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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Dark Humor > Show Business > Cable TV > Slapstick > Satire > Surrealism > Bowling > Western > Spoof > Barry: Season One (2018/HBO DVD)/The Big Lebowski: 20th Anniversary Limited Edition Box Set (1998/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/City Slickers (1991/Sony/TriStar)/Dragnet (1987/Universal/bot

Barry: Season One (2018/HBO DVD)/The Big Lebowski: 20th Anniversary Limited Edition Box Set (1998/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/City Slickers (1991/Sony/TriStar)/Dragnet (1987/Universal/both Shout! Factory Blu-rays)/Topper Returns (1941/MVD Visual/VCI Blu-ray)

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

Now for all kinds of classic comedy and a new entry...

Bill Hader stars in (and directs) Barry (2018), a HBO drama/comedy that focuses on a Hitman, who also happens to be an aspiring actor in Hollywood.

Traveling to L.A. to kill an aspiring actor, Barry (Hader) ends up getting sucked into the culture of the city and ends being inspired to be an actor himself. While the job goes against his real life profession in every way possible, Barry also ends up falls for a girl in the process and making new friends... and enemies.

Nominated for an Emmy, Barry is an unusually charming new show that's sharply done and worth checking out. Barry also stars Henry Winkler, Sarah Goldberg, Anthony Carrigan, and Stephen Root to name a few.

Season One is comprised of six episodes, including Make Your Mark, Use It, Make the Unsafe Choice, Commit... To You, Do Your Job, Listen with your Ears, React With Your Face, Loud Fast and Keep Going, and Know Your Truth.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image standard definition DVD presentation is up to standards with the aging format and presents the show in its original 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and paired with a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital audio mix. Compression issues are evident when watching the show on a 4K TV, with many details lacking and of which would be corrected in a HD release.

A digital copy is also included.

Special Features include:

The World of Barry Featurette

and Inside The Episode

Barry gives some truth about the LA acting scene, and has plenty of charming performances, and good writing to back it up.

The Big Lebowski (1998) is a cult classic and one of the best films in the Coen Brothers' vastly impressive filmography. There simply aren't many films like this modern film noir that tells the story of The Dude (Jeff Bridges), whose mistaken for a millionaire of the same name, and whom seeks restitution for his rug (which really tied the room together). The Dude ends up entangled in trying to find the (rich) Lebowski's kidnapped wife in return for a handsome reward.

The film has seen several releases on home video over the years in every format that you can imagine. On the eve of its 20th Anniversary, Universal celebrates by this eye opening new 4K restoration of the film on 4K Ultra HD disc, which is almost like watching the film for the first time again.

This review pertains to the Limited Edition set which includes a (very nice!) bowling bag, small bowling ball and a hilarious 'Dude'-esque cloth slip cover that goes over your disc as if it's wearing the signature sweater worn by Bridges in the film.

The Big Lebowski features an all star cast that includes John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Tara Reid, John Turturro, Sam Elliott, and David Huddelston to name a few.

The 4K remaster in The 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition disc, and has a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and both an English DTS: X 11.1 lossless mix (DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz) mixdown for older systems) that are a vast improvement over previous versions. The Blu-ray edition available previously only had 5.1 mixes and a less intricate transfer.

Shot originally on beautiful 35mm by the brilliant Roger Deakins, the detail in the image is top notch with a clean and clear transfer that has brighter colors and more definition than before. Also included is a 1080p Blu-ray with the same aspect ratio and sound specs as the 4K UHD disc. The difference is the clarity of the image, which is enhanced with HDR (high definition range) on 4K UHD disc.

Special Features:

U-Control: Scene Companion

U-Control: Mark It, Dude

U-Control: The Music of The Big Lebowski

Worthy Adversaries: What's My Line Trivia

The Dude's Life

The Dude Abides: The Big Lebowski Ten Years Later

Making of The Big Lebowski

The Lebowski Fest: An Achiever's Story

Flying Carpets and Bowling Pin Dreams: The Dream Sequences of The Dude

Interactive Map

Jeff Bridges Photo Book

Photo Gallery

An Introduction

and No Kid Hungry PSA

Universal has done a great job this year restoring some of their new classics and upscaling them to 4K UHD disc. This, along with the cool packaging here, makes this limited edition worth picking up for hardcore fans of the film.

For more on our past coverage on the film you can start at this link....


Billy Crystal stars in City Slickers (1991), the story of three friends who are about to turn the big 4-0, and are in the midst of their mid life crisis. Starting to feel pretty bored with life in the big city, Mitch Robbins (Crystal) and his two friends (Bruno Kirby and Daniel Stern) decide to go on a vacation to the wild west while they will train to be cattle framers.

