‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ Does Not Give The ‘Ghostbusters’ Franchise Any New Life

Courtesy: Sony Pictures

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.  Everybody knows that old adage, and for director Jason Reitman that could not be farther from the truth in watching Sony Pictures’ Ghostbusters sequel, Ghostbusters: Afterlife.  The thing is that in the case of this movie, which was helmed by Reitman, the son of Ivan Reitman – who directed the original Ghostbusters movie back in 1984 – the adage does not apply in a good way.  That is because there is little if anything to like about this movie.  Its story is its most problematic concern and will be discussed shortly.  The general writing and acting is problematic in its own way to the movie’s presentation and will be addressed a little later.  The bonus content (or rather the lack thereof) rounds out the movie’s most prominent concerns.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this movie.  All things considered, they make Ghostbusters: Afterlife hopefully the last big screen Ghostbusters iteration for a very long time.

When Columbia Pictures released its take on the Ghostbusters franchise, audiences did indeed answer the call, but not necessarily in the way in which the studio heads had hoped.  While some audiences appreciated the movie, the overwhelming majority of audiences and critics panned the movie, and justifiably so.  Interestingly enough, the movie was helmed by Ivan Reitman, who directed the original Ghostbusters movie in 1984.  It (the 2016 reboot) received a score of 74% from Rotten Tomatoes (along with a 49% audience score), so one would have thought that after the movie’s general failure, studios in general would have had second thoughts about taking on the franchise yet again.  Apparently staff at Sony Pictures (and Reitman’s son Jason) did not worry too much about the movie’s response when they decided to make Ghostbusters: Afterlife happen. Sadly, this latest entry in the Ghostbusters franchise is disappointing in its own right.  That is due in large part to the story.  The story featured in this movie is itself just a reboot of the 1984 movie.  Gozer the Gozerian is back to try and take over the world again.  This after the original Ghostbusters team destroyed Gozer almost 40 years ago atop a skyscraper in New York City.  The difference is that this time, it’s not the original Ghostbusters crew taking on Gozer (though ¾ of the original team does appear in the movie’s end to help deal with the evil Sumerian God – not to give away too much).  Rather it is a new, much younger team of Ghostbusters consisting of Egon’s grandson and grand-daughter and their friends.  Trevor (Finn Wolfhard – It, Pinocchio, Stranger Things) and Phoebe (McKenna Grace – I, Tonya, Troop Zero, The Handmaid’s Tale) are Egon’s grandchildren.  They are joined by Phoebe’s friend “Podcast” (newcomer Logan Kim) and Trevor’s love interest, Lucky (Celeste O’Connor – Freaky, Selah and the Spades, Irreplaceable You) as they take on Gozer and its minions.  The very knowledge that the original Ghostbusters team defeated Gozer so many decades ago makes suspension of disbelief impossible right from this point.  This is only the tip of the iceberg, too.

It is clear in watching Ghostbusters: Afterlife that Reitman and the rest of the movie’s creative heads were doing two things here.  The first thing they were doing was just a bunch of fan service.  From the giant stack of books in Egon’s house in Summerville, to the footage from the original movie that Phoebe watches on her laptop (which is clearly blatant product placement for YouTube) to the use of another giant structure from which Gozer and its forces originate, and more, there is so much fan service happening throughout this story.  As if that is not bad enough, the creative heads’ use of young actors was clearly an attempt to satiate those (like this critic) who wanted an Extreme Ghostbusters style movie.  Instead, they gave said audiences little more than a teeny bopper flick meant to make older audiences feel nostalgic and younger, pre-teen and teen audiences interested because they thought there was some need to update the movie.  Reitman explains in the lone bonus feature in the movie’s home release of how the idea for this story came about, but it does not make the story any more bearable.  Only it makes things worse.  This will be discussed later.  Simply put, this so-called sequel really could have been so much better if those in charge had really taken more time and thought about how it could have succeeded, but sadly it did not reach that level.  Instead it ended up just being a shallow re-hashing of the original, much like so many sequels out there from so many franchises.  It is just one of the problems that mars the movie’s presentation, too.  The collective writing and acting featured throughout the movie brings out its own concerns.

