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Category:    Home > Reviews > Musical > Comedy > Family > Relationships > Standards > Alternate Rock > Biopic > Backstage > Show Busines > Let's Make Love (1960/Fox*)/Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Modern Life Is Rubbish (2018/MVD Visual/Cleopatra DVD)/My Gal Sal (1942/Fox*)/My Sister Eileen (1

Let's Make Love (1960/Fox*)/Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Modern Life Is Rubbish (2018/MVD Visual/Cleopatra DVD)/My Gal Sal (1942/Fox*)/My Sister Eileen (1955/Sony/Columbia*/*all Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-rays)



4K Ultra HD Picture: B+ Picture: B-/B-/C+/B/B- Sound: B-/B+/C+/C+/B- Extras: C+/C+/C/C/C+ Films: B-/C+/C/C+/B-



PLEASE NOTE: The Let's Make Love, My Gal Sal and My Sister Eileen Blu-rays are now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, are limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered from the links below.



Next up are a set of musicals releases, then and now...



We start with George Cukor's Let's Make Love (1960), a film that turned out to be one of the last big films for its lead, Marilyn Monroe, pairing her well with Yves Montand as a Billionaire not very happy that her new stage musical is an uncomplimentary piece about his life!


He's ready to get the show closed and maybe implode the theater when he meets Monroe, then suddenly, none of that matters. Very convincing, they have great chemistry together, she is in great form here and Montand plays up the intellectual snob side up well without overkill. As usual, Cukor knew what he was doing and though it may not be one of her biggest hits or most well-known films, it really is among her best.


Cole Porter songs are mixed (not remixed, of course) with Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen tunes, while Tony Randall and Frankie Vaughn add well to the supporting cast. There are also some great cameos (listed on the back of the Blu-ray case), but we'll keep them to ourselves.


It also shows Cukor was still on a roll (his last big musical, the 70mm 1965 My Fair Lady was only five years away) and as always, proved his taste, judgment and touch on all his films were like no other. This is one of my favorites of all involved and though it is not some all-time classic, it comes close at times and is worth going out of your way for. If you want one, just know it is another Twilight Time limited edition Blu-ray, so get it while you can. Considering Monroe is in it, I don't expect supplied to last long!



Ol Parker's Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) is the sequel to the big hit feature film version of the all-ABBA all the time stage musical meant for at least fans of the supergroup that sold records in numbers to challenge The Beatles at the time in every country but the U.S.,, yet even the states have a solid following for the vocal group, so no doubt they are as popular here now as ever. But did we really need this film to do nothing more than repeat all the hits and strike while the iron was allegedly still hot?


Not a fan of the first film, I was underwhelmed by the attempt to take ABBA hits and make them part of a narrative less convincing than the first film. The film has location shooting, yet it still has green screen! Meryl Streep's character is dead, yet she comes back from the dead for a musical number and Cher shows up playing her mother (!!!) in the last few reels of the film! Yes, you can already tell the writers were really taking liberties and bending corners to make it all fit. Fortunately, most of the original cast is back (Colin Firth, Pierce Brosnan, Amanda Seyfried, Christine Baranski, Dominic Cooper, Stellan Skarsgard, Julie Waters) and Andy Garcia plays Cher;s old love who turns out to be... Fernando!


Truth be told, Cher saves this film from being a bomb, showing up in the end, out-singing the cast, stealing every scene she is in and the proof is that her ABBA covers album gave her the highest album charts debut of her long, underrated career and tying her all-time peak on that chart. She should have been brought in an hour sooner and if they concentrated, this would have been a larger critical and commercial success.


Now you can see and hear for yourself as Universal has issued it in a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with regular Blu-ray) which plays back as well as it likely ever will. Before Cher, the film is as superfluous and dull as Julie Taymor's odd Beatles 'musical' Across The Universe (2007).



Daniel Jerome Gill's Modern Life Is Rubbish (2018) is not for sure if it is a musical or a soundtrack driven non-musical, telling the story of a couple (Freya Mavor and Josh Whitehouse) who were brought together by the alternative rock of the 1990s only to see their relationship deteriorating a decade later. Though it wants to involve us in the intimacies of the couple, it still lands up being a boy-meets-gal-loses-gal tale with little new to show, though the actors are convincingly matched.


I know how bored I am when I keep thinking of better films at occasional intervals and again, poor ones like Taylor's Across The Universe that have the music in it, but does not know what to really do with that music. In this case, that is especially a problem when you include one of the greatest music bands of all time: Radiohead.


