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Friday, December 30, 2016

'Nobody Walks in LA' VOD: 'thirtysomething' for Millennials

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The new textbook indie dramedy "Nobody Walks in L.A.," which is available on VOD, notably makes a pair of relatable concepts true to life in a film that is designed to provide deep insight into the life of millennials whose ability to avoid adulthood is eroding. This theme and the manner in which it is presented makes it most appealing to real-life peers of the leads and parents who can relate to their offspring being at that stage of life.

The festival love for "Nobody" includes Best Feature wins at the 2016 Long Beach International Film Festival and the Newport Beach Film Festival.

The following YouTube clip of the SPOILER (and potty language) LADEN trailer for "Nobody" highlights the millennialness of the film.

On a larger level, anyone who is old enough to feel compassion for others can relate to the overall story of one friend trying to cheer up another and the object of that affection strongly resisting that effort. Virtually all of us have been on both sides of that equation.

This tale of the softest generation begins with emo-grunge hybrid/former attorney and current teacher 30 year-old Miles in a voluntary days-long confinement in bed at the house of his parents following what he considers devastating news a short period ahead of his wedding to fiancee Samantha. Friend since high school (and Phoebe to this Chandler) Becca shows up to literally drag him out of bed and off to brunch.

The first twist on getting the blue boy out of the house is that Becca insists on the unheard of practice (hence, the film title) in Los Angeles of walking the five blocks to the restaurant. This soon leads to the additional rules of not driving at all that day and not using cellphones.

The remainder of the movie showcases the beauty of the City of Angels that cannot be appreciated by whizzing past in a car. Further, we learn about many landmarks in the city (such as the La Brea tar pits) and get a brief history of the mid-20th century of the community. A scene on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame will bring The Kinks song "Celluloid Heroes" to mind by fans of that band to the extent that you will hope that Becca and Miles not step on Greta Garbo.

All of this is in the context of Miles and Becca strolling the streets while conversing about the big decisions that they must make. Miles needs to determine whether to get married, and Becca is facing a comparable choice.

Along the way, these future leaders of America discuss their mutual past and their life views. We further see "Phoebe" trying to get "Chandler" to loosen up and the latter injuring his male pride in both senses of the word while trying to show off.

Writer/director Jesse Shapiro adds further entertainment in the form of having our pair encounter the eccentrics who populate every community. A quasi-scary loner type on the subway is one of the most memorable such characters.

This day culminates in the grandest adventure of all that aptly is reminiscent to the big adventure of Pee Wee Herman. Talking and talking and talking and talking for what seems like 12 hours in reel- and real-time brings these high-school friends some insight and consequential peace-of-mind.

The overall effect of the film is that it is like a typical memorable day out with friends. There are high points that you will never forget, moments of unhappiness and/or anger, and long periods in which you are merely content.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Nobody" is invited to email me; you also can connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

'Del Shores My Sordid Life' DVD Tales of the City by Southern Baptist Sissy

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These thoughts regarding the breaking glass pictures April 2012 DVD release of "Del Shores My Sordid Life" is a perfect inaugural topic for an ongoing series of "evergreen" reviews of pre-2016 breaking releases. Any friend of Dorothy or fan of good campy humor knows Shore as the writer of the "Sordid Lives" play, film, and Logo television series about a young gay man and his hilariously "shameless" white trash family. Shore is lesser known as the writer of the (Unreal TV fave) play "Southern Baptist Sissies," which is as autobiographical as "Life" and "Lives."  Fans of all three will delight in the charming insight that "Life" provides regarding the aforementioned true labors of love by Shore.

"Life" further is appropriate for this new group of reviews because it it is consistent with glass beginning to give another Philadelphia-based home-entertainment company a run for its money regarding releases of indie art-house gay-themed films. Upcoming Unreal TV posts are on "People You May Know," which features a 30something gay man looking for love, and the documentary "Seed Money" about the founder of the gay porn film company Falcon Studios.

"Life" is the one-man show of Shore in which he discusses "Lives," "Sissies," and several other projects. He nicely sets the tone by discussing his work on the '90s Foxcom "Ned and Stacey" that stars a pre- "Will and Grace" Debra Messing and a post "Wings" Thomas Haden Church. Shore admits that dissing "Lowell" by literally calling him an asshole distresses fans of Church but states in his terrifically sweet Southern voice that that actor is one.

A similar story relates to Shore working on the groundbreaking Showtime series "Queer as Folk." The surprising bad guy this time is dreamy young blond boy Randy Harrison, who plays dreamy young blond Justin. Shore discussing the revenge of the writers for the scorn that Harrison expresses regarding the program surprisingly is not a memorable episode that literally puts the ass of Justin in a sling. The lesson to not make the writers your enemy is much more poetic and clever.

Other shocking moments include Shore amusingly discussing sharing explicit information about the mechanics of gay sex with his mother. This segment includes not telling her absolutely everything in order to not overwhelm her.

Hearing about the play "Daddy's Dyin ... Who's Got the Will" beginning life in a 64-seat theater before going on to become a Shore thing hit (and hilarious) film is very entertaining. The best part of this story is the outrage of an aunt regarding the portrayal of her in the film and the surprising reason for that anger.

Shore additionally addresses marriage equality in that era before every state recognizes that right. This includes Shore discussing his daughter posting a YouTube video, which is a DVD extra, on California Proposition 8. That video demonstrates that Shore raised his girl right.

Many of the more personal stories relate to tales that are funny because they happen to someone else surrounding truly southern-friend family gatherings of the Shore clan. These include a family reunion and a funeral.

The appeal of the performance itself relates to Shore, who awesomely engages the audience throughout the show, being as shameless as the rest of his kin regarding the perverse nature of their past and the harmful anti-gay attitude that stems from being a practicing Southern Baptist. Regarding the latter, Shore takes a page from the playbook of fellow skilled storyteller Mel Brooks as to the Nazis. Our favorite "sissy" robs his ignorant relatives of their power by showing the foolishness of their beliefs on the subject of sexuality. He is a boy of whom any momma and daddy should be proud.

The copious truly special extras extend well beyond the aforementioned Proposition 8 video. We see  fans and Shore actors, who include "Lives" star Beau Bridges, share their thoughts as they leave the theater. We additionally get three deleted monologues, which include Shore sharing a powerful deleted speech from Sissies, from "Life."

Other features include behind-the-scenes looks and the theatrical trailer for the film.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Life" is strongly encouraged to email me. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy,

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

'Criticsized' DVD: Revenge of the Panned

Monarch Home Entertainment abandons the entertaining holiday fluff of the recent Monarch DVD releases of the (Unreal TV reviewed) "The Spirit of Christmas" and the (also reviewed) "A Dogwalker's Christmas Tale" for the recent DVD release of the 2016 crime drama "Criticsized." This dedicated cop doggedly pursues psychotic serial killer having an element of effectively making harsh critics eat their unkind words makes a case for gentleness regarding this Best Picture winner at the Hollywood Boulevard Film Festival.

"Criticsized" centers around golden boy police detective Jack puresuing a killer who streams his torture and snuffing of his victims on the web. Callum Blue, whose many great roles include the hysterically deviant Mason on "Dead Like Me" and Zod on "Smallville" nicely plays Jack as an everycop whose edge does not greatly impact his daily personal or professional life.

Another awesome element of "Criticsized" is that the cliches are there for a reason. A prediction early in the film that the wife of Jack will end up strapped to a chair in front of a webcam comes true. However, the full reason for that "seen it (many times) before" moment adds good substance.

Other memorable twists come regarding the role that Jack plays in setting the killing spree in motion, the partner of Jack being more than a cop who merely is too old for this s**t, and a peeing match with the feds not ending up with Jack slamming his badge and his gun on the desk of his commanding officer.

"Criticsized" additionally makes an interesting point regarding the other side of panning bad films. Ridiculing schlock is great fun, and the Internet provides a safety barrier. At the same time, the film (and personal conversations with friends in the "biz" who get it right) show that words can hurt. This is especially true regarding filmmakers who think that they are the next Orson Welles only to have the world view them as the next Roger Corman.

As a further aside, the "Best Brains" behind the '90s cult cable series "Mystery Science Theater 3000" are famous for only subjecting purposefully bad movies to their treatment of yelling comments at the screen, Filmmakers who exert a valid effort have immunity.

