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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Mystery > Money > Pirates > College > Sex > Exploitation > Serial Killer > Children > TV Sit > Captain Applejack (1931/Warner Archive DVD)/Frat Pack (2018/DVD)/National Lampoon's Van Wilder (2002/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray/both Lionsgate)/Women Who Kill (2016/MVD Visual DVD)/Young Sheldon: T

Captain Applejack (1931/Warner Archive DVD)/Frat Pack (2018/DVD)/National Lampoon's Van Wilder (2002/4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray/both Lionsgate)/Women Who Kill (2016/MVD Visual DVD)/Young Sheldon: The Complete First Season (2017 - 2018/Warner DVD Set)



4K Ultra HD Picture: B Picture: C/B-/B-/B/C Sound: C/B-/B/B/C Extras: D/D/C/D/C Main Programs: C+/C/C/C+/B-



PLEASE NOTE: The Captain Applejack DVD is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.



What follows is a very wide variety of comedies, often getting gross and vulgar, but with more genre and even gender twists than you might expect...



We start with a short film that still manages to be a genre twister, which is all the more surprising considering its age. Hobart Henley's comedy Captain Applejack (1931) starts with the story of the Applejohn Family finding the family on an appropriately stormy night seeing in the paper that a relative has put the mansion up for sale without telling them! Then a bunch of mysterious people start to show up, the house starts to seem haunted and then, it turns out the place might have a long-lost hidden treasure that explains why so many people have suddenly shown up.


Louise Closer Hale is the irritated Aunt, John Halliday is Ambrose (the news of the treasure has him dream an elaborate pirate fantasy sequence) and Mary Brian is the gal looking for excitement who will tip the entire mess into unexpected directions. For a running time of only 62 minutes, it is impressive what the script stuffs into this early talking picture triumph from Warner Bros., so its great their Warner Archive division has issued this amusing gem on DVD. Even by today's standards, some of this is truly very funny and genre fans will be pleasantly surprised if they go out of their way for this one. Warner even put more money in this one than expected.


As for playback quality, this is a well-shot, good looking and even atmospheric film, but the 1.33 X 1 black and white image has little specks of dirt on it most of the time and a few rough patches, while the theatrical mono sound is here in a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono presentation that also retains the original recording's background noise a bit more than I would have liked. This one needs and deserves a restoration and with what plays well here otherwise, that should not take much effort or time.


There are sadly no extras, but maybe if there was a restored Blu-ray edition...



If you like over the top fish out of water college-themed comedies with more sex and gross out jokes than you can handle then Frat Pack (2018) might be the low rent comedy for you. The story centers around a shy at first British college graduate who goes to America with his soon to be stepbrothers on a cross country road trip. Along the way there's plenty of girls, booze, drugs, and barf jokes for those yearning for the days of when Adam Sandler was funny, Chris Farley was still alive and Tom Green well... tried to entertain us.


The film stars Danny Trejo, Richard Reid, Melissa Bolona, Rachel Risen, Hana Mae Lee, and Beverly D'Angelo to name a few.

Frat Pack is presented in anamorphically enhanced standard definition DVD with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital audio track. The look is compressed as is to be expected with the format and has an overall natural look that isn't too stylized.


The only extras are more trailers for other Lionsgate releases.



Over the years, Nation Lampoon Magazine's name on comedy nosedived from some of the greatest cutting edge comedy around to a bad joke, the latter of which happened during the original run of the Chevy Chase Vacation movies. However, that did not stop the name from being licensed to death pointlessly. Of the MANY forgettable, disposable feature films and straight-to-video duds that were released was National Lampoon's Van Wilder (2002) that helped make a star of now blockbuster comedy actor Ryan Reynolds. Trading on his in-shape body and pressing all kinds of buttons on the levels of sexuality and gross, inappropriate behavior, it now is a curio as well as a past hit, so no surprise that with both Deadpool films being available on home video (et al) and 4K for that matter (see elsewhere on this site), why not have Lionsgate issue the comedy in 4K, a format not used as much for comedies yet like you might expect.


Well, the film is just as one-note as it always was with some jokes you might recently not be able to get in a film without a backlash and Reynolds playing the title character somewhere in the intersection of Val Kilmer in the far superior Real Genius, something like Jim Carrey in the embarrassment department and any other smarmy guy that we can trace back to better Hollywood comedies of the 1970s.


