Results tagged “Comedy”

Half Magic Movie Review: A Brash Take on Sex Positivity

Heather Graham's debut is certainly relevant, but still feels like there is another story waiting to be told.
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Honey (Heather Graham) was raised to believe that her sexuality should never be addressed. As a child, she grew up being told by her father and her priest that having sex would ruin her life and remove the hope of ever finding true love. Years later, and she is working in Hollywood as an assistant to a sleazy, sexist actor - but she has dreams of becoming a writer. Undervalued and denigrated by her boss, she turns to an all woman’s seminar that focuses on the reclamation of her body as a source of empowerment, rather than of shame. She

The Trip to Spain (2017) Blu-ray Review: Moore (or Les) of the Same

Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon are at it again in this feature film version of the popular UK TV series.
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The third film adaptation to spawn from Michael Winterbottom's television series The Trip, The Trip to Spain reunites British comedians Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon for yet another bizarre road trip. This time, our pair of middle-aged delinquents embark off to good ol' España to indulge in the finest Spanish cuisine (and wine for the Welshman, as Steve is on the wagon here). But food and drink are the least of the viewer's concern, as our hosts' seemingly erratic behavior is the thing that keeps us coming back for more. Or "Moore," as is the case in The Trip to

Charley Chase at Hal Roach: The Talkies, Volume One: 1930-31 DVD Review: In One Word, 'Yes!'

The Sprocket Vault releases a two-disc set celebrating the lost talent of one very gifted comic.
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While history may not regard him as highly as many of the other on-screen comics who predated or succeeded him, the world of comedy nevertheless owes a substantial debt of gratitude to Charley Chase. Born Charles Joseph Parrott in 1893, the immeasurably gifted individual worked with just about every great comedy act in the business during his tragically short lifetime. During the Silent Era, a young Chase worked at Keystone Studios for Mack Sennett, appearing in several Charlie Chaplin shorts. In later years, after sound had come to moving pictures to stay, Chase worked on the other side of the

Waiting for Guffman (1996) Blu-ray Review: The Waiting is the Artist Part

The brilliant mockumentary from Christopher Guest and Co. gets a beautiful new High-Definition transfer from the Warner Archive Collection.
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Before he gave us his unique looks at dog shows and folk groups, This Is Spinal Tap co-creator and star Christopher Guest formed his first "solo" mockumentary turned his eyes towards the stage for this hilarious mockumentary revolving around one very memorable community theater presentation by way of Samuel Beckett's immortal play Waiting for Godot. Set in the fictional small town of Blaine, Missouri, 1996's Waiting for Guffman finds Guest as an ambiguously gay theater director from New York named Corky St. Clair. Clad in some of the worst fashion violations ever conceived, Corky takes on the helming of "Red,

A Quintet of Pre-Codes from the Warner Archive

The WAC has more early '30s fun to offer, featuring young Loretta Young, Joan Blondell, leading man Edward Everett Horton, and a pre-wheelchair Lionel Barrymore.
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While the days of their Forbidden Hollywood sets may be behind us now, the folks at the Warner Archive Collection have nevertheless kept their promise we would see more Pre-Code rarities released to DVD. In recent months, the Warner Archive has unleashed several forgotten ditties from the vaults to MOD discs, all of which feature the classic same risqué elements, lovely lassies, and ambiguously fey men of the era whom we have grown to admire in the decades that have since passed. Among the talent included in these individually released titles are the likes of Alice White, Edward Everett Horton,

I, Tonya Movie Review: Using Camp to Deconstruct It

Although an imperfect film, I, Tonya celebrates the imperfections of its leading lady with surprising emotional resonance.
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If the year was 1994, and you were to turn on the TV, pick up a newspaper, or chat with friends and family, all discourse would be about the epic scandal known as Tonya Harding v. Nancy Kerrigan. Tonya, a lower-class figure skater from Portland, Oregon is suddenly entrenched in a social, not to mention legal battle to defend her name - a name that, until this point in time, did not really seem to matter. But after her triumph at U.S. figure skating, jettisoning her to the 1994 Olympics, she soon became a household name. Well, that and the

Joe Versus the Volcano (1990) Blu-ray Review: When Tom Met Meg

John Patrick Shanley's quirky fantastical romance hits Blu waves with a stellar transfer from the Warner Archive Collection.
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After his Academy Award-winning screenplay for 1987's Moonstruck, playwright John Patrick Shanley launched into the '90s by taking the world into a different corner of comedy altogether. It was the first time Shanley directed a film ‒ something he wouldn't do again until crafting his own stage work for the screen in 2008 ‒ but it would go on to become a genuine American cult classic. A fairytale romance perfect for pairing with The Princess Bride, Joe Versus the Volcano was also the first time filmgoers were treated to the award-winning chemistry of Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, who would