The best way to wrap up all this is to hope that Zack Snyder never gets the home address of your not-so-humble reviewer. I do not have enough money for the refund that I consider the "Dawn of Justice" regarding "Batman v. Superman" and am not interested in joining the ranks of the unwatchable suicide squad who do not know Jack about portraying the Joker.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Criticsized" is welcome either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Monday, December 26, 2016

'In a Valley of Violence' DVD/BD Old Style Western with Modern Sensibility

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The Universal Pictures Home Entertainment December 27, 2016 Digital HD/DVD/Blu-ray release of the 2016 western "In a Valley of Violence" shows that they can make 'em like they used to. "Valley" additionally offers further proof that folks who initially reject westerns despite never seeing one do not know what they are missing.

Part of what folks who pass on this one miss is seeing the beautiful scenery and great cinematography in Blu-ray. The gushing blood also looks way cool.

Speaking from the perspective of the recently converted, westerns are much more than shoot-outs and stampedes. One need look no further than the classics "High Noon" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence" to see that many of these films merely use the Old West as an apt setting for morality plays and other substantive stories.

Ethan Hawke stars as Paul (a.k.a. the man with no last name). His drifting across the Southwest of the post-Civil War Reconstruction Era brings him to Denton, Texas. A escalating confrontation with town bully Gilly soon after Paul arrives shows the latter why the locals dub their community the nickname that provides the film its name.

Paul leaving Gilly with a pride that has wounds comparable to the inflicted physical damage prompts our hero essentially to ride off into the sunset. The problem is that Gilly does not know enough to quit when he is behind and foolishly assembles his 19th-century entourage to pursue Paul.

A second confrontation in the desert between Gilly and Paul ends with Gilly ahead and Paul with a sense that Denton also earns the description of a town without mercy. The problem this time is that Gilly leaves Paul without anything else to lose.

The third player in this is the local lawman, played by predictably horribly miscast urban cowboy John Travolta. This character literally and figuratively is Marshal in the middle. His personal and professional relationships with Gilly impose a duty to protect and support him, and a duty to maintain law and order require not allowing Paul to exact frontier justice. At the same time, the Marshal acknowledges that Paul is justified in all his acts.

These conflicting loyalties are a staple of film and television drama. The innocent bystander finds himself or herself having to either support a bonehead move by an inner-circle member or do the right thing.

Another piece of this puzzle is the troubled past of Paul. The Marshal generally figures this out pretty quickly, but determining the reason for that young man going west requires the reveals that follow.

The final scenes in which Paul goes after those who directly done him wrong are textbook western. The kills become increasingly difficult until Paul and Gilly have their inevitable showdown on the dusty street while the locals cower inside.

This is where things start take twists that reflect our modern dystopia but are too interesting to spoil beyond this. Justice is served but not in the manner that is typical for this genre, and no one rides off into the sunset while "The End" appears on the screen.

The Blu-ray extra is a behind-the-scenes feature.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Valley" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Friday, December 23, 2016

'Going Down in LA-LA Land' DVD: True Hollywood Story of Struggling Actors

A recent interview with (mostly) gay-themed film producer/director/writer Casper Andreas regarding his (Unreal TV reviewed) pink noir movie "Kiss Me, Kill Me" is behind a series of posts on Andreas films. His well-known 2011 drama "Going Down in LA-La Land" having a similar title and theme as a big-budget musical currently playing in a multiplex near you makes the DVD release of that title an apt starting point for a look at the earlier work of the friendly auteur. 

The tremendous festival love for "Down" includes a Best Feature award at the 2011 Barcelona International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival and the Best Director award at the 2011 The Connecticut Gay & Lesbian Film Festival.

The most awesome aspect of "Down" is that it is an excellent example of a film that is true to the gay experience while showing the universal nature of the trials and tribulations of the characters. Our aptly named hero Adam, whom "Kiss" star Matthew Ludwinski has down to a tee, is a mostly stage actor who discovers the underbelly of the titular community when he goes west to pursue film and television stardom.

Television and film audiences have seen this morality play in the form of a starlet arriving in Los Angeles to become a star only to be exploited and deceived. It is nice to have someone show that boys can suffer the same fate.

The handful of camp cameos is pretty awesome as well; Perez Hilton rocks his role as a wonderfully effeminate orderly, and Bruce Villanich makes a great scene-stealer as a flamboyant veteran porn movie director.

The harsh reality of life strikes Adam when he simultaneously faces unexpected expenses, a lack of acting work even as an extra, and an inability to land a decent day job. 

The proverbial blessing and curse that sets this film with overtones of "Boogie Nights" fully in motion comes in the form of casual gym buddy Nick, whom Andreas terrifically plays, helping this handsome devil get a job as an office worker/production assistant (a.k.a. prod. ass) at the gay porn company Jet Set Men. This leads to a memorable scene in which Adam tries to comfort an actor (who steals his scene) who is majorly dreading what is to come (no pun intended.) 

Although Nick is mostly a still photographer and film director/editor for the company, his occasional "acting" working sets the stage (pun intended) for a short scene with Andreas regular Jesse Archer.

Persuasion by casual boyfriend Nick and a series of reversals of fortune lead broke gay boy Adam initially to pose for still photos and ultimately make a wonderfully erotic film for Jet Set. 

This new career additionally connects Adam with a deeply closeted celebrity in a storyline that suggests that Andreas and your not-so-humble reviewer share an acquaintance who is grossly indiscrete regarding his ties. The similarities between this reel- and real-life include a fondness for holding hands.

Andreas expertly keeps the ensuing developments safely from the edge of sappy gay movie and mainstream romcoms by not having things dramatically change for Adam on his seeming to be on a good track.

The same is true regarding the scandal that threatens to destroy any hope of Adam having a happy ending. The mystery regarding this adds a very cool element. Is the source the bitter beard, the resentful queen, or the dumped ex?

The ending is at least partial cliche but still highly entertaining; the reformed prince (be it the crackhead porn guy or the household name) comes to sweep Adam off his feet. The suspense relates to how he will respond and whether he lives happily ever after or winds up starring in "Spring Break Hazing IV: Plugged Pledges." 

On a a larger level, Andreas deserves great credit for keeping the sex scenes (some of which include him) erotic but tasteful; such segments are tough to choreograph, and we get enough to leave little to the imagination but not so much that we feel that we are watching "Down" in a '70s-era Times Square theater.

The melange described above make "Down" a good choice for folks interested in a variation on the other LA LA Land film or anyone who likes their movies with the right mix of drama, comedy, and camp.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Down" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

'Just Eat It': A Food Waste Story' DVD: 'Super-Size Me' Meet 'Xmas Without China'

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Home of "thought-provoking" documentaries Icarus Films and producer of such fare Bullfrog Films follow-up their awesome (Unreal TV reviewed) 2015 collaboration "Xmas Without China," which shares the story of an effort to go a month without buying anything from the titular country, with the December 6 2016 DVD release of the equally good "Just Eat It." The challenge this time is to spend six months only eating food that otherwise is destined for the dumpster.

One warning is that this review ventures into Blogland more than most Unreal TV posts. The reason for doing so is to demonstrate that "Eat" is effective because it is true.

The plethora of accolades for "Eat" include the People's Choice Award for Best Documentary at the 2014 Calgary International Film Festival and another best doc award at the 2014 Edmonton International Film Festival. This recognition validates that the film achieves the documentary ideal of both educating and entertaining.

The following YouTube clip of the trailer for "Eat" aptly provides tasty food for thought regarding the subject of the movie and will leave you hungry for more.

Filmmakers/couple Grant Baldwin and Jenny Rustemeyer realizing the tremendous quantity of edible food that Americans waste every year prompt pledging to only eat food that otherwise would get thrown out for six months. They point out this problem extends beyond virtually all of us who dump food because it is past the expiration date, we are tired of it, it no longer is appealing, etc.

Granny points out that restaurants scrape large amounts of food off plates, farmers must compost tons of vegetables that simply fail actual and perceived aesthetic standards, and grocery stores toss goods that is at or near the expiration date.

The couple lucks out early on in that the brother of Grant must empty his refrigerator ahead of a move. This initial bounty seems to provide at least a week of groceries.

Our first diversion into Blogland centers around your not-so-humble reviewer moving in 2015. The most heartbreaking (and careless) waste regarding this relates to dumping several very heavy yard waste bags full of food from a chest freezer.

Strong efforts to eat down supplies of cereal and dry goods (and to move them to interim locations that include the trunk of the car of a friend) only mitigated not throwing away things such as the aforementioned breakfast items and cake mixes that would have cost much more than their retail value to move.

