CMG’s British Noir Double Feature Will Appeal To The Most Devoted Noir Fans

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Money, power, and sex.  Those are the three reasons that people commit crimes.  Whether it be in real life, in any crime novel or movie, the premise is pretty much the same.  Cohen Media Group’s recently released British noir double feature of Cast a Dark Shadow and Wanted for Murder is more proof of the noted statements.  The two-movie presentation will appeal to fans of the genre on either side of the Atlantic.  That is due in no small part to each movie’s central story.  They will be discussed shortly.  While the stories serve as solid starting points for the movies, their execution (pardon the pun there) does pose a slight problem for their overall presentation.  This will be discussed a little later.  While the manner in which the stories are told is somewhat problematic for their overall presentation, it is not enough to make the movies fail.  Staying on that note, the work done to restore the footage and present it in this recently released Blu-ray package is also of note.  It will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the presentation.  All things considered, the presentation in whole proves to be such that any noir fan will find it worth watching occasionally.

Cohen Media Group’s recent Blu-ray re-issue of Cast a Dark Shadow and Wanted for Murder is a presentation in which most noir fans will find some enjoyment.  That is due in part to the story featured in each movie presented in the double feature.  Cast a Dark Shadow (1955) centers on a playboy named Edward Bare (Dirk Bogarde – Death in Venice, The Servant, Darling) who has a history of using women and then disposing of them so as to take their money and live a lavish life.  Of course his evil ways do come to an end in an unlikely way.  That revelation will not be spoiled here for those who have yet to see the movie.  This is actually a believable premise.  Anyone who has ever watched TV news magazine shows, such as 48 Hours, Dateline, and 20/20 will attest to the fact that such a story is more based in reality than fiction, even though the story is fiction.  

Wanted for Murder (1946) features another serial killer.  This time the serial killer is a crazed strangler named Victor (Eric Portman – 49th Parallel, A Canterbury Tale, Whisperers) that no one ever would have suspected.  Allegedly Victor became a serial killer because his father was a hangman, and somehow that affected him mentally and emotionally.  This will be discussed shortly because it does become a little bit of a plot hole that detracts from the story’s execution.  Getting back on topic, Victor finds unsuspecting women to become his victims until his own guilt and a hard-working Scotland Yard Detective bring about his (rather anticlimactic) end.  If the concept of a psychotic strangler sounds familiar, it should.  The real life case of the BTK Killer is ironically very similar.  Interestingly, before meeting his own unlikely end, Victor sends letters to law enforcement, teasing them about his crimes.  So again, here audiences get a story that ironically is more akin to real crime than any fiction.  One can’t help but wonder if the Zodiac Killer (whoever he or she is/was) was influenced by this story.  This is yet another way in which the movies’ real life comparisons prove so important in their role in their presentations.  That the stories featured here are so close to real crime stories means audiences will largely be able to suspend their disbelief and in turn take in each story more easily.  This makes for a good starting point for the overall presentation.  As much as the stories’ bases do for their enjoyment, the execution thereof detracts from that enjoyment to a point.

The execution of the movies’ stories detracts from their presentations because it leaves out so much important content.  In the case of Cast a Dark Shadow, the story opens abruptly with Edward his latest victim, who happens to be an elderly woman named Monica (Mona Washbourne – My Fair Lady, Billy Liar, Stevie).  Viewers learn quickly that Monica is Victor’s latest wife.  The couple is on a ride through what is assumed to be a haunted house ride at a fair.  It has to be assumed at that immediate point that viewers are in fact seeing Edward and a victim since there is no real setup or back story here to identify them.  What’s more, taking into consideration the noted assumptions, viewers are also left to assume that Edward’s intent here was to scare Monica to the point of a fatal heart attack.  This is problematic for the story because again, audiences are forced to make so much assumption rather than just have it certified.  As things progress, it is revealed that Monica has named Edward in her will, leading him to, yes, dispose of her. It is here that the story becomes even problematic.  Monica’s lawyer reveals that Edward cannot get Monica’s money until certain circumstances arise.  That aside, Edward goes on to romance yet another woman while living in Monica’s house (his house now).  Enter Monica’s sister Charlotte Young (Kay Walsh – Oliver Twist, Stage Fright, The Horse’s Mouth) in rather unlikely fashion.  Charlotte sets out to uncover Edward’s crime.  Even here, things get somewhat contrived in the whole investigation and even Edward’s eventual confession.  That moment is one of the most confusing times simply because of how it is presented.  Between that moment and so many others throughout this 80-minute (one hour, 20-minute) movie, the story just suffers in its execution.  The dialogue proves problematic.  The abrupt opening, and the general execution right to the equally abrupt ending ultimately makes this movie’s story the lesser of the pair.

