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Sunday, April 30, 2017

'the goodbye girl' BD: Neil Simon's "Annie Hall'

The Warner Archive Blu-ray release of the 1977 Neil Simon comedy 'the goodbye girl' aptly proves both that sometimes they come back and that you can go home again. Archive digging this one out of the vault 40 years after your not-so-humble reviewer having the thrill of being out on a school night (and experiencing agony of missing "Welcome Back Kotter" to do so) to watch the film in a theater shows that this one easily passes the test of time.

Richard Dreyfuss earning the distinction of being the youngest man to win the Best Actor Oscar for "goodbye" is the tip of the iceberg regarding the accolades for this film. The Golden Globes and BAFTA also grant him best actor status for that role. Further, the film is the Golden Globes choice for Best Picture and Best Screenplay. That organization additionally awards Marsha Mason the Best Actress honor.

The following YouTube clip of the theatrical trailer for "goodbye" provides a nice sense of the basis for the aforementioned fuss.


"goodbye," which New Yorkcentric playwright Neil Simon writes, is a notable example of the Manhattan-based films of the late-80s. A close cousin is the 1977 Woody Allen classic "Annie Hall." The ending of "goodbye" stirs thoughts of earlier New York classic "Breakfast at Tiffany's" by having an uber-emotional climax on a rainy New York street followed by a poignant theme playing over the closing credits.

On a more general level, "goodbye" has elements of the late '70s sitcom "Mork and Mindy." The starting point of this comparison is a hyperactive and easily agitated Dreyfuss outshining the less emotive Mason in her straight woman role in the same manner that frantic Robin Williams literally and figuratively runs circles around mousy Pam Dawber. The similarities extend to Mason's Paula McFadden leading a challenging but largely even-keeled live until odd hairy "alien" from Chicago Elliot Garfield literally shows up at her doorstep and almost immediately begins sharing her living space.

The circumstances that lead to the loath at first sight for "odd couple" Paula and Elliott are that divorced Paula is living alone with her daughter in the apartment recently (and abruptly) vacated by actor ex-boyfriend/leaseholder Tony. The "crimes" of Tony including subletting the apartment to Elliott without the knowledge of Paula lead to her having a nudist, guitar-playing, health nut, meditation freak living in the next bedroom. Anyone familiar with these '70s films or with the work of Simon know that Paula and Elliott will be jointly chanting mantras within an hour of reel time.

The charmingly sadistic Simon mines great humor from repeatedly humiliating our leads in the period between despise and desire. Elliott gets the worst of it in having his director (perfectly played by Paul "Mr. Bentley" Benedict of "The Jeffersons") insist that Elliott play Richard III much more as a queen than a king. That leads to a desperate Elliott essentially becoming a pimp. For her part, 30-something Paula must return to a physically grueling career as a dancer, work as eye candy at a car show, and become so broke that she must scoop up uncooked spaghetti from the street.

Simon the Sadistic does grant our couple happiness only to yank it away in a manner that reflects the worst insecurities of Paula based on her traumatic romantic past. This leads to one of he best lines in the film in which Elliott states that he hates the prior men in the life of Paula who prevent her from being happy with him.

This leads to the aforementioned rainy scene in which history is repeating itself in the form of Elliott heading out to literally seek fame and fortune, leaving Paula and her daughter behind with a sense that the man in their lives is falsely asserting that he is just going to the corner for a package of cigarettes.

Simon shows why he gets the big bucks in providing a variation of the Hollywood ending in the form of a drenched and distraught Audrey Hepburn seeking her soaked discarded cat. Resistance is futile regarding knowing that Simon is serving up schmaltz but falling for it anyway. That bastard then hits the audience with a closing theme that has even more impact than the "Tiffany" closing tune "Moon River."

The following YouTube clip of a groovy American Bandstand performance what can be considered "Paula's Theme" (ala "Arthur's Theme" from the same era) provides a sense of what Simon has in store for "Goodbye" rookies.



The apt far-from-final goodbye regarding this post is that "Goodbye" is a witty romantic comedy that shows what people who know what they are doing behind and in front of the camera can accomplish.

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








Friday, April 28, 2017

'Taekwondo' DVD: Closeted Gay Boy Fights for His Man


The tla releasing April 25, 2107 DVD debuts of the 2016 Argentinian dramedy "Taekwondo" and the lighter (Unreal TV reviewed) Italian film "a Little Lust" is further proof that gay-themed films are becoming more mainstream. The bullying and repression themes of "Lust" applies to even straight boys (and girls) and the unrequited love that plays a role in "Taekwondo" has equally universal elements.

One very general note regarding "Taekwondo" is that it semi-subtly reflects the highly enabled feral nature of the South American male. Not only is the central cast of characters encouraged to live out a female-free frat fantasy with the resulting bodily reactions, "Mom" simply sends the cleaning lady in to handle the disgusting mess while the boys play soccer to get out of the way. Having a South American roommate (with a personal maid back home) during a high school summer program is not an experience your not-so-humble reviewer wishes on his worst enemy.

The following YouTube clip of the "Taekwondo" trailer perfectly illustrates the related aggressive wolf pack mentality (complete with actual licking of the chops) of the 20-something male. One can only imagine the overpowering stench of sweat and Axe body spray in this scene.



"Lust" is a charming fable, and "Taekwondo" is a more adult tale that replaces cute everyteens with typical scruffy non-manscaped 20something guys. The concept of the latter is that Fernando is including his buddy German from their titular martial arts classes to join in the revelry at annual "boys-only" gathering at the literally spa-like country home of Fernando's family outside Buenos Aires. The related elements that make this is a releasing film are that "Ger" is gay but not out to "Fer" and is in love with his buddy/temporary roomie.

On a larger level, Ger is the odd man out for reasons that extend beyond being the only "virgin" at this gathering and being at least one of the few members of the group who are not typical 20-something straight guys. Fer explains that two members of the gang are friends from kindergarten days, most of the others are friends from early days of high school, and that the "new kid" is a recruit from no later than the 11th grade. On top of that, Ger joins this days-long party already in progress. These elements alone present numerous challenges to feeling comfortable.

The oblivious toned boys further unintentionally torment Ger by almost always being shirtless, regularly wearing only boxer briefs, often being naked, and thinking nothing of either stripping down completely or inadvertently (?) putting their naughty bits in the face of Ger or other members of the group. The equally copious casual use of insults such as "fag" and "cocksucker" directed at each other further tests the extraordinary limits of the patience of Ger. This especially is so regarding one guy regularly teasing a buddy who has had limited experience with women but has never been caught with his pants down with a man about being gay.

Additional fuel to the fire comes in the forms of the group often commenting about one of them staring at his bros and other casual comments providing Ger a reason to believe that he has a shot with Fer. Depending on your perspective, Fer does not help or hurt things.

Fer portrayor Lucas Papa does a good job keeping a straight face (pun intended) as he casually decides to sleep naked or keep his designer boxer briefs on but share a bed with Ger. Even Ger is unsure whether he is the object of the erection that occurs while Fer is sleeping next to him. Additional uncertainty exists regarding the underlying reason for Fer inviting Ger to the party. Removing any sexual element, there is a hint that Fer merely feels sorry for someone whom he considers no more than a casual friend.

Equal ambiguity aptly exists regarding the drawn-out "will they or won't they" (and the related "is he or isn't he") element of "Taekwondo." Evidence supports both theories that it is unduly tedious and that it slowly builds the tension to the reveal at the end of the film. Folks who favor the wishful thinking that the final shots (pun intended) will have Ger on his back while Fer has his tongue down his throat and another appendage lodged in another orifice should remember that it is equally likely that Ger continues to keep his amazing cool and simply hugs his buddy and thanks him for a great week. The third option is that Ger makes a rejected move on Fer, who either uses his mad fighting skills on his friend or simply says "thanks but no thanks"

Related tension exists regarding the extent to which Ger keeps his cool regarding the pervasive clueless insensitive frat mentality of his surroundings. The possibilities this time are that he stays quiet, punches the poor sucker who makes the wrong comment at the wrong time, or simply gives the group a figurative tongue lashing.