The writing starts out strongly by setting the stage, explaining that Egon had lived in the house and was obviously there facing off against some kind of evil being, but failed to do so, to a point.  The thing is that from there, the story is quick to go from that to present day, introducing his family and front loading the story with so much contrivance along the way.  Gary’s (Paul Rudd – Ant Man, Ant Man and the Wasp, Ant Man and the Wasp: Quantumania) flirting with Callie (Carrie Coon – Avengers: Infinity War, Gone Girl, The Post) from early on makes it honestly painfully clear that they would take the place of Dana (Sigourney Weaver – Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters 2, Alien) and Louis (Rick Moranis – Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters 2, Honey, I Shrunk The Kids) as the Gatekeeper and Keymaster.  What’s more, their interactions just feel so cheesy and forced in every scene.  Whether that was intentional is anyone’s guess, but regardless, it is painful to watch. 

On the same note, Gary’s lack of concern for his students, simply popping in copies of horror movies for the students to watch while he examines earthquake maps in his office simply is not believable.  Even less believable is how Phoebe just casually strolls into Gary’s office and talks about it all as the other students sit watching the movies.  The pair’s dry, so-called witty banter falls flat and not only there, but throughout the movie.  Staying on that note, that none of the students take any interest when she and Podcast bring in an old ghost trap leaves one scratching one’s head just as much.  Add in the moment in which Lucky’s dad, who happens to be the town’s police chief (played by Bokime Woodbine – Spiderman: Homecoming, Halo, Fargo) asks Phoebe, ‘Who ya gonna call?” when she declares at the jail (again, not to give away too much) that she gets a phone call is just as cheesy in its delivery and timing.  It felt like one more piece of the creative heads’ fan service for those who grew up with the original 1984 Ghostbusters.  Audiences cannot help but feel some sympathy for Woodbine, being that it fell on his shoulders, considering how little screen time he got. 

From there, Ray’s (Dan Akroyd – Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters 2, Ghostbusters: Answer The Call) explanation of how Egon ended up in Oklahoma (which basically tells the story) is so misplaced and contrived in itself.  Had this explanation been somehow incorporated more into the movie early on instead of just going from the brief intro to the present might have helped the movie’s presentation more.  The story itself of how Egon ended up there is contrived, though.  ‘Oh, Egon went crazy ,talked about the end of the world, and that Evo Shandor built another temple in a random spot in America’s heartland’ (roughly translated from Ray’s story) just feels so outlandish.  That is especially the case considering again that Egon, Ray, Winston, and Peter defeated Gozer in the original movie, so how did Gozer manage to come back?  That issue is never explained away as part of the story, either, leaving that massive plot hole wide open.  Between everything noted here and so much more, the issues with the story’s writing and the cast’s work interpreting the scripts, there is little to nothing to appreciate from those elements.  When their problems are coupled with the issues raised by the movie’s very story, the movie becomes that much less entertaining and engaging.  It still is not the last of the movie’s concerns.  The bonus content (or rather lack thereof) featured in the movie’s home release rounds out its most important items.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife’s home release features one bonus feature.  The feature is the standard “making of” featurette.  It presents interviews with the movie’s cast and crew, beginning with Jason Reitman discussing how the idea for the movie’s story came about.  His revelation makes clear that he never had any intent to create a story in the vein of Extreme Ghostbusters, but rather, it was always going to involve younger cast members.  To that end, at least it makes it seem like it was not just all about the dollar signs for Reitman.  However, all of the blatant product placement (YouTube, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Walmart, etc.) throughout the movie, one might think otherwise.  At the same time though, Reitman also admits that he wanted to write a story that was a “love letter” to the original movie.  In other words, he openly paid fan service through this story while also making it more youth oriented, even though the original movie was geared toward older audiences and had a certain edge.  Neither of those applied here, and that hurt the movie greatly.  So again, that led to the movie being just a rehashing of the original Ghostbusters but just more family friendly so to speak.  Hearing the comments from Reitman and company as they talk about the movie in the movie’s lone bonus feature does so much to detract from the movie’s engagement and entertainment in its own way.  When the revelations in the “making of” featurette are considered along with the shortcomings in the story and its collective writing and acting, the whole makes this latest Ghostbusters installment its own disappointing presentation.  One can only hope that seeing all of the movie’s problems, it will be a long time before the franchise will see another installment, even though the grand finale here left the door open for another movie.

Sony Pictures’ latest Ghostbusters iteration, Ghostbusters: Afterlife is a disappointing new entry in the storied franchise.  It offers little if anything to like for fans of the property who have clear heads.  The story featured within is one part fan service and one part teeny bopper flick loaded with unnecessary romance subplots.  The mix makes me its own share of problems.  The writing and acting makes for its own problems, as little if any of it is believable.  The lone bonus feature that comes with the movie’s home release makes for its own share of problems, making the movie even less engaging and entertaining than it was without that item.  Each item examined is important in its own way to the whole of the movie’s presentation.  All things considered, they make Ghostbusters: Afterlife a work that shows the Ghostbusters franchise needs to remain buried for the foreseeable future unless a truly good story is crafted for the next movie.

