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Category:    Home > Reviews > TV Situation Comedy > Media > Talk Show > Skits > Music > TV Special > Musical > Broadway > Satire > Spoof > B > Blunt Talk (2015/Starz/Anchor Bay DVD Set)/The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes - The Ultimate Collection (1966 - 1972/Star Vista/Time Life 22-DVD Box Set)/The Hudsucker Proxy (1994/Warner/Univer

Blunt Talk (2015/Starz/Anchor Bay DVD Set)/The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes - The Ultimate Collection (1966 - 1972/Star Vista/Time Life 22-DVD Box Set)/The Hudsucker Proxy (1994/Warner/Universal/Umbrella Region B Import Blu-ray)/If Its Tuesday, It Must Belgium (1969/United Artists/MGM/Olive Blu-ray)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Hudsucker Proxy Import Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, can only play on Blu-ray players that can handle Region B locked Blu-rays and can be ordered from the link below.

Here's a new group of comedy releases, including a huge megaset of an all-time classic...

Blunt Talk (2015) casts Patrick Stewart as a talk show host about to get in all kinds of personal trouble being bored with his life and hitting some kind of mid-life crisis. Stewart and his comic abilities are underrated and underseen, but this show has some really bad, dumb humor that does not work and the few parts that work in that respect are few and far between. Part of the problem is that the situation and the humor too often are too obvious and we have seen this 'big media guy in a downfall story' one too many times already, so the gaudiness backfires there.

There are even a few in-jokes (Seth MacFarlane is co=producer) and having Jacki Weaver as a co-star does not hurt, but 10 shows here have an OK start in the first episode, but slowly go into decline following the same old same old. For fans only.

Three Making Of/Behind The Scenes featurettes (two very short) are the only extras.

The Carol Burnett Show: The Lost Episodes - The Ultimate Collection (1966 - 1972) is the second huge box set of extensive work from her classic, landmark hit variety TV series (this Time Life release is a 22-DVD Box Set!) and is loaded with hilarious, enduring work. One of the best DVD boxes we have ever covered, some of its content has been released on its own including a smaller set under the same name...


As well as the Carol + 2 DVD single...


Being a big fan and having covered releases of this show several times already, you would think I would have run out of superlatives or laughs, but this deeper version of the release reconfirms in extensive detail just how funny, inventive, innovative and hilarious all involved were, the massive chemistry between the cast, guests and the underrated talents behind the scenes and because they were so excellent from broadcast minute one, how this became an instant classic and truly a now-rare form of event television we don't see much of anymore anywhere.

The Vault set offers great episodes with Johnathan Winters, Dionne Warwick, Joan Rivers, Barbara Feldon, Nannette Fabray, an early prophetic turn by Sonny & Cher before they joined Carol & the gang at CBS doing the same kind of show, Marilyn Horne, Shirley Jones, George Chakiris, Ken Barry (soon to be a semi-regular of sorts all the way to Mama's Family), Paul Lynne, Dyan Cannon, Soupy Sales, Mel Torme, Pat Boone, Gwen Verdon, Mickey Rooney, John Davidson, Peter Lawford, Minnie Pearl, Martha Raye, Betty Grable and the great Art Carney.

The spoofs, satires, send-ups, great music and dance numbers continue on the Classic Carol set we are seeing for the first time anywhere and includes Tim Conway (as semi-regular before he was a regular later in the series' run), Ray Charles, Lucille Ball, George Carlin, Bernadette Peters, Mike Douglas, Martha Raye (in her comeback after a backlash for her pro-military position in Vietnam), Diahann Carroll, Nancy Wilson, Nanette Fabray, Frank Gorshin (the first Riddler from Batman), Lana Turner, Ricardo Montalban, Cass Elliott (promoting her underrated theme from Monte Walsh), Debbie Reynolds, John Davidson, Ken Berry, Imogene Coca, Robert Goulet, Totie Fields and Garry Moore. Its a massive amount of talent you could not get on any TV show today and the prices I have seen for this set are more than justified. If ever there were an inarguable DVD gift set, this is the one. I had not seen many of these shows for a long time and certainly not in their entirety since they were broadcast back in the day.