Granny further introduces us to several farmers who provide a sense of how much produce never makes it to the market for reasons that include simply only achieving "Miss Congeniality" status. One such agricultural expert shares that efforts to mitigate waste are not cost effective.

The most amusing and distressing element of the film relates to Granny easily finding literally tons of perfectly good food while dumpster diving. Scoring large amounts of fresh chicken and other treats on the heels of a food photo shoot is one of the most exciting/distressing finds. Tossing enough equally good humus to fill a dumpster that Grant accurately describes as the size of a small swimming pool is heart-breaking.

The side trip to Blogland this time relates to recently throwing out several items based on their expiration dates being at least six months ago. The worst case is tossing a large unopened box of granola bars with an expiration date of March 2015. The waste this time relates to finding the box deep in a cabinet. In this, and every case, the decision of whether to toss or taste largely hinges on the cost of the item versus the potential gastric distress from taking a chance. A recent gamble regarding Halloween candy from last year is not for the feint of heart.

The spoiler (pun intended) regarding all this is that Granny shows that most of us are unduly cautious (and subsequently waste enormous amounts of money) regarding our disdain for residents of the Island of Misfit Foods. The couple never reports an illness or other undue ill effects from their experiment. At the same time, they do not state an intent to continue dumpster diving.

Although many of us think about all of the above aspects of food waste, Granny goes on to remind us of the indirect costs of doing so. These include devoting water and other natural resources to grow mountains of veggies that get dumped.

The final stop in Blogland is to share longstanding practices that are true to the spirit of the Granny experiment. Every shopping trip includes a stop at the day-old bakery display and a hunt for what is joking referred to as "rancid meat" that is marked down due to that day being its expiration date. The latter always goes in the freezer that day. A recent score is a top-quality vacuum-sealed prime rib roast with a per-pound price below mid-quality hamburger.

All of this is particularly timely when tons of additional waste comes in the form of party leftovers and extra food from holiday meals. No one wants guests to go away hungry or be shy about taking as much as he or she wants. However, wasting good food warrants a place on the naughty list of Santa.

Anyone with questions or comment regarding "Eat" is strongly encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

'Never Open the Door' BD: Hitchcock/Horror Hybrid

The recent Maltauro Entertainment Blu-ray release of the 2014 horror film "Never Open the Door" nicely shows that the spirit of Hitchcock is alive and well and that it is adaptable to the tastes of modern horror audiences. The homage to Sir Alfred begins with the stylized animated opening credits that are reminiscent of the "Psycho" credits. This theme continues with "Door" being shot in black-and-white ala "Psycho" and many other Hitchcock classics. Director/writer Vito Trabucco even makes a Hitch-style subtle cameo.

"Door" opens (pun intended) with a group of six friends in their late 20s and early 30s enjoying Thanksgiving dinner in a cabin in the woods; the typical lively conversation among the group reveals things such as a pregnancy, an engagement, and political aspirations.

A pounding at the door interrupts the revelry. Things get worse when the interloper, who is known only as the stranger, coughs up blood on Tess and looks right at Terrance when issuing the titular warning.

The weirdness continues with Tess experiencing horrific visions before disappearing only to have "other Tess" then make her way to the isolated building, efforts to call 911 being thwarted in a manner that is much more clever than an inability to get a signal, other members of the group going psychotic, etc.

A shower scene complete with a stabbing removes any doubt regarding Trabucco having "Psycho" in mind when making "Door."

Stating that "Door" looks like a well-produced student film is done with the best possible intent. The black-and-white filming is creative, the production has a live-stage vibe, and the cast looks like a real-life friends who spend a few days helping a friend make a movie at the cabin of a friend where all the action occurs.

The special features include interviews with Trabucco and Tess portrayor Jessica Sonnebom.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Door" is welcome to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

'For the Love of Spock' DVD/BD He's From Mass.& Only Works in Space

Gravitas Ventures gives Trekkers and Trekkies alike the best holiday gift ever regarding the December 6, 2016 DVD and Blu-ray releases of the aptly named 2016 documentary "For the Love of Spock." These fans, aficionados of "The Big Bang Theory," and tons o' other folks know that this film is tremendous tribute by Adam Nimoy to his late (and great) father Leonard Nimoy, who portrayed the titular Vulcan on "Star Trek."

The following YouTube clip of the SPOILER-DRIPPING theatrical trailer for "Love" oozes the mutual regard between Leonard and those whom Spock touches.

The prominent element of fan love that Adam includes in this portrait of both the "Trek" character and the man who portrayed him for roughly 50 years requires briefly detouring into Blogland to share a personal story on this topic. This experience is behind actively pursuing Gravitas for an advance copy of "Love."

Seeing "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" during its initial theatrical run was an entertaining (but uninspiring) introduction to the "Trek" universe. The hook came a couple of years later on a roommate watching "Star Trek: The Next Generation" (a.k.a TNG) every Sunday morning gradually drawing me in. (The literal tar baby remains an early season fave.)

The immersion into TNG led to Saturday afternoon marathons of "Star Trek" (a.k.a. OS). RIGHT FROM THE START, thinking of the proper response to the current threat facing Kirk and the boys would come within 15 minutes into the episode. JUST AS CONSISTENTLY, Spock would devise the EXACT same solution roughly 20 minutes later.

Discovering that one shares the thought processes of a brilliant and notoriously logical character is flattering on one level. It also prompts soul searching regarding what it says about one's personality. Candor requires confessing numerous ongoing instances of frustration regarding others not demonstrating what is personally considered a reasonable level of intelligence and/or common sense.

Returning to our main topic, Adam explains early in "Love" that the genesis of the film relates to the 50th anniversary of OS. He adds that the passing of his father prompts expanding the scope of the film to Leonard himself.

We learn that Leonard is from Boston and engages in the cliche of taking a train to La La Land in the late '40s to pursue an acting career. This portion of the film includes several clips of the early work of Leonard. These gigs include a guest spot on the Gene Roddenberry series "The Lieutenant." Adam then shares how that role leads to Roddenberry casting Leonard as Spock in OS.

Adam awesomely supplements the standard OS clips and tales of initial ratings challenges with hilarious home movies and good insight from Leonard. A clip of a pre-teen Adam surprising Dad on the set is must-see.

Adam then shares lesser-known information about Leonard in the interim between the cancellation of OS and the new love that soon follows. A wonderfully bizarre clip of Leonard singing and dancing his heart out about another timeless character while an amazed Enterprise crew looks on is another must-see scene.

Adam further covers the first few in the original batch of "Trek" films and the involvement of Leonard in the first two JJ Abrams productions. Learning that the love of Leonard for "Trek" extends into the latest incarnations is awesome.

The only disappointment is that Adam does not address the appearance of Leonard on TNG and it does not seem that any TNG actors directly participate in the film. The better news is that numerous cast mates of Leonard and all the big hitters from the Abrams 'verse share great thoughts on Leonard.

The other talking heads include the aforementioned Trekkers, real-life rocket scientists who cite Spock as a career inspiration, the sister of Adam, and the highly entertaining sister-in-law and brother of Leonard. The surviving elder Nimoys discussing getting a taste of the love of Trekkers and Trekkies is especially charming.

Personal elements include Adam candidly discussing the same highs and lows that characterize any parent-child relationship and Leonard sharing stories of the response of his parents to his prominent role regarding "Trek."

All of this amounts to a film that surpasses the genre goal of being equally entertaining and educational. The timing of the home-video releases is poignant considering the recent losses of Florence Henderson, Alan Thicke, Bernard "Dr. Bombay" Fox, and Zsa Zsa Gabor,

The BD version also has incredible extras. The most special and ambitious is a 30-minute film of Leonard giving Adam a tour of Boston and a history of his childhood home in the West End of that alleged hub of the universe. The prevalent themes include Leonard working hard from the age of 10 and the despicable manner in which developers push out low-income immigrant families to build luxury riverside properties.

A more fun extra documents the appearance of Adam on "Bang" in an episode in which Adam interviews brilliant nerdy Sheldon for "Love." This one provides a good chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at this fanboy fave sitcom.

We further get to see "Seinfeld" star/Trekker Jason Alexander take a "Trek" trivia quiz. Seeing him nail tough ones is as funny as watching him miss one that even a Trekkie would get.