A personal experience that shows that this stuff happens begins with stopping to actually (i.e., not euphemistically) pet the bunny of three guys my age who just moved to my apartment complex. One of the guys speculating about how to tell if a guy is gay while sitting in their apartment 30 minutes later ended that visit for reasons that your not-so-humble reviewer is keeping ambiguous to be consistent with "Taekwondo."

Anyone with comments or questions regarding any of the thoughts expressed above is encouraged to email me. You also can connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.



'Styling the Stars' Book: Old Hollywood Angela "Penny" Cartwright and New Hollywood Tom "Phil" McLaren Share Best Golden and Silver Age Fox Images

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unreal TV has interviewed Styling co-author Tom McLaren.]

Insight Editions chose wisely in releasing the soft cover edition of the book Styling the Stars: Lost Treasures from the Twentieth Century Fox Archive on April 4, 2017. This was two days before the start of the Eighth Annual TCM Classic Film Festival, which celebrated both the magic that was the Golden Age of Hollywood and the following period in which "the kids" demonstrated that they paid attention to their elders.

This also coincided with Unreal TV amping up its Old Hollywood game by writing about a stay in a luxury suite at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, reviewing the documentary "Cooper and Hemingway: The True Gen.," and resuming a beautiful friendship with Warner Archive.

The following YouTube clip of a promo. for Styling includes images of personal favorite photos in the book. It also has the authors express the enthusiasm that comes through loud and clear in their work.


Styling is the true gen in that it is an actual labor of love by co-authors/thespians Angela Cartwright and Tom McLaren. Children of the '50s (and lovers of classic sitcoms) primarily know Cartwright as Linda from the Danny Thomas series "Make Room for Daddy." Fanboys of all ages always will think of her as Penny from the truly timeless scifi show "Lost in Space," and little girls and lovers of classic musicals remember her as Brigitta from "The Sound of Music." (Not bad credits for a period that precedes even being able to get a learner's permit.)

McLaren is a former studio executive who deserves great thanks for deciding that his quirky sense of humor is better suited to a life in front of the camera than a corner office in the administration building. Nothing reflects the New Hollywood style of McLaren more than one of the more high-profile roles among his 49 credits in his five-year career being a huge hit on Netflix. Anyone who is too young to remember the days before the existence of Netflix likely best knows McLaren as Phil the dad in the comedy "Expelled" with teen idol Cameron Dallas.

As the introduction by Cartwright states, Styling begins life as a limited project. This initial terrestrial exploration uncovers evidence that Twentieth Century Fox has a massive collection of continuity shots that Cartwright explains are solely intended for internal use. The purpose of these photos by studio photographers is to document the appearance of the actor to guarantee continuity regarding the "camera-ready" hair, makeup, and wardrobe appearance of the portrayed character. Cartwright offers the example of the manner in which a mask is tied quickly changing from one shot to the next due to footage of that scene being shot on different days.

Cartwright further shares that some actors purposefully sabotage their continuity photos to prevent their distribution to the general public. This mischief often involves making a face or holding an object such as a hairbrush in the shot.

It is even cooler that Cartwright comments that the actors figuratively (but not literally) letting down their hair in these photos reflects the true personality of the stars. A great example is a photo in which "Space" co-star Bill Mumy, who provides a fun essay for Styling, has his trademark bemused smile on his face.

One thing that Cartwright does not mention is that the eyes distinguish her and the other greats in the book from folks who merely are stars, rather than actors. The true members of Hollywood royalty are very expressive.

In apt Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney fashion, discovering that Fox has such a treasure trove of thees images prompts Cartwright to approach pal McLaren about creating the book. Not being a fool, McLaren accepts.

Picking favorites from the roughly 250 images in Styling is much harder than asking which sibling is the favorite. (We all know that parents have one.) The best criteria is the portraits that elicit the strongest initial response. The award for this one goes to a photo of a 23 year-old Robert Wagner doing his best James Dean (pre-Dean stardom) in a photo for a 1953 version of "Titanic."

The Wagner photo also is notable for being associated with a particularly good essay on the related film that Cartwright and McLaren include with most of the pictures.

Other notable images include a diminutive wardrobe employee standing on a suitcase to adjust a tie on the much taller Gregory Peck, photos of the elaborate "Cleopatra" costumes, and Audrey Hepburn looking very much like Audrey Hepburn in a shot for the 1966 film "How to Steal a Million."

Especially fascinating "insight" relates to the manner in which "Space" producer Irwin Allen films the big-budget disaster film "The Poseidon Adventure." Reading about the wardrobe malfunctions in that one offers a great perspective on the film.

A combined desire to not further ruin the joy of discovering Styling and to not make this article as long as that book requires resorting to the small screen practice of encouraging readers to learn more about this work of art (and love) by purchasing it. Folks who attend the TCM festival every year and/or can recite the year and the studio of most movies made between the '20s and the '60s will find the hardcover version a good investment.

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








Wednesday, April 26, 2017

'Displacement' Theatrical/VOD: Quantum Leaping to Put Right What Once Went Wrong


The April 28, 2017 premiere of the Arcadia Releasing Group time-travel thriller "Displacement" at the Laemmle's Monica Film Center provides a reason to return to the theater; the film looks so vivid in Blu-ray that it must look spectacular on the big screen. Folks who cannot make it to Los Angeles can see "Displacement" in Chicago or Dallas in May. The rest of you must watch in on VOD or wait for DVD and BD releases this summer. 

The festival adoration for this clear labor of love by writer/director Kenneth Mader includes the Best SciFi Film awards at the 2016 Downtown Film Festival Los Angeles and the Hollywood Reel Independent Film Festival. These awards (and the other hardware on the mantel at Chez Mader) reflect Mader making the list of "Top 100 Indie Filmmakers in the World."

Aptly future cult film status will put "Displacement" in the ranks of the '80s time-travel cult classic "The Philadelphia Experiment," which earns a subtle nod in the film.

The following YouTube clip of the "Displacement" trailer provides a good primer on the film and achieves its goal of making you want to see more.


Opening scenes with intrepid "bold and beautiful" physics whiz Cassie Sinclair (Courtney Hope) waking in a bathtub full of ice with her kidneys intact but not the same being so regarding the intestines of her boyfriend only to soon shift in time sets a pace that Mader maintains throughout the film. 

As is the case in good time-travel films that do not insult Asimov fans, understanding the science behind this fiction requires moderate concentration and keeping track of the altered events also necessitates focusing on the larger screen in front you, rather than the small one in your hand. Making a movie that you actually must watch (and enjoy doing so) is a very good thing in this era in which most big-budget films consist of action sequences stapled together with short periods of discourse. 

The true genesis of the action is the mother of Cassie dying of cancer; this prompts our 21st century Nancy Drew to develop a means of time travel so that she can see Mom before she passes. The rub is that this effort creates numerous other problems that extend well beyond any butterfly effect of this effort. 

The new challenges that Cassie literally creates for herself include preventing the aforementioned death of her boyfriend/possible research thief, dealing with personal/professional Daddy issues with her physicist father, evading others who either want to improperly profit from her work or altruistically prevent it from wreaking additional havoc, and avoiding a "Timecop" style meltdown from coming too close to alternate versions of herself. This demonstrates that taking quantum leaps to put right what once went wrong is more complex than it seems.

Sarah Douglas, who will always be known as Kryptonian villain Ursa from the Christopher Reeve "Superman" films, shines as "X Files" style Dr Miles. Miles shows great menace in her style of imprisoning and interrogating Cassie for either the aforementioned noble or nefarious purposes. Frustration related to dealing with multiple Cassies greatly enhances an already memorable performance. 

One spoiler is that Cassie does not have sex with her grandfather, thus becoming her own grandmother. 

The final analysis is that "Displacement' ain't a a Zack Snyder attempt at a darker and edgier "Back to the Future." Mader clearly knows (and loves) his stuff. His making us think and showing that Father Time can be as much of a bitch as Mother Nature proves that intelligent life still exists in Hollywood.

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





Tuesday, April 25, 2017

'a Little Lust' DVD: Tormented Gay Italian Boy Comes of Age


tla releasing chooses wisely in making the DVD of the 2015 Italian film "a Little Lust" available on April 25, 2017. The humor and the tone of this coming-of-age tale reflect the true spirit of  Gay Pride, which follows the release by a few weeks. April 25 also is when releasing is putting the similar-themed (soon to be reviewed) "Taekwondo" on actual and virtual store shelves.

