Sci-Fi Purists Will “Dig” Shout! Factory’s BD Re-Issue Of ‘The Mole People’

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Forbidden Planet. Invasion of the Body SnatchersEarth Vs. The Flying Saucers.  Each of these movies is considered to be a timeless sci-fi cinematic work.  Each movie was also released in 1956 – obviously a good year for the sci-fi industry.  That year also saw the release of Godzilla, King of the Monsters, World Without End and the equally beloved The Mole People.  That latter movie, released by Universal International Pictures (also known as Universal Pictures), is scheduled for re-issue on Blu-ray on Feb. 26 via Shout! Factory’s horror division, Scream! Factory.  The movie’s upcoming re-issue is a wonderfully entertaining work for any and every sci-fi purist out there.  That is proven in part through the movie’s very story.  This will be discussed shortly.  The bonus material featured with the movie’s forthcoming release does just as much to make this presentation appealing for sci-fi fans.  It will be examined a little later.  The movie’s average price point adds even more to the interest of its upcoming re-issue.  It will also be addressed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of The Mole People.  All things considered, they make Shout! Factory’s upcoming re-issue of The Mole People the first of this year’s great new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.

Shout! Factory’s upcoming Blu-ray re-issue of The Mole People is the first of this year’s best new DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.  That statement is supported in part through the movie’s central story.  The story follows a group of archaeologists that is studying an ancient Sumerian site somewhere in Asia.  The somewhere is noted as the story never precisely notes where in Asia.  The men are led to the top of a snow-covered mountain through its investigation, where they discover a hidden Sumerian temple.  That discovery ends up leading the men deep into the mountain and yet another discovery – that of an ancient society whose people are not overly happy to have them there.  The story leads to plenty of action as the explorers investigate the pre-historic people and their ways, including run-ins with a group of giant creatures, and of course some romance.  While on the surface, the movie is just a fun rainy day watch (as is noted in the bonus features, which will be discussed a little later) on the surface, it is also a little bit more than that.  There is a certain allegorical element to the story, too.  Not to give away too much, but that allegorical element comes as the ancient people mistreat their mutant “creatures of the dark.”  The creatures are used as slaves for the much lighter-skinned figures, who interestingly enough are dressed a la Romans of eons ago even though their temple has Egyptian hieroglyphics with Roman architecture.  That crossing of cultures in the costume and set design is so awful that it’s entertaining.  Getting back on track, the matter of the treatment of the “creatures of the dark” by the albino people is certain to create plenty of discussion.  As a matter of fact, it is addressed in the movie’s bonus “making of” featurette, which oddly enough is not listed on the back of the movie’s box, despite being included as a bonus.  That discussion and others included in the bonus content will be addressed later.  Getting back on track again, the simple story of the adventurers finding a “lost” civilization and their attempt to escape the slightly homicidal peoples makes for plenty of action and adventure for audiences.  That secondary element of the story’s seeming allegorical nature combine to make this story one that is certain to appeal to plenty of audiences.  To that end, the movie’s central story is key to the movie’s overall presentation.  It is just one of the important elements to examine here.  The bonus content featured with the story adds even more appeal to the movie’s presentation.

The bonus content featured with The Mole People offers plenty of insight – and entertainment – for audiences.  The previously noted “making of” featurette, which again is oddly not listed on the movie’s packaging, despite being present, is just one of the most important bonuses included in the movie’s presentation.  Audiences learn through this featurette, about topics, such as the cost-cutting measures taken in the movie’s creation, the allegory in the story, which even in its original theatrical run, apparently was not lost on audiences and even the change in the movie’s ending.  That discussion on the movie’s ending is directly related to the topic of the story’s deeper message.  It is certain to create its own share of discussion about censorship, civil rights and other related topics.  On a lighter note, the “making of” featurette also includes discussions on the costumes for the “creatures of the dark” and the connection of the costumes to other movies of the age.

The discussions featured in the movie’s bonus “making of” featurette offer lots of insight into the movie, and in turn, making the movie’s presentation that much more appealing.  It is just one of the bonuses that should be noted in examining the movie’s presentation.  The dual feature-length audio commentary from Tom Weaver and David Schecter offers its own share of insight for audiences.  Audiences learn from Weaver, about the use of the Sierra Canyon set’s use not only in this movie, but in a variety of other movies from the time.  He also offers his own commentary about the use of the stock footage from the documentary Conquest of Everest (1953) for the movie, going into a bit more depth along the way than was offered in the movie’s bonus “making of” featurette.  Schecter takes his time addressing items, such as the seeming discussion on race relation presented within the story, as well as the movie’s production and cast.  Each man offers plenty of insight in his own right.  The only real downside to the discussions is that each is clearly scripted.  They are not natural at all.  This honestly detracts from the experience of hearing them discuss the movie.  It makes one feel as if discussing the movie was a chore for each figure.  In their defense, maybe it wasn’t a chore, but the delivery just feels so flat and lifeless.  To that end, their commentary is a toss-up.  It is enlightening, but at the same time, it is also not natural.  When the commentaries are considered with the information shared through the “making of” featurette, that overall breadth of information creates even more appeal for the movie and strengthens the movie’s presentation even more.

