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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Relationships > Crime > England > Action > Martial Arts > Satire > Camp > Western > Serial Ki > Angels' Share (2012/MPI/IFC DVD)/Big Trouble In Little China (1986/Fox/Arrow U.K. Region B Blu-ray)/Lust In The Dust (1985/Arrow U.K. Region 2 PAL Import DVD)/Sightseers (2012/MPI/IFC DVD)

Angels' Share (2012/MPI/IFC DVD)/Big Trouble In Little China (1986/Fox/Arrow U.K. Region B Blu-ray)/Lust In The Dust (1985/Arrow U.K. Region 2 PAL Import DVD)/Sightseers (2012/MPI/IFC DVD)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Big Trouble Region B Import Blu-ray and Lust In The Dust Region 2 PAL DVD is only available from Arrow U.K. and can be ordered from the link below.

Here are four comedies that all offer something more than the usual fare, even if they do not always work...

I am no fan of Ken Loach, but his new comedy Angels' Share (2012) does have one of the funniest early scenes of any comedy I have seen in a while (the one on a train platform), but after that, it becomes another one of his harrowing, predictable, would-be slice-of-life films in which some troubled youths have to get together and do community service, but some of them are getting too old for the results of such immaturity and one keeps getting beat up as his girlfriend welcomes their new baby into the world.

The film is punctuated by some interesting moments and the decent cast have a few decent scenes, but you can see what is going to happen coming form a few light years away, yet Loach still gets raves for what he does. It is worth a look for the very curio and at least the opening for that howler of a scene, but he screenplay eventually conforms to the same old same old and that is a shame.

Deleted Scenes of some interest and an Original Theatrical Trailer are the only extras.

John Carpenter's Big Trouble In Little China (1986) was the director's attempt to send-up 1980s action films in the early midst of the cycle, but it was not a hit in its time and audiences only caught up to it later giving it the following it has now. Fox issued it in a decent Blu-ray edition a few years ago in the U.S. market, but now, Arrow U.K. Has issued a very extended version of it (though in a Region B Blu-ray most U.S. Blu-ray players cannot play, so you have to get a multi-region player to enjoy it) and we covered the U.S. Blu-ray (a big fan of the film) at this link:


I was never as big on it and feel the jokes are limited in scope, making it a two or three joke film. Like all the James Bond spoofs, the 1980s action films (including Raiders Of The Lost Ark) poked fun at themselves like Bond and that is why Carpenter needed more ironic distance for this to really take off. As it stands, it is not bad and Russell proves he can once again handle comedy well. More politically incorrect than it was upon release, Carpenter seems to have given up a bit after some of his high profile films we now know the greatness of did not do as well as they should have upon original release. Still, he was in good form here.

Extras from the previous U.S. Blu-ray including the Feature Length Audio Commentary with director John Carpenter and star Kurt Russell, the Extended Ending, Deleted Scenes, a Music Video, interview with visual effects producer Richard Edlund, Trailers and TV Spots, a Behind-the-Scenes Gallery and a Vintage Making-Of Cast/Crew Featurette are repeated, but Arrow has added a slew of new goodies including an isolated music track in lossless 5.1 DTS-MA surround, Return to Little China – A brand new interview with John Carpenter, Being Jack Burton – A brand new interview with Kurt Russell, Carpenter and I – A brand new interview with cinematographer (Director of Photography) Dean Cundey, Producing Big Trouble – A new interview with producer Larry Franco, Staging Little Trouble – A new interview with stuntman Jeff Imada, 3 original trailers, TV Spots, Reversible Sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Jay Shaw and a new booklet featuring new writing on the film by John Kenneth Muir, author of The Films of John Carpenter, a re-print of an article on the effects of the film from American Cinematographer Magazine, illustrated with archive stills and posters.

Paul Bartel's Lust In The Dust (1985) was very heavily advertised at the time to try and capitalize on the surprise success of John Waters' original Hairspray as well as thinking they had another Blazing Saddles on their hands in this satire of the Western genre focusing on sex, camp and gross jokes. Divine plays a lady in distress, reunited with Hairspray co-star Tab Hunter as a man with no name (and no dialogue at first for a while) heading for a town they have never been to before for what might be some kind of opportunity.

Turns out gold might be at hand, but they'll meet a bar owner (Lainie Kazan stealing every scene she is in), a really old hooker (Nedra Volz), a priest who knows what is going on (Cesar Romero) and a supporting cast that features veterans of the genre (Geoffrey Lewis, Woody Strode, Henry Silva, Pedro Gonzalez Gonzalez) and even an uncredited Noah Wyle, you can see why this is at least a curio.

The script is not great, filled with more than a few single-entendres and gross jokes that can be redundant, but seeing so many actors including name ons take risks to go this overboard is bravery we do not see much today. Already issued in the U.S. on DVD years ago, this Arrow U.K. Region 2 PAL Import DVD looks at least as good and is welcome edition with the most extras for the film yet. The actors save it, even when it gets rough and does not always work. For all the bad serious and spoofy Westerns we have suffered through of late, it looks more ambitious than ever.

An Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra on the disc, but Arrow has added a Collector's Booklet in the DVD case.

Finally we have Ben Wheatley's Sightseers (2012), a comedy from the executive producer of Hot Fuzz and Shawn Of The Dead, features a couple involve on a road trip in the U.K. (Alice Lowe, Steve Oram) who happen to be serial killers. It starts out with some promise and some funny uses of hit songs, but after the first half-hour, cannot find its way to do anything much funny or original, so it slowly goes into decline until a so-so twist ending with very mixed results. A curio for fans at least, I was not impressed by Wheatley's Down Terrace or Kill List (both reviewed elsewhere on this site), but this was less impressive and he just cannot seem to bring a full length narrative together.

Interviews and an Original Theatrical Trailer are the only extras.

The visual winner here is easily 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Trouble, the same solid presentation form the U.S. Blu-ray and though my fellow writer liked it even more than myself, I can say it still pretty much represents how the film originally looked. The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Angel (shot on 35mm film) and anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Lust (in PAL format shot in 2-perf Techniscope) and Sightseers (the only HD shoot on the list, using a RED ONE MX) comfortably tie for second place looking about as good as they are going to look in the format, though all likely have more to offer in an HD presentation.

As for sound, Trouble is the sonic champ here too featuring the same solid DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix it had on the U.S. Blu-ray, expanded from its original 70mm blow-up print sound that offered a 4.1 magnetic sound surround presentation. The attempt at split surrounds is not bad, but can be obvious at times. Fortunately, the isolated 5.1 music score is even more dynamic and a nice plus. All the DVDs have lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 save Lust in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono. As the newer films are dialogue and joke based, they do not have pronounced soundfields, though a lossless presentation may have offered more clarity and detail, so the Mono on Lust can more than compete meaning we have another 3-way tie for second place.

As noted above, you can order the Big Trouble Region B Import Blu-ray and Lust In The Dust Region 2 PAL DVD from Arrow U.K at this link:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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