‘Bridges To Buenos Aires’ Continues To Show Why The Rolling Stones Is One Of Rock’s Elite Acts

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

The live recordings keep coming from The Rolling Stones.  Early this month, the band released another concert from its Bridges to Babylon Tour in the form of Bridges To Buenos Aires.  Originally recorded April 5, 1998 at the River Plate Stadium, the 22-song set is yet another enjoyable addition to the home library of any fan of The Rolling Stones.  That is due in part to the show’s set list.  The band’s performance thereof plays its own critical role in the show’s presentation.  The companion booklet that comes with the recording rounds out its most important elements.  Each item noted is key in its own way to the whole of this recording.  All things considered, they make the recording in whole yet another welcome addition to The Rolling Stones’ ongoing series of live recordings.

The Rolling Stones’ latest addition to its ongoing series of live recordings is yet another presentation that audiences will openly welcome into their libraries.  That is due in part to the concert’s set list.  The 22-song set list features many of the same songs featured in the band’s performance from its Bridges To Bremen show, with a handful of changes.  Once again, the band reaches back in its catalog, reaching as far back as 1967.  Fan favorites, such as ‘Start Me Up, ‘It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)’ and ‘Gimme Shelter’ are all featured in this collection.  Others, such as ‘Memory Motel,’ ‘Anybody Seen My Baby’ and ‘Paint It Black’ are replaced here with ‘Sister Morphine,’ ‘When The Whip Comes Down’ and ‘Little Queenie,’ which reaches back to the band’s 1970 album Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out.  The rest of the show’s set list in this concert is the same as that featured in Bridges To Bremen.  For those audiences who do not already own Bridges To Bremen, the expansive set list presents audiences with a rich presentation of the band’s catalog.  Along with that rarely represented album – Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out – the set list also gives nods to the band’s 1969 album Let It Bleed, its 1967 album Between The Buttons and its 1968 album Beggar’s Banquet as well as Bridges To Babylon, on the back of which the band was touring at the time.  Simply put, the set list featured in this collection will appeal to audiences who already own any of the band’s previously released live recordings (released through Eagle Rock Entertainment) and those who might not own said recordings.  It is just one of the recording’s positives.  The band’s performance of the set list plays its own important part to the whole of the recording.

The band’s performance of the concert’s set list is notable because it shows the band as a unit, at the time, that was still at the top of its game, even more than three decades into its life.  The band’s performance of ‘Little Queenie’ is one example of that high level of entertainment.  The swagger exhibited by the band as it makes its way across the hydraulic bridge and energy in its performance is commendable to say the least.  Even as something is thrown at him, front man Mick Jagger doesn’t bat even an eyelash.  He just keeps going, not missing a beat or even giving recognition to whichever audience member threw the unidentified item at him.  Drummer Charlie Watts, decked out in his soccer jersey and guitarists Ronnie Wood and Keith Richards make their way around the band’s second stage with the ease of much younger performers, showing they are right in step with their younger counterparts.  The band members’ energy in the show’s opener – ‘(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction’ — provides just as much show of energy from the band as any other performance from the group.  Jagger struts his way across the stage, giving his full energy and attention to the audience and song at the same time.  Meanwhile Richards and Wood keep such a cool demeanor as they make their way through the song alongside Watts.  Much the same can be said of the band’s performance of ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash.’  It shows this band even at that point, held its own easily against every one of its younger up-and-coming counterparts, proving once more why it is one of the elite acts in the rock and music community in general.   Between these performances and those of the rest of the shows set, the whole of the band’s performance gives audiences just as much to appreciate here as the set list itself.  It is just one more part of what makes the recording so enjoyable.  The companion booklet that comes with the recording rounds out its most important elements.

The companion booklet that comes with Bridges To Buenos Aires features liner notes composed by Journalist Paul Sexton.  Sexton paints a vivid picture of the concert contained in the presentation’s Blu-ray through his words. He writes in part about the band’s performance of ‘Flip The Switch,’ noting that it “offered the first cameo for now much-missed saxophonist mainstay Bobby Keys.”  He adds later of the performance of ‘Gimme Shelter,’ that vocalist Lisa Fischer’s performance is just as powerful as ever.  There is even mention of Bob Dylan’s surprise guest appearance for the band’s take on his timeless classic ‘Like A Rolling Stone’ in Sexton’s liner notes.  He writes in part here, “Bob’s [Dylan] customarily approximate vocal style certainly kept Mick on on his toes, but the bonhomie of the moment gave further warmth to a set that was growing ever more fierce and forceful.”  Here again is more proof of the power of Sexton’s description of the show, proving even more, the importance of his preview of the concert.  Sexton has much more to add about the concert, but that will be left for audience to discover for themselves.  Between the rest of the notes not discussed here and those items addressed, it goes without saying that Sexton’s notes are recommended to be taken in prior to taking in the concert itself.  Keeping this in mind, the importance of the recording’s liner notes couples with the power of the band’s performance and the importance of the show’s set list to make the recording in whole, yet another positive addition to The Rolling Stones’ ongoing live releases series, and a presentation that any fan of The Rolling Stones will welcome into his or her music library.

