hope: Salutes the Troops

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 08:38:57 PDT

Recommended

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Time-Life brings us another collection of Bob Hope specials where he and a number of guests visit the military overseas to brighten their time there during the days surrounding Christmas. A number of these have been released on DVD before from R2 Entertainment and Time-Life has been packaging their discs in a number of different configurations- judging from the menus on the three discs in this set they appear to have been originally made for larger sets. Hopefully I'll be able to outline the contents here for those seeking out these shows but not wanting to pick up redundant material.

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The six shows here range from 1962 to 1990, all done during the week of Christmas and shown on NBC that January as belated "Christmas Specials" but still managing to be amongst the year's h...Read the entire review




Criminal Minds: The Twelfth Season

Fri, 20 Oct 2017 07:46:09 PDT

Highly Recommended

(image) Note:
The latest of a continuing series, where my wife Nicole steps up to offer her thoughts.

By Nicole Rizzo

In 10 Words or Less
The more crimes committed, the harder the BAU works.

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Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Criminal dramas, Joe Mantegna, Aisha Tyler, Damon Gupton
Likes: Spencer Reid, Penelope Garcia, Jane Lynch, guest stars
Dislikes: Mr. Scratch
Hates: The question of "why" people do horrible things

The Show
My eagerness and anticipation of every new fall television season starts around mid-August when stations start giving out teasers of what to expect for our beloved prime-time shows. I wait each summer to see which shows are returning and which have gotten the boot and ...Read the entire review




Green Acres: The Complete Series

Thu, 19 Oct 2017 04:45:34 PDT

DVD Talk Collector Series

(image) The Dick Van Dyke Show is the best American sitcom of the 1960s, but Green Acres is by all odds the funniest. Somewhat unfortunately lumped in with CBS's other, lesser rural comedies of the time, notably The Beverly Hillbillies and Petticoat Junction, from which it was spun off, Green Acres is most definitely not the show it initially appears to be.

The basic premise, wealthy New Yorkers move to a ramshackle farmhouse, was the inverse of Beverly Hillbillies, a one-joke sitcom run into the ground by the end of its first season, while also springing from the same basic concept that began with The Egg and I (1947), with Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert playing essentially the same roles later essayed by Eddie Albert and Eva Gabor on Green Acres. That movie also introduced Ma & Pa Kettle and their brood, an uncultured backwoods family that...Read the entire review




Ernie Kovacs: Take A Good Look: The Definitive Collection

Mon, 16 Oct 2017 04:19:54 PDT

DVD Talk Collector Series

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The Show:

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Ernie Kovacs was a pioneer, an innovator in the realm of early TV comedy, who has morphed into a cult figure over the years. Most folks have probably missed out on Ernie's best bits, and if you have, I recommend checking out The Ernie Kovacs Collection, Volumes One and Two. These lovely box sets were released by Shout! Factory roughly five years ago, and they offer a thorough survey of Ernie's varied and all-too-brief career. (He was killed in a car crash at age 42.)

Now, Shout! Factory is releasing a (nearly) complete set of Ernie's t...Read the entire review




Soul on a String

Sat, 14 Oct 2017 14:28:18 PDT

Recommended

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Director: Yang Zhang
Starring: Quni Ciren, Kimba, Siano Dudiom Zahi
Year: 2016

Soul on a String is a Chinese/Tibetan, Western/Adventure, ancient/modern warrior's tale, and these odd combinations are the reason that the film ultimately succeeds. This feature is hard to define, it straddles many borders while paying homage to many styles, but it is made just well enough to elicit respect, when it could easily have gone down a baffling and far less appealing route. Sacred stones, lone wolves, blood oaths, desperate journeys; this movie needed every one of its 140 minutes to tell a complicated story, but the result was surprisingly solid, especially when my expectations were so very low.

The Movie

...Read the entire review




This Is Us: Season 1

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 20:53:58 PDT

Highly Recommended

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I'm not a fan of schmaltzy dramas on TV (or on the big screen for that matter), so even when I heard from friends how good This is Us was, I kept thinking, "Nah, not for me." I did not see one minute of one episode when Season 1 aired on NBC, and I probably would have never watched an episode had this DVD set not become available for review. I'll be honest, I thought this might be the opportunity to knock the series down a few rungs by giving it a fair critique. Now I find myself in the position where I have to admit I was wrong to have skipped it. This is Us is great television, and even though it's intentionally manipulative, it's also fantastically entertaining.