So, this is only for the very curious and despite anything British about it, being a fan of such things, none of that went over my head either.



Irving Cumming's My Gal Sal (1942) is our oldest entry here, a big grade-A musical from Fox that takes place in the 1890s (aka The Gay Nineties) and is actually a biopic of songwriter Paul Dresser (Victor Mature doing well out of his tough guy, epic fight movies) but it does tend to be too formulaic and forgettable despite so few films on Tin Pan Alley and its glory days. What does tend to keep the film moving is the lady of the time, sex symbol Rita Hayworth as the woman who helps him become a star (how could he loose???) and proves once again she could act and even sing and dance a bit.


The makers keep it short and to the point at 103 minutes, but I still think it could have made more of tis time. Still, Hayworth and Mature in a pricey Technicolor production is interesting viewing, even when the script has nothing fresh to tell us. Phil Silvers, Carole Landis and John Sutton help offer solid supporting cast work and the other undeniable factor here is that the film was made to promote Americana in the middle of the darkness of WWII, so it wants to be a propaganda film and it succeeds like several such musicals of that period. It also furthered Hayworth as the pin-up icon of that era. Thus, it is worth a look and is a welcome Blu-ray release, though know it is a Twilight Time limited edition, so order while you can.



Finally we have Richard Quine's My Sister Eileen (1955), a big budget Columbia Pictures musical remake of their own 1942 dramatic hit, made to demonstrate the studio was heading for major studio status and the result is a minor classic that helped inspire TV sitcoms (and not just Laverne & Shirley) thanks to the co-writing of the great Blake Edwards as two sisters (Betty Garrett, later of both Laverne & Shirley and All In The Family) and Janet Leigh (as Eileen, mostly known for musicals and comedies before Hitchcock's Psycho, made just five years later and her biggest hit) trying to make it in the Big Apple, New York City. The love interests are no less that Jack Lemmon and Bob Fosse, who choreographed the film!


So no matter how dated or even predictable, it is a key work made when the genre started to slowly go into decline from so many being made, the rise of Rock music and even rise of TV> Everyone is giving it there all and though it is not perfect or an overall classic, it is a better film than you might expect and everyone should see it at least once. It is a key genre work more people should know about and this is a Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray, so buy it while you can.



The 2160p HECV/H.265, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced 2.35 X 1 Ultra High Definition image on Mia may be the best presentation here, but the obvious green screen and some safe, even flat image choices undermine the potential for playback performance and the regular 1080p Blu-ray is even flatter. Both also have some minor detail issues as well, so I don't know how this stacks up to the first film (also now on 4K that we may get to down the line), but I honestly thought the 4K Blu-ray of Grease (1978, highly recommended) made 40 years ago was much better.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Make is not bad, painstakingly restored photochemically by Fox before its DVD release about 20 years ago with all their other Marilyn Monroe films, there are minor flaws, CinemaScope lens distortion slight color variants and slight color issues, but this is much better than the DVD from now long ago.


The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Gal can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and has the most consistent color on the list here being a film originally issued in and made in 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor. This was meant to be an event film and it shows, looking more like money on screen than any other entry here. Wonder how a 4K version would play.


The 1080p 2.55 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Eileen can also show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film, though it also has distortion issues from the CinemaScope lens system that Make has. However, unlike Make, this film was also produced and issued in 35mm, dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor, so it has a color edge on the Monroe film, though it is an older production.


That leaves the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on our single DVD entry on the list, Rubbish, an HD shoot that tries to look like 1980s & 1990s music videos and have the shaky camera look of bad current filmmaking, which are contradictory things. That means the flaws captured here are intentional, so we won't hold that against it. Overall, not very memorable visually.


As for sound, Mia is also the sonic champ with lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 in both format versions (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdowns for older systems) but since most of the remakes of the ABBA songs are flat and there is only so much action in the film, it is underwhelming. Make and Eileen are in second place sonically with DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes based on their original 4-track magnetic soundmasters with traveling dialogue and sound effects, though lesser DTS-MA 2.0 Stereo tracks are also here if anyone is unhappy with those upgrades. I think the 5.1` upgrades are impressive for the respective age of each film.


Tying for third and last place are the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix on Gal and lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Rubbish, which really needed a 5.1 mix. Gal has an excuse for its sonic limits, but Rubbish is not only a new musical, but one claiming to be in the mode of great 1980s New Wave/Rock, et al. The sound is passable at best.


