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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Danish/Swedish 'The Bridge' S3 DVD: The Saga Continues

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This awesome DVD set from Australia will not play in a standard U.S. player; you need a "must-own" international player to watch it.]

Each newly viewed season of a television program from the Madman Entertainment series "Nordic Noir" DVD releases enhances hope that Madman will obtain the rights to enough of these shows to keep the series going. Communication with Madman partner-in-Nordic Noir series DVDs Hi-Gloss Entertainment are cause for hope of an increased supply of these releases on which this site is high.

This current post on the third and final season of the original Danish/Swedish version of "The Bridge" follows a post on the third and final season of the "The Killing" that inspires both this genre overseas and the United States versions.

The numerous accolades for "Bridge" over its three-season run including several U.K. awards for best International TV Drama is not surprising. It is surprising that star Sofia Helin does not get nearly as much individual love for her portrayal of awesomely damaged and caustic Malmo, Sweden police detective Saga Noren. Once can imagine Saga reacting to such rejection with a twitch of her always sour face and an order for one of her highly competent team-members to mind their own business.

Though "Killing" and "Bridge" are tough acts to follow, Madman succeeds in doing so with the 2015 Norwegian series "Occupied" by Jo Nesbo of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" fame. This one has Russia conducting the titular governance of Norway for allegedly benevolent reasons. The Unreal TV review of the  recent Madman S1 DVD release of "Occupied"  is scheduled for late September 2016.

"Bridge" S3 returns to its S1 roots in very quickly opening with discovering a creepy tableau of a dead woman staged around a dinner table with equally grotesque mannequins of an adult man, a girl, and a boy. As in the other two seasons, brusque but highly competent Saga is called on the case.

The Danish connection that prompts teaming Saga up with one of Copenhagen's finest is that the victim Helle Anker is Danish; Saga ending the second season on bad terms with partner-in-crime solving Martin requires that she work with a new partner from the ranks of a force that dislikes her for the action behind that parting of the ways.

This initially leads to pairing Saga with Hanne, who is hilariously more abrasive and insensitive than Saga. This character having much too short a tenure is compensated for in the form of her successor Henrik Sabroe. This more subtlety sick puppy having ulterior motives for working with Saga creates good perverse fun.

The early  S3 episodes of "Bridge" also continue the tradition of the show of centering the season-long murder investigation around a societal issue. In this case, the killing of Helle seems linked to her being lesbian who is a vocal advocate for gender neutrality with a focus on freeing children from living according to traditional gender roles. A subsequent murder victim being a priest who openly and proudly performs same-sex wedding ceremonies is the first indication of a pattern.

The early prime suspect is wonderfully unbalanced upper-middle-class mother Lise Friis Andersen. This woman spends a great deal of her seemingly abundant free time recording video blogs (or vlogs as Saga correctly but abrasively notes) that harshly criticize non-traditional values. The very public harsh words of Lise regarding Helle and the priest not long before the demise of each is strong evidence that something is rotten in the state of Denmark regarding her.

Another early victim having a very personal connection with Saga amps up the drama and is a major factor in Saga approaching her cracking point. The mother of Saga returning to haunt her and to exact a very Shakespearean style revenge after a 20-year estrangement is the straw that really causes the back of our favorite spitting camel to buckle. The aforementioned brilliant job by Helin is what makes Saga sympathetic throughout this extended ordeal.

The "Bridge" writers skilfully tie in Lise with the business of her husband, which the writers just as ably connect up with another businessman who seems more integral to the case and has ties to intense drama regarding his former business partner. Other characters with integral roles to play include an attractive young gambling addict/dope, a baby mommy, a psychotic funeral director, etc.

Each of these individuals (included our unsung heroes) further illustrate how easily someone can get caught up in the system. "Bridge" makes its seem not entirely implausible that the death of your high-school bully 20 years after that intense torment or the co-worker with whom you have constant conflict being found dead under mysterious circumstances can prompt a real-life counterpart of Saga to pound on your door. For the record, your not-so-humble reviewer was home alone watching a DVD for this site that night.

S3 further does an even better job than the prior excellent seasons regarding maintaining a fast pace as the exceptionally prolific madman (no pun intended) with an evil mind behind the particularly psychotic killings is identified and actively pursued in the final episodes. The final confrontation further presents Saga with a very realistic dilemma that is a major part of her S3 journey.

This season also follows the pattern of good modern shows of ending on a note that serves as both a satisfying program finale and a starting point for an additional season. In this case, fans should rally around demands for "three seasons and a movie." (Yes, Sofia; I see your facial contortion and hear you say "It is a television series, not a film franchise.")

Anyone with even an iota of curiosity regarding "Bridge" is implored to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

'Flytrap' VOD: Gilligan, the Skipper & all the Rest Three Days in the Valley

The unexpected copy of the wonderfully perverse 2016 scifi-horror-comedy "Flytrap" effectively arriving in a plain-brown wrapper a few days ago both is right within the spirit of the film and provides a good chance to be one of the cool kids who discovers this movie before folks who find it on their favorite VOD platform spread the word. The wonderful cult premise of an actual professor who stumbles on a house in the San Fernando Valley whose inhabitants live out a perverse version of "Gilligan's Island" evokes thoughts of the classic "The X Files" episode involving a recreation of "The Brady Bunch." (That is not to say that the "Files" episode revolving around "The Andy Griffith Show" also is not special.)

The scads o' festival recognition for this entertaining blending of genres includes the Best Film Award at the Chelsea Film Festival, the Best Non-European Dramatic Feature Award at the ECU European Independent Film Festival, and three awards (including one for talented Hawaiian shirt clad "Gilligan/real-life righteous PR dude Jonah Blechman) at the Los Angeles Independent Film Festival Awards.

The following YouTube clip of the spoiler-containing trailer for "Flytrap" nicely fills its role of providing a tempting taste of the film. In this case, the narration by the lead character and a sample of the very apt closing credits song are very effective.

The aforementioned professor is Englishman Pond, James Pond who is newly arrived in the United States for a teaching position at a prominent California institution of higher learning. He lands in New York with plans for more than a three-hour driving tour across America. He arrives at his destination only to to begin his adventure with a fateful request for assistance at the suburban house of horrors.

In true Hitchcock style, the terror is based (literally in this case) at the house next door. On meeting Mary Ann, Pond innocently jokes about her having the same name as the Kansas farm girl from the aforementioned classic '60s sitcom.

The fun kicks into higher gear when Pond accepts the repeated sweet offers to "reproduce," and  this good-time gal ambiguously suggests that she is from another planet. This is not to mention the mounting evidence that the Skipper is real, is in charge, and is more of an other from the "Lost" rather than  the beloved sitcom jolly fat man.

The cautionary aside this time is that the literal psychopath next door once knocking on the door of your not-so-humble reviewer with an offer to "make love" as thanks for programming a universal remote control shows that it can happen to you. The response to this offer that anyone can easily refuse was telling of a need to wait for a phone call and an insincere offer of "maybe later."

Pond also soon learns that he is on a mission from Skipper to knock up Mary Ann for the good of mankind. He additional experiences a hybrid Stockholm Syndrome/fellow traveler complex that results in bonding with the small-town girl next door.

Much of the great action revolves around the (of course) Gilligan-thwarted efforts to escape from the "island." One of the best involves particularly sadistic use of a dog-training collar.

"Flytrap" amps up the old school vibe of the film with the elements of air-vent communication with a fellow captive, the frantic friend concerned about Pond, and the (possibly temporary) turning of the tables. Neo existential aspects come into play regarding the final scenes.

