Search This Blog

Thursday, June 30, 2016

'Buddymoon' Theatrical/On Demand 'Grimm' Star Amusing Version of 'The Trip'

The new Gravitas Ventures comedy "Buddymoon" from writer/star David Giuntoli of the NBC supernatural drama "Grimm" highlights the awesome ability of a truly art house film to be marketable. It hits theaters and VOD services on July 1, 2016.

The festival circuit accolades for "Buddymoon" include a coveted "Best Narrative Feature" award at the Slamdance Film Festival.

The following YouTube clip of the SPOILER-LADEN trailer for "Buddymoon" demonstrates the beautiful scenery and the beautiful friendship that awaits the viewer.

Celebrating the Fourth of July by honoring the American tradition of doing things in a half-assed manner is behind cutting and pasting the following well-written (if grammatically flawed) IMDb synopsis of "Buddymoon." "When a former child actor is dumped by his fiancee days before the wedding, his excitable German best man takes him on the honeymoon instead; a backcountry trek in the remote mountains of Oregon."

Folks to whom this plot seems familiar are correct but still will greatly enjoy "Buddymoon" in the same manner that "I Dream of Jeannie" and "Bewitched" each are delightful. The (grammatically flawed)  IMDb synopsis for the 2010 art-house film "The Trip" describes that movie in the following manner. "Steve Coogan has been asked by The Observer to tour the country's finest restaurants, but after his girlfriend backs out on him he must take his best friend and source of eternal frustration, Rob Brydon."

The "Grimm" connection extends beyond the involvement of Giuntoli. Co-star Claire Coffee plays the aforementioned bethrothed. The final confession for this post is that being lapped is behind converting "Grimm" to a pure DVD show after the second season and not yet getting those sets. (I'm in the book, David.) Any outdated "Grimm" references are attributable to that lag.

As stated above, the thespian whom Guintoli plays is named David and is best known for his role in an '80s sitcom that one can only hope that Guintoli and co-writer/co-star Flula Borg (regarding whom resistance truly is futile) bring to life. David auditioning for a lead in a biopic of the Lewis and Clark expedition both sets the stage (no pun intended) for narration of the subsequent hike through Lewis and Clark country and for hilarious '90s Superman series  "Lois and Clark" riffs by Flula the scene-stealing German DJ whom Flula plays. It is very clear that Flula is the Monroe to Guintoli's Nick on "Grimm."

Flula trying hard to literally bring sunshine into the life of a effectively left-at-the-altar David leads to that excitable boy convincing David to have the two of them take the titular journey. Highlights of that trek of our stars include a series of hilarious juvenile pranks that are too awesome to spoil, an encounter with a hiking group that includes a hot chick and a folksy dude who sings the catchy theme song of the aforementioned sitcom, and a psychedelic trip (that does involve fur) within a trip.

Other good humor relates to two straight guys taking what originally is intended to be a honeymoon. Sharing that David tells Flula that they do not need the condoms in a care package is not much of a spoiler, sharing how those items play a part in a prank would be.

On a larger level, Guintoli demonstrates the awesomeness of a straight man letting a co-star with better comedic chops grab all the attention. Watching a grounded (pun intended) David walk a straight line while Flula bounds around like a Labrador puppy capable of spouting constant nonsense is hilarious. An equally good scene has the pair hiking separately but not so far apart following an argument.

Relatable substance in the film centers around the extent to which most of us rely on our Smart Phones for so much more than oral conversations. This dependency screams for spending a week off the grid.

The best way to end this journey is to share that Guintoli and Borg keep the pace (pun intended) going right through the end and complete their journey (and ours) on an apt note.

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

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

'The Silence of Mark Rothko' DVD: Portrait of the Artist by His Young Man

The Silence of Mark Rothko

The new documentary "The Silence of  Mark Rothko," which is coming out on DVD courtesy of Icarus Films, creates an intimate portrait that far outshines anything that the Lifetime cable network produces. This documentary hits actual and virtual store shelves on July 5, 2016.

The release date of "Silence" is also when Icarus releases a DVD of the documentary "The Next Big Thing." That one analyzes the current money-driven state of the current market for the work of Rothko and other modern artists.

The intimacy of "Silence" relates to the primary narration coming from the writings of Rothko and by having Rothko's son Christopher read those passages. One of the first reminiscences involving Mark as a boy expressing resentment regarding his parents making him dress formally after emigrating from Russia to New York sets the personal tone of the film.

Christopher, museum curator of the Gemeentemuseum in the Hague Franz Kaiser, and two other Rothko experts provide a nicely full picture of this artist whose life story is as interesting as his highly expressive paintings. The extensive coverage of the Rothko Chapel in Houston and other commissions contributes an element of the commerce aspect of art that makes "Silence" and "Thing" very compatible.

Although Christopher steals one scene by purposefully going off script to share a personal memory of his father, a homeless man who is hanging out on the stoop of the New York building that houses the former studio of Mark is the most entertaining contributor. He is aware of the history of the building but does not know much about its significance. A Rothko expert making a subsequent studio tour very personal is another especially good segment.

Kaiser offers a fascinating look at the process of staging an art exhibit. This includes sharing his thoughts regarding the arrangement of the Rothko paintings. Bluntly stating that he is purposefully providing visitors who to go in one direction a certain experience and visitors who go in the alternative direction a different experience is equally insightful and amusing.

The award for most poignant moment easily goes to the story of the decay of a large project by Rothko. The irony is that the cause of that destruction is a natural element that is a primary consideration regarding the Chapel pieces and other Rothko work.

On a larger level, both the images of the work of Rothko and the narration of Christopher regarding the dislike of labels (such as abstract and expressionism) by his father enhance the aforementioned intimate sense of the man. It is equally nice to sense that art, rather than commerce, is the primary muse of this artist.

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

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

'Outings' DVD 'Queer as Folk' for 21st Century

  • Outings
The recent tla releasing DVD of Series One (my people call them seasons) of the British gay-themed drama "Outings" introduces American audiences to a show that aptly is described as a cross between "Queer as Folk," which depicts the tales of the lives and loves of a group of youngish gay men, and "Skins," which is about younger and more dystopic characters. The two "source" programs having UK and US versions creates hope for "Outings" to follow suit.

The blokes who like blokes at the center of "Outings" are the sad sack Kane, the not-so-ambiguous Tim, and the nice guy Kiegan. Each lad takes center stage in each of the three episodes that comprise this inaugural season.

"Outings" immediately sets the tone of the show by having the very first image being one of Kane being above on-again off-again (no pun intended) boyfriend Tom while diligently trying to play the bottom role. The first problem is that Kane is having trouble taking one for the team. Tom not being sympathetic compounds the issue. The good news for the audience is that this interaction is a perfect example of something that is tragic when it happens to someone else being very funny to the rest of us. 

The fallout from the poop figuratively hitting the fan between Kane and Tom for at least the second time in their relationship includes the former reverting to his habit of moving in with his mother. Equal parts hilarity and drama ensue regarding that development.

This pilot also establishes that Tim is a flamboyant young man with an open history of homosexual activity and current involvement in the gay lifestyle but also an understanding (up to a point) girlfriend.

The aforementioned Kiegan is the third member of our main trio; his role in the group and his personality put him in the middle between Kane and Tim. The drama surrounding Kiegan largely relates to the conflict between his lifestyle causing him to mostly being estranged from his family and said relatives acting to involve him in their lives. The brother of Kiegan being both the father of an infant and the fiance of the baby mommy is the source of additional tension.