The story featured in Wanted for Murder is not without its own fault in terms of its execution.  As noted earlier, Victor is the story’s antagonist.  The only real back story that viewers get on him comes as he make a visit to a museum of infamous historical figures, one of which apparently is his father, who was an infamous hangman.  Here is the problem with this moment.  It is not pointed out directly that the man in question was Victor’s father.  Rather, viewers are left to figure that out for themselves.  This is problematic in that without the direct knowledge that the hangman was Victor’s father, Victor yelling at the mannequin just seems random.  Adding to the problems, the story never really explains how Victor’s father being a hangman led him to become a serial killer.  Again, there is no back story here to really explain away this aspect.  To that end, it makes Victor’s declarations late in the story that his father was the one committing the crimes just as random as his heinous acts.  Had the story’s writer(s) taken more time to explain Victor’s back story it would have made the story more gripping.  That is not to say that it is not gripping.  Though that one aspect really cannot be ignored, nor can the story’s equally random closing moments.  All things considered, the story featured in Wanted for Murder is better than that of Cast a Dark Shadow.  As a matter of fact, there is a certain Hitchcock style sense about the story.  That aside, it is still only slightly better than that featured in Cast a Dark Shadow.  Keeping all of this in mind, the execution of each story featured here detracts considerably from their presentations.  Luckily, this concern is not enough to completely doom the overall presentation.  The restoration of  the footage works with the stories to make them worth watching at least occasionally.

The restoration work in CMG’s presentation of Cast a Dark Shadow and Wanted for Murder is worth noting because as old as the movies are, one would think the footage would not look and sound as good as it does.  Thankfully, painstaking efforts were clearly taken to bring the footage back to quality.  It paid off, too.  The sound of the static from the original soundtracks is there in each movie.  The grainy quality is there in the footage, too.  At the same time, it is clear that some re-mastering was done to clean up the footage to a point.  The result is a visual aspect that maintains the footage’s vintage look without that aspect being overpowering.  That and the clear audio collectively show the efforts to restore the footage fully paid off.  To that end, it will encourage viewers to remain engaged and entertained through both movies, even with the concerns raised through the execution of their stories.  All things considered, this noir double proves a work that most noir fans will find worth watching at least occasionally.  

Cohen Media Group’s recently release noir double feature of Cast a Dark Shadow and Wanted for Murder is an interesting offering from the company, which is known for releasing vintage cinema.  It proves itself worth watching in part through its stories.  The stories are fiction.  However, a comparison to crimes that have been committed throughout history shows that they are not as fictitious as one might think.  While the stories are believable, considering the real crimes that have been committed around the world through the ages.  While the stories make suspension of disbelief relatively easy for viewers, the execution of each story proves somewhat problematic.  There are some clear concerns raised by plot holes and other general writing problems in each story.  It   detracts from the Blu-ray’s overall presentation, but not enough to make the presentation a failure.  The efforts put in to restore the footage rounds out the Blu-ray’s most important elements.  That is because of how well those efforts paid off.  The footage looks and sounds great in each movie thanks to those efforts.  When the result of that work is considered along with the stories, the two elements are enough to make these vintage noir flicks worth watching at least once even despite the concerns raised through the stories’ execution.  All in all, CMG’s presentation of Cast a Dark Shadow and Wanted for Murder is imperfect but still a presentation that most noir fans will find worth watching occasionally.  The double feature is available now.

More information on this and other titles from Cohen Media Group is available online now at:

Websitehttp://www.cohenmedia.net

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/CohenMediaGroup

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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 Announces Details For Forthcoming British Crime Noir Double Feature

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Cohen Media Group has a new film noir double feature scheduled for release later this month on Blu-ray and DVD.

The forthcoming collection features the 1946 flick Wanted for Murder and the 1955 movie Cast a Dark Shadow as its primary content. The movies are classic British noir movies.