The discussions on The Mole People’s aesthetic elements featured in the movie’s bonus content goes a long way toward making the movie’s upcoming re-issue a positive presentation.  Those discussions are just part of what makes the movie’s companion bonus content so noteworthy.  The inclusion of the full-length 1997 episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in which Mike and his robot pals riff the classic flick adds yet another level of enjoyment to the movie’s presentation.  This episode’s full-length presentation is a win for audiences and for Shout! Factory.  The full presentation gives audiences a glimpse into what made the classic series so great (and important).  In turn, that understanding can lead audiences to want to start adding the full volumes of MST3K that have been released, to their own home libraries.  When this episode – with its nonstop entertainment – is considered along with the movie’s bonus commentaries and “making of” featurette, the whole of the noted items shows clearly why the bonus content included in this movie’s presentation is so important to its presentation.  When they are collectively considered along with the movie’s entertaining story, the whole of these elements more than makes The Mole People worth the watch.  Keeping all of this in mind, the average price point for the movie’s upcoming re-issue proves to be money well-spent.

The average price point for Shout! Factory’s upcoming Blu-ray re-issue of The Mole People is $25.34.  That price point is reached by averaging the movie’s listed price at Amazon, Walmart, Books-A-Million and Shout! Factory’s own store.  It is not listed at Target, Best Buy and Barnes & Noble Booksellers.  Walmart and Amazon’s price of $25.19 is just below that average, while Shout! Factory’s price point of $22.99 is well below that average.  Books-A-Million’s price of $27.99 is the most expensive of the listings.  In other words, at this point, Shout! Factory is the most economical choice for those choosing to purchase the Blu-ray, which again is a great addition to any sci-fi purist’s movie library.  It is especially well worth the money considering everything that has been discussed here.  When the movie’s primary and secondary content is considered along with this price point information, the whole proves to be a welcome re-issue.

Shout! Factory’s upcoming Blu-ray re-issue of The Mole People is a welcome new addition to the home library of any sci-fi purist out there.  That is proven in part through its story.  The concept in the story is actually believable, as it can be compared – to a point – to famed author Jules Verne’s classic novel Journey to the Center of the Earth.  Suspension of disbelief is actually quite possible because of that ability to compare the story to Verne’s classic literary work.  This is even despite the issues of the costumes and sets not exactly matching up.  The bonus content included with the movie’s upcoming re-issue adds plenty of entertainment and insight for audiences, in turn giving audiences even more to appreciate here.  The movie’s average price point is affordable, and is money well-spent, considering the breadth and depth of the bonus content featured in this presentation.  Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of The Mole People.  All things considered, they make The Mole People a welcome addition to the home library of any sci-fi purists and the first of this year’s best DVD and Blu-ray re-issues.  It can be pre-ordered 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

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Universal’s Latest ‘Johnny English’ Entry Is Another Fun Entry To The Series

Courtesy: Universal Pictures

Spy flicks are big business for Hollywood.  Ever since the very first introduction of James Bond way back in 1962 in Dr. No, the spy genre has proven to be a cash cow for every one of Hollywood’s major studios.  From the mainstream Bond flicks to their multitude of spoofs (and even the absolutely horrible rip-offs from the small-time studios), it seems that there is no end in sight to the spy world.  Late last month, Universal Pictures added yet another title to that ever-growing world of spy flicks with the home release of Johnny English Strikes Again.  The third entry in the studio’s franchise, this latest offering has proven to be quite divisive among audiences and critics alike.  There has been little, if any middle ground in the responses to the movie.  This critic is one of the audiences who appreciates the movie, and sees its value.  The movie’s value starts with its story, which will be discussed shortly.  Atkinson’s work on camera is another positive that is to be noted in examining this movie.  The bonus material included in the movie’s home release rounds out its positives.  Each item noted here is important in its own right to the whole of Johnny English Strikes Again.  All things considered, they make Johnny English Strikes Again a movie that while maybe not memorable, is still a fun flick that is worth the occasional watch.