Ghostbusters: Afterlife is available now on digital and physical platforms.  More information on the movie is available along with all of the latest Ghostbusters news at:

Website: https://www.sonypictures.com/movies/ghostbustersafterlife

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Ghostbusters

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ghostbusters

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Shout! Factory’s ‘Dragnet’ Re-Issue Is Another Welcome Addition To Company’s Shout! Select Series

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Universal Pictures

When Jack Webb’s timeless cop action drama series Dragnet first aired Dec. 16, 1951, likely no one at the time thought it would be a timeless franchise that would go on to transcend generations of audiences.  Now 67 years later, it has become one of the most beloved and important properties in the worlds of television and movies.  That is proven as the series would go on to have its own extensive life on television – a life which is still very vibrant through and even turned into a big screen adaptation in 1987 in the form of Universal Pictures’ Dragnet.  The movie, which flopped in its opening weekend – according to information from Internet Movie Database (IMDB), it grossed $10.5 million, just over half of its $20 million budget – did end up going on to success both domestically and globally, ultimately grossing $53 million nationwide and more than $66 million overseas before ending its theatrical run.  Now more than 31 years after it made its initial debut, the movie – which has since gone on to be a cult favorite – has seen the light of day once again thanks to Shout! Factory.  The home entertainment company re-issued the modern classic on Blu-ray Oct. 30 as part of its ongoing Shout! Select series.  This latest re-issue is an overall welcome new addition to that series, too.  This statement is supported in part through the story’s writing.  This will be discussed shortly.  The bonus material included with the movie’s new re-issue strengthens that foundation even more.  It will be discussed a little later.  The movie’s average price range rounds out its most important elements.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Dragnet’s re-issue.  All things considered, the whole of Dragnet makes this re-issue another welcome addition to Shout! Factory’s Shout! Select series and to the library of any classic movie buff.

Shout! Factory’s new Blu-ray re-issue of Universal Pictures’ 1987 cinematic adaptation of Jack Webb’s Dragnet franchise is another good addition to the Shout! Select series.  It is just as welcome in the libraries of any of the movie’s fans.  That is proven in part through the movie’s writing. The script finds Joe Friday’s nephew (played here by Dan Akroyd, and also named Joe) continuing in his uncle’s footsteps.  He is joined in this adventure by Pep Streebek (Tom Hanks – The Polar Express, Philadelphia, The Burbs).  This in itself is a tribute to the radio and television series that preceded this movie, as Friday notes his previous partners, and even includes a pack of Chesterfield cigarettes and a picture of Webb.  Where Webb’s original radio and TV series were serious, action-packed presentations, this incarnation has a much more light-hearted feel, yet does not sacrifice the action of those series.  The use of an evil cult that aims to take over the city throws back maybe not so much to the old Dragnet radio and TV series, but to old-time radio and TV in general.  To that it, it actually generates its own welcome sense of nostalgia.  The balance of the comedic elements to the action elements is a surprisingly welcome addition to the writing.  That is not to say that the serious side of Dragnet, which is more prevalent in the classic TV and movie series, is not welcome.  As a matter of fact, there is some of that seriousness here, but the more light-hearted approach set alongside that seriousness makes for a good balance of hard and soft at the same time.  The writing also is proven positive in the movie’s pacing.  From start to finish, the script never once loses focus or momentum, ensuring even more, viewers’ engagement and entertainment.  Between this factor, the balance of the script’s comedic and serious elements and the homage paid both to the original Dragnet series (and other classic radio and TV dramas), audiences get in the writing, an element that in whole, that forms a solid foundation for the movie’s new presentation.  While the combined writing elements go a long way toward making Dragnet engaging and enjoyable, that foundation is strengthened even more through the bonus content included with the movie’s presentation.