The very apt middle episode that centers around Kiegan has him attending the christening of his niece only to his reaching the end of his limits causing a further rift. Meanwhile, an obnoxious fag hag from the past of Tim reappearing causes highly entertaining chaos in his life.

Tim both shines and shows his true colors in the (horribly teasing) final episode of the season. He chooses an '80s pop star costume party theme for a birthday party for Lucy. Said fag hag showing up, a boy putting heavy moves on Tim, and Kane having a horrible date is only part of the fun. 

Having realistic developments and a cast that looks like the 20-somethings that you pass on the streets makes this show that centers around universal and timeless themes makes "Outings" truly a show for everyone 15 and up. Sexual. familial, and companion incompatibility have existed for centuries and will be around so long as there is life on earth. Further, many men with a history of homosexuality repeat it.

The DVD special features consist of deleted scenes and an aptly titled gag reel.

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

Monday, June 27, 2016

All-American Bikini Car Wash' DVD: Saved By the Bell: The Erotic College Years'

  • All American Bikini Car Wash
The recent Monarch Home Entertainment DVD release of the 2015 teencom "All-American Bikini Car Wash" is a textbook example of a neo-modern '80s raunchy comedy intended for horny high school boys who believe that college is a four-year frat party. 

The neo-modern vibe commences with laid-back (five-year?) senior Jack lying back and reading a text while his topless girlfriend rides him. We soon then meet his wildman roomie/bff Vex, other roomie nerdy Urkel clone Marvin, and the gal pal who rounds out this quartet of "Saved By the Bell" clones.

The sits that promptly cause com in this entertaining bit off fluff is that the disgusted father/landlord of Jack is frustrated by his son not being more diligent and responsible and a professor whose final Jack has failed making a trade that requires that Jack (with th help of et al) manage the titular small business in exchange for a passing grade.

Jack and the Jack Attack turning the formerly traditional enterprise into one with scantily clad employees does not initially cause hilarity but does set the stage for such highly amusing antics. A first meeting with aptly named textbook gangster Big Tony who runs a protection racket is laugh-filled, but his uber-hyper (and dim-witted) enforcer Bobby Bullets steals that scene and every other one in which he appears. 

Of course, the suds hit the Ferrari in roughly the final 15 minutes of the film. Both the father and professor of Jack find out what has been going on at home and in the workplace and are on the brink of coming down hard on him until an equally predictable turn-of-events leads to a Hollywood ending, complete with every boy getting the girl with whom he should end up.

The same rationale applies to watching "Bikini" as does regarding the similar films of 30 years ago; it is semi-clean escapist fun that makes a hot summer full of national turmoil bearable for 90 minutes.

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

Sunday, June 26, 2016

'redvsblue: The Chorus Trilogy' BD: More Than Idiots Sitting Around A Canyon Talking

  • Red vs. Blue: The Chorus Trilogy (Seasons 11-13) Steelbook [Blu-ray]
The Blu-ray (BD) steelbook set of the latest installment in the long-running Rooster Teeth web series "redvsblue: The Chorus Trilogy" (RvB), which hits actual and virtual store shelves on June 28 2016, has so much awesomeness that knowing where to start is challenging. This plethora of material additionally requires staying true to the spirit of the release by dividing coverage of it into individual posts on each of the three seasons that make up this trifecta.

This inaugural post provides an overview of the series and discusses the Season 11 episodes that comprise the first part of the trilogy; the second post will discuss the cheesy goodness of Season 12, and the third post will show that 13 sometimes is a very lucky number.

Like the late '80s-early '90s cable series "Mystery Science Theater 3000," which mines comedy from characters hilariously cracking wise during the worst movies ever made, the simple but brilliant concept of RvB is giving raunchy and pop-culture reference laden voices to armor-clad characters in video game footage. The title relates to characters wearing (and hilariously arguing about) armor in varying shades of the titular colors.

S11 references to "Battlestar Galactica," "Star Wars," Oprah Winfrey, the ABC drama "Lost," offensive racial stereotypes, etc. particularly pays home to MST3K. Hearing video game soldiers regularly curse each other out and openly discuss topics that include masturbating and chafed nipples adds to the teen boy fun of this "Adult Swim" worthy series.

The aforementioned good news regarding "Chorus" commences with sharing that even RvB virgins can follow and thoroughly enjoy these episodes. The plot that the Teeth website describes as "in the distant future, two groups of soldiers battle for control of the least desirable piece of real estate in the known universe: a box canyon in the middle of nowhere" starts things fresh for new fans. 

Other good news relates to RvB showing the awesome potential of multi-media productions. This web series enhances actual video game footage with additional animation to create episodes that look and sound awesome in BD.

The countless ways that S11 expertly incorporates the video game concept into the plot includes having a character complete an "obstacle  course" full of elements that are completely foreign to the story and the setting. 

The S11 episodes, which are edited together to create a two-hour movie, begin with the Red and Blue armies peacefully living (with the exception of regular fall-on-the-floor bickering among colleagues and the other group alike)  in separate sections of the aforementioned wasteland. 

Stupidity, boredom, and horrible leadership combine to try to create conflict where none need exist. These space Marines getting caught up in an actual conflict by the end of the season provides the fight for which some of them wished.

The good news continues with the boys with Teeth producing awesome special extras more than a decade after RvB first beginning its journey down the information superhighway. A "making-of" features discusses the history of the series and the new adventure from the perspective of a group that loves its work. The insights include the observation that the series is more than a group of idiots sitting around a canyon talking.

Th best parody of public service announcements in a trio of these presentations in the set is one in which two characters hastily assemble a song on the importance of voting, A literal interpretation of the metaphors in the lyrics is must-see.

The final (for now) good news regarding Rvb, "Chorus," and S11 is that they all demonstrate that creativity is not dead in American show business. They further illustrate that racial stereotypes, mindless violence, and good-natured raunchy humor are funny. As stated in an Unreal TV post on a documentary discussing the undue sensitivity of the American public in the 21st century, our nation sadly has gone from f**k 'em if they can't take a joke to f**ked if you tell 'em a joke. Thanks Teeth team for keeping the fight alive.

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

Saturday, June 25, 2016

State of the Art Conversation with Out and About Tab Hunter

A recent telephone conversation with '50s-era actor/singer Tab Hunter in conjunction with his recent (Unreal TV reviewed) documentary "Tab Hunter Confidential" positively (and aptly) proves the Chinese adage regarding being careful what you wish for.

Hunter is as friendly and endearing as many of his roles convey, and that sincerity and warmth makes one want to respect his wish to treat him as an ordinary bloke. Such a desire requires tremendous restraint regarding wanting to portray him as the golden boy whom we all know and love from his films before meeting the awesome real man who detests labels.

The clear and understandable position of Hunter on the subject is "People always want to label people; I hate labels." In this case, this sentiment extends beyond the non-issue 60-year discussion of the sexual orientation of Hunter to early promotional nicknames that include "The Sigh Guy."

This respect also is behind our conversation focusing on the interesting life of a man whose own blessings and curses included natural movie star looks and charm combined with incredible shyness and being born gay at a time that knowledge of that orientation ruins the lives of most people who fall on that end of the Kinsey scale. This is in contrast with discussing those who dun him wrong.

A respect for folks who enduere the world-at-large identifying them as fictional characters and feeling free to accost them every time that they step out of the door always prompts asking if they prefer being addressed by their birth (rather than studio-given) name. The awesome response "The only people who call me Art know me as Art"  this time got things off to a great start.