This all adds up to showing what one can do with with a very limited budget, a friend with a house in the Valley, and an excellent team in-front of and behind the camera with senses of humor that rival their commitment to producing a commercially viable alternative to the latest superhero epic in which the fight scenes and the exposition share equal time.

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

Monday, August 29, 2016

'Henry and Me' VOD Animated 'Field of Dreams' for Yankees Fans

Reveal Animation awesomely channels '90s-era basic cable cartoons regarding the recently out on VOD ahead of a World Series-coordinated October DVD release 2014 animated movie "Henry & Me." The charming fable tells the tale of titular "me" All-American tween with cancer/die-hard Yankees fan going on a figuratively and literally fantastic journey during an operation. The titular Henry, voiced by Richard Gere, is a fellow Yankees fanatic who transports the lad throughout time to meet his pinstripe heroes. The inclusion of despised former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner is the most puzzling aspect of this fairy tale.

The following YouTube clip of the "Henry" trailer provides a good look at both the sense and the sensibility of the film.

The aforementioned retro vibe relates to the very vivid mid-quality computer graphics and "message" aspect of the film. The inclusion of many other cool voices, including Cyndi Lauper as a sassy but sweet nurse, further reflects this era in which "The Simpsons" first makes voicing characters cool for big stars.

The Yankees (and voice stars) that Jack meets when he is whisked from the operating table to fulfill his wildest dreams and to learn that he can do so much more than he thinks that he is able so long as he tries includes Babe Ruth (Chazz Palminteri), Thurmon Munson (Paul Simon), and Reggie Jackson (Reggie Jackson). Classic TV fans get the treat of Lucie Arnaz as the voice of Jack's mother,. 

The tremendous charm of the film relates to Jack being a typically cynical 21st century kid who is skeptical regarding the bill of goods that the magical Henry is selling. Seeing his awe when proven wrong is great fun, and watching Henry rapidly try out looks from many eras on our hero is hilarious. The true spirit and dedication of both the players and their fans is equally entertaining.

Although quite hokey, "Henry" pulls this off in the same manner that makes Hallmark Channel films entertaining. There is plenty of heart but not so much sweetness that it triggers a coronary event. Saying that it is a true family film with incredibly broad appeal is not an understatement.

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

Saturday, August 27, 2016

'My Love, Don't Cross That River' DVD: Greatest Love Story Ever Told


The only fault regarding the Film Movement theatrical and DVD releases of the uber-awesome 2014 South Korean documentary "My Love, Don't Cross That River" lies with your not-so-humble reviewer. A series of circumstances (mostly under the control of said dope) is behind not timely posting this review closer to the early August 2016 theatrical release of "Love."

This high regard for "Love" reflects the same universal themes in that film that exist regarding virtually every (mostly foreign) movie in the Movement catalog. The Korean subjects of the film easily could be the nice retired couple next door to you.

Fans of good documentaries, romances, comedies, drama, etc should scour their local movie listings to see if this once-in-a-lifetime film is still playing in your area. If that ship has sailed, members of the uber-fantabulous (mostly foreign) Movement Film of the Month Club will enjoy a September 1, 2016 DVD release of "Love." Everyone else must wait for the general DVD release on October 4, 2016.

Folks who do not have the option of seeing "Love" on the big screen and are facing a roughly six-week wait for the DVD can get their fix for quality Korean cinema by watching the (Unreal TV reveiwed) "Sea Fog." This drama from the producer of the spectacular drama "Snowpiercer" tells the compelling tale of a fishing boat captain driven to transporting illegal aliens with catastrophic results.

The following YouTube clip of the "Love" trailer showcases the heart and humor that warrant the raves for the film.

The publicity material from Movement shares that this labor of love is the result of documentarian Moyoung Jin devoting 15 months to capturing the lives of happily married senior-senior citizens Byong-man Jo and his wife of 76 years Gye-Yeul Kang. These materials also share that "Love" has the distinction of being the most successful independent film in South Korea. International acclaim includes winning the Documentary Award at the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Audience Award at the Moscow International Film Festival.

Virtually all of "Love" consists of capturing the daily activities that in turn capture the clear deep love of our subjects. An early scene has Gye-Yeul good-naturedly complaining about the difficulty of sweeping up leaves to have her husband tell her that he will do it. This soon leads to this 90-something man playfully initiating a leaf fight.

Other adventures for this couple that delights in dressing alike include a seniors' picnic, a romp in the snow, and an amusingly bizarre serenade.

We soon hear the story that Gye-Yeul is 14 when she learns that 19 year-old Byong-man is selected to be her husband; the extent to which this is an arranged marriage, rather than the result of a conclusion that Byong-man merely is a suitable husband, is unclear. The audience also is told that Byong-man is an exceptional gentleman both during his courtship and after getting married.

Other notable aspects of the lives of this couple is that they have had 12 children and love those who die young as much as the living ones with whom they have enviable relationships. One of the most charming scenes has the "kids" come for a holiday visit; the award for most relatable scene involves an entertaining argument during a birthday party for Gye-Yeul.

The other stars of "Love" are two cute little dogs named Freebie and Kiddo; each of the these individuals have stories with strong emotional content.

The larger story is the realizations of our couple that the end is near for both of them and that Byong-man is likely going to be the first to go. Gye-Yeul seemingly being more concerned about how her husband will cope with the afterlife until she gets there than about how she will cope in this existence during that interim is very moving. This topic also provides Westerners fascinating insight into the religious beliefs of these old folks.

Everything the above paragraphs discuss and the tons o' delights to discover on watching "Love" make it truly "must-see" if only because you will see yourself and/or others in your life in the film.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Love" is implored to email or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy if doing so will help push you to see this film.

Friday, August 26, 2016

'Liebmann' DVD: Character Study of Troubled Gay German in Rural France

The August 2016 addition of the gay-themed art-house film "Liebmann" to the DVD catalog of (mostly foreign) films from tla video subsidiary tla releasing is notable for uniquely focuses much more on the art-house, rather than the gay, aspect of the film. The titular teacher from France Antek Liebmann visits a new town in the French countryside to escape the trauma of his past life.

The artistic nature of the film is apparent from the prologue that also can be considered the epilogue. This scene making footage of a peacock wandering about is an early clue that "Liebmann" ain't a Zack Snyder joint. The extended silent scenes that highlight the surrounding countryside throughout the film add extra value by evoking thoughts of legendary Belgian documentarian Chantal Akerman.

Like all good dramas, the intensity starts out low. Liebmann arrives in the small town only to have the intrusive locals soon try to learn more about him. The most assertive of the group is next-door neighbor/single mother Genevieve. However, these French people do not have a way of getting that German to talk.

Much of the humor comes in the form of this unwelcome welcome wagon annoying our anti-hero. A great example of this is Genevieve and her older boss and his wife making Liebmann a dinner offer that he cannot refuse. The meal itself is a feast for lovers of dark humor.

The more subtle advances of scruffy and cute Sebastian, who is a customer at the antiques store where Liebmann works, have better success. The initial climax regarding their relationship makes the 10 euros that the former pays the latter to accompany him home a very good investment.

Other drama comes in the form of the dangers of going into the woods (a.k.a. "The Forest"); suffice it to say that some locals go in but do not come out. The impact of this on Liebmann becomes clearer as the film progresses. The ripple effect of these events also affects the aforementioned town folk.

Heavier drama comes in the forms of a surprise visitor for Liebmann shaking things up for him and his new community, another community being discovered, and the final scenes of the film being very true to the themes and the style of it.

On a larger level, releasing making a highly artistic (and minimally erotic) film such as "Liebmann" available to the DVD public reflects a great commitment to art over commerce that makes this movie a rare treat in 2016 and releasing an even rarer film industry company for actively supporting such a venture.