However, as anyone who has seen this series will tell you, it's really hard to talk abo...Read the entire review




Chicago Med: Season Two

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 06:40:58 PDT

Highly Recommended

(image) Between the first and second seasons of Chicago Med, on July 26, 2017, a pretty amazing coincidence occurred. A female nurse named Alex Wubbels at the University of Utah's hospital burn center was forcibly arrested by a short-fused police officer after she refused, per hospital policy, to (possibly illegally) draw blood from her unconscious patient. The officer was recently fired.

Ironically, almost exactly four months earlier, on a Chicago Med episode entitled "Guilty," Nurse Maggie Lockwood (Marlyne Barrett) is forcibly arrested after refusing, again per hospital policy, by a short-fused officer, under similar circumstances. This uncanny bit of prescient scripting exemplifies the timeliness of Chicago Med, a series that at first looked pretty much like a retread of older hospital dramas like ER but which hit the ground running, and is fast becoming the best of executive...Read the entire review




Chicago Justice: Season One

Fri, 13 Oct 2017 06:40:58 PDT

Rent It

(image) For this reviewer, the jury's still out on Chicago Justice, but not with the network distributing it, NBC. Though the packaging lists this as "Season One," it's also officially "The Complete Series," NBC having cancelled it this past May, a week after airing what turned out to be its final episode. Universal selling this as "Season One" may be wishful thinking: another Dick Wolf-produced show, Law & Order: Criminal Intent began on NBC, but then moved to the USA Network for its last four seasons, so it's not impossible that program might continue somewhere else.

The show began as a backdoor pilot on a Season Three episode of Chicago PD in May 2016, then returned as a mid-season replacement in March 2017, nearly a year later, a longer-than-usual gestation period. Oddly, while all of the 2016-17 season episodes of all the Chicago franchise shows (the others being Chicago Fir...Read the entire review




This Is Us: Season 1

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 08:26:59 PDT

Highly Recommended

(image) The Show:

When the NBC show This is Us started showing preview clips and teasers ahead of its 2016 release, the schmaltz was evident; it was going to be a show that tugged on heartstrings, and touched on several different lives, across a multigenerational landscape. It was popular and emotional, and even a little polarizing at times, and received a bit of critical acclaim and some awards to boot. Naturally as its next (second) season is getting underway, the last (first) is available to view on DVD to give people the chance to get up to speed as quickly as possible.

I'll try to be tidy on this and say the show looks at three families, Jack (Milo Ventimiglia, Rocky Balboa) and Rebecca (Mandy Moore, Tangled) are a couple in the 1980s who are parents to thr...Read the entire review




Chicago P.D.: Season Four

Thu, 12 Oct 2017 06:58:24 PDT

Highly Recommended

(image) Spun-off from Chicago Fire, and part of the same TV universe that now also includes Law & Order: SVU, Chicago Med, and Chicago Justice, Chicago P.D. (2014-present) has grown and matured into a compelling police procedural. Less warm-and-fuzzy than Chicago Fire, whose leading characters are so honorable as to be a bit dull and dramatically inert at times, Chicago PD offers more emotionally complex, troubled, and thus more believable characters.

Initially the program seemed to be heading down the right-wing fantasy world of 24, where the ends always-but-always justified the means. First introduced in a story arc on Chicago Fire, the leader of Chicago P.D.'s intelligence unit, Hank Voight (Jason Beghe) was a morally reprehensible bully, a lone wolf who routinely sidestepped protocol to obtain needed information from suspects, even if th...Read the entire review




Chicago Fire: Season Five

Wed, 11 Oct 2017 03:32:00 PDT

Highly Recommended

(image) Pity the Chicago franchise fan. Fans of Chicago Fire (2012-present) are pretty much obliged to follow the entirety of executive producer Dick Wolf's vast television universe. That because characters from Chicago Fire frequently appear in episodes of all of the shows spun-off since: Chicago PD, Chicago Med, newcomer Chicago Justice and even Law & Order: SVU, set and filmed in New York. There have been story arcs crossing over up to three different series, and sets from one show (such as Molly's the bar opened by several Chicago Fire characters often appear in the others. Contracts for the cast members of these programs must be as thick as phonebooks.

