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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Relationships > Romance > Eccentric > Drama > Class Division > Racism > Sex > Humor > Money > Satire > Stage Mother (1933/MGM/all Warner Archive DVDs)/The Voice Of The Moon (1990/MVD Visual/Arrow Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Wedding Plan (2016/Candy Factory DVD)/Wide Open (1930/Warner Archive DVD)

The Accidental Tourist (1988/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Beatriz At Dinner (2017/Lionsgate DVD)/Big Business Girl (1931/First National/Warner Archive DVD)/The Good Catholic (2017/Broadgreen Blu-ray w/DVD)/Lady Macbeth (2017/Lionsgate DVD)/The Midwife (2017/Music Box DVD)/She Had To Say Yes (1933/First National)/Sorority House (1939/RKO)/Stage Mother (1933/MGM/all Warner Archive DVDs)/The Voice Of The Moon (1990/MVD Visual/Arrow Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Wedding Plan (2016/Candy Factory DVD)/Wide Open (1930/Warner Archive DVD)

Picture: B/B/C/B+ & B-/B/B/C/C/C/B & B-/B/C+ Sound: B/B/C/B+ & B-/C+/C+/C/C/C/B & B-/C+/C- Extras: B/D/C-/D/B/B/D/D/C-/B/C/D Films: C+/B+/C+/C+/B+/B+/C+/C+/C+/B/C+/C+

PLEASE NOTE: The Accidental Tourist Blu-ray, plus Big Business Girl, She Had To Say Yes, Sorority House, Stage Mother and Wide Open DVDs now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Here's a new group of dramas with their share of melodrama, and some with comedy on the side...

The Accidental Tourist

From Lawrence Kasdan (co-writer of Star Wars Episodes 5,6, and 7, and director of many films like Silverado), the offbeat romantic comedy The Accidental Tourist (1988) is a fun ride from open to finish. Based on the novel by Anne Taylor, the film centers around a broken man who writes travel guide books (played by William Hurt) who has suffered the death of both his son and his marriage (to Kathleen Turner), finds new love with fellow divorcee (in Geena Davis) in the most unlikely of places. The film also features a young Bill Pullman who expertly plays Hurt's brother.

The film reminds me a bit of Up in the Air, not in just its comparison to traveling but in that it has the same arc of an emotionally distant man discovering love for seemingly the first time. The film is funny and heartfelt, with a realistic and interesting tone. The writing and performances are all top notch, and with it looking this great on disc, is definitely worth checking out if you haven't seen it in a while.

Special Features include...

Introduction by Lawrence Kasdan

Commentary by Geena Davis

It's Like Life

Lifted Scenes


Beatriz At Dinner

Beatriz (Salma Hayek) is a health consultant/spiritual healer from a poor Mexican town. After her car breaks down while she is at a rich real-estate developer's home she is invited to stay for their dinner party. There, she learns of how different their worlds are, between the rich and the poor. And while she seems like a fish out of water, she realizes how there are some people who are never healed ...and can never be healed in Miguel Arteta's Beatriz At Dinner (2017).

Beatriz works and helps with healing the body from physical to spiritual needs. She cares about life, and believes in the healing power of kindness and understanding, but after her car breaks down and she is stranded at dinner party, she gets a rare chance to see how the rich live. She is looked down as a lower class person, they make gossip and make fun of her job while not realizing how racist and ugly their souls are. And while they pretend to be philanthropists, they really only care about what they can take from others than saving the world. Beatriz tries to tell and show them how shallow they are, but ends up being discouraged realizing that nothing she say, she do will ever really change society.

This film was a culture clash between the rich and poor, it is about how those in wealth and power will never understand the struggles of those beneath them. How the rich is surround by beauty and beautiful vistas, it seem to contrast with how ugly there hearts were. And while there was a bit of comedy with the main character reacting and commenting on the macabre of rich people's lives, it was ultimately sad and depressing tale of how high society views the rest of the world.'

John Lithgow, Connie Britton and Chloe Sevigny also star.

Extras include trailers, but they are lame.

