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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‘The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 2’ Is Anything But A “Buster”

Buster Keaton Collection Volume 2 Bo Art

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Cohen Media Group recently announced it will release a third new pairing of Buster Keaton classics later this month in the form of The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 3.  the latest in the studio’s ongoing series of classic Keaton re-issues, it is scheduled for release Aug. 20 on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital.  While audiences await the collection’s release, they can enjoy the second collection of Buster Keaton classics, which was released July 9.  The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 2 is another wonderful new offering from Cohen Media Group that every classic movie fan will appreciate.  That is due in part to the two movies that make up the body of the collection.  They will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content that is featured with the collection adds a little bit more to the collection’s presentation and will be addressed a little later.  The actual restoration of the two movies rounds out the collection’s most important elements and will be addressed later, too.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 2.  All things considered, they make this latest collection another must have for Buster Keaton fans and classic movie buffs alike.

The second installment of Cohen Media Group’s Buster Keaton Collection series is another positive addition to that ongoing series of classic movie collections.  It is a collection that Keaton fans and classic movie buffs alike will enjoy.  That is due in part to the movies that make up the collection’s body.  This time out, Cohen Media Group presents Keaton’s 1924 movies Sherlock Jr. and The NavigatorSherlock Jr. finds Keaton’s character – who is unnamed in this movie – being framed for stealing a watch from his lady love’s father.  It turns out the crook responsible for taking the watch is a romantic rival to Keaton’s character.  Keaton ends up having a dream sequence in which he is the world famous detective Sherlock Jr. Sherlock Jr. sets out to find out who stole a pearl necklace, and in the process, ends up saving a young woman who has been kidnapped.  There are lots of great classic physical comedy bits throughout the movie, as well as an extended car chase sequence that involves an unmanned motorcycle.  Obviously it’s not actually unmanned, as it is clearly in front of a video screen as Keaton sits on its handles.  That aside, it is still believable enough that audiences will be kept on the edges of their collective seats as they enjoy that sequence.  The whole thing ends with a happy ending, reuniting Keaton’s character and  his lady love in the projection booth of the theater where the character worked.  That final act ends with a great laugh, but the reason for that laugh will be left for viewers to discover for themselves.

The collection’s second story finds Keaton playing rich heir Rollo Treadway pining for the love of Betsy O’Brien (Kathryn McGuire).  After O’Brien rejects Treadway’s marriage proposal, he accidentally ends up on a boat that will soon thereafter be set adrift as part of a military move.  The reason that Treadway ends up on the boat in question is a classic comedy bit that every viewer will love.  Of course by some chance of fate, Treadyway does not end up on the boat alone.  He ends up, yes, along with O’Brien.  At first the duo has no clue the other is aboard the ship, but after some funny hijinks, the duo eventually find one another and end up living together (ironically) almost as a married couple.  That likely is part of the story’s overall joke.  The ship eventually finds its own way to a tropical island inhabited by cannibals, who the pair have to fight off on their own.  This sequence is loaded with lots of wonderful physical comedy that the whole family will enjoy, including Treadyway coming up out of the ocean and scaring the cannibals in his diving suit.  Treadway and O’Brien are eventually saved from the cannibals and get back home safely (at least it is inferred that the duo returns home safely).  How that save happens will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  In essence, the movie is a romantic comedy with a touch of action thrown in for good measure.  In other words, this is a movie that men, women, boys and girls alike will enjoy together.  In the same vein, Sherlock Jr. is an action movie with a touch of romance, but it is an action movie that the whole family can enjoy together.  The very fact that these two stories are so simply written, yet so fully engaging and entertaining for audiences of all ages is a rather large statement.  It shows that there is still a place for movies, such as these, as well as a need for them, especially considering where action flicks and rom-coms have gone in Hollywood’s current era.