Wanted For Murder stars Eric Portman (49th Parallel, A Canterbury Tale, The Whisperers) as Victor, the son of a hangman. Thanks to his father’s occupation, Victor eventually goes crazy and starts starts strangling women, essentially emulating his father. However, when he meets and falls in love with Anne Fielding (Dulcie Gray — The Glass Mountain, The Franchise Affair, My Brother Jonathan) he has to suppress his urge to kill even her.

Cast a Dark Shadow stars Dirk Bogarde (Death in Venice, The Servant, Darling) and Margaret Lockwood (The Lady Vanishes, Night Train to Munich, Jassy) in the lead roles. Bogarde stars as playboy Edward Bare, who has developed a knack for marrying women and then killing them and taking their money. However, Charlotte Young (Kay Walsh — Oliver Twist, Stage Fright, The Horse’s Mouth), the sister of one of Edward’s victims is determined to bring him to justice. Things take an extra interesting turn when one of Edward’s latest wives tells him she wants to keep their accounts separate, leading to another murder plot. Charlotte’s plan plays into this matter in its own way.

The double feature will retail for MSRP of $19.95 on DVD and $29.95 on Blu-ray.

More information on this and other titles from Cohen Media Group is available online now at:

Websitehttp://www.cohenmedia.net

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/CohenMediaGroup

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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 Succeeds Again With Its Fourth Buster Keaton Cinematic Collection

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

It goes without saying that Hollywood has fallen far from its former greatness over the course of the past 30 years or so.  The last time that Hollywood’s “Big Six” created anything truly worth watching on the big screen (and small) was the late 1990s.  Ever since then, Hollywood’s cinematic output has consisted primarily of prequels, sequels, reboots, and overly embellished movies based on actual events.  It has made independent studios increasingly important outlets for those looking for alternative outlets for audiences looking for their cinematic entertainment.  Cohen Media Group has succeeded in that avenue quite well over the course of the past two years through its re-issues of physical comedian Buster Keaton’s classic silent films.  The latest of those re-issues came early last month in the form of the company’s fourth collection of Keaton classics, The Buster Keaton Collection:  Volume 4.  As with its predecessors, which were released between May 2019 and August 2019, this fourth volume offers plenty for audiences to enjoy, beginning with its featured stories.  Those stories will be discussed shortly.  The look and sound of the restored films adds its own appeal for audiences and will be discussed a little later.  The bonus content that accompanies the stories puts the finishing touch to the collection’s presentation.  It will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the set’s presentation.  All things considered, they make The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 4 one more important presentation for any classic cinephile and Buster Keaton fan.

Cohen Media Group’s latest Buster Keaton cinematic collection, is yet another enjoyable alternative to the endless stream of prequels, sequels, reboots, and movies based on actual events that Hollywood’s “Big Six” continue to churn out annually.  It is a presentation that will appeal equally to fans of Keaton’s work and to classic cinephiles.  That is proven in large part through its featured stories.  Featured this time are the 1925 movie Go West and its 1927 follow-up CollegeGo West is not as well-known as some of Keaton’s other silent offerings, but offers audiences plenty of entertainment.  It stars Keaton as a down-on-his-luck man who ends up becoming a ranch hand in his search for work.  In the process, Keaton’s unnamed character ends up befriending a cow when he is sent to help round up a herd of cattle that will soon thereafter be carried via train to stockyards in Los Angeles.  That friendship that Keaton’s character develops with the wayward soon after becomes the central point of the story because he starts out the story being friendless and basically penniless.  Audiences will note that throughout the course of Go West’s one hour, nine minute run time, the pratfalls and other physical comedy for which Keaton had come to be known over his career were less prominent here.  It was one of those rare moments in which Keaton relied more on his pure acting skills to tell a story than his physical comedy. It makes the movie somewhat less memorable than many of his other movies, but no less entertaining.  It really shows another side of Keaton that audiences are sure to enjoy.

