Results tagged “Comedy”

Lights of New York (1928) DVD Review: The Most Sublime Milestone in Cinema

The Warner Archive Collection brings us the first all-talking motion picture ever, which deserves a look-see for that very reason alone.
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Given that even the cheapest films produced today can be presented in faux widescreen with 7-channel surround sound and special effects manufactured entirely via computer software, it's extremely easy to take some of cinema's most important milestones for granted. Much like the very first motion pictures to be shot digitally as far back as the early 2000s have already faded from the memory of the general public, the movies which introduced the world to surround (let alone stereo) sound and the phenomenon once known as CinemaScope have become little more than mere footnotes in cinematic history. One such milestone ‒

The Gay Bride (1934) DVD Review: Married to the Flop

Carole Lombard and Chester Morris unite for a well-aged gangster screwball comedy, now available from the Warner Archive Collection.
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Some marriages just need a little time to get things right. Crafted at the tail-end of Hollywood's golden age of gangster pictures, MGM's classic screwball comedy The Gay Bride failed to wed audiences upon its initial release in 1934. But when I first witnessed this union betwixt Carole Lombard (My Man Godfrey, To Be or Not to Be) and future Boston Blackie star Chester Morris (Five Came Back, The She-Creature) 84 years later in 2018, I found this once-dejected Bride to be quite worthy of a suitor ‒ Gayor otherwise. Set in New York (but clearly filmed in Los Angeles),

Schlock (1973) Blu-ray Review: The Dawn of Landis

John Landis' campy homage to classic monster movies surfaces in High-Definition for a limited time from Turbine Media Group.
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The first feature film of cult filmmaker John Landis (An American Werewolf in London, Innocent Blood) Schlock serves as a exemplary reminder we all have to start somewhere. Shot over the course of 12 days on a measly $60,000 budget in one of the many suburbs of Los Angeles, Schlock is a campy homage to horror and science fiction movies of the past, as seen through the eyes of one very eager 21-year-old filmmaker. A small community is besieged by a wave of baffling, unsolved murders, committed by an entity whom authorities and the media alike have dubbed "The Banana

MGM's The Big Parade of Comedy (1964) DVD Review: When Compilations Were String

For whatever reason, the Warner Archive Collection releases Robert Youngson's effortless cut-and-paste documentary to DVD-R.
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One would expect a collection of clips featuring some of cinema's greatest comedians and comediennes to be a laugh-a-minute mini-fest; a cinematic party tape devoted entirely to some of the biggest names in comedy during their best moments on-screen. And, while such compilation movies surely exist somewhere, you will not find anything remotely resembling such in MGM's The Big Parade of Comedy ‒ a dreadful cut-and-paste wonder from the once-respected mind of documentary filmmaker Robert Youngson. Beginning his career at Warner Bros. in the late 1940s as the director of documentary shorts ‒ two of which won Academy Awards ‒

The Chastity Belt (1967) DVD Review: As Uncomfortable As You'd Expect

Tony Curtis and Monica Vitti are more than a bit rusty in this appallingly unfunny Italian sex comedy from the Warner Archive Collection.
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Every once in a while, a film critic encounters a difficult obstacle to overcome. The late '60s, Italian-made sex comedy The Chastity Belt ‒ originally given the very late '60s title of On My Way to the Crusades, I Met a Girl Who… ‒ proved to be one such challenge. Starring Tony Curtis and Italian bombshell Monica Vitti, this 1967 medieval "farce" incredibly credits A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum writer Larry Gelbart, the same man who would later turn Robert Altman's hit M*A*S*H into an even bigger television sensation. After making it into the film

Killer Klowns From Outer Space Blu-ray Review: Because Killer Klowns Not From Outer Space Simply Wouldn't Sell

Thirty years later, I still get excited by how absurd it is.
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Cream pies that melt the flesh off a person. Balloon animal hunting dogs. Locust popcorn. Cotton candy cocoons. Monster marionettes. A circus tent spaceship. Ludicrous inflatable balloon boobs. Killer Klowns From Outer Space is as creative as it is ridiculous. It's not a parody or a satire and everyone in the film takes the events very seriously, making it that much funnier. Mike (Grant Cramer) and Debbie (Suzanne Snyder) are visiting a remote make-out spot when they see what appears to be a shooting star passing nearby overhead. They chase after it and find a circus tent oddly erected in

Harry and Walter Go to New York (1976) Blu-ray Review: They Should've Stayed Home

Twilight Time brings us the maligned crime caper comedy with James Caan, Elliott Gould, Michael Caine, and Diane Keaton.
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On December 5, 1872, the Mary Celeste was discovered adrift off of the Azores Islands, berift of its captain and crew, but still loaded with personal possessions and cargo. Not a single soul from the voyage was ever seen or heard from again, and no explanation has ever been discovered behind the mysterious, mass disappearance. But it wasn't until Columbia Pictures' Harry and Walter Go to New York debuted in American cinemas nearly 104 years later that those who dared board it had the misfortune of discovering what it was truly like being onboard a ghost ship lost at sea.

