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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Relationships > Romance > Mumblecore > Slapstick > Drama > Family > Dysfunctionality > Coming Of > Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012)/Here Comes The Boom (2012/Sony Blu-rays)/In Our Nature (2012/Flatiron/New Video DVD)/The Lords Of Flatbush (1974/Sony/Umbrella PAL Region Four/4 DVD)/The Perks Of Being

Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012)/Here Comes The Boom (2012/Sony Blu-rays)/In Our Nature (2012/Flatiron/New Video DVD)/The Lords Of Flatbush (1974/Sony/Umbrella PAL Region Four/4 DVD)/The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (2012/Summit Blu-ray)/Simple Simon (2010/Umbrella PAL Region Four/4 DVD)


Picture: B-/B-/C+/C+/B-/B-     Sound: C+/B-/C+/C+/B-/B-     Extras: C/C-/C/C-/C/D     Films: C-/C-/C/C/C/C-




PLEASE NOTE: The Lords Of Flatbush and Simple Simon DVDs can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region 4 PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.



Here are some various coming of age comedies and a few that are just off the wall…



Toland Krieger’s Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012) wants to cross mumblecore relationship comedy with Portlandia whimsy, but without the comedy and the result is a very weak, dull and predictable mess with a Rashida Jones/Andy Samberg coupling that shows he can act when restrained, but they have limited chemistry in a limited screenplay with bad dialogue and perpetual pointlessness that kept this from ever beginning to meet any possible potential.


Running on and on, it is a very long 92 minutes and if this was supposed to be thirtysomething for idiots, well that does not work either.  Do the makers even know who this is for or what they were trying to make?  I strongly suspect not.  If so, it is a big secret to the viewer.  Not smug, but not much of anything, even Emma Roberts and Elijah Wood cannot help.


Extras include Red Carpet Q&A, Making Of featurette, lame Deleted Scenes and two (!) feature length audio commentary tracks that did not explain much.



Frank Coraci’s Here Comes The Boom (2012) has science teacher Kevin James (a stretch right there) who used to wrestle late again for work and about to lose his job when he finds out the school he works at does not have enough money and will have to cut back including canceling the one thing they have going for them: a music class.  A female teacher (Salma Hayek) interests him, but she keeps passing on meeting him and to make up the shortfall, he will enter MMA fighting matches with his older age and limited wrestling skills.  He figures he can even earn money if he loses.


This is stupid as intended, but there is one ace here that could have saved everything if a good script had been written.  Henry Winkler is the music teacher and he steals every scene.  If the writers had gone for much more than formula and clichés, this could have been a big surprise.  Instead, it is a Kevin James star vehicle that just gets goofier and goofier as it goes along.  Too bad 105 minutes without much of a point.  Oh well, at least Winkler got treated with some respect.


Extras include a fun Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes, Cast Featurette and five Blu-ray exclusive featurettes.



Brian Savelson’s In Our Nature (2012) is more serious as a young couple (Zack Gilford, Donnie Darko’s Jena Malone) go for a weekend to the family cabin, only to be interrupted by his ever-angry father (John Slattery) and surprised he has brought a young lover (Gabrielle Union) and they are more involved than expected.  Father and son do not like each other, yet the women try to get them talking, but to no avail.


This is a good idea and the actors are good as well as good choices, but the dialogue has them talking at each other too much and the tension may be authentic, but nothing else much is.  We have seen this before and done with more depth, which is a shame since so much here had potential.  Nothing is ever resolved, many moments ruing false and after 103 minutes was a little more than disappointed.  At least it was ambitious, but inexperience behind the camera sabotages it, unfortunately.


A feature length audio commentary track by Savelson and Co-Producer Anish Savjani is the only extras.



It took Stephen F. Verona and Martin Davidson to co-direct The Lords Of Flatbush (1974), but this attempt to a documentary-like drama about the title gang (crossing Scorsese’s Mean Streets, Lucas’ American Graffiti and the gritty New York cinema John Cassavetes founded) is now more of a curio than a film that holds up much.  Still, it is worth a look.