The following YouTube video of the "Lust " trailer tells you everything that you need to know, including that most gay men have "a mother," about this film.


This aptly virgin directing effort by actress Veronica Pivetti begins with pure 16 year-old pals Rocco and Maria trying to consummate their friendship in the high school basement. As Maria points out, the problematic limpness relates to something other than the brain of Rocco. The good spirit with which Maria takes this flop (and several prior failures to launch) shows that she is the best friend that a closeted gay boy can have.

The next several scenes establish that "Lust" qualifies as a 21st century "Afterschool Special," not that there is anything wrong with that. Alpha dog Manetti aggressively demands a kiss from a girl one minute only to just as blatantly gay bash new boy in school Andrea seconds later and bask in his actions in class not long after.

Manetti also has a history of literally bashing Rocco, who is the victim of a brutal shower room assault early in the film. A subsequent incident involving Manetti and Andrea forces Rocco to confront his own feelings regarding his sexuality and to come out to his liberal-with-limits divorced parents. Mom Olga is a journalist, and dad Manuele is a famous psychiatrist who reinforces the theory that practitioners of that profession have at least as many issues as their patients. Olga's mother Amanda being a proud self-proclaimed fascist further complicates things.

Spoilers regarding this are that Olga wants Manuele to work his psychiatry magic to "cure" Rocco; Manuele shares that goal but realizes that no "fix" is a fast one, and both parents want to keep Amanda in the dark. Another spoiler is that Amanda has the best response of the three on learning that her grandson likes other boys.

Virtually every teen in any industrialized nation can relate to the strong feelings that Rocco experiences regarding the Manetti incidents preventing our hero from continuing to suppress his true self at the same time that American pop idol Jody McGee is in Italy on a farewell "Masturbation and Sodomy Tour" in the wake of that Bieber clone being outed. (Substitute a repressive boarding school environment and the final episode of a worshiped television series on a school night regarding your not-so-humble reviewer.) Few of us would go as far as Rocco in stealing from both Mom and Dad and hit the open road to attend our "must-see" event.

This "sometimes you have to say what the f**k" road trip provides Maria and Rocco a chance to work out his new normal while mousy pal Mouri plays third wheel. Additional entertainment/resolution comes with Olga and Amanda in lukewarm pursuit. For his part, Manuele is self-absorbed and slow to experience enlightenment.

Everything coming to a head as Harry, Hermione, and Ron make it to the concert and Olga and Amanda catching up to those meddling kids is predictable. The event that changes everything the next day is less expected and likely will strongly impact gay high school viewers who relate to Rocco.

The moderate tone of the film contributes to the effectiveness of this fable. Rocco does not feel compelled to wave a rainbow flag in the school cafeteria or to make a grand public declaration of love regarding the object of his affection. Nor do his parents even threaten to throw him out in the streets. All concerned merely try to resolve the conflict between Rocco being his true self and his parents not being o.k. with that development. The drama is MUCH more realistic than having Olga trying to set up Rocco with the cute towel boy at her gym or Manuele taking his son to a gay bar as a symbol of solidarity.

As Messrs Crosby, Stills, Nash, AND Young state, neither adults nor kids understand each other; the job of both is to realize that and to do your best to accept the other person in that relationship.

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





Monday, April 24, 2017

'blanche' BD: Shakespeare-style Medieval Fable with a Lot of Gaul


The Olive Films Walerian Borowczyk Film Festival continues with the April 25, 2107 Blu-ray release of the 1971 French period piece "blanche." This coincides with the Blu-ray releases of "Walerian Borowczyk- Short Films Collection" and (the Unreal TV reviewed) "The Theatre of Mr. and Mrs. Kabal."

The "Goldilocks" aspects of these three "just right" releases are that "Theatre" is a series of artistic pen-and-ink animated shorts featuring the titular married couple, "blanche" is a realistic period (complete with apparent castrati) piece about love, lust, and revenge, and "Short" highlights both the animation and live-action talents of Borowczyk.

The accolades for "blanche," which the fascinating introduction on the Blu-ray tells us interprets a Polish legend, is the Interfilm Grand Prix award for Borowczyk at the 1972 Berlin International Film Festival.

"blanche" opens with a dance at the castle of 50-something "Master," who is married to the much-younger titular trophy wife. 20-something son/Crusades veteran Nicolas rounds out this pre-nuclear family. The realism extends beyond the seemingly accurate costumes and sets; the very high and clear voice of the singer in the trio that is providing the music indicates an unimaginable sacrifice to achieve that performance.

The way that Nicolas looks at Step Mom and his excessive chivalry toward her quickly establish that Master has cause for concern; Blanche soon learning that the King whose arrival is imminent is bringing his charming and lusty page Bartolomeo is the next sign of trouble. This rogue making a memorable entrance with an endearing grin on his face and a literal monkey on his back provide further promise of Shakespeare/"Canterbury Tales" style fun and intrigue.

Bartolomeo quickly does make moves on Blanche but does not get very far; the action heats up when the Learesque King to whom Bartolomeo is the wise and cunning Fool decides to wander the castle halls wearing the cloak of his boy. This leads to a confrontation that prompts Master to believe that Bartolomeo and Blanche are cuckolding him. For his part, Nicolas is none to pleased to learn of the perceived Bartolomeo/Blanche relationship. A partial spoiler is that the kids are the only ones who act sensibly regarding the whole matter.

The Middle Ages drama includes a couple of  armed confrontations between Nicolas and Bartolomeo, a highly dangerous liaison that leads to sealing the deal in an unanticipated manner, Master facing competing loyalties to his wife and his King, and monks who (like everyone else in this film) are not whom they seem. The plethora of actual and seeming deaths in the final third of "blanche" further enhances the sense of the influence of the Bard on Borowczyk.

Borowczyk further enhances this masterwork with the obviously artistic framing that the aforementioned Introduction explains. A related memorable POV scene in which Bartolomeo literally is dragged through the mud further demonstrates how Borowczyk is in for the art, rather than for the commerce. Olive investing so heavily in releasing his work reinforces a long-held belief that that company shares that sensibility.

As the back cover of the Olive release points out, the appeal of "blanche" "embraces very modern sensibilities." One only need substitute a divorce corporate vice-president, a decades-younger Princess Dianaesque school teacher who gets him to put a ring on it, a stepson who starting a promising Wall Street career, an aging CEO, and a hot-shot junior executive for our principal players. One can even leave the armed conflict and sadistic punishments intact regarding these masters of their universes.

In addition to the Introduction, Olive offers the special feature "Ballad of Imprisonment: Blanche." This is an interview program in which behind-the-scenes folks other than Borowczyk discuss the film.

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




Saturday, April 22, 2017

'Theatre of Mr. & Mrs. Kabal' BD: French Version of Bill Plympton Animation




The April 25, 2017 Blu-ray releases from Chicago-based Olive Films shows that the scope of the catalog of that company knows no bounds. Prior releases include the (Unreal TV reviewed) '80s teencom "Zapped," the (also Unreal TV reviwed) Frank Sinatra historic drama "The Pride and the Passion," and epic star-studded comedy (yes Unreal TV reviewed) "Blast Off." The two textbook French art-house films "Theatre of Mr. & Mrs. Kabal" (1967) and "Blanche" (1971) by Waleerian Borowczyk clearly demonstrate that the fruit of the Olive tree is varied and always succulent.

"Kabal" is the subject du jour; a review of "Blanche" is scheduled for April 28, 2017.

The artistic pen-and-ink style that is reminiscent of American animator Bill Plympton and the copious symbolism in "Kabal" favor letting Olive handle the initial description of this one. The back cover synopsis states that the film is "a glimpse inside the weird and wonderful world of the theatrical Kabals. The henpecked Mr. Kabal, prone to ogling young females through his binoculars, is never quite beyond the reach of the statuesque and domineering Mrs. Kabal who flutters about (quite literally when butterflies appear inside of her stomach) in a connubial reign of terror."

The creation of Mrs. Kabal starts the film is a personally favorite segment that has her altering her initial appearance to her liking. She then is joined by an animated version of creator Borowczyk, who immediately incurs the hilarious wrath of his "daughter." This leads to the appearance of Mr. Kabal.