He may never graduate from college, but now his peace of mind is interrupted by an ambitious campus reporter (Tara Reed) who wants to unwrap the truth about his escapades on campus and beyond, which he will do anything to stop. In between, he has escapades where he is half or totally naked (playing coy with him being casually objectified, more of a shocking role reversal then than now) and how many insecure students and other people can you fit in one film for cheap comedy?


Sadly, had the screenplay been more ambitious, this could have been its own series like say, Deadpool, but the makers (including Director Walt Becker) make a film with no long-term thoughts and only because of slight chemistry in the cast and because of some of the cast (Tim Matheson, Kal Penn, Curtis Armstrong and future Big Bang Theory star Simon Helberg) are more formidable than the lesser cast of other post-Vacation product un the Lampoon name.


Of course, fans of the cast and film will be thrilled the film is getting such treatment, but being a simple comedy, improvements are minimal but notable. Shot on 35mm film, the 2160p HECV/H.265, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 1.85 X 1 Ultra High Definition image is clearer and has less motion blur and flaws than the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer also included here in a separate Blu-ray (also sold on its own in reissued form) and makes it a little easier to watch. Depth, color range and detail are slightly improved too.


Sound has been upgraded, believe it or not, to a Dolby Atmos 11.1 lossless (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown) mix, which improves a little bit over the older PCM 7.1 surround sound on the older Blu-ray (recycled for this release), though only marginally so. In the long run, the 4K edition is more like the film should be seen, but it is not a giant jump over the older HD master. If I had to choose, I'd still go for the 4K version.


Extras include the 'Party Legends, Pledges, and 'Bull'-ies' featurette, Sweet Drunken Idiot 'Kommentary', 'Ultimate College Party Guide' featurette, 'Gwen-ezuma's Revenge' featurette, Testicles of the Animal Kingdom - Interactive Quizzicle (Blu-ray Only), Write That Down - Quotes from and Inspired by the Film (Blu-ray Only), Sugarcult ''Bouncing Off the Walls'' Music Video, Deleted Scenes, Outtakes, Burly Bear TV Specials, 'Half Baked,' 'Imposter,' 'Movie Junky', Comedy Central's ''Reel Comedy: National Lampoon's Van Wilder'', Van Wilder Blu-Book Exam: Exclusive Blu-ray Interactive Game and Theatrical Trailers.



The thriller/comedy Women Who Kill (2016) is the story of two lesbians Morgan Jean (who are actually exes) that have a podcast centers around true crime. However, things get weird when Morgan's new love interest who be the daughter of an infamous local murderer. A hit on the film festival circuit, this offbeat comedy is quirky and funny in the same vein as So I Married an Axe Murderer, only with a LBGQ twist.


The film is presented on anamorphically enhanced standard definition DVD with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, both of which are standard for the DVD format. Aside from the compression, the film looks okay, but would be improved naturally in HD.


No extras.



Finally, after 12 seasons and 13 years, the massive hit network TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory will wrap production, which is great for a show no one was watching in its first season, but Jim Parsons is still the voiceover narrator for its new hit spinoff, Young Sheldon: The Complete First Season (2017 - 2018) now hitting DVD from Warner. It is his early years and it is sometimes predictable and obvious, but also very consistent.


Iain Armitage is fine casting as a very young Sheldon Cooper, already developing his overly scientific mind, phobias and other hangups, driving his family crazy and making all kinds of differences in their possibly 'normal' family like. The rest of the cast of new actors (plus Annie Potts in most episodes of this debut season) are also good, but the show is only in its honeymoon period and I don't know where it can/needs to go in the next season to be more than a footnote to the hit it comes from. However, despite predictability, I give the makers credit for thinking this one through as much as possible. Its not bad for what we get, plays it safe in some ways and I almost believe this was Sheldon's life years ago. Thus, it is worth a look, especially for fans.


My only real complaint is the playback performance in the older format of DVD with the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image a little softer than I would have liked (the show is not as visually colorful as its predecessor) and the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 is recorded at a bit of a lower overall volume than it ought to be, so be careful of high playback levels and volume switching.


Extras include two Behind The Scenes/Making Of featurettes: Young Sheldon: An Origin Story and Sibling Rivalry.



To order the Captain Applejack Warner Archive DVD, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


http://www.wbshop.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Frat, Kill)

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


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