‘The Aspern Papers’ Is A Surprisingly Entertaining New Take on James’ Classic Novella

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group/Summerstorm Entertainment/Princeps Films

Almost 200 years have passed since author Henry James first published his novella The Aspern Papers in The Atlantic Monthly.  The story, based on the letters that Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote to Mary Shelley’s Claire Clairemont, has been adapted in many forms since that original publication, even adapted on stage in 1959 by actor Michael Redgrave, father one Vanessa Redgrave.  Redgrave is, ironically, one of the lead stars of the latest cinematic adaptation of the story from Summerstorm Entertainment, Princeps Films and Cohen Media Group. That adaptation was released on DVD and Blu-ray April 9 after a short limited domestic theatrical run early this year.  This adaptation has been met with very mixed reviews since its theatrical debut, with critics and audiences alike either loving it or hating it.  There has proven to be no middle ground, as is obvious in reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, IMDB and Amazon.  Those who have criticized the movie are sadly missing out on all that the movie has to offer, including but not limited to, its central story, which will be discussed shortly.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as notable as its script, and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content that is featured with the movie’s home release is also notable in its own right.  Each item noted here is critical in its own way to the whole of The Aspern Papers.  All things considered, they make this latest take on Henry James’ timeless novella a work that is well worth the watch by any lovers of the literary arts.

Summerstorm Entertainment, Princeps Films and Cohen Media Group’s adaptation of author Henry James’ timeless novella The Aspern Papers is a surprisingly enjoyable take on his classic work.  It is a presentation that lovers of the literary arts and theater will deeply appreciate.  That is proven in part through the movie’s story. The story centers on American editor Morton Vint (Jonathan Rhys Meyers – Vikings, The Tudors, The 12th Man) as he pursues a collection of letters written between poet Jeffrey Aspern (Jon Kortajarena – The Cliff, Skins, Andron) and his mistress Juliana (Vanessa Redgrave ­– Mission: Impossible, Atonement, Coriolanus and Alice Aufray – un village Presque parfait).  While Morton, who is obsessed with Aspern’s works, does not know exactly what is contained within the letters, viewers are presented with a very dark secret about Juliana and Jeffrey’s past.  That secret will not be given away here, for the sake of those who have not yet watched the movie.  What will be said though, is that this gothic type of story is very similar to that of author Dianne Setterfield’s debut novel The Thirteenth Tale.  One cannot help but wonder, in watching the story, if perhaps James’ novella was in fact the influence behind her novel.  Getting back on the subject at hand, Morton becomes so obsessed with his search for the elusive letters that he lets his obsession get the better of himself.  The end result is a powerful finale that brings full closure for audiences.  What is even more interesting about the story is that while it is a cinematic adaptation of a literary work (which has always been commonplace in Hollywood), the work of the movie’s cast makes the story that much more interesting.

The work of the movie’s cast strengthens the movie’s presentation in part because it helps to pull audiences into the movie that much more.  Starting with Meyers, his work is one of the most lamented of the movie’s performances.  Given, he does come across as being rather creepy to say the very least.  At the same time though, those viewers and critics are not seeing past the creepy factor.  What he is clearly trying to portray is Morton’s overt obsession with Aspern and his obsessed drive to get those papers for his own personal use.  It actually translates well.  Yes, Meyers did go a bit over the top in his performance.  At the same time though, a close watch and analysis of his performance does reveal what he was aiming to achieve in his performance.  It makes for a certain appreciation for his work.

The work of Meyers’ cast mates – Redgrave and Joely Richardson (The Patriot, Nip/Tuck, Event Horizon) – is just as noteworthy as that of Meyers.  Redgrave is wonderful as the bitter, older Juliana.  That is especially evident in her time on screen with Meyers.  Juliana’s sharp retorts to Morton’s comments and questions shows a clear confidence that developed as a result of her dark past, which she refuses to discuss with Morton.  It makes Juliana a very sympathetic character in a strange, but appealing way.