The appearances of the aforementioned young females is in the form of "Benny Hill" style live footage complete with a flesh-and-blood leering geezer. Subsequent disgusting footage is from a medical documentary that shows the contents of the meat suits that comprise the human race. This may be your best chance to see the inside of your lungs.

The aforementioned animated butterflies (and other inked creatures) play a prominent role. One segment in which Mr. Kabal takes flight shows that the insects can carry far more than their own weight.

An especially symbolic segment has Mr. Kabal finding himself in the body of his wife; we get additional insight into the psyche of the Mrs. Kabal when she creates a seemingly endless supply of clones. Vigorous (apt) French kissing by Mrs. Kabal further contributes to this psychological profile.

Borowczyk augments his museum-quality drawings with a wide range of appropriate music. The "Wedding March" is played several times, and a well-known Christmas carol contributes a perfect note (no pun intended) to another scene.

All of this concludes with a scene that brings things back to the beginning in a manner that intensifies the moderate "Monty Python" vibe throughout this production that predates "Python" by a few years.

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

Friday, April 21, 2017

Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel: Fabulous Melange of Old and New Hollywood


Image result for hollywood roosevelt hotel images


The privilege of occupying Room 910 (pictured below), which is one of two suites with a stress-busting soaking tub, at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel while covering the TCM Classic Film Festival in early April 2017 awesomely made your not-so-humble reviewer feel like Hollywood royalty in contrast to box office poison.







Another notable aspect of 910 was being confidentially told that a true show business legend stayed there; stating that the large walk-in closet that other hotels would have rented as room was an apt metaphor for this star early in his career does not betray that trust; it seems equally fair to state that the Roosevelt being an easy walk from the large Los Angeles Scientology Center lacks any relevance regarding this subject.

As an aside, the size and the style of 910 made it very apt for social and business meetings with Hollywood power brokers of any wattage with whom you connect.

The stay at the Roosevelt including a look at a King Deluxe room showed that every accommodation class had the same elegance and exceptional cleanliness. It is only the rooms that get smaller; the star treatment retains and the space still is good sized and has a comfy leather arm chair.

Both rooms also had the benefit of being soundproof even when the barn door that further insulated the sleeping area from the rest of the hotel was open. Concern regarding 910 being around the corner from the elevators quickly dissipated. I could not even hear people in the hallway.

All of this (and much more) proved that the Roosevelt hired Baby Bear to design the rooms and to choose every element in them. The bed magically was just right and provided a better night's sleep than my newish top-of-the-line bed at home; the same applied regarding the pillows, the sheets, and the duvet.

On a larger level, the Roosevelt evoked thoughts of a limited-run '90s ABC sitcom with a title that has escaped me for years. An episode of this "Seinfeld" clone had the central group of yuppie friends travel to different cities each week (for a long-forgotten reason) and check in at the local version of a large hotel chain. The joke was that the lobby, the desk clerk, and the guests looked virtually identical in each city.

Conversely, the decor and the service at the Roosevelt provided a sense of staying someplace special and of returning to 1927 when the hotel opened. Kyle, Mark, and their fellow charming bellmen deserve special praise for incredible knowledge of the area and making everyone feel valued.

New Hollywood comes in the form of climate-control systems that quickly bring your room to the desired temperature, waterfall shower heads augmented by the hand-held pulsing shower head with the bidet option that regular readers knows delights your truly, (the glass walls in the large walk-in showers are perfect for writing "redrum" and "Shine on, Danny" to entertain the next user of that delight),  stylish hi-tech digital alarm clocks that also tell you the weather, and plenty of outlets to charge devices.

Further, the WiFi is as reliable home systems; this network quickly simultaneously downloaded several long videos from the cloud for viewing on the flight home. It is equally likely that guests can watch YouTube videos of the Krofft '70s Saturday morning kids' show "Wonderbug" without buffering issues.

Moving onto the public areas, the Spanish-style lobby truly is grand and cavernous with comfy leather sofas and chairs that awesomely welcome you back to the temporary home that you truly will never want to leave. Just one night in the hotel will show you why Marilyn Monroe and many other stars took up long-term residence there. The sullen, surly stud with the hoodie and the dark glasses in the lobby indicated that that tradition continues.

The pool area was just as grand as the rest of the facility. A 40-minute workout while looking down at the art that painter David Hockney created for this amenity provided a great workout. If the pool is not Olympic-sized. it comes very close. It further is nice to swim laps without having to dodge toddlers and teens.

Additional poolside entertainment came in the form of having dreamy studs who most likely will end up on the silver screen graciously bringing the best hamburger sliders in the world and other delectable treats to you just before a poolside screening of "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." Seeing a strutting shirtless inked-up hunk posing for photos corrected a prior assumption that he practiced  profession older than modeling.

Limited time and numerous options (including the best pizza in the world) precluded trying all of the dining options at the Roossevelt. Speculating that the 25 Degrees eatery right off the lobby was the source of the aforementioned sliders that would transform a a lifelong vegan into a carnivore prompted having lunch there.

The friendly and efficient waiter correctly told us that their burgers were even better than the poolside fare. Mine was my first ever medium-rare burger that actually was medium rare. It was a Baby Bear one, rather than being too pink or too overdone. The fresh and tasty bun holding up to the barbecue sauce, the minimal burger grease, and the wonderfully gooey cheese was a good bonus.

The success with the burger made 25 Degrees the go-to place for a powerish breakfast meeting with an actor/PR friend the next morning. His Eggs Benedict could have been photographed for a magazine, and I could eat my perfectly prepared vanilla pancakes every morning the rest of my life, The restaurant serving real maple syrup was the awesome bonus that time.

25 Degrees being the most informal of the Roosevelt dining options is a good omen regarding the fancier options. One cannot imagine having anything less than a perfect meal at any of them.

Wrapping this up from the perspective of a former regular guest at the much-more generic and not nearly as nice Four Seasons Hotel in Boston is that the Hollywood Roosevelt experience offers everything for which a traveler could hope. The staff is welcoming and does their jobs perfectly, there is nary a smudge nor an empty glass in sight in public or private spaces, and the rooms provide a perfect escape from the exciting Hollywood lifestyle that literally awaits you beyond the front doors of the Roosevelt.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding the glory that is the Roosevelt is strongly encouraged either to email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.





















Thursday, April 20, 2017

'The Falls: Covenant of Grace' DVD: Final Chapter of Trilogy About Gay Mormon Men in Love





This post on the breaking glass pictures gay-themed film division QC Cinema December 2016 DVD release of "The Falls: Covenant of Grace" wraps up a series of reviews on the "Falls" trilogy of films. These articles faithfully begin with the post on "The Falls," which provides a primer on the films. It goes onto a review of "The Falls: Testament of Love."

The "Falls" story centers around Mormon born and raised boys Richard "RJ" Smith and Chris Merrell. They meet and fall in love in "Falls," "Testament" takes place five years later, and the events of "Covenant" occur one year after that.

The following YouTube video of the "Covenant" trailer tells you all you that you want to know about the film. The checklist includes the elements of rigid political doctrine, the love and pain associated with the central relationship, and the overall humanity of the production.


Professional writer RJ is happily living in Portland, Oregon and has an enviable group of friends, who have great senses of humor and enjoy the game Cards Against Humanity. The gang also is eager to meet Chris, who is visiting from Salt Lake City.

Much of the visit (and all three films) centers around religious beliefs and other societal pressures putting obstacles in the path of true love and happiness for our boys. One factor is the concept of "gay age," which refers to the length of time that a man has been out. RJ is several years older than Chris by that measure.

Additional drama comes in the form of the advances of the gay movement prompting equal and opposite reactions by the Mormon Church. This includes decreeing that the children of a same-sex couple cannot be baptized; thus, these children cannot enter Heaven on their passing. Chris succinctly states the evil of this policy as punishing the innocent children for the "sins" of their parents.

This issue and related positions of the Mormon Church present our boys and their reel and real peers with the same dilemma as gay men who grew up as devout Catholics. Their religion is an integral part of their upbringing, and they truly love both their church and their God but are clearly told that they are not loved in return.

A related scene has a now-secular RJ and still-practicing Mormon Chris discussing their mutual long-standing dream of being married in a Mormon church.