Extras in this great box set packaging include a reproduction of the autograph book Burnett would have all her guests sign at the end of every single episode of her show and the larger DVD sets have episode guide booklets with comments and color illustrations, while the DVDs add a backstage tour of CBS Studio 33 where the show was originally taped, 13 exclusive new interviews with stars of yesteryear and today, with Alan Alda, Julie Andrews, Vikki Carr, Carol Channing, Bill Hader, Jack Jones (longer than expected but worth it), Jim Nabors, Queen Latifah, Gloria Loring, Don Rickles, Lesley Ann Warren & others, Never-Before-Seen Bloopers & Outtakes, Bonus sketches including ''Morton at the Movies'' and the all-time classic ''The Dentist'' and the opening number from the historic Julie and Carol at Lincoln Center TV special with a new introduction by Carol from the smaller Lost Episodes release, an interview featurette where Burnett discusses the origins of her 'Charwoman' character from the Carol + 2 release (part of the green-labeled Exclusive Bonus Features DVD, which also adds a second new DVD with A Message To Carol, Golden Age Of The Variety Show featurette and new interview clips with Burnett, Alan Alda, Randy Doney, Tina Fey & Bill Hader), newly-shot interviews with Tony Bennett, Steve Carell, Kristin Chenoweth, Tina Fey, Burt Reynolds and others; hilarious bonus sketches, featurettes including ''The Song and Dance: Crooners, Hoofers & Balladeers,'' ''Expecting the Unexpected,'' and ''The Making of a Mackie,'' as well as never-before-seen outtakes from the Vault DVD set, new interviews with dancer Randy Doney and ballet dancer Edward Villella, plus the first half of ''A Writer's Roundtable'' interview featurette from the Classic Carol set and finally, the blue-labeled Exclusive Bonus Features DVD adds a continuation of ''A Writer's Roundtable,'' Outtakes and more interview clips. This time, they are with Julie Andrews, George Chakiris, Shirley Jones, Buz Kohan, Shirley Jones (all on DVD 1) and Marty Ingels, Arnie Kogan, Chita Rivera and Saul Turteltaub (DVD 2).

If you are thinking of getting this set for yourself or anyone else, DO IT!!!!

The Coen Brothers' The Hudsucker Proxy (1994) took a few years to make and release, but when it finally arrived, it did poor box office and lost money due to its huge budget. We previously reviewed the U.S. Warner Archive Blu-ray release (only available online) here...


I was not a big fan of the film, especially as a follow up to a pair of ingenious gems like Miller's Crossing and Barton Fink. Now that we have the new Umbrella Region B Import Blu-ray version, I can add my thoughts on the film. Needless to say my fellow writer thought it was a total bomb, but a few parts of it worked, looked good and show this had promise at some point. At the time, I was shocked that actionmeister Joel Silver was co-producing it. When it was announced, then suddenly disappeared for a while, that fact explained something had gone wrong.

Now those who have seen many more of their films will want to catch it as a curio and all of their films should always be in print. Yet, when talking of their older work, this one rarely comes up by as a footnote at best. All serious film fans should see it once because its the Coens and because of the cast, but I'm still disappointed in what is over two decades later and counting. Glad this did not kill their career.

There are sadly no extras.

Last but not least is Mel Stuart's If Its Tuesday, It Must Belgium (1969), a travel comedy with a really impressive cast in which American tourists go on a bus tour in Europe led by Ian McShane as their skirt-chasing host. He gets involved with customer Suzanne Pleshette with initially mixed results, but that is one of several storylines in this attempt to combine Tati's Playtime with It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World on a subtler level. Produced by David L. Wolper through United Artists, the cast gives its best to make this all work, but the screenplay is mixed and stops this from being a potential classics.

I cannot say this about a cast that also includes Norman Fell, Michael Constantine, Murray Hamilton, Mildred Natwick, Sandy Barron, Senta Berger, Joan Collins, John Cassavetes, singer Donovan, Vittorio De Sica, Catherine Spaak, Anita Ekberg, Virna Lisi, Robert Vaughn, Peggy Cass, Pamela Britton, Aubrey Morris, Patricia Routledge, Else Martinelli and Ben Gazzara. Stuart (the director of the original Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory was known mostly for documentaries like Wattstax), handles the comedy, joy and energy well enough, but this does not nearly add up to what it could have outside of a time capsule with many curios about it and in it. All in all, its still worth a good look for how good it looks and for a;ll the funny moments that do work.

An Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra, though a featurette would have been interesting.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Blunt is a bit dark and that affects detail and gives us black crush at times, but color is consistent and some of that is to be expected from a tradedown of an HD shoot, while the 1.33 X 1 color on the Burnett DVDs are about as high quality as they can be for older 2-inch analog NTSC reel-to-reel low-def videotape of the time. There are still some flaws including slight ghosting at time, a bit of video noise once in a while, video banding here and there, a few slight tape scratching incidents, a little cross color at times and color changing a little, but this is minor and never hurts the viewing.

The 1080p 1.77 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Proxy looks to be the same transfer as the warner Archive U.S. Blu-ray and can show the age of the materials used in a few spots, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film save the Warner version.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Belgium is even more colorful (color was processed by DeLuxe) and can also show the age of the materials used, but Is also superior to all previous releases of the film on home video and the grain is never a problem, though you can see some more in some scenes than others. I like this was this is shot and edited.

The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Blunt is a good set of recording/mixing on each episode, but something is being lost from the soundmaster, so I bet a lossless version would perform better, thus, the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the Burnett DVDs can more than compete and sound really good for their age.

As was the case with the U.S. Blu-ray, the DTS-HD 2.0 Stereo Master Audio lossless mix (with Pro Logic surrounds, though this was a 5.1 theatrical release!) on Proxy was the first Coen Brothers film issued theatrically in digital sound and it is fine, though why it is not 5.1 is odd. Still, this has its moments, even if something is a bit missing.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix on Belgium was a mono theatrical release, which holds back the music and songs we get, but this is as well mixed and presented as an older such film from its time could be. Nothing too surprising, but it is clear and consistent.

To order The Hudsucker Proxy Umbrella import Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many other exclusives at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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