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

Buster Keaton Collection Volume 2 Bo Art

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Website: http://www.cohenmedia.net

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/cohenmediagroup

 

 

 

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

Courtesy: Cohen Media Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Website: http://www.cohenmedia.net

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/cohenmediagroup

 

 

 

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Shout! Factory’s ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ Re-Issue Is Anything But Rotten

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/MGM

Later this spring, MGM Studios is going to release a not-so-new movie to theaters titled The Hustle.  The movie, which stars the trio of Rebel Wilson, Anne Hathaway and Alex Sharp, is nothing more than a re-imagining of the same studio’s timeless 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, which saw the great Michael Caine and Steve Martin joined by Glenne Headly in the lead roles.  The Hustle just puts women in the lead in place of the two male leads in the previous movie, and modernizes the story.  Ironically, Hollywood’s latest re-imagining will come only months after Shout! Factory re-issued Dirty Rotten Scoundrels on Blu-ray.  The movie was re-issued this week as part of Shout! Factory’s Shout! Select series.  In an age when the problem of scammers and con artists seems to be at an all-time high around the world, this movie, which pokes fun at those hated criminal types is a welcome presentation.  That is proven in part collectively through the movie’s story, and the work of its cast.  The movie’s bonus content adds to its appeal in its new re-issue.  This will be discussed a little later.  The movie’s average price point plays into its appeal just as much as its overall content, and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ new re-issue.  All things considered, they make the movie’s re-issue one that fans of the movie will agree is anything but rotten.

Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of MGM’s timeless 1988 comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is another welcome entry to the company’s Shout! Select movie series, which already boasts dozens of titles.  That statement is supported in part through the movie’s central story, which is for all intents and purposes, a buddy comedy that centers on the buddies – played by Steve Martin (Roxanne, The Jerk, L.A. Story) and Michael Caine (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises) – spending most of the movie as competitors, trying to extract $50,000 from a woman they think is an unsuspecting victim.  While it is not ultimately until the end that the competitors become cohorts of sorts – not to give away too much story info – it can be easily argued that the pair in fact are “buddies” of sorts throughout.  Director Frank Oz even makes an allusion to this element in the movie’s bonus feature-length commentary, which will be discussed later.  The constant back and forth between Freddy (Martin) and Lawrence (Caine) in their competition creates plenty of comedy, and a type of comedy at that, which is rarely seen even in today’s buddy comedies.  The twist in the story’s finale adds to the story’s comedy even more, giving audiences one last laugh.  The one problem with the story’s final act is that it drags on maybe longer than it really needed to, and writer Dale Launer (who was just one member of the movie’s three-member writing) discusses the movie’s finale in the movie’s new bonus interview.  His discussion, which will be discussed at more length later, explains why the finale was so long.  Even with that pacing issue (and some other minor pacing issues throughout) in mind, the story still manages to keep audiences engaged and entertained throughout.

In direct connection to the story, the work of Martin, Caine and fellow co-star Glenne Headly does plenty to keep audiences entertained and engaged in the story.  The constant back and forth between Caine and Martin creates a sense that the men must have gotten along well off-camera as well as in front of the lens.  The friendly competition between the men is that believable.  That is especially the case considering the certain reserved nature of each character as he responds to the other.  It leaves audiences wondering in the best way possible how each man will react to the other.  The simplest comparison that can perhaps be made is to the back and forth between Foghorn Leghorn and his canine companion in those famous Looney Tunes shorts.  Headley’s work as Janet is just as impressive, as she is fully believable as the standard love interest.  It leaves that ultimate revelation in the final act that much more enjoyable, again not to give away too much.  This is another item that Oz discusses in his commentary and will also be addressed later.  Between Headley’s performance and that of Martin and Caine, the trio puts on a performance in this movie that is something rarely seen in any buddy comedy before or after.  When it is coupled with the movie’s story, the result is a presentation whose primary content is more than enough reason for audiences to take in this movie.  It is just part of the proof of the movie’s success.  The bonus content featured in the movie’s new re-issue makes the re-issue in whole even more of a success.