The Rolling Stones’ latest addition to its ongoing series of live recordings, Bridges To Buenos Aires is another wonderfully entertaining presentation from the band and Eagle Rock Entertainment.  It is a work that continues to prove why The Rolling Stones remains more than half a century into its existence, one of the rock (and music) community’s elite acts.  That is evidenced partly through the show’s set list.  The band’s performance thereof plays just as much into supporting the noted statements.  The liner notes featured in the recording’s companion booklet does just as much as the set and its performance to show the strength of the recording.  Each item noted here is important in its own way.  All things considered, they make Bridges To Buenos Aires another recording that builds and maintains the band’s bridges to its audiences.  It is available now.  More information on this and other titles from The Rolling Stones is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.rollingstones.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/RollingStones

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

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

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/EagleRockNews

 

 

 

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Cinephiles, Classic Movie Buffs Alike Will Enjoy Abbott & Costello Universal Pictures Collection Re-Issue

Courtesy: Universal Pictures/Shout! Factory

Seventy-nine years ago this year, Bud Abbott and Lou Costello made their theatrical debut in the classic romantic comedy One Night in the Tropics.  That movie made its theatrical debut Nov. 15, 1940.  Shout! Factory and Universal Pictures are partnering to get a jump on celebrating the anniversary of the legendary comic duo’s big screen debut with the Blu-ray release of Abbott & Costello Universal Pictures Collection: 80th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition.  The famed duo’s collection has previously been released twice on DVD, but this marks the first time that the collection has received the Blu-ray treatment.  All joking aside (yes, that terrible pun was intended), the forthcoming Blu-ray re-issue of the collection is a presentation that every classic film buff will appreciate.  That is due in no small part to its featured movies, which will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content featured with the collection adds even more enjoyment to this collection, and will be addressed a little later.  The collection’s packaging rounds out its most important elements and will also be addressed later.  Each item discussed here is important in its own way.  All things considered, they make the set’s average price point money very well spent among every cinephile and classic movie buff.

Universal Pictures and Shout! Factory’s new forthcoming re-issue of Abbott & Costello Universal Pictures Collection: 80th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition is a presentation that fans of the comic duo and its work will appreciate just as much as any cinephiles and classic movie buffs.  That is due in no small part to its makeup.  The collection features all 28 of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello’s Universal Pictures movies in one setting.  The movies are spread across 15 discs in three separate Blu-ray cases.  This is important to note because while all 28 movies have been released previously between 2003 and 2005 by Universal Pictures in four separate DVD collections, this set marks the first time that they have ever seen a Blu-ray release and in one complete collection.  In other words, this collection is not the first time that all 28 movies have ever been released together in one setting (considering the collection’s previous two DVD releases), but it is the first time that all the movies have ever seen release in one setting on DVD.  That will save space for those audiences and fans who might not already own the noted standalone DVD volumes released between 2003 and 2005.  Also, a comparison of the bonus content featured in those previous standalone DVD sets (the 2003-2005 sets) and the bonus content featured here shows far more bonus content in this collection than those sets.

The bonus content featured in Universal Pictures’ standalone Abbott & Costello DVD sets is minimal at best.  Audiences got in those noted sets, Production notes in the second of the four sets, and a pair of features in the fourth volume – a tribute to Bud and Lou from famed comedian Jerry Seinfeld, and a retrospective on Abbott & Costello’s monster movie crossovers.  By comparison, audiences get in the new Blu-ray re-issue of Abbott & Costello Universal Pictures Collection, feature-length commentaries as an extra in no fewer than six of the collection’s movies.  The noted Seinfeld and monster movie retrospectives are also featured in this collection.  This goes right back to the already discussed fact that the entire collection is featured in one setting.  So, for those who might not have the fourth previously released volume of Abbott & Costello movies will now have those retrospectives along with lots of new, commentaries that were also featured in the collection’s previous two DVD releases.  As if the commentaries and retrospectives being placed in one complete collection is not enough, audiences also get the same companion booklet that was also featured in the previous DVD releases of Abbott & Costello Universal Pictures Collection.  That booklet is just as important as the retrospectives and the commentaries.  Reading through the booklet not only gives audiences an overview of each of the movies,  but also some rather interesting trivia.  For instance, audiences learn of One Night in the Tropics, the very first scene that Bud and Lou shot for that movie was their now iconic “Who’s on First” bit. Additionally, at one point, laughter by the movie’s crew members got so bad that the set had to be cleared.  In the case of The Naughty Nineties, viewers learn that the riverboat set was originally constructed for Universal Pictures’ 1936 movie Show Boat and that Henry Travers, who played the riverboat’s Captain, also went on later to play Clarence opposite James Stewart.  Also of interest in the companion booklet’s information is that the pair’s 1946 movie The Time of Their Lives, that marked one of only two times during their career in which Bud and Lou did not work as a team.  The other time is noted in the booklet but will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  Getting read the trivia is like taking in the same kind of presentation from one of the current hosts at Turner Classic Movies. It just makes the experience that much more personal, and in turn enjoyable.

As if all of the trivia revealed and the story summaries are not enough for viewers, the companion booklet also features introductions from family members of Bud and Lou.  Specifically speaking, Bud Abbott’s daughter Vickie Abbott Wheeler and Lou Costello’s Children Paddy Costello Humphreys and Chris Costello.  Vickie Abbott Wheeler reveals in her introduction that her parents worked together in Vaudeville early on, adding that her mom actually worked with Lou Costello before her dad.  She also reveals something very intriguing about Universal studios during its heyday that will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  The Costello children reveal in their introduction information, such as the revelation that Bud and Lou intentionally kept their act clean because they did not like working “blue.”  They also note, Bud and Lou had a good relationship both on and off camera and that Lou would have appreciated the advancement of recording technology because of his personal interest in technology.  This is just a portion of everything that the pair had to talk about.  Between that and everything else that they and Mrs. Abbott Wheeler had to say, audiences get a lot of engaging and entertaining personal insight into who Bud and Lou were on and off screen.

