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DVD Talk reviews for Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

Old 01-03-19, 03:00 AM
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DVD Talk reviews for Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

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De Niro & De Palma: The Early Films (Blu-ray)
by Justin Remer

The Collection:

Robert De Niro and Brian De Palma is not one of those actor-director pairings that jumps to mind as particularly iconic. True, they worked together on 1987's beloved big-screen adaptation of The Untouchables, but that seems almost incidental. Still, each man arguably owes a major debt to the other, as they both found their initial big screen success working together, on a trio of counterculture-skewed "sick" comedies that Arrow has nicely assembled in their new De Niro & De Palma: The Early Films box.

Shot in 1963, with a copyright date of '66, and a release date of '69, De Palma's (essentially) first film, <...Read the entire review »

Fahrenheit 11/9 (Blu-ray)
by Stuart Galbraith IV

Filmmaker Michael Moore has his work cut out for him. With Trump and his Administration embroiled in almost daily scandals and the country spiraling headlong toward neofascism, collating and distilling just the months preceding and following the 2016 Presidential Election into a two-hour documentary must have been a daunting task. He might consider a 10-hour miniseries for his next project.

Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018), its title a clever play on his earlier Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004), finds Moore juggling myriad outrages, trying to tie everything together. Some of these components, like gun violence and school shootings, don't entirely fit together, but it's still one of Moore's most daring films to date. Advertising suggests that it's primarily a take-down of President Trump - an easy target - but by far its most compelling moments have Moore brutally critical of corporate wing of the Democrat...Read the entire review »


The Grissom Gang (Blu-ray)
by Ian Jane

The Movie:

A remake of the British film No Orchids for Miss Blandish made by St. John Legh Clowes in 1948, the 1971 Robert Aldrich picture The Grissom Gang was released on DVD by MGM back in 2004 and now gets a welcome high definition upgrade from Kino Lorber.

The story revolves around the kidnapping of a wealthy heiress named Barbara Blandish (Kim Darby) by a trio of rather unprofessional hoods. Soon after she's been snatched, they're taken out by some men led by Eddie Hagan (Tony Musante). These guys are the titular Grissom Gang and they answer to a tough matriarch named Gladys 'Ma' Grissom (Irene Daily). While Eddie might, at first, appear to be the one to watch out for here, the real threat that the gang poses comes in the form of Gladys' dangerous son, Slim (Scott Wilson). He's clearly got issues with his mother and, well, with pretty much everyone and when he s...Read the entire review »

Scrooged (Blu-ray)
by William Harrison


While it certainly is not up there with National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation or Die Hard on my holiday movie watchlist, Scrooged is still an entertaining comedy, largely due to Bill Murray's swing-for-the-rafters performance as grouchy TV station executive Frank Cross. This character is basically Ebenezer Scrooge in this loose adaptation of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." After firing a likeable employee on Christmas Eve, Cross is visited by Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future, and sees his life turned upside down. The humor and accompanying drama remain relevant three decades after the film's release, and, despite the saccharine 180-degree turnaround for Murray's chara...Read the entire review »

Ernie Kovacs: The Centennial Edition
by Jesse Skeen

For what would have been Ernie Kovacs' 100th birthday, Shout Factory repackages the two previous Ernie Kovacs Collections into this 9-disc set. It can't be said enough how much of a pioneer Kovacs was in the early years of TV, having fun with and exploiting its capabilities in ways nobody else had thought of- first twisting the conventions of the talk show format (which inspired David Letterman in the 1980s) and then making the first of what could truly be called video art before his untimely death in 1962. The discs in this set are identical to those previously released in the two Ernie Kovacs Collection sets.

Each disc is given its own title, the first of which is "The Early Years" and con...Read the entire review »

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