The stories that make up the main body of The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 2 build a strong foundation for the collection.  They give audiences, by themselves, more than enough reason to add this collection to their home libraries.  They are just part of what makes the collection so appealing for viewers.  The collection’s bonus content adds its own share of interest to its whole, despite said content’s brief nature.  The bonus content in question is lifted from Cohen Media Group’s already released Buster Keaton documentary, The Great Buster.  It is not the first time that content from that presentation has been pulled for bonus content.  The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 1 also features bonus content pulled from the program.  This time out, audiences get commentary about Keaton’s approach to comedy in general and about his straight face portrayal.  The commentary comes from well-known figures, such as film critic Leonard Maltin, actor/comedian Bill Hader and Director Quentin Tarantino.  Maltin says in “Buster Keaton: The Great Stone Face” that Keaton’s approach was “post modern” and completely unlike the comedy of his counterpart Charlie Chaplin.  He additionally notes the conflict between Keaton and MGM.  This is another interesting anecdote that audiences will appreciate learning.  Director Jon Watts adds to Maltin’s comments, stating himself that unlike Chaplin and others, Keaton “never set out to get a laugh.”  In the second of the brief bonus features, “Buster Keaton: The Comedian,” Hader makes note of Keaton’s ability to fit his Vaudeville training and experience into his comic presentations, noting how that set his comedy apart even more from so many other counterparts.  While the bonus content featured in this collection is brief, it still adds its own appreciation to the collection.  What’s more, it proves even more why those who have not already viewed The Great Buster will benefit from watching that program.  When this is considered alongside the value of the collection’s primary content, the two elements together make for even more appreciation for this collection.  They are not the only important elements for audiences to consider in watching this collection, either.  The actual restoration of the movies is yet another important factor for audiences to consider.

Audiences will note in watching both of this collection’s featured movies, that each is preceded by a notice of the restoration work conducted in order to bring the movies back to life.  The notations make statements about pieces of the movies that were restored and that were added back.  In comparing the original films to the restorations, those responsible for that work are to be commended for their efforts.  Rather than the sepia tone look of the original films, these presentations – just as with the movies in the first collection – are quite clean and clear.  The grainy look is there with each movie, but neither has that aged look of the original film negatives.  It just goes to show how much painstaking effort was taken to restore the movies.  Those efforts are not lost on this critic and will not be lost on the collection’s target viewers.  They are deeply appreciated, and will be appreciated by viewers who love classic movies.  When the hard work put into restoring the collection’s movies is considered along with the stories themselves and their companion content, the whole of the collection proves to be another positive offering from Cohen Media Group that Buster Keaton fans and classic movie buffs alike will appreciate.

Cohen Media Group’s recently released second installment in its Buster Keaton Collection series is another win for the company as well as for classic movie fans and Buster Keaton fans.  That is due in part to the two stories featured in the collection.  One of the movies – Sherlock Jr. – is an action movie that audiences of all ages can enjoy.  The other – The Navigator – is a rom-com that the same wide range of viewers can watch together.  They prove just how far Hollywood has fallen from its peaks throughout its history.  The bonus content featured with the collection is brief, but still engaging and entertaining in its own right.  It serves as another reminder of just why those who have not yet watched The Great Buster should watch that documentary.  The restoration of both films adds its own enjoyment to the collection, too.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the collection.  All things considered, they make The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 2 anything but a “Buster” for classic film buffs and Buster Keaton fans.  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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CMG To Release Second Buster Keaton Collection Next Month

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Two more classic Buster Keaton movies are on their way.

Cohen Media Group will release The Buster Keaton CollectionVolume 2 July 9.  the two-movie collection will be available on DVD and Blu-ray.

CMG’s forthcoming collection will feature Keaton’s classic movies The Navigator and Sherlock Jr.  Both movies were released in 1924.

Sherlock Jr. finds Keaton playing the part of a movie projectionist who ends up daydreaming about the movies that he plays for audiences.  His daydreams, at one point, turn to a Sherlock Holmes story, leading him to believe he is Holmes.  It is possible this story could have been the influence for Danny Kaye’s 1947 movie The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and maybe even playright Arthur Miller’s famed story “Death of a Salesman” and its cinematic adaptations.

In The Navigator, Keaton and his lady love are stuck on a deserted ocean liner.  The liner ends up on a deserted island that is full of cannibals.

Along with the movies, audiences also get a pair of featurettes as bonuses.  “Buster Keaton: The Great Stone Face” runs 4 minutes, 25 seconds.  “Buster Keaton: The Comedian” runs 3 minutes, 51 seconds.  The bonuses focus on Keaton’s comedic approach in two separate ways.

The collection will retail for MSRP of $25.99 on DVD and $30.99 on Blu-ray.