The only proper way to wrap up all this is to wish all involved in "Love" and everyone reading this review to live long and prosper.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Love" is encouraged to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Casper Andreas the Friendly Director Discusses 'Kiss Me Kill Me,' Woody Allen, and Gay Cinema Oh My!

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[EDITOR'S NOTE: Thanks to a generous grant from the Andreas Foundation, Unreal TV soon will run a series of evergreen reviews of the Casper Andreas films that we all know and love. These include the one true "LA LA Land" film about a struggling actor.]

A recent telephone chat with producer/director/writer/actor/righteous dude Casper Andreas nicely confirmed that this European native is the best Swedish import since Ikea. How can you not love a textbook handsome devil who sincerely laughs at all your jokes?

Andreas kindly granted this interview to discuss his new (Unreal TV reviewed) pink noir film "Kiss Me Kill Me." "Kiss" revolves around the light camp tale of the live-in boyfriend of reality-show producer Stephen (played by "Queer As Folk" stud Gale Harold) trying to solve the murder of Stephen for which the boyfriend is facing the bad type of "Oz" existence.

Woody Allen

Even the proverbial casual observer can note the numerous similarities regarding the work of one-time New York resident Andreas and that of Woody Allen. Both quadruple threats base their films on their real-life experiences at that time, appear in those movies, and use many of the same actors to portray those tales.

When asked whether Allen inspired his work, Andreas replied that "its an amazing comparison I've heard before" and added that "I'm not trying to be Woody Allen." He then giggled and expressed awe regarding Allen achieving the arduous task of making a film a year every year.

Andreas went on to entertain with a perfect Allen impression in the context of Allen directing Andreas in the 1998 Allen film "Celebrity." Andreas played the wardrobe assistant of the character whom Melanie Griffith portrayed, and Andreas hilariously imitated Allen using his well-known neurotic and anxious tone to tell Andreas to simply do what feels right in a scene.

Andreas further enhanced this terrific story by saying that he then asked Griffith for guidance and that she provided more specific instruction. This led Andreas to share that he often jokes that both Allen and Griffith have directed him.

Asking Andreas to name his favorite Allen film elicited enthusiastic love for "Midnight in Paris." He expressed praise for the performance of Owen Wilson and stated that the film "spoke to me so much being a dreamer artist."

Brian and Randy Together Again?

Continuing the subject of comparisons included discussing the strong similarities between Stephen and Harold's Brian Kinney in "Queer." This prompted asking Andreas if he considered casting Randy Harrison, who played infinitely on-again off-again Harold love interest Justin in "Queer," as the semi-Justinesque boyfriend in "Kiss."

Andreas candidly replied "I don't remember if it came up" and expressed concern regarding casting Harold and Harrison in roles that resembled their "Queer" characters.

Andreas also stated that (frequent collaborator) "Kiss" writer/dog lover/equally righteous dude David Michael Barrett did not create the role of Stephen with Harold in mind. He added that a real-life reality-show producer whom Barrett knew was an inspiration for the character.

Andreas discussing the enthusiasm of Harold for playing Stephen was a highlight of the interview. Anyone who knows of Harold either through his "Queer" years or his being a real-life straight man who is exceptionally fantastic about fully embracing playing a gay character can picture the zeal that Andreas stated that man whom so friends of Dorothy adore showed on coming in to meet about portraying Stephen.

Andreas stated that Harold communicated that he understood both Stephen and the other characters in the film. The only valid response to that was that Harold had played Stephen and interacted with many of the other main characters for five years.

Gay for Equity Pay

Both the aforementioned awesome attitude of Harold and a personal experience interviewing a presumably straight man who communicated intense discomfort discussing his gay character and was very evasive regarding his voluntary statements as to his personal sexual orientation prompted asking Andreas for his thoughts regarding straight actors who still are uncomfortable playing gay roles in 2016.

Andreas expressed that it was unfortunate when actors resisted doing publicity when making a gay-oriented film such as "Kiss." This man who has a handful of such movies under his belt surprised this writer with a handful of celebrity interviews under his in stating that the most common case of such reticence was gay actors who played gay characters. Andreas explained that these men did not the press to out them.

Andreas further shared his terrific humor in stating that the aforementioned gay actors coming out after their movie had moved on to DVD release prompted the tongue-in-cheek reaction that they could have supported the film if they had not been so closeted when that project came out.

Andreas then praised "straight actors who play gay characters and are fine with discussing sexuality." A personal comment on this is let's hear it for the boys; let's give the boys a hand.

Idol Worship

Discussing actors in general and the "Kiss" cast specifically led to conversing about Matthew Ludwinski, who played the awesomely named villain Craigery. Craigery having bleached-blonde hair, being tall and thin, and wearing black leather vests and pants led to asking Andreas if '80s rocker Billy Idol inspired the character.

Andreas graciously replied that he and Barrett based Craigery on the blonde bombshells of the Golden Age of Hollywood. The rest of this True Hollywood Story was that Barrett and Andreas had seen Ludwinski with bleached hair for another role several months before filing "Kiss" and had asked him if he would go blonde again for "Kiss." The rest of this tale is that this trouper eagerly agreed to once again have the carpet not match the drapes for the sake of his art.

Understanding the Vision

A silly misunderstanding being integral to "Kiss" made a similar real-life error in the Andreas interview an apt way to wrap up the portion of our discussion on that film. The mistake regarding Idol providing the model for Craigery prompted joking whether Andreas hated it when reviewers did not "get" his films.

Rather than discuss the Idol issue, Andreas stated that he got "frustrated when reviewers do not get movies right." He further observed that "straight reviewers not getting it at all is upsetting." This relates to the awesome current state of queer cinema regarding a character being gay having a variable scale of relevance to a film and the sex in these films often have significant meaning.


On a similar but happier note, Andreas stated that he liked the new "La La Land" musical and was not upset that it was a variation of his 2011 (soon to be reviewed by Unreal TV) film "Going Down in La La Land." The first (and best?) centers around an aspiring actor moving from New York to Los Angeles only to end up literally (and symbolically) prostituting himself and making porn movies. The fact that "Going" is oft compared to "Boogie Nights," which can be considered an update of "A Star is Born," illustrates how one film can lead to another.

Andreas further stated that he hoped that the new film led more people to his film, which he (and your not-so-humble reviewer) state is based on real-life more than the musical.

The real-life (no pun intended) happy ending regarding this topic is that the experience of Andreas on moving from The Big Apple (where his stage roles included Romeo and Hamlet) to La La Land did not mirror those of rent boy Nick in "Going." It is fantastic when the good guy succeeds.

The Dickinson You Say

Andreas wrapped up our delightful chat with discussing a biopic of 19th century poet Emily Dickinson on which he is working with writer/director/longtime Andreas friend Madeleine Olnek. He explained that the film stars Molly Shannon  of SNL and "Kath and Kim" fame and focuses on the not-oft-discussed topic of the lesbian love story of Dickinson.

The back story of this film is that Olnek wrote the story as a play and has been trying to get it made as a film for years. Andreas added that his collaborator already filmed portions of the movie when she recruited him.

Andreas came on board when Olnek asked him to be a producer. He added that this is the first time that he has produced a film that he did not direct and act in. One can only hope that reviewers all along the Kinsey scale get this one right.

Ciao for Now 

The recap above does not do justice to the charm and the friendliness of this boy named Casper who entertained and engaged the day before heading off for an extended Christmas visit to Sweden. Gay men everywhere should be glad to have this filmmaker delightfully sharing his personal tales of the city. Fingers are crossed for a gaytastic take on Stockholm Syndrome.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Renewed Advocacy for Unreal TV: Santa Claus is not Comin' to Town

Image result for santa claus is not coming to town images

This roughly 1,000th post on Unreal TV being apt regarding the inaugural March 2012 inaugural post/manifesto and this update coinciding with Christmas is a blessing and a curse. The blessing relates to the recent presidential campaigns and the widespread dread regarding a Trump presidency making the call for escapist "unreal," rather than reality, more relevant than ever. The curse is that the state of our union is not any better than its status nearly five years ago.

The principle on which Unreal TV is based is that the often rotten state of our divisive culture in the United States since the late '60s screams for the quality silly shows of that era through the end of the 20th century that currently deserve a place on the endangered species list. Even most of the few sitcoms of today mostly rely on edge, crude humor, or very tired concepts. Anyone with half a brain can easily predict EVERY punchline on "Two Broke Girls" and "The Big Bang Theory." 