Richardson’s take on Juliana meanwhile is just as enjoyable.  That is because despite critics’ assertions, her portrayal actually shows that there is strong character development in this presentation. Audiences see Miss Tina gradually grow from a very quiet, reserved, insecure figure at the story’s opening to a very self-confident woman by the story’s finale.  From her initial meeting with Morton to the gradual infatuation with him to her eventual self-realization, viewers see her become a wholly new person by the story’s end.  That realization comes after Tina makes a very stunning discovery, which – again – plays directly into the story.  That discovery will not be revealed here.  However, it is key to the story’s development.  When Richardson’s work is considered along with that of the veteran performer Redgrave and fellow actor Meyers, the whole of the trio’s work gives the movie the feel – ironically – of a stage play that has been adapted to the small screen.  The term “ironically” is used because of the fact that as previously noted, James’ original novella has been adapted to the stage back in 1959.  The cast’s work here (along with the sets) really creates that sense of the work more as a stage play on screen than a movie.  That is not a bad thing, either.  Rather, it serves to help maintain viewers’ engagement and entertainment.  The collective work of the movie’s cast and its aesthetic effect goes a long way to helping make The Aspern Papers an interesting watch.  It is not the last of the movie’s most notable elements. The bonus content that comes with the movie’s home release rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus content featured with the home release of The Aspern Papers adds even more to the movie’s overall presentation due to what it reveals.  Viewers learn in watching the bonus content, that The Aspern Papers was filmed on-site in Venice, Italy instead of in a sound stage.  The reasoning will be left here for audiences to discover for themselves.  Viewers also learn through the bonus content, the motivations behind each actor’s presentation along with the revelation that The Aspern Papers was the directorial debut for Julie Landais.  This is minor on the surface, but on a deeper level, it adds more appreciation to the movie in that it shows his ability to lead a project and get good shots and performances.  The cinematography and other items are also discussed throughout the movie’s bonus content.  The rest of that content will be left – again – for viewers to discover on their own.  When all of the bonus content is considered alongside the work of the movie’s cast and the movie’s script, the whole of The Aspern Papers proves to be a presentation that is worth far more credit than what so many viewers and critics have given the movie.

Summerstorm Entertainment, Princeps Films and Cohen Media Group’s adaptation of author Henry James’ timeless novella The Aspern Papers is a surprisingly enjoyable take on his classic work.  Those who have criticized the movie have clearly missed the nuances and elements that make it so enjoyable.  Between its gothic-style story, the engaging and entertaining work of the movie’s cast and the movie’s bonus content, the presentation in whole offers plenty to appreciate.  The noted elements collectively make The Aspern Papers a work that lovers of the literary arts and the theater will thoroughly enjoy and a sleeper hit in this year’s field of independent cinematic releases.  More information on this and other titles from Cohen Media Group is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://cohenmedia.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CohenMediaGroup

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cohenmediagroup

 

 

 

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ABKCO To Release Archived Rolling Stones Concert

Courtesy; ABKCO Films/ABKCO Music & Records

The Rolling Stones’ fans are getting another archived show from the band this summer.

ABKCO Films and ABKCO Music & Records will release The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus June 7.  Originally recorded over the course of two days in December 1968 at the BBC Studios to promote the band’s then new album Beggar’s Banquet, the show ended up not being aired after then bassist Brian Jones left the band and later died.  The recording’s trailer is streaming now here.

Along with six vintage performances from The Rolling Stones, the recording also features performances from Taj Mahal, John Lennon, Marianne Faithful, Jethro Tull and The Who.

The performances are complimented by bonus content, such as interviews with John Lennon, Pete Townshend, and a handful of extra performances from Taj Mahal and Julius Katchen.  The full track listing for The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus is noted below along with the recording’s bonus content.