As if all of the personal recollections from Bud and Lou’s family are not enough, there is also an extensive, in-depth look back at the life and legacy from Abbott & Costello In Hollywood co-author Ron Palumbo that will keep viewers just as engaged and entertained.  Audiences learn about the cultural significance of Abbott & Costello through Palumbo’s discussion on the constant comparisons that are made to the duo since – as he writes – “There are no comedy ‘teams’ anymore.  Pakumbo writes that comparisons to Bud and Lou during discussions about comedic duos, such as gene Wilder and Richard Pryor, Dan Akroyd and John Belushi.  Palumbo also notes bud and Lou had a very noticeable financial impact for Universal Pictures during their 15 years under contract with the studio.  He notes that the pair was the studio’s “single greatest source of income.”  That is a very telling statement in regards to the pairing’s star power.  This and everything else that Palumbo notes in his liner notes couples with the discussions that Bud and Lou’s children share in the booklet to make the set’s companion booklet perhaps its most important bonus.  That is especially considering all of the trivia shared in the booklet and the movie summaries that are featured within, too.  When the importance of all of this information is considered along with the fact that all of the pair’s Universal movies are set here with lots of other previously released bonus content, the set becomes that much more of a plus for any cinephiles and Abbott & Costello fan who might not already own Universal’s previous Abbott & Costello collections.

While the primary and secondary content featured in Shout! Factory and Universal Pictures’ new Bud Abbott & Lou Costello Blu-ray collection go a long way toward making the collection so impressive, they are only a portion of what makes it notable.  The overall packaging is just as worth examining as the set’s content.  As previously noted, all 28 of the duo’s Universal Pictures entries are spread here across 15 discs in three separate Blu-ray cases.  That is important to note, as it takes up less space than the four standalone DVD sets that Universal Pictures released between 2003 and 2005.  This critic owns those standalone sets and measured them against one another.  The new Blu-ray re-issue is equal, in terms of space, to three of the four DVD sets.  So, while the space saving might not be extensive, audiences do still get with this set, a package that consumes less space on a rack than the four separate DVD sets.  The movies featured in the DVD sets are featured two to a side on either side of two discs on each set.  In simpler terminology, each DVD set features two discs.  Each disc has two movies on either side, making for eight movies.  The fourth and final set features four more of the pair’s movies plus the noted retrospectives.  By comparison, the Blu-ray presentation features two movies per disc, with each disc sitting on its own plate on either side of a set of plates inside the cases.  So, while the discs have fewer movies on each one, the packaging still helps to save space, again, still making the packaging its own positive.  Keeping this in mind along with the breadth and depth of primary and secondary content, the whole of this collection proves a welcome addition to the home library of any cinephile and Abbott & Costello fan who might not already have either of this collection’s previous DVD releases or Universal Pictures’ previously released standalone DVD volumes of Abbott & Costello movies.

Universal Pictures and Shout! Factory’s forthcoming Blu-ray re-issue of Abbott & Costello Universal Pictures Collection is a welcome addition to the home library of any true blooded cinephile, classic movie buff and Abbott & Costello fan.  That is due in no small part to the fact that it features all 28 of Abbott & Costello’s Universal Pictures features in one complete setting.  The extensive bonus content – the feature-length bonus commentary and extra information featured in the set’s companion booklet – adds its own share of engagement and entertainment for audiences, as has been noted here.  The space-saving packaging in which the whole thing is featured makes for its own positive.  Each noted item is important in its own way to the whole of this collection.  All things considered, they make Abbott & Costello Universal Pictures Collection: 80th Anniversary Blu-ray Edition one of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues.  It will be available Nov. 19.  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

 

 

 

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The Cure’s Latest Live Recording Is A Full Dose Of Music, Entertainment For Fans Of The Band

Courtesy: Eagle Rock Entertainment

The holiday shopping season is officially here – for get the annual marker that is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, we all know we are all already shopping for that perfect gift – and just in time for the annual rush, veteran rock band The Cure has given their fans their own special gift in the form of the new double live recording 40 Live Curaetion 25 + Anniversary.  It’s a bit of a mouthful for a title, but for the band’s most devoted fans, that is beside the point.  That is because it gives the noted audiences quite the experience, beginning with the very presentation, which will be addressed shortly.  The band’s performance in the featured concerts – yes, concerts – adds its own touch to the whole.  The presentation’s production values rounds out its most important elements and will also be examined here.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of 40 Live Curaetion 25 + Anniversary.  All things considered, they make this presentation one that The Cure’s most devoted fans will enjoy.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees The Cure’s latest live recording – its 11th live recording – is another presentation that the band’s most devoted fan base will appreciate.  That is due in part to its very presentation.  The recording features not one, but two full-length live shows recorded by the band in 2018.  The first of the two concerts featured in the new recording is Curaetion25: From There To Here | From Here To There.  The second performance is Anniversary: 1978 2018 Live in Hyde Park.  These concerts are not just two run-of-the-mill performances that audiences so often receive in live recordings.  The first of the recordings, recorded June 2018 on the final night of the 25th Meltdown Festival – held at London’s Royal Festival Hall – features one song from each of the band’s 13 studio albums and some then new songs.  The songs are presented in the same chronological order as their respective albums.  This is important to note because in listening through the recording, listeners will note the growth of the band’s sound over the course of its life.  The songs start with a very specific early emo/new wave sound that was so familiar during the 1980s, but gradually seem to present a slightly more mainstream rock sound as they progress.  Even as that more radio friendly sound becomes more present, the band still maintains the elements that made it a fan favorite early on in its life, ensuring audiences would not be alienated while the band grew in its sound.  This is something that, again, those most devoted audiences will appreciate noting.  The set’s second concert, recorded July 7, 2018 at one of London’s Royal Parks, runs a total of four hours and features a 29-song set.  Just as with the set’s lead concert recording, this concert takes audiences deep into its catalog, featuring songs, such as ‘Plainsong,’ ‘Why Can’t I Be You’ and ’10:15 Saturday Night’ and even the band’s ‘Friday I’m in Love’ among so many others.  Simply put, audiences get in these two separate concert recordings, two very in-depth presentations of The Cure’s catalog that will certainly appeal to all of the band’s audiences.  This in itself is more than enough reason for audiences to appreciate The Cure’s new live presentation.  It is just one part of what makes the presentation so appealing for the noted audiences.  The band’s performance of those expansive set lists will appeal just as much to audiences as the set lists themselves.

