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The Wonder Years: Season 6

Mon, 27 Feb 2017 05:22:00 PST

Highly Recommended

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With the sixth and final season of "The Wonder Years" receiving its individual release officially marks the end of an era for many DVD collectors. Long anticipated but thought to be an impossibility, it's still stunning to realize Time Life was able to release the seminal series given the multitude of music rights issue surrounding it; save for a few unobtainable songs, the sixth and final season of the series arrives with little fanfare (truth be told, most fans likely snagged this as a complete series release a few years back). In the 22-episodes that make up the release, the saga of Kevin Arnold (Fred Savage) winds to an end, marking a journey from middle school through high school for a character who represented the average American teen of the 1960s.

A large theme running through the final season of the series is bidding farewell to old memories and embracing the unknown; the series beg...Read the entire review




Blush

Sun, 26 Feb 2017 15:26:39 PST

Recommended

(image) The pleasures of Michal Vinik's Blush (aka Barash) are potent but subtle, captured with a certain delicacy. Through its low-conflict, naturalistic, small-scale nature, the film will likely alienate a number of viewers who will see it as boring or lacking in substance (volume, not concept). On the flipside, there are moments of authentic teenage triumph and angst, the accuracy of which will only allow those moments to resonate fully with those who are on the film's wavelength.

Naama (Sivan Noam Shimon) is a typical moody teenager. She and her friends don't appear to do much at school but watch others, and she has an uneven home life thanks to her military secretary sister Liora (Bar Ben Vakil), who has a tendency to disappear for weeks at a time. There is constant tension between her mother Michel (Irit Pashtan) and her father Gidon (Dvir Benedek), often about Liora's disappearan...Read the entire review




The Von Trapp Family - A Life Of Music

Fri, 24 Feb 2017 05:09:39 PST

Recommended

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"The story of the von Trapp family's escape from Austria in 1938 to the United States is well known from The Sound of Music. This film tells the story of those dramatic years through the eyes of the eldest daughter, Agathe."

This text introduces The von Trapp Family: A Life of Music which is based on Agathe von Trapp's autobiographical book "Memories Before and After The Sound of Music". Those familiar with the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical and subsequent movie that's become a perennial favorite might be asking "Who was Agathe?" but it turns out that version of the story not only sugar-coated many details but also changed some of the names- Agathe was known as Liesl in that version. This production tries to tell the story closer to the way it really happened. It us...Read the entire review




Legend of Korra: The Complete Series

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 15:32:27 PST

Highly Recommended

(image) The Legend of Korra: The Complete Series:

When Avatar the Last Airbender debuted on Nickelodeon back in 2004, it was met with near universal acclaim from critics and audiences alike. Thanks to its diverse cast of characters, spectacularly choregraphed battles, and exhaustive world building the series resonated with adults and children of all ages. Avatar's widespread appeal wouldn't just be limited to the small screen, having transitioned into a variety of media including comics, consul games, and even a live action movie (the less said about that the better). Though the series told a comprehensive story across three seasons, the world of Avatar was ripe for further exploration.

When the Legend of Korra premiered, it was instantly clear that while both series existed within the same universe, the tone and animation targeted a marginally mature demographic. Set 70 years after the events A...Read the entire review




Blaze And The Monster Machines: Race Into Velocityville

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 11:09:55 PST

Recommended

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Created by Jeff Borkin and Ellen Martin, Blaze and the Monster Machines is Nick Jr.'s breakout hit aimed at single-digit scamps who like trucks. And who doesn't like trucks, especially sentient ones? The story goes like this: Blaze (voiced by Nolan North of TMNT) and his blank-faced, curiously underage driver A.J. (Dusan Brown) are the best ...Read the entire review




PAW Patrol: Pups Save the Bunnies

Thu, 23 Feb 2017 09:25:00 PST

Recommended

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




Beavis & Butt-Head: The Complete Collection

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:29:55 PST

Recommended

(image) Mike Judge has one hell of an impressive career down on paper. He's responsible for bringing the workplace hit Office Space' to the masses, and followed that up with sleeper success flicks Idiocracy, Extract, and 13 seasons of Fox's King of the Hill. The latter of which was no small feat, since that particular network has a frustrating reputation for canceling most of its best programming. I think the mentioned body of work is what Judge should be remembered for, but the masses will probably always peg him as that guy who made Beavis and Butt-head.' That's not necessarily a bad thing, either, but it's a show that tends to make people either grab their torches and pitchforks, or get whisked back to a fun youth when everyone was painfully practicing their worst mm-mm-heh' and uh-huh-huh-huh' impressions while wearing frog baseball' memorabilia. I personally fall into the latter category, and no...Read the entire review