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus (4K FILM)

THE FILM

Song For Jeffrey – Jethro Tull

A Quick One While He’s Away – The Who

Ain’t That A Lot Of Love – Taj Mahal

Something Better – Marianne Faithfull

Yer Blues – The Dirty Mac

Whole Lotta Yoko – Yoko Ono & Ivry Gitlis, and The Dirty Mac

Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones

Parachute Woman – The Rolling Stones

No Expectations – The Rolling Stones

You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones

Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones

Salt Of The Earth – The Rolling Stones

 

EXTRAS

Widescreen Feature, Aspect Ratio: 16:9 (65 min)

Pete Townshend Interview, Aspect Ratio: 4×3 (18 min)

The Dirty Mac:

‘Yer Blues’ Tk2 Quad Split, Aspect Ratio: 4×3 (5:43)

Taj Mahal:

-Checkin’ Up On My Baby, Aspect Ratio: 4×3 (5:37)

-Leaving Trunk, Aspect Ratio: 4×3 (6:20)

-Corinna, Aspect Ratio: 4×3 (3:49)

Julius Katchen:

de Falla: Ritual Fire Dance, Aspect Ratio: 4×3 (6:30)

-Mozart: Sonata In C Major-1st MovementAspect Ratio: 4×3 (2:27)

Mick & The Tiger/ Luna & The Tiger, Ratio: 4×3 (1:35) 

Bill Wyman & The Clowns, Aspect Ratio: 4×3 (2:00)

Lennon, Jagger, & Yoko backstage, Aspect Ratio: 4×3 (45sec)

 

FILM COMMENTARY TRACKS:

Life Under The Big Top (Artists) Featuring: Mick Jagger, Ian Anderson, Taj Mahal, Yoko Ono, Bill Wyman, Keith Richards (65 min)

Framing The Show (Director & Cinematographer) Featuring: Michael Lindsay HoggTony Richmond (65 min)

Musings (artists, writer, fan who was there) Featuring: Marianne FaithfullDavid DaltonDavid Stark (50 min)

 

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus Expanded Audio Edition

1. Mick Jagger’s Introduction Of Rock And Roll Circus – Mick Jagger

2. Entry Of The Gladiators – Circus Band


3. Mick Jagger’s Introduction Of Jethro Tull – Mick Jagger


4. Song For Jeffrey – Jethro Tull

5. Keith Richards’ Introduction Of The Who – Keith Richards

6. A Quick One While He’s Away – The Who


7. Over The Waves – Circus Band


8. Ain’t That A Lot Of Love – Taj Mahal

9. Charlie Watts’ Introduction Of Marianne Faithfull – Charlie Watts

10. Something Better – Marianne Faithfull


11. Mick Jagger’s and John Lennon’s Introduction Of The Dirty Mac

12. Yer Blues – The Dirty Mac

13. Whole Lotta Yoko – Yoko Ono & Ivry Gitlis with The Dirty Mac

14. John Lennon’s Introduction Of The Rolling Stones + Jumpin’ Jack Flash – The Rolling Stones


15. Parachute Woman – The Rolling Stones


16. No Expectations – The Rolling Stones


17. You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones


18. Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones


19. Salt Of The Earth – The Rolling Stones

BONUS TRACKS

20. Checkin’ Up On My Baby – Taj Mahal

21. Leaving Trunk – Taj Mahal


22. Corinna – Taj Mahal


23. Revolution (rehearsal) – The Dirty Mac

24. Warmup Jam – The Dirty Mac

25. Yer Blues (take 2) – The Dirty Mac


26. Brian Jones’ Introduction of Julius Katchen – Brian Jones

27. de Falla: Ritual Fire Dance – Julius Katchen


28. Mozart: Sonata In C Major-1st Movement – Julius Katchen 

Courtesy: ABKCO Films/ABKCO Music & Records

The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus will be available on digital download and limited deluxe edition Blu-ray/DVD/2CD.  The soundtrack will be available on 3LP vinyl set, CD and digital platforms.  The deluxe edition release of the film features a 44-page book that includes David Dalton’s original 1969 Rolling Stones essay and photographs by Michael Randolph.

Pre-orders for The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus are open now. An unboxing video for the set is streaming online here.

More information on this and other titles from ABKCO Music & Records is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.abkco.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/abkco

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ABKCO

 

The Rolling Stones’ latest news and more is available online now at:

Website: http://www.rollingstones.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/therollingstones

Twitter: http://twitter.com/RollingStones

 

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Eagle Rock Entertainment Taking Audiences Through The Life Of The Police In New Doc

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

Eagle Rock Entertainment will release a new documentary about The Police next month.