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

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

'Monster Beach' DVD: Animated Tween Horror Comedy Beach Movie

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This totally tubular animated beach movie satire from Australia will not play in a standard U.S. player; watching it requires a way radical international player.]

Spectacular Australia-based home video company Madman Entertainment once again awesomely ventures where American companies fear to tread regarding the June 2016 DVD release of the 2014 Cartoon Network animated movie "Monster Beach." The best way of thinking about this film is that it a cross between the young sibling-oriented supernatural-themed Disney Channel series "Gravity Falls" and the groovy '60s surfer movies.

Things get off to a great start on learning that the sister and the brother who are spending the summer with their uncle Woody at the titular surfers' paradise are named after the '60s Beach Boys clone Jan and Dean. We learn just as quickly that Jan is a stereotypical surly older sister who does not want to be there and Dean is a typically hyper-active and annoying positive younger brother who is having the time of his life.

After a few kid-friendly low-key scary moments that set the stage for the main action, the kids meet the fun-loving Groovy Ghoulies style surf-oriented creatures that are the basis for the name of the titular beach. This first contact soon leads to a performance of the rocking theme song set to awesomely frantic action.

Discovering the secret of their temporary home leads the kids to talk to Uncle Woody, who explains the unfortunate circumstances behind the present state of the beach. Suffice it to say that it involves a misuse of magical power fueled by both greed and revenge.

A new threat to the mellow vibe that still permeates the beach comes in the form of the efforts of surf-related theme parks developer Butterfield. This hybrid of Walt Disney and Donald Trump effectively makes a deal with devil to obtain Monster Beach as the site for his latest project. Whether he gets away with it depends on the success of the efforts of those meddling kids to stop him.

Of course, this would not be a mainstream kids' movie without a few lessons thrown in. A desire to keep spoilers to a minimum requires limiting the discussion of these morals to stating that they involve the classics of tolerance and not being uptight.

Om a larger level, the delay in posting this review prevents watching it at the beginning of the summer but allows getting in time for a bodacious end-of-the-summer viewing. Party on Dudes!

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

Monday, August 22, 2016

'The Walking Dead' S6 BD: Symbol-Laden 21st-Century Western

  • The Walking Dead, Season 6
The August 23, 2106 Anchor Bay Entertainment Blu-ray and DVD releases of the 16-episode Season 6 of the zombietastic AMC series "The Walking Dead" provides a chance to prepare for the October 23, 2016 (rather than October 16 as the S6 packaging states) AMC S7 premiere.

The exceptional quality even for Blu-ray of this set makes paying a few extra bucks to buy it in this format a no-brainer (pun intended). The sharp picture literally makes every highly visible tear and bead of sweat shine; the crystal-clear sound enhances the intensity as the zombie moans and background music build up and makes the contrast of the ensuing silence that much stronger.

This season is notable as well for greatly enhancing the post-apocalyptic dystopia vibe of this series in which the living must battle both the massive hordes of titular zombies and human enemies who do not hesitate to threaten, kill, and torture to obtain what they mistakenly believe they have a right to possess. The timing of this in an era in which America is horribly divided along ethnic and class lines and in which we lack any acceptable choice for president is perfect. Additional apt symbolism comes in the form of genuine eye-for-an-eye justice, one character regularly wearing an "old timey" Western hat, a motorcycle gang (SO AWESOMELY) literally becoming Hell's Angels, etc.

The relatively slow early S6 episodes has some of the wandering group of survivors led by former local lawman Rick taking refuge in the fortified wall community of Alexandria, Virginia. Meanwhile, this peacekeeper and several core members of his group are starting the most creepy cattle drive ever. This relates to the imminent threat of a herd of zombies breaking through their pen requiring taking them on an extended road trip to the walls of Alexandria. As in an actual Old West cattle drive, stragglers create serious threats. 

This journey further can be compared to the thinning of the buffalo herds and the Trail of Tears that is behind a horrible decimation of the Native American population.

These episodes quickly give way to entries that easily surpass the "one more" test to saying "we have to watch the next one; tomorrow is not a school night" and having awesome late-nightish marathon (rather than binge) sessions this past weekend. 

The first human threat comes in the form of the DC-area marauders The Wolves creating mayhem from within the walls of Alexandria; regarding the extent to which resistance is futile requires watching the episodes. 

One spoiler is that the Wolf Pack attack triggers an existential crisis for long-term survivor Morgan and provides the basis for a story arc involving him and fellow been-there-from-the-start good Christian (and abused) housewife Carol. The spoiler this time is that Carol awesomely ultimately first unleashes her inner Tarantino and then channels Thelma and Louise.

More mayhem ensues following an aforementioned episode-ending that prompts the aforementioned "school night" remark and leads to zombies running amok in what was once an upscale DC suburb. Needless to say, any calm that is restored after this is short-lived.

The events that lead to the awesomely tense and intense S6 cliffhanger (the fantabulous extended version of which is on the BD bonus disc) begin with Rick and long-time (platonic) companion Darryl (whose brother is not named Darryl or Larry) finding their own personal Jesus while seeking badly needed supplies; a series of events that follow leads to a Old West story arc in which Rick agrees to help a community that a stronger group is coercing into giving it half of its goods "or else." This ultimately leads to what is very close to an actual road trip from Hell and a treat in the form of the appearance of Jeffrey Dean Morgan, whose many roles include a perfect portrayal of John Winchester on "Supernatural."

Rick's now teen son Carl and high school style drama involving that boy, his rebellious girl, and his oh-so-Shakesepearean bud contribute additional angst to a series that drips with it. The fact that Rick is responsible for the death of the father of the bud is only part of it.

S6 additionally is the season of the death of an uber-favorite and the revisiting of that arc a few episodes later that is the root of mayhem among "Dead" fans. Both developments have such a strong impact that the typically stoic semi-domesticated partner of your not-so-humble reviewer reacts strongly on viewing the death.

Another lesson regarding the popularity of "Dead" characters relates to discovering the surprising appeal of newcomer Denise the doctor. Disdain for this woman prompting a pre-review tweet expressing a desire that the zombies get this annoying whiny doctor, who seems more apt for being a nursery school teacher (or student) than a physician, apparently coming at the cost of several Twitter followers is the first clue. Media reports, which still do not cause regret chants of "zombie chow" while watching episodes in which Denise ventures out for medical supplies, that criticize her coming to a degree of harm also show the unexpected love for this annoying and whiny juvenile adult. 

The award for best casting must go to Alicia Witt, formerly of "Law and Order: Criminal Intent" and several other prime time NBC dramas, as twisted survivor Paula who awesomely channels her dark and moody teen Zoey from the mid-90s CBS Monday Night sitcom "Cybill." One can easily imagine Zoey becoming just like Paula in a world in which zombies and equally hostile pre-dead individuals roam the earth.

The aforementioned extended episode is only the tip of the iceberg regarding the plethora of extras that require their own disc. An incomplete list of these awesome featurettes includes one on the character of Morgan, "Guts and Glory" about the death of a character, and a "making of " documentary. These extras and the episodes themselves will be behind scads o' high school fan boys dozing off during the first days of school; do not worry, nothing important ever happens in school before Labor Day.

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

Saturday, August 20, 2016

'Puzzled Love' DVD: One of Top 100 Film Movement Releases

The nature of the August 2, 2016 Film Movement DVD release of the 2011 Spanish modern romance drama "Puzzled Love" makes it being the one that got away hilariously apt. A suitable "wacky misunderstanding" is behind thinking that "Love" is a late August 2016 release. The better news is that "Love" earns a spot in the Top 100 Movement DVD releases.