Universal Pictures’ latest entry in its Johnny English franchise is not the best spy flick to ever be presented to audiences, since the genre first became popular back in the 1960s.  At the same time though, it is also not the genre’s worst offering.  In fact, it is actually a fun flick that is well worth the occasional watch.  This is proven in part through the movie’s central story.  The movie’s central story follows Johnny English once again as he is called out of retirement following a cyber attack.  The identity of the culprit will not be revealed here, though it doesn’t take too long to figure out who is behind the attack.  The bigger story of English being a fish out of water with his reluctance to accept the digital age, and its companion commentary about the dangers of mankind’s reliance on technology adds even more to the movie’s ability to keep audiences engaged and entertained.  Add in the spoofs of MGM’s James Bond flicks, the continued stylistic similarity to Paramount’s Naked Gun and Airplane franchises within the story, and audiences have even more motivation to watch this movie.  If all of that is not enough, the very fact that audiences do not have to have seen this franchise’s previous pair of movies in order to enjoy this story puts the finishing touch to the argument as to why the movie’s story is so integral to its overall presentation.  It actually does a lot more for the movie’s presentation than the movie’s detractors realize.  It is just one of the movie’s most important elements.  Lead star Rowan Atkinson’s work in front of the lens adds even more reason for audiences to take in the movie.

Atkinson’s work on camera is so important to discuss in examining Johnny English Strikes Again because, as with the movie’s story, it is another of the items that so many critics have derided.  The movie’s detractors have chided his work, saying that the physical comedy, the sight gags, etc. have been done in both of this movie’s predecessors.  Maybe that is the case.  However, the instant rebuttal is another reference to the fact that one need not have seen said movies prior to this work in order to appreciate it — and Atkinson’s work.  Once again, Atkinson has taken elements of his work as Mr. Bean and crossed with it so much familiar physical comedy made equally popular by the likes of Leslie Nielsen, Steve Martin and other similar comedians.  As a matter of fact, Atkinson’s work is compared to that of Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton by his co-star Emma Thompson (who plays England’s prime minister this time out) in the movie’s bonus content.  This will be discussed later when the bonus content is discussed at more length.  Atkinson’s timing from scene to scene and emoting make for a presence that makes for its own share of entertainment.  He never goes over the top in any one scene, but rather maintains that familiar dry approach for which he has come to be known in every scene.  Again, his approach is similar to that used in the previous Johnny English movies, but still is adapted just enough here to keep his work entertaining.  Even with that in mind, audiences again do not have to have seen those movies to appreciate this work.  This makes his comic work here stand on its own rights just as much as the movie itself, going back to that previous discussion on the movie’s story.  Considering the importance of both elements displayed here, the arguments made by detractors of Johnny English Strikes Again hold even less water.  While they are undeniably crucial to the movie’s presentation – both by themselves and collectively – they are not its only key elements.  The bonus content featured in the movie’s home release rounds out its most important elements.

The bonus material featured in the movie’s home release includes discussions on items, such as Atkinson’s approach to his acting, the gadgets used throughout the movie and the shooting locations.  The discussion on the gadgets and their connection to the bigger story of English’s disconnect from the digital age gives even more appreciation for not just the gadgets, but for the gadgets used in MGM’s old James Bond movies.  For those, such as this critic, who are also holdouts against all things digital, it has even interest as it reminds said audiences that they are not the only ones who refuse to become one of the masses that just give in to all things tech.  The discussion on Atkinson’s approach to his acting, which features not only comments from Atkinson, but also from his cast mates, proves that while his brand of comedy might be familiar, it still has a place in today’s cinematic world.  That is especially the case considering how much dumbed-down, sophomoric comedy exists right now en mass.  The discussion on the location shooting offers even more insight and appreciation for the movie, as it is revealed in this discussion that much of the shooting was done on location, and the impact that it had on reducing the movie’s budget.  That understanding and appreciation makes for more appreciation among audiences, as they will see that while it might not have been a big budget blockbuster, it still presents the look and feel of such a movie, and holds its own easily against said flicks in the long run.  As if all of this is not enough for audiences, the feature-length commentary from the movie’s director, David Kerr (who also shared his thoughts in the movie’s other bonus content) adds its own share of insight and entertainment to the movie.  Keeping all of this in mind, the bonus content featured in the home release of Johnny English Strikes Again creates its own positive for audiences’ viewing experience.  Between that positive and those presented by the movie’s story and Atkinson’s on-screen work, audiences get a whole here that while again might not be the best spy flick ever made, is hardly the terrible work that so many would have audiences believe it to be.  It is a fun watch that is worth the occasional watch by any family, being rated PG (another key element  to note – it is largely a family friendly flick in terms of its overall content).