Danny Says

Wed, 22 Feb 2017 05:05:54 PST

Rent It

(image) The Movie:

You may not know the name Danny Fields but he has been instrumental in some of history's most impactful bands of the last half of the 20th century, signing, managing or being involved with bands like The Ramones, Iggy and the Stooges, the Velvet Underground and the Doors, to name a few. The New York-based music executive is the subject of a documentary covering some of his exploits, titled Danny Says.

Written and directed by Brendan Toller, the film follows in some of the same vein of music documentaries like We Are Twisted Fucking Sister, where it looks at the subject and provides interviews with them and any influential figures in their life as they try and show how the subject got to where they are. However, the film includes ample interviews with Fields at various p...Read the entire review




The Search For Weng Weng

Sun, 19 Feb 2017 05:41:32 PST

Recommended

(image) In 10 Words or Less
A deep dive into Filipino cult film history

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Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Documentaries, cult cinema
Likes: kung-fu films, Action B-movies
Dislikes: Personal-quest documentaries
Hates: People getting taken advantage of

The Movie
In a bit of meta education, watching documentaries can provide one with a great list of movies to discover, as there are a host of films that help explore unique niches, like the delightful Not Quite Hollywood and Video Nasties. However, it doesn't get much more niche than Filipino cult films. That is, unless you zoom in a bit more, and tighten the focus to Filipino cult films starring the shortest lead actor in film history, the 2'9" Weng Weng, star ...Read the entire review




The Twilight Zone: The Complete 80s Series

Sat, 18 Feb 2017 11:06:39 PST

Recommended

(image) The Series:

While 1983's Twilight Zone: The Movie wasn't the super mega blockbuster hit that some had hoped for, it was nevertheless enough to get CBS to bring back Rod Serling's most famous creation in 1985. This second series lasted three seasons and offered up one hundred and ten episodes. The series saw Charles Aidman step in to narrate, with Serling having passed in 1975. When Aidman himself passed away, Robin Ward was brought on to narrate the third season (he also redid the narration for the first two seasons when they were syndicated, though this set thankfully contains Aidman's original voice work). When series began, each episode ran an hour in length and presented two or three stories within its running time save for a few Season Two episodes that ran a half an hour. When a third season was made and put out for syndication, those episodes ran a half an hour and contained ...Read the entire review




Race for the Yankee Zephyr

Thu, 16 Feb 2017 04:32:56 PST

Rent It

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The Movie:

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The 1981 adventure flick Race for the Yankee Zephyr (also known as Treasure of the Yankee Zephyr) first caught my eye when it was excerpted in the "Ozploitation" documentary Not Quite Hollywood. It wasn't available on US DVD in those late-'00s dark ages, so I filed it away in my mind as a flick to keep an eye out for. Now, at long last, MGM has released a DVD-R of the movie, with a decent-looking transfer, as part of their manufactured-on-demand (MOD) "Limited Edition Collection." Was it worth the wait? Eh...

Yankee Zephyr was originally supposed to re-team writer Everett De Roche and director Richard Franklin, who toget...Read the entire review




The Love Boat: Season Three, Volume One

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 05:35:09 PST

Recommended

(image) Though probably few would admit it now, back in the late 1970s pretty much everyone not on a date or otherwise engaged on a 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, lured big-name stars that rarely made television appearances, and so glamorized and exoticized cruise vacations that it singlehandedly transformed that industry into the leisure industry powerhouse it is today.

Seen today, the series is quaintly charming, still. The show more or less peaked during its third season, its ratings success prompting an elaborate two-hour premiere, mostly filmed on location in Alaska. Rewatching these shows after nearly 40 years, I was unexpectedly impressed by most of the regular cast members and its dizzyi...Read the entire review




The Love Boat: Season Three, Volume Two

Wed, 15 Feb 2017 05:35:09 PST

Recommended

(image) Though probably few would admit it now, back in the late 1970s pretty much everyone not on a date or otherwise engaged on a 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, lured big-name stars that rarely made television appearances, and so glamorized and exoticized cruise vacations that it singlehandedly transformed that industry into the leisure industry powerhouse it is today.