The performance of The Cure’s members throughout the course of each of the featured recordings proves appealing because it shows that even 40 years in, front man Robert Smith has not lost a bit of his steam and presence.  His fellow musicians at the time of the recording added their own touch to the concerts, too.  Smith’s presence proves familiar for audiences, with a certain stance and energy that exhibits him as being fully immersed himself in each song.  It shows a certain focus, which in turn serves to enhance his performance.  The band doesn’t have to do a lot on stage to keep audiences engaged, either.  That is because of the attention that each musician shows in his performance to presenting the music as expertly as possible.  That focus rubs off on the audiences – and will do the same for home viewers – in turn pulling home viewers into the concerts, ensuring that much more, those audiences’ engagement and entertainment.  That engagement and entertainment offered through the band’s focus on its music is heightened even more through the production values of each presentation.

What really stands out most about the production values in each concert is the special effects occasionally incorporated into the performances.  There are semi-psychedelic effects such as waves and general visual distortions added at certain points to heighten the impact of the performances.  The rest of the time, the audio balance, the shots, their transitions and angles, and the general editing collectively give home viewers the best seat in the house.  At times, audiences are taken on stage with the band.  At others they are taken into the crowd and even above.  The sound is expertly balanced throughout while the speed of the transitions serves to work just as well in time with the songs’ tempos.  Keeping in mind the impact of the recordings’ top notch production values, the impact of the band’s minimalist performance in each concert and the sheer expanse of songs featured in the concerts, the recording overall proves to be one of The Cure’s best live recordings to date.

The Cure’s latest live recording 40 Live Curaetion 25 + Anniversary is a work that is certain to appeal to many of the veteran band’s fans.  That is proven in part through the extensive set lists featured in the recording’s two separate concerts.  The songs give audiences a truly in-depth presentation of the band’s decades-long catalog.  The band’s minimalist approach to its performance of said set lists adds to the interest as it actually will engage and immerse audiences that much more into each concert.  The concerts’ production values once again give home audiences the best seat in the house, which is not uncommon for Eagle Rock Entertainment’s releases.  When this is considered along with the other noted elements, the whole of the recording proves an offering that is an effective dose of music and entertainment for fans of The Cure.  More information on this and other releases from The Cure is available online along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.thecure.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/thecure

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from Eagle Rock Entertainment is available online now 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 reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

CMG’s Third Buster Keaton Collection Impresses As Much As its Predecessors

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Buster Keaton is one of the greatest names in cinema history.  Keaton has influenced generations of comedians on the screen big and small with his unique brand of physical comedy, so it is only fitting that his movies have been released so many times by so many studios.  The problem with the movies’ past releases is that many of those home releases have been anything but fitting tributes.  Enter Cohen Media Group.  Early this year, the studio released a documentary titled The Great Buster that followed Keaton’s life and career warts and all.  It was even picked up by cable network Turner Classic Movies.  That in itself is a statement about the importance of that documentary.  It was followed up not long after with the release of two “collections” of classic Buster Keaton movies in the form of The Buster Keaton Collection Vol. 1 and The Buster Keaton Collection Vol. 2.  Both of those releases proved to be impressive in their own right and absolute must haves for not only Buster Keaton fans, but also for classic cinema buffs.  Those same audiences received yet another treat late this past August with a third “collection” of Keaton’s silent films, again courtesy of Cohen Media Group.  Released Aug. 27, the third (and hopefully not last) Keaton collection features two more of Keaton’s movies, both of which form the foundation for the collection’s presentation.  They will be addressed shortly.  The bonus content featured with the collection’s presentation adds more interest to the two-movie set.  The look and sound of the collection rounds out its most important elements and will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of this latest collection.  All things considered, they make The Buster Keaton Collection Vol. 3 another wonderful addition to the home libraries of the already noted audiences and another welcome resurrection of Buster Keaton’s work.

Cohen Media Group has been quite deserving of applause this year with its Buster Keaton documentary The Great Buster and its Buster Keaton cinematic offerings.  The laurels and applause are just as worthy with the recently released third collection in that series.  That is due in part to the movies featured in the collection.  The movies that make up the body of the collection are Seven Chances and Battling Butler.  Released in 1925 and 196 respectively, these two movies are well-written romantic comedies that are very easy to follow and entertaining thanks to their overall content.  Both films were also directed by Keaton, adding to their appeal.  Seven Chances finds Keaton playing young lawyer James Shannon who inherits a sum of $7 million.  The catch is that he cannot get the money unless he gets married by 7 pm on his birthday.  The catch is the day he receives notification of his inheritance is his birthday, so that tight time frame leads to plenty of hilarity as James tries to make his way back to his true love, Mary Jones (Ruth Dwyer) all while trying to avoid a mob of money hungry hopeful other brides-to-be.  The whole thing is set off when James doesn’t use his words too wisely in proposing to Mary.  Female audiences will love the story while male audiences will love all of the physical comedy that takes place throughout the story.

Battling Butler is based on a comedy of errors type of setup.  Keaton’s character in this case – Alfred Butler – ends up having to pretend to be a famous boxer thanks to a case of mistaken identity in a newspaper article.  Media errors is something that happens even in the highest ranks of television, print and even radio to this very day, so that element is relatable.  The result of that error is lots of comic timing and physical humor that men and women alike will find entertaining.  It is a story that has been done so many times since the debut of this classic, but has rarely been done as well as it was here.  Audiences will enjoy watching James have to face up to the lie that he played into in hopes that his lady love will not realize the truth.  Between this completely entertaining story and that in Seven Chances, audiences are presented with so many memorable moments that they will want to watch time and again.  For all the entertainment that the movies offer audiences of all ages, they are only one part of what makes this new collection enjoyable.  The bonus content adds its own value to the collection.