Big Business Girl (1931) is the first of five 'pre code' Hollywood films we are looking at in this round of releases, the first of two with a pre-sanitized Loretta Young as a newly married gal who lands up going to New York to work in a big office building where her boss (Ricardo Cortez) becomes more interested in her than he ought to be, while Johnny (Frank Albertson) is her bandleader husband and Joan Blondell the smart-alec street wise seducer, meant to distract Johnny. You might be able to imagine some of what happens here, but because it is racier and looser than this would be later as a formula film, you get a few surprises too.

Blondell is not on screen enough for me, but this First National release only runs a tight 76 minutes, meaning it also does not have any time for cliches. I enjoyed it and think you would too.

An Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra, sadly.

The Good Catholic (2017)

Christian-oriented films are usually a hit in some regards even if they aren't every person's cup of tea. The new film, The Good Catholic (2017), is a feel-good and wholesome film in this genre that has won big on the festival circuit. The film won the Panavision Spirit Award at the Santa Barbara Film Festival for Best Feature Film of 2017, as well as the Leonardo Da Vinci's Horse Award for Best Screenplay at the Milan International Film Festival.

The Good Catholic stars Zachary Spicer, Wrenn Schmidt, John C. McGinley, and Danny Glover. The film is directed by Paul Shoulberg (Hoosiers).

When a young small town priest named Daniel (Spicer) starts to get comfortable in his church, he meets a young woman named Jane (Schmidt) who changes his life forever as he starts to get a bit of a crush on her. As with many films in this genre, the film challenges faith even with those who are deep into it. At times, a little wordy and theatrical with lots of dialogue, the film has some good messages behind it while not going too far.

Surprisingly, no extras whatsoever.

Lady Macbeth (2017)

Katherine (Florence Pugh), a young woman finds herself in the loveless marriage, she is married to a man twice her age and has a cruel father-in-law. She is forced to stay inside the house all day and be little more than a doll to her husband. But when her husband leaves for journey, she finds herself attracted to a young servant named Sebastian (Cosmo Jarvis) ...and for the first time she feels alive since her marriage, and she will do anything to protect that in William Oldroyd's Lady Macbeth (2017)

Katherine was sold off to be the wife to a wealthy man, but she discovers she is not appreciated and expected to be a figure piece to his household. She is forced to be silent all day and to do anything her husband says. Until her husband goes away on business trip, she is raped by her servant Sebastian (a man with loose morals to begin with), but instead of repulsion she finds herself attracted to his wild nature and it lights a fire within her like never before. Now, she will do anything to protect her 'happiness' in life... including poisoning her father-in-law and killing her husband. But when she discovers her 'missing' husband has also been unfaithful and has an illegitimate son... will she kill an innocent child?

Lady Macbeth, perhaps was in reference to Shakespeare's Macbeth of women who plot and manipulate men to get what they want, though the film goes out of its way to avoid that. In Macbeth, it was the King's throne and in Lady Macbeth it was a woman's happiness. It ultimately both of them were a cautionary tale, it asks the question of what would one person do for happiness, would they kill for it? But like a guilty conscience, karma or the past, it usually finds it's way back to haunt the sinner. Extras include a behind the scenes clip, photo gallery and trailers.

The Midwife

Claire (Catharine Frot) is a midwife, after 30 years she runs into Beatrice (Catherine Deneuve), her late father's mistress. Claire has been in control all her life, knowing what to do and where to go, following the rules. Beatrice lives from day to day, gambling, drinking and being a con artist, she is the complete opposite of Claire. But due to special circumstances, fate has brought them together ...and perhaps there is something they can learn from each other in Martin Provost's The Midwife (2017).

Claire is a successful midwife, she has seen life come into the world and watched them grow, but she blames Beatrice her father mistress for leaving him and him committing suicide. But Beatrice is dying of brain cancer. She reaches out to Claire as the possible last person she considers family. At first, Claire rejects her, but after she losing a baby at her clinic and finding out her son dropped out of med school and is about to become a father, she relents and decides to gives Beatrice a chance. Beatrice helps Claire reflect on her own life and in how not to be so up tight, and life sometimes takes you places unexpected and unplanned.

This was a classical French film about life, death and how life goes on. French loves their extramarital affairs dramas, sexual liaisons, wine and living life, but it is funny how death can change one's perspectives, guilt, regrets and 'what ifs'. Extras include press conference with the actresses, interview with the director and trailers.