Universal Pictures’ latest addition to its Johnny English franchise is a fun family flick that with or without its predecessors, is still well worth the occasional watch.  It is a family friendly movie (rated PG) whose story lacks the violence and sexuality of the movies, which it spoofs.  It also presents an easy to follow story that does not require having seen the franchise’s previous entries in order to be enjoyed.  This applies both to the story and the work of lead star Rowan Atkinson.  The bonus material featured in the movie’s home release adds its own positive to the whole.  Each item is important in itself to the whole of the movie.  All things considered, they make Johnny English Strikes Again a movie that while not the best spy flick ever made, is hardly the terrible work which so many critics would have people believe it to be.  It is a fun family flick that is well worth the occasional watch.  More information on this and other titles from Universal Pictures is available online now at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.universalpictures.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/universalpics

 

 

 

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‘Green Book’ Release Dates, Specs Announced

Courtesy: Universal Pictures

Golden Globe-winning movie Green Book is coming home next month.

The movie is scheduled for release on digital on Feb. 19, and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray and DVD on March 5. The movie, which took home Golden Globes on Sunday for “Best Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy,” Best Actor in a Supporting Role and Best Screenplay.  Lead actor Viggo Mortensen was nominated for “Best Performance By An Actor in a Motion Picture — Musical or Comedy” for his role in the movie.

Inspired by a true story, the movie follows friends Tony Lip (Mortensen), who is a bouncer from an Italian-American neighborhood in the Bronx and his unlikely friend Dr. Don Shay (Mahershala Ali), a world-class pianist who happens to be African-American as the pair embark on a concert tour from New York into the deep south in the early 1960s. As the pair’s journey makes its way south, the men have to rely on “the green book” to find performance venues that were then safe for African-Americans.

The duo’s journey forces the men to set aside their differences in order to complete the journey safely.  The movie’s home release features a variety of bonus features, such as behind-the-scenes featurettes and cast and crew discussions.  The movie’s full list of bonus content is noted below.

4K ULTRA HD, BLU-RAYTM, DVD & DIGITAL BONUS FEATURES:

  • Virtuoso Performances – Go behind the scenes with Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali as they discuss their characters and the lengths they went to accurately portray them.
  • An Unforgettable Friendship – Cast and filmmakers discuss the friendship between Don Shirley and Tony Lip.
  • Going Beyond the Green Book  Filmmakers and cast discuss the significance of The Green Book.

Green Book will be available on 4K Ultra HD in a combo pack which includes 4K Ultra HD Blu-rayTM, Blu-rayTM and Digital. The 4K Ultra HD disc will include the same bonus features as the Blu-rayTM version, all in stunning 4K resolution.

More information on Green Book is available online now at:

 

Website: http://uni.pictures/GreenBook

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/greenbookfilm

 

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Shout! Factory’ Adds ‘The Jerk’ To Its Shout! Select Series

Courtesy: Shout! Factory

Shout! Factory is re-issuing Steve Martin’s classic comedy, The Jerk.

The movie is scheduled to be released on Blu-ray Tuesday as part of the company’s ongoing Shout! Select series.  Originally released Dec. 14, 1979 via Universal Pictures, the movie is considered by many to be Martin’s breakout movie.

The story stars Martin as Navin Johnson, the adopted son of a poor, black sharecropping family in Mississippi.  Johnson heads out into the world on his own to find his “special purpose,” which leads to meetings with a would-be assassin, work with the circus and gas stations, an encounter with a service dog, a romance and a financial windfall.  Navi’s new-found fame and fortune leads to plenty of its own problems for the hapless man.

Shout! Factory’s new re-issue of the classic comedy features a handful of bonuses, including, but not limited to two new interviews with Martin and Reiner, and with the writing team of Michael Elias and Carl Gottlieb.  The full list of the movie’s bonus material is noted below.

Bonus Features:
·        NEW Remastered from a Brand-New 2K Transfer
·        NEW A Conversation with Steve Martin and Carl Reiner
·        NEW A Conversation with Writers Michael Elias and Carl Gottlieb
·        Learn How to Play “Tonight You Belong To Me”
·        The Lost Film Strips of Father Carols Las Vegas De Cordova
·        Trailers & Radio Spots

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’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:

 

 

 

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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:

 

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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:

 

 

 

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