Ruby (1977) / Satan's Cheerleaders Blu-ray Reviews: Tales from the Drive-In

VCI Entertainment goes retro with two imperfect releases for two equally flawed horror flicks.
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VCI Entertainment is no stranger to the world of home video. In fact, it's (quite possibly) the only label in the US to have survived all of these years without a parental company in the active motion picture business (Universal, Paramount, et al). And while their current library of classic films and forgotten flicks is anything less than impressive, certain "niche" enthusiasts such as myself will always associate the outfit with cult movies. This Fall, VCI has returned to its roots (replete with retro logo) by releasing several cult classics to Blu-ray. Both originally gracing flickering silver screens in 1977,

The Wrong Guy (1997) Blu-ray Review: The Right Release

Kino Lorber's Studio Classics releases the quirky late '90s Canadian comedy starring Dave Foley, David Anthony Higgins, and Jennifer Tilly.
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What would happen if comedians from The Kids in the Hall, SCTV, and Mike and Molly got together with a writer from The Simpsons? Well, depending on the circumstances surrounding your first viewing of The Wrong Guy, the end-result can be seen as one of two things: a silly Canadian comedy, or a subtly brilliant neglected masterpiece. Spawned from a sketch lead performer/writer Dave Foley once wrote during his days as one of the The Kids in the Hall, the quirky farce finds Mr. Foley as a meager ‒ and startlingly naïve ‒ executive at a major city high-rise office

The Gumball Rally (1976) Blu-ray Review: Real Cars. Real Actors. Real Fun.

The Warner Archive Collection revs its engines up for one of the greatest cross-country race flicks to hail from the '70s.
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It never fails to amuse me how many road/race flicks spawned from the same decade now synonymous with "gas shortage." Similarly, those very motion pictures never fail to delight. And now, thanks to the ever-diligent efforts of the Warner Archive Collection, one of the first films to capitalize on Brock Yates' Cannonball Baker Sea-to-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash ‒ which Yates himself would cash-in on a few years later with The Cannonball Run, after Burt Reynolds already had in Smokey and the Bandit ‒ has hit Blu-ray for home media enthusiasts who love seeing vintage (and very expensive) automobiles darting across

The Man with Two Brains / My Blue Heaven Blu-ray Reviews: Get Martinized

The Warner Archive Collection re-releases two of Steve Martin's best films, this time in glorious High-Definition.
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From his early days as a collaborator on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, Steve Martin's unique brand of humor has always left an impression. Even on people who have never been able to tune in to his sense of comedy, such as my father and just about every critic who saw The Jerk upon its initial release. Fortunately, time has always been on Mr. Martin's side. Well, maybe so not so much in the case of those Pink Panther remakes, but his original classics have maintained their popularity over the years, especially these two new Warner Archive Blu-ray issues. Originally

Freebie and the Bean (1974) Blu-ray Review: How Can Something So Wrong Feel So Right?

Look out, world ‒ because James Caan and Alan Arkin are on the loose again, thanks to the Warner Archive Collection.
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A classic example of "How can something so wrong feel so right?", Richard (The Stunt Man) Rush's classic 1974 action-comedy starring James Caan and Alan Arkin is a delightful politically-incorrect romp through the streets of San Francisco. The granddaddy of the buddy cop genre most of us have grown to despise today, Freebie and the Bean focuses on the outrageous antics of two rogue SFPD detectives, whom we only ever know by their eponymous nicknames: Caan plays the openly corrupt "Freebie," while Arkin ‒ an actor of Jewish heritage, mind you ‒ plays a Mexican-American everyone calls "Bean." And who

The High Commissioner (1968) Blu-ray Review: The Accidental Spy from Down Under

Kino Lorber brings us a fun tale of an abrasive detective wrapped up in international intrigue starring Rod Taylor and Christopher Plummer.
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The notion of a Eurospy movie was hardly anything new in 1968. If anything, it was becoming rather mundane to European filmgoers who had been bombarded by a jaw-dropping assortment of bastardized 007 clones by the time our film in question first hit screens. And yet, the makers of The High Commissioner (aka Nobody Runs Forever) nevertheless managed to give their project a unique twist: an abrasive, unsophisticated copper straight from the Outback as the protagonist. Made before fellow Aussie George Lazenby engaged in his shortlived stint as James Bond in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, the late great Rod