The PoliceEveryone Stares — The Police Inside Out is set for release May 31 on DVD, Blu-ray and digital.  The doc’s trailer is streaming herePre-orders are open now.

The documentary, which starts in the winter of 1978, tells the story of The Police from the viewpoint of its famed drummer Stewart Copeland. The band’s evolution is followed throughout the course of the documentary. He talked about the documentation in a recent interview.

“In 1978, when I was a member of the struggling rock band called The Police, I scraped together enough money to buy a super 8 movie camera,” he said.  “As soon as I raised it to my eye and started filming, amazing things began to happen.  It was like watching a movie unfold as the band sparked a fire that lit up the world for us.  Everyone Stares is that movie.”

Rare live footage of The Police performing serves as the “soundtrack” to the documentary, while Copeland’s own words serve as the doc’s narration.  Speaking of commentary, the documentary features an additional 20 minutes of footage and commentary from Copeland and his band mate Andy Summers as bonus content.

From its humble beginnings way back in the late 1970s, The Police have gone on to develop a fan base that spans the world.  The band has earned six Grammy awards, two Brit awards and have been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

More information on The PoliceEveryone Stares — The Police Inside Out and all of The Police’s latest news and more is available online at:

 

Website: http://www.thepolice.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thepolice

 

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online at:

Website: http://www.eagle-rock.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/EagleRockEnt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

 

 

GKIDS, Shout! Factory’s New Miyazaki Doc Is An Engaging New Look At A Legendary Animator

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/GKids Films

Creating hand-drawn features is a dying art if not a dead one.  Computers have taken over the world of animation.  One look at the offerings on the big and small screen alike serve to support those statements.  For all of the studios and animators who rely far too much on computer generated animation, there are still some holdouts, rare as they are, who work to continue the tradition of using their own hands to create instead of computers.  One of those holdouts is the famed animator Hayao Miyazaki.  Miyazaki has created a number of hand-drawn features that have gone on to become some of the most well-known and beloved works in the world of anime.  Those features include, but are not limited to Spirited Away, Kiki’s Delivery Service and Howl’s Moving Castle.  In 2015, the famed animator officially announced his retirement.  However, that retirement was short-lived, as the new documentary Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki points out.  Set for release April 30, this new look into the mind of a man who is among the last of a dying breed, follows Miyazaki as he works to create a new CGI animated short, which leads to a surprise finale that (not to give away too much) will make the most devoted anime fans squeal with joy.  That story of Miyazaki’s struggle with himself and with his team of animators is certain to keep audiences engaged.  It will be discussed at more length shortly.  The bonus material featured with the documentary is both a boon and burden to the whole of the doc.  The feature’s average price point rounds out the most important of its elements, and will also be discussed later.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of the documentary.  All things considered, they make Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki a surprisingly engaging presentation not just for anime fans but for fans of the animation realm in general.

Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki is a surprisingly interesting documentary that is certain to engage not only longtime fans of the famed animator and his work, but also fans of animation in general.  This is proven in large part through the story at the center of the 70-minute documentary.  The story follows Miyazaki from his retirement announcement to his revelation that he feels his career is not yet complete and through his efforts to create his animated short about a caterpillar, and the struggles that come with its creation.  The struggles happen because Miyazaki, who has created all of his famed features by hand, reluctantly agrees to give CGI a chance in the short’s creation.  The doubts that he expresses about using CGI and about his own place in the animation world are very real.  Given his ruminations do seem a bit overly existential at times, but considering his accomplishments and what he has done for the animation world, one can understand why he would doubt himself so much.  Keeping this in mind and Miyazaki’s continued dedication to creating something that will stand out, those sometimes overly dramatic thoughts can be forgiven

While some of Miyazaki’s thoughts are at times overly dramatic, his dedication to creating animation by hand is welcoming.  That is especially the case as a group of individuals proposes to him, the use of artificial intelligence, to create his animated short.  What the group presents upsets him greatly, and he does not mince words about his thoughts on what he sees, either.  On a similar note, his comments about pushing the group of animators who are working on his short because of his desire for them to make the short perfect shows once more, that dedication to his craft.  It really serves to humanize Miyazaki even more, while also reminding audiences that while hand drawn animation may be a dying art, it is not yet dead.  It gives hope that one day animators will return to that style.  The collective of Miyazaki’s story and the virtual love letter to hand drawn animation that is featured here gives viewers plenty to appreciate in this presentation.  Of course it is just one of the elements featured in the presentation.  The bonus abridged, English-dubbed version of the story is both a pro and a con that cannot be ignored.