One purpose of programs that are designed to entertain is to allow viewers to forget the outside world for a short while. Watching classic (and not so classic) shows on DVD further enhances this immersion experience. 

It is no coincidence that Sunday nights programming historically is very silly and entertaining; this helps the frame of mind of folks dreading the beginning of the work week. Similarly, the "Must-See" sitcoms on roughly 20 years of NBC Thursday night programming both provided something to which to look forward all week and to make it through Friday.

In contrast, the reality shows that currently pollute the airways (and are largely responsible for PRESIDENT Trump) commit the twin sins of being combative and competitive. Every contestant is out to beat his or her rivals (and often stoop to low tactics in the process). On top of this, the judges typically bicker among themselves. One need not look beyond their own lives to find these elements, and the aforementioned presidential campaign shows that EVERY candidate is the same as virtually every person who is desperate to stay in the public eye and not be exiled to a peace conference ala a misbehaving Power Ranger in the '90s.

A personal attempt to be polite and sit through a two-hour "American Idol" episode while a guest in the home of a friend in roughly 2012 illustrates the above points. A spoiler is that massively losing one's "stuff" an hour in put a damper on the evening.

The judges droning on and on and on and on making the same points about the performances that were obvious to anyone with even the slightest ear for music can determine for himself or herself was the tip of the iceberg.

Sharing the observation that winning a 12-week (?) contest does not entitle one to the status of idol was the next stage. Recalling stories of the Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, The Police, et al playing THEIR OWN MUSIC in countless small dingy clubs before hitting it big accentuated this point. 

Hearing the never-ending sob stories, which are recalled as separately involving a mother dying of cancer and a sibling being a Desert Storm casualty. prompted the first round of true ranting, The nature of these remarks, which included copious language that would make a sailor blush, was that these people deserved sympathy but that those experiences had ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with their singing ability. 

The final straw was a home movie of a contestant playing the drums (possibly a guitar) when he was roughly five years old. This REALLY had no place in the show. I believe that we turned off the television at this point.

On a larger level, your not-so-humble reviewer observed early in the show that the nature of the "Idol" voting was subject to the mother of all rigging in the form of a record company that wanted a contestant to win to email company employees to ask that they vote for that contestant and to ask everyone in their lives to do the same. This was several months before the scandal regarding a record company handing out cell phones at viewing parties for the purpose of having their favorite win.

It is undisputed that the powers-that-be stole several pages from the record company playbook in hacking computers, having the numbers of votes exceed the number of registered voters, etc.

The ultimate question for folks who are still reading this updated manifesto is whether you feel better watching whichever genuinely entertaining sitcom or light action-adventure show is your "poison" then you do watching the people who remind of the idiot in the next office who spends all day gabbing, the neighbor who spends every Sunday blasting classic rock while he works on his car, your cousin who is always wrong but never admits it, etc.? 

Anyone with CIVIL comments regarding the above thoughts is encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy. 

Friday, December 16, 2016

'Virtual Revolution' Theatrical Taking Turn On, Tune In, Drop Out to An Extreme

The new self-described "cyberpunk scifi tech noir" drama "virtual revolution," which opens at the Arena Las Palmas Theater in Los Angeles on December 16 2016 ahead of a wider release, fills the void for a socially relevant holiday dystopian film that "Rogue One" does not quite fill. This gritty always drizzly Neo Paris of 2047 in which "Virtual" occurs further helps fanboys (and girls) achieve the proper frame-of-mind for the upcoming "Blade Runner" sequel.

The ASTONISHING 39 festival wins for this English-language French import include the Feature Film Award at the 2016 Los Angeles New Wave International Film Festival and the Best Science Fiction Feature at the 2016 Super Geek Film Festival at Florida Supercon.

The Raymond Chandler quality opening narration explains that the premise around which writer/director Guy-Roger Duvert centers "virtual" is that the typical dismal series of events that precede films of this ilk is behind the adequately moral majority spending most of their time connected to sophisticated virtual reality systems. The complete immersion that this provides allows the "connected" to create an incredibly life-like avatar of themselves and escape into "verses" that range from medieval forests to purely fictional scifi existences. 

The clear class divide (and related ill will) that this new normal creates evokes strong feelings of the (Unreal TV reviewed) French television series "Trepalium." That world of the not-too-distant future is closer to our reality than the creation of Duvert but literally builds a heavily fortified wall between the haves and the have-nots.

The aforementioned grittiness, mass manipulation of the populace through the media, and the equally corrupt corporations and law enforcement agencies will prompt the same '80s scifi fans who get images of "Blade Runner" in their heads to think of the early AI world of the "Max Headroom" film and television series.

"virtual" star Mike Dopud clearly channels Harrison Ford in portraying "hero" Nash, a gruff and brutal bounty hunter. His fairly literal corporate overlords put this gun for hire on the case following a series of deaths of "innocents" while in their verses. The backstory is that a group of terrorists are doing so in response to their objection to folks taking extended vacations from reality.

A related side story is that much of the torture of the soul of Nash relates to the death of his soulmate; this loss also provides the pretext for the character of her brother, who is a quirky loner hacker whom Nash uses as his one-man IT crowd.

Nash soon getting in the mind of an early person of interest provides some of the best humor in the film and allows for what potentially is the most effective means of going undercover ever. That not working so well in this case leads to the several twists that amp up the drama and give the audience plenty about which to ponder.

In classic noir style, Nash does not know whom to trust. The five elements of this include each faction with a horse in the race telling at least a portion of the truth. Nash further begins to either see or be blinded by the light regarding the desirability of the "connected" abandoning the real world.

The climax does not disappoint regarding either intensity or message. Whether you cheer or are distressed depends on whether you are in or you are out.

Seeing this one on the big screen is important both to get better immersed in the fascinating multiple verses that Duvert creates and to extend a strong and proud middle finger to the "suits" behind all of us retreating into our own worlds to consume media on tiny screens. The media truly is the message this time.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "virtual" is strongly encouraged to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Rush '2112' 40th Anniversary LP/CD/DVD/Memorabilia Thrashes Old School of Rock in Neo-Retro Fashion

Responding whom must I kill for a set on learning that the good folks at Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) are releasing the super-deluxe 40th anniversary edition of the 1976 album/rock opera "2112" by Canadian prog rock gods "Rush" on December 16, 2016 expresses the extent of enthusiasm for this multi-media godsend. Actually getting the set confirms that doing so is worth going to the chair.

One of the most awesome things about this aptly epic release is that it includes remastered LP and CD versions of "2112" and the tons o' related recordings. Not being cool enough to currently own a turntable prevents commenting on the LPs. Having a CD drive on my laptop and a player in my car and being able to transfer recordings into an iTunes music library (and subsequently my iPhone) shows how far things have come since 1976 and allows sharing that the 40th anniversary CDs are spectacular.

UMe goes one step further in including the novella-length 40th anniversary liner notes in LP and CD-friendly versions. This narrative begins with the early history of "Rush" up to recording this fourth album. One aspect of this is the third album not doing well commercially creating a potential rush (of course pun intended) to judgment to not gamble with a third.

The liner notes do equally well describing the concept of this classic album. This synopsis explains that the time of the conveyed events occur "in a world 136 years in the future where individualism and creativity are outlawed with the population controlled by a cabal of malevolent Priests who reside in the Temple of Syrnix. In this bleak society, music is no longer known. The narrative (in one of the best tracks on the album) revolves around the discovery of a long abandoned guitar in a cave by the story's central protagonist and his consequent vision of a different way of life."

The similarities between this imagined world roughly 100 years from now and our current existence provide yet another reason to obtain this time capsule from the music era of synthesizers and hard-hitting rock operas.

Before discussing the music around which this release centers, it is worth noting that UMe shows even greater love for the New World Men from the Great White North by loading this treasure with tons of incredibly cool SWAG. The STARMAN art consists of an original pencil sketch litho and a turntable mat. You also get buttons with photos of uniquely shrill lead vocalist/bassist Geddy Lee and his boys. Wait, there's more. You additionally get a a litho of a ticket stub for the June 1976 Massey Hall concert, which is the source of some bonus tracks on one of the LPs and a CD, and a couple of other surprises.

Side One of the titular album consists of the aforementioned narrative. This begins with an incredibly ambitious instrumental "Overture" that clearly shows the influence of fellow prog rock '70s group Yes. The story goes from there.

The following YouTube clip of the performance from the aforementioned concert provides a good sense of the great creative style that is Rush.

