All In A Night’s Work (1960/Paramount/Warner Archive)/From This Day Forward (2012/Image DVD)/Kilroy Was Here (1947/Monogram/Warner
Archive)/Meddling Mom/Sweeter Side Of
Life (Hallmark Telefilms/Gaiam Vivendi DVD)/On A Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970/Paramount/Warner Archive)/Reality (2012/Oscilloscope DVD)/Slightly Single In L.A. (2010/Well Go
USA Blu-ray)/What If…? (2007/First
Picture: C+/C/C/C/C+/C/B-/C Sound: C+ (Kilroy: C) Extras: D/C-/D/D/D/C+/C-/D Main Programs: C/C-/C+/C & D/C/C+/C-/B-
PLEASE NOTE: The Work, Kilroy and Day DVDs are only available from Warner
Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link
Now for a
group of comedies to consider, and most were sadly not so funny…
All In A Night’s Work (1960)
reunites Vicente Minnelli’s Some Came Running
co-stars Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine in a mistaken identity comedy about a
CEO who dies with a smile on his face and when found by a house detective (Jack
Weston) sees a named woman he cannot identify in a towel and investigates. Martin inherits his company due to blood
relations, but he never knew the man.
From there, the script (co-written by future TV sitcom king Sheldon
Leonard) has some sexual innuendo and some humorous moments, but they never
really work and what might have has aged badly 53+ years later.
Gordon, Cliff Robertson, Charles Ruggles, Norma Crane and Mabel Albertson have
amusing character turns, but the film was never great despite trying to be
classy comedy and MacLaine did better that year in The Apartment (se the
Blu-ray review elsewhere on this site), so all we have here is a slight curio
back in print.
because this is a fine cast. There are
Essence Atkins should have far more chemistry in the Tyler Perry-inspired
relationship comedy, Roger Melvin’s From
This Day Forward (2012), but it plays too much like a predictable sitcom,
is shot that way, edited that way, has way too many stagy indoor shots, an
awful laugh track and is predictable beyond belief. It is also badly directed, badly directed and
the timing is way off.
the camera likes the actors, so there is much easy room for improvement here,
but this too often looks like a rough cut of an intended release and I got one
chuckle out of its 88 minutes. Even the
faith-based angel was not overdone. Too
Gallery is the only extra.
surprise on this list is a little B-movie from low-budget Monogram Pictures
called Kilroy Was Here (1947) in
which Jackie Cooper (in the middle of his long career past playing Jackie in
the classic Our Gang/Little rascals series) is a military guy who constantly
gets picked on for having the real last name of Kilroy, but he is not the
legend who is a hero and paints his logo pre-graffiti style all over the
world. However, now out of the military,
he tries to get into a college and the results are a wreck.
Coogan (the fellow child actor who later became Uncle fester on the legendary
TV series The Addams Family) is in
prime form, getting his good friend into trouble starting with trying to con
his way into a college when Kilroy is short a half-credit and telling everyone
he is the real Kilroy!
gives a really good comic performance here totally unexpected in such a film,
but along with some fun and funny moments, this curio will more than surprise
anyone who goes out of their way to see it.
The great journeyman director Phil Karlson helmed this one and for a man
usually known for his crime films, he handles comedy just fine. At a healthy 69 minutes, you’ll have more
laughs than you might expect.
Vivendi has issued an odd double feature of Hallmark Channel Telefilms in Meddling Mom and Sweeter Side Of Life on a single DVD. Mom is actually watchable as Sonia Braga
decides to spy on her daughter, who is about to get married and has some good
humor and never insulted my intelligence like Sweeter did with its anti-Feminist formula. Tony Plana is also good here and so is the
unknown cast. Wow, Hallmark finally
landed a watchable telefilm!
Unfortunately, the other one (divorcee finds happiness by cooking!) is
the worst entry on this whole list and should be avoided completely!
speaking of Vicente Minnelli’, he helmed On
A Clear Day You Can See Forever in 1970 and in an unusual musical (from the
stage), Barbra Streisand plays a woman with a smoking problem who finds it too
easy to be hypnotized by a Professor (Yves Montand) who might be able to help
her, but the less she smokes, the more she suddenly seems to have ESP and then,
she starts to imagine she is other women from the past. This includes some elaborate fantasy
here are mixed with the title song being the most memorable and yes, Mr.