The bonus content presented in Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels adds even more enjoyment to the movie because of the background information and extra tidbits that are offered through said content.  As previously noted, Dale Launer, one member of the movie’s three-person writing team — that also included Stanley Shapiro (who also wrote Bedtime Story, the inspiration for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and apparently The Hustle) and Paul Henning – is featured in an interview that is new to this re-issue.  He talks about a variety of topics related to the movie, not the least of which being the movie’s previously noted finale.  He mentions that a variety of ideas were developed for the story’s final act, including one that he notes raised concerns about potential racist portrayals by the cast.  Thankfully, that idea ended up on the proverbial cutting room floor.  He also discusses how issues of copyrights played into the movie’s birth, as well as its tie to the 1964 movie Bedtime Story.  Launer openly admits that Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a re-imagining of Bedtime Story, adding that the latter movie was birthed because there was a belief that there was room for improvement on the prior.  Interestingly enough, he makes no mention of the forthcoming movie The Hustle, showing that he likely conducted the interview before The Hustle (which is just a female fronted re-imagining of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels) had been proposed.  Other interesting topics that he raises involve revelations of certain well-known figures who were considered for the movie before Caine and Martin.  Hint, two of those stars are famed rock stars.  Another is a very highly revered actor, who has starred in some of Hollywood’s biggest movies.  He also reveals that while Frank Oz helmed the movie, he was in fact not the first choice for its director.  Another figure was chosen first, and circumstances led to him helming the movie.  How he came to helm the movie will be left for audiences to discover for themselves.

Speaking of Frank Oz, the movie’s new re-issue features a full audio-commentary from Oz as another of the movie’s bonuses.  Oz discusses just as many items throughout the commentary as Launer in his interview.  One of the most interesting notes that Oz shares in his commentary is the revelation that Steve Martin did a bit of ad libbing throughout the movie, including in the jail cell scene.  He additionally notes that the scene in which Martin, playing Lawrence’s “brother” Ruprecht, ass to go to the bathroom was not originally part of the script.  He notes that this moment was part of Martin’s early comedy bits, and that it was added to the script after Martin suggested its inclusion in said scene.  In a similar note, Oz, who notes his joy at watching the movie again, also talks about the joy of creating the scene in which “Ruprecht” was first introduced.  He laughs as he recalls the riotously comedic scene and how it came to be.  On a side note, Launer also addresses the scene in his interview, adding even more insight into that moment.  As if these discussions are not enough, Oz also highlights the now famous scene in which Lawrence “whips” Freddy, stating prosthetic shins were used for Martin, so that he would not get hurt.  He adds Martin’s tears in that sequence’s finale were actually fake, and that the rest of the crew was actually laughing so hard behind the scenes, that they were crying.  He goes on to note in the final act, to note the ability of all involved to keep many audiences from realizing the reality about Janet, and how proud he and the rest of the cast and crew were for that.  It is another testament to the time and effort put into the movie’s story and even the acting.  Between these discussions and plenty of others presented by Oz throughout his commentary, audiences get plenty of insight and entertainment.  The same can be said of the commentary from Launer.  Between the two commentaries, the two bonuses more than prove themselves just as important to the movie’s presentation in its new re-issue as the movie’s primary content, proving even more, why this re-issue is another welcome addition to Shout! Factory’s Shout! Select series.  Keeping in mind the overall content and its proven value, it becomes clear that they collectively do plenty to the positive for this movie in its new re-issue.  They are just some of the movie’s positives.  The movie’s average price point in its new re-issue is another positive to note.