Busby Berkeley & George Amy's She Had To Say Yes (1933) is provocatively titled enough, with Loretta Young being drafted beyond being a secretary to seduce clients for their clothing company so they can be compromised. That very high concept would be impossible a few years later, but the makers at First National do their best with it and it leads to some amusing moments. The idea comes from a goofy worker (Regis Toomey) who should have just kept his mouth shut and she gets interested in one of the men!

At a very short but never boring 66 minutes, Lyle Talbot, Ferdinand Gottschalk and Winnie Lightner keep the energy going and this was Berkeley's first time official behind the movie camera at the helm, even if he was sharing it with someone else before becoming the choreography legend he soon would be. I don't know if this could have been longer, but it has enough moments to check out and it reminds us how beautiful Young was before the 1950s rendered her drab.

There are sadly no extras.

Sorority House (1939)

John Farrow's Sorority House (1939) is yet another interesting gem written by no less than a then lesser-known Dalton Trumbo, with Anne Shirley torn between going to college and helping out her father at his nice, beloved, local mom and pop grocery store. She starts to get involved with students there and many come from money, so she is torn between fitting in somewhat and just trying to be herself. This is a smart work and has some nice touches, including Trumbo touching on her father's shop up against a big new market daring to open up nearby, the daughter having to face class division (one guy likes her so much, he lies and says he owns a chain of his own) and more surprises that show this is not just a college comedy romp.

RKO issued this in what is considered the peak year of the original Hollywood Studio System and I'm glad some issues get by the Code, but this is not a political film with boring polemics. Instead it is a melodrama that does not drag and that's a plus. Barbara Reed, James Ellison, Adele Pearce, J.M. Kerrigan and Doris Davenport also star.

There are sadly no extras.

Stage Mother (1933)

Charles R. Brabin's Stage Mother (1933) can be a very shrill film, but to be about a pushy mother (Alice Brady) pushing her daughter (eventually a young Maureen O'Sullivan) into show business after she did not quite make it as she could or should have makes sense. Whether this is overdone or realistic is up to you to decide, but this MGM melodrama is only a backstage musical by default, but barely so.

When the opening credits start, they are sped up and show stage performers delivering various performances, one of the only possibly comic moments here, though I then noticed some white actors in blackface and that cast my doubts on the whole thing. That ugliness does not resurface, but the story has its own harshness. Brady loses her daughter, only getting her back years later. From there, the daughter is never happy with her being pushed to perform and to say they have a toxic, dysfunctional relationship is putting it mildly.

Still, O'Sullivan is amazing even at this young age and the supporting cast includes the venerable Ted Healy (a we'll known personality who eventually launched The Three Stooges, though they landed up at another studio, Columbia), Franchot Tone, Phillips Holmes and other uncredited talents that make up the convincing supporting performers. I'll add that we get a funny slightly off-key singing scene with a very young actor, one who would go on to play Alfalfa in the classic Our Gang/Little Rascals shorts: Carl Switzer. Yes, its that kind of film.

Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.

The Voice Of The Moon (1990)

Highly acclaimed Italian direction Federico Fellini who brought the world 8 1/2, La Dolce Vita, and many more delivers his final film: The Voice of the Moon (1990). A long time coming, the film gets the grand treatment from Arrow with this new Blu-ray/DVD combo that fans of the late filmmaker will not be able to resist.

Starring (filmmaker) Roberto Benigni, Paolo Villaggio, and Nadia Ottavaini, the stylish and gorgeous looking film shines in its new 2K restoration from the original 35mm film elements courtesy (and exclusive) to Arrow. The film is adapted from a novel by Ermano Cavazzoni and is inspired by other Fellini works such as Amacord and City of Women.

Ivo Salvini (Benigni) is a mental patient who is finding his way back into the surreal world that he lives in. Looking for love, he comes across a host of bizarre and unusual characters who guide him along a cinematic landscape that only Fellini could conjure.

Special Features include...

Towards the Moon with Fellini, a rarely seen hour-long documentary on the film's production, featuring interviews with Fellini, Roberto Benigni and Paolo Villagio

Theatrical trailer

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork by Peter Strain

FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Illustrated collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by Pasquale Iannone.