When in New Mexico, they end up meeting a true blue cowboy named Curly (the great Jack Palance), who opens their eyes to what life in the west is really about. The film also stars Patricia Wettig, and Helen Slater.

There's no doubt that this is classic Billy Crystal and his chemistry with Jack Palance on-screen was so charming to audiences that they end made a sequel years later. Ron Underwood (who had just finished Tremors before this), does a great job and the cinematography here is captured nicely.

City Slickers is presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and two audio tracks in both DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 and DTS-HD MA 2.0 Stereo lossless mixes. The transfer is pretty sharp and has been restored in this new 4K remaster of the film from its original 35mm elements. This definitely bests the previous release of the film on 1080p Blu-ray disc in 2015, that wasn't quite as sharp as this version.

Special Features include...

Audio Commentary By Director Ron Underwood And Stars Billy Crystal And Daniel Stern


"Back In The Saddle: City Slickers" Revisited

"Bringing In The Script: Writing City Slickers"

"A Star Is Born: An Ode To Norman"

"The Real City Slickers"

and Deleted Scenes

Tom Hanks and Dan Ackroyd star in Dragnet (1987), a spoof on the original hit TV and radio series that I personally find hilarious. The dark comedy isn't afraid to bring up some heavy subjects but has great onscreen chemistry between its two stars. Available now from Shout! Select, there's finally a definitive version of Dragnet that's just as fun to watch today as it always has been.

Dragnet also stars Christopher Plummer, Harry Morgan, Kathleen Freeman, and Alexandra Paul.

L.A. detectives Friday and Streebek are assigned to some very strange robberies: the stealing of one bat, a 30-foot-long snake and the mane of a lion from a zoo. All the latest BAIT magazines were also recently stolen, and some chemicals that when are mixed correctly develops a very deadly gas. All these thefts have one thing in common; visit cards with the word "PAGAN" left at the crime scenes. Solving these crimes, including why plenty of police vehicles have been stolen lately, involves the usual; to drink coffee at strip tease bars, rescue kidnapped virgins from drowning, and lose the job. Can these two Detectives solve this bizarre mystery?

The film is presented on 1080p Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and a great sounding DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix. The film hasn't been released on Blu-ray disc in the states until this release and it's a welcome addition to any cinephile's Blu-ray collection. The film looks and sounds far better than previous standard definition presentations obviously and is a very nicely shot film in retrospect.

Special Features include...

New "A Quiet Evening in the Company of Connie Swail": An Interview With Co-Star Alexandra Paul

New Audio Commentary with Pop Culture Historian Russell Dyball

"Just the Facts!": A Promotional Look at Dragnet with Dan Aykroyd and Tom Hanks

Original Theatrical Trailers & Promos

Photo Gallery

Reversible Cover Art

While it may not be the most well known or successful film of either of its stars, Dragnet is a fun spoof and really looks better than ever in this new Shout Select edition.

Finally we have Roy Del Ruth's Topper Returns (1941), which is actually the third film despite sounding like the second as the hit original film with Cary Grant brought on sequels form the Hal Roach Studios. Distributed by United Artists at this point, it has arrived on Blu-ray from VCI (who issued the first film on Blu-ray) in a pretty decent edition. This time, there is a disguised murderer on the loose up to no good, shooting out the tire of a fancy car whose passengers include rich gal Ann (Carole Landis) and one of her best friends (Joan Blondell) who look like maybe they'll join the ghost world (the camera shots suggest this) but survive to get to Ann's family's house.

Unfortunately, the trouble is there as well as one of them will soon be murdered in a plot with interesting twists. Roland Young is back as Topper, Billie (the Good Witch from the original Wizard Of Oz) Burke back as his wife, plus Patsy Kelly, Dennis O'Keefe, George Zucco and Eddie 'Rochester' Anderson as additional comic relief as a chauffeur who wears a long fur throughout that would be as expensive as anything his employees might wear.

The mystery twist is fun, but as underutilized as Anderson, who is made comic relief more than the knowing, witty guy he is best known for on the many episodes of radio and TV broadcasts of Jack Benny's show. The visual effects are fun and they know how to work those, but the results are mixed as too many missed opportunities hold an otherwise enjoyable film back. It looks good though and it has good energy to go with a really good cast. Too bad the script was not more ambitious.

For more on the original Topper film, try this link:


The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous video editions (et al) that I've seen over the years and though we get softness and detail issues a little more than expected, also expect some nice shots here and there. Roach always knew how to make his releases look good. The PCM 2.0 Mono lossless mix does its best to recreate the original theatrical monophonic sound with as much clean up as possible, but the film's age shows sonically. Still, most of the dialogue was very clear and this plays just fine.

Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer for this and the previous two films in the series.

- Nicholas Sheffo (Topper) and James Lockhart



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