Montand actually sings! Still, the film
has not aged well and despite have a few good moments, it is just not that
great. Acting turns by Mabel Albertson
(again!), Bob Newhart, Larry Blyden, Pamela Brown, Roy Kinnear, John
Richardson, an up and coming Jack Nicholson, Elaine Giftos and Simon Oakland
sending up his Psycho image a bit does make this one an interesting curio, but
not a great film.
no extras, but why no Blu-ray?
follow-up to his seriously acclaimed drama Gomorrah,
Matteo Garrone’s Reality (2012) is a
sometimes dark comedy and indictment of the shallow side of gaudy contests,
commercialism and the evil we know as so-called reality TV. In this film, Luciano (Aniello Arena) is a
family man living a good happy life when he gets the fever, but does not even
need to go to Las Vegas
visions of grandeur, he decides he will enter and compete to be on the new
Italian version of the endlessly obnoxious U.S. reality contest TV show Big
Brother (I wonder if Garrone picked that one for Orwellian reasons) and
he is suddenly finding new happiness and joy in his life. Of course, this is making everyone else
miserable and the visuals make constant contrast with old and new Italy versus
the empty glare and hoopla over the TV show.
best, the film manages to indict the false promises and ugly bubble of lies and
self-destruction such shows promise. It
is not just The Price Is Right offering money for a game, but shows like
this where they lock you into a house to capture, ruin and sell your soul. The film and script are an amusing
indictment, but it never goes far enough and therefore, the results (amusing as
they can be along with the fine performances here), are nonetheless predictable
and miss the mark. Still, I can see why
Garrone took a break form the more serious last film, but he picked the wrong
subject and this is never the satire it could have been either. Still, it is ambitious and worth a look if
you like his directing or the subject matter.
include a new interview with Director Garrone, Original Theatrical Trailer,
Deleted Scenes and three featurettes: Dreams
Are My Reality, Inside Reality
and Profile Of Aniello Arena.
on Garrone, try this link to the Criterion Blu-ray of his film Gomorrah:
some hope that Christie Will’s Slightly
Single In L.A. (2010) might be a smart all-gal comedy like the HBO series Girls, but instead, the total
opposite. Focusing on a gal named Dale
(Lacey Chabert), cross a bad Hallmark Channel TV movie (like the one above)
with an equally bad dud from Lifetime, mix them with a Nickelodeon series about
obnoxious teens, then allow for MTV and “reality TV” obscenity with some of the
dumbest dialogue all year and you get this near total disaster.
a few signs of very brief hope early on that this might get good, but it rings
phony, dishonest, lame, formulaic, plastic, predictable and goofy in the worst
possible way with a cast of mostly unknowns who talk more at each other than
anything else. Kip Pardue shows up as
the possible best guy for her and being the only name male actor here, guess
Kattan also shows up here bored and unfunny.
Maybe if he showed up as John Oates, that could have saved things…. But
this great slipcase packaging include a Meet
The Director featurette where she tries to explain what she did here
(yeeeee) and an Original Theatrical Trailer.
definitely not least is the other big surprise on this list, Léa Fazer’s What If…? (2007), a French comedy about
the comical relationships of professional workers in a major whiter collar law
firm, a set up in bad Hollywood films that seems like a yuppie formula that
will not die and these days, lose millions of dollars per release. In this case, the characters are honest, mature,
intelligent adults who really do work hard and are not unlikable idiots who all
seem to have their jobs via the Peter Principle.
we get actual character development, honest relationships, realistic
interaction and that all makes the comedy work.
I was honestly shocked and surprised this was not idiotic and why this
was not a bigger hit in its time is a big mystery, unless it was just too smart
for wide release, something you would have never hear dup to the 1970s. Though the cast is made of unknowns, they are
really good and that is way I definitely recommend this film, also known as Notre Univers Impitoyable.
and mixed as it can look, the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on L.A.
is the best-looking presentation on the list by a hair being the only HD
presentation and because the makers did not make more visual errors. I just found it to be shot generically and we
get way too many indoor shots, which I can also say about the very soft, anamorphically
enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Forward,
whose bad TV sitcom editing approach makes it almost as visually backward as L.A.!
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on the Work and Forever DVDs
tie for second-best presentation and were both originally three-strip,
dye-transfer Technicolor theatrical releases, which you can see here at
times. That leaves the 1.33 X 1 black
and white image on Kilroy and
anamorphically enhanced presentations on the rest of the DVDs as soft as Forward, disappointing all around,
though at least Kilroy has the excuse
of being the oldest film here at 66 years old and counting. They ought to consider a Blu-ray for it.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is on L.A. is not only more towards the front speakers than I would have
liked, but dialogue is so unevenly recorded that much of it sounds far more
compressed than it should, so every other lossy Dolby Digital presentation on
DVD here (save the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Kilroy, which is a generations down and too quiet for its own good,
so be careful of volume switching and loud levels despite how clean it is) can
match that DTS-MA. The rest of the Dolby
DVDs are weak 5.1 mixes, save Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on Work and Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on What.
To order The
Work, Kilroy and Day DVDs, go
to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at: