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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Crime > Mystery > Suspense > Screwball > Relationships > Money > TV Situation Comedy > Absolute Quiet (1936/MGM)/The Devil To Pay (1930/Samuel Goldwyn/Warner Archive DVDs)/Game Night (2018/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Kansas City Princess (1934/Warner Archive DVD)/Will & Grace: The Revival - S

Absolute Quiet (1936/MGM)/The Devil To Pay (1930/Samuel Goldwyn/Warner Archive DVDs)/Game Night (2018/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/Kansas City Princess (1934/Warner Archive DVD)/Will & Grace: The Revival - Season One (2017/Universal DVD Set)



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



PLEASE NOTE: The Absolute Quiet, Devil To Pay and Kansas City Princess DVDs are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.



Here's our latest group of comedies for you to know about, all of which are set in the city, at least at some point...



George B. Seitz's Absolute Quiet (1936) has Lionel Atwill as a rich guy with a heart attack who needs rest, relaxation, low stress and what the title of the film suggests, but two escaped convicts (Bernadette Hayes and Wallace Ford) pick his place at random to hide out in when they escape the authorities for murder and severely ruin his recovery program. Yes, this is a comedy, though not too much like a sitcom and things get wackier when a plane crash-lands outside the ill man' mansion (the criminals would not turn the landing lights on) and they get more company.


Ann Loring, Raymond Walburn, Stuart Erwin and Louis Hayward round out the cast in this comedy/drama with some mystery going for it from MGM that has its moments and some suspense coming from both sides of the genres it represents. Definitely worth a look, it has been imitated a bit since.


The only extras is an Original Theatrical Trailer.



George Fitzmaurice's The Devil To Pay (1930) is a sometimes charming Samuel Goldwyn-produced film where rich, wacky playboy Ronald Coleman keeps burning through money, but suddenly finds himself in a sort of love triangle between Loretta Young and Myrna Loy! Coleman is constantly being nutty and this is some good work between three fine talents (those used to Young's 1950s persona will again be surprised how sexy and energetic she is here) in what is a fun, brisk 72 minutes worth seeing at least once. You'll see why they all became big stars.


You'll also see how Goldwyn more than thrived after leaving MGM (who kept his name forever despite his departure) and how he understood good filmmaking before most. Nice to see this one again after a very long time.


There are no extras, but anything would have been interesting.



Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams star in Game Night (2018) a new R-rated comedy with a story that's at least original. While not without its funny moments (many of which rely on dramatic tension), the film gets to be a little predictable as it messes with the heads of its audience with its many twists and turns. Some things about it are pretty far fetched, but it doesn't really slow down once it starts and is sure to make you laugh at least a couple of times.


The film also stars Kyle Chandler, Billy Magnussen, and Jesse Plemons to name a few.


A simple game night for a married couple (Bateman and McAdams) and some friends turns into a suspenseful and action packed journey! When Bateman's brother (Chandler) ends up hosting a game night that quickly goes awry, he ends up getting kidnapped by a group of gangsters. Thinking they are playing a game but actually fighting for his life, the group of friends split ways in an effort to find him.


Special Features:


An Unforgettable Evening: Making Game Night featurette


Gag Reel



William Keighley's Kansas City Princess (1934) is one of the worst comedies of its time, its decade and manages to waste Joan Blondell, Glenda Farrell and Robert Armstrong in a badly-written tale about money-grubbing working gals who get entangled with a gangster-type and eventually enlist in a Girl Scout-variant to get away from trouble, oddly leading them to a rich guy who has not idea how wacky they are.


Unfortunately, nothing here is funny, he script restricts its talents worse than you'd think, the pace is bad, the twists highly unlikely and the result is a like a bad sitcom episode no one wants to remember. The actors survived this dud, but you might not.


There are fortunately no extras.



Back in the 1970s into the early 1980s, if a hit TV show was hot in syndication or was very popular and not being seen enough, the trend was to do a TV movie revival, treat it like an event and see if the ratings would be big. This usually meant most or all of the cast would be brought back and often, it led to big ratings. Cable TV sort of killed this for a variety of reasons, but then a curious thing happened. Hit shows were being revived as new shows (What's Happening, WKRP In Cincinnati, even Mama's Family) and even if the shows were not as good as their originals, cable was desperate for new programming and the shows lasted a few seasons.


In the U.K., revivals on TV tend to be better and now, the major TV networks have decided to revive major hits of more recent vintage and among those hits are Will & Grace: The Revival - Season One (2017), which is also the ninth season overall of the hit show. In its time, it was a surprise to have positive, progressive, openly gay characters on a regular TV show in the U.S. of any kind was surprising, but the show admittedly broke some ground in this respect, if not being ground-shaking in this regard. Now its back, but the world has changed a good bit since it was cancelled and where does that leave the show?


It has to rely on the chemistry of its four leads (Debra Messing, Eric McCormack, Megan Mullally and Sean Hayes) and fortunately for fans, they are able to pick up playing their characters as if the show was never cancelled and save their slight aging, you would never know the difference between the show then and now. On the other hand, I was never a fan of the show and it never stayed with me or worked despite the on camera talent, so there is little difference to a non fan overall.


Fans seem to be happy enough as it is a hit again and has another season coming up, but anyone expecting something surprising or groundbreaking in any way, shape or form will be disappointed. You could do much worse than the 16 half-hours here, but it is also sad that this is one of the better TV shows of its season and that shows how bad network TV has become. So much for the new so-called golden age!


Extras include a few featurette clips and a Gag Reel.




The Game Night Blu-ray/DVD combo pack presents the film in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and a standard English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless track, both of which meet the expected playback standard for Blu-ray. The film has a surprising bit of action and few chase sequences which are tightly edited and sound good in this mix. The film primarily takes place at night and is shot cleanly with little gripes about the transfer. Also included is a compressed, anamorphically enhanced, standard definition DVD with a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix and a digital copy.


The image on all four DVD-only releases are more problematic than expected with the 1.33 x 1 black & white image on the three Warner Archive releases softer than they should be, having print damage or needing other work. The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the new HD-shot Will & Grace shows might look good in HD, but are just too soft for their DVD presentations and a show so new, but the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound on each show is not bad for the old compressed audio format. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono on the three Warner Archive DVDs are also down a generation or so, so be careful of high playback volumes and volume switching. Otherwise, they are passable.



To order any of the three Warner Archive DVDs above, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.wbshop.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Game Night)

https://www.facebook.com/jamesharlandlockhartv/


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