Summer of '42 (1971) Blu-ray Review: There's a First Time for Everything

The obscured (if slightly controversial now) coming-of-age hit returns to home video courtesy the Warner Archive Collection.
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An unexpected box office sensation upon its 1971 debut, Robert Mulligan's adaptation of Herman Raucher's Summer of '42 has since become as distant to audiences as has the element of romance to the average Tinder user. Indeed, the advent of modern technology has far-removed the timeless coming-of-age motif from that of younger generations, who will more than likely find the film's characters ‒ to say nothing of their particular plights here ‒ weird, if not completely unsettling. A personal favorite of iconic rogue filmmaker Stanley Kubrick (it's the only live-action film featured in The Shining, I believe), Summer of '42

Allenesque: Five Woody Allen Movies on Blu-ray from Twilight Time

From screwball spoofs to serious dramas, this quintet of features from the one and only comedian/filmmaker offers a variety of stylings.
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Whether you are a collector, purist, enthusiast, or just someone who is trying to get through the work day, there is nothing as gratifying as being able to mark something off of a checklist. And every time Twilight Time issues a classic Woody Allen film on Blu-ray, it gives his fans a chance to experience something just as gratifying. Fortunately for all parties involved, Allen's extensive (and still-expanding, as he has rarely skipped a year without making a movie since 1965) library can come that much closer to being "complete" thanks to Twilight Time's regular releases of the filmmaker's work,

Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III (1990) Blu-ray Review: Indie Codependent

The Warner Archive Collection revs up the gas for Jeff Burr's controversial buzzer.
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Bridging the gap between pure psychological horror with a touch of humor and gore into something polarly opposite isn't an easy task. And there is no better example of that in the realm of scary movies than New Line Cinema's maligned 1990 slasher sequel, Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III. Though technically an '80s flick, Jeff Burr's 1990 contribution to the famous film franchise ‒ which still exists today via an occasional, unnecessary reboot every couple of years ‒ became an instant target for fans and foes alike. Several years before, the Cannon Group released Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw

Harper (1966) / The Drowning Pool (1975) Blu-ray Reviews: Newman's Own Detective Series

The Warner Archive Collection brings us two excellent transfers of two contrasting tales starring the great Paul Newman.
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Lew Harper is back on the case ‒ twice over ‒ in these two new Blu-ray releases from the Warner Archive Collection. Adapted from Ross Macdonald's literary adventures of Lew Archer (because who in their right mind could take a character named Archer seriously, especially now?), 1966's Harper brings us a misadventure of a modern-day Southern Californian private investigator. Seemingly inspired by every classic detective from books to film alike ‒ and every bit as cynical, to boot ‒ the role was brought to magnificent life on-screen by the one and only Paul Newman (The Hustler). Nine years later, Newman

Auntie Mame (1958) Blu-ray Review: And It's Completely Lucille Ball-Free, Too!

The Warner Archive Collection brings us a beautiful restoration of Rosalind Russell's original great aunt.
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Beginning as a best-selling novel by Patrick Dennis in 1955, Auntie Mame became a Broadway success starring the one and only Rosalind Russell a few years later. As was customary with just about every (even minor) stage triumph in those days, a film version wasn't too far behind. Released to theaters at the tail end of 1958, Warner Bros.' Auntie Mame became the highest-grossing film of 1959. While that may not seem like much of an accomplishment at first glance, it should be noted the films it vanquished at the box office included North by Northwest, Ben-Hur, Anatomy of a

Doc Hollywood (1991) Blu-ray Review: A Crash, a Clash, a Fox Office Splash

Michael J. Fox goes country in this early '90s rom-com now available on BD from the Warner Archive Collection.
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Doc Hollywood was exactly the sort of early '90s filmfare I recall going to see every weekend at the local cinema in the small hick town I grew up in. In fact, I actually did see Doc Hollywood when the nearby theater of my teen-aged youth, where nary another soul was in attendance, leading me to (falsely) concur the movie must not have made a big splash at the box office. In reality, the film was something of a box office hit, but due to prolonged exposed to something called "aging", very little of that remained in my memory banks.

Oh God, They're Singing: Three Classic Musicals on Blu-ray

The Warner Archive and Twilight Time give us some old song and dance routines, available in High-Definition (and in one case, widescreen) for the first time.
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You know the feeling. You're sitting there, minding your own business, enjoying the sights and sounds of a classic motion picture. Suddenly, the gears seem to shift: orchestral accompaniment appears out of nowhere as characters begin to step in pace with one another, speaking in lyrical rhymes before breaking out in full-out song and dance routines. "Oh God, they're singing!," you cry out, realizing you have been sucked in once more by a movie musical. But don't worry, I won't judge ye. In fact, after witnessing all of the toe-tapping antics found in these three titles ‒ all of which

The Super (1991) DVD Review: Low Rent Entertainment

The Warner Archive Collection raises the roof on Joe Pesci's flop.
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Epitomizing just about every bad decision made by the world of domestic entertainment in the early '90s to its fullest extent ‒ be it the questionable tastes in fashion and music or the peculiar, career-killing choice to cast movie tough guys in family-friendly comedies ‒ The Super stars the Joe Pesci no one really wanted to see. Cast as the vehemently loathsome spoiled jerk son of a racist ol' New York City real estate magnate (gee, I wonder who served as inspiration for that?), Pesci is at his squirmiest, scene-chewing best here as Louie Kritski ‒ the slumlord of a

Thor: Ragnarok (2017) Blu-ray Review: The Marvel Cinematic Universe Holiday Special

Chris Hemsworth lets his hair down (and sleeps with one eye open) in this highly enjoyable change of pace from director Taika Waititi.
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Admittedly, I am not the biggest contemporary superhero movie enthusiast. At one point in time, I would have fallen somewhere in the vicinity of such a category, but I essentially dropped out around the same time the current Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) as we know it came into existence in 2008. Sure, I catch the occasional superhero flick here and there (including the occasional new DC abomination, which usually only helps me appreciate Marvel's contributions all the more), but I generally remain indifferent to what I see. And then there is Thor: Ragnarok ‒ a film which proves even a

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,
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