The bonus content featured with Dragnet’s new re-issue is important to note because of the insight and entertainment that it adds to the movie’s overall presentation.  The new audio commentary from famed pop culture historian Russell Dyball is one item that supports that statement. Dyball’s commentary is loaded with plenty of interesting tidbits throughout the story.  He shares discussions early on, of a former Los Angeles Police Chief.  He also offers commentary about Friday reciting LAPD dress code, noting that it is factual, as Friday and Streebek first meet, which is interesting in its own right.  As the story progresses, Dyball, who has provided commentary for various other movies’ home releases, also shares commentary about workings behind the camera connected to director Tom Mankiewicz and Akroyd, as well as notes of Akroyd’s refusal to use teleprompters, unlike that of Webb in the original series, the joke of Orange County residents’ conservative nature and that tie to Connie’s character and the subtlety of Friday’s transition from a grey suit to a brown suit.  That commentary is intriguing in its own right.  Between all of this and so much more that Dyball discusses over the course of the movie’s nearly two-hour run time (one hour, 46 minutes to be exact), audiences get so much to appreciate from that commentary.  It is yet another way in which bonus material proves to be just as important to a movie’s home release as the movie itself.  If any one thing can be said to the negative of Dyball’s commentary, it is that at times, Dyball comes across as he is reading from his own script than actually getting into the movie.  That is inferred through his delivery.  Of course at other times, he does seem to be involved in the movie, so maybe those other moments in which he seems disconnected are just misinterpretations.  Keeping this in mind, audiences will agree that Dyball’s commentary is, in the end, a crucial addition to the movie’s whole.

Dyball’s commentary is just one of the key bonuses included with Dragnet’s new re-issue.  The previously released bonus featurette “Just The Facts!: A Promotional Look At Dragnet With Dan Akroyd and Tom Hanks, adds even more for audiences to appreciate.  Given that this roughly 45-minute featurette (probably stretched to an hour for television at the time) was clearly released with the movie to help its ticket sales, many of today’s audiences likely have not seen it, or have not seen it in many years.  To that end, it is its own crucial addition to the presentation.  Audiences learn through the featurette, which is in fact hosted by Hanks and Akroyd, quite a bit of interesting information.  Viewers learn that Akroyd and Hanks were two very different types of actors off-screen for starters.  It is revealed that Akroyd apparently was very much the method actor, using old Jack Webb tapes between takes to get into the role of Friday’s nephew, while Hanks was more of an “act-as-you-go type of actor.  Additionally, viewers learn quite a bit about Webb the man, the director and the actor through this presentation.  It is revealed that Webb had a wonderful sense of humor as a person, but as a director, he was very strict.  According to the information in the featurette, Webb took very few takes and allowed for the use of very few suits by himself and his cast mates, thus cutting costs.  Another interesting note in this featurette is the respect that Webb had for the Los Angeles Police Department, and in turn the respect that the agency had for him.  There was so much respect in both directions, that the LAPD even held a very special memorial for Webb upon his untimely death in 1959 from a heart attack.  As if all  of this is not enough, the featurette also delves into the history of Dragnet’s music, adding even more interest for audiences.  Add in brief discussions comparing the original Dragnet series to the 1987 movie in terms of dialogue and action, talks on the shows created through Webb’s Mark VIII Productions Studio and more, and the whole of this featurette strengthens the overall presentation of Dragnet’s even more.

The interview with co-star Alexandra Paul adds a little bit more to the experience.  She notes fondly her interactions with Hanks and Akroyd on-set, noting that both men were very wonderful figures.  She laughs happily as she recalls Akroyd’s gentlemanly nature both on and off-screen, and Hanks’ more happy-go-lucky yet professional manner.  It shows even more the distinctly different personalities that the actors brought to the set, and how it played into their on-screen chemistry.  Paul also offers an interesting note about her own innocence coming into the movie, and how that played into her portrayal of Connie that viewers will appreciate learning.  That revelation indeed succeeds in making for more appreciation for Paul’s acting.  Additionally, Paul also laughs as she recalls that prior to her interview, which was recorded especially for the movie’s Blu-ray re-issue, she had seen the movie only once prior to her review, and that was in its debut way back in 1987.  She never says if that avoidance of the movie was intentional, which in itself creates plenty of discussion.  When all of these discussions are considered along with the information shared in Dyball’s commentary and the information shared in the vintage featurette, it becomes fully evident why the bonus content included with Dragnet’s new Blu-ray re-issue is so important to the movie’s overall presentation.  It strengthens the Blu-ray’s presentation quite a bit.  The bonus material is not the last of the Blu-ray’s most important elements.  The movie’s average price point rounds out those elements.