Hunter showed his further exceptional nature in politely expressing a desire to not discuss the highly public circumstances regarding the death of his former co-star Natalie Wood. He went on to express gratitude for Wood's widower Robert Wagner participating in the "Confidential" film and described that pair as a "fabulous couple" then stated that he felt "fortunate to work with exceptional people" throughout his career.

Hunter was equally sincere in discussing his shy nature and (well-compensated) discomfort in being thrust into the limelight based on (with sincere apologies for the label) being dreamy, The extension of this was his discussing being far outside his "comfort zone" regarding discussing such intimate aspects of his life.

The reason for his coming-out is discussed below and does not involve a desire for either fame or fortune. Like fellow (more apologies for the label) Hollywood royalty Greta Garbo, Hunter largely just wanted to be left alone.

Horsing Around

A shared love of horses prompted asking Hunter about his filly Harlow, who appears in the "Confidential" film. Hunter responded she's fabulous" and shared that she's a new mother. Hunter added that he named this foal Skylark because he heard Hoagie Carmichael singing the song "Skylark" on the car radio when Hunter was was driving to meet the new arrival.

A question regarding whether the appearance of Hunter's mare Swizzlestick in three of his early films earned the horse a SAG card lead to learning that she was better on screen than performing as a show jumper. The sad reason behind the latter was that she had an ovarian cyst.

The horse talk continued with asking Hunter if he had wanted to guest-star on the talking horse sitcom "Mister Ed." He replied that he did not but that he called a mare whose mouth went  a mile a minute while eating her mid-day treat "Mrs. Ed."

The subject of horses also provide the first of several opportunities for Hunter to share a philosophy that can be considered horse sense. He noted that he thinks of working with a horse as "educating," rather than "training," him or her. He added that "shoveling shit" and doing other horse-related chores "was where I got a touch of reality in the unreal world" in which he found himself regarding his acting career.

Confidential Informant

The conversation turning to the mid-50s article in Confidential  magazine that gave the documentary and the autobiography their name started with asking Hunter if he thought that the magazine would have written a completely false story about him if it had not learned of his arrest essentially for the "crime" of associating with homosexuals at a "limp-wristed pajama party." Hunter responded that he did not know.

Hunter then shared a little of the enormous amount of wisdom that his mother had imparted to him. That advice noted the importance of "accepting things as they are, not as I want them to be." Related wisdom was "don't pay attention to that, remember the masses are useless" in the context of tabloid journalism.

Reason for Coming Out When He Did

Asking Hunter about deciding the timing of deciding in the mid-2000s to write "Confidential" prompted more wonderful wisdom. He shared that Ellen DeGeneres told him during appearing on "Ellen" that someone else was planning to write a book outing him. The awesome Hunter response (which presumably he did not share on the air) was that he preferred that the public got the story "from the horse's mouth, not some horse's ass."

Hunter further stated that "what you are as a person (rather than as a label) is the most important thing.

Allan Glaser

The private nature of Hunter appeared again when asked for the secret of maintaining a more-than-30 year business and life partnership with "Confidential" producer Allan Glaser. He did not share information regarding their personal relationship and stated "I leave the film work to Allan," whom Hunter described as "a damn good filmmaker."

Hunter amended his answer in stating that he and Glaser worked together on the HILARIOUS 1985 Hunter film "Lust in the Dust." A very proud Hunter further volunteering that Glaser single-handed raised the money for "Dust" provided a clue regarding the love that remains strong much longer than most straight marriages.

Pure speculation that the dislike of Hunter both for labels and the despicable treatment (including a horrendously maliciously false report of animal lover Hunter beating his dog in the late '50s or early '60s) of him by the press is the reason for Hunter not marrying Glaser.

What's Next?

The response of Hunter to the question "what's next" prompted the Huntersque response "I don't know."

Hunter next shared his interest in making a film about the "beautiful love story" regarding blind Irish harpist Turlough O'Carolan. The Wikipedia entry on O'Carolan supports the conclusion of Hunter.

Great Knight Hunter

Hunter concluded our conversation only after the publicist who coordinated the interview validly pointed out that we had run quite a bit over time.

The concluding portion of this conversation with this (final apologies for one last label) chivalrous horseman involved Hunter thanking your humble reviewer to speaking with an actor he has adored since seeing him in the 1981 John Waters film "Polyester" and who considers the Hunter musical "Damn Yankees" one of his favorite films.

The natural response to the thanks of Hunter was that he had no reason to thank me and that I had every reason to be grateful to him. This reply (almost certainly with his trademark smile) was that "We should all be thankful."

What's Next!

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

Friday, June 24, 2016

'Seattle Road' Writer/Director/Producer Ryan David Reveals All Regarding His Modern Adam and Eve

The heavy symbolism and auto-biographical nature of the (Unreal TV reviewed) recently released indie drama "Seattle Road," which comes out VOD nad related formats on June 24 2016, made a chance to speak with writer/director/producer Ryan David a special treat. The symbolism of this discussion included it coming an hour after an equally good talk with '50s movie star Tab Hunter, who was one of the last contract players under the big studio system.

Symbolism of Biblical Proportions 

The heaviest symbolism in "Road" relates to naming the aspiring the aspiring mid-20s novelist in the film "Eve" and having her live in an apple orchard with aspiring boyfriend "Adam." David explained that personal experiences prompted him to explore "archetypal aspects" of adult males and females and that he had considered naming his characters "Man" and "Woman."

David further explained that many people had the same experience as his Adam and Eve regarding the rocky course of their relationship and that David wanted "Road" to be a parable. He added that his approach to his (multi-flashbacks) film was to peel the story like an onion and have slow reveals. These included divulging the origin story of the almost literally starving artists after depicting their current lives together.

Quarter Life

On a more general level, David shared that  he was in his mid-20s when he began working on this film about two roughly 25 year-old characters. This opened the door for David to share that "25 or 28 is when you are trying to figure out who you are and see other people doing the same." His follow-up observation was that "26 27 is the last little bit of childhood," and our last chance to ignore things with which we do not want to deal.

The present-day 30 year-old David stated that he learned to open himself up during the four-year journey that making "Road" required; his conclusion was that he was a human and that his his film work was what was coming out of him. He added that "I think that I'm a writer first, rather than a director."

Artist v. Artist

The auto-biographical aspects of "Road" related to David working on his writing at a time the he dated a fellow artist. Speaking about both his personal experience and that of Adam and Eve, he shared that those circumstances create a situation in which both people "compete to see who reaches self-realization first." He described such a conflict as causing a great deal of strife and bitterness.

Noting that "Road" is coming out on the heels of a New York Times essay on the reasons that people marry the wrong person included an observation that we hid our crazy until after getting married prompted David to respond that we "might know the crazy is still there and still marry" the other person.

Inside the Actors' and Director's Noggins

David further stated that the introspective nature of "Road" resulted in his actors having a "weird experience," noting that he (presumably in his director role) asked them to go to a different place. He added that he and his two leads all were born within eight months of each other and "were living" the type of drama around which "Road" centered.

David also described the experience of making "Road" as weirdly cathartic and noted that lacking a deadline regarding finishing the film allowed the editing process to be like writing and rewriting the film.

Kelly Lynch

Late '80s and early '90s star Kelly Lynch having the most recognizable name in the largely 20-something cast lead to discussing her involvement in the film. David described "Lynch as "a very strong woman" who played her role as the aunt of Eve in the manner that David pictured that mother figure. He enthusiastically added that it was "cool that she was interested in doing it."

