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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Relationships > Middle Age > Stand-Up > Politics > Poverty > Sex > Independent > British > He > Gloria (2013/Lionsgate DVD)/Lewis Black: Old Yeller Live At The Borgata In Atlantic City (2014/Image)/Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987/Film 4/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/That Sinking Feeling (19

Gloria (2013/Lionsgate DVD)/Lewis Black: Old Yeller Live At The Borgata In Atlantic City (2014/Image)/Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987/Film 4/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/That Sinking Feeling (1979/BFI Region Free Import Blu-ray)

Picture: C+/C+/B-/B- Sound: C+/C+/B-/B- Extras: C-/D/C+/B Main Programs: C+/B/C+/B-

PLEASE NOTE: The Rita Blu-ray is only available from our friends at Twilight Time in a limited edition of 3,000 copies, while That Sinking Feeling is a region-free import Blu-ray now only available from our friends at BFI. Both can be ordered from the links below.

These new comedy releases all have their moments...

Sebastian Lelio's Gloria (2013; not to be confused with the John Cassavetes or Sharon Stone films of the same name) is the amusing tale of the title character (Paulina Garcia) is free in her life again now that her children are grown and on their own, plus she's divorced, but having fun is not going to be quite the same as it used to be. She loves to party and finds it easy to hook up with men. Too bad they are getting older and older.

The film has some funny moments and some very real ones, but more than a few lulls get in the way, yet Garcia (looking like an older version of the late, great singer Laura Brannigan who made Umberto Tozzi's Italian megahit song Gloria into a megahit of her own) carries the narrative well and I was very happy with the better moments overall everyone should still check this one out once to get all the laughs and irony out of it.

Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices and 3 music montage promo clips to promote the film are the only extras.

Lewis Black: Old Yeller Live At The Borgata In Atlantic City (2014) has one of the great stand-up comics (reaching my all-time list with worth this strong) telling it like it is about people being stuck to the Internet, stupid politicians, things that annoy him (so why don't we get more annoyed) and much more in an 81 minutes show that never gets boring, is bold and as funny as anything on this list, which says something.

Black might also be recognizable from his many supporting acting roles, but this is his day job and hardly anyone out there is as great at it, especially now more than ever when some of the up and coming stand-ups are just not that good or bold. If you have never seen him in action, this is a great place to start.

There are sadly no extras, but you can read more about one of his underrated projects, a TV show, at this link:


Alan Clarke's Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1987) is among the late director's bold, anti-Margaret Thatcher films about how an already troubled Britain was rendered into way too many dead ends by her policies in this comedy about the three title characters, married Bob (George Costigan) and two nearly underaged but streetwise school gals (Siobhan Finneran and Michelle Holmes) getting sexually involved instantly among other things. What should be shocking is very matter-of-fact, but that is the point in a society where merit has been thrown out the window with certain moral standards to begin with, so the trio are left to their own devices. Like Clarke's Scum (reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on his site), the vilm lands up somewhere in between though this is narrowly less successful than that earlier work. However, it is an ambitious comedy with a dark side (versus a dark comedy outright) that deserves to be on Blu-ray for all to see, even if it is a limited edition and Finneran's presence makes this an instant curio too.

The trick is not to wallow in the obvious, yet not shy away from the harsh realities there, especially to contrast the plight of all the characters here.

Extras include another nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text by Julie Kirgo, who joins fellow film scholar Nick Redmond got a feature length audio commentary track and we get an Isolated Music & Sound Effects Track.

Last but not least is Bill Forsyth's That Sinking Feeling (1979), an underrated teen comedy that takes place in Glasgow, Scotland with limited opportunities as well, but they are trying to find something more and at least four of them have each other. Ronnie (a hilarious Robert Buchanan) tries to kill himself via suffocation from a combination of milk and corn flakes, but he fails. However, walking by a shop, he gets inspired. What if he, his crew and some trusted outsiders steal a pile of new stainless steel sinks and sell them?

Add a goofy science student, a borrowed bakery truck and inane planning and they might just pull it off! I saw this little gem a long time ago and was the first time I saw it without dubbing (more below), yet enjoyed it then and found it as funny as ever. This is a minor comedy classic and a real independent gem long overdue for rediscovery. BFI has done real justice to the film with a top-rate new transfer and great extras, but it is a must-see film for anyone who loves comedies.

Extras include a DVD version, illustrated booklet on the film including informative text, new feature length audio commentary track with Bill Forsyth and Mark Kermode, new interview with actor Robert Buchanan (Douglas Weir, 20 min.), Bill Forsyth's Lifetime Achievement Film (Bill Forsyth, 2009, 7 min.): short acceptance film made for BAFTA, an optional alternative dubbed dialogue track for clearer English and these impressive short films in HD that are a terrific bonus:

Kermode Uncut (2012, 9 min.): film critic Mark Kermode discusses the budget for the film with Bill Forsyth, KH-4 (John Schorstein, 1969, 13 min.): a young artist (Forsyth acting!) struggles to seek inspiration from his slowly crumbing cityscape, Mirror (John Schorstein, 1970, 30 min.) with Forsyth back again as a young would-be writer looking for his girlfriend on the streets of Glasgow, Glasgow 1980 (Oscar Marzaroli, 1971, 30 min. ): documentary, edited by Bill Forsyth, promoting the proposed development of Glasgow in the 1970s not anticipating the Thatcher Effect and Islands Of The West (Bill Forsyth, 1972, 30 min.) industrial film promoting the scenic beauty of the Scottish Hebrides.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Gloria and anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Black are not bad for DVD presentations, are a bit soft and both would benefit from Blu-ray releases. The Blu-rays of the Great Britain films here are the visual champs here, both shot in 16mm, with the 1080p 1.66 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Rita looking decent for a film that could have settled for a flat TV movie look, while the 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Feeling is very colorful with few flaws and shot all on Fuji color film. Both prove yet again how good 16mm can look on Blu-ray despite the detractors (read film and cinema haters) who have tried to con the public into thinking otherwise. I should add that the filmed shorts on Feeling look as good if not better than the film itself and are all also worth checking out.

As for sound, it is the same split with the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the DVDs being passable, but likely sounding better in lossless presentations on a Blu-ray, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 lossless Mono mix on Rita and PCM 2.0 Mono on Feeling may have their limits, but are warmer, fuller and presented as well as they are ever going to be. Of course, the original dialogue on Feeling might be difficult for some to understand and/or keep up with, but I liked it more than the clearer English dub and it is more fun, paying off if you put the effort into getting into it.

You can order That Sinking Feeling from BFI directly at their website at...


and to order Rita, Sue and Bob Too limited edition Blu-ray, buy it among many other limited editions while supplies last at this link:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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