The English-dubbed version of Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki has to be addressed in part because on one hand, it is an English-dubbed take on the doc.  That means no reason to be focused on the subtitles the whole time instead of actually watching the feature.  To a point, that can be considered a good thing.  That is because having that added focus serves to ensure even more, viewers’ engagement.  On the other hand, one cannot help but wonder why the English-dubbed version of the documentary is shorter than the original 70-minute Japanese version of the program.  One could argue that cutting the run time by more than 20 minutes for English-speaking audiences is a punishment of sorts to said viewers.  Why not just make a full-length English-dub?  Keeping that in mind, one cannot help but wonder if the English-language dubbed take on the movie is really such a bonus.  Sure, it’s English-dubbed, but it is also shorter than the Japanese original.  What’s more it is not the difficult to focus on the subtitles and the footage in the Japanese take of the program.  Keeping all of this in mind, this documentary could have done gone just as well without the shortened English-language as with it.  A better bonus would have been the footage not used in the final cut of the documentary.  At least that would have created a fuller picture for audiences.  That is because the noted footage serves in its own way to show why it was deleted.  In turn it lets viewers create their own discussion whether they think it should have been cut from the final product.  Again, it makes the shortened English-dubbed take of the program less of a bonus than perhaps it was intended to be.  Luckily, even though the program’s bonus content is a bit of a misstep, it is not so much of a misstep that it makes the program unwatchable.  Rather, it is a minor disservice to the program’s presentation.  The presentation’s primary content more than makes up for that issue, and is worth the relatively affordable average price point.

The average price point of this documentary, using price listings at Shout! Factory’s store, Walmart, Amazon, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million, is $23.16.  The least expensive of those listings is, fittingly, Shout! Factory’s listing, at $18.97.  All of the other listings easily top the $20 mark.  Considering that the doc is presented here on DVD and Blu-ray, paying $18.97 plus shipping and handling may push the price above the $20 mark, but still results in a price that is still quite affordable.  What’s more it is money well-spent for a documentary that anime and animation fans are certain to watch more than once.  That relatively affordable price, coupled with the strength of the documentary’s main feature makes Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki a positive offering from GKids and Shout! Factory that is certain to engage a wide range of viewers.

Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki, the new documentary following the famed animator as he faces life after retirement, is a work that is certain to engage and entertain fans of anime and animation in general.  That is due primarily through the documentary’s main feature.  The average price point of $23.16 is not overly expensive, considering the fact that the doc is presented on DVD and Blu-ray in one setting.  That puts the presentation’s price range at a little more than $10 per disc.  Keeping all of this in mind, Never-Ending Man: Hayao Miyazaki proves to be an endearing documentary that will appeal to a wide range of viewers.  That is even with the issue of the doc’s bonus content and lack thereof.  The program will be available April 30.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from GKids is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://gkids.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GKIDSfilms

Twitter: http://twitter.com/GKIDSfilms

 

 

 

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Devoted Movie Buffs Will Enjoy CMG’s New Buster Keaton Bio

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Buster Keaton is a legend among icons in the entertainment industry. His work early in his life on the Vaudeville circuit, along with his work in movies and television has gone on to be an unrivaled model for so many of today’s entertainers.  Late last year, independent movie studio Cohen Media Group paid tribute to Keaton and his timeless work with the debut of a new documentary titled The Great Buster.  The movie made its theatrical debut on October 5.  Early this month, Cohen Media Group released the doc on Blu-ray.  It goes without saying that the feature is a fitting tribute for Keaton.  That is at least in terms of its primary content.  Where the doc’s main content is an engaging and entertaining presentation, its bonus content is somewhat problematic.  It will be addressed a little bit later.  The single-disc presentation’s price point makes the item overall worth spending, especially for the most devoted cinephiles.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of The Great Buster.  All things considered, they make The Great Buster maybe not great, but still a very good offering for its noted target audiences.