Commentary on Modern Film Industry

David commenting that most movies facing completion deadlines is the reason that many of them are "awful." This related to the oft-expressed sentiment of directors who value quality that most studios focus on commerce, rather than art. David clearly communicated that that sentiment had extended to selecting films for the Sundance Film Festival,

The thoughts of David regarding the marketability of independent films was that studios only buy "Duplas Brothers or drinking brothers independent films" in this "interesting time for independent cinema and cinema overall."

The artist in David further revealed himself in regard to discussing a current effort to "rewrite film grammar" and stating that the grammatical revisionists were '60s filmmamkers, such as the legandary Franois Truffaut and "Rebel Without a Cause" director Nicholas Ray,

That's A Wrap

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Road" or David is encouraged to e-mail me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

'No Home Movie' DVD: Mother of All Chantal Akerman Documentaries

No Home Movie
The June 7, 2016 DVD release of "No Home Movie" by the legendary late Belgian documentarian Chantal Akerman is one of the most "innovative and thought-provoking documentaries" to come from Icarus Films, which uses that standard when selecting films for its primary product line. This latest Akerman film to emerge from Icarus documents both the daily life and personal history of Akerman's Brussels-dwelling mother Natalia and the exceptional bond between that subject and Akerman.

"Home" is a great extension of the '70s-era Akerman film "News From Home" in which Akerman reads letters from her mother set against the scenery of Akerman's then New York City home. It relates as well to the Akerman documentary "Down There" in which the daily activity of a Tel Aviv-dwelling Akerman  includes telephone conversations with her mother.

The symbolism and other depth of "Home" is apparent to Akermanphiles but largely is beyond the scope of this site. Suffice it to say, the layers relate to different senses of home, the role of women in society, and the strength of the mother-daughter bond. This film showing an ailing Natalia in the period before her passing adds additional substance to the film.

The following YouTube clip of the NON-SUBTITLED French trailer for "Home" provides a good sense of the humor and the Akermanesque quality of the film even for folks who non parlez Francais.

In true Akerman style, she largely leaves the camera stationary and lets the action come to it. In this case, it involves setting up the camera in different rooms and at different angles in the apartment of Natalia and having her shuffle into view. This technique makes "Home" essentially a sequel to "There."

The frequent interaction between Akerman and Natalia provides most of the insight and entertainment in the film. Natalia asking Akerman about her cooking abilities and commenting on her dietary habits shows that mothers everywhere are the same.

These kitchen table talks additionally cover the experiences of the Jewish Natalia in WWII-era Belgium and her native Poland. Suffice it to say this time that she does not have an easy time of it.

Wonderful humor comes in the form of Natalia trying to use Skype to speak with Akerman while the latter first is in Oklahoma and then New York. This time, Akerman provides a Cliff Note in the form of telling Natalia that she is filming her using Skype to illustrate that even great distances and large oceans cannot break their bond.

Seeing an exhausting (and exhausted) Natalia make a HUGE deal about going on about a walk and not looking at all well adds a great deal to "Home." These scenes illustrate the intimate nature of the subject, remind adult children of elderly parents of the challenges of such relationships, and validate that growing old sucks.

The bonus material is booklet of what surely are insightful essays on Akernan generrally and "Home" specifically. Having been brought up properly by my late mother requires confessing to not having dome my homework regarding reading these analyses before preparing this review.

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

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

'Seattle Road' VOD/On Demand: All About Eve in the Garden of Good and Evil

[EDITOR'S NOTE: An post on an interview with "Seattle" writer/director/producer Ryan David is scheduled for Friday, June 24.]

The very apt overflowing symbolism, including an initial meeting literally involving a jump, in the 2015 drama "Seattle Road" sets it apart from other summer movie fare. It also reminds us that these art-house films are part of a well-balanced viewing diet that is very heavy on sequels and remakes for many of us. 

The June 24, 2016 VOD and On Demand premieres of "Road" provide a chance to take a bite out of this Gravitas Ventures tale of Adam and Eve living in an apple orchard.

Eve is an aspiring novelist from a well-off family, and aspiring painter Adam is a heartbreaker drifter escapee from a commune with petty problems who no longer wants to live like a refugee. The vigorous splash nature of his work indicates that his purely informal education includes the work of Jackson Pollock.

Rather than have our two not-so-innocents meet under a fruit tree in paradise, writer/director/producer Ryan David sets their first encounter in a less-than-idyllic laundromat where Adam is honoring the legacy of the Biblical individual who shares his name. The habitation of the apple orchard follows another chance meeting and a couple of dates.

The bases for compatibility include the shared artistic nature of these nice young kids; this desire to create also prompts the plan for rent-free living that facilitates writing the Great American novel and creating a marketable painting that expresses the creativity of Adam. One wrinkle is that Eve is dishonest with Adam regarding her late father not leaving the farm that they are occupying to her in his will.

The trouble in paradise that propels much of the film comes in the form of the aforementioned artistic temperaments causing stress. Another way of looking at this is that both people in a relationship being "crazy" can strain it. 

The novelist of the pair achieving success while the painter still struggles creates a variation on an  "All About Eve" situation that includes a touch of the betrayal in that film. Her well-intentioned  attempts to help art patrons know her partner from Adam only seem to add fuel to the fire. 

The manner in which David presents all this is aptly artistic. One reason for this is that he follows the rule of literature that he writes about what he knows.

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

Sunday, June 19, 2016

'I, Anna' DVD Murder Suspect Feels the Byrne

Image result for i anna dvd images

Brooklyn-based Icarus Films awesomely ventures beyond releasing the best produced and most thought-provoking international documentaries out there to release the 2012 Charlotte Rampling/Gabriel Byrne British noir film "I, Anna" on DVD. This 21st century answer to the "Fatal Attraction" led '80s resurrection of Golden Age style thrillers comes out on June 21, 2016.

The following YouTube clip of the theatrical trailer for "Anna" provides a good sense of the strong visual images, psychological aspects of the story, and the overall suspense. These three minutes alone prove once again that the Brits kick the arse of Americans regarding every genre on screens both large and small.

First-time director Barnaby Southcombe chooses wisely in casting household names Gabriel Byrne and Charlotte Rampling to star in this "blink and you'll miss something" thriller. The most significant Hitchcockian elements include telling the story from the perspective of the titular divorcee/prime suspect and creating intrigue regarding the extent and the cause of her clear mental distress.

Rampling excels in this challenging role, as does Byrne regarding the part of D.C.I. Benrie Reid. Having Bernie insinuate himself into the life of Anna in the role of a suitor creates good drama while making the audience question the ethics of that investigative technique.

In his role as writer, Southcombe provides a wonderful lesson straight out of "Introduction to Criminal Law" in law school. The audience learns early in the film that the victim is a man with whom Anna goes home after meeting him at a speed dating event. We also know that Anna sees the corpse in the aftermath of the killing.

Aside from doubt regarding the identity of the killer remaining throughout most of the film. we also do not know the degree of guilt of Anna if she is whodunit. The possibilities include an unprovoked attack, self-defense, and an accident.

The narrative techniques include flashbacks and "Rashomon" style repeats of significant events from the perspectives of different characters. These devices terrifically add pieces to the puzzle while simultaneously deepening the mystery.

This trifecta of director, cast. and story results in a well-presented oft-told tale as old as time. The story, rather than the minimal sex and violence, drive the film. Further, everyone whom we meet easily could be someone we pass on the street. This holds true even regarding the 11th hour surprise regarding a character. The fact is that we rarely know what is occurring in the life and/or head of anyone.