The bonus content featured in The Buster Keaton Collection Vol. 3 is brief, but still insightful in its own right.  It is another selection of comments from The Great Buster, this time focusing on Keaton’s stunt work during his career.  Audiences who have not yet watched that documentary will be interested to learn through this very brief, perhaps five-minute segment – that Keaton did all of his own stunts in each of his films.  Famed cinema figures, such as Leonard Maltin, Ben Mankiewicz, Bill Hader and Quentin Tarantino talk about the outstanding nature of his willingness to put his life on the line.  One of the noted figures goes so far as to indirectly call out Hollywood’s major studios because they so commonly use stunt doubles for actors in action movies, whereas Keaton was one of the very rare actors in Hollywood’s history who did all of his own work.  Looking back at some of the scenes in Seven Chances and even in Battling Butler, it gives even more appreciation for Keaton’s performances.  Again, the collective discussions make for a brief overall bonus, but even as brief as it is, it helps add its own share of interest to the whole of the collection.

The bonus discussion about Keaton’s stunt work and physical comedy is just one more of the positives to consider in the overall presentation of The Buster Keaton Collection Vol. 3.  The quality of the footage in the transfer is just as noteworthy as the overall content.  Viewers will note the sepia tone look of Seven Chances and despite that look, it is obvious that painstaking efforts were made to make the footage as clean as possible without losing that vintage look.  Those efforts were not without a payoff to say the very least.  The same applies to the work put into cleaning up the footage in Battling Butler.  There is even a moment as James and the boxers run by the house where Mary stands, where the actual imperfections in the footage are visible, but not overpowering.  As a matter of fact that it is still there and visible actually adds a certain positive sense of nostalgia to classic movie buffs, and in turn, makes for even more of a positive feeling to the overall viewing experience.

The sound quality for the movies is just as positive in examining the collection’s production quality.  The work put into re-recording the soundtrack paid off just as much as the work that went into cleaning up the footage.  Every note matches expertly with every scene and the balance of those notes is balanced just as expertly.  Not once will audiences have to adjust their volume to be able to hear.  Between that positive note (yes, that awful pun was intended) and the impressive look of the footage, the overall look and sound of these two movies adds just as much pleasure to the viewing experience in this set as its content.  Keeping that in mind, the whole of the content and the whole of the mixing, editing and production makes the package in whole yet another wonderful blast from the past for Buster Keaton fans and classic cinema fans alike, and one more of the year’s top new Family DVDs and Blu-rays.

Cohen Media group’s recent Blu-ray and DVD release of The Buster Keaton Collection Vol. 3 is another example of why the company is one of the elite of the independent movie studios out there today.  Just as with its previous collections, this latest addition to the (hopefully ongoing) series of compilations has so much to offer audiences.  From the family friendly stories that will entertain and engage audiences of all ages to the equally positive result of the production, mixing and editing to the bonus content, there is so much to like here.  Each item discussed here is important in its own right to the whole of the collection.  All things considered, they make The Buster Keaton Collection Vol. 3 another shining gem for anyone looking for an alternative to the wasteland that is mainstream Hollywood.  It is available now from Cohen Media Group on DVD and Blu-ray.  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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Arrow Video To Re-Issue ‘Robocop’ Next Month

Courtesy: Arrow Video

Arrow Video will re-issue Orion Pictures’ classic science fiction crime thriller Robocop next month.

The movie, which made its theatrical debut in 1987, follows Detroit Police Officer Alex Murphy (Peter Weller — Robocop 2Longmire24) as he becomes the future of law enforcement after being gunned down by a group of criminals.  Murphy is turned into a half-human/half-machine crime fighter and ends up uncovering corruption at the city’s highest levels as he combats crime throughout the city.

The movie’s upcoming re-issue will feature the original theatrical version and its director’s cut.  They are accompanied by a variety of bonus features,  such as archived commentary by the movie’s director Paul Verhoeven, executive producer Jon Davison and co-writer Ed Neumeier; newly filmed interviews with the movie’s casting director and second unit director Julie Selzer and Mark Goldblatt, and retrospective on the movie’s soundtrack composer Basil Poledouris.

The bonus content featured in the Blu-ray presentation and steelbook presentation is the same.  The complete list of the movie’s bonus content is featured below.

Bonus Materials

  • 4K restoration of the film from the original camera negative by MGM, transferred in 2013 and approved by director Paul Verhoeven
  • Newly commissioned artwork by Paul Shipper
  • Director’s Cut and Theatrical Cut of the film on two High Definition (1080p) Blu-ray™ discs
  • Original lossless stereo and four-channel mixes plus DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround sound option on both cuts
  • Optional English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing on both cuts
  • Six collector’s postcards (Limited Edition exclusive)
  • Double-sided, fold-out poster (Limited Edition exclusive)
  • Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork
  • Limited edition collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by Omar Ahmed, Christopher Griffiths and Henry Blyth, a 1987 Fangoria interview with Rob Bottin, and archive publicity materials (some contents exclusive to Limited Edition)
  • Archive commentary by director Paul Verhoeven, executive producer Jon Davison and co-writer Ed Neumeier (originally recorded for the Theatrical Cut and re-edited in 2014 for the Director’s Cut)
  • New commentary by film historian Paul M. Sammon
  • New commentary by fans Christopher Griffiths, Gary Smart and Eastwood Allen
  • The Future of Law Enforcement: Creating RoboCop, a newly filmed interview with co-writer Michael Miner
  • RoboTalk, a newly filmed conversation between co-writer Ed Neumeier and filmmakers David Birke (writer of Elle) and Nick McCarthy (director of Orion Pictures’ The Prodigy)
  • Truth of Character, a newly filmed interview with star Nancy Allen on her role as Lewis
  • Casting Old Detroit, a newly filmed interview with casting director Julie Selzer on how the film’s ensemble cast was assembled
  • Connecting the Shots, a newly filmed interview with second unit director and frequent Verhoeven collaborator Mark Goldblatt
  • Composing RoboCop, a new tribute to composer Basil Poledouris featuring film music experts Jeff Bond, Lukas Kendall, Daniel Schweiger and Robert Townson
  • RoboProps, a newly filmed tour of super-fan Julien Dumont’s collection of original props and memorabilia
  • 2012 Q&A with the Filmmakers, a panel discussion featuring Verhoeven, Davison, Neumeier, Miner, Allen, star Peter Weller and animator Phil Tippett
  • RoboCop: Creating a Legend, Villains of Old Detroit and Special Effects: Then & Now, three archive featurettes from 2007 featuring interviews with cast and crew
  • Paul Verhoeven Easter Egg
  • Four deleted scenes
  • The Boardroom: Storyboard with Commentary by Phil Tippett
  • Director’s Cut Production Footage, raw dailies from the filming of the unrated gore scenes
  • Two theatrical trailers and three TV spots
  • Extensive image galleries
  • Archive commentary by director Paul Verhoeven, executive producer Jon Davison and co-writer Ed Neumeier (originally recorded for Theatrical version of the film)
  • Two Isolated Score tracks (Composer’s Original Mix and Final Theatrical Mix) in lossless stereo
  • Edited-for-television version of the film, featuring alternate dubs, takes and edits of several scenes (95 mins, SD only)
  • Split screen comparison of Theatrical and Director’s Cuts
  • RoboCop: Edited For Television, a compilation of alternate scenes from two edited-for-television versions, newly transferred in HD from recently-unearthed 35mm elements