College by comparison is among the most well-known of Keaton’s silent film career.  This movie’s story finds Keaton’s character Ronald trying to win the heart of a young woman following graduation from their high school.  He tries to win her over by showing he can be athletic as well as smart as a member of one of Clayton College’s sports teams.  Audiences cannot help but root for him as he tries his hand – unsuccessfully – at baseball and a variety of track and field events.  Alas Ronald struggles through it all, but unknown to him, the young woman whose heart he wants to win is watching, and she eventually does develop a soft spot for him.  When he is appointed coxswain of the college’s rowing team, it leads to a happy ending between the pair.  How the ending happens will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.  It should be noted here that for all of the enjoyment the story brings, there is one scene in which Ronald dons black face in order to get himself a job.  Ronald’s intent was good at heart, being that he was just trying to get a job.  At the same time though, the scene in itself played zero part in the overall story.  To that end, it is clear that the story’s creative heads put that scene in for no reason other than racist tendencies.  Keeping that in mind, that scene really should have been omitted from the movie.  Such portrayal was wrong then and is wrong now.  Keaton does so well in his underdog performance this time out. That is due in part to Keaton breaking some from his typical stone face demeanor and actually emoting some.  The physical comedy that he utilizes –especially in the track and field moments and during the big rowing race – adds even more enjoyment for audiences. Viewers will laugh riotously at the result of Ronald trying his hand at the high jump and hammer thrown, and even what he does to try and keep his rowing team’s boat straight in the big finale race.  Between the familiar physical comedy, Keaton’s general performance and the story itself here, audiences have so much to appreciate in this classic movie.  Together with the touching and entertaining story of friendship in Go West, the two movies are themselves more than enough reason for audiences to add this collection to their movie libraries. Building on the appeal of the movies is their production values. 

The production values of the movies featured in Cohen Media Group’s first three volumes of Buster Keaton movies played a big part into their presentations.  The painstaking efforts that were made in order to restore the nearly century-old footage, both in terms of its visual and audio quality paid off in each presentation.  The same applies to this pair of movies.  The grainy look of the original presentation was kept.  At the same time, it is clear that those responsible for the touch up went to great lengths to retain the original look of the film.  Even the original edits are there and have been touched up just enough to keep them from being distracting.  The result of the intensive work put in to restore the footage clearly paid off, with the result being a presentation that creates such a positive aesthetic sense.  In the same breath, the re-worked musical track adds its own touch to the overall presentation.  The whole of the re-mastered audio and video makes watching these latest re-issues just as enjoyable for their production values as for their stories and for Keaton’s acting.  These elements are just a portion of what makes the collection so enjoyable.  The bonus content that accompanies the set’s primary content rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus content that is featured in CMG’s latest Buster Keaton collection adds its own touch to the set’s presentation because it is so much unlike that of the previous collections.  The bonus content that is featured with the first three collections is just a series of discussions lifted from CMG’s 2019 Keaton documentary The Great Buster.  That trend was not repeated here.  Instead, audiences get a full hour-length audio recording of Keaton pitching a TV show script and an original Western short also titled Go West.  The audio recording of Keaton’s script pitch is interesting, though somewhat difficult to hear.  Viewers have to turn the volume very high in order to be able to really hear it.  It leaves one wondering if any work was done to restore that audio.  On the other hand, the short Go West makes for some wonderful entertainment.  The silent short tells the story of a young man who ends up moving to the Wild West after being kicked out of his home by his own father.  The story is enacted by a group of trained Capuchin Monkeys.  The monkeys’ acting, the model train and old west town that are presented here give the story such a great look and feel while the story itself is just as entertaining and engaging for audiences.  The outcome will be left for audiences themselves to discover.  Though, it should be noted that as entertaining and engaging as it all is, there are mentions of alcohol in this story so parents who watch the otherwise family friendly story with their children might have to figure out a way to explain that aspect to their kids.  That aside, the story still makes for a great accent to everything else featured in this latest collection.  When it is considered along with the collection’s primary content and its related production values, the whole becomes a presentation that Keaton’s most devoted fans will enjoy just as much as any true cinephiles.  It leaves audiences hoping that as with the first three collections, this one will not be the last since there are still some classic Buster Keaton flicks that have yet to be released to the masses.

Cohen Media Group’s fourth installment of Buster Keaton movies is another presentation that cinephiles and Keaton fans will find equally interesting.  That is due in part to the stories that are featured in this collection’s pairing of movies.  Each story puts Keaton into his familiar lovable underdog role and does so in its own unique fashion.  The work put in to restore the footage in each movie paid off, adding even more appeal to the overall presentation.  That includes the re-mastering of the footage and the newly recorded score for each film.  The bonus short that accompanies the set’s primary content rounds out its most important elements.  Each element noted here is important in its own right to the whole of the collection.  All things considered, they make The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 4 another overall presentation that will appeal equally to Keaton’s most devoted fans and cinephiles alike.  The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 4 is available now. 