"Love" charts the rocky romance between exchange college students Lucas and Sun during their year studying in Barcelona. The clever twist this time is that this quasi-real-time film is divided into segments that chronologically begin in the August at the start of the academic year and finish the following July; different directors take (sometimes wildly varying) approaches to the story. The best examples of this are the "Real World Barcelona" style August segment being fairly straightforward with good touches of humor, the September segment being more sitcom-style complete with a laugh track and multiple amusing incidents of being caught naked, and the (most innovative) January segment making awesomely artistic use of a split screen.

"Love" opens with our couple saying a tearful goodbye at the airport at the end of their studies in Barcelona; we then are taken back to the previous August where we see Sun and Lucas experience dislike at first sight. They are competing for the vacant room at the apartment that is the center of roughly 85-percent of the action throughout the film; this segment additionally clearly establishes that Sun is the boss.

The romance develops through the fall, and the November segment involves an especially well directed and acted story in which the American boyfriend of Sun visits. Our couple subsequently break down another wall that separates them only to later experience drama related to knowing that their relationship has a known (and fairly strict) expiration date. An additional segment depicts the best makeup sex ever.

The related impact and appeal of this modern love story are attributable to puppy dogish Marcel Borras and more stoic/aggressive Saras Gil playing their parts well. The scenes in which the heart of Lucas is breaking has the same effect on the audience, and we know that Sun doing her Jo Polniaczek act includes both those characters having hearts of silver under their tough exteriors.

On the proverbial larger level, "Love" stands out because it is experimental cinema that succeeds. Each segment flows together nicely in a manner that shows that the director of the "month" has a good understanding of both the characters and the the styles of the other 12 directors in the same manner that modern interpretations of Shakespeare that do not cause the Bard to roll over in his grave succeed. Only having an animated and a separate musical segment would have made "Love" any better.

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

Friday, August 19, 2016

'Papirosen' DVD: This Argentinian Family

The awesome trio of August 23, 2016 DVD releases (including the Unreal TV reviewed documentary 'The Other Side') from foreign film god Film Movement includes the 2011 documentary 'Papirosn.' Movement nicely summarizes this film by describing it on the back cover of the release as follows. "Masterfully edited from nearly 200 hours of footage, 'Papirosen' represents a decade of filmmaking, and four generations of Argentine director Gaston Solnicki's family history."

The accolades for this documentary that meets the genre ideal of being equally informative and entertaining extend beyond the festival circuit awards to earning the distinction of being a 'New York Times' Critics' Pick.

As Movement additionally notes, Gaston directs (no pun intended) a great deal of the focus of "Papirosen" on his eccentric father Victor and on young Mateo, who is the nephew of Gaston and the grandson of Victor. An especially notable sequence has both Victor and Victor's mother making a shopping trip a day from Hell for the mother of Mateo. General crankiness and criticism are the related themes for that outing.

Other related (pun intended) universal frustration comes in the form of a discussion regarding the extent to which Mateo being a nephew entitles him to adoration, Victor getting amusingly fed up with both the lack of enthusiasm at a Passover Seder and his being filmed for the documentary is another highlight. The hilarious sarcasm that Victor directs at the camera man further contributes to the entertainment value of "Papirosen."

The charming scenes between aforementioned stars Victor and Mateo include Victor rousing a sleepy and cranky Mateo out of bed and Victor singing this grandson a song that is central to the title of the film. These moments validate the theory that people often make better grandparents than parents.

On a more serious note, Gaston's grandmother Pola tells the distressing story of hiding out in Europe during the rise of the Nazi party and then fleeing to Argentina with some relatives; learning of family members who do not make it out is powerful. Vintage home movies (including charming footage of what looks to be a '70s era Bar Mitzvah) and old photos add wonderful depth to the reminiscences.

Channeling the voice of Movement regarding the "why we choose ..." essay that typically accompanies the DVD selection in the awesome Movement "Film of the Month Club," "Papirosen" is an excellent portrait of four-generations of a family in a county that becomes their home out of a need to flee their country of origin. Further, each member of that clan is just like our grandmother, our father, our nephew, etc.

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

Thursday, August 18, 2016

'Wild in the Streets' BD: Psychedelic '68 'Youth Power/Rock the Vote Dramedy

Wild In The Streets - 887090125512
Wrapping up the four-part series of reviews on the uber-diverse Olive Films August 16, 2016 Blur-ray/DVD releases that has dominated Unreal TV this week with the very groovy psychedelic 1968 dramedy "Wild in the Streets" arguably saves the best for last. This is because this satire regarding granting the actual disenfranchised the vote is very relevant in what arguably is a satirical actual presidential campaign makes it the most relevant of the four.

"Wild," which has a wonderful LSD vibe sound track, opens with '60s style surreal scenes of the oppression/abuse and subsequent drug activity and related rebellion during the childhood and teen years of later counterculture rocker 24 year-old Max Frost. Dreamy Christopher Jones of "Ryan's Daughter" does a terrific job playing Max as someone mainstream enough to (initially) not scare parents while being enough of a rebel to be a teen idol in this era of free love.

Using what seems to be the living room set of the wholesome '50s sitcom "Leave it to Beaver" for the childhood home of Max is almost as awesome as casting top-billed Shelley Winters as his status-obsessed (and later borderline-incestuous) typical '60s housewife mother Daphne.

The action soon shifts to the palatial estate where multi-millionaire commodity Frost lives with his entourage/band. These include adorable 15 year-old Yale Law graduate/accountant/guitarist Billy Gage (who looks as if he is one of My Three Sons). Richard Pryor does well in his early film career role as hilariously named drummer Stanley X.

Classic TV fans will enjoy seeing Kellie Flanagan of the '60s fantasycom "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir" as the young daughter of Fergus. As a first aside, Flanagan states during a May 2015 Unreal TV interview that "Wild" star Hal Holbrook is extremely caring and nice. As a second aside, Flanagan gets one of the best lines in the film during her final scene in which she takes Frost to old school.

"Youthful" 38 year-old California Congressman/U.S. Senate candidate Johnny Fergus (played by a wonderfully youthful Holbrook) recruiting Max and the band to play at a campaign rally gets those kids thinking about the real-world issue regarding 18 year-olds being eligible to be drafted and sent to Viet Nam but not being allowed to vote until they are 21. A related thought is that the majority of the American population is 25 or younger.

These events soon lead to Fergus losing control of Max, who begins an aggressive campaign to lower the voting age to 14 as shown in an awesome video courtesy of YouTube. This, in turn, lead to other satirical reforms that take the '60s concept of not being able to trust anyone over 30 to a hilarious extreme. The expert handling of this includes every scene with Fergus and Frost having the other appear much taller than the latter and looking like father-son interaction.

The related hilarity includes what can be considered weaponized LSD, an outraged senior in every sense U.S. Senator witnessing the free-spirited debauchery at Chez Frost, and the straight-laced teen son of Fergus engaging in the cutest form of rebellion ever. 

Like all great satire, this exagerated version of reality in "Wild" works because it uses a talented writer and director to determine what likable and/or absurd characters say and do. Being given power is a fantasy of the young, and absolute power corrupts absolutely regardless of who yields it.

On a larger level, "Wild" is fun nostalgia for folks old enough to remember psychedelic cinema and a great look at the "ancient" past for folks who have never seen a corded telephone.

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

'The Pride and the Passion' BD: Historic Drama with Two Guys, a Girl, and a Gigantic Cannon

The Pride and The Passion - 887090125314
This penultimate entry in a quartet of reviews on August 16, 2016 Olive Films Blu-ray and DVD reviews awesomely validates the diversity that the review of the 2004 Macaulay Culkin Christian high school comedy "Saved!" and the post on the 1970 Liza Minnelli classic drama "Tell me that you love me, Junie Moon" highlight.