Cohen Media Group’s new Buster Keaton profile The Great Buster is a fitting tribute for the legendary entertainer.  That is proven in large part through the documentary’s main feature, which outlines, in depth, Keaton’s career from his early days on stage with his parents in the Vaudeville circuit to his meteoric rise to fame in the cinematic world to his downfall and eventual resurrection (of sorts) following the noted decline.  The story  is told through the words of the doc’s narrator/director Peter Bogadnovich, anecdotes and thoughts from Keaton’s contemporaries and those who have called Keaton an influence in their own rise to fame. They include, but are not limited to Mel Brooks, Bill Hader, Ben Manckiewicz, Johnny Knoxville and Richard Lewis.  Knoxville talks in his interviews about the role that Keaton’s physical comedy played in the stunts performed on his famed MTV series Jackass while Hader discusses Keaton’s on-screen demeanor and how that played into his own performances.  Brooks offers his own praise for Keaton, going so far as to call Keaton a comic genius.

The celeb showcase featured in The Great Buster is a good addition to the doc’s presentation, and certainly is not the only important part of the story of Keaton’s life and career. Audiences will be surprised to learn of the struggle that Keaton faced during his years at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM).  As Bogdanovich notes in his narration, Keaton lost all creative control when he signed on to work for MGM.  The result was a series of movies that ultimately flopped at the box office.  Bogdanovich discusses this a little more in depth in the doc’s bonus content, which will be addressed a little bit later on.  This is just one of the interesting items revealed in the rather fast-paced bio of Keaton.  The most devoted cinephiles will be just as interested to learn that Keaton allegedly did not stop a biopic of him from being made later in his life.  That was because the money that Keaton received paid for the home in which Keaton would live through the rest of his life.  Interestingly enough, it is revealed that the biopic – like so many of the biopics that Hollywood continues to churn out today – was anything but factual.  It’s more proof that audiences should not watch biopics, but rather learn about their favorite figures through presentations such as The Great Buster.  As if all that has been noted already is not enough, viewers also learn through this presentation that Keaton suffered multiple broken bones throughout his career – much like Johnny Knoxville – and that Keaton’s bits were even a central influence for much of what is seen in Warner Brothers’ equally timeless Looney Tunes shorts.  Watching the clips that are incorporated into the doc to help tell Keaton’s story, it is easy to see the similarities between Keaton’s work and so many Looney Tunes shorts.  The note that Keaton was honored late in life, not long before his death showed that while his star might have faded over the course of his career, it never fully burned out.  It’s just one more of so many elements that makes the main feature of The Great Buster fully engaging and entertaining.  Of course, as engaging and entertaining as the program’s main feature is, the bonus content that accompanies that content detracts from the doc’s presentation a little bit.

The bonus conversation with Peter Bogdanovich is slightly problematic because while it does add a little bit of extra to the doc’s foundation, it only adds a little bit at best.  Bogdanovich notes in his discussion, that MGM admittedly did not know what to do with Keaton once he had been signed.  That might account for why he was so unhappy making his movies with the studio, and why the end product allegedly did not do so well.  Bogdanovich also notes during his discussion why he decided to close out the profile with a focus on Keaton’s early works instead of the standard format of ending with Keaton’s passing.  That in itself is an interesting discussion, considering that he did not follow the standard bio format that so many outlets use for their profiles.  Other than these notes, not much else is added to the main story.  Making things a little bit more problematic is the audio mix on the presentation.  The discussion takes place in a live setting, complete with moderator and audience.  Because the audience members who ask questions don’t get to use a mic, they are not heard, even as the person behind the boards pumps up the volume. All that is heard as they ask their questions, is a very loud, unbearable buzzing sound.  Making matters worse, so much of Bogdanovich’s discussion is difficult to hear in itself because he seems to be holding his microphone right against his mouth throughout the discussion.  The result of that is a very garbled delivery that takes a few listens each time in order to at least mostly decipher.  Overall, the presentation here detracts quite noticeably from the overall presentation of The Great Buster.  Perhaps the only positive to the whole thing is the revelation by Cohen’s head, that the company has obtained the rights to many of Keaton’s shorts from the 20s.  It leaves movie buffs hoping that sooner rather than later, they will see those timeless shorts released for enjoyment once again.  Keeping all of this in mind, the bonus content that accompanies the main presentation of The Great Buster honestly does not do much to help the overall presentation.  It doesn’t necessarily make the program unwatchable either.  To that end, the collective primary and secondary content presented in this doc makes it maybe not great overall, but still good.