The average price point of Shout! Factory’s new Dirty Rotten Scoundrels re-issue – using prices from Shout! Factory’s store, Amazon, Walmart and Barnes & Noble Booksellers – the re-issue’s average price point comes to $27.48.  It was not listed at Target, Books-A-Million, Target or Best Buy.  Considering that the various outlets list the movie at roughly $26 to $27 (the prices are separated by a matter of just cents), that average price point is right about on par with the listed prices.  Add in the noted primary and secondary content presented throughout the Blu-ray and the equally unnoted content that is also there, the movie’s price is a little high, yes, but it is money well-spent.  Audiences are paying for roughly two-and-a-half hours of entertainment, if not more than that, between the movie’s primary content and its bonus material.  Audiences should take into account that the movie’s previous re-issues lack the new interview with Launer, and some do not even have the feature-length commentary with Frank Oz.  Keeping that in mind, while they might be less expensive than this release, but they also lack that noted entertaining and enlightening bonus content.  To that end, the price is – again – a little high, but it is money well-spent considering all of the content, and its comparison to the prices from stores where listed puts it right on par with those prices.  Keeping all of this in mind, Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels proves to be another successful entry to the company’s Shout! Select series.

Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is a successful new addition to the company’s ever-growing Shout! Select series.  That is proven in part through the movie’s story, and by relation, the work of its lead cast.  The bonus content included with the movie’s presentation gives audiences even more to appreciate, as it adds plenty of entertainment value and insight into the movie.  The movie’s average price point, while not inexpensive, is still money well-spent considering everything noted here.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ new re-issue.  All things considered, they make this movie anything but rotten in its 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

 

 

 

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Shout! Factory Announces ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ Re-Issue Date

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/MGM

Steve Martin and Michael Caine’s classic comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is joining Shout! Factory’s Shout! Select series.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is scheduled for release on Blu-ray on Jan. 22.  Pre-orders are open now.

MGM’s 1989 riotous comedy finds Freddy Benson (Steve Martin — The JerkPlanes Trains & AutomobilesLittle Shop of Horrors) — and Lawrence Jamieson (Michael Caine — Secondhand Lions, Batman Begins, The Dark KnightThe Dark Knight Rises) — as a pair of con men who make a bet with one another:  The first to swindle a wealthy heiress out of $50,000 wins the bet while the other leaves town.  The deal comes from a sort of comedy of errors, which is set off by Lawrence believing Freddy is a nefarious con man called “The Jackal.”  When it is revealed that he is not “The Jackal,” the bet is set, and leads to plenty of comedy and laughs.

Shout! Factory’s upcoming re-issue of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels features the movie presented in a new 2K scan, a new bonus interview with script writer Dale Launer and feature-length audio commentary with director Frank Oz.

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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‘Bill & Ted’ Sequel’s BD Steelbook Re-Issue Is Anything But Bogus

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/Interscope Communications/Nelson Entertainment

Bill S. Preston, Esquire and Ted Theodore Logan (a.k.a. Bill & Ted) are officially coming back for a new adventure.  This announcement was made official this past May.  Currently, little is known about the plot for the long-awaited second sequel to the now cult classic 1989 movie Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure, but audiences can keep up with the latest on the movie’s official Facebook page.  While audiences wait for the latest on the news the movie, Shout! Factory has a special treat for audiences in the form of its new re-issue of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.  The company re-issued the movie in a new Blu-ray steelbook presentation late last month.  Its release comes a little more than two years after Shout! Factory released both movies in a special Blu-ray combo pack titled Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Collection, and a little more than six months after the company re-issued Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure in its own Blu-ray steelbook presentation.  It may sound a bit odd, but the movie’s standalone presentation is actually one of its important elements, and will be discussed shortly.  The bonus material included in the movie is another important element to discuss, and will be touched on a little later.  The movie’s average price point rounds out its most important element and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.  All things considered, they make this latest re-issue of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey not too bogus.

