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DVD Talk reviews for Monday, July 15th, 2019

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DVD Talk reviews for Monday, July 15th, 2019

Old 07-16-19, 04:00 AM
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DVD Talk reviews for Monday, July 15th, 2019

The Prisoner of Second Avenue (Blu-ray)
<small>by Stuart Galbraith IV</small><hr />

Generally considered one of the lesser Neil Simon comedies, The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975) is an atypical but not entirely successful attempt by Simon to break into the realm of black comedy. An escalating series of big and little disasters drive white collar middle-executive Mel Edison (Jack Lemmon) into having a nervous breakdown, leaving long-suffering but devoted wife Edna (Anne Bancroft) to pick up the pieces. The first act is very well done, with Mel's mental deterioration realistic and funny at once, but then the story runs into problems. The middle-third is very dated by 2019 standards, and Lemmon's performance of a defeated, lost soul in the last-half of the story is too obviously actorly, and there's not much of a payoff at the end. Still, for the leading performances alone the film is worth seeing, even if its rewards are scattershot.

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Kidnapped (Blu-ray)
<small>by Stuart Galbraith IV</small><hr />

Adapted from Robert Louis Stevenson's novel Kidnapped and portions of its sequel, this 1971 film version is a moderately effective period adventure, though its curious and cryptic backstory is more interesting than the movie itself.

Director Delbert Mann established himself as a major name with both the television and film versions of Marty. More acclaimed features followed, including Separate Tables (1958), but as the 1960s wore on, his career began a downward slide. He then turned to straightforward adaptations of classic literature, in partnership with actor James Franciscus, beginning with the TV-movie Heidi in 1968, for NBC. That film gained an unexpected notoriety when the nail-biting American football game between the Oakland Raiders and New York Jets ran long, and jammed phone lines from viewers demanding the movie be delayed blew out all of the network's switchboa...Read the entire review »

The Brady-est Brady Bunch TV & Movie Collection
<small>by Stuart Galbraith IV</small><hr />

Gather round, kiddos, for this review of The Brady-est Brady Bunch TV & Movie Collection will, as never before, attempt to make sense of this unkillable piece of pop culture iconography. Your humble reviewer was in the thick of things when The Brady Bunch, the 1969-74 family sitcom, staked its claim onto the American consciousness, and can offer a bit perspective those generations, just before and since, can't quite reconcile.

But before we do that, let's first point out that this compact if unruly boxed DVD set, with a total running time of around 75 hours (!) of material includes with one notable exception just about everything Brady-related one might possibly ever want: the original series; The Brady Kids animated spin-off; The Brady Girls Get Married TV movie and its short-lived sitcom follow-up, The Brady Brides; A Very Brady Christmas, a later TV ...Read the entire review »

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