An even more notable scene has RJ being incredibly compassionate with a former missionary who considers RJ and Chris role models for having a romantic missionary position relationship and being close more than five years after that special period.

The stronger presence of the Mormon church in the final film of this trilogy by writer/director Jon Garcia includes the same technique in the earlier films of having a top leader of the Mormon church appear off-screen and his presence only presented via a voice talking to the person who essentially is being sent to the office of the principal. This clearly makes that leader a god-like figure in the film.

A desire to keep this review shorter than "The Book of Mormon" (the religious tome, not the Broadway musical) requires not discussing the additional well-presented trauma and drama of "Covenant" in favor of the larger issue of homosexual relationships catching up with the state of straight ones.

The "Falls" trilogy nicely fits in with the "one who got away" sub-genre of gay films that largely is equally applicable to tales of love between a man and a woman. The primary difference is that the possibility of happily ever after is much more recent for a gay relationship.

Like "Falls"," the recent breaking theatrical and DVD releases of the reviewed "Retake" and also reviewed "Lazy Eye" center around a gay man whose relationship with another man traumatically ends and leads to a present-day effort to put right what once went wrong roughly 15 years previously. All three stories are film-worthy because they reflect gay rights only reaching the point at which same-sex couples can openly build a life together and have children in the late '90s and early 2000s.

That era is when the couples in the film meet and fall in love. That, in turn, sets the stage for the typical period of roughly a decade later in which the no-longer-young lovers take another stab at happiness. 

The extras on the "Covenant" DVD include deleted scenes and a cast and crew Q & A session at the Portland Queer Film Festival.

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

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

'The Falls: Testament of Love' DVD Sequel Reunited Young Gay Mormon Men in Love



This review is the second of three on the "The Falls" trilogy by the QC Cinema gay-themed film division of breaking glass pictures. The recent post on "The Falls" introduces this story of two 20-something Mormon missionaries who fall in love while living and working together.

Our current topic is the 2013 film "The Falls: Testament of Love," which finds the boys reunited five years after the literally life-changing few months of the first film. The film and the review series wrap up with "The Falls: Covenant of Grace," which depicts the events of a year after "Testament."

The following YouTube clip of the theatrical trailer for "Testament" is largely a music video that depicts the angst of our boys. This alone is enough to make you feel their pain.


Richard "R.J." Smith is now sleepless in Seattle only because his cute committed boyfriend Paul regularly spends the night. Richard also has a job that he loves in his chosen profession and is choosing reasonable personal contentment over practicing his slumbering religious beliefs.

Chris Merrell is playing the role of upright active Mormon church member, husband, and father. He also has lucrative (but disliked) job as a pharmaceutical drug salesman. He further has suppressed his homosexual desires and his related love for Richard.

Our boys reunite at the funeral of a mutual friend from their joint (pun intended) mission. The combination of seeing each other again and the passing reminds them of the importance of enjoying life.

Richard subsequently shows up uninvited at the home that Chris shares with his wife and daughter; Richard does not out his former lover but puts him on the spot and pushes for them to relive the past.

As expected, the truth comes out. However, many responses are less predictable. The wife of Chris understandably is none too pleased but keeps her cool. The reaction by the parents and the siblings of Chris is mixed.

An interesting related note (which ties back to an observation in the review of "Falls") is that this portion of "Testament" (and parts of "Covenant") strongly suggests that at least an unfulfilled sexual attraction between young Mormon men who serve a mission together is common. The obvious reasons in addition to a pre-existing homosexual orientation include the mission creating an intimate relationship between the lads during what often is their first taste of freedom.

The well-intentioned efforts of Richard to make Christopher comfortable with himself and to get the people in his life used to the idea that he is attracted to other man and loves Richard create further turmoil. This also reflects the adage that the road to true love is bumpy.

"Testament" ends on a somewhat ambiguous note, which the third (soon to be reviewed) film ""The Falls: Covenant of Grace" nicely wraps up.

One of the nicer things about "Testament" and the other two in the trilogy is that it is about and made for adults. Neither of our perfectly attractive boys are either doe-eyed or have smooth glowing skin, and their sexual orientation does not determine their behavior. There are no wild parties, haute couture, or hot pursuit of other men. Our stars simply are ordinary guys (one of whom still wears his magic underwear) trying to come to terms with their attraction to each other.

The plethora of extras courtesy of Cinema include "making of" features and outtakes from "Falls." There also is a Q&A panel from the world premiere at the Portland Lesbian & Gay Film Festival. 

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




Monday, April 17, 2017

TCM Classic Film Festival: Better to Watch the Game at Home (Part One of Three)


Image result for tcm film festival images

INTRODUCTION

An Unreal TV January 2017 post on the then upcoming Eighth Annual April 6-9, 2017 TCM (Turner Classic Movies) Classic Film Festival in Los Angeles expressed great enthusiasm for the event. The basic theme was that the clock was ticking on the chance to see surviving stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood in person and for such an event to be economically feasible for TCM. Unfortunately, the event did not produce a Hollywood ending.

This three-part Unreal TV analysis of the festival begins with discussing the basic flaws in the scheduling of the screenings and the other events. Part two will look at the highly inequitable festival pass system, and part three will wrap up with observations regarding the event as a whole.

These posts will include apt metaphors beginning with a reference to the must-see "Westworld" parody episode in an early season of "The Simpsons." Siblings Bart and Lisa incessantly bugged their parents to take them to the Itchy and Scratchy Land theme park out a belief that that would be the trip of a lifetime only to end up fleeing that facility in sheer terror.

Attending the festival had been a long-time dream and required postponing a decades-delayed virgin trip to Europe. However, there were no expectations that the festival would top many memorable events in an overall good life. Further, being less happy than anticipated on leaving was a far cry from sheer terror.

The spoiler analogy is that deciding whether to watch a game live or on television requires considering every expense and inconvenience associated with seats along the 50-yard line or behind home plate. The added relevant insult to the injury of paying up to several hundred dollars to sit on small hard surfaces in unpleasant weather is that the "one-percenters" in the luxury boxes live it up literally over your heads.

The armchair quarterbacking conclusion regarding the festival is that is better to stay home and watch the movies on a smaller screen in a less grand venue than the festival provides and to watch the taped interviews (that you likely could not get into anyway) with the Hollywood royalty at the festival than "go to the game."

The good news is that the organizers superbly selected and presented scores of well-known classics and obscure "shoulda been a classic" films from the '20s through the '80s and recruited several household names that included Carl and Rob Reiner, Mel Brooks, Lee Grant, Peter Bogdanovich, Sidney Poitier, etc to give talks and/or host screenings of their films. Screening many of these movies at the Chinese Theater and other exceptional venues was a large part of this experience.

The highly disappointing news is that a combination of materially incomplete pre-festival information, poor planning, and an unfair caste system regarding both the general pass program and a select few corporate fat cats and other "friends" receiving deity status precluded even folks who paid up to $799 (your not-so-humble reviewer and his highly significant other purchased $649 Classic passes) MERELY to attend the screenings and the talks from enjoying conservatively 10 more events in which he or she otherwise could have participated.

The ninth time may be the charm for this event, but 100s (if not 1,000s) of us paying the $799 or $649 tuition for the organizers to obtain this corporate knowledge is too high a price. There no longer is a need to save me the aisle seat.

FESTIVAL SCHEDULE

The information on the festival website in October 2016 listed several films that would be shown and provided what turned out to be materially incomplete information regarding the manner in which people needed to line up during that event for tickets only to regularly run a risk of being denied entry to a screening or a celebrity presentation. The second post in this entry addresses this issue in depth.

Continuing with the analog theme of these posts, the organizers tantalize potential attendees with a menu of roughly 75 tempting ice cream flavors despite the organizers (but not festival first-timers) knowing that there is no way that attendees have a prayer of experiencing more than roughly 12 menu items. It seems that most folks would rather have a choice of 32 flavors and be able to enjoy 25 of them.

The response to this is "but ya can allow people to see more films, Blanche; ya can." The first simple solution is to abandon the festival practice of having pass holders line up for up to 90 minutes to have an excellent chance to attend a screening only to miss a second film or have to dash to another theater to repeat that three-hour or more process at the end of the first screening. Even the TCM network airs films in its televised festivals right in a row.