Shout! Factory’s recently released re-issue of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey is an interesting new offering for fans of the cult-favorite Bill & Ted franchise.  That is due in part to the movie’s very presentation.  Alex Winter (who played Bill S. Preston, Esquire) in the B&T movies, notes in one of the movie’s two bonus audio commentaries that there are those who prefer one movie to the other.  This will be discussed later in more depth.  What he was saying is that there are those who actually like this movie more than its predecessor.  Now being that the movie was previously available along with said predecessor on Blu-ray – that combo pack was also available via Shout! Factory —  this re-issue actually marks the first time since at least 2006 that Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey has been available as a standalone presentation.  That last standalone availability was through MGM.  In other words, more than 12 years have passed since it was last available by itself.  All of its other re-issues were as part of various combo packs.  Considering that such amount of time has passed between the two standalone re-issues, and that there are those who prefer this movie to its predecessor (again, according to star Alex Winter), then said audiences that prefer specifically this movie by itself can own it without having to pay the extra cost for both movies at a relatively affordable price; a price that will also be discussed later.  Of course those that want to own both movies together can do just that again thanks to Shout! Factory through the previously noted Blu-ray combo pack.  The availability of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey in a standalone presentation is just one of the items that should be noted in examining this new re-issue.  The movie’s bonus content is important to address, too.

The bonus material included in this iteration of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey is important to note as it is exactly the same material included with the movie in its inclusion in Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Collection, which itself was released by Shout! Factory in 2016.  Two feature-length commentaries and an in-depth retrospective of the movie, which runs just shy of two hours, make up the movie’s bonus material.  Each feature offers its own share of entertainment and enlightenment for audiences who perhaps did not already take in said material in the noted combo pack.  The feature-length commentary featuring Winter and producer Scott Kroopf reveals quite a bit of interesting information.  As previously noted, Winter notes in this commentary, that there are in fact audiences who prefer this movie to Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and vice versa.  Just as interesting is Winter and Kroopf’s discussion on the role that Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure and the Saturday morning cartoon that followed soon after had in the creative process of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.  Just as interesting is the pair’s discussion early on in the movie’s roughly 90-minute run time about that creative process.  The duo talks about the thought put into the script, and how it eventually became a coming-of-age style story that sees Bill & Ted trying to figure out their place in the world.  Late in the story’s run, the pair also does finally address how the movie went from being titled Bill & Ted Go To Hell to Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey.  Not to give away too much, but according to Winter, studio executives at Orion Films played a direct role in that aspect of the movie.  As if all of this is not enough, the guys’ discussions also turn to more light-hearted fare such as fellow cast member Joss Ackland’s alleged feelings about Winter and [Keanu] Reeves, as well as those of Warren Beatty.  Beatty is mentioned because according to Winter, he was working on the movie Bugsy in the same area in which Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey was being shot, so the actors ran into each other from time to time.  There are also plenty of fun talks about William Sadler, who played the infamous Grim Reaper in this movie.  Those talks will bring plenty of laughs for audiences, along with the revelation that the women cast to play the princesses were different from the women in the franchise’s first movie.

Speaking of Sadler, he offers his own comments throughout the course of the bonus retrospective, Bill & Ted Go To Hell.  Sadler offers some entertaining anecdotes about his ad-libing and having to wear his extremely heavy costume and makeup during the shooting.  He notes how hot the weather was during shooting, and its physical impact on him.  Audiences will laugh as he shares his recollection of the ad-libbing in the scene prior to Bill & Ted’s arrival at the Battle of the Bands, and smile just as much as he talks about how much fun he had overall throughout the movie’s shooting.  Sadler’s is not the only interesting interview featured in this bonus feature.  Those behind the scenes, responsible for the special effects, costumes and sets also get plenty of their own screen time to talk about the work that went into the movie’s creation.  Those talks add even more appreciation for the movie.  Perhaps the most intriguing discussion of all comes from writer Chris Matheson, one member of the writing team that also included Ed Solomon.  Matheson reveals late in the feature that the movie did in fact “go off the rails” as it neared its end.  He reveals that from the heaven scene to the movie’s end, there was a lot of grasping at straws to make the movie end.  He almost sounds ashamed as he reveals this piece of information.  In hindsight, it really does seem to make little sense, that whole third act, but somehow it still ends up working.  Between everything noted here, the rest of the discussions in the retrospective and those items addressed in the audio commentaries, audiences have plenty to appreciate in the movie’s bonus features.  Of course, it should be reiterated that these are the same bonuses included with the movie in its inclusion in the 2016 Blu-ray combo pack, Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Collection.  This means that the bonuses will appeal to those who do not already own the movie in either setting.  To that end, the bonus content and the very presentation of the movie by itself in this new steelbook presentation is that much more appealing especially for audiences who prefer this movie to its predecessor.  Even with all of that in mind, it still is not the last of the movie’s most important elements.  Its average price point rounds out its most important elements.