Side Two of "2112" takes a more traditional approach in having stand-alone songs. The two best-known of which include the wonderfully tongue-in-cheek "A Passage to Bangkok" and the homage to classic scifi television "The Twilight Zone."

The copious extra recordings include official and "contraband" performances by Rush and must-own covers by Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters and his contemporaries that include Alice in Chains and the band Billy Talent.

The centerpiece of the DVD (and the primary motive for offering to end someone to get a copy) is a 1976 Rush concert (with two encores) at the Capitol Theater in Passaic, New Jersey. Anyone who doubts that the band rocks hard while maintaining stereotypical Canadian politeness need only watch this one. This presentation further demonstrates that the great ones do not need FX or Vegas-style sets to fill seats and satisfy fans.

The DVD extras include a great interview with Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson and band producer Terry Brown; their fondness for the good old days is infectious and offers great insights. Another feature takes us into the studio for the recording session of Billy Talent for "A Passage to Bangkok."

The "Grand Finale" to all this must be that "2112" provides fans from the '70s and '80s to rediscover this music in an enhanced version of its original format and score cool stuff in the process and for their kids to expand their musical limits (and love it).

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "2112" is strongly encouraged to use either modern method of email or Twitter. Using the latter requires directing a message to @tvdvdguy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

'Stevie D' Theatrical/VOD: L.A. Mob Twist on 'The Prince and the Pauper'

The Candy Factory Films comedy "Stevie D," which is a new theatrical and VOD release, provides a good alternative to the lesser attempts at Christmas vacation comedies that are populating multiplexes. This modern take on the classic Mark Twain (and retro sitcom staple) tale "The Prince and the Pauper" has the crude, dim-witted, and lazy son of a "connected" legitimate businessman who owns a large construction firm trade places with a bright and caring look-a-like struggling actor. Star Chris Cordone plays both roles.

A casting note of note is that "Barney Miller" veteran Hal Linden plays Max, who is the old-time agent of the actor. Seeing Linden portray that character with the same humor and heart for which he is known regarding the titular police detective is awesome.

The titular Stevie DiMarco is the aforementioned lout who divides his copious free time between hanging out with his equally low-life entourage and pursuing women who range from strippers to attorney Daria, who both represents DiMarco patriarch Angelo and is the daughter of DiMarco family friend/law firm head Jack.

The role of Stevie in the (hilarious) accidental death of an employee of a mafia boss with whom Angelo has personal and professional dealings put the elder in a tough spot regarding his sense of paternal duty and his desire to maintain his good working relationship with the aforementioned organized crime lord. Angelo seeing the aforementioned thespian Michael Rose on television prompts the former to hire the latter to pretend to be Stevie. Michael accepts the part oblivious to the fact that doing so places him directly in the line of fire that is intended for the real (in involuntary seclusion) Stevie.

The ensuing comedy being low-key is a nice change from the over-the-top approach that writer/director Cordone could have taken regarding this tale of three Italian families, the mafia, a crude manchild, and an actor whose aspirations far exceed his career. The behaviors of these characters are largely as one would expect from real-life persons regarding whom any similarities are purely coincidental.

Michael seamlessly falls into his role and greatly enhances the reputation of Stevie without even trying. This includes charmingly courting Daria, with whom he makes a good couple, and enormously helping to the DiMarco family business. In other words, he is the son whom Angelo always wanted.

Cordone even does things coming to a head with style and understatement. One spoiler is that there are no scenes of Michael hysterically dodging bullets, Stevie and Michael comically avoiding being seen together, or anyone even learning a lesson. Again, things just proceed as one might expect in a real-life version of the depicted events. Consequently, as is typical in real life, there are neither any truly exceptional nor any completely devastating moments in the roughly six-week timespan of "Stevie."

The overall realistic approach by Cordone in this film makes his blurring of reel-and real-life at the end of "Stevie" especially apt. This final solution will make you smile as much as the rest of the film.

The director's statement by Cordone in the press materials for "Stevie" eradicate any doubt regarding his intent to realistic explore (traditional and non-traditional) familial relationships. His noting his emphasis on "creating specificity and uniqueness to the characters" particularly demonstrates his modus operandi. He adds that "the story overall" "has many components of movies we have all seen, but very quickly goes in another direction." Now that he has done this for us on the day of the premiere of his film, we must grant one in return when Cordone calls to ask that of us.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Stevie" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Monday, December 12, 2016

'Fear the Walking Dead' S2 BD: 'Lost in Space' with Zombies

The witty reference to sea legs in the review that Anchor Bay Entertainment promotes on the back of the Blu-ray release, which hits real and virtual store shelves on December 13 2016, of the second season of the amc hit series "Fear the Walking Dead" arguably is the best-ever snapshot of a show. Readers who either are unfamiliar with "Fear" or would like a primer of the lore of the series are invited to check out the Unreal TV S1 SE review.

The first general note regarding this release is that it comes ahead of a (hopefully not too late) 2017 S3 premiere. It also is worth sharing that the exceptional Blu-ray enhancement of the theatrical-film quality cinematography and sound make for a great holiday season marathon (rather than binge) viewing of all 15 episodes and copious special features.

This "Walking Dead" spinoff starts with a reverse "Gilligan's Island" ala the seven stranded castaways (not including their skipper) around which "Fear" centers fleeing dry land for the perceived safety of the open seas and the promise of paradise in the home of the one true ComicCon San Diego.

High school guidance counselor/widow Madison, colleague/significant other Travis, former junkie teen son Nick, golden girl Alicia, and the rest soon find that the yachting life is not all smooth sailing. In this respect, the season initially takes on a "Lost in Space" vibe in having a post-nuclear family and their pilot blindly traveling around and encountering hostile "aliens" each week.

Early threats include a capsized boatload of "infected" (the "z" word seems verboten), who show that not needing to breathe creates a tactical advantage in the open water, and a boat full of zombie chow who are bearing down on our crew aboard their luxurious fishing boat.

The first effort of our gang to literally find a safe harbor brings them into contact with a not-so-stable ranger who lives on a nature preserve with his submissive wife and three children. Though a twice-daily culling seems to keep the "infected" under control, the harsh realities of afterlife soon crash down on that group and our heroes.

This episode is one of the best of the season; the memorable scenes in this outing include the young son of the ranger being even more perverse with his action figures than most lads and his naively being excited when Mommy comes home for dinner.

The journey to this strange island further triggers other season-long drama. Teen boy Chris begins his personal descent into madness, and others in the group start to struggle with their inability to help others to the desired extent.

The next major threat comes in the form of brutal pirates, who are there at an inadvertent invitation. The ensuing mayhem and carnage are among the most vicious and brutal in any basic cable program.

Moving ahead to the second half of the season, a run for the border results in our group arriving in Mexico. As is the new normal for this intrepid band, their first paradise soon becomes anything but ideal. It is equally true that this is due to human weakness and/or stupidity. In other words, "Fear" shows that the degree to which mankind is our own worst enemy extends WELL beyond our family and friends now literally frantically chomping to put a bite on us.

Leaving that haven results in the folks who are still around to crack and go their separate ways. The most intriguing subplot regarding this is a member of the group going native in the form of pasting on blood and guts and joining a band of "infected" out of a belief of limited immunity. The ultimate harsh reality that crashes down on this daydream believer (but hardly homecoming queen) is another memorable segment of S2.

Two members of Team Omega ending up at a five-star Mexican hotel provides the setting for the most soul-searching stories in the season. The challenges exceed ridding the resort of the guests who make the hotel-room trashing '70s rock band The Who seem like ideal visitors. Surviving requires making peace with other residents who arguably have a beef with the hotel employee who is still on the job. Additionally, new guests arriving creates a whole new set of problems.

Additional awesomeness comes via regular flashbacks that fill in the origin stories of main and peripheral characters and/or the plague that leads to hordes of "infected" roaming around. These include scenes of Nick both in rehab and his subsequent squat and how the "skipper" comes to possess a big expensive boat and the good graces of a wealthy family.

The aforementioned bonus features include the 14-minute 16-episode webisode series "Flight 462." This revolves around the worst plane trip since Oceanic Flight 815.