The Wedding Plan

Just a month before her wedding, Michal's fiance decides to break off with her leaving her high and dry at the alter. But Michal is determined to have her wedding and get married NO MATTER WHAT, the wedding will go on ...and God/fate will provide a groom. For the next 30 days, Michal will go on speed dating, believing the next man will be her Mr. Right in Rama Burshtein's The Wedding Plan (2016).

Michal is left with a groom-less wedding when her Jewish fiance decides to cheat on her and marry her roommate instead. Left with only her tattered dreams of getting married, Michal decides it is too early to give up hope, THE WEDDING WILL GO ON! Through friends and family she goes on a series of blind dates proposing to men in the Jewish community that she is looking for a groom and they will be getting married in less than a month. All the men she dates, however, are either not serious enough to marry her or too serious and Michal thinks they are making fun of her. All the meanwhile, she is driving her wedding planner Shimi crazy in planning a wedding without a groom, but love is often closer than you think and pops up in unexpected places.

This was a romantic comedy that was like (more) Jewish version of The Wedding Singer. It is about girls and their dreams of being a bride, looking for the perfect man, but in searching for Mr. Right, the main character learns a bit about herself, is her or the men? And while I believe Jewish people/men are some of the most open minded people in the world, when it comes to marriage, Jewish men prefer more traditional Jewish girls who are less independent and headstrong and obedient to their husbands (a cautionary tale girls). Extras include photo gallery and trailers.

Wide Open (1930)

Finally, we have the outright comedy that features an early performance of the legendary Edward Everett Horton cast to type early as a stuffy man who does not want to be touched and cannot handle women in Archie Mayo's Wide Open (1930), playing a man at a company that never wants to hear any of his 'good' ideas and even a woman at the office (Louise Fazenda) who actually likes him and has ideas of her own in designs on him.

He also has a maid (Louise Beavers) who is wiser than just about anyone in the film and the office gal has a mother (Vera Lewis) who somehow gets involved when he has no intentions of any such thing!

I was surprised how many laughs this one actually has, all while I keep thinking how young Horton looks (later known for his comic turns in supporting roles in film and especially on TV and children's programs) so it is another little gem worth going out of your way for. Patsy Ruth Miller, T. Roy Barnes, E.J. Radcliffe and Edna Murphy also star.

There are sadly no extras.

Now for the technical performance on all the discs...

The Accidental Tourist is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with a 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless track with Pro Logic surrounds, both of which look great. To my knowledge, this is the first time the film has been presented in HD on disc, and it's a welcome edition to Warner's impressive Archive Collection. The score by John Williams comes across fantastic and adds a lot to the feel of the film.

The Catholic Blu-ray/DVD combo pack features the film in 1080p high definition with a 1.85:1 (1.90:1) widescreen aspect ratio and a great sounding English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless track. A standard definition DVD with a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital track is also included in lesser, more compressed quality that is weaker.

Moon is presented in 1080p high definition with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and an Original 1.0 Mono PCM sound (uncompressed on the Blu-ray) in its original Italian sound track with optional English subtitles. The prevention is solid with impeccable colors and character detail throughout this very stylish production. Also included is a standard definition DVD with similar specs but not as pleasing as the HD transfer.

The anamorphically enhanced image performers on all the Lionsgate and Music Box DVDs are as good as the format could possibly provide, but some used to 4K Blu-rays and even regular Blu-rays might still find them a little soft and/or color limited at times. They all have lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mixes that are pretty good for the old codec, but lossless versions would obviously be better.

All the Warner Archive DVDs are in 1.33 X 1 black & white presentations, though Open has that frame in an anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image frame sand while they are all well-photographed, they all need some restoration work and are a bit softer than we would have liked save Open with the newest transfer. That's ironic as they all also offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound that needs work and cleaning up, but Open has serious compression issues that make it difficult to hear. Just be careful not to play it too loud or in volume switching.

To order the The Accidental Tourist Blu-ray, Big Business Girl, She Had To Say Yes, Sorority House, Stage Mother and Wide Open DVDs, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo (Archive DVDs), Ricky Chiang (Midwife, Plan, Lionsgate DVDs) and James Lockhart



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