A prime example would be to have a triple-feature of festival films "Arsenic and Old Lace," "The Palm Beach Story," and the original "Born Yesterday." This would save festival goers roughly three hours in line. As an aside, your not-so-humble reviewer wanted to see all three films listed above (and MANY more) but saw nada in this trio thanks to the oft-mentioned poor planning.

A further enhancement would be to divide sub-categories of pass holders into groups named after old Hollywood directors. Examples would be Hitchcock, Capra, DeMille. etc. Each group would consist of no more people than the seating capacity of the smallest venue. A reasonable assumption that not everyone would attend every event SHOULD ensure that everyone can get a good seat for every screening or event that he or she wants to attend.

The only additional work for the organizers would be to place photos of the directors on the already color-coded tiered festival passes and print an adequate supply of each type of pass to meet the need. A simple example is that yours truly was one of the first purchasers of an orange-tinted Classic pass. Assuming that Hitchcock was the director for early birds (no pun intended), his visage with an orange background would be on my pass.

Using the above example of the triple feature, the festival could air it for Hitchcocks on Friday morning while DeMilles enjoy a triple feature of "Bonnie and Clyde," "The China Syndrome," and "The Graduate." These groups then would see the films that they missed on Friday on Saturday.

The largest logistical issue would be the availability of the celebrity who introduced the film. The solution would be to ensure that each group got to see at least one such luminary live and watch the recording of the one whom they missed.

The organizers could use this system but merge groups as feasible for screenings at the larger venues.

The festival workers dubbed "salmon-shirts" for their pinkish uniform ts already regulate entry to the events; asking them to further identify attendees by a photo on their badges does not require much more.

THE GREATER GOOD

Similar to the above analogy regarding the sporting event, the chance to see far more films and not have to arrive 90 minutes early out of concern of being denied entry vastly outweighs the marginal burden on the organizers.

Comments or questions regarding these preliminary thoughts on the festival are welcome as email or as tweets to @tvdvdguy.






'The Falls' DVD: Part One of Trilogy Considered Thinking Gay Man's 'Latter Days'




These thoughts regarding the breaking glass pictures DVD release of the 2012 drama "The Falls" continues this series of reviews on the gay-themed art-house films releases by breaking subsidiary QC Cinema and is the first of three posts on the "Falls" trilogy. This three parter will wrap up with covering the December 2016 release of "The Falls: Covenant of Grace."

The following YouTube clip of the "Falls" trailer is a well-presented introduction to the style and themes of the film.


This saga begins with 20 year-old good Mormon boy Elder RJ Smith preparing for the two-year mission that is a rite of passage for Latter Day Saints men of his age. This typically involves living with one or more peers and spending much of your time in the related activities of spreading the word about the Mormon faith and trying to convert new members.

This theme requires sharing the tale of an acquaintance of your not-so-humble reviewer using the promise of eternity in Heaven for both this scribe and his friends and family to join the faith. The immediate response (with no offense intended) was that I surely was covered because a relative or friend must be a Mormon. The conversation abruptly ended on that note.

Smith is assigned to a small town in Oregon to work with the more worldly Elder Chris Merrill. Merrill is a mission veteran and seems to have a good handle on every aspect of their work. One of most unpleasant elements of this is slightly older Elder Harris, who keeps a tight leash on the elders whom he manages.

Both Smith and Merrill are pleasant lads whose long white magic underwear that their faith requires is not the only indication of their previously sheltered lives. Nick Ferrucci and Benjamin Farmer respectively portray Smith and Merrill as unduly polite and quiet post-adolescents who consider just getting to watch mainstream television to be a thrill. They further initially seem to revel in leading a monastic lifestyle complete with pre-breakfast rigorous exercise and frequent praying.

The repression further comes through regarding clear signs of mutual sexual attraction; this begins with Merrill being jealous of a good Mormon girl with whom Smith engages in purely wholesome activity and Smith longingly looking at a dozing Merrill.

Things heat up when Merrill aggressively makes a welcome overt move on Smith; this leads to a physically and emotionally satisfying relationship during their missionary position. The impact of this includes the boys majorly slacking off regarding their work duties and further engaging in debauchery that is common among their less religious peers.

A suspicious Harris does his best to harsh the mellow of the boys. This includes trying to catch them in the midst of activity that one can reasonably interpret as something that the highly repressed Harris would enjoy. More certainty exists regarding Harris replacing the stick up his butt with another object doing him some good.

Enlightened viewers will feel for our boys and be glad that they have a chance to express themselves. Less open-minded folks will view the film as validating the evils of gay love including it being a gateway sin to other abominations. One spoiler is that there do not seem to be any scenes of Smith and Merrill committing the offense of drinking soda.

The next level of analysis revolves around the insight into the Mormon religion in "Falls." We learn the full reason that young Mormon men go on missions, the extent of the rules regarding male-female interaction, and more about the history of the religion, On the other side, a scene in which a non-believer challenges the boys provides detailed information regarding the disreputable side of founder Joseph Smith.

Going deeper, "Falls" illustrates the harm from unduly repressing teens. This further suggests that Mormons should consider replacing these missions with a practice similar to the Amish tradition of rumspringa, which involves young members of that faith experiencing the secular world before fulling committing to a lifetime of Amishness.

All of this makes "Falls" a great gateway "sin" regarding the other two films in the trilogy. You will want to know the extent to which Smith and Merrell reconcile their desires with their religious beliefs and whether their love endures tremendous challenges.








Friday, April 14, 2017

'Retake' DVD: Updated Post on Film About Paying the Price to Relive the Past



[EDITOR'S NOTES: This updated review is part of a series of posts on this film. The Nick and Tuc portion of this series consist of a published interview with star Tuc Watkins and an article on a chat with producer/director/writer Nick Corporon.

The original post on "Retake" primarily is for the theatrical release of the film. A recent watching of the DVD extras shows that these genuinely special features warrant the following updates to that review.]

Increasingly art-house gay-film oriented breaking glass pictures continues its run of releasing movies with central characters that are boys who like boys whose stories are relatable to everyone all along the Kinsey Scale with the topic du jour. The DVD release of this one hit actual and virtual store shelve on January 10, 2017. The beautiful Southwest scenery and the opportunity for a special date night make it a good choice for a cozy evening at home.

The universal theme this time is in the form of the titular do-over relating to a strong urge to put right what once went wrong. In that regard, "Retake" is similar to the recent (Unreal TV released) glass release "Lazy Eye" in which two men reunite 15 years after an abrupt and traumatic end to their love-at-first-sight relationship.

The following YouTube clip of the "Retake" trailer nicely highlights the retro look and stylistic approach of this film in which the past plays an integral role.


The current character study centers around middle-aged top-dog Jonathon, who comes to San Francisco as the first step in his process to resolve anxiety regarding an incident from roughly 20 years earlier. The literal partner-in-crime that he requires is a rent boy who can play the role of a past love.

An unnamed hustler passes the initial test and agrees to accompany Jonathon on a road trip to the Grand Canyon for the right price. The long dark hair and valley boy persona of this street boy that brings to mind an actor whose almost interchangeable early roles include a part in the awesome 1991 Gus Van Sant drama "My Own Private Idaho" earn this "Retake" character the name "Keanu" for purposes of this review.

"Desperate Housewives" star/soap actor Tuc Watkins does a good job as the distraught Jonathon whose quest for inner peace always gets thwarted. Textbook "the guy who was in that thing" character actor Devon Graye does equally well as the 20-something American gigolo who adopts whatever personality a customer requires in order to allow Keanu to avoid dealing with his own tortured past.

The clear (and of course ultimately violated) rules of the trip are that Keanu must never break character in the role play that Jonathon requires, must never ask Jonathon a personal question, and must always do everything that Jonathon tells him to do. The last rule leads to Keanu having the best lines in the film. He first asks if "everything" includes wearing a diaper and another specific humiliating act and then states his willingness to do so.

As is the case in every good film, "Retake" slowly reveals the full story regarding Jonathon wanting to go to exceptional extremes to recreate a road trip from his youth. Keanu becoming increasingly intrigued and embracing his role more fully is equally interesting.

The drama amps up as Keanu comes closer to the truth and to becoming more of his own true self as he bonds with Jonathon, who is still struggling with his past. This aspect of the film reflects the truth regarding any sexual role play that the individuals in the room really are not the characters whom they are portraying.