Seen today, the series is quaintly charming, still. The show more or less peaked during its third season, its ratings success prompting an elaborate two-hour premiere, mostly filmed on location in Alaska. Rewatching these shows after nearly 40 years, I was unexpectedly impressed by most of the regular cast members and its dizzyi...Read the entire review




A Dangerous Game: Donald Trump vs. the Environment

Mon, 13 Feb 2017 15:51:37 PST

Recommended

(image) A Dangerous Game: Donald Trump Vs. The Environment:

"There's truth as you see it, and there's truth as we see it."

That quote from Eric Trump should tell you all you need to know about the Trump phenomenon. It comes from Anthony (You've Been Trumped) Baxter's movie. Baxter has it in for Teflon Don, and this movie makes no bones about it. In this world where divisions are cemented, I'm not sure Baxter's strong documentary will move too many people from conservatism to liberalism, but in its depiction of the naked lust for money and power, hopefully it will convince a few that the 1% doesn't give damn number one about the little people.

Baxter looks at Trump's bullying attempts to establish high profile, exclusive golf clubs in Scotland, Dubai, and Croatia. Golf courses being the notoriously anti-environmental developments that they are, the people are not amused. Massive amounts of ...Read the entire review




The Disappointments Room

Sun, 12 Feb 2017 13:16:32 PST

Skip It

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(image) If someone's planning on including the word "disappointment" anywhere in the title of their film, they'd better make damn sure that the content within will be able to withstand a decent amount of scrutiny, else the criticisms will essentially write themselves. The situation could be made worse if the project musters an eye-catching trailer, one that might, y'know, set the audience up for an engaging experience that it can't deliver on, especially in the fickle realm of the horror genre. The Disappointments Room boasts quite a few elements that look interesting when kept in short two-minute packages, featuring a blonde, tendril-haired Kate Beckinsale moving through the ominous corridors of a large mansion as she deals with the rigors of...Read the entire review




Author: The Jt Leroy Story

Tue, 07 Feb 2017 05:39:16 PST

Rent It

(image) In 10 Words or Less
A great documentary about a questionably-interesting subject

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Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Documentaries, literature, a good hoax
Likes: Gus Van Sant
Dislikes: Fake people
Hates: People who try to be cool

The Movie
Twelve years ago, I wrote a review of Criterion's DVD release of Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho. In one of the bonus audio interviews, a collaborator of Van Sant's--author JT LeRoy--chatted about the classic indie through his own perspective as a street kid. I wasn't terribly impressed, noting "LeRoy is the audio equivalent to sleeping pills. His feminine voice mumbles and flows like molasses...Several times I found myself blacking out and wondering what I missed." ...Read the entire review




X-Rated

Sat, 04 Feb 2017 16:52:18 PST

Recommended

(image) The Movie:

Porn. It's been around forever and as long as there has been film, there have been pornographic movies. This documentary, X-Rated, which is hosted by the lovely and talented Chanel Preston, gives us a five minute history lesson and then sets out to count down the top thirty-two adult films of all time. Rather than rank them in order of quality, the feature presents them in chronological order. As such, we start out in the early seventies in the era of porno chic and learn about such influential films as Deep Throat starring Harry Reems and Linda Lovelace, Behind The Green Door starring one time Ivory Snow girl Marilyn Chambers and The Devil In Miss Jones starring the always charming Georgina Spelvin.

From there we talk about two of Radley Metzger's hardcore features, The Opening Of Misty Beethoven and Barbara Broadcast, widely cons...Read the entire review




My King

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 20:34:07 PST

Highly Recommended

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Director: Maiwenn
Starring: Emmanuelle Bercot, Vincent Cassel, Louis Garrel
Year: 2015

Not to overlook the leading ladies of this film, Maiwenn the director and Bercot the lead actress, but My King is a success because of the man the title is referring to; Georgio, played perfectly by a genius Cassel. This French actor is a phenomenon, and we are lucky to have him as a cross-over talent in Hollywood as well, so that we can see him in his native country and also in our more familiar American cinema. Eastern Promises, Black Swan, A Dangerous Method, Partisan, Tale of Tales; pick up a film starr...Read the entire review