"Pride" is an epic 1957 film that looks and sounds great in Blu-ray. It is the second film by director Stanley Kramer, who goes on to produce and direct numerous classics that include "Judgment at Nuremberg" and "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner." This epic set during the Peninsular War has British naval officer Anthony Trumbell traveling to Spain to collect a ginormous cannon for the purpose of the British using it against Napoleon.

The prim and proper Trumbell is unpleasantly surprised to see that Spanish rebel Miguel (surprisingly paid by a not-so-great Frank Sinatra) and his fellow rebels have filled the gap left by the absent general with whom Anthony was scheduled to meet. This group includes feisty Juana (nicely played by Sophia Loren), who is the very loyal woman of Miguel.

Trumbell resolves the "you throw me whip; I throw you idol" impasse they encounter by entering a bargain in which munitions expert Trumbull agrees to help Miguel and his troops transport the cannon in an arduous journey across Spain for use in an attack on a French stronghold in exchange for allowing Trumbull to take the cannon after that battle.

In the spirit of any great epics, our trio and their followers face numerous grand obstacles during their trip. These include evading one group of French soldiers only to find themselves as the cannon fodder in another attack. They further must transport the cannon over tough land and water, recruit help from the locals in every community through which they pass, etc. All this leads to the final grand battle involving what seems to be a literal cast of thousands.

The Trumbull-Miguel-Juana triangle provides plenty of additional drama. This extends beyond rivalry for the affections of Juana to clashing styles and values. Suffice to say that Miguel is not always the one who advocates for the best personal interests of his fellow Spaniards.

Those who know the talents of Grant and Loren know that he is well-cast as a stereotypical British military man and that a hot-blooded and tough peasant is well within the skill set of Loren. Having said that Jersey boy Sinatra, whose acting range is far narrower than that of his co-stars, is a very bold choice for Miguel. Suffice it to say this time, Sinatra shows that daring casting choices are not always the best.

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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

'Tell me that you love me, Junie Moon' BD: That Liza/Preminger '70s Movie

Tell Me You Love Me, Junie Moon - 887090126014
This 2 of 4 reviews of Olive Films August 16, 2106 DVD/Blur-ray releases further illustrates the awesome diversity of this quartet. Yesterday saw the hilarious 2004 Mandy Moore/Macaulay Culkin gay-friendly Christian high school comedy "Saved!" The Stanley Kramer historic drama "The Pride and the Passion" and the groovy psychedelic 1968 film "Wild in the Streets" will round out this series on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

The pedigree of "Moon" extends well beyond the spot-on performance by pop culture icon Liza "The Other Lucille" Minnelli. Otto Preminger of so many classic films, such as "Anatomy of a Murder" and "Laura," directs; screenwriter Marjorie Kellogg bases the script on her novel of the same name.

Minnelli plays the titular scrappy 23 year-old physically and emotionally scarred victim of a brutal attack that includes having battery acid dripped on her face. The scenes that depict the night in question are among the most compelling in the film.

We meet Junie just as she is finishing an extended stay at a Salem, Massachusetts hospital where she is being treated for the aforementioned physical and psyche harm. Her post-release plans include sharing a home with fellow patients Warren and Arthur.

Warren., regarding whom "the guy who was in that thing" character actor Robert Moore does an excellent job, is a flamboyant wheelchair-bound man who triggers gaydar well into the red zone but does not admit that he likes men in that way. He  is not even open after practically drooling over a muscular black man whom he meets during a seaside vacation near the end of the film and who seemingly causes mutual delight by carrying Warren around slung over his shoulder firefighter style. A great deal of the fun regarding Warren relates to references to closets and queens as to him.

The most notable aspect of Warren is the John Irving style take on "Three Men and a Baby" that characterizes his back story. We learn of the wonderfully quirky nature of his conception while his mother is vacationing (presumably in Provincetown, Massachusetts) and the subsequent circumstances that lead to his unconventional upbringing.

Epileptic Arthur, whom future "White Shadow" Ken Howard awesomely plays in a manner that reflects his live-theater background, arguably brings the most baggage into the run-down bungalow that he and his roommates call home. His own issues are behind a long history of being institutionalized, and we see that he does not handle setbacks well.

These character studies, the early '70s themes of communal living and people with issues providing mutual support,the free-spirited wealthy woman who is the landlady of the group, and the commentary on institutions of the era are only some elements of "Moon" that make it a perfect example of the films of its period. Having folk singer Pete Seeger sing "Old Devil Time" while strolling through a forest is only the tip of the iceberg regarding the '70s background aspects of the film.

The proverbial large level this time is that "Moon" is a largely realistic character study of our three leads. Their setbacks are less severe than one would think and are resolved in the true Hollywood style of the era. At the same time, none of our group overcomes his or her issues to a miraculous extent, and they do not perform any heroic acts that cause those who dun 'em wrong to repent and treat them like gods.

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

Monday, August 15, 2016

'Saved!' BD: Macaulay Culkin Shines in BEST Christian High School Satire EVER

Saved - 887090125710
Spectacular purveyor of classic and cult films on DVD and Blu-ray Olive Films shows exceptional diversity regarding the four August 16, 2016 releases that Unreal TV is reviewing this week. These reviews start with sharing love for long-time favorite 2004 comedy "Saved!," which has Jena Malone as Christian high school senior Mary who gets pregnant after having sex with her boyfriend for one of the most hilarious reasons ever.

The remaining (equally excellent Blu-ray (and DVD) releases are the historical drama "The Pride and the Passion with sCary Grant and Frank Sinatra,"the 1970 Liza Minnelli classic drama "Tell me that you love me, Junie Moon," and the groovy psychedelic 1968 film "Wild in the Streets" with Shelley Winters as the middle-class mother of a rock star aggressively promoting a voting age of 14.

As an aside, watching all four film during the weekend of August 13-14 was one of the most awesome film festivals ever.

"Saved!," which takes great advantage of Blu-ray as to the the bright sunny suburban setting and the rocking soundtrack in this film produced by Michael Stipe of REM, has so much awesomeness that this review surely will commit the sin of missing some of these points. Penance will be be offered in the form of enduring (the Unreal TV uber-panned) "Batman v. Superman" again sometime in the future.

The first notable thing about "Saved!" from a 2016 perspective is that it is a comedy that actually is funny. The combination of the talented and well-cast ensemble of actors, hilarious dialogue, and expert directing are COMPLETELY unheard of regarding major and moderate releases these days. Standouts among the cast are Mandy Moore and (very surprisingly) Macaulay Culkin as sister and brother uber-Heather/holier than all Hilary Faye and her hilariously cynical and adorable wheelchair-bound (aptly named) Roland. Seeing Heather Matarazzo of (also Unreal TV long-time fave) "Welcome to the Dollhouse" as lower-Heather hanger-on Tia also is great fun.

Lesser-known Eva Amuri deserves praise (pun intended) as tough-girl with a heart of silver Casandra, who is the token Jew at the American Eagle Christian school that the gang attends. The first scene that she steals is her inaugural one in which she feigns speaking in tongues during a beginning of the school year assembly. This scene also involves a hilarious bit by both Culkin and cute skate rat/son a preacher man Patrick, played by Patrick Fugit.

The next awesome thing about "Saved!" is that it pulls off a double "Tom and Jerry" trick by keeping oft-repeated concepts (e.g. a cat chasing a mouse) fresh and entertaining. In this case, the satired themes are the holier-than-thou attitude of devout Christians and the aforementioned "Heathers" (a third all-time fave) concept of a queen "B" and her hive collective ruthlessly ruling a high school in a manner that resistance is futile.