More information on this and other titles from Cohen Media Group is available online now at:

Websitehttp://www.cohenmedia.net

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/CohenMediaGroup

Twitterhttp://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’s Latest ‘Sudden Fear’ Re-Issue Succeeds Just As Much As The Movie’s BD Re-Issue

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Cohen Media Group this week, re-issued Joseph Kaufman Productions’ 1951 noir thriller Sudden Fear on on DVD. It marks the second time in less than four years that the independent studio has re-issued the movie, having re-issued it on Blu-ray in December 2016. The movie, an adaptation of author Edna Sherry’s book by the same name, is a surprisingly enjoyable cinematic work just as much here in its latest re-issue as its previous Blu-ray re-issue.  That is due in part to its story.  This will be discussed shortly.  The work of the movie’s main stars—Joan Crawford, Jack Palance and Gloria Grahame—is just as important to note as the movie’s story to the overall presentation of the movie’s upcoming re-issue.  The bonus commentary included with the movie’s upcoming re-issue rounds out its most important elements.  Each element is important in its own way to the presentation of the movie’s upcoming re-issue.  All things considered, Cohen Media Group’s re-issue of Sudden Fear proves to be one of 2016’s top new re-issues.

Cohen Media Group’s upcoming re-issue of Joseph Kaufman Productions’ 1952 hit noir thriller Sudden Fear is one of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues.  This is proven in part through the movie’s story.  Sudden Fear’s story was adapted from a page turner by the same name written by author Edna Sherry.  It follows lead character Myra Hudson (Crawford) as she meets and falls in love with actor Lester Blaine (Palance).  As the story progresses, Myra marries Lester Blaine, but finds out later he hadn’t married her for love at all, but rather for money.  As she discovers by chance, he is plotting with another woman to murder her and take her money.  There’s a certain irony to the plot that audiences will appreciate in hindsight.  As it turns out because of his greed and short sightedness, he didn’t even know he could have had even more money.  It serves to show the old adage that crime never pays is very true, and is a great addition to the story, especially in its subtlety.  What’s even more interesting in dissecting the story is that being made in 1952, the story seemed pretty much run-of-the-mill back then.  But now in the 21st century, one need just watch an episode of 48 HoursDateline or 20/20 to see just how realistic such a story can be and is.  Add in relatively stable pacing over the course of the story’s near two-hour run time (the movie runs 110 minutes, just shy of the two-hour mark) and audiences get a story that forms a solid foundation for the movie’s presentation and that of its upcoming re-issue.  It is just one part of what makes the movie’s upcoming re-issue so enjoyable.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note here as the movie’s story.

The story at Sudden Fear’s base is a hugely important part of the movie’s presentation.  On one level, it does make some changes from author Edna Sherry’s original novel on which it is based.  But it still strives to stay at least somewhat true to its source material.  On another level, it is a simple story that audiences will have no trouble following, yet is still so gripping.  On its last level, its pacing makes its 110-minute run time pass by with relative ease, even in its somewhat slower moments. Keeping that in mind, the movie’s story, again, forms a solid foundation for its presentation.  While it is clearly an important piece of the movie’s presentation, it is just one of the movie’s key elements.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important to note here as that of its writers—Lenore J. Coffee, Robert Smith and Joan Crawford herself (this will be discussed later).  Crawford, as audiences will learn through the bonus commentary included in the movie’s upcoming re-issue, was hardly a rookie actor when she took on the role of Myra Hudson in this movie.  In fact, Turner Classic Movies writer and author Jeremy Arnold reveals that Crawford had starred in more than 70 (yes, 70 plus movies) at the time that she starred in Sudden Fear.  Her years of experience showed clearly in her performance here as she progressed from strong, confident, self-assured playwright to standard female romantic lead back to that strong, confident, self-assured figure in the end.  There were so many moments throughout where Crawford easily could have chewed some scenery such as when Myra first discovers by chance that Lester had only married her for her money or in the story’s final chase scene.  But she didn’t allow herself to do that, instead exhibiting clearly those years of experience.  That control made her acting so enjoyable to take in.  Her talent will make audiences across the board cheer her on as she defies Lester and makes her own plan to stop him.  Hers is just one example of what makes the cast’s wok so notable in this movie.  Palance is just as impressive in his portrayal of the evil, scheming Lester.