The Making Of Trump

Fri, 03 Feb 2017 20:34:07 PST

Rent It

(image) The Making Of Trump:
Trump's an interesting bloke, a self-made billionaire who stretches the limits of the term 'self-made'. He has certainly spent his life manufacturing his version of the Horatio Alger story, controlling his narrative so masterfully it's hard to believe. This History Channel documentary, created in response to Trump's historic run for the American Presidency, does its best to remain impartial, doing a pretty good job at that. While watching, one might even feel either an enthusiastic or grudging admiration for Trump's deft manufacture of his particular cult of personality. On the other hand, it's hard not to catch whiffs of disdain for the new President Of The United States, a truly self-serving personality, whose very nature as an outsized egoist of questionable moral character can't help but show, no matter who's doing the telling.

The feature length documentary brings ...Read the entire review




Chicago Med: Season One

Tue, 31 Jan 2017 05:22:43 PST

Recommended

(image) One might reasonably have thought that the hospital-set television drama had run its course. After years of tame shows like Medical Center and Emergency, the groundbreaking trifecta of St. Elsewhere (1982-88), Chicago Hope (1994-2000), and ER (1994-2009), the latter two set in Chicago, would have brought the genre to what media theorists like to call its "terminal" stage, exhausting it to a point where no story or characterization has been left undone. St. Elsewhere particularly offered superb, highly innovative teleplays breaking all manner of new ground, while ER was arguably the first network series to really up the ante production-wise, with movie-like production values and medical verisimilitude. Where a show like Medical Center probably cost around $175,000 per episode, ER at its peak was budgeted at a mind-boggling $13 million per sh...Read the entire review




Goat

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 14:29:14 PST

Recommended

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Director: Andrew Neel
Starring: Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas, Gus Halper
Year: 2016

Nick Jonas is not an actor, or at least not a good one. With his teen heartthrob status behind him, he's attempted to make the push onto the screen, and his moments have come fairly regularly. Some TV, just getting started in movies; I think we'll see more of him before we see less, but I also think that is a very bad thing. The kid can't act, and nearly brings Goat crashing down around him because of it. The saving grace; a young man who does have talent, Ben Schnetzer. Getting his break in 2013 and not slowing down since then, here's an actor who we can look forward to seeing often over the coming years, a recently-recognized gem who ...Read the entire review




Careful What You Wish For

Fri, 27 Jan 2017 05:21:34 PST

Rent It

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Well, isn't this interesting? Nick Jonas, of the squeaky-clean Jonas Brothers, has starred in this R-rated "erotic thriller" reminiscent of the 1980s sort-of classic They're Playing With Fire. Nick plays a typical young horny guy name Doug (whom most in this movie call "Dougie") who spends his summers at his rich parents' vacation home somewhere in North Carolina. This particular summer turns out to be special when investor Elliot (Durmot Mulroney, getting the "and" credit in the opening) and his hot wife Lena (Isabel Lucas) move into the house next door, which coincidentally can be seen perfectly from the window of Doug's bedroom. It turns out that Doug knows a lot about boats, so Elliot ends up hiring him to fix up his old one. Doug gets plenty of chances to ogle Lena from afar this way, but she then also starts flirting with him. A few key points about Elliot come up as well- he's r...Read the entire review




True New York

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 05:54:18 PST

Highly Recommended

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The Collection:

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Short documentaries rarely get their due. Sometimes they pop up on HBO or PBS. The rare few that get Oscar nominations might get packaged together in a program that will play briefly at the local arthouse.

That's why the new DVD collection True New York is such a treat. It brings together 5 documentaries from the past decade or so, which all offer striking portraits of New York characters from diverse walks of life. The films are all twenty to thirty minutes in length, and thankfully there is not a dud in the bunch. If you enjoy the mini-portraits featured on the Humans of New York website, True New York offers a more fleshed-out variation of that kind of empathetic anthropology.

The disc starts off with Jordan Ro...Read the entire review




Hairspray Live!

Thu, 26 Jan 2017 05:54:18 PST

Recommended

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Live musicals, broadcast as they were actually being performed with no post-production or editing involved, were once a staple of network TV during the 1950s and 60s. Recently there have been efforts to bring them back, with some networks committing to doing one per year and each has been quickly released on DVD afterwards. The latest of these is "Hairspray," which began in 1988 as a comedy from cult director John Waters (his first to be rated PG and a mainstream success), adapted as a Broadway musical in 2002 which was then made into a movie in 2007.

