Archive for the ‘DVD’ Category

DVD Review ‘The Hardy Boys: Season Three’

February 10, 2013

Hardy BoysNostalgic fans of this family-friendly detective series have had to wait nearly six years for its third and final season to reach DVD, after Universal abandoned it without sealing the deal. But good old Shout! Factory has taken care to complete it, even using box art in the style of the first two releases. It’s due at retail Tuesday.

The big difference, of course, is that this isn’t The Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew Mysteries, with alternating or crossover shows featuring the boy detective brothers played by Shaun Cassidy and Parker Stevenson and the girl detective played by Pamela Sue Martin. It’s only the The Hardy Boys this time, and with only 10 episodes.

But if you savor late-’70s styles and innocent yet earnest entertainment, you’d do well to hitch a ride with Frank and Joe Hardy as they visit exotic settings to solve cryptic mysteries and crimes. This time they’ve grown up from amateur sleuths in college to professional agents for the Justice Department. (more…)

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Blu-Ray/DVD Review ‘Magic Mike’ and Matthew McConaughey: Match Made in — heathenism?

October 28, 2012

I must admit: As a former University of Texas boy, I enjoy seeing another fellow alum, Matthew McConaughey, show his Longhorn spirit on screen.

I don’t mean when he’s domesticated for romantic comedies like The Wedding Planner or How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. Matthew, after all, didn’t go to Baylor. I mean when he’s a life-loving, boisterous, cocky, roguish scoundrel as in Dazed and Confused, Tropic Thunder and now Magic Mike, new on Blu-ray and DVD from Warner Bros.

As the owner of a male strip club in Florida, Matthew’s “Dallas” is the kind of guy that extends naturally from his own Austin persona. You know — playing bongo drums naked while enjoying a smoke, if you know what I mean. But he’s also a savvy businessman at heart who gets the job done, from showing his newbie “dancers” the ropes to making sure he makes as much profit as possible from the “ladies” who frequent his club. (more…)

Blu-ray/DVD Review Glee: The Complete Third Season

August 19, 2012

If you love Glee as I do, you record episodes as they air and quickly watch them again, so having them on Blu-ray or DVD is an archival kind of thing. One day, I plan to watch the entire series again in sequence — or “From the top!”, as Will said in the pilot. But until then, the things that grab me the most about having Glee on discs is the extras. And Glee: The Complete Third Season, new from Fox on Blu-ray and DVD, has plenty of them.

Unfortunately, Season Three on disc doesn’t have all of them, which is even more glaring given the fact that Twitter newbie Ryan Murphy has recently unveiled several deleted scenes from Glee’s third season, NONE of which, that I can see, appears on the new Blu-ray (and, I’m assuming, the new DVD). (more…)

DVD Review: ‘Hazel: The Complete Third Season’

May 13, 2012

Three seasons and 99 episodes down, two seasons and 55 episodes to go. That’s Hazel, the 1961-66 family sitcom about the titular live-in maid (Shirley Booth) who was the busiest of busybodies yet still was  beloved by her adoptive Baxter family and every curmudgeon she stared down with her down-to-earth advice.

The formula continues for 1963-64’s Season 3 from NBC, whose 32 episodes are new on DVD Tuesday from Shout! Factory.

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Blu-ray/DVD Review ‘New Year’s Eve’: All-Stars go only so far — but no disaster

April 29, 2012

The world hasn’t seen name-dropping all-star casts like this since the disaster-movie binge of the ’70s. But is New Year’s Eve (due Tuesday from Warner) a disaster?

Not really, despite scathing reviews and a tepid total domestic  box office of $54 million. The film should play better on video, anyway, since it’s not about spectacle so much as sentiment — though often to a fault.

OK, director Garry Marshall (culprit of the similar and even lesser Valentine’s Day) isn’t as amusing and charming as he used to be. But he runs a fun set, and the huge cast clearly enjoyed this romp through NYC on Dec. 31, with many (too many) stories and characters entwining as the film leads up to the big Times Square “Happy New Year!”

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DVD Review ‘Ernie Kovacs: The ABC Specials’: A real surrealist

April 15, 2012

Even many Baby Boomers may not recall Ernie Kovacs, a maverick comedian who died in a car crash in 1962, just shy of his 43rd birthday. But the cigar-chomping iconoclast is worth celebrating, since he set the stage for so much off-the-wall TV humor to come, from Monty Python to Saturday Night Live — and beyond.