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

Saturday, June 18, 2016

'It It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium' DVD: Ugly Americans' European Vacation

  • If It's Tuesday This Must Be Belgium [Blu-ray]
Olive Films continues the retro-Euro vacation that begins with the May 2016 Blu-ray (BD) release of the Paris-based comedy "French Postcards" and continues with the June 21, 2016 BD releases of the (Unreal TV reviewed) 1965 comedy "I'll Take Sweden" with the topic for today. This series aptly wraps up with the 1969 comedy classic "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium."

Olive shows great instincts in pairing "Belgium" with "Postcards" and "Sweden" and in releasing it at the same time as the airing of the remake of the "Belgium" producer David L. Wolper's production of "Roots." This shot-on-gorgeous-locations film being about a group of ugly Americans on a whirlwind tour of Europe (nine countries in eighteen days)  that is very reminiscent of the summer vacations of that era further validates a June release.

"Belgium" additionally belongs to a trifecta of star-studded madcap "road" movies of the '60s. The other two are "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" and "The Great Race." Further accolades are due regarding the awesome theme song and the hilarious end-credits segment.

In addition to the aforementioned strong late-60s vibe, "Belgium" is an awesome precursor to the mid-70s television classic "The Love Boat."The cast of 1,000s of past, present, and future household names includes Suzanne Pleshette of "The Bob Newhart Show," British actor Ian McShane of countless U.S. series such as "Deadwood" and "Dallas" and U.K. series such as  "Lovejopy," Norman Fell of "Three's Company," Joan Collins of "Dynasty," Pamela Britton of "My Favorite Martian," etc. The award for best cameo goes to Patricia Routledge of the classic Britcom "Keeping Up Appearances" as an annoyingly chipper British tour guide.

One of the more interesting television-related aspects of "Belgium" is having Pleshette of the Mary Tyler Moore production company show "Bob Newhart" play single Minneapolis-based career gal Samantha Perkins. The motives for her trip include obtaining distance to help her decide whether to accept a marriage proposal from her long-term boyfriend. 

The plot involving Perkins extends to having her enter a flirtatious relationship with the jaded tour guide/Casanova Charlie Cartwright whom McShane plays. Their highlights include her holding him to task regarding his tour guide duties, a drunken evening, and his coming to her rescue. Surprise visitors during the tour add to the fun regarding this courtship.

The humor regarding Fell character Harve Blakely begins with his wife bringing copious amounts of American toilet paper on the journey. The hilarity continues with said spouse becoming separated from the group and having trouble reconnecting with them. The occasions for "Company" fans to exclaim "Oh, Stanley" are particularly fun. 

The audience also gets the man who treats the hotel rooms as sources of free souvenirs, the typical American family who drags their sullen teen daughter along, the WWII veteran who wants to revisit the sites of his literal battles, and the Italian-American who is planning a family reunion in Venice.

"Belgium" simply is an entertaining and fun film that derives humor from well-deserved American stereotypes and mid-range tour packages. The funniest thing is that this material is equally relevant nearly 50 years after the theatrical premiere of "Belgium."

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

Friday, June 17, 2016

'Appointment with Crime' BD: Classic Brit Noir with William Hartnell Seeking Revenge on Companions

Appointment With Crime [Blu-ray]
The Euro-centric focus of the June 21, 2016 Olive Films Blu-ray (BD) releases extends beyond the '60s comedies "I'll Take Sweden" and "If Its Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium" (as well as the May 2016 BD release of the Paris-based comedy "French Postcards") to encompass the the awesome 1947 British gritty noir film "Appointment with Crime." The notable aspects of "Crime" for modern audiences include that it illustrates the Olive motto "Cinema Lives Here" and has William Hartnell, who is the first titluar Gallifreyian of the "Doctor Who" franchise, as patsy with a chip (but no fish) on his shoulder Leo Martin.

The following YouTube clip of the opening moments of "Crime" illustrates the artful use of black-and-white and avant-garde camera angles that provides cinephiles additional enjoyment.

The opening scenes center around legitimate businessman Gus Loman coercing two-bob loser Martin into pulling what he advertises as an easy smash-and-grab. Things very quickly going awry and Loman literally leaving Martin holding the bag and Martin subsequently becoming a guest of His Majesty the King sets the stage for the primary action.

On being released from his unfortunate incarceration, Martin commences a revenge scheme that is designed to kill two birds with one stone. This leads to an equally clever series of events that are up there with "The Maltese Falcon" and other better-known noir classics.

The group of "usual suspects" extends beyond the aforementioned stock characters of the crime boss and the loser who falls victim to his callousness. Transplanted Canadian Detective Inspector Rogers fills the role of the dedicated gumshoe who knows that Martin dunit but is having trouble proving it, Gregory Lang is the respectable art dealer who is the silent partner of the very slick Willy Loman, and Carol Dane is the shilling-a-dance dame with a heart of gold and misplaced faith in Martin.

Noir veteran John Harlow treats the audience to a few compelling showdowns and delivers an ending that provides even more justice than the Hays Code requires regarding the rule that crime must not be allowed to pay.

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

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

'I'll Take Sweden' BD: Swinging 60s Bob Hope/Tuesday Weld Comedy

I'll Take Sweden [Blu-ray]
Olive Films jumps the gun one year in celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love regarding two June 21, 2016 Blu-ray (BD) releases of swinging Euro-centric '60s comedies. The hilarious 1965 Bob Hope/Tuesday Weld film "I'll Take Sweden" is the topic for today. Thoughts regarding the 1969 Suzanne Pleshette classic "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium" follow in a few days.

Veteran and rookie fans of good silly mid-60s comedies can expect a great time from a "Sweden"/"Belgium" double feature.

The crystal-clear BD picture and accompanying enhanced sound make this "Sweden" release a particular treat for those of us who used to watch it on a UHF station Sunday afternoon broadcast.

The awesome PG-13 '60s sitcom vibe of  "Sweden" is attributable to Weld starting her career as the semi-autobiographical Thalia Menninger on (the Unreal TV reviewed) "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," having legendary "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson" (and "My Three Sons") veteran Fred DeCordova direct, and classic screwball comedies scribe/"The Addams Family" producer Nat Perrin write the script.

Two of the many special aspects of "Sweden" are that it is more than just a vehicle for Hope to showcase his talent for one-liners and for Weld to be a sex kitten. This story of widowed  oil company executive Bob Holcomb volunteering for an undesirable job in the titular monarchy to move daughter JoJo 6,000 miles away to prevent her from marrying flake Kenny Klinger, played by Frankie Avalon, provides good fun.

"Sweden" opens with Bob returning to his upper-middle class (presumably Los Angeles area) house to find JoJo throwing a wild but clean-cut party in which the wildly dancing boys look to be more interested in each other than the girls with whom they are flailing their arms and gyrating their hips, For his part, Kenny is frantically dancing around with his guitar singing the first of a handful of Avalon tunes in the film.

The aforementioned songs include the titular tune. This one has Frankie putting his lingon berries and branch on display in tight and short swim trunks while rocking out on a dock. The following YouTube clip of that segment provides a glimpse of that performance.

The hilarity truly commences on Bob learning of the engagement between the naive JoJo and "retired drop-out" Kenny. This leads to even greater wackiness related to Bob visiting the trailer that he describes as being apt for diminutive artist Toulouse Lautrec in which Kenny and JoJo plan to live after getting married.

These early scenes show that Hope and Weld are well-paired. He makes a loving and patient father to her "Gidget" like daughter who wants to be good but also enjoys the wholesome youth scene of the mid-60s.