Although typically less dramatic than the circumstances in "Retake" (but often comparable to the events in "Eye,") most of us have the one who got away whom we never stop loving and would go to varying lengths to get back. Additionally, many of us are fortunate enough to find a forever someone with a spark of the person who gave us a special (but too short) period in our teens or 20s.

The update worthy special features include an interview with Watkins that is of particular personal interest regarding the parallels between this discussion and the aforementioned chat with Unreal TV. The new information includes Watkins characterizing "Retake" as a suspenseful love story and providing his witty perspective on a swimming pool skinny dipping scene that Corporon discusses in his interview with this site.

The involvement of Corporon in the extras includes hosting a "making-of" feature and doing a one-man Q & A at the Out on Film festival in Atlanta. The shaky hand-held camerawork on the latter evokes fond memories of the SyFy Channel remake of "Battlestar Galactica."

The more mature elements of the Q & A include Corporon discussing the good fortune in having Watkins and Graye mesh so well despite not meeting before the filming of "Retake" begins. Corporon also takes the fully grown "kids" in the audience to school in charmingly telling them that the two leads (who carry virtually all of the film) can communicate a great deal with their eyes and can adopt the persona of another person because that it was actors do.

A great "kids say the darndest things" moment has Corporon sharing the tale of co-star Kit Williamson hilariously ad libbing in a scene in which the character whom Williamson plans warns Keanu that Jonathan is a freak. A comparable moment involves an audience member who asks a very dark question visibly surprising Corporon.

The special features additionally include the Corporon written and directed short film "The Passenger." This one also has Graye playing a street-corner rent boy. One difference between this one and "Retake" is that the former has an even stronger live-stage vibe than the latter.

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









Thursday, April 13, 2017

'Resistance' DVD: Tale of WWII-Era German Occupation of English Countryside







The Film Movement March 7, 2017 DVD of the 2011 British drama "Resistance" is a nice viewing companion to the hit series "The Man in the High Castle" that the streaming service of a Seattle-based retailer makes available. The "what if" in this film based on the 2007 novel by the same name by Owen Sheers is that the D-Day invasion fails, allowing German forces to occupy England.

The following YouTube clip of the "Resistance" trailer offers a terrifically accurate sense of the film. This includes peeks at the artistic cinematography and the perfect soundtrack.




"Resistance" opens with scenes of the menfolk of a small English farming community heading out for parts undeclared. Their women discover that absence on waking the next morning and speculate that theirs husbands and sons have joined the titular group that operates against the Nazis. We do see that at least one scared lad named George (played by Iwan Rhoen of "Game of Thrones") definitely has taken up that cause. 

The third part of the equation is a German occupying force arriving on a quest for what is referred to merely as a map for much of the film; the absence of the men is of secondary importance.

The women coexist surprisingly well with their uninvited long-term guests, who are surprisingly congenial. Young wife Sarah (Andrea Riseborough of "Birdman") in particular strikes up a close relationship with German commanding officer Albrecht (Tom Wlaschia also  of "Game of Thrones.")

"Resistance" is worthy of inclusion of the Movement catalog of the best films from around the globe because it is an insightful character study of every main player in this story. The largest scope of this is the German soldiers being generally nice guys who are not real keen on Nazi principles and the village women not feeling a strong compulsion to actively repel these invaders. In fact, the level of cooperation becomes surprisingly high in the film.

For her part, Sarah greatly misses her absent husband Tom but enjoys the company of Albrecht. This creates great turmoil that extend beyond any elements of a romantic triangle. Sarah and her fellow women know that the British government prohibits collaboration and requires active resistance. However, the circumstances in the village do not call for such active hostility.

For his part, Albrecht develops any increasing sense of Stockholm Syndrome as he becomes closer to both Sarah and the other women. A larger aspect of this is becoming their protector against far less compassionate German troops.

George is an even more interesting character. We see his progression from the rawest of recruits to facing the toughest rite of passage. No character communicates the harsh realities of war as well as he does.

The most realistic/wonderful element of this is that this is not your grandfather's WWII war flick. This is not a tale of stalwart allied forces heroically prevailing over pure evil German foes while the American and/or British women bravely keep the home fires burning and/or suffer horrible fates at the hands of the Germans.

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








Wednesday, April 12, 2017

'Downriver' DVD: Aussie Outcast Coming of Age



Lovers of international art-house cinema owe breaking glass pictures large thanks for the DVD release of the 2015 Australian drama "Downriver." The strong writing, directing, and performances of this indie film demonstrates that multiplexes deprive American audiences of the best stuff out there.

The trademark breaking edge this time comes from 18 year-old James being released from roughly 10 years in juvie for his still-undetermined role in the drowning of a young boy in a river near where the family of James has a cabin. Much of the still intense community hatred directed at James relates to never recovering the body of the boy and to a strong suspicion that sexual assault is an element of the death.

The following YouTube clip of the "Downriver" trailer offers a good primer on the story and the understated style of this exceptional film.


"Downriver" beginning soon before James is being paroled is standard for character studies of men (and women) adjusting to the real world after an extended unfortunate incarceration; the opening scene in which the still-grieving mother of the dead boy seeks closure from James is not. James lovingly cuddling with his cellie on the evening before the release of the former contributes additional sensitivity and depth.

The combination of the meeting with the mother of the victim and his own need for the missing piece of the puzzle regarding the drowning prompts James to return to the scene of the incident despite that violating a restraining order regarding incident witness/former buddy Anthony. This roughly coincides with James reuniting with his mother, whose conflicted feelings regarding her son prevent allowing him to live with her.

James initially maintains his established cover and forms a friends with benefits relationship with the boy next door, who subsequently gets actively swept up in the underlying drama. James also soon reunites with Anthony, who also obtains benefits from the new friend of James. This reunion further quickly suggests that Anthony is the real culprit regarding the decade-old drowning. Much of the suspense relates to the full circumstances of the drowning and the fate of the body. The audience additionally gets a strong sense of separate intrigue regarding the family of Anthony that that clan will go to great lengths to keep hidden.

The mystery surrounding the drowning and James persevering in his related searches for the truth and for redemption is enough to make "Downriver" worth watching. The additional depiction of homosexual activity being loving and fully consensual in juvie and being used to exert a complicated mix of dominance and control in the real world adds uniqueness to the depth (no pun intended) and symbolism of the film. This supports the theory that sexual activity can be about more than expressing love or satisfying a physical need for those acts.

On a larger level, "Downriver" is similar to the equally special (Unreal TV reviewed) breaking DVD release of the Lucas Till drama "Sins of Our Youth." That one has four Las Vegas teens dealing with the fallout from an accidental killing of a neighborhood boy. Both films provide good insight into the mind (and the feral nature) of the adolescent male. Another comparison is that James portrayor Reef Ireland has much of the same brooding quality that Till exhibits in "Sins."

Ireland shines just as brightly in one of the two bonus shorts that are standard (but above average) in breaking DVD releases. "The Wilding" by "Downriver" writer/director Grant Scicluna can be considered a prequel to "Downriver." The role of Ireland in this one is a juvie inmate who is offered parole at the expense of throwing his cellie/boyfriend under the bus. This one illustrates the brutally feral behavior of boys who are experiencing unfortunate incarcerations.

Scicluna offers a kinder and gentler approach to teen boy love in "Neon Skin." This is a nice tale of the growing intimacy between a straight sighted boy and his blind gay friend. Seeing that the blind guy has game is entertaining.

Other extras include a 40-minute series of interviews with former cub scout Scicluna and his cast and crew and deleted scenes from "Downriver."

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Downriver" or the shorts is strongly encouraged to email me; you alternatively can connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.









Monday, April 10, 2017

Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek' DVD: Documentary on Gulfport Residents to Keep Heads Above Water



Bullfrog Films and Icarus Films once again prove that they are the dynamic duo of documentaries regarding the Icarus February 28, 2017 DVD release of the 2013 Bullfrog film "Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek." This film depicts the effort of Boston transplant Derrick Evans to save his ancestral home and community in Gulfport, Mississippi.

The following YouTube clip of a promo. for "Water" illustrates the depressing state of affairs that prompt Evans to put his life on hold to try to put right what once went wrong.