More information on The Buster Keaton CollectionVolume 2 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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CMG’s First Buster Keaton Collection Is A Must Have For Keaton Fans, Classic Cinema Lovers Alike

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Early next month, Cohen Media Group will release its second pairing of classic Buster Keaton movies.  The collection will feature Keaton’s 1924 movies Sherlock Jr. and The Navigator.  It will also feature a pair of mini-docs – “The Great Stone Face” and “The Comedian” – as bonuses.  The collection is scheduled for release on July 9 on Blu-ray.  While audiences await its release, they have the first collection of Keaton movies to enjoy in the meantime.  Released late last month, the first collection features Keaton’s 1926 movie The General and its 1928 follow-up, Steamboat Bill Jr.  Those two movies form the collection’s foundation and will be discussed shortly.  The bonus content that is featured alongside the movies builds on the collection’s foundation, strengthening it even more.  It will be discussed a little later.  The collection’s average price point rounds out its most important elements.  It will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 1.  All things considered, they make the collection a welcome addition to the library of Buster Keaton fans as well as lovers of Hollywood’s golden age.

Cohen Media Group’s recently released debut volume of Buster Keaton movies is a welcome addition to the library of Buster Keaton fans and lovers of Hollywood’s golden age alike.  That is due in part to the movies that are featured in this first film set from the famed actor.  The General, as noted in Cohen Media Group’s recently released Buster Keaton doc The Great Buster, is considered to be the last great movie of the silent era.  The movie’s story centers on Keaton’s character Johnnie Gray (the name is a connection to the movie’s Civil War backdrop), who has to chase down a group of Union soldiers who steal his engine, “The General” as part of their plans to invade an unidentified town in Tennessee.  Adding to the intrigue is that Johnnie has to save his girlfriend (played by Marion Mack), as she was kidnapped by the soldiers in the process of the engine’s highjacking.  The story has a happy ending that will not be given away here, though it will be said that along with lots of drama and action, Keaton’s timeless physical comedy is present throughout the story.  That alone offers its own share of interest and entertainment for viewers.

The collection’s second movie, Steamboat Bill Jr. presents another romance at its core.  The difference here from The General is that the story this time is more rom-com than romantic drama.  This time, Buster plays the role of a young man named Bill Jr. who is the son of a riverboat captain.  After spending much of his time life in Boston, Bill Jr. comes south to reunite with his father, leading to an entertaining odd couple style story within itself.  That is just one of the stories featured within the movie.  The movie’s overarching story is a Romeo and Juliet-inspired work that finds Bill’s father and the father of his love interest fighting one another.  The result is that the two dads refuse to let the two young star-crossed lovers from being together.  The difference between Shakespeare’s story and this story is that it doesn’t end with the lovers taking their own lives.  Rather it ends with a happy ending that comes after a hurricane causes lots of damage to the town where the two families are living.  The storm also creates lots of opportunities for Keaton to present even more, his physical comedy chops.  Between the entertainment offered through Keaton’s physical comedy and the entertainment and engagement offered in the story, the whole of this work is just as enjoyable as The General.  Both movies considered, they create a foundation for this collection that in itself gives viewers more than enough reason to own the collection.  They are collectively just one of the set’s positives.  The bonus content featured with the collection creates its own engagement and entertainment for viewers.

The bonus content that is featured in The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 1 offers insight from a variety of famed figures on The General and Keaton’s brand of comedy.  The commentary offered in both featurettes is taken from the previously noted doc, The Great Buster.  Famed director Quentin Tarntino offers one of the most interesting discussions in the retrospective of The General.  He notes that while the movie’s backdrop is that of the civil war, it is the only period piece of its kind that allows him to put behind him the whole North v. South element and instead just focus on the more central story of Johnnie’s quest to retrieve his engine and his girlfriend.  That is really interesting in hindsight, especially considering how many period pieces Hollywood has churned out since its golden age.  So many of those period pieces have forced their backdrops to become central to the stories, essentially taking the focus off of the stories themselves.  The General does the exact opposite.  That is why it is so enjoyable.