Bob subsequently breaking up the delusionally happy couple via the aforementioned job transfer essentially transfers JoJo from the frying pan into the fire by leading to a romance with the typically virile blond Swede wolf Erik. Erik conning JoJo rgearding the wisdom of tasting the milk before deciding whether to buy the cow is a highlight of the film.

For his part, Bob commences a romance with widower interior decorator Karin Granstedt. Screen veteran Dina Merrill has good on-screen chemistry with Hope in this role. The highlights of this coupling include a "sexy" misunderstanding related to "tickling the ivories" in a furniture store and Karin heroically standing by her man regarding an effort of Bob to stop Erik from getting his mojo started with JoJo.

This is another case in which they sadly don't make 'em like that anymore. The "Three's Company" style innuendo is much more clever and entertaining than gratuitous flashings of naughty bits and copious use of the seven dirty words that you used to not be able to say on television (or many movies).

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

Monday, June 13, 2016

'Snails in the Rain' DVD: Compelling Gay-Themed Israeli 'You've Got Mail' Drama

Snails In The Rain by Tla Releasing

This "lost" review of a DVD release from international art-house gay-themed film god tla releasing is the best dividend from Spring cleaning following a move last year that resulted in burying the Israeli drama "Snails in the Rain" until a viewing a few nights ago. This find coming smack in the middle of a month-long Gay Pride-oriented retweeting reviews of gay-themed films makes the timing of the discovery particularly apt.

This tale of mostly straight hunky current student/former soldier Boaz becoming increasingly intrigued by increasingly erotic love letters from a secret male admirer is relatable to most men along the Kinsey scale of sexuality. It also adds variety to a typical unrequited love story that has a teen or early 20s boy infatuated with a peer but facing the obstacle of societal pressure, fear of rejection, or the presence of a femme fatale. In this case, Boaz's live-in girlfriend Noa contributes the final factor.

Any gay man who asserts that he has not fantasized about being as bold as the admirer in contacting a largely unattainable object of his affection lies as much as gay and straight men who deny indulging in acts of self-pleasure. The same is only slightly less true regarding straight boys who find themselves the object of such affection. As Kinsey notes, most men and women are not entirely straight or entirely gay, Additionally, we all feel connections to people with whom we are close.

The letters escalate from stating an attraction to Boaz, to expressing an increasing (but highly controlled) obsession with him, to finally inviting him to communicate whether the feelings are reciprocal. For his part, these correspondences increasingly intrigue Boaz and awaken feelings that flashbacks to his military service illustrate.

The tasteful depictions of "don't ask, don't tell" behaviors include glances in the shower, a macho jerk-off contest, and spying on a comrade-in-arms engaged in a sexual act. A scene involving a seduction is straight out of a military-themed porn movie.

The impact of the conflicted feelings that Boaz is experiencing strains his relationship with Noa to the extent that she feels compelled to act. A scene in which Boaz must decide which path to take creates good suspense and does not disappoint.

The symbolism of the title is clear early on and very blatant at the end.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Snails" is encouraged to email me. You can also connect (and check out the aforementioned retweets) on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.,

Saturday, June 11, 2016

'Tab Hunter Confidential' iTunes/Digital HD Out of the Closet and Back Into the Well-Deserved Spotlight

The iTunes/Digital HD premiere of the 2015 Allan Glaser Productions documentary "Tab Hunter Confidential" awesomely brings a genuine Hollywood golden boy into your living room. It further prompts those of us who bought the memoir of the same name years ago but have not gotten around to it to pulling it off the bookshelf to read it. In the case of your not-so-humble reviewer, the deadline for finishing the book is an interview with Hunter in a few days; seeing how that scamp Theo and his "Huck" fare in Las Vegas must wait a little while.

The accolades for "Confidential" include several festival circuit "Best Documentary" awards.

Glasser, who is the business and life partner of Hunter, does right by his man in (along with director Jeffrey Schwartz of the Unreal TV reviewed documentary "I Am Divine") portraying Hunter with stereotypical but sincere warmth, humor, and candor. Choosing the best charming, goofy, sexy, shirtless clips from the '50s films of Hunter is a highlight. Schwartz nicely augments these scenes with glimpses of a fresh-scrubbed coat-and-tie Hunter captivating television audiences during the golden age of that medium.

Schwartz and Glasser present this eye-candy in the context of the more serious subject of Humter being a closeted gay actor during the height of his career. Stating that he would have gone from Hollywood royalty to box office poison if that secret had come out before society was ready for Hunter to do the same sadly is incredibly true.

The title of the documentary comes from a tabloid story that Hunter believes that a bitter former business associate is behind. The article, in turn, is about a youthful indiscretion of Hunter that does not scare him straight but does teach him the importance of discretion in the Eisenhower/McCarthy era.

Additional dirt comes from hearing about the covert long-term relationship between Hunter and another nice young actor from the era.

Having Hunter narrate much of the film is a real treat. One spoiler is that he is as nice looking and charming at 85 as he is at 25. A chance to sit down for a ice cream sundae with him is well worth both a soul and a first born. (Call me, Tab. I'm in the book.)

Interviews with Hunter co-stars such as Clint Eastwood, Debbie Reynolds, and Connie Stevens (Robert Wagner fills in for the late Natalie Wood) provide terrific insight and verify that Hunter is a delight.

Additional fun comes in the form of cult film god John Waters, who casts a superb Hunter in the 1981 film "Polyester," and famously out "Star Trek" actor George Takei gushing over Hunter. Every closeted gay teen from the '50s can relate to that adoration of these boys who like boys who grew up in that era. Members of this demographic almost certainly spent hours looking at kobe-quality beefcake photos of Hunter while committing unclean acts and having impure thoughts in their heads.

Waters and Takei additionally remind us of the musical career of Hunter; learning of him once bumping Elvis off the top of the charts is awesome.

The portion of the film regarding the present life of Hunter makes good case for marriage equality. We see him and Glasser living in a beautiful home with their horse Harlow and their two dogs. Not many other straight or gay couples are this happy after more than 30 years together.

The bottom line is that this fairy tale in which two princes have a happy ending is a good film for everyone from 8-to-80.

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

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Call for Fed Law Protecting tripadvisor (and Other) Reviewers from Corporate Cyber Bullies

Image result for tripadvisor images
Stating that a hotel owner response to a sincere (and tame) negative tripadvisor (TA) review created real risks of being sued, having cops haul me off to jail in 'cuffs, and effectively facing a divorce is not an exaggeration. It also prompted this diversion from posting reviews of DVD and Blu-ray releases. One scary aspect of all this, is that I hardly am alone.

Before sharing enough details to convey a sense of this torment without being specific enough to face a situation in which I must use the catchphrase don't tase me Bro, I want to share a simple solution to business owners aggressively coercing amateur travel and restaurant writers into deleting negative reviews. This is a case in which the phrase "there oughta be a law" directly applies.

To use yet another expression, either Congress should man up and pass a law addressing this issue or Barack Obama should use his oft-utilized executive action power to stop this cyber bullying. Making such a law clean and simple (as well as pork-free) is equally important.

Such legislation should prohibit the owner of any business or a representative of said owner from acting in any manner to coerce or otherwise intimidate anyone who has posted an online review of that establishment. The scope of this protection should include a prohibition against an owner-posted response to a review including information that reasonably is interpreted as being embarrassing to the reviewer.

Regarding remedies, the law should provide for a monetary fine that does not break the bank but is large enough to discourage an owner from violating the law. It should also provide for the owner to pay the legal fees and court costs in any owner-initiated legal proceeding in which the reviewer prevails.