Research into the availability of the movie’s new steelbook presentation reveals that apparently, it is only listed at Shout! Factory’s online store and via Amazon.  Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million do not have it listed.  That makes the movie’s average price point approximately $26.97.  That is actually less expensive than the average price point of $34.46 for the Blu-ray combo pack of Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Collection, but a little more expensive than the average price point of $20.99 for the steelbook re-issue of Bill &Ted’s Excellent Adventure.  That price point was determined using pricing listed at Amazon and Best Buy.  It was not listed at Target, Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million or even at Shout! Factory’s online store.  Keeping that in mind, that movie’s average price point might actually be higher if it was listed at the other retailers’ sites.  To that end, the average price point for Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey steelbook re-issue is actually quite affordable by itself.  Considering the bonus content provided in the movie’s presentation and the story presented as the movie’s center, it becomes a price point that is worth paying.  Again, noting the bonus content and the movie’s standalone presentation along with the story itself, all the noted elements join to make the movie’s steelbook presentation especially positive for its fans.

Shout! Factory’s new steelbook re-issue of Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey is a positive presentation for fans of this modern cult favorite flick.  That is proven in part through the movie’s physical presentation.  Its release late last month marks the first time in roughly 12 years that it has been released by itself.  The bonus material included in the movie adds even more for audiences to appreciate.  The steelbook’s average price point, when compared to that of Bill & Ted’s Most Excellent Collection and the steelbook re-issue of Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure couples with the bonus material (and its primary content) and the movie’s physical presentation to show even more clearly why fans specifically of this addition to the Bill & Ted franchise will appreciate this latest release.  It is available now in stores and online.  More information on this and other titles from Shout! Factory is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.shoutfactory.com

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Twitter: http://twitter.com/ShoutFactory

 

 

 

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Shout! Factory’s ‘City Slickers’ Re-Issue Is Entertaining, But Priced Poorly

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Three years after its most recent re-issue, Shout! Factory has re-issued MGM’s classic comedy City Slickers again as part of its ongoing Shout! Select series.  City Slickers: Collector’s Edition was released Oct. 16 on Blu-ray.  This latest re-issue of the classic buddy comedy/western is a good fit for anyone who might not already own the movie from its 2015 re-issue.  That is due in no small part to the movie’s writing, which will be discussed shortly.  The bonus material included in this re-issue plays into that, too.  It will be discussed a little later.  The Blu-ray’s average price point is another reason that this latest re-issue of City Slickers will appeal to fans of the movie who might not already own the movie in its previous releases.  Each item is key in its own way to the whole of the movie’s latest release.  All things considered, Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of City Slickers is another welcome offering at least for those who do not already own this timeless story of friendship and personal growth.

Shout! Factory’s brand new re-issue of MGM’s 1991 buddy comedy City Slickers is a welcome addition to the home library of any fan of the timeless movie that might not already own the movie.  That is due in part to the movie’s writing.  The writing includes the story itself, which finds three longtime friends go on an “adventure vacation” following the 39th birthday of the movie’s main character, Mitch (Billy Crystal – Monsters, Inc., Monsters University, Parental Guidance).  Once the trio heads out west to New Mexico for its vacation, plenty of hilarity ensues and plenty of male bonding, too.  What’s really good here is that the male bonding in question never goes over the top.  Rather, that bonding is something to which plenty of male viewers can relate, making it that much more entertaining.  That is thanks to plenty of jokes about sports, life and some totally random subjects and general dialogue, certain to put a smile on any viewer’s face.