Living in Japan, this far-flung reviewer (and hard-media holdout) watches most "new" American and European TV shows on Blu-ray and DVD, and is usually a season behind everyone else. Because of a...Read the entire review




Guardians

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 08:40:20 PDT

Skip It

(image) The Film:



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Ahead of what'll seem like a pummeling on Guardians, Russia's entry into blockbuster superhero cinema, it's worth mentioning that comic studios "liberally borrowing" concepts of characters and their powers from competitors has been going on for decades, especially between, y'know, the big two. Before the size-shrinking Ant-Man, there was Atom; before Hawkeye's archery prowess, there was Green Arrow; before the cosmic sorcery of Dr. Strange, there was Dr. Fate; and so on and so forth. What separates these characters from one another can be found in the details of their personalities both big and small, and with time these traits overcome the similarities of their powers to other entities, a...Read the entire review




Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia

Mon, 09 Oct 2017 04:41:44 PDT

Highly Recommended

(image) Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia:
Compadres, Uncle Kurt may have had a beer or tequila or two. The skies are filled with smoke from out-of-control forest fires where I live, hurricanes continue to batter the east coast of the United States, the Klan is more popular than ever, while much of the criticism points to those who are fighting the craziness. Meanwhile, I remain single, working 10-hour days seven days a week, and my MacBook pro broke down, so I'm typing this in 'Notepad' on a Dell Inspiron 1520 running Windows XP. If there were ever a better time to watch Bring Me The Head Of Alfredo Garcia, I'd hate to be living in it.

Starring Warren Oates (the toughest Tough Guy who never was) as director Sam Peckinpah's fragile ego, Alfredo Garcia is one of those special movies they just don't make any more, and actually probably never did, since its particular vision of the sc...Read the entire review




The Good Place: Season One

Sun, 08 Oct 2017 18:31:16 PDT

Highly Recommended

(image) In 10 Words or Less
Kristen Bell tries to navigate the afterlife

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Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Kristen Bell, high-concept sitcoms, Janet
Likes: Ted Danson
Dislikes: How the second season is progressing
Hates: Jianyu

The Show
From the moment Eleanor (Kristen Bell) opens her eyes at the beginning of the first episode of The Good Place, the show is obviously not the usual sitcom. Having recently died, Eleanor is now in The Good Place--a non-denominal version of heaven--where everything is perfect and everyone is happy, because everyone in The Good Place has earned their spot through their positive behaviors on Earth, including charity-driven model Tahani (Jameela Jamil), ethicist Chidi (William Jackson H...Read the entire review




The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends

Fri, 06 Oct 2017 05:39:37 PDT

DVD Talk Collector Series

(image) Like The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: The Vault Series (6 DVD Set Collector's Edition), previously reviewed here, Time-Life's The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson: Johnny and Friends is a terrific set of complete Tonight Show episodes from the 1970s- 90s, rather than a clip show of highlights, so complete in fact that these 28 full shows include all the original (network) commercials, which are sometimes fascinating all by themselves. It's another great, well chosen set, and though I've barely cracked its immense content, I'm having a grand old time watching these shows.

Unlike The Vault Series, Johnny and Friends has one big problem (read on) but fortunately that doesn't effect the content at all.

After Carson left the program in 1992, excerpts have turned up on places like YouTube, and there have been DVD clip show releases. And while Tonight Sho...Read the entire review




Killing Hasselhoff

Tue, 03 Oct 2017 19:38:36 PDT

Rent It

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Director: Darren Grant
Starring: Ken Jeong, David Hasselhoff, Jon Lovitz
Year: 2017

Ken Jeong has been steadily climbing the comedy ladder over the last fifteen years, but I have to wonder if he recently fell off the other side. He started on TV with bit parts, received small roles in a few silly films, got his break with The Hangover, seemed to be picking up steam in Community, but since then everything he touches tanks. Dr. Ken is the worst television show I've ever had the misfortune to accidentally watch, and Killing Hasselhoff is not much better; a weird, cameo-driven pseudo-thriller that doesn't have an original bone in its lifeless, laughless body. I think we might need to face it; Jeong is...Read the entire review




Ned and Stacey: The Complete Series

Sat, 30 Sep 2017 13:53:59 PDT

Highly Recommended

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The Show:

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The 1995-97 sitcom Ned and Stacey has long had a reputation as a funny and smart show that deserved a larger audience than it ever attracted. The series stars a post-Wings Thomas Haden Church and a pre-Will & Grace Debra Messing in the title roles, and it was created by Michael J. Weithorn before he teamed up with Ned and Stacey writer David Litt to create the syndication staple The King of QueensRead the entire review




The Island of Dr Moreau

Sat, 30 Sep 2017 12:43:23 PDT

DVD Talk Collector Series

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Director: Don Taylor
Starring: Michael York, Burt Lancaster, Barbara Carrera
Year: 1977

The Island of Dr. Moreau is a film based on an H.G. Wells novel published in 1896, a sci-fi classic written by a legendary author that spawned a sci-fi classic directed by a talented filmmaker. Don Taylor oversaw more television episodes and made-for-TV movies than you can count, but he also directed films in the Planet of the Apes and Omen franchises, as well as The Final Countdown, a Kirk Douglas/Martin Sheen action/time travel flick. There's more than enough genius to go around behind this 70s take on the timeless story of Dr. Moreau, and the result is one of the better genre films you are likely to see, a co...Read the entire review