The excellent script further has a well-paced story with a genuine beginning, middle, and end that revolves around the senior year of our "Christian Jewels." Writer/director/Catholic school survivor Brian Dannelly even pulls off the neat trick of keeping the prom night climax cliche fresh. No, Hilary Faye does not get doused in a bucket full of the blood of Christ.

At the risk of spoiling much about this film that stays just as good and fresh after several viewings, "Saved!" starts with Mary finding out during the final days of summer that boyfriend Dean (Chad Faust in a role that will prompt fantassies by many fans of his TNT scifi series "Falling Skies") thinks that he is gay. Believing that she has a duty to save Dean, Mary encourages hilarious acts that result in the aforementioned teen pregnancy. The ultimate outing of Dean gives Roland one of his best lines in smirking and stating that the obvious gayness of Dean makes him his own one-man Pride parade.

Dean is soon shipped off, and Mary starts the school year with her reputation and secret temporarily intact. Her own forced coming out exiles her to the land of the misfit goys where she learns (ala Billy Joel)  that she would rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints because the sinners have much more fun.

A John Hughes element comes in the form of Patrick adorkably pursuing Mary; suffice it to say, they do make a cute pair.

The bottom line regarding "Saved!" is that it pulls off the "miracle" of doing an excellent job presenting material that is relatable both from real and reel life in a manner that does its job of allowing you to escape from the harsh realities of its subject matter and other stress in your life.

The "blessing" in the form of a plethora of extras include the original trailer, a couple of "making of" features, a blooper reel, and deleted/extended scenes.

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

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Danish 'The Killing' S3 DVD: Cold Case Heats Up

[EDITOR'S NOTE: This trilogy set from Australia does not play in a standard U.S. DVD player; you need a worth-buying international player.]

These thoughts regarding the third (and final) season in the Madman Entertainment DVD set of the original Danish version of the procedural series "The Killing" wraps up the Unreal TV coverage of one of the two "granddaddies" in the group of "Nordic Noir" series in the Madman catalog. The next entry will be on the third and final season of the original Swedish/Danish of "The Bridge." S1 of "Occupied" by "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" author Jo Nesbro is up after that. That one revolves around Russia completing an allegedly humanitarian occupation of Norway.

"Killing" S3 shows awesome regard for this critically and audience-acclaimed series in paying homage to the prior seasons. This season begins with discovering body parts in a harbor presenting the first clues in a season-long mystery for Copenhagen police detective Sarah Lund. Her investigation soon leads to an even more gruesome discovery on a ship owned by oil company Zeeland, which is owned by Robert Zeuthen.

The initial political tie-in that is a staple of "Killing" comes in the form of Prime Minister Kristian Kamper finding his efforts to provide Zeuthen adequate financial incentives to abandon plans to move his company from Denmark to Asia becoming a hot issue in his re-election campaign against challenger Anders Ussing.

Other early season developments that tie the current crime to the death of a tween girl a year earlier lead to the perpetrator of the present day mayhem to kidnap Robert's nine-year old daughter Emile. For his part, Ussing mines political capital from that offense.

Lund is kept busy investigating the death, which seems to involve high-level cover-ups, of the first girl and the kidnapping of Emile and having series-long family drama interfere with her efforts to facilitate getting the perpetrator to release Emile.

Additional drama comes in the form of the inner-circle political betrayals that are a staple of "Killing," the best intentions of concerned father Robert hampering the efforts to return Emile home, and the history between Lund and new partner Mathias Borch. This is not to mention the abrasive rookie, Lund postponing starting a new job, and the confidante who may be less trustworthy than he seems that are additional staples of both "Killing" and "Nordic Noir."

As indicated above, this final outing for "Killing" has plenty of material for suspense and political drama. There truly is not a dull moment, and the series easily passes the "one more" test.

The larger picture is that this season keeps the "Killing" concept of a police investigation, a political career in peril, and a crime deeply affecting the victim of that offense fresh. It also illustrates the lesson that television producers in every country except the United States knows; quitting before your concept gets stale makes the most sense.

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

Saturday, August 13, 2016

'Hell Town' DVD: Beverly Hells 666

Gravitas Ventures awesomely goes full-out old school regarding the August 23, 2016 iTunes/VOD premiere of the scream goddess Debbie Rochon hosted gay-friendly horror-comedy "Hell Town." The theme of "Hell" is that Rochon plays herself as the Elviraesque host of an anthology television series. This show provides the format for the three "lost" episodes of the titular campy horror series.

"Town" is a primetime soap centered around the wealthy Manly and Gable families. Middle brother/hunky high school stud Blaze is the most manly of the trio of boys in the former clan. Older brother/rebel Butch is recently home following an unfortunate incarceration. "Baby" Jesse is a highly troubled closet case with a history of messing around with out (but not particularly proud) Bobby Gable.

The girls of green with envy Gable are butch goth BJ, pretty and popular teen slut Trish, and uber-bitch "Heather" Chanel, who seemingly works at every teen-oriented store in the community, Chantal locking BJ in the car trunk is one of many highlights in this dark and gory comedy.

Much of the wonderful "Heathers" style "90210" humor (including having actors in their 20s play high schoolers) relates to the hilarious teen drama and the associated antics of the Letter Jacket Killer, who selects victims among the many sexual partners of Trish. One slaying is especially glorious.

Meanwhile, the Manly matriarch is in a long-term coma, Mr. Gable is having his kids compete for their inheritance, and love of the requited and unrequited varieties abounds among the "kids."

Every plot is nicely tied up in the end in a climax (no pun intended) that will have you hoping for "Town" 2 from goth tease Rochon.

The entertainment value that horror film veteran Rochon contributes extends well beyond channeling the aforementioned basic cable horror film hostess. The "commercial" between the first and second episodes of the show-within-a-show is the trailer for the awesome dark humored (and Unreal TV reviewed) Rochon film "Model Hunger." A hilarious faux ad for a Rochon product provides the laughs between the second and third episodes of the exploits of the Manly and Gable adolescents.

The aforementioned vintage vibe of all this makes "Town" a great choice for an evening of pleasure regarding which you need not feel any guilt. You can never go wrong with dueling shirtless hunks, slutty and/or bitchy teen girls, perverse killings, and awesome torture that utilizes baked goods.

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

Friday, August 12, 2016

'The Other Side' DVD: Revealing Portrait of Disenfranchised America

THE OTHER SIDE  DVD & Online Streaming

New York-based international film god Film Movement takes a staycation regarding the awesome 2015 documentary "The Other Side" by Italian filmmaker Roberto Minervini. "Side" being a pure study of the poverty-line inhabitants of a small Louisiana community makes t a perfect follow-up to the "Texas Trilogy" of documentaries by Minervini.

The scads of accolades for "Side" extends beyond it being a New York Times Critics' Pick and an official selection "un Certain Regard" at Cannes to winning numerous international film festival awards. Anyone who watches it will wonder why this candid look at textbook "have nots" is not an even more prominent festival darling.

The style of Minervini demonstrates high regard for the late and genuinely great Belgian documentarian Chantal Akerman. The opening narration-free extended sequences of a man dressed in camouflage and carrying a rifle walking in the woods then moving onto a completely naked man walking down a country road are pure Akerman. Minervini maintains the Akerman vibe throughout by purely letting each character speak for himself or herself.