The story remains the same in all versions, though obviously the musical version works in several o...Read the entire review




Gimme Danger

Wed, 25 Jan 2017 15:39:58 PST

Recommended

(image) The Movie:

Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, Gimme Danger takes a look at the origins, impact and lasting legacy of late sixties Ann Arbor, Michigan rock act The Stooges. The movie approaches this pretty much all in chronological order, which means we get to learn about James Osterberg's home life growing up in a trailer with his parents before he discovered music. We learn about his early days playing drums in The Iguanas and then, of course, how he formed The Stooges with brothers Ron and Scott Asheton on guitar and drums respectively and with Dave Alexander on bass.

Hanging off of the MC5 to a certain degree, The Stooges quickly developed a decent following thanks to their unorthodox sound and Iggy's unparalleled ability to work up a crowd. We learn how they were signed to Elektra Records, and then dropped from their roster not that long afterwards, and we learn about ...Read the entire review




I Am Bolt

Mon, 23 Jan 2017 21:38:07 PST

Recommended

(image) The Movie:

There is a moment during I Am Bolt, the documentary of Usain Bolt as he prepared for the 2016 Olympics, that served as a bit of serendipity to its filmmakers Ben and Gabe Turner (The Class of 92). Bolt suffered an injury during heats for the 100 meters and there was uncertainty about him racing the next day, much less the Olympics. The tension was palpable and then a diffusing moment of laughter came, Bolt raced the next day and qualified and the rest was history.

Bolt's dominance in the 100 meter dash, the 200 meter and 4 x 100 meter races both individually and for the Jamaican national team has been amazing to watch for those unfamiliar to the sport. He dominated junior races before attempting to get to the 2004 Olympics but was derailed to injury, and debuted in 2008 with a vengeance, s...Read the entire review




Zero Days

Sat, 21 Jan 2017 12:03:09 PST

Highly Recommended

(image) The Movie:

If there is a shortlist of documentary directors whose films I would rush to see, I think these days it would be Werner Herzog, with Alex Gibney as a close second. His subjects are occasional lighter topics like The Armstrong Lie on the championship-winning cyclist fueled by performance enhancing drugs, but also, Going Clear on the secrecy and popularity of Scientology. But he manages to cover more serious topics as well, such as the one in Zero Days.

Gibney's film covers the events before and after the launch of the Stuxnet computer worm, a virus presumed to have been created by both the American and Israeli intelligence and technological communities in the hopes of incapa...Read the entire review




Road to the Well

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 09:02:43 PST

Rent It

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Director: Jon Cvack
Starring: Laurence Fuller, Micah Parker, Rosalie McIntire
Year: 2016

Road to the Well carries the feeling of five films wrapped into one, and never coalesces into something steady enough to stand upright while it's being pulled in a star of directions. It's a horror movie, a comedy, suspense, bizarre drama, an indie project, everything rolled into 100 minutes with no apologies given for the mess that is the final product. Jon Cvack definitely has an original idea, brings something darkly wacky to the screen, but ultimately fails to wrap it all up in order to fit it into one package. Some mistakes from a low-budget team are to be expected, but too many ruin whatever was the intended aim, a goal that...Read the entire review




Killer Rack

Tue, 17 Jan 2017 12:16:33 PST

Recommended

(image) Killer Rack:
Cult Auteur and Gore Comedy specialist Gregory Lamberson might not be the most prolific director; eleven films released since Slime City in 1988, (but filmed earlier) but you must admire his consistency. Killer Rack from 2015 perfectly captures Lamberson's entire ethos: a little fun, a little gore, a little sexuality and a little Lloyd Kaufman. This might be his most outrageous, and best movie yet, but it still feels like something Frank Henenlotter's genial cousin might have directed. If that sounds somewhat mild, I don't think Lamberson would mind. If you like the director's thing, you'll love Killer Rack.

