Archive for the ‘DVD’ Category

DVD Review of MST3K The Singles Collection: It Lives!

May 15, 2018

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Egad! With Eegah and others back, it’s not the end of the line for new DVD box sets of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Shout! Factory’s May 22 debut of The Singles Collection brings back six out-of-print titles first issued only as single discs during Rhino’s run releasing the show.

And not only that, but the discs sport lots of juicy new extras, including the mini-documentaries we’ve grown to love with great thanks to writer-director Daniel Griffith and his Ballyhoo productions.

No theme? No problem. The six titles are: The Crawling Hand (1963, Episode 106); The Hellcats (1968, Episode 209); Santa Claus Conquers the Martians (1964, Episode 321); Eegah (1962, Episode 506); I Accuse My Parents (1944, Episode 507); and Shorts Volume 3 (collecting seven shorts from various MST episodes — two with Joel, five with Mike). (Remarkably, all six discs are neatly packaged in a plastic case the same size as the single-disc cases in which they first came individually.)

As for those extras, besides trailers they include some real goodies:

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‘Liquid Sky’ Blu-ray/DVD Review”: Strange Trip

April 24, 2018

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Liquid Sky is one of those movies I can recommend, but with trepidation. That’s because it’s not for everyone — not by a long shot — and I don’t want to encourage the wrong audience, who will hate it. But for those who can handle the film’s perverse pleasures — namely, its twisted beauty offset by an ugly, corpse-filled, drug-drenched sci-fi plot amid New York’s early ’80s club scene — then this strange trip is for you.

I say this with deference to qualifying remarks because I recall showing another gritty, edgy New York indie to a couple who once visited my wife and me — with emphasis on the word “once,” since we never saw them again. That film was Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which I found to be an inspired rock odyssey of raw yet oddly tender sexual passions. Yet if you’ve seen it, you know that Hedwig isn’t for everyone, either.

So for Liquid Sky (slang for heroin), you’re both warned and encouraged. As a Rocky Horror sign would say, enter at your own risk.

Due April 24 in a Blu-ray/DVD combo pack from Vinegar Syndrome, this 1982 film is as strange as they come. How strange?

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Houston Astros World Series Collector’s Edition Review: Batter Up

December 5, 2017

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If you’re a Houston Astros fan like me, you saved each World Series game (well, each game the Astros won, at least) on your DVR and have been re-watching them since the Spacemen won it all on Nov. 1. But now you have a better option.

Today (Tuesday, Dec. 5), Shout! Factory and Major League Baseball release the Houston Astros 2017 World Series Collector’s Edition — an eight-disc set on Blu-ray and DVD featuring all seven World Series games against the Los Angeles Dodgers as well as Game 7 of the American League Championship Series versus the New York Yankees.

Also due today from Shout! Factory and MLB is a 90 minute 2017 World Series Film produced by MLB and giving closeups and behind-the-scenes looks at the epic event. For my review of that, please see the preceding link.

As for the new box set with those eight games in their entirety, yes, you’ve seen them already. But now you can see them without commercials and free up space on your DVR. And beyond that, there’s an extra feature which really boosts this set into orbit: alternate audio tracks.

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Ernie Kovacs’ ‘Take a Good Look’ DVD Review: Early Edginess

October 13, 2017

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You don’t expect to find old TV game shows on DVD, but the wacky work of early tube comedy master Ernie Kovacs is an exception. Rife with historic value, his series and specials already are widespread on DVD. And now his 1959-61 ABC series, Take a Good Look, joins them in a nearly complete box set.

The weekly show lasted 53 episodes, and a whopping 49 come to light via Shout! Factory’s Oct. 17 release of a seven-disc Ernie Kovacs: Take a Good Look: The Definitive Collection.

The show is — well, what? A parody, a mocking, a send-up, an homage, a rip-off?  You decide. But it clearly follows the essence of other popular game shows in which a panel of celebs tries to guess someone’s identity. (Think What’s My Line, To Tell the Truth and I’ve Got a Secret.) Kovacs’ spin was to add brief film clips, sketches and sight gags as vague clues.

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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…)

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…)