Lady Bird Movie Review: Greta Gerwig Soars in Her Directorial Debut

Lady Bird takes the tired coming-of-age genre and makes it feel refreshing and naturalistic.
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Actress Greta Gerwig has proven her naturalistic acting chops in films like 20th Century Women, No Strings Attached, and Jackie. But now, she has announced herself as an exciting new filmmaking voice with Lady Bird, her solo directorial debut. Lady Bird may tread into a familiar genre: The coming-of-age dramedy. Yet, it feels distinctive because of how it hits close to home. It may be about a teenager trying to navigate high school but it also speaks to those who long to escape their small-town life and the parents who work tirelessly to make sure their children have a better

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review: A Bittersweet Glass Of Eggnog

It's like deja vu in terms of plot but the cast makes it immensely watchable.
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When the film Bad Moms came out last year, it managed to become a massive summer hit towards the ends of the summer season. It made $183.9 million worldwide and became the highest-grossing film for newbie distributor STX Entertainment. But because the film did incredibly well, that meant it would get a sequel. As it turns out, A Bad Moms Christmas is a slight retread of the original but it is still a slight improvement in terms of laughs. A Bad Moms Christmas continues the story of Amy Mitchell (Mila Kunis), Kiki (Kristen Bell), and Carla (Kathryn Hahn) who are

Young Doctors in Love (1982) Blu-ray Review: Do Not Resuscitate

While the talent may have been fresh, it's clear no one in Garry Marshall's soap opera spoof scrubbed up first.
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One might imagine a comedy starring the likes of Michael McKean, Sean Young, Harry Dean Stanton, Patrick Macnee, Dabney Coleman, Ted McGinley, Taylor Negron, Pamela Reed, Saul Rubinek, Michael Richards, Hector Elizondo, Crystal Bernard, and Richard Dean Anderson would be a laugh-a-minute masterpiece. And while I'm sure such a movie exists in an alternate universe somewhere, it has yet to emerge in our reality. One of the first spoofs produced in the wake turbulence of Airplane!, 1982's Young Doctors in Love almost plays like a dirtier, dumber version of Scrubs ‒ right down to being produced by ABC (it was

Innocent Blood (1992) Blu-ray Review: A Parisian Vampire in Pittsburgh

The Warner Archive Collection unveils a gorgeous new uncut transfer of John Landis' star-studded horror/action/comedy.
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Where An American Werewolf in London and From Dusk Till Dawn points on a map, John Landis' 1992 vampire horror/action/comedy Innocent Blood would probably be somewhere in-between in terms of its ability to both shock and delight. Set in the magical land of Pittsburgh, the film finds La Femme Nikita beauty Anne Parillaud as Marie, a less-stereotypical (and frequently nude) vampire with a heart. Deeming it an immortal sin to feast upon the innocent, Marie prefers to sink her fangs into the worst society has to offer. Namely, those of the criminal underworld. (Whereas today, she'd likely be draining swamps.)

Popcorn (1991) Blu-ray Review: Hot Buttered Death

Synapse Films turns up the heat on one of early '90s most underrated horror movies.
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Crafted during that curious cusp separating the '80s and '90s, Popcorn initially failed to "pop" with audiences when it first hit theaters in early 1991. In the years that have followed, however, the film has gone on to become a highly-acclaimed cult classic amongst horror film fans. And that is a particularly great feat, considering the production was plagued with many difficulties, including ‒ most notably ‒ the replacement of its director and lead star. Originally intended to be another collaboration between Porky's creator Bob Clark and Cat People (1982) writer Alan Ormsby (who had created several creepy horror classics

The Hidden (1987) Blu-ray Review: The Best Movie John Carpenter Never Made

The Warner Archive Collection proudly delivers this amazing horror/sci-fi/action/comedy hybrid starring young Kyle MacLachlan.
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The epitome of everything that made '80s cinema everlastingly fantastic, Jack Shoulder's cult classic The Hidden is a rare hybrid of horror, sci-fi, action, and comedy. Set in the ghostly shadow of Los Angeles' past, the 1987 film focuses on a parasitical alien lifeform from the infinity beyond with a local affinity for fast sports cars, deadly assault weapons, more money than it needs (since it doesn't actually need any), loud rock music, and a lot of power over others. Yes, there's one of them there allegories present in that particular synopsis; one which not only becomes all the more

The House (2017) Blu-ray Review: Silly but Slight

The ensemble generates laughs, but the movie feels like watching improv actors early in the workshop phase rather than a polished product.
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From the writers of Neighbors (2014), The House (2017) is a silly comedy about two parents trying to raise money for their daughter's college tuition through an illegal home casino. The script is slight, coming off like an outline about the characters and scenes because there's not much substance to either. It's amusing but not very memorable. When the town pulls its scholarship fund to build a massive pool complex, Scott and Kate Johansen (Will Ferell and Amy Poehler) aren't sure how they are going to be able to afford to send their daughter to Bucknell. Their pal Frank (Jason
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