Extras on all three Twilight Time releases include nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and more excellent, underrated essays by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, while each Blu-ray disc adds Isolated Music Score tracks (sometimes with sound effects), then Love and Eileen also offer Original Theatrical Trailers.


Mia has a bunch of extras on both disc versions, including (off the press release in part) Deleted Songs and Scenes with Commentary by Director/Screenplay Writer Ol Parker, Deleted Song Performance - I Wonder & Deleted Scene – Tahini, MAMMA MIA! Reunited focusing on the legacy performers and their excitement at reuniting a decade later, the filmmakers discuss the paths they've paved for the characters since we last saw them, The Story: Producer Judy Craymer reveals how the MAMMA MIA! legacy began, evolved into the first feature film and how she teamed with executive producer/co-story writer Richard Curtis and director/screenplay writer Ol Parker to develop the perfect sequel, Playing Donna: This piece centers on Meryl Streep's cameo performance and Lily James' preparation for filling this iconic role, Meeting Cher: The Queen of Pop reveals her excitement at joining the MAMMA MIA! family as Ruby Sheridan, Sophie's glamorous grandmother. Fellow cast members will share their delight at meeting and watching a legend on set, Costumes and The Dynamos: The Young Dynamos have some pretty cool costumes in MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN, and of course so does Cher. And who could forget those trademark dungarees? We will join costume designer Michelle Clapton as she highlights some of her favorite outfits from the movie, Curtain Call: Who can forget the finale to MAMMA MIA! when the cast danced onto cinema screens in full spandex for one final number? Ol Parker has chosen 'Super Trouper' to close his movie and it features all 16 key cast members, NBC's TODAY Show Interview with Cher & Judy Craymer, Feature Commentary with Director/Screenplay Writer Ol Parker, Feature Commentary with Producer Judy Craymer and Enhanced Sing-Alongs for these songs...

Thank You For The Music

When I Kissed The Teacher

Waterloo

Andante, Andante

The Name Of The Game

Mamma Mia

Dancing Queen

I've Been Waiting For You

Fernando

and Super Trouper


Then of that was not enough, you get al these extras that are exclusives...


Cast Meets Cast: Tanya Meets Tanya - Jessica Keenan Wynn interviews Christine Baranski about playing the sassiest Dynamo - Tanya, plus Rosie Meets Rosie - Alexa Davies interviews Julie Walters as the two actresses share their experiences playing Rosie, Cast Chats: Dynamo Chit-Chat - A conversation between the three Young Dynamos reflecting on their favorite song, costumes, scenes to shoot, and funniest moments and Dad Chat - The young dads come together to share some of their favorite memories from set, High Jinks, Sophie's Story - Of all the characters, Amanda Seyfried's Sophie has developed the most since the first movie. Here we will chart how Sophie has gone from a vulnerable young girl to a confident young woman following life-changing events, Choreographing MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN - Choreographer Anthony Van Laast and his team will reveal some of the secrets behind the highly original dance routines, Dancing Queen: Anatomy of a Scene - The most famous piano roll in musical history opens one of ABBA’S biggest hits, 'Dancing Queen.' The number is the biggest and most complex sequence. Ol Parker will discuss where and how he wanted to use the song in the story, Performing for Legends - Here the Young Dynamos will discuss the daunting prospect of stepping into the recording booth at Air Studios to sing ABBA to ABBA, Class of '79 - The story of the Young Dads and Dynamos is told against the backdrop of Oxford, Paris and the Greek Islands of 1979, when hairstyles were wackier and the fashions were bolder. This featurette will focus on the Young Dads and Dynamos and their experience bringing these characters to life, Deleted/Extended Songs and Scenes with Commentary by Director/Screenplay Writer Ol Parker, Extended Song Performance - The Name Of The Game, Extended Song Performance - Knowing Me, Knowing You and these additional Enhanced Sing-Alongs...


One Of Us

S.O.S.

Why Did It Have To Be Me?

I Have A Dream

Kisses Of Fire

Knowing Me, Knowing You

Angel Eyes

My Love, My Life


That might just be longer than both movies to date, but fans cannot complain about a lack of bonus goodies.


Finally we have Rubbish, which adds a Slide Show, Hollywood Premiere, separate Behind The Scenes and Making Of featurette clips, an Original Theatrical Trailer and four trailers for other Cleopatra releases.



To order Let's Make Love, My Gal Sal and My Sister Eileen limited edition Blu-rays, buy them and other great exclusives while supplies last at these links:


www.screenarchives.com


and


http://www.twilighttimemovies.com/



- Nicholas Sheffo


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