The good folks at Anchor Bay further include a 2016 PaleyFest Q & A session, and a "making-of" documentary.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Fear" is strongly encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

'Krampus Unleashed' DVD Germanic Christmas Lore Meets 'Tremors'

Fanboy deity Uncork'd Entertainment of the (Unreal TV reviewed) "lost" Roger Corman's "Fantastic Four" doc "Doomed!" marks Christmas in its own wonderfully perverse way via the December 13, 2016 DVD release of  the 2016 so-bad-its-good horror film "Krampus Unleashed." Any similarities to the big-budget 2015 film "Krampus" seems completely intentional, but the fun in the latest one is in the disembowelments and the decapitations.

A better way of stating this is that "Krampus" is a movie that only a tween boy can truly love and that provides the rest of us with an "its complicated" relationship.

European lore identifies Krampus as a demon who fairly literally is the stick to the carrot that is Santa. This is in the form of the parents who tell their children that Santa only rewards good children also informing the offspring that Krampus tortures and/or drags off bad children in ways that include taking a switch to them.

"Unleashed" writer/director Robert Conway combines the above folklore with the American southwest desert-based giant carnivorous worm lore of the "Tremors" franchise by setting his film in a sparsely populated section of central Arizona.

An early scene has 20th century treasure hunters digging in the desert for the fabled loot of aptly named 19th century German outlaw Eric Klaus. This search unearths a box with a summoning stone that calls Krampus on the accidental activation of said device.

The action then moves ahead a few decades to a Christmas family reunion of two adult siblings, their parents, and the offspring of the children. Good humor here relates to Uncle Dave insisting on being called David and his oafish teen son Troy demonstrating every stereotypical characteristic of the cousin from Hell. This results in this portion of the film being "Spike TV's Christmas Vacation."

Everykid Tommy finding the summoning stone and Troy inadvertently activating it in a manner that supports the conclusion that smoking is hazardous to your health escalates this gathering from an unpleasant one to an event that almost literally is the family reunion from Hell. One spoiler is that Grandma wishes that she only got run over by reindeer.

Although the flat acting and cheesy effects make the low-budget aspects of "Krampus" entertaining, most of the encounters with the titular big bad are so short and lacking in cleverness that they disappoint. The demon chow do not even make Krampus work very hard for the blood thirst that he must quench until resuming his hibernation. They simply are standing around when he appears, he offs them through means such as loping off a head or a limb, and then her settles down for a tasty feast of intestines.

The meat suits do come up with a better plan regarding how to defeat their foe, and Conway creates some suspense in the final portion of this movie. He further deserves credit for poetic justice at the end that also leaves the door open for a sequel.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Unleashed" is welcome to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

'Borderless' DVD: Christmas Fable on War and Isolation

The Olive Films December 6, 2016 DVD release of the 2014 Iranian drama "Borderless" further pushes the envelope regarding the already amazing range of the Olive catalog. The scope already goes from '80s teencoms (such as the Unreal TV reviewed Scott Baio/Willie Aames film "Zapped") to the (Unreal TV reviewed) beautifully restored 1915 Cecille B. DeMille silent epic "Captive." Our topic du jour is a mostly silent artistically filmed commentary on war that is as indie art-house and thought-provoking as it gets.

The huge amount of love for this festival favorite includes the Best Film award at the 2015 Fajr Film Festival and a Best Premiere Award at the 2015 Heartland Film Festival.

The overall theme of a young boy finding himself alone and struggling to survive in a war zone evokes great thoughts of the Christian Bale character in the 1987 Spielberg film "The Empire of the Sun." The numerous differences include our scavenger without a name not being cared for by anyone, the war this time being equally unnamed, and the overall tone and message being much darker than the vision of Spielberg.

"Boy" is living on a rusty abandoned ship and successfully slipping back and forth across "Zero Border" of the unidentified conflict when "Refugee," who is a lad of the same age as "Boy," makes an unexpected and unwelcome appearance. "Refugee" packing serious artillery allows him to make himself at home at Casa "Boy."

The next big surprise that comes by way of "Refugee" further alters the dynamic of life on this not-so-much-love boat. This development also plays a role in the war ultimately invading that vessel.

The genuine artistry and tons of symbolism in "Borderless" speaks against saying much more regarding the plot; doing so runs a risk of spoiling it. Suffice it to say, this is one of the most honest and unadulterated commentaries ever on that sad reality of life.

Hints regarding the impact of "Borderless" are that it shows the universal nature of war and the folly of trying to bet against the house.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Borderless" is strongly encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

'Kiss Me, Kill Me' Theatrical/VOD/DVD Casper Andreas' Pink Noir

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unreal TV has recently interviewed "Kiss" director Casper Andreas.]

Embrem Entertainment concotes a great cocktail for big boys in the form of the new pink noir (complete with a triangle) film "Kiss Me, Kill Me." The December 7, 2016 VOD and DVDs releases are on the high heels of an absolutely fabulous Los Angeles red-carpet premiere the previous night.

The well-deserved festival love for this latest project by Casper Andreas (sorry boys, he's taken) of "Going Down in LA-LA Land" and "The Big Gay Musical" fame includes largely sweeping the awards at the 2016 FilmOut Festival in San Diego.

The related best elements about "Kiss" are that the star-studded primary cast is an ensemble of 30- and 40-something men who are no longer doe-eyed or have freshly-scrubbed skin that likely glows in the dark. These lad further to their  own selves are true without being screaming queens. In other words, this is not your twink house boy's gay thriller.

The dynamic duo of Andreas and writer David Michael Barrett further make the day of lovers of quality queer television in casting former "Queer as Folk" stud/awesomely open real-life straight dude Gale Harold as reality show producer Stephen, It is even more awesome that Barrett writes Stephen in a manner that allows "Queer" fans to realistically image the life of Harold's Brian Kinney in the decade since the series finale of that program.

The aforementioned gay drama. a fourth-wall breaching reference to which Barrett cleverly integrates into the script, begins at the spectacular birthday party for Stephen at the lavish home that he shares with live-in boyfriend Dusty. The bad news is that Harold "Queer" love interest Randy Harrison does not play Dusty; the good news is that equally adorable "As the World Turns" veteran Van Hansis plays his part very well and rocks every love (and lust) scene.

Every party guest is mostly happy until the appearance of awesomely named Stephen ex Craigery, whom veteran of  "LA-LA Land" Matthew Ludwinski plays with terrific evil glee. This tall, thin, hairless, leather-wearing bleach-blonde Billy Idol clone aptly is a gogo boy who dances with himself. He further proves the television and film truism that the villain is often the most interesting character.

The escalating drama associated with the presence of Craigery leads to Dusty causing a scene and storming out with Stephen in hot pursuit. The ensuing confrontation ends with Stephen dead and Dusty unable to remember the exact circumstances of that killing,

The circumstantial evidence that Dusty is guilty sets the stage for bringing in a "Law and Order" style team of police detectives who serve as a Greek chorus throughout "Kiss." One investigator is a black lesbian who clearly channels Wanda Sykes, and the other is a straight "RENT" (as in the Broadway production of the musical) boy.

The other assorted characters from the world of Dusty and Stephen are English psychiatrist/friend/hypnotist Jeffrey Kinlan, former (?) drug dealer/friend Travis, attorney/fag hag Amanda, and a drag-queen hating lesbian couple.

Andreas and Barrett maintain a good pace throughout the film and include several memorable lines, such as a great joke about convenience stores. They further keep multiple intersecting story lines going well and expertly choreograph a few complicated scenes.

The ending stays true to the spirit of "Kiss" by having good camp without going ENTIRELY over-the-top. There is plenty of mayhem and drama, but no screeching. A fourth-wall breaching line this time adds wonderful context to this.

The copious special-features include commentary by Andreas and Barrett that your not-so-humble reviewer regrets passing on. There also is a "behind-the-scenes" documentary, a second documentary from the FilmOut opening, and a music video.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Kiss" is strongly encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

'Brazil' (1944) BD: An American Writer in Love Blames it on Rio

Chicago-based Olive Films shows that it knows what the heart wants in timing the December 6, 2016 Blu-ray release of the 1944 musical-comedy "Brazil" to coincide with the onset of cold and snowy weather in much of the United States. Another awesome thing about "Brazil" is that leading lady Virginia Bruce  (also known for scads o other great roles that include the titular character in the MUST-SEE 1940 scifi classic "The Invisible Woman") proves that making a terrific "Road" style film does not require any boys.

Bruce plays Lois Lane style American travel writer Nicky Henderson, who flies down to Rio for research for a book on the "real Brazil." One snag is that she is not so-popular in that country based on a prior not-so-nice book titled "How to Marry a Latin" that she wrote. This history makes the job of her assigned guide Rod Walker of the local American embassy challenging.