The strong ties that bind Evans to the Turkey Creek area of Mississippi begin with being the direct descendant of two of the four families that consist of former slaves who build a town in wetlands near Gulfport during the Reconstruction Era. Additionally, the home of the great-grandfather of Evans still stands. "Water" further tells how urban sprawl leads to Turkey Creek becoming part of Gulfport.

Evans learning that the impact of constructing an apartment building includes bulldozing graves in an old Turkey Creek graveyard prompts him to take an open-ended unpaid leave from teaching history in Boston to address the issues facing Turkey Creek.

Documentarian Leah Mahan shows that the primary threat that Turkey Creek faces is a sense by the Gulfprort municipal government that virtually every desire for development outweighs the priorities and/or needs of the working-class black residents of Turkey Creek. This callous disregard extends to continuing to fill in the wetlands after doing so creates flooding.

A scene in which the Gulfport mayor meets with the Turkey Creek community is one of the most upsetting in the film. This elected official begins with describing his visit as a "safari" and jokes that he knows that the assembled crowd would like to lynch him. This racist bastard stops just short of serving watermelon. It is equally sad that the people of Turkey Creek are so accustomed to such statements that they do not prompt a response.

Another specific battle that Evans joins (and that postpones returning to Boston) stems a large developer planning to build on the wetlands despite knowing the devastating environmental impact of a project of the proposed scale.

Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil disaster pile more woes on the people of Turkey Creek. Mahan additionally shows how governmental action worsens a catastrophic situation. This truly is a case in which the expression "I'm from the government; I'm here to help" is one of the three biggest lies around. The fellow whopper "The check is in the mail" also applies.

The better news is that Evans and Mahan call attention to the challenges facing Turkey Creek before it becomes a 21st century Atlantis, This pair additionally shows that the good guys occasionally win.

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






Sunday, April 9, 2017

'F**k the Disabled' DVD: A Harlem-Dwelling Gay Man with Cerebral Palsy's Tales of the City



The following musings regarding the 2002 DVD release of "F**k the Disabled" (nee "Keeping It Real: The Adventures of Greg Walloch") by breaking glass pictures division Picture This! proves that the scope of breaking providing edgy gay-themed productions extends beyond the recent era of nationwide marriage equality and repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy of the military. In other words, Rich and Richard who own and operate breaking truly earn the label of "fierce."

The following YouTube video of the (not-such great video quality) trailer for "Disabled" provides a great sense of the wit and wisdom of Walloch.


"Disabled" is a documentary/concert/skit film about stand-up comedian Greg Walloch. The characteristics that primarily provide fodder for the humor of this millennial are that he is gay, has cerebral palsy, and is a (mostly) baby-faced white man living in Harlem.

The title of the film nicely reflects the 'tude of this California transplant and provides a good context for understanding the concept of the production. This story begins with Walloch explaining during a performance that a female friend insensitively asks him if he is gay because his cerebral palsy precludes women sleeping with him. This inspires Walloch to think up the titular concept of female volunteers sleeping with handicapped men to prevent those guys from turning gay. This includes one of the short films that comprise the skits that provide the third element of the movie.

A similar but even more amusing bit has Walloch doing a live-stage parody of the Sally Struthers "Save the Children" campaign. The Walloch slant solicits donors to sponsor literacy education for muscular studs who are young, dumb, and full of a particular bodily fluid. Stephen Baldwin of the entertainingly cheesy homoerotic '90s film "Threesome" shines as program beneficiary Biff. Other memorable cameos include married comedy legends Anne Meara and Jerry Stiller. (Learning which one invites Walloh to grab his or her ass requires watching the film.)

Arguably the most amusing bit of the film is Walloch sharing his reaction to hearing straight men from his Harlem neighborhood discussing performing oral sex as a requirement for getting drugs. Stating that Walloch observes that this shows that he has been missing out is not much of a spoiler.

The documentary portion of "Disabled" largely consists of footage of Walloch doing just fine walking around New York. His narrative during his daily life includes discussing the extent to which he embellishes the truth in his act. A scene in which he finds humor from taking inordinately long to make it to a stage nicely showcases his attitude toward his condition.

The audience further meets the parents of Walloch. Both his discussion of his mother and her attitude toward her son makes many gay men wish that she was his mom. We further meet the brother of Greg, who shares an amusing aspect of the coming out of his sibling.

The lack of any sensationalism is the best part of this comprehensive look at the art of a performer with an unusual perspective. Other than walking with two canes, Walloch looks and acts like most of the rest of us. Further, the Harlem-related stories mostly are more low-key than expected.

The aforementioned attitudes of Walloch regarding the impacts of his sexual orientation, his upbringing, his cerebral palsy, and his voluntary choice of residentce contribute to the uniqueness that warrant the making of "Disabled." Devoting 90 minutes to witnessing it will enhance your attitude for a lifetime.

breaking provides a true special feature in the form of a amusing deleted scene from the act of Walloch in which he describes auditioning for a role on "Sesame Street." The spoiler this time is that Walloch notes that a casting couch limit that he imposes on himself may be a factor in the outcome of that meeting.

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







Friday, April 7, 2017

'The Mafia Kills Only in Summer' DVD: Real-life Golden Boy Pif Tells Us Picture It, Sicily; 1970s



The expanded focus of distributor of "provocative" documentaries Icarus Films into European fictional films continues with the April 11, 2017 DVD release of the 2104 Italian absurd (in a good sense) comedy "The Mafia Kills Only in the Summer." Icarus makes this charming "based on actual events" tale of hits in Palermo. Sicily available on the heels of the Icarus release of the equally good (Unreal TV reviewed) 2013 French drama "Just A Sigh."

The 15 (mostly for best picture) wins for "Mafia" show that writer/director/star Pierfrancesco Dilberto (a.k.a. TV host/political comedian Pif) is a true triple threat with an exceptional grasp of classic Italian cinema. Pif cleverly uses the concept of the fictionalized autobiography of young hero Arturo to recount the history of the mafia in Palermo from the '70s through the '90s. Demonstrating the same appeal as other tales of eccentric characters and precious tykes from that part of the world greatly enhances the enjoyment of the film.

The spoilers in the following YouTube clip of the "Mafia" trailer include explaining the significance of the title of the film while showcasing the aforementioned charm and the humor that comes in a wide spectrum of shades of gray.


Pif begins his film-long narration of "Mafia" by explaining that the schoolboy crush of Arturo on classmate Flora greatly outlasts their time in a Catholic elementary school. He then introduces the also film-long element of the parallels between the life of Arturo and actual mafia hits and other criminal activity. This makes Arturo the Jessica Fletcher of Palermo in that judges, police officials, and others who have the dual whammies of crossing the mob and interacting with Arturo end up getting killed in a theatrically spectacular manner.

The connection begins with adult Arturo telling how a hit in the same building where his newly married parents are celebrating their honeymoon period leads to his father impregnating his mother. This highly charming early portion of the film also recounts how the people of Palermo turn blind eyes to the copious hits around therm and the related white lies that the parents of Arturo tell their son to appease him. One of the most memorable fabrications leads our hero to believe that love leads to ending up with your brains exiting your skull at a tremendous velocity.

The best scenes in this terrific film relate to the wonder years of our hero. This is the period in which Arturo meets Flora and becomes interested in the journalism career that drives much of the action in the second half of "Mafia." The lad becoming obsessed with then Premier Giulio Andreotti to the same degree that other boys make a member of the DC or Marvel universe an integral part of their lives is a  memorable example of the combination of reel and real-life in the film.

One of the aforementioned law-enforcement officials who get gunned down plays a more direct role in the life of Arturo in that this Italian equivalent of a doughnut-loving cop introduces Arturo to the pastry that plays an important role in his courtship of Flora. This grade-school seduction has additional importance in that it also teaches Arturo that is highly unjust that all is fair in love and war.

Both the mafia and Flora continue to play roles in the life of Arturo as he matures from the animated sperm that we see early in the film to the narrator whom we meet at the beginning of this docudrama. The prominent father of Flora also becoming a person of interest in the film is an aspect of this "all grown up" portion of the film.

Pif deserves special praise for how he wraps up this fable. A charming recap of the events of the film that is very true to its spirit makes us want to see what is next for the citizens of Palermo.

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