Much of the film focuses on repentant (and thoroughly immodest) drug addict/ex-con Mark Kelley. Minervini simply lets the audience eavesdrop on Kelley and his equally feral addicted girlfriend do drugs, discuss their lives, and have sex. We further meet the mother and grandmother of Kelley and hear his defeatist conclusion that confessing to a crime for which he is wanted is the only way to get clean. The naive belief of Kelley that prison is free of drugs is laughable to even novice cynics.

We further see Kelley at his menial job where his elderly boss has many very unkind things to say about Obama; that is not to say that this employer is any fonder of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Seeing Kelley receive his wages in cash contributes additional social commentary in the form of illustrating the underground economy.

The middle segment is even more disturbing than the study of Kelley. We see a reveling group drunkenly frolicking in a pond that seems to be more mud than water. The anti-Obama sentiment is amped up (and more scary) in the form of a someone wearing a mask of our current president committing an incredibly lewd act.

Minervini shows good instincts in having the earlier segments lead to what truly is a climax. We see a militia lead by combat veterans treat their heavily armed recruits see themselves as a true private Army that is training for an invasion by folks who do not share their views or values. These guys have both drunk the Kool-Aid and have no qualms about using their at least semi-automatic weapons to shoot anyone who has not done the same.

The bonus feature is an almost as-scary segment on a rally to support a law to allow people to openly carry firearms. One participant truly believing his assertion that he may not need to use his gun every day but feels the need to always have it with him particularly brings home the point of Minervini.

As the title of "Side" communicates, the true nature of the world that Minervini presents to society at large is a now-revealed secret. Those of us who know better now understand the thinking of  hard-core (rather than "not Hillary") Trump supporters and other folks who lack the benefits of a decent education and informed upbringing.

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

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

'East Jerusalem West Jerusalem' DVD: Doc on Hanukkah of Recording Sessions

  • East Jerusalem West Jerusalem
As the Unreal TV review of the recent DVD release of the documentary "The Greatest Ears in Town: the Arif Mardin Story" story notes, uber-fantabulous New York-based foreign indie film distributor Film Movement is making the Summer of 2016 a celebration of the arts. The June 2016 Movement release of  the 2014 documentary "East Jerusalem West Jerusalem" is true to both this series and to the Movement history of bringing thought-provoking foreign fare to American couch potatoes.

"Jerusalem" tells the story of Jewish musician West End boy David Broza crossing over to East Jerusalem for an eight-day recording session with Palestinian musicians to create figurative and literal peace, love, and understanding. One cool spoiler is that the enthusiasm of the Palestinians for the project equals that of Broza.

As an aside, your not-humble reviewer views the conflict in Israel as a Tom and Jerry cartoon in which both sides will pummel each other until the end of time and never resolve their "troubles."

The effort of Broza also encompasses American musician Steve Earle, who "buys" his way into the project with a very apt song. Earle also steals a scene in which he discusses a wacky misunderstanding with airport security.

Another memorable scene has a young and hip Palestinian musician provide a tour of his childhood home in a refugee camp and discuss the impact of his not previously not knowing any Jewish people. Hearing his peers echo his desire for peace provides hope for some improvement regarding this whole mess.

One spoiler is that both sides literally and figuratively make beautiful music together. The problem is that these guys do not literally or figuratively call the shots in this neverending cat-on-mouse violence.

The bonus deleted scenes include additional performances by Broza and Earle.

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

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

'redvsblue: The Chorus Trilogy' Steelbook BD Return of the Mercearies

[EDITOR'S NOTE: Unreal TV recently ran a post on a telephone interview with RvB principal Michael Jones regarding the Rooster Teeth film "Lazer Team."]

As the second of three posts on the recently released Rooster Teeth steelbook Blu-ray release of "redvsblue (a.k.a rvb): The Chorus Trilogy" (a.k.a S11-13) states, these musings regarding S13 of this long-running (and still going strong) web series wraps up coverage of this set. Part One shares the good news that even virgins to this show that gives voice to video game soldiers can follow "Chorus." This inaugural outing also provides an overview of the lore of this hilarious show.

Like any good trilogy, the final installment in this tale of the titular groups of freelance warriors both makes the battles more epic and delivers reveals and ambiguous demises of characters. Regarding the latter, the cocky boys at Rooster have a history of following the scifi principle that death often is not final.

The missions of our boys in blue (and red) regarding their S13 three-hour tour-of-duty adventure on the titular desolate planet include competing with the agents of the evil force behind a civil war to acquire spectacular alien tech. and avoid a related destruction of Chorus. They also seek to reveal the true force behind that hostility and to send out a message that will facilitate their return to the earth of "the distant future" in which they reside.

The S13 highlights include unlocking the initial key to obtaining the aforementioned super weaponry and (not surprisingly but still amusingly) finding that dim-witted blue soldier Caboose is integral to this. The identity of the guardian of the treasures alone makes this story line must-see.

Another scene in which the big bads acquire a particularly covet weapon of mass destruction only to get a hilarious surprise (which refers back to another great scene) arguably is the best of the entire trilogy.

As always, plenty of mayhem and wonderfully childish crude humor accompanies the entertainingly graphic violence of the battles. The clear highlight this time centers around efforts (including consideration of the "trapped in a small space" sitcom cliche) to get two long-time enemies to work together for the greater good. This ultimately leads to the most hilarious encounter group ever in which many folks get into the spirit of sharing their feelings.

The psychological elements continue in the form of the "its complicated" relationship of "its complicated" mercenary foes Felix and Locus. The back-and-forth regarding this and epic showdown are pure scifi.

The Teeth boys do equally well regarding the manner in which they wrap up the trilogy. The ending would have satisfied and served as a great series ender even if the completed S14 had never materialized.

The always special extras include "Evolution of an Episode," which shows how the sausage is made. These features also include a short on the aforementioned mercenaries and a handful of the PSAs that are always so much fun. The line "I saw my sister naked! Again!" in in one of these public service announcements provides a great sense of these productions and rvb as a whole.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Chorus" specifically or "rvb" generally is strongly encouraged to either e-mail me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Swedish/Danish 'The Bridge' S2 DVD: Second Time's the Charm

[Editor's Note: This awesome DVD set from Australia will not play in a standard U.S. DVD player; you need a "must-own" international player that is an all-time top purchase in the home of your not-so-humble reviewer.]

These reviews of Madman Entertainment DVD sets of seasons of "Nordic Noir" series, most notably the also-reviewing three-season set of the Danish version of "The Killing," continues with thoughts on the awesome S2 of the Swedish/Danish version of "The Bridge" following a review of S1 of this program. S2 of "The Bridge" is notable for being an even stronger season that the inaugural outing of the program. Lead Malmo, Sweden police detective Saga Noren is even more entertainingly abrasive and clueless, the pacing is slightly brisker than in the the well-presented first season, and the writers add complexity while keeping the action easy to follow.

The opening scenes of "Bridge" S2 have an abandoned cargo ship veering off course and headed toward the titular Oresund Bridge that separates Denmark and Sweden and that plays a more significant role in S1. The ship reaching a resting point allows Noren to board, where she discovers four 20-something captives. Members of that group being Danish residents who have open missing persons files prompts Noren to recruit partner-in-crime solving Copenhagen police detective Martin Rohde. For his part, Martin is still suffering the effects of the events of 13 months earlier that comprise the S1 plot.

Very similar to S1, the criminal activity that sets S2 in motion is a relatively small part of a large criminal undertaking with an allegedly altruistic motive. In this case, the gang of four who initially come to the attention of Team Saga claim calling attention to a health crisis that developed nations ignored as the raison d'etre.