Joan Crawford’s portrayal of Myra in this movie is spot on from beginning to end.  Audiences will find themselves riveted by her performance as she journeys from a strong, confident woman to the standard female lead back to her strong, confident self.  Crawford’s years of experience help her shine throughout her performance here, as she remains the consummate professional even in scenes where it would have been so easy for her to ham it up and really chew the scenery so to speak.  This professionalism makes her portrayal of Myra completely believable.  Hers isn’t the only work that should be noted here.  Co-star Jack Palance’s work as Lester Blaine is just as notable.  Palance is likely known to most audiences as the hardened cowboy Curly from City Slickers (1991).  So his portrayal as the greedy Lester Blaine here is a surprising and entertaining change of pace.  He makes audiences love to hate Lester as Lester and Irene plot to kill Myra.  That’s not just because of his plotting but because of the personality that he gives Lester in his portrayal.  Audiences will note that as confident as Lester proves to be, he is also quite lacking in confidence and somewhat maniacal.  That is exhibited in the story’s final act as Lester and Irene’s plan (or technically Myra’s plan, not to give away too much) begins to unravel.  Lester’s reaction (including his emoting) as he chases Myra is the clearest example of that lack of confidence and maniacal nature.  Audiences will be enthralled as they watch Lester so determinedly chase her, to the point that he makes one fatal mistake (which won’t be given away here), leading up to the story’s finale.  Between his work on camera and that of Crawford, the pair shows with full clarity the importance of the cast’s work to the movie’s presentation.  The moments displayed here are just some of the moments in which their work shines.  Audiences will find plenty of other moments in which their work proves so important to the movie’s presentation when they purchase or order the movie’s re-issue for themselves.  Even when all of those moments are combined with the work of the movie’s writing team, they show themselves to be only two of the movie’s key elements.  The bonus commentary that is included in the movie’s upcoming re-issue rounds out the movie’s most important elements.

The work of Sudden Fear’s writers and cast members are both important in their own way to the movie’s presentation.  The writers’ work is so important because of the way in which they adapted author Edna Sherry’s novel for the big screen.  It changes some of the material in Sherry’s story, but still ends up presenting a gripping story that will keep viewers on the edge of their collective seats.  Lead stars Joan Crawford and Jack Palance are impressive, too as the movie’s leads.  Their cast mates as entertaining in their own right, too.  While the work of the movie’s cast and writers proves to be in key to the movie’s presentation in the end, they are only a couple of the elements that make the movie such a surprisingly entertaining work.  The bonus commentary that is included in the movie’s upcoming re-issue rounds out its most important elements.  Turner Classic Movies writer and author Jeremy Arnold provides the commentary for the movie in its upcoming re-issue.  It isn’t the first time that he has provided commentary for one of CMG’s classics re-issues.  He also provided commentary for the recent re-issues of Lured and A Scandal in Paris by CMG.  He offers plenty of important information in his commentary here, just as in the company’s previous re-issues.  Some of that important information includes the revelation that the idea to adapt Sherry’s novel to the big screen originally came from Crawford.  The problem with adapting it was that it couldn’t be done until Crawford could get out of her contract with Warner Brothers.  Arnold also reveals through his commentary the decision on the movie’s director even came from Crawford and that Sherry’s novel actually took place entirely in New York.  He explains Sherry’s story never involved San Francisco, a train ride or certain other elements incorporated into the story’s big screen adaptation.  He even gives viewers a little bit of a history lesson on Crawford’s early career in his commentary, revealing Crawford’s birth name and how she gained her screen name of Crawford.  That story in itself will give viewers a little bit of a laugh.  Between these revelations and so many others, Arnold provides viewers with lots of invaluable information throughout the movie.  That mass of material is one more example of the importance of audio commentary in any movie’s home release.  It can take a bad movie and potentially make it worth a second watch, or it can take a good movie (such as this work) and make it great.  Considering that along with the writing team’s adaptation of Sherry’s story and the cast’s work, the movie proves in whole to be a work that movie lovers and classic film buffs alike will enjoy.  It combines to make Sudden Fear one of this year’s top new re-issues.