The average price point of Dragnet’s new Blu-ray re-issue is $24.99.  that price is found using prices from Shout! Factory’s store, Amazon and Walmart.  The movie’s new Blu-ray re-issue is not listed at the sites of Target, Best Buy, Books-A-Million, Barnes & Noble at the time of this review.  Considering just the amount of entertainment and insight that audiences get just through the bonus material included in Dragnet’s new Blu-ray re-issue, that price point is relatively affordable.  It gives audiences almost three hours – if not more – of entertainment and engagement when considered along with all of the entertainment and insight offered through the movie itself.  When all of this is considered together, audiences will agree that the Blu-ray’s affordable pricing and the entertainment and engagement offered throughout this Blu-ray makes the package in whole one that classic movie buffs and Dragnet fans alike will agree is a wonderful new addition to Shout! Factory’s Shout! Select series, and to any movie lover’s library.

Shout! Factory’s recent addition of Dragnet to its ongoing Shout! Select series is a wonderful new addition to that series.  Classic movie buffs and fans of the movie (and maybe even fans of the original TV and radio series) will agree to that, especially after watching the movie – some for the first time and others for the first time again.  The movie pays a great homage to its source material with its script and acting while the bonus content gives viewers even more to appreciate.  The average price point certainly will not break anyone’s bank, either.  Each item is important in its own right to the whole of Dragnet’s new Blu-ray presentation.  All things considered, they make this re-issue another welcome addition to Shout! Factory’s Shout! Select series and to any viewer’s home movie library.  It is available now.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:




Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory




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Shout! Factory Announces ‘Dragnet’ Re-Issue Release Date

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Universal Pictures

Shout! Factory is adding another modern classic flick to its Shout! Select series.

The company announced this week that it will release Dragnet on Oct. 30 on Blu-ray.  Originally released June 26, 1987 via Universal Pictures, the movie was an adaptation of the classic TV series, which rose to popularity in the 1950s and again in the ’60s. Webb (Dragnet, Adam-12Emergency!) starred as Sgt. Joe Friday in both series.  He was joined by Ben Alexander (Scotty of the ScoutsFlirtationAll Quiet on the Western Front) as Officer Frank Smith in the series’ initial run, and by Harry Morgan (M.A.S.H.The Cat From Outer SpaceInheriti The Wind) as Bill Gannon in its 1960s run.

The big-screen adaptation saw Dan Akroyd (Ghosbusters 1-2The Blues BrothersThe Blues Brothers 2000) filling Webb’s shoes as Sgt. Friday while Tom Hanks (Toy Story 1-3PhiladelphiaThe Polar Express) takes on the part of Friday’s latest partner, Officer Pep Streebek. The odd couple style story finds the two men working to solve a series of robberies and bizarre ritual-style murders that ultimately leads to a much bigger story involving a group that is working to undermine all authority in Los Angeles.

Morgan reprises his role of Bill Gannon in this update on the TV series.  He is joined by co-stars Christopher Plummer (A Beautiful MindBeginnersAll The Money in the World), Dabney Coleman (WarGamesYou’ve Got MailStuart Little) and Alexandra Paul (ChristineSpy HardThe B Team.

Speaking of Alexandra Paul, included in the movie’s forthcoming Blu-ray re-issue is an interview with her as a brand new addition.  The movie also includes a feature-length audio commentary from pop culture historian Russell Dyball.  The full list of the movie’s bonus material is noted below.  It can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s online store.  The collector’s edition will ship two weeks early and will include a free 18X24 poster featuring new artwork from the movie.

Special Features:
  • NEW “A Quiet Evening in the Company of Connie Swail”: An Interview With Co-Star Alexandra Paul
  • NEW Audio Commentary with Pop Culture Historian Russell Dyball
  • “Just the Facts!”: A Promotional Look at Dragnet with Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks
  • Original Theatrical Trailers & Promos
  • Photo Gallery

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


Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory


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Comedy, Heart, Bonus Content, Combine To Make ‘Doctor Detroit’ One Of 2018’s Top New Movie Re-Issues