Poor Betty (Jessica Zwolak) finds herself overlooked at work and unloved at home. People in her town are breast-obsessed, and she doesn't exactly stack up in that department. Enter Dr. Kate Thulu, (Debbie Rochon) plastic surgeon extraordinaire, and a ga...Read the entire review




Spaceman

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 13:18:24 PST

Rent It

(image) In 10 Words or Less
Being yourself doesn't pay in baseball

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Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: A good bio-pic
Likes: baseball, Josh Duhamel
Dislikes: promise unfulfilled
Hates: Drugs

The Movie
With the exception of the NBA, which puts superstars above anything else, the world of professional sports is not the place for individuals. Speak up or act out and you'll be smacked down hard. After all, that's what happens when being a part of a team is valued above anything else. So when there is a unique personality in sports, you tend to hear about it, usually because they go in trouble. And though Bill "Spaceman" Lee may not be too well-known today, he certainly was in his own time, as the skilled pitcher, one of the wi...Read the entire review




The IT Crowd: The Internet Is Coming

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 04:32:34 PST

Recommended

(image) In 10 Words or Less
Turning it off one last time

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Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: The IT Crowd, Moss
Likes: Britcoms
Dislikes: Series finales
Hates: The limited number of episodes in British sitcoms

The Story So Far...
Written and directed by Graham Linehan (Black Books) and produced by Ash Atalla (The Office), The IT Crowd was a British sitcom set at the help desk of a massive corporation (which oddly requires only a pair of analysts to service.) Roy (Chris O'Dowd) and Moss (Richard Ayoade) are socially-inept guys working in the basement peacefully and grudgingly helping the technologically inept, until a new boss is hired. Jen (Katherine Parkinson) knows nothing about computers, and...Read the entire review




The Tubes - Live At German Television: The Musikladen Concert 1981

Sat, 14 Jan 2017 05:03:02 PST

Recommended

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Unconventional rock band The Tubes was one of my favorites on early 1980s radio when first seriously discovering music, with their appealing keyboard and guitar melodies combined with often insane lyrics. Not having access to MTV I didn't really know much about their visual or stage persona until much later, when I acquired "The Tubes Video" on the obsolete CED videodisc format. This was an early attempt at a "video album" version of their 1981 "Completion Backward Principle" LP, with off-the-wall production numbers choreographed by future "High School Musical" director Kenny Ortega. In Germany, one of many countries that brought more daring music presentations to broadcast TV than the US (as well as having looser content restrictions), the band performed a 90-minute concert f...Read the entire review




Tales Of Poe

Thu, 12 Jan 2017 15:46:55 PST

Rent It

(image) The Film:


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Horror anthologies can be tough to evaluate, leaving one to ponder whether the individual stories should have cohesive elements or whether the whole production should even be critiqued as a complete work. Flicks like Trick-or-Treat are, of course, easier to figure out since they're tied together by something as unifying as the Halloween season, let alone that each one mildly intersects with the other in some way. Then there are those like Three Extremes, which are cleanly divided into disparate stories that share no connections and tap into different styles of...Read the entire review




Brother Nature

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 18:28:04 PST

Skip It

(image) For a brief period in the late-2000s, there was a short reign of comedies about relatively average men who were unwillingly thrown together with and subsequently tormented by an obnoxious weirdo, only for the weirdo to turn out lovable in the end. Although the names of most of these comedies escape me now -- the American Dinner for Schmucks comes to mind, as well as Due Date, and even Galifianakis' character in The Hangover feels like a version -- it was a trope, and a tiring one. Now, for almost a decade later, "SNL" cast and crew, including Taran Killam, Bobby Moynihan, writer Mikey Day, producer Lorne Michaels, and directors Oz Rodriguez and Matt Villines, have teamed up to give us Brother Nature -- arguably the worst example yet.

Killam, who co-wrote the script with Day, plays Roger, an incredibly organized aide for congressman Frank McClaren (Giancarlo Esposi...Read the entire review




Gunsmoke: The Twelfth Season, Volume 2

Wed, 11 Jan 2017 04:57:35 PST

Highly Recommended

(image) It took nearly two years but CBS/Paramount has finally gotten around to releasing Gunsmoke: The Twelfth Season (Volumes 1 & 2, 1966-67), the series' sixth year after transitioning from a 30-minute show to an hour one, and the first in color. I don't know but suspect previous seasons were remastered gradually, but that there was a general commitment to the show's black-and-white years. By the time the black-and-white seasons were done, the market for DVD has slipped to the point where the remaining nine seasons, all in color, remained in limbo for a time. Possibly the label is anxious to see how this two-volume set will sell before making a decision on the remaining seasons, perhaps hoping the allure of color shows on DVD for the first time will give it the little boost it could probably use.

In any case, episodes look great, far superior to the handful of color shows released as part of ...Read the entire review