Getting down to the well-documented ugly details, my partner and I wanted to get away to celebrate a special occasion during the summer of 2015 and found a good deal for a hotel in a city on our radar. Further, the TA reviews of the hotel overall were positive.

The shortcomings at the hotel truly are irrelevant but did prompt a negative TA review and to give the property one chit. This (long-deleted) review also noted that the hotel advertised itself as being small and quaint but that my impression was that it was a conference hotel.

An executive with the hotel owner called me soon after TA published my review. This man immediately went on the attack and especially took umbrage regarding my describing the facility as a conference hotel.

The executive made it very clear that he would post a response assertively challenging my allegations if I did not remove my post. He further involved my partner in the matter despite my stating that I (a mentally competent "grown-ass man") was acting alone regarding the review and did not see the need to drag anyone else in the mess.

Subsequent emails from the executive after I did not remove the review stated a desire that he hoped that he would not have to post his response, included instructions for removing a TA review, and used a review of mine of another hotel to challenge my sincere characterization of his property as a conference hotel. (I ain't makin' this stuff up, Folks.)

All of this both intimidated me into deleting the review and lying to TA regarding the owner not coercing me into doing so. My concern included the cost and aggravation of a groundless lawsuit by the hotel company.

Things became even more bizarre roughly two weeks later. My partner and I decided at the spur of the moment to have lunch at a favorite restaurant, which both of us have highly rated on TA. After lunch, we decided even more spur of the moment to go to a nearby store.

On arriving at the store, we initially declined to get a shopping cart. Changing our minds roughly five minutes later, we went to the front of the store where I recognized the hotel executive from his picture in his employee profile, a highly distinctive characteristic, and his aggressive behavior that I observed.

I whispered my observation to my partner but did not approach or otherwise interact at all with the executive. Further, my partner and I immediately went to a different section of the store than the executive.

A general TA survey regarding issues with that site triggered a recent series of events that included my contacting someone at the hotel company regarding the bullying a year ago. This contact mentioned the PURELY RANDOM observation of the executive as proof of his aggressive intimidation.

Rather than discuss the matter, the company sent both my partner and me a very hostile letter that knowingly distorted facts to characterize me as a lunatic, asserted that I was stalking their executive based on the chance observation nearly a year ago, and made statements that strongly indicated an intent both to sue me and to inform the police of the alleged threat that I posed to the executive.

My partner understandably was upset and embarrassed to be dragged into a matter that only involved me and that centered around events that occurred roughly a year ago. The company ignored the aspect of the embarrassment and alleged that the reservation being in the name of my partner justified their action.

All this lead to several horribly tense days on the literal homefront despite the underlying TA review being very valid and the company being the villain in all this.

Needless to say, my partner and I both dropped the matter. We also have cancelled our TA memberships despite my partner having a large volume of well-regarded reviews of domestic and European businesses on the site and I not being so far behind. Further, the world-at-large will not hear of recent spectacular finds from our travels.

For their part, TA does what it can to protect reviewers. The sad truth is that effectively preventing a company from bullying a unsatisfied customer into silence requires the aforementioned law.

Folks with thoughts on this subject or who have experienced similar backlash are encouraged to either email or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

'Like Cattle Towards Glow' DVD: Entertainingly Equal Parts Homo Erotic and Neurotic

Like Cattle Towards Glow

tla releasing provides lovers of international gay-themed art-house films an especially erotic and arousing treat regarding the DVD release of "Like Cattle Towards Glow," which is flying off the shelves of a Pacific Northwest online retailer of home-video products that shall remain shameless. This success may due to filmmaker Dennis Cooper meeting his objective of creating soft-core porn with a sharp dark edge. Suffice it to say that both elements affect the viewer as desired.

The IMDb summary of "Cattle" perfectly describes it as "troubled gay youngsters who attempt to resolve their psychological issues through bizarre fetish play or sinister self expression."

"Cattle" is similar to the slightly less recently issued (and reviewed) releasing DVD "Mexican Men." Both have artful erotic images and are presented in five parts that guide the viewer from the vanilla toward more daring images. Differences include "Cattle" being much more explicit and violent and having a more common theme in the five "chapters" of the film.

"Cattle" opens with an partially blocked view of an innocent-looking twink pleasuring himself. Great shock value comes both in the view soon becoming much less blocked and showing what this skinny and somewhat short boy is packing. Suffice it to say, he is very well equipped for his also soon revealed job as a rentboy.

The action soon turns to said "professional" showing up for a job at the home of a peer who is an "amateur." The sensitivity of the former and nervousness of the latter makes for good cinema and provides a setting for the "client" to explain the penitent nature of his reason for seeking this service. There is little chance that, unlike some young actors in releasing films, either boy will ever receive an Oscar nomination. However, each plays his part fine.

Things get particularly weird when they move into the bedroom. The necroerotic elements and literal fumbling make sense in the context of the story.

The next scene involves wildly arousing performance art. The show begins with an early 20s-man baring his soul about his intense teen dramas only to be brought to the floor and baring his butt. This leads to his becoming sandwiched while doing his best to continue expressing his angst despite having a full mouth.

The third chapter also features teen boys at play. This time it is in the woods and backyards of an apparent suburban community. Like the films that precede it, the coupling has much more to do with psyches than physical desire. The fully flaccid bottom this time aggressively begs his buddy to help him for reasons that are far from the obvious.

The fourth presentation is more of a modern sci-fi fable in that it has a woman in a control room using a drone and other surveillance to watch a young man who is living in a bunker in a beach. The spoiler this time is that boy mostly limits his baring to his soul this time. Like his predecessors in "Cattle," this boy's life reflects his prior difficulties.

Cooper waits until the fifth and final "chapter" to fully reveal the significance of his title. This one also both provides the most surprises and greatly exceeds the mayhem of the four that precede it.

Opening scenes of a young man sharing a tent with a companion wearing a costume that is directly out of "Where the Wild Things Are" creates (quickly unmet) expectations of an erotic encounter involving two teen boys and a pup tent with a furry element. A cute blond skaterat appearing on the scene starts things down a literally and figuratively dark path.

The ensuing action clearly shows the primal nature of sex and that lust trumps political philosophies every time. The manner in which the tables get turned provide more cynical fun.

The final analysis regarding these psychological tales from the crypt is that they highlight both the strong emotional context of sex (especially regarding one boy penetrating another one) and the fact that we are all dirty little monkeys who respond to both the sexual and violent aspects of these images. The better news is that most of merely find such depictions moderately intriguing.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Cattle"is encouraged to email me but please do not read much into that invitation. You can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Monday, June 6, 2016

'Mr. Right' BD/DVD: This Killer Comedy Ain't No Katerine Heigl Chick Flick

Product Details
The June 7, 2016 Universal Pictures Home Entertainment DVD and Blu-ray releases of the recent Sam Rockwell/Anna Kendrick neo romcom wonderfully shoves every Katherine Heigl cliche firmly in the dirt. Blood and guts replace the gay best friend, montage set to a Motown hit, and tedious back-and-forth culminating in a grand final scene gesture set to a golden oldie. The equally conspicuous absence of a Stephanie Zimbalist type as someone's mother is a terrific bonus.

The following SPOILER-LADEN trailer for "Right" awesomely highly the dark humor and textbook offbeat vibe of the film.

The opening scenes include Kendrick's Martha getting the rudest of all possible awakenings followed by the crudest of all propositions. For his part Rockwell's titular hit man with a soul Francis gleefully is going about his personal crusade.

As an aside, naming the highly psychotic leading man Francis is an awesome  inadvertent nod to the neo superhero flick "Deadpool," starring traditional romcom (and sitcom) survivor Ryan Reynolds. For that matter, Sam Rockwell is a classic "The Flintstones" name.