In regards to the commentary centered on Keaton’s physical comedy, this featurette offers just as much engagement and entertainment as the featurette centered on The General.  Comedian Bill Hader (Saturday Night Live, The Skeleton Twins, Inside Out) offers an anecdote about Keaton’s movies bringing him and his daughters together.  He notes his daughters are no older than teenagers.  That in itself is quite enlightening as it shows the reach of Keaton’s appeal.  Tarantino is also featured in this featurette.  He notes in his discussion this time, the influence that Keaton had on another famed actor, none other than Jackie Chan.  He notes Chan’s decision to do his own stunts came from watching Keaton’s work.  Yet another figure notes the power in the simplicity of Keaton’s brand of comedy.  That individual is right, too.  There is nothing overdone in any of Keaton’s acting.  That is obvious in watching both movies.  It proves the KISS method does work.  The items featured here are just some of the discussions included in The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 1’s bonus content.  Between these discussions and others included in the featurettes, the whole of the bonus content adds even more reason for viewers to check out this single-disc collection.  When it is collectively considered alongside the movies that form the collection’s foundation, the elements together, make this collection that much more appealing for Keaton’s fans and those of Hollywood’s golden age.  When all of that is considered together, the average price point of the set proves to be money well spent.

The average price-point of The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 1 is $23.53 on Blu-ray and $18.67 on DVD.  Those prices were reached using listings at Amazon, Wal-amrt, Target, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  The title was not listed on either format at Books-A-Million.  The DVD platform was not listed at Walmart.  Considering that audiences will get all of the same primary and secondary content on DVD and Blu-ray, both prices are relatively affordable.  AT the time of this review’s posting, the listing of $22.99 at the stores of Amazon, Walmart and Best Buy is below the Blu-ray’s average price point while the $24.29 price listed at Target and Barnes & Noble Booksellers is more expensive.  Amazon, Target and Best Buy all list the collection’s DVD price  point at $17.99 while Barnes & Noble Booksellers lists the DVD at $20.70, well above the average price point of $18.67.  The other prices are just below, so simply put, consumers are given plenty of affordable options if they consider purchasing the collection on either platform.  Again, both platforms offer audiences all of the same primary and secondary content.  Keeping that in mind, the money paid (hopefully at the less expensive retailers) will be money well-spent for Keaton’s fans and fans of movies made during Hollywood’s golden age.  That is proven even more when this is considered alongside the already noted content.  All things considered, this new classic film collection featuring one of Hollywood’s greatest names, proves to be a must have for classic film buffs everywhere.

Cohen Media Group’s recently released Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 1 is a welcome addition to the libraries of Buster Keaton fans and classic film buffs in general.  That is due in no small part to the movies that are featured in the collection.  The bonus content featured with the movies adds even more for audiences to enjoy.  The single-disc collection’s average price point is affordable money well-spent on DVD and Blu-ray, considering the breadth and depth of the set’s collective primary and secondary content.  Each item is important in its own way to the whole of the collection’s presentation.  All things considered, they make The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 1 one of this year’s best new DVDs/BDs for the family and a must have for Buster Keaton fans and classic movie buffs everywhere.  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

 

 

 

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 To Re-Issue Two Keaton Classics

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Cohen Media Group will release two of Buster Keaton’s classic pictures next month.

The General and Steamboat Bill Jr. are set for release on DVD and Blu-ray on May 14 in what is being titled The Buster Keaton CollectionVolume 1.  Both movies are considered some of Keaton’s best works, and are even featured in the National Film Registry.

The General (1926) is considered by many critics to be the last truly standout movie of the silent era.  It is listed at No. 18 on the American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest American Films and at No. 34 on the latest Sight & Sound critics poll of the movie industry’s greatest movies.

The civil war movie features Keaton as train engineer Johnnie Gray.  Gray’s train is taken by Union spies, leading him on a chase to reclaim the locomotive.

Steamboat Bill Jr. (1928) stars Keaton as the son of a steamboat captain. Keaton’s character rescues a young woman following a cyclone, to prove his love for her, and later has to face her father man to man to show even more how much he loves the young woman.

Along with the two main features, The Buster Keaton CollectionVol. 1 will also feature the bonus featurettes “Reflections on The General” and “Buster Keaton: The Luminary.

The Buster Keaton CollectionVolume 1 will retail for MSRP of $30.99 (Blu-ray) and $25.99 (DVD).  More information on this release 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

 

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.

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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