Perry King, Paul Mace, a pre-Rocky Sylvester Stallone and pre-Happy Days Henry Winkler make up the gang, but we barely see Winkler (upsetting fans who caught it in reruns when they wanted to see Winkler), King is the main focus (including following a relationship with young Susan Blakely) and Stallone gets some scenes (Dolph Sweet, later of Gimme A Break!, can be seen briefly as his dad) and it does have the feel of the later 1950s at times.


The music is mostly new, trying to sound like the era, which was a common things on the charts as a little-discussed late 1950s/early (read pre-Beatles) 1960s trend was hitting radio to begin with.  The film was shot on 16mm film with a low budget and is remarkable enough, but its better moments overshadow the complete film which never totally adds up to what it tries to.  Still, it is interesting.


Trailers for this a two other Sony films are the only extras.



Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks Of Being A Wallflower (2012) is a coming of age film set in the recent past of Pittsburgh, but seems too derivative of other such films and offers a very mixed result that does not work as much as it could or should have.  Charlie (Logan Lerman) has emotional/mental health issues, but functions well enough and starts to get involved with Sam (Emma Watson), yet Patrick (Erza Mi8ller) is gay and is interested in him.  103 minutes is spent showing their lives and how they change as they get to know each other (plus several Pittsburgh references that don’t always ring true or work) is form the book by the director and kept making me think someone else should have helmed the film.


Again, the actors are good, but the scenes that work are not enough to overcome those that do not and add how the frame is darker than it should be for no good reason and you have another potentially fine film ruined by pretense and even Joan Cusack cannot save this one.  A few people rightly noticed incidental similarities to the far superior Donnie Darko, but the further the film moves along, the more Charlie’s condition is trivialized, ignored and once again we have a feature film that is clueless about mental health.  This film is also clueless about more and just does not have enough perks to recommend it.


Extras include Ultraviolet and Digital Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes oriented devices, plus Dailies, Deleted Scenes with optional Chbosky commentary, Best Summer Ever featurette and a feature length audio commentary track by the cast and Chbosky.



Finally we have a silly Swedish comedy in Andreas Ohman’s Simple Simon (2010) about the title character (Bill Skarsgard) having mental and emotional issues of his own and he wants to go to outer space, even living too often in his own home-built space capsule.  He has Asperger’s Syndrome and at least this film does not shy away from his condition.  His brother Sam tries to take him in from his parents to help, but this only drives his girlfriend away and things get worse for all.


Too bad this just gets too silly for its own good and tries too hard to be comic.  There is a funnier film here if they just played it straighter and did more of a character study of all involved, but the situation gets the better of itself playing more like a situation comedy and I was once again disappointed including an ending that did not add up.


There are no extras.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Jesse, 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Boom and 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Perks are the best-looking releases here being the three Blu-rays, but they all have issues.  Jesse and Boom have color and depth issues, while the 35mm shot Perks is so darkened that it might as well be from a 16mm print.  The anamorphically enhanced 2 X 1 image on Simon is so colorful and consistent that its PAL video can compete with the Blu-rays and that should not be the case.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 PAL video image on Flatbush is not bad, but some shots do not look as good as others which is to be expected considering its age and budget.  Originally, Columbia Pictures issued 35mm blow-up dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor prints of the film which are now very valuable if you have one or can get one, but this transfer does not always show that kind of color.  The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Nature is its equal, but has a softness throughout that can sometimes even be distracting.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on the three Blu-rays should be the best here, but Jesse is not as well recorded and sound comes way too often from the center channel.  Equaling the other two Blu-rays with their limited soundfields is the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on Simon which has a nice consistent soundmaster and might even be more amazing if it were issued in a lossless mix.


The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Nature and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Flatbush are as good as they are going to be in this codec and tend to be quiet and dialogue-based in nature.  Flatbush also has some location audio limits.



As noted above, you can order the import DVDs of The Lords Of Flatbush and Simple Simon exclusively from Umbrella at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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