The collective primary and secondary content presented in The Great Buster makes the doc worth the addition to any cinephile’s home library for an occasional watch.  The doc’s price point strengthens that statement even more.  At the time of this review’s posting, its physical presentation is listed only at Amazon, with its Blu-ray price listed at $24.99 and its DVD price listed at $25.99.  A check of Walmart, Best Buy, Target, Amazon, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million showed no listing for the doc in physical form.  Walmart and Amazon both list it digitally.  Walmart’s digital listing is $12.99, the same as Amazon’s digital price.  Regardless of which platform viewers choose, neither price is a budget buster.  Given, the physical price maybe should be less expensive considering the good and bad noted of the primary and secondary content.  That aside, both prices are money well-spent, again, for any devoted movie buff.  Keeping this in mind, it is one more way in which this doc proves to be maybe not great, but still good.

Cohen Media Group’s newly release Buster Keaton documentary The Great Buster is a good addition to the home library of any devoted movie buff.  That is thanks in large part to the doc’s primary content, which takes audiences through the highs and lows of the legendary entertainer’s life and career, warts and all.  The companion secondary content that accompanies the doc’s main feature adds a little to the viewing experience, but detracts from the doc more than it adds to it.  Thankfully, the doc’s price is not a budget buster.  To that end, those who purchase the doc — either digitally or physically – will be glad to know they are not throwing away their money.  All things considered, The Great Buster might not be great, but it is still a relatively good watch for any devoted movie lover.  The Great Buster is available now.  More information on this and other titles from Cohen Media Group is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.cohenmedia.net

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CohenMediaGroup

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cohenmediagroup

 

 

 

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Shout! Factory Announces Release Date, Specs For ‘The Big Bad Fox And Other Tales’

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/GKids

Shout! Factory has a new French import on the way.

The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales is set for release on Blu-ray/DVD combo pack on July 16.  The animated feature, from GKids, first premiered in France in 2017. It follows a a fox who cares for a family of baby chickens, a rabbit who plays stork and a duck who wants to be Santa Claus.

Co-directed by Benjamin Renner and Patrick Imbert, the 81-minute feature is an animated adaptation of Renner’s own famed graphic novel that throws back to the golden age of animation, presenting stylistic similarities to classic Looney Tunes shorts.  The slapstick presentations overlay deeper messages about family and the challenges of everyday life that will appeal to parents and older children.

A trailer for the feature is streaming online now here.

As an added bonus, Shout! Factory’s upcoming home release of The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales will also feature additional content, such as and interview with Rnner and Imbert, a “making of” featurette and Q&A session at the New York International Children’s Film Festival.

The feature’s upcoming domestic release will also feature English and French tracks.  The English-dubbed tracks feature the voices of British celebrities, such as Bill Bailey, Justin Edwards and Matthew Goode.

Pre-orders for The Big Bad Fox and Other Tales are open now. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

More information on this and other titles from GKids is available online now at:

 

Website: http://gkids.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GKIDSfilms

Twitter: http://twitter.com/GKIDSfilms

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Shout! Factory To Release New Sinatra Doc

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Frank Sinatra fans are going to get a new documentary on the famed singer this summer.

Shout! Factory will release Sinatra in Palm Springs on Blu-ray and DVD on June 11.  The 92-minute feature, directed by Leo Zahn, tells the story of Sinatra during his years living at the Rancho Mirage. The property, located just off of Frank Sinatra Drive, was what Sinatra called “My Heaven.”

Zahn’s new doc tells the story of Sinatra at his California sanctuary through interviews with figures, such as Tom Dreesen, Barbara Sinatra and Michael Fletcher.  Pre-orders for the program are open now.

More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shoutfactoryofficial

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.