Courtesy: SHout! Factory

Truly diversely talented actors are hard to find in the current era of entertainment.  Sure, there are good actors, both male and female, but finding actors who show true diversity and talent within that diversity is difficult to say the very least.  Thinking briefly, some of the names that come to this critic’s mind are the likes of Meryl Streep, the late great Robin Williams, the legendary Katherine Hepburn, and as underappreciated as he is, Paul Giamatti among others.  These actors showed time and again their ability to adapt to so many different styles of performances, and did so with such talent.  As noted, they are just some of the people on that list.  Another name that deserves to be discussed along with them is none other than Dan Akroyd.  Akroyd, has shown just as much talent through his diverse roles as his counterparts and contemporaries.  Ghostbusters, Driving Miss Daisy, My Stepmother Is An Alien, My Girl and so many other movies have allowed Akroyd to exhibit such range and talent therein.  On April 24, another of Akroyd’s classics – Doctor Detroit — will get new life thanks to Universal Pictures and Shout! Factory, thus serving as more proof of Akroyd’s talents and abilities.  Whether audiences are seeing it for the first time or first time in a long time, it proves in many ways not only Akroyd’s talents, but in itself to be one of his best movies.  It proves both statements first and foremost through its story, which will be discussed shortly.  Speaking of Akroyd’s talent and diversity, both show through clearly in his acting, which will be discussed later.  The bonus material included with the movie’s forthcoming Blu-ray re-issue put the final touch on the movie’s presentation.  Each element is important in its own right to the overall presentation of Doctor Detroit.  All things considered, these elements make this movie (and its soon to be released re-issue) a work that any Dan Akroyd fan will appreciate and that proves Akroyd’s place in the pantheon of great actors.

Shout! Factory’s upcoming Blu-ray re-issue of Universal Pictures’ 1983 adult comedy Doctor Detroit is a work that will appeal to any Dan Akroyd fan while also proving just as much as Akroyd’s other movies, why he is one of Hollywood’s elite actors.  Both of those statements are supported in part through the story at the center of this classic comedy.  The story, which is at its heart an underdog story, sees mild-mannered (and very geeky) professor Clifford Skridlow unwittingly thrust into a world that is the polar opposite of his life of academia and the upper crust.  It’s really a fish-out-of-water element that when coupled with that underdog element gives this story so much heart.  One could even argue that Skridlow having to take on an alter ego of sorts in order to free Walker’s ladies – Monica, Jasmine, Thelma and Karen – even gives the movie a sort of super hero element even though it’s not a super hero story.  Through it all, Skridlow maintains his sense of honor, respecting the ladies and befriending Diavolo (T.K. Carter—Domino, Rush Hour, The Thing), again highlighting the story’s underdog element.  Considering that element, the super hero element, and the fish-out-of-water element all being so expertly balanced here, the writing team of Bruce Jay Friedman, Carl Gottlieb and Robert Boris deserve their own share of applause for their work.  More often than not, the more hands in a proverbial pot, the more troubled things get, but that didn’t happen here.  What’s more even with everything going on, the story’s pacing still stayed solid throughout.  What’s more the elements themselves blended together just as well and in turn complimented each other quite well.  In all honesty, if not for the drugs and sexual content, this movie would have been a great family movie.  Director Michael Pressman even makes note of this in his new bonus interview included with the movie’s re-issue. This will be discussed later in the discussion on the movie’s bonus material.  Getting back on track, the story itself and the elements tied into the story give the story so much heart that it alone makes this movie a standout work not just from Akroyd and Universal Pictures, but in general.  It is just part of the reason that the movie stands out, too.  Akroyd’s work on camera is another way in which the movie stands out.

Akroyd’s portrayal of Skridlow and his wild alter ego is so important to note because it keeps audiences just as engaged and entertained as the movie’s story and its combined elements.  The two characters so dramatically juxtapose each other throughout.  One could almost argue that Akroyd took certain parts of his character from his Coneheads skits on Saturday Night Live and attributed it to his take on the “good doctor.”  Those familiar with his performance in those skits will hopefully see that comparison just as much as this critic.  In the same breath, his presentation of Skridlow as a geeky, mild-mannered figure makes one wonder if that portrayal played – at least in part – to his portrayal of Ray Stanz in The Ghostbusters.  That’s because there is at least some similarity in those characters.  Watching Akroyd’s portrayal of Skridlow as he tries to balance the two personality types throughout is a laugh riot and makes suspension of disbelief so easy.  Considering all of this, and the work of his supporting cast, those collective performances go a long way toward making the story even more interesting.  They make their characters that entertaining with their comic and caring personas.  While Akroyd’s work, and that of his cast mates, clearly does plenty to add to Doctor Detroit’s enjoyment, it still is not the last of the movie’s most important elements.  The bonus material included in the movie’s upcoming re-issue rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material included in Doctor Detroit’s new re-issue is important to note because it combines some previous bonus material with some new material.  The new material includes a feature length audio commentary with director Michael Pressman and Pop Culture Historian Russell Dyball and a one-on-one interview with Pressman about the movie.  The older material includes the familiar promotional radio interviews that the cast did for the movie, the trailers, TV spots, radio spots and photo gallery.  The new material included in this release offers quite a bit of insight and entertainment.  One of the most interesting comments that comes from Pressman’s one-on-one interview is his hindsight revelation about the movie’s drug and sexual content.  He said in no uncertain terms of that content, that he was not fond of that content, looking back on the movie.  Ironically, if that content had not been there, the movie’s story might have been quite different.  That’s not to say a similar story could not have been told.  But it would have likely ended up quite different, but probably still as entertaining in its own right.  That sentiment is echoed in the feature-length audio commentary along with his discussion his decision to make the movie very cartoonish, right down to the wrecker running through the junkyard gate.  Just as interesting to note in his interview and commentary is the note the connection of the drug content to the death of Akroyd’s fellow actor and longtime friend John Belushi’s death not long before the movie’s filming from a drug overdose.  Pressman openly ruminates that he was concerned how Akroyd would handle those references considering Belushi’s passing so soon before work on the movie started.  Bringing everything full circle, Dyball notes during the audio commentary that he personally thought this movie was the point at which Akroyd’s star really started to rise, creatively speaking.  He admitted The Blues Brothers and 1941 were both good movies, but that it wasn’t until this movie that things really started moving for him.  He has a point.  Looking at the movies that came after Doctor DetroitTrading Places, Ghostbusters, Spies Like Us, Dragnet, etc – it is a valid statement, at least to this critic.