The steelbook and Blu-ray presentation of Robocop will retail for $49.95.  More information on this and other titles from Arrow Video is available online now at:

 

Website: http://www,arrowfilms.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

 

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‘The Major & The Minor’ BD Re-Issue Survives Because Of Its Bonus Content

Courtesy: Arrow Video/MVD Entertainment Group/Paramount Pictures

December 24, 2019 marks 77 years since famed director Billy Wilder’s domestic directorial debut made its own theatrical debut.  The movie, The Major and the Minor, starred Ray Milland (The Uninvited, Dial M For Murder, The Lost Weekend) and Ginger Rogers (Kitty Foyle, Tom, Dick and Harry, Monkey Business) in a story that places Rogers’ character Susan Applegate into a rather precarious situation when she meets Miland’s Major Philip Kirby.  In the decades since its debut, the classic romantic comedy has garnered praise from critics and audiences alike, even receiving a perfect 100% tomato meter rating on Rotten Tomatoes.  For all of its success, the movie has only received a handful of home releases.  Now it has gotten new life on Blu-ray courtesy of Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group on Blu-ray.  This new re-issue is the first time since 2008 that the movie has received an official release and the first time ever that it has seen release on Blu-ray.  It gives audiences quite a bit of reason to applaud beginning with its bonus content. It is rare that this critic will point out a new release’s bonus content as its most important element, but this release is one of those rare cases in which its bonus content is just that.  It will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content makes the movie’s story more engaging and entertaining than it would have been sans said content.  To that end, the movie’s story is its own important part of the Blu-ray.  When it is considered along with the Blu-ray’s bonus content, they make the Blu-ray’s average price point relatively affordable.  This will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the Blu-ray.  All things considered, this latest release of The Major & The Minor one more of this year’s top new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.

MVD Entertainment Group and Arrow Video’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of The Major and The Minor is a positive new presentation for the classic Paramount Pictures romantic comedy.  It is a good way for the companies to celebrate the movie’s upcoming 77th anniversary.  That is due in large part to the bonus content featured with the movie’s new re-issue.  Featured in the re-issue as extras are: a feature-length audio commentary from film scholar Adrian Martin, a half-hour retrospective on the movie’s history courtesy of film critic Neil Sinyard, and a full-hour-long radio presentation of the movie that features famed filimmaker Cecil B. DeMille. The audio commentary and retrospective are the most important of the bonus items as they provide, collectively, an in-depth history of the movie and its story.  Martin and Sinyard both point out the symbolism of Pamela and Susan as point and counterpoint in the discussions on whether the U.S. should get involved in World War II.  Each man also makes note of the issue of Major Kirby’s conflicted feelings toward Susan and the risqué nature of those conflicted feelings.  That in itself adds a lot to the story.  Also of note that each man discusses, is Wilder’s use of disguise and deception among characters in the story, and how it would go on to become a trademark of his directorial style.  On a related note, Martin also takes time to talk about items, such as character placement and lighting within given scenes.  As if all of this is not enough, Sinyard also discusses how the movie satirizes the military and the timing of the movie’s creation and release in connection to America’s entry into World War II.  Since Martin’s commentary is featured as part of the movie itself, Sinyard’s retrospective is recommended for viewing ahead of watching the movie.  It gives the movie’s story a completely different identity than it would have had sans all of that background.  Martin’s background adds even more after having watched the movie.

The background that Martin and Sinyard provide for The Major and the Minor are clear examples of the importance of bonus content to DVDs and Blu-rays.  They show how bonus content can easily make or break a DVD/BD’s presentation.  For all that they do for the movie’s presentation here, the bonus radio version of The Major and the Minor is notable in its own right.  That is because of its nostalgic value.  The broadcast features Rogers and Milland, as well as appearances by famed director Cecil B. DeMille.  DeMille provides introductions to each of the play’s acts.  The transfer from the original tapes to this presentation featured no loss at all, so there is no need to adjust the volume at any point throughout the program.  What’s more, the static from that original broadcast is there, too.  Simply put, this is another example of how possible it is to transfer vintage to modern technology without any loss.  This could lead to discussions on whether there really is a place for vinyl today, despite the view of so many hipsters.  It is possible to transfer vinyls to CDs without loss, too.  Getting back to the subject at hand, that clean transfer from the original tapes to Blu-ray creates its own wonderful experience.  What’s more, there are some minor changes between the screenplay and the radio play, but those changes were clearly necessary because certain elements obviously did not translate well from the screen to the radio.  Keeping all of this in mind, the bonus radio performance of The Major and the Minor proves just as enjoyable as the big screen version.  In turn, it makes the bonus radio presentation just as worthwhile as the bonus commentaries from Martin and Sinyard.  Collectively, those commentaries and the bonus radio play create a strong foundation for the Blu-ray that cinephiles across the board will appreciate.