Now Shout! Factory is releasing a treasure from Kovacs’ final output, Ernie Kovacs: The ABC Specials, with five of the eight half-hour shows he did for the network in the last year of his life. (more…)

DVD Review: ‘Tennessee Tuxedo And His Tales’ — A details-driven look at simpler times

March 11, 2012

Your fondness for Tennessee Tuxedo And His Tales: The Complete Collection should owe much to nostalgia for the ’60s ‘toon character, as well as tolerant appreciation of animation that’s limited without being charm-challenged. Both such things should make this elaborate set a treat for aficionados.

But let’s keep it real.

Due Tuesday from good ol’ Shout! Factory — true keepers of vintage flames —  the extensive set’s 2D animation is so far from today’s state of the art that I can’t imagine many current kids warming to it, even though it’s aimed largely at them. But then, modest animation didn’t stop Jay Ward’s Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoons from being widely considered as among the best ever for TV. (more…)

DVD Review ‘Here Come the Brides: The Complete Second Season’

February 25, 2012

Again, Shout! Factory comes to the rescue of fans who have waited years to see another season of a beloved show. Last week it was Hazel, with its second season. This week it’s Here Come the Brides, also with its second.

Each show’s first season hit DVD years ago from Sony, then — nothing. Now the payoff, though this marks the end of the line for Brides, which ended at Season Two, while Hazel lasted three more years.

Many nostalgic fans worship Here Come the Brides  in part for what it’s not: vulgar, crude, edgy, lewd. Instead, the 1968-70 series was a oasis of good-hearted family values at a time when America was in an uproar over racial divides, the Vietnam War, the spaced-out counter culture and the so-called Generation Gap. (more…)

Glee: The Concert Movie Blu-ray and DVD review: Hits and misses

December 23, 2011

Yes, Glee: The Concert Movie flopped in theaters — was not boffo at the b.o. during its limited two-week run — but there’s no shame in that. It did gross over $18.6 million in domestic and foreign markets, which was twice its production cost, and it’s sure to get many more viewers now via the new  Blu-ray and DVD release.

Plus, what all the nay-sayers and doom predictors of Glee conveniently overlook when they trample a trifle such as this concert flick is that the show they dismiss is an iTunes powerhouse. When Glee delivers strong contemporary pop instead of stale Broadway standards, it’s boffo, all right — in music sales. And music is what drives this show, sets it apart and makes it so special, whether delivered in episodes on the air, on a sold-out concert tour, in a mismanaged concert movie, on CD or via downloads.

Was Glee’s recent mashup of Adele’s Rumour Has It and Someone Like You a stiff? Does it reflect a slide in Glee’s popularity? Actually, no. It’s part of Glee’s 36 million-plus digital singles sales and was #1 on iTunes. So while TV ratings plateau, here’s a no-brainer alert: Glee’s music still matters. It serves stories as on other TV series. It makes people happy. It’s impactful. It sells. Haters, deal with it.

But I will say the concert movie is an inviting target.  It didn’t fully work. And why is that?

What I see here is a missed opportunity — make that many misses. (more…)

Blu-ray/DVD Review ‘Rise of Planet of the Apes’: No boos for reboots

December 13, 2011

From Star Trek to Batman to, now, Planet of the Apes, reboots have proven their mettle. Reboots are good. In fact, as in such simian cinema, reboots can be fantastic.

Yes, let’s get to the superlatives for this reboot of the 1968-born Apes series, rather than the unsatisfying “re-imagining” of the first two films by Tim Burton in 2001. It was time — and this time, they got it right by entwining the tale with an Outer Limits-style story of a scientist who dares to do great things but, in his bold reach, unleashes twisted results in the process.

These involve an Alzheimer’s cure turning into a monkey brain steroid, leading to a revolt of the San Francisco Bay Area’s simians, and I don’t mean bikers. From testing labs to the zoo, apes erupt onto SF’s scenic settings in a scary yet applaudable attack on human repression. And if that means facing down SF SWATs on the GGB, then it’s more than an anachronym. It’s anarchy — and deliriously entertaining.

I’ve lived in San Francisco, and there’s no more scenic city — and no better setting for a movie, especially one with warped weirdness.   From Vertigo to 1978’s remake of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, there’s a strange symbiosis between sinister doings and a city where a chilly fog drifts across steep hills in the dead of night. And Apes, while also ranging beyond SF, taps that element.

OK, I’m not the biggest James Franco fan, but he does the job here with gravity and sincerity as the scientist whose “cure” turns tables on human-ape dominance. The tale also recalls Flowers For Algernon (Charly, to movie fans) as well as The Outer Limits’ The Sixth Finger, an accelerated evolution story with perhaps the greatest character arc in screen history.

So yes, Apes is damn interesting and intriguing, apart form all the action and flash. And the CG is as good as it gets. Go Ape. You’ll be glad you did.

— Bruce Westbrook