The story at the center of City Slickers is just one of the key portions of the writing that makes the writing so notable.  The story’s pacing is just as important to consider in examining the writing as the story itself.  The movie clocks in at just under two hours (one hour, 54 minutes), yet even considering that run time, the story moves relatively swiftly.  That is especially important to note being that the story, which was originally the idea of its lead star, is supposed to follow Mitch and his friends Phil (Daniel Stern – Home Alone, Home Alone 2, Bushwacked) and Ed (Bruno Kirby – Good Morning, Vietnam, When Harry Met Sally, Sleepers) on a two-week long cattle drive.  The writing team of Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel deserves its share of credit for this and for how it whittled down the original group of 12 to just three in the process.  The manner in which the pair addressed that part of the story and the very journey itself did an excellent job of keeping the story moving forward, even in some of the less action packed moments.  To that end, the writing that went into this movie forms a solid foundation for City Slickers.  It is just one part of what makes the movie’s latest re-issue so entertaining.  The bonus material included in this new re-issue ads to that enjoyment.

The bonus material included in Shout! Factory’s brand new re-issue of City Slickers is important to note because it is exactly the same bonus material included in the movie’s 2015 Blu-ray re-issue from MGM.  That includes even the feature-length audio commentary from Crystal, Stern and director Ron Underwood.  That content is also the same as the bonus material included in the movie’s 2011 “Collector’s Edition” Blu-ray, also re-issued via MGM.  On the surface, some might argue that is a bad thing, but on a deeper level, it is clearly important.  That is because it does not force audiences to choose between one re-issue and another.  From the primary bonus feature, “Back in the Saddle: City Slickers Revisited,” which takes audiences through a series of discussions on the movie’s story, the importance of the movie in Hollywood’s history and other related topics, to an equally in-depth discussion on the movie’s script to the even funnier (and shorter) discussion on the unlikely star that was Norman the calf, to even the discussions on the deleted scenes, the bonus material included with the movie offers so much entertainment.  In turn, that entertainment (and insight) adds even more appreciation for the movie.  Case in point is the discussion on the movie’s original final scene, which saw Mitch and company actually release the cattle from the farm as one of the deleted scenes.  Underwood reveals that this scene, which is presented as a bonus, was the original finale for the movie, but was cut because of audience response and concerns from the movie’s creative heads.  Knowing that this scene was cut from the final presentation actually presents a smoother and happier ending.  “A Star is Born: An Ode To Norman” is interesting as it reveals how the cast and crew shot the now famous scene of Mitch birthing Norman.  As it turns out, that scene was shot in three separate locations due to weather and scheduling.  The full explanation will be left for those who have yet to see the movie.  “Back in the Saddle: Revisiting City Slickers” reveals as one of its most intriguing notes that Jack Palance (Sudden Fear, Batman, Shane) was allegedly so nervous on his first day of filming that he had a rather loud outburst against Underwood, but later apologized for it to Underwood and to Crystal.  Even more interesting is the revelation from Crystal that he believed he might have in fact lived a prior life, and that life may have had some connection to the old west.  That discussion is certain to create its own share of discussions.

The items noted here and plenty of others presented in the movie’s primary bonus material offers plenty of its own entertainment and interest for audiences.  It certainly is not the only interesting information shared through the bonus material.  The bonus feature-length commentary reveals that Mitch’s Mets outfit was the result of a connection with the New York Mets.  Crystal reveals that as a Yankees fan, he wanted to wear Yankees gear in the running of the bulls scene, but because of some charity work from the Mets, he ended up wearing their apparel.  That’s early on in the movie, of course.  He later reveals that the inspiration for the movie’s initial development came after watching a program on television about adventure vacations.  Going back to his discussion about his sense of déjà vu from being out west, one cannot help but wonder if in fact, he might have lived before.  Even later on, the discussion turns to Crystal’s friendship with Palance.  Hearing the emotion in his voice (and that of Stern and Underwood) is a moving moment from the trio who is otherwise light-hearted throughout the movie.  When one considers all of this and more along with the entertainment and insight offered through the movie’s main bonus material, the whole of the movie’s bonus material proves integral in its own right to its new re-issue.  When it is considered along with all of the positives in the movie’s writing, the two elements give audiences more than enough reason to add this re-issue to their home library.  For all of the positives offered through this latest re-issue, the movie’s price the movie’s only con.