The bonus content featured with the recent Blu-ray re-issue of The Major and the Minor is key to the re-issue’s presentation, because of the strong foundation that they form for said showing.  If not for that content, the movie would be anything but interesting.  Keeping the bonus commentaries from Sinyard and Martin in mind while watching the movie, they make the movie’s story quite an interesting work and actually believable.    Maj. Kirby’s bad eye helps with suspension of disbelief in terms of how he fell for Susan’s act.  On another level, the understanding of Susan and Pamela more as symbols of a deep topic makes them even more valuable to the story, and not just the standard romantic rivals that are so overly common in every rom-com.  What’s more, the issue of how Susan was treated by the men throughout the movie will appeal to female viewers – again in understanding Sinyard and Martin’s commentary.  It makes Susan that much more of a sympathetic character, even without the note of her as a symbol for the noted political discussions.  The bonus commentaries also help to explain why Pamela’s sister was the only person who didn’t fall for Susan’s ploy.  It helps to make believable the blindness of the cadets and the adults who fell for her deception.  The end result of those understandings makes the story something truly in-depth and entertaining all in one.  Keeping that in mind, the story becomes far more watchable than it would have been without the commentaries, again showing the importance of the movie’s bonus content.

The entertainment and engagement offered through The Major and The Minor’s story – thanks to the Blu-ray’s bonus content – goes a long way toward making this re-issue a worthwhile watch for cinephiles everywhere.  Being that the bonus content and story work so well together, they make the movie’s average price point just as appealing to audiences in its own way.  The movie’s average price point is $31.25.  That price is reached by averaging prices at MVD Entertainment Group’s store, Amazon, Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Booksellers and Books-A-Million.  The least expensive listing for the Blu-ray is at Amazon, Walmart and Target, at $27.49.  The most expensive listing is at MVD’s store and at Books-A-Million’s store, at $39.95.  Best Buy lists the Blu-ray at $27.99, only slightly more expensive than the price listed at Amazon, Walmart and Target.  Barnes & Noble Booksellers lists the Blu-ray at $28.39.  Paying almost $40 is a little bit overpriced for this Blu-ray even keeping in mind the importance of the expansive, in-depth bonus content and its role in the enjoyment of the movie’s story.  On the other hand, $27.49 is actually relatively affordable, considering that Arrow Video’s releases are imports.  Arrow Video is based in the United Kingdom.  If the release were from a U.S. company, that might be a bit overpriced, but considering it is an import, it is about average, price-wise and worth the least expensive listing.  No matter which retailer consumers choose, the reality is that Arrow Video and MVD Entertainment Group will still receive a portion of those sales, so they are not going to lose out if consumers opt to buy the Blu-ray from Amazon, Walmart or Target.  Keeping that in mind the average price listing for this Blu-ray is largely a positive, and together with its content, makes the Blu-ray a presentation that cinephiles and classic movie buffs alike will appreciate.

MVD Entertainment Group and Arrow Video’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of The Major and the Minor is a positive presentation from the companies that proves widely appealing.  That is due in large part to the bonus content featured with the re-issue.  That content makes the movie’s otherwise run-of-the-mill rom-com story far more interesting than it would have been without said content.  The bonus content and story make the import’s average price point relatively affordable and worth paying in the end.  Each item is key in its own way to the whole of the movie.  All things considered, they make The Major and the Minor appealing for classic movie buffs and cinephiles alike.  The Major and the Minor is available now.  More information this and other titles from Arrow Video is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.arrowfilms.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ArrowFilmsVideo

 

 

 

More information on this and other titles from MVD Entertainment Group is available online at:

 

 

 

Website: http://mvdentertainment.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/mvdentgroup

 

 

 

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Paramount’s New ‘Star Trek: TNG’ Movie Collection Is A Welcome Set For The Most Devoted ‘Star Trek’ Fans

Courtesy: Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment/Viacom/CBS DVD

Make it so!  Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment is beaming down a new Star Trek box set for fans of the franchise’s Next Generation era Tuesday.  Star Trek: Picard Movie & TV Collection is scheduled for release Tuesday on Blu-ray.  The six-disc collection is oddly titled, considering that it is more the Next Generation era movies than TV episodes.  This, the set’s presentation, will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content featured with the ser is a positive in its own way, in examining the set in whole.  It will be addressed a little later.  Keeping in mind the set’s primary and secondary content, its average price point becomes a key discussion topic in its own right.  It will be discussed a little later, too.  Keeping in mind the importance of all of these elements, this latest collection of Star Trek movies and television episodes is one that will appeal largely to the most diehard Star Trek fans.

Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment’s new Star Trek box set is a collection that is certain to divide fans of the long-running franchise’s Next Generation era.  It is a set that will appeal mostly to the most devoted fans of the franchise and the era thereof.  That is due in part to the set’s overall presentation.  The box set is titled Picard Movies & TV Collection.  The catch is that the set only features two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation along with all four of the movies.  The two episodes featured in the collection are the famed two-part episode “The Best of Both Worlds,” which finds Captain Picard being captured by the Borg and turned into one of them.  The other episode, “Chain of Command” also finds Picard being captured, this time as a prisoner of war, so to speak.  One can’t help but wonder why those two episodes were chosen, considering that each was already previously released on DVD and Blu-ray.  There are other, equally entertaining episodes that could have been presented here, which were previously released only on the series’ full season and series box sets.  One of those episodes is the timeless “Darmok.”  The episode, featured in the series’ fifth season.  It was yet another episode that found Picard being captured and stuck on alien turf, having to get out of a tough situation.  What makes it stand out is that no conflict ever happened because Capt. Picard and his counterpart see past their differences and learn to communicate instead.  It is one of the series’ most beloved stories among fans and audiences in general.  “The Inner Light” is another powerful episode that focuses mainly on Capt. Picard in a completely different fashion.  It finds the beloved leader in a “what if” scenario that shows him what his life could have been like.  “Yesterday’s Enterprise” is yet another powerful episode of the series.  It finds Picard and the crew of the Enterprise D working with the crew of the Enterprise C to make sure history runs the way that it was meant to run in what was one of a handful of time travel episodes from the series.  Keeping all of this in mind, one can’t help but wonder why the two episodes featured here were chosen considering they’ve already seen the light of day.