Cohen Media Group’s upcoming re-issue of Joseph Kaufman Productions’ Sudden Fear is one of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues.  That is evidenced in its story, adapted from Edna Sherry’s original novel.  While the story presents a number of differences from Sherry’s literary work, it is still an entertaining work in its own right.  There are a lot of moviemakers out there today who could take a lesson from the writing team’s approach to this story considering that.  The work of the movie’s cast on camera is just as important to note here, especially that of lead stars Joan Crawford and Jack Palance.  Their work will keep viewers just as engaged and entertained as the story itself.  The bonus commentary included in the movie’s upcoming re-issue rounds out the most important of its elements.  Jeremy Arnold once again offers a great depth of knowledge about and appreciation for the movie, even as robotic as his delivery seems at times.  Each element is important in its own right to the movie’s presentation here.  All things considered, CMG’s upcoming re-issue of Sudden Fear proves itself to be one of this year’s top new DVD/BD re-issues.  It will be available Tuesday, December 13.  More information on this and other titles from Cohen Media Group is available online now at:

Websitehttp://cohenmedia.net

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/CohenMediaGroup

Twitterhttp://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.

Vintage, Modern Offerings Gave Families Lots To Like This Year

Courtesy: MVD Entertainment Group

Families spent a lot of time indoors together this year thanks to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Between parents working from home and students forced to take classes online, parents and their children have seen a lot of each other this year; Probably a lot more than usual.  That increased time together can often lead to tensions between families.  Thankfully, plenty of new DVD and Blu-ray box sets were released this year to help relieve that tension and give families plenty to enjoy together.  That has already been pointed out in part through Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New DVDs & Blu-rays list.  Single disc presentations are just a part of what families had to enjoy together this year.  There was also plenty of content thrown in this year in the form of new DVD and Blu-ray box sets for families.  Among some of the best of this year’s new family box sets are first time releases from the likes of Time Life, PBS, and Nickelodeon.

As with each list from Phil’s Picks, this list features the year’s Top 10 new titles and five additional honorable mention titles for a total of 15.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Family DVD & Blu-ray Box Sets.

PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY DVD & BLU-RAY BOX SETS

  1. Laurel & Hardy: The Definitive Restorations
  2. The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 4
  3. Dolly: The Ultimate Collection
  4. Arthur: The Complete Friendship Collection
  5. The Berenstain Bears: Tree House Tales Vol. 2
  6. The Berenstain Bears: Tree House Tales Vol. 3
  7. Molly of Denali: Molly’s Awesome Alaskan Adventures
  8. The Jetsons: The Complete Series
  9. Sesame Street: Old School Volume 1
  10. Sesame Street: Old School Volume 2
  11. Spongebob Squarepants: Season 11
  12. Paw  Patrol: PUP-tastic 8-DVD Collection
  13. The Flintstones: 2 Movies & 5 Specials
  14. Garfield & Friends: Season Three
  15. Benji 4-Movie Collection

Next up from Phil’s Picks is the 2020 Top 10 New Grown-Up Box Sets and then the year’s top new re-issues to finish off this year’s lists.  Stay tuned for all of that this weekend.

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

CMG Announces ‘Sudden Fear’ DVD Re-issue Date

Courtesy: Joseph Kaufman Productions/Cohen Media Group

Cohen Media Group will re-issue Joseph Kaufman Productions’ 1951 noir thriller Sudden Fear again next month.

The company is scheduled to re-issue the movie on DVD on Jan. 12. The DVD re-issue will come more than four years after CMG re-issued the classic thriller on Blu-ray.

Sudden Fear’s story was adapted from a page turner by the same name written by author Edna Sherry.  It follows lead character Myra Hudson (Joan Crawford) as she meets and falls in love with actor Lester Blaine (Jack Palance).  As the story progresses, Myra marries Lester, but finds out later he hadn’t married her for love at all, but rather for money.  As Myra discovers by chance, Lester is plotting with another woman to murder her and take her money.

The movie received four Academy Award nominations in the 1953 Oscars for its presentation: Best Actress (Crawford), Best Supporting Actor (Palance), Best Black & White Cinematography (Charles Lang, Jr.) and Best Costume Design, Black & White (Sheila O’Brien).

More information on this and other titles from Cohen Media Group is available online now at:

Websitehttp://cohenmedia.net

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/CohenMediaGroup

Twitterhttp://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 Announces Release Date, Specs For Fourth Buster Keaton Collection

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Cohen Media Group will release its fourth collection of Buster Keaton films next month.