At the time of this review, Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of City Slickers is listed only on its own website.  It is not listed at the websites of Walmart, Best Buy, Target or even Amazon.  The 2015 re-issue is the most recent re-issue listed.  Its average price point is $9.97.  That is determined using prices from Amazon, Best Buy and Wal-Mart.  The movie is listed at Target only as DVD.  The price listed on Shout! Factory’s store for this new re-issue is $24.99.  Considering this, that pricing is a bit high since all of the material is exactly the same as those previous re-issues.  The only thing that makes this price acceptable is the bonus poster that comes with the movie in its online store.  To that end, the price is still somewhat high, and being that the 2011 and 2015 re-issues can also be ordered online at a far lower price (even with shipping & handling), it just makes the price that much more questionable.  To that end, one can only wonder what the outcome will be for this addition to Shout! Factory’s ongoing Shout! Select series.

Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of MGM’s City Slickers is an interesting new offering in its Shout! Select series of movies.  That is because it offers audiences the exact same presentation put forth in the movie’s past two re-issues from 2015 and 2011.  Audiences who do not already own one or the other of those re-issues would be recommended to pick up this copy, if not for the movie’s price, as it is currently listed only on Shout! Factory’s website.  That price is not competitive in comparison to the movie’s previous re-issues.  Keeping that in mind, one cannot help but be at least somewhat disappointed, if only for that pricing.  Other than that, it is an enjoyable presentation.  Hopefully this will lead to a price reduction that is more affordable for consumers.  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 Release Date For ‘Get Shorty’ BD Re-Issue

Courtesy: Shout! Factory/MGM

Shout! Factory will re-issue MGM’s classic 1995 comedy flick Get Shorty this fall.

The movie is currently scheduled to be released Oct. 23 as on Blu-ray as part of Shout! Factory’s “Shout! Select” movie series.  It will be presented in a new 4K HD scan and will feature new bonus materials, such as a feature-length audio commentary from director Barry Sonnenfeld, gag reel and the featurettes, “Get Short — Look At Me” and “Get Shorty — Wise Guys & Dolls.”

The full list of bonus materials featured in the movie’s re-issue is noted below.

Special Features:
  • Remastered from a new 4K transfer
  • Audio Commentary with Director Barry Sonnenfeld
  • Featurettes: “Get Shorty – Look at Me,” ” Get Shorty – Wise Guys + Dolls,” “Going Again”
  • Get Shorty Party Reel
  • Page to Screen of Get Shorty
  • Vignettes
  • The Graveyard Scene
  • Trailer

Get Shorty follows former gangster turned loan shark Chili Palmer (John Travolta — Pulp FictionFace-OffGrease) as he travels to Los Angeles to collect a debt from down-and-out filmmaker Harry Zimm (Gene Hackman — Enemy of the StateSuperman IVThe French Connection).  His trip leads him to schmooze Hollywood figures Martin Weir (Danny DeVito — MatildaBatman ReturnsThrow Mama From The Train) and romances B-movie star Karen Flores (Rene Russo — AppaloosaLethal Weapon 4Ransom).  Things get even more interesting though when Palmer’s past comes back to haunt him courtesy of another mobster and a group of drug smugglers who are on his heels.

Those not-so-good figures are played by James Gandolfini (The SopranosEnough Said, The Mexican), Dennis Farina (Law & OrderSnatchMidnight Run), Delroy Lindo (UpMalcolm XRansom) and Jon Gries (Napoleon DynamiteMen in BlackReal Genius).

Get Shorty can be pre-ordered online now via Shout! Factory’s online 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 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.