In true screwball/musical comedy style, Henderson ditching Walker to seek a guide who will show her the real Brazil leads to a typical cute meeting with local celebrity composer Miguel Soares, whom Henderson soon engages.

For his part, Soares is under a tight deadline to compose a new song. Business partner/best friend/roommate/ex pat Everett St. John Everett ((of course) brilliantly played by character actor Edward Everett Horton) having accepted a large payment from a (soon-to-arrive) New York music publisher for unfinished work of Soares further contributes to the hilarity.

The above elements fantastically mesh as Soares devises a comically complex plot to woo Henderson for the asserted reason of national pride, Henderson ventures beyond Rio to discover the true culture of the titular country, Walker frantically tries to keep up, and the music publisher finds himself playing the straight man on his arrival roughly halfway through the film.

These elements additionally set the scene (pun intended) for the lavish musical numbers that are standard for these movies. These include Walker taking Henderson to night clubs providing a forum for dancing team Velaz & Yolanda, whom Olive shares are "the King and the Queen of the Tango," and cowboy singing star Roy Rogers to do their things.

One number that has happy peasants joyfully dancing as they pick coffee beans is especially reminiscent of the era and the type of scenes that killjoy unduly PC types in 2016 bother.

The comedy elements are equally predictable but just as entertaining as the musical portions of our program. Of course, Henderson learns that Soares is playing her for a fool. However, it is equally predictable that he really loves her and that they end up together in the end.

This textbook example of the musical comedies during the Golden Age of Hollywood nicely remind of us the way that they used to make 'em. The wisecracking, G-rated courting and squabbling, and extravagant song-and-dance numbers allow all of us to forget forget our troubles and chase our blues away.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Brazil" is strongly encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

'The Quiet Earth' BD: The Thinking Man's 'The Last Man on Earth'

Film Movement Classics provides an awesome example of cerebral scifi films (including the David Bowie cult classic "The Man Who Fell to Earth") of the '70s and '80s regarding the December 6, 2016 Blu-ray release of the classic 1985 New Zealand post-apocalypse film "The Quiet Earth." This film essentially sweeping the 1987 New Zealand Film and TV Awards states a great deal about its quality.

The first impression that modern sitcom fans get regarding this movie about a man who wakes up to find that the lights literally are still on but that there equally literally is no one home is that the current Foxcom "The Last Man on Earth" is a direct homage to "Quiet." The common elements include both "Quiet's" Omega Man Zac Hobson and "Last Man's" Phil Miller spray painting their address and telephone number on billboards in an attempt to connect with any other survivors, moving into now-vacant luxurious homes, and amassing a valuable art collection.

The epic divergence regarding reveling in the impression of being a sole survivor includes Hobson proving the adage that (belief of) absolute power corrupts absolutely. Appearing on a balcony before an audience of world leaders is only the surface of this delusion.

Additionally, both Hobson and Miller soon surprisingly meet a small band of survivors. In the case of Hobson, this leads to intelligent discourse regarding the common element that apparently distinguishes them from the rest of humanity. In true quality scifi fashion, discovering this attribute leads to more questions. A sociological aspect comes in the form of the interaction among this small group of "castaways."

An even more cerebral element exists regarding a possible relationship between the apparent wiping out of humanity and the work of Hobson, His project involves creating a world wide web of electric power. The goal of this innovation is to allow jets to fly around the earth without needing to land to refuel.

Good drama comes in the form of the effort of Hobson to prevent an "after shock." His plan is a good one, and the execution of this scheme has enough hiccups to keep things interesting.

The filmmakers also do a great job creating an ending that makes sense but is adequately ambiguous to satisfy fanboys and to create hope for a sequel.

The extras include the standard (but well-above average) Classics booklet with an insightful essay (including cultural context) on "Quiet." We further get audio commentary by real-life science superstar Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Quiet" is strongly encouraged to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Monday, December 5, 2016

'The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger' DVD: Tilda Swinton's This British Life

Home of "innovative and provocative" documentaries Icarus Films offers adults a holiday treat regarding the Decemeber 6, 2106 DVD release of the 2016 film "The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger." The titular community is a small village in the French Alps where the titular Brit whom Icarus describes as a "prolific artist, philosopher, writer, storyteller and 'radical humanist'" has a home. As the title of "Seasons" indicates, the film consists of four films that are set in each of the four segments of the year. The theme of each aptly reflects the corresponding time of the year.

The following YouTube clip of the trailer for "Seasons" nicely conveys the awesomeness of both Berger and the below-mentioned Swinton; it also provides a good sense of the theme of the film.

"Seasons" opens with  the "winter" segment titled "Ways of Listening." This one has national treasure British actress Tilda Swinton visiting this hero of hers. The conversation that Swinton and Berger have in his kitchen includes topics such as a shared birth date several years apart and the additional mutual experience of being the children of a combat veteran father with a consistent history of not discussing his wartime activities.

Two lighter segments respectively have Berger telling Swinton of  new way to eat an apple and this pair extricating a car from the snow.

The essay that Swinton writes for the booklet that accompanies the Icarus release shares her thoughts regarding making "Listening" and how that leads to producing "Seasons." The collaborators of Swinton express similar sentiments in their contributions to this booklet. These essayists include Berger, who devotes his space to an analysis of language. This brilliant piece touches on the writing process of this genuine auteur.

"Spring" continues the element of "cycles" that pervades "Seasons." We learn of a notable death and get a cute and entertaining introduction to the agricultural activities in Quincy. This includes a discussion of using different tones to verbally communicate with assorted species of farm animals and a tradition of recycling cow names.

The broad range and equally plentiful number of topics in the first two films and the other two include distinguishing hope from optimism and the lifestyle of migrant workers. "Harvest," which is a 'next generation" tale of the children of Swinton and the offspring of Berger vacationing together and sharing memories and observations about the cycle of life, aptly wraps up all this.

In the spirit of cycles that pervades "Seasons," this wrap-up of these thoughts regarding these thought (and discussion) provoking video essays on a fascinating man return to referring to the essay booklet of Swinton; she states that a desire to introduce the general public to Berger is a primary motive for her participation in "Seasons." On behalf of said global populace, I thank her.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Seasons" is encouraged to email me. You can also reach out on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

'Neither Heaven Nor Earth' DVD: Sci Fi Meets War Drama

The December 6, 2016 Film Movement DVD release of the 2015 French drama "Neither Heaven Nor Earth," which is the November 2016 selection of the uber-awesome Movement Film of the Month Club, both continues the Movement custom of genre-themed series and shows that the stuff of big-studio Hollywood can be artistic in the right hands. The numerous festival awards for "Earth" demonstrates that is not your daddy's Army soldiers mysteriously disappear in the blink of an eye movie.

This combination of scifi and social commentary makes "Earth" a perfect companion to the (soon-to-be-reviewed) Film Movement Classics Blu-ray release of the 1985 New Zealand cult classic scifi drama "The Quiet Earth."

The very aptly limboesque titled "Earth" centers around French Army Captain Bonassieu and his soldiers, who have the dual duty of watching out for Taliban activity and looking out for the (not-so-grateful) locals in the nearby village close to the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. The tensions of the situation greatly escalate on two soldiers disappearing while on night duty at an outpost. The immediate results of the ensuing investigation show that it is virtually impossible that the men would have left undetected.

The angst related to this incident extends beyond an unexplained absence of members of the group; the suspicion regarding the involvement of the villagers in this disappearance amps up the hostility on both sides.

Additional soldiers going missing under even more unlikely circumstances alone brings Bonassieu and his soldiers even closer to the edge of insanity; learning that villagers are also disappearing and that the Army men are the prime suspects regarding that mystery further amps up the tension.

A local boy telling the soldiers a story about Allah spiriting away those who sleep on His land contributes to both the mystery and the scifi element of "Earth." The ensuing investigation by Bonassieu brings the movie fully into "The Twilight Zone" territory.

The solution to the odd goings-on is very consistent with the psychological drama that pervades "Earth." It nicely combines the elements of serving in wartime, contending with hostile (and restless) natives, and being in a foreign land with strange lore.

Movement further continues its tradition of perfectly pairing Club selections with a short film. The offering this time is the French drama "Among Us." This time an illegal immigrant who repeatedly tries to stow away encounters mysterious goings on in the woods in which he and his peers reside.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Earth" or "Among" is encouraged to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.