The episodes chosen for this set are just part of what will divide audiences.  The set also features all four of the movies from the Next Generation era.  This is where things get even dicier.  On the surface, it would seem that having all four movies in one, slim package is a good thing.  It definitely is for the most devoted fans of that era from the Star Trek universe (no pun intended).  On the bigger scale though, only one of those movies ever proved truly successful in the long run – First ContactInsurrection, which premiered in 1998, was the second of the four movies.  According to information from Rotten Tomatoes, it was soundly panned by critics and viewers in general, receiving a 54% tomato meter score and 44% audience score.  It was panned by both parties as being little more than an extension of the series.  As a matter of fact, considering the story line, it is a story that had been done prior very early in the series’ run when a hidden federation outpost is accidentally revealed to a group of Romulans.  The Romulans in question end up thinking Capt. Picard is God.  Going back to the featured episodes in this set, that is yet another key episode featuring Picard.

Nemesis, the last of the Next Generation era movies, fared even worse,  receiving a tomato meter score of only 39% and an audience score of 49%.  Written by Brent Spiner, this movie is essentially a double evil twin story, with Data meeting his twin and Picard meeting his “twin,” who turns out to be quite the bad guy with a giant ship. In the end, the bad guy with the bigger ship (big gun) loses to the David character in Picard, of course.

Generations, while the first of the Next Generation movies, comes across as another very familiar story.  The crew of the Enterprise-D already encountered the crew of the Enterprise-C during the course of the series.  Now, here is some of the crew from the first Enterprise bridging the gap with the latest Enterprise crew.  Given, there is an intriguing story about us having to come to terms with our mortalities with the villain wanting to get to the Nexus, but the plot elements written into Picard and Kirk’s own experiences inside the Nexus echo previous episodes of The Next Generation, too.  There are lots of good special effects, but other than that, this movie felt more like a cash grab by Paramount to get fans of both Star Trek eras to open their wallets.  Is that bad?  No.  It makes sense.  At the same time though, the effort did not ultimately feel genuine. It felt more like those involved just wanted to make something that they knew said audiences would buy into even though there is nothing to buy into here.

First Contact is the best of the franchise’s big screen features.  That is because it finally answers the long-unanswered question of who and what was at the heart of the Borg collective.  Never once throughout the course of the series was this question ever answered, even though audiences knew there had to be a starting point, and finally that is what they got here.  Given, the movie’s story is familiar with its time traveling plot line and the attempt to keep history from being altered.  Even with that in mind, the story’s writing staff manages to do something here that makes the story stand out from the time travel stories that were featured in the series.  The set and costume design is also stepped up, adding to the movie’s draw.  To that end, it truly shows itself as something special.

The movies that were spawned during Star Trek’s Next Generation era have themselves become extremely divisive among audiences and fans, as has been noted.  Even with that in mind, there are those fans who are still truly devoted to the series and its cinematic counterparts.  For those audiences, the featuring of all of these movies will certainly be appealing.  In the same breath, the fact that each of the movies featured in the set also themselves feature the same bonus content as was featured in their previous releases will appeal to those noted audiences as well as other audiences.  Simply put, regardless of viewers’ devotion to the Star Trek franchise, everyone will be on the same level, including regardless of whether audiences have seen all four or none of the set’s featured movies.  To that end, love the movies or hate them, at least everyone will get to take in all of the same bonuses thanks to this set.

The carrying over of the bonus content in each movie from this set is a key positive for this set.  The inclusion of all four TNG movies is a boon for the most devoted fans of the franchise, while for those who might be more particular might find it not as interesting a draw.  Keeping that in mind, the set’s average price range of $31.72 is actually not a bad thing.  That price was obtained by averaging prices from Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble Book Sellers and Books-A-Million. It was not listed at Target at the time of this review’s posting. Considering the prices of the stand-alone episodes’ Blu-ray releases and the prices of the movies’ releases, that price for this set is actually affordable.  Consumers would have to spend more than $100 for each of the titles by themselves, so paying a little more than $30 for all of them together is its own positive, again, regardless of that noted devotion to the franchise.  Having all of the movies, and at least two episodes (which were clearly chosen subjectively) gives audiences of all devotion something to look forward to here.  To that end, it is money well spent both for the most devoted fans and for even the most casual Star Trek fans who want to still be able to check out all of the TNG movies in one collection, rather than having to hunt them down one by one.  When this is considered along with the featured content – both primary and secondary – the whole of the et proves a positive  for Star Trek fans even despite the division that it will certainly create.

Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment’s new Star Trek: The Next Generation set is an interesting new presentation for audiences.  The most devoted audiences will certainly appreciate having all of the TNG movies in one set complete with all of their original bonus content, and at an affordable price.  The franchise’s more casual fans will appreciate the fans, but might find themselves better off with the movies that they enjoy the most.  What’s  more, those same audiences will find the set’s featured television episodes, which have already seen release in their own standalone Blu-rays, questionable as so many other episodes could have been featured.  To that end, those audiences might not find the set’s average price point enough to encourage them to purchase the set.  Keeping all of this in mind, this latest TNG set is an interesting journey, but not one that every Star Trek fan will want to take.  The set is scheduled for release Tuesday on Blu-ray.  More information on this and other titles from Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.ParamountMovies.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/paramountmovies

 

 

 

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