As if the information shared in the new bonus material is not enough, the promotional radio interviews offer their own insight and entertainment.  Akroyd talks about The Blues Brothers in one of the radio interviews, noting that he felt the movie was, at its heart, about separation of church and state.  That is an interesting angle to take.  He also notes the creative process for Doctor Detroit and a handful of other topics that are in themselves certain to keep audiences just as entertained and engaged as the information shared in the new bonus material.  Between the information shared by Akroyd and the rest of the movie’s cast in the radio interviews and the information and thoughts shared in the movie’s new bonus material, the bonus material overall presents plenty of its own reason for audiences to watch this new re-issue.  When all of the bonus material is considered along with the work of Akroyd (and his castmates) and the movie’s fully entertaining story, the whole of those elements makes Doctor Detroit the right prescription (yes, this critic went there) for Akroyd’s fans and for classic movie buffs alike.

Shout! Factory’s upcoming re-issue of Universal Pictures’ 1983 adult comedy Doctor Detroit is a wonderful watch for Dan Akroyd’s fans and classic film buffs alike.  It is the perfect prescription (yes, this critic went there again) for anyone looking for an alternative to all of the prequels, sequels, reboots, biopics and movies based on actual events currently filling theaters.  That is proven in no small part to the movie’s central story, which expertly balances so many story elements into one whole.  Even being an adult comedy, those elements give the movie just enough heart that if not for the drug and sexual references (including the sexual content that makes up its central plot), this could easily be a family movie.  The work of Akroyd and his fellow cast mates throughout does plenty in its own right to keep audiences entertained and engaged.  The entertainment and insight offered through the movie’s bonus material – both the familiar and the new – adds its own level of enjoyment here, too.  Each element is important in its own right, as has hopefully been made clear in this review.  All things considered, they make the upcoming re-issue of Doctor Detroit one of this year’s top new movie re-issues.  It will be available April 24 in stores and online.  It can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s store.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:




Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory




To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment 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.

Shout! Factory Announces Release Date, Specs For ‘Doctor Detroit’ Re-Issue

Courtesy: SHout! Factory

Shout! Factory is-re-issuing another classic comedy next month on Blu-ray as part of its Shout! Select collection.

Doctor Detroit is currently scheduled to be re-issued in stores and online on April 24. It will be available exclusively on Blu-ray.  The movie, which debuted in 1983 via Universal Pictures, stars Dan Akroyd (Ghostbusters 1 & 2Spies Like UsTrading Places) as mild-mannered college professor Clifford Skridlow in its lead role.  Skridlow unwittingly becomes a perverbial fish-out-of-water in this story when he becomes a patsy pimp for real pimp Smooth Walker (Howard Hesseman–WKRP in CincinnatiFlight of the NavigatorAbout Schmidt).

Walker puts Skridlow in his place when he comes under fire from Chicago crime boss Mom (Kate Murtagh — Farewell My LovelyThe CarSwitchblade Sisters).  Thrust into his unlikely position under the thumb of Mom, Skirdlow takes it on himself to become a savior for Walker’s women of sorts, and in the process for his college.