Subsequent crimes include poisoning apples in a manner that a kiss from Prince Charming does not remedy, killing supporters who become liabilities, acting to create widespread crises, etc,

One aspect of the genius of S2 is that it mixes in large quantities of frustration in the home and work environments of the easily exasperated Saga. She loves her new live-in boyfriend to the extent to which she is capable and enjoys the easy access to a sexual partner but is physically and emotionally uncomfortable sharing her living space with another person. As an aside, this aspect is behind your not-so-humble reviewer jokingly telling his almost domesticated partner to never enter the home office of the former in their more-than-ample house.

Work tensions escalate beyond Saga not understanding the value of good manners and praise when in a management role. Youngish police detective Rasmus actively clashes with Saga regarding always being given grunt work, never being allowed an active role in the investigation, and having her respond with a blank stare when active interaction is appropriate. For his part, Martin must play peacemaker much more than he does in S1.

Other genius exists in tying seemingly unrelated plot lines into the main story. A late teens student sailing her boat near the runaway ship leads to integral developments that also tie into events that are a large part of the life of the student but not the crimes. The same goes for the lives of a bullied 13 year-old orphan, a middle-aged male prostitute, and  even Saga taking a break from her own uber-patient life partner,

The only flaw in S2 are odd developments in the ninth of ten episodes. The team is moving in on the person at the center of the murders and other crimes that they are investigating only to have that effort and another major one in that episode wrap up cleanly. Saga superior Hans even declares the case closed, orders beer and sandwiches, and sends everyone home.

Saga discovering important new information at the end of the penultimate episode of S2 leads to bring the band back together for one more adventure. This final outing additionally has Martin engage in behavior that equally relates to both seasons. Although good and somewhat suspenseful, this final episode seems extraneous. 

As other "Noir" reviews mention, the episodes in these series provide an awesome alternative to the worse than usual summer season broadcast, cable, and streaming options out there. The aforementioned semi-domesticated partner and your not-so-humble reviewer eagerly watch these shows (and have great fun calling out "Lund?" or behaving more insensitively than Saga) during this season of days that are either 90-degree or have rain pouring down in buckets.

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

Saturday, August 6, 2016

'Bridgend' DVD: Compelling Docudrama of Decade-Long Teen Suicide Cluster

  • Bridgend

  • Unreal TV fave Icarus Films, which is best known for "distributing innovative and provocative documentary films," continues expanding into innovative and provocative dramas (that includes the Unreal TV reviewed British character study/murder mystery "I, Anna") with the July 2016 DVD release of "Bridgend." The latter is a character study of newly transplanted teen Sara and her policeman father Dave who end a roughly 10-year absence from the titular small community in Wales when Dave is recruited to investigate a rash of teen suicides. This tale being based on a true (and still-ongoing) plague contributes to the drama.
    The  well-deserved 10 festival awards, including three from the 2015 Tribecca Film Festival, and the additional 14 nominations speak volumes regarding Icarus choosing wisely in adding this film to its catalog. The artistry and power of the film show that even this amount of praise does not go far enough in recognizing its quality.
    Like shows such a current CW drama known to your not-so-humble reviewer as "Pretty Little Vampires," most of "Bridgend" focuses on the culture of the local high school kids that Sara joins early on and to which she becomes a full-fledged member on obtaining access to an online chat room dedicated to the victims. 
    The related tribal and primal elements of the herd of (frequently shirtless and regulalry naked) slim teen boys and uninhibited (only slightly less topless and/or naked) teen girls provide as much power as the theme of "Bridgend" and the additional suicides during it.
    The primal elements continue with the young people gathering in the woods at night by firelight for male bonding and related shows of aggression and for other rituals that include coed skinny dipping and violent casual sex. They additional come together for similar tribal dancing and for vandalism that involves the boys literally marking their territory. Many other scenes further reinforce the pack mentality of these angry young men and women.
    Meanwhile, the cluelessnes and misdirected good intentions of the adults only add fuel to the fire. They simply cannot relate to the kids and fail to see the role that that plays in the crisis.
    The awesome narrative technique of centering the film around newcomer Sara falling deeper under the spell of her peers perfectly illustrates the message behind this docudrama. A climax that involves a heartbreaking act of rebellion is one of the most powerful in more than 90 minutes of compelling scenes.
    On a larger level, having Danish filmmaker Jeppe Ronde behind the camera and in front of the word processor gives this drama an awesome nordic noir vibe that makes good use of the bleak Welsh landscape. Using real local teens as extras enhances this sense of despair and related savagery.
    The fact that everything that makes "Bridgend" so compelling makes it a tough one for parents to watch with teens makes it important that they do so.
    Anyone with questions or comments regarding "Bridgend" is strongly encouraged to either email me or to connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy,

Friday, August 5, 2016

'Sea Fog' DVD: Dystopian High Seas of Illegal Immigration

Sea Fog

New York-based distributor of international films theatrically and on DVD and Blu-ray Film Movement provides fans of the uber-fantabulous 2103 indie drama "Snowpiercer," which centers around a rebellion on a train transporting the surviving human population, with the August 2016 Film of the Month Club DVD release of the 2014 equally dystopic Korean film "Sea Fog" by Bong Joon-Ho of "Snowpiercer." The drama this time centers around desperate Korean Captain Kang agreeing to smuggle illegal immigrants from China to Korea.

The 8 international awards and 13 additional nominations for "Fog" reflect both the quality of this movie made in tight quarters with a small cast and the talent of 20-something actor Yoo-chun Park as naive sailor Dong-sik (yeah, we know.)  These accolades further prove what Movement has known for more than a decade; bringing North America the best films out there requires beating the bushes well beyond our borders.

The following YouTube clip of the awesome trailer for "Fog" both conveys the drama and artistry of the film without including any spoilers and informs us that the film is ripped from the headlines.

We first meet Kang and his woefully inept crew on a literal fishing expedition that human and mechanical error makes a figurative trainwreck. The consequences of this include bringing the owners of the boat one step closer to selling it, thus putting Kang and the boys out of a job.

The next series of events show Kang as a very generous man whose kindness and generosity regarding his crew far exceeds the regard that they (and the wife of Kang) have for him. One fisherman planning to use the bed of Kang for illicit sex is only one example of the indignities and general lack of respect that this man endures at the hands of those for whom he sacrifices to literally and figuratively keep them afloat.

In a plot twist that is as international as it is timeless, Kang reluctantly agrees to transport the aforementioned wretched souls in exchange for a large amount that will allow him to purchase his boat. This in turn leads to a dramatic and hazardous night-time transfer of the human cargo from another ship onto the vessel of Kang.

The reprobates under the command of Kang soon take taking advantage of the situation, including the presence of two woman among the new arrivals. Only Dong-sik remains noble to the extent of repeatedly going to extraordinary efforts in attempts to protect innocent Hong-mae from all threats foreign and domestic.

The titular weather, which further extends the delay regarding the boat returning to port with its contraband, is only one of many elements that creates tension among the crew and between the crew and the passengers. A high seas inspection of the boat, the aforementioned female presence, and an arguably excessive show of authority by Kang keep the pot at a high boiling point. Am ultimate wide-scale tragedy and the harsh response by Kang to that development further build the tension.

The impact of all this is that docudrama sadly seems realistic; a prime example of this is a crew member expressing frustration merely based on a belief that everyone else had gotten a turn with one of the female immigrants.

We further get a reminder that we are living in tough times in which fishing is a less viable vocation than it has been in its glorious past, most people are not only in it for himself or herself and have very limited compassion for the other guy, and trusting another person requires record amounts of faith.

The apt bonus short film that accompanies the Club selection this month is a seven-minute animated film titled "Sea Child." This highly surreal outing has a teen girl whose real-life trauma leads to a nightmare that leads to an actual surreal adventure is beautifully drawn and scored. It also is as compelling as the live-action Movement fare.

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