The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume 4 is scheduled for release Dec. 8 on Blu-ray and DVD. Its release will come more than a year after the release of the ongoing series’ first three volumes. This two-movie collection will feature Keaton’s 1925 movie Go West and its 1927 follow-up, the timeless movie College.

Keaton plays the role of “Friendless” in Go West. Feeling the desire to explore the country, Friendless heads west to find his destiny. The comedy finds Friendless having a hard time adjusting to the life of the cowboy/ranch hand, but he ends up becoming a hero when a bunch of steer is accidentally unleashed on Los Angeles.

College finds Keaton playing the part of Ronald. Ronald follows his romantic interest Mary to a university whose student body is made up largely of athletes, who Mary prefers more than bookworm types, such as Ronald. The story reaches a dramatic moment, leading Ronald to become a hero in another way while also winning Mary’s heart.

The Buster Keaton Collection: Volume Four will retail for MSRP of $29.95 (Blu-ray) and $19.95 (DVD).

More information on this and other titles from Cohen Media Group is available online now at:

Websitehttp://www.cohenmedia.net

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/CohenMediaGroup

Twitterhttp://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.

CNN Films, Magnolia Pictures’ Gilda Radner Bio Is The Best Of 2019’s New Documentary Field

Courtesy: CNN Films/Magnolia Pictures

Movies based on actual events and biased news from both sides of the aisle have done so much damage to the world.  The movies based on actual events are over embellished forgettable works that tell half the story if even that.  The biased news on both sides of the aisle tells just as little as the noted movies, if not less.  To that end, one can’t help but be very thankful for all the new documentaries that are released each year.  The documentaries released this year went a long way toward making up for the problems caused by the noted news and movies, so many that there were more than enough to fit on any critic’s list of the year’s top new documentaries, but this critic tried to assemble a fitting list.

This year’s list features documentaries centered on topics, such as the history of Country Music, the Apollo 11 mission and a famed movie star.  Each documentary brings its own important and enjoyable presentation for audiences thanks to its unique content and story.  From one to the next, each proves itself fully deserving of a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new docs.  This critic’s list features, as with previous lists, the top 10 titles from the year as well as five honorable mention titles for a total  of 15 titles.  This list’s titles come from PBS, Cohen Media Group, Magnolia Pictures and even Shout! Factory, so they are not just from one company.  In other words, there is some diversity here.  Without any further ado, here for your consideration if Phil’s Picks 2019 Top 10 New Documentaries

 

PHIL’S PICKS 2019 TOP 10 NEW DOCUMENTARIES

  1. Love, Gilda
  2. Bad Reputation
  3. American ExperienceChasing The Moon
  4. Buster KeatonThe Great Buster
  5. Ken BurnsCountry Music
  6. 8 Daysto The Moon and Back
  7. American ExperienceSealab
  8. NeverEnding ManHayao Miyizaki
  9. NOVAApollo’s Daring Mission
  10. Sinatra in Palm SpringsThe Place He Called Home
  11. NOVALast B-24
  12. NOVAPluto & Beyond
  13. NOVAFirst Horse Warriors
  14. NatureDogs in the Land of Lions
  15. Nature: A Squirrel’s Guide To Success

 

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CMG Bringing Swedish Dramedy Home To American Audiences Next Month

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

Cohen Media Group is bringing a new overseas dramedy to American audiences in 2020.

The company recently announced it will release Britt-Marie Was Here Jan. 14 on DVD and Blu-ray.  The Swedish import made its domestic theatrical debut Sept. 20.  based on the best-selling novel by author Fredrik Backman, the story follows its titular character whose 40-year marriage to her husband has just ended after she discovered his infidelity.

In making a new start for herself, Britt-Marie finds herself having to coach a youth soccer team in her hometown of Borg, Sweden.  She has no experience in coaching and no knowledge of soccer, either.  Making things even more difficult is that the team is the pride and joy of Borg.  The result is a story that is both a journey of self-discovery for Britt-Marie and a familiar fish out of water tale in one.

Award Winner Pernilla August (Star Wars Episode I and II, the Best Intentions) stars in the movie’s lead role.

American audiences will be able to take in the movie thanks to English subtitles included in the Swedish-language movie.  the movie will retail for MSRP of $19.99 (DVD) and $25.99.

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

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews 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

 

 

 

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.