Doctor Detroit‘s forthcoming re-issue is complimented with a new feature-length audio commentary from the movie’s director, Michael Pressman and pop culture historian Russell Dyball.  It also will feature a new one-on-one interview with Pressman alongside a handful of trailers, a photo gallery and TV and radio spots.

Pre-orders are open now for Shout! Factory’s forthcoming Doctor Detroit re-issue. More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:


Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory


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

MTV Networks Premiere Pierce The Veil’s New Video

L-R:  Jaime Preciado, Tony Perry, Vic Fuentes, Mike Fuentes Photo credit:  Jonathan Weiner

L-R: Jaime Preciado, Tony Perry, Vic Fuentes, Mike Fuentes
Photo credit: Jonathan Weiner

Pierce The Veil has officially unveiled (no pun intended) its new video.

The video for ‘Circles,’ the band’s new single started running nationwide this morning on AMTV, AMTV2, MTV Hits, MTV Live and mtvU.  The video began running this morning at 6:00 ET.  It is also running live on MTV’s Snapchat Discovery channel and via Vevo.  It was directed by Drew Russ, who also directed the video for the band’s 2012 video for ‘King For A Day.’ That video has accumulated more than 70 million views since its premiere roughly four years ago.  The concept behind the band’s new video is loosely based on the 1991 feature film Nothing But Trouble.  The movie was written by Dan Akroyd (Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters 2, The Blues Brothers) and starred Chevy Chase (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Funny Farm, Fletch), John Candy (Uncle Buck, Who’s Harry Crumb?, Spaceballs), and Akroyd.  The song is currently a Top 40 Alternative radio stations across America.  The band’s new album Misdaventures premiered at #4 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart.  And the band itself was nominated for Bandom of the Year by MTV in its annual “MTV Fandom Awards.”  Later this summer the band will embark on the “Made To Destroy Tour” alongside supporting acts Neck Deep and I Prevail.  A Winter UK tour is already set to follow from October 29th to November 17th.  The band’s complete tour schedule is noted below.



 3   The Warfield, San Francisco, CA*

 4   Roseland Theatre, Portland, OR*

 6   Showbox Sodo, Seattle, WA*

 7   Revolution Concert House, Boise, ID*

 9   In The Venue, Salt Lake City, UT*

10  High Elevation Festival, Fiddler’s Green Amphitheater., Denver, CO**

12  The Cotillion, Wichita, KS*

13  Myth Live, Minneapolis, MN*

14  7 Flags Event Center, Des Moines, IA*

16  Riot Fest, Chicago, IL**

17  Rochester Main Street Armory, Rochester, NY*

18  Rock Allegiance Festival, PPL Park, Chester, PA**

20  Newport Music Hall, Columbus, OH*

21  The Pageant, St. Louis, MO*

23  House of Blues, New Orleans, LA*

24  Texas Mutiny, Texas Motor Speedway, Dallas, TX**

25  Houston Open Air Festival, NRG Park, Houston, TX**

27   Arvest Bank Theatre at The Midland, Kansas City, KS*

28  War Memorial Auditorium, Nashville, TN*

30  Chill on the Hill Festival, Detroit, MI**


 1   Louder Than Life Festival, Champions Park, Louisville, KY**

 2   Sonic Boom Festival, Madison, WI**

 4   Hammerstein Ballroom, New York, NY*

 5   The Fillmore Charlotte, Charlotte, NC*

 7   The Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA*

 8   House of Blues, Orlando, FL*

 9   Jannus Live, Tampa, FL*

11  Alamo City Music Hall, San Antonio, TX*

12  Lonestar Pavilion, Lubbock, TX*

14  Marquee Theatre, Phoenix, AZ*

15  Rainbow Room, Fresno, CA*

16  Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles, CA*

European tour:


29  Trabendo, Paris, France

31  Sala Cats, Madrid, Spain


 1   Sala Noise,Valencia, Spain

 2   Sala Razzmatazz 2, Barcelona, Spain

 4   Kofmehl, Solothurn, Switzerland

 5   Magazzini Generali, Milano, Italy

 7   Theatrefabrik, Munich, Germany

 8   Arena, Vienna, AT

 9   Durer Kert, Budapest, Hungary

11  Huxleys, Berlin, Germany

13  Gruenspan, Hamburg, Germany

14  Amagler Bio, Copenhagen, Denmark

15  Fryhuset, Stockholm, Sweden

17  Melkweg, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

* – headline dates

** – major music festivals


More information on Pierce The Veil’s new video is available online now along with all of the latest updates on the band’s tour schedule, news, and more at:




Website: http://piercetheveil.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/piercetheveil




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.