The initial meeting of our leads does not lead to stereotypical love at first sight but goes well enough to lead to further interaction. Francis bringing his work home with him leads to an early (and very violent) declaration of his love for Martha.

For her part, Martha understandably hesitates risking getting figuratively burned again even before realizing that associating with Francis runs the risk of literally feeling intense heat.

Martha witnessing Francis ply his trade provides her second rude awakening of the film and requires soul searching regarding whether a suitor being a professional killer is a deal breaker. After all, finding Mr. Right is very challenging.

The ensuing edgy wacky circumstances result in quirky and spacey Martha increasingly getting involved in the activities in which Francis engages. This all climaxes in a final showdown that prompts the couple to fully examine both their relationship and themselves.

Like many good films, "Right" prompts viewers to think. The introspection this time relates to the extent to which negative aspects of a potential life partner should justify calling it quits. This theme makes the DVD and Blu-ray releases of the film coming out a few weeks after a New York  Times titled "Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person" very timely. This dystopian article explains how happily ever after only exists in fairy tales (and Heigl chick flicks.)

The DVD and Blu-ray Bonus Feature is an extra titled "A Sweet Couple."

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

Saturday, June 4, 2016

'The Best Intentions' BD: Cannes-Winning Film of Courtship of Ingmar's Father


Increasingly prolific purveyor of new and old foreign films in theaters, on streaming platforms, and on DVD and Blu-ray (BD) Film Movement awesomely adds to its "Classics" catalog with the June 7, 2016 BD release of the 1992 Swedish film "Ingmar Bergman's The Best Intentions." A minor note regarding this is that this film bucks the trend of ones that include the name of the auteur (for example, "Tyler Perry's ...") being so horrible that you would rather sit through "Howard the Duck" than watch it.

The user-friendly essay in the booklet that accompanies the BD set provides detailed information regarding the extent to which this film is factual. One shared bit of information is that some names are changed to protect the not-so-innocent.

The following YouTube clip of the trailer for the 2010 DVD release of "Intentions" does justice to the story, the directing, and the acting. However, it does not come close to showing the incredible quality of the film in Blu-ray.

The  1992 Palme D'Or and Best Actress awards at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival are the most prominent of the numerous accolades for this film directed by Bergman protege Billie August based on a screenplay by Bergman that tells the dramatic tale of the relationship of the parents of Bergman. A very brief synopsis is that daughter of wealth and privilege Anna Akerblom shares an almost obsessive love with lower-class priest Henrik Bergman. Their own upbringing-related attitudes and the views of very class-conscious 1900s and 1910s Sweden create much of the drama the propels the film despite the best intentions of the couple. 

The very Bergmanesque drama commences with Anna drawing Henrik more fully into the lives of her one-percenter family despite the open and aggressive disdain of her mother and the more subtle disapproval of her father, whom screen legend Max von Sydow plays with great subtlety.

The rest of the very palpable three hours depicts the lengthy separations followed by reconciliations and class-related conflicts of the couple against very Begmanesque settings that look incredible in Blu-ray. Said scenery includes trains chugging through rural Sweden and the isolated northern village where Henrik takes a modern approach to religion looking almost pure white in the winter and wonderfully colorful in the summer.

Taking a more modern note, Henrik and Anna are straight out of "Seinfeld" in that they are highly entertaining but are not very nice people. Henrik is not very honorable toward Anna early in their relationship. The other side of the coin is that the spoiled rich girl aspect of Anna is always close to the surface to the extent that she actually runs home to mother. 

A more astonishing aspect of this story is that fact that it almost could be made word-for-word and shot-for-shot in a modern setting. Society is engaged in the same class war to which "Intentions" explicitly refers, marriages between people for different financial backgrounds often face large challenges, and there are times that all of us do not like those whom we love.

The video bonus is the North America premiere of the 1984 Bergman film "Karin's Face." This 14-minute film focuses on photos of the real-life mother of Bergman.

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

Thursday, June 2, 2016

'Honeyglue' DVD No Fault in this Kid w Cancer in Love Flick

Zombot Pictures fills the need for a John Hughes style distressed teen in love with quirky outcast summer film in releasing "Honeyglue." This "The Fault in Our Stars" with a transvestite leading boy opens in New York on June 3, 2016. The film then expands on to Los Angeles a week later ahead of a nationwide rollout.

The scads o' festival love for "Honeyglue" includes a Best Feature award at Cannes, an award at the Newport Film Festival, and the "Best Director Award" at the Orlando Film Festival.

The following SPOILER-LADEN YouTube clip of the "Honeyglue" trailer does a good job presenting the story and those who tell it.

Though Hughes films are the granddaddy of "Honeyglue," more recent (and edgier) "teens with cancer" dramedies such as "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl" and "The Fault in Our Stars" are the older siblings of this story of girl develops fatal brain tumor, girl meets girl/boy, girl and girl/boy live happily ever daily.

The hook this time is that the girl is a conservative suburbanite presumably with grades that are as good as her manners. The bad boy is a drifter with an incredibly troubled past and a desire to express himself that is as strong as the forces that seek to repress it.

Our modern-day Frankie and Annette Morgan and Jordan meet at a not-so-wholesome night club where they strike up a conversation. On Morgan asking a made-up-in-drag Jordan about his sexuality, he grabs a seemingly random guy to kiss full on the lips only to turn around and do the same to Morgan. Other symbolism

This quickly leads to Morgan unexpectedly meeting the parents sans wig and with minimal makeup but clad in a kilt. One spoiler is that Jordan portrayor Zach Villa, who aptly is starring in the stage production "For the Record: Dear John Hughes," is more appealing as a very pretty boy than a not-so-pretty girl. He can be considered a feminine and darker cousin to "Austin and Ally" star Ross Lynch.

On the same subject, Adrianna Mather plays Morgan. She does a good job playing a quirky "All Grown Up" Ally to Villa's Austin. Mather is also a Zombot co-owner and a producer on "Honeyglue."

The courtship of Morgan begins with a "winner-take-all" bet; this in turn leads to a wonderfully awkward 'za feast with the 'rents and hilariously hyper and goof bro Bailey. "Twilight" veteran BooBoo Stewart excels at stealing scenes in this role.

Discovering the advanced stage of the brain tumor in the noggin of Morgan prompts our lovers to accelerate said courtship despite the opposition to said plans. This leads to the cliched road trip (very much ala "Earl") that has enough twists and humor to make it interesting. Suffice it to say that Morgan is a particularly bonnie lass during this leg of her adventure with the kilt-wearing Jordan.

Like all films of this nature, reality crashes down on our pair near the end. The nice twist this time is that it reflects the truly fantastical nature of the soul of Jordan.

This being a film largely geared to teen girls, the symbolism of the title is blatant but effective. It relates to a wonderfully illustrated children's book that Jordan is writing. This tale tells of a very cute dragonfly boy who literally and figuratively goes to great lengths to woo the bee princess whom he loves. Both the tale and the drawings create a strong desire for a copy of this book.

Bird injects more subtle symbolism in manners that include other cliches in modern "cancer" films. One example of this is Jordan shaving his head in solidarity meaning more than support for Morgan losing hers.

On a more personal note, the quality of the film overcomes pre-viewing negative feelings regarding the transgender element in it. This aspect of society seems done to death and does not appeal to your not-so-humble reviewer. Instincts that "Honeyglue" is far more than a boy in a dress or a desire to fully become a girl enormously pay off.

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