Modern Family: Season 8

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 08:44:41 PDT

Recommended

(image) In 10 Words or Less
The kids are growing up

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Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Modern Family, good sitcoms
Likes: The vast majority of the cast
Dislikes: sitcom babies
Hates: Change for change's sake

The Story So Far...
Telling the story of three generations of the Pritchett clan, centered around Jay (Ed O'Neill) and his kids Claire (Julie Bowen) and Mitchell (Jesse Tyler Ferguson), and their respective families, Modern Family was, for all intents and purposes, an instant hit with critics and viewers (earning five Best Comedy Emmys in its first five seasons.) A single-camera sitcom without a laugh track, this mockumentary series (complete with talking head interviews with the family) blends together ...Read the entire review




Just Shoot Me!: The Complete Series

Tue, 26 Sep 2017 04:16:09 PDT

Rent It

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The Series:

It's always a gamble to revisit some of your favorite shows from decades ago, since it might shock you with not only how dated they have become, but how much your taste has grown since. This is doubly the case with sit-coms. Humor is very subjective and dependant on the culture within the time period it exposes. What you once thought to be funny might not be the case a couple of decades later. My guess is that those who were genuinely tickled by The Brady Bunch in the 70s might have had trouble arguing its relevance and overall quality during the 90s when groundbreaking sit-coms like Seinfeld and Friends were making the rounds.

Just Shoot Me is a sit-com I frequently enjoy...Read the entire review




The Glass Coffin

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 04:47:50 PDT

Skip It

(image) The Film:


(image) The Glass Coffin (El ataud de cristal) arrives a little late to capitalize on that short-lived burst of interest in one-location survival thrillers from a few years back, but if the context of such a film possesses a strong hook, then the innovation and claustrophobia involved with the concept still holds the potential to strike a chord. Where others explored themes like the worth of a single civilian caught in the throes of war or the ways in which preparation and rudimentary medical knowledge can come in handy during dire situations, this tale of survival tackles a cultural, more metropolitan critique, focusing on the seedy corners of the filmmaking business and the objectification of actresses. Brash neon visual language and a willi...Read the entire review




Alive and Kicking

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 10:02:22 PDT

Highly Recommended

(image) The Movie:

Like a few other people, the 90s films Swing Kids and Swingers introduced me to the world and machinations of swing dancing. But little did I know that the swing community has been sustaining itself nicely since then past the wave of nostalgia, as the Susan Glatzer documentary Alive and Kicking shows us.

Glatzer herself is a swing enthusiast of almost two decades, so she has a familiarity with and passion for her subject, and she is comprehensive in her approach to it, looking at it from its origins in the early 20th century to its rise through the years, and the various substyles of swing dancing that exist (the film focuses primarily on the Lindy Hop, for the record). Interviews with some of those who have made an impact on the dance...Read the entire review




Britney Ever After

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 06:50:29 PDT

Skip It

(image) It's easy to scoff at the idea of a Britney Spears biopic for various reasons, but it makes sense. Spears' "Hit Me Baby (One More Time)" is arguably responsible for the current era of pop music, reflected today in the similarly bubblegum-colored, sexy-sweet stylings of Katy Perry and Carly Rae Jepsen. There's also something a bit more intriguing about Spears, who lived a tabloid-friendly life just before the era of TMZ. Spears' career has been back on track and going smoothly for awhile now, but the moment where Spears abruptly shaved off all of her hair and swung an umbrella at paparazzi still lingers in the public consciousness as a crack in the veneer of music stardom. Sadly, Britney Ever After, a cheap Lifetime movie about the singer's career, isn't even good trash, lazily breezing through some of the star's greatest personal hits with only a hint of a purpose in mind.

The film uses the ...Read the entire review




How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Mon, 18 Sep 2017 18:33:50 PDT

Rent It

(image) In 10 Words or Less
Manipulating your way to the top--in song!

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Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: The look of classic cinema, musicals
Likes: Absurdity, Kino Lorber's Studio Classics Line
Dislikes: Robert Morse's mugging
Hates: Old accepted corporate sexism

The Movie
The problem with a film where the plot sees its hero push forward with success through either luck or favor is the lack of genuine conflict. That's exactly the issue when it comes to J. Pierpont Finch (Robert Morse) and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Starting out as a window washer guided by the titular book, Finch climbs the corporate ranks by either manipulating those above him by appealing to their greed, self-absorption o...Read the entire review