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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > School > Death > Family > Drama > Relationships > Food > Spoof > Satire > Space Opera > Slapstick > Sup > A Happening Of Monumental Proportions (2017/Lionsgate DVD)/Memories Of Me (1988/MVD Blu-ray)/Night School (2018/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray + Blu-ray/DVD Sets)/The Orville: The Complete Fi

A Happening Of Monumental Proportions (2017/Lionsgate DVD)/Memories Of Me (1988/MVD Blu-ray)/Night School (2018/Universal 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray + Blu-ray/DVD Sets)/The Orville: The Complete First Season (2017/Fox DVD Set)/Topper Takes A Trip (1938/United Artists/MVD/VCI Blu-ray)



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



Up next are a very mixed set of comedies...



At times goofy and other times dramatic, A Happening of Monumental Proportions (2017), takes the Weekend at Bernie's-type formula only applies it to school. The ensemble piece centers around a group of Administrators at an elementary school that hide the body of the school groundskeeper from the school that's gearing up for Career Day. This is one of many stories that takes place in the school, where the story follows a lovesick little boy, a teacher grieving over a breakup, a shop teacher struggling to maintain control of his class, and other vignettes. Across town, an account manager (Common), who drops his daughter off at the school in the opening, deals with office drama, and a very rough day that gets him in hot water.


The impressive cast includes Common, Bradley Whitford, Anders Holm, Rob Riggle, Katie Holmes, John Cho, Alison Janney, Jennifer Garner, and Keanu Reeves to name a few. The film is directed by the success Hollywood actress Judy Greer (Ant Man films, Jurassic World, Halloween (2018)).


A series or hit and miss, the film has too many characters to juggle and some jokes that fall flat. Attempting to do a narrative structure akin to something like Love Actually, the film will have you laughing one minute and scratching your head another.


The film is presented in standard definition on DVD disc with a 2.39:1 widescreen aspect ratio and an anamorphically enhanced standard lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix, both of which look and sound as good as the format allows. Compression issues are evident throughout, but is common for the format.


Special Feature includes A Sneak Peak at A Happening of Monumental Proportions.


Happening has an interesting concept, but is ultimately a one-timer to see.



Billy Crystal stars in the heart-warming family drama Memories of Me (1988), which gets a new HD transfer in this Blu-ray release from MVD Marquee Collection. This is the first time I've seen the film and immediately drew many similarities between it and Tim Burton's Big Fish. Both films deal with a grown man reconnecting with his father, both of which had trouble with each other over the course of life, and both films have a quite similar ending sequence. What works most in the film is Alan King, who plays Crystal's father in the film and how well both of them work together on the big screen.


The film also stars Janet Caroll, Phil Fondacaro, and JoBeth Williams. It's also directed by Henry Winkler, yes, 'The Fonz' himself!


Abbie (Crystal) is a brilliant and successful surgeon in New York and his father Abe (King) is a struggling actor in Hollywood whose mainly known as an extra. Both living out their own lives, they end up seeing each other again for the first time in years and immediately butt heads. But when Abe has a heart attack, it becomes clear that Abbie needs to put the past behind him and settle his life long feud with his pops.


Presented in 1080p high definition with a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a nice sounding DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono mix (one of the last analog theatrical movie releases with major name actors), the film looks stunning on his new HD transfer. The colors are nicely balanced and natural in his new remaster that makes the film look like new. This is definitely the best that this film has looked or sounded since its theatrical debut.


Special Features include...


Behind the Scenes Featurette


and an HD Theatrical Trailer



Night School (2018) is the new comedy featuring Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish, and delivers more of the trademark humor you would come to expect with those names. While it's not always funny, the plot is paper thin and mostly predictable. If you want a comedy that you can shut your brain off to then this is a good candidate. The film is directed by Michael D. Lee (Girls Trip).


The story centers around Teddy Walker (Hart) who almost gets handed a nice restaurant, but causes a huge mishap at work and gets fired. Forced to go back and get his GED to get a real job in order to keep his mega hot girlfriend (Megalyn Echikunwoke) and life in check, he attends a night school run by Carrie (Haddish) and spearheaded by his high school nemesis Principal Stewart (Taran Killam). Also attending the class are a group of knuckleheads including Rob Riggle (The Hangover, 21 Jump Street) and Romany Malco (The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Think Like a Man series).


The film is presented in 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on 4K UHD disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and great sounding audio mixes in DTS-X 11.1 lossless (DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) mixdown for older systems). The overall style of the film is pretty natural and nothing too flashy, but you can immediately see photo realism on the characters and style with eye catching details.


Also included is a 1080p Blu-ray version of the film with the same widescreen and audio specs, though some compression issues evident when placing it side by side to the 4K UHD. Also included is a standard digital copy. That disc appears with an anamorphically enhanced standard definition DVD and a 5.1 lossy Dolby Digital mix that is on the very weak side, but then, that is like the film itself. This is easily Director Malcolm D. Lee's poorest film.


Special Features (per the press release) include...


EXTENDED CUT OF THE FILM


Feature Commentary with Director Malcolm D. Lee


Alternate Opening


Deleted Scenes


Gag Reel - Prepare to laugh (or cry) yourself silly through this hilarious montage of behind-the-scenes antics performed by the cast of NIGHT SCHOOL.


NIGHT SCHOOL'S In Session - Ring the bell as we introduce you to NIGHT SCHOOL's band of misfits.


Who's the Student? Who's the Teacher? - Fans were thrilled to see friends Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish starring in their first film together. In this piece, the comedy titans give us their backstory on how they became ride-or-die friends more than a decade ago.


Prom Night Revisited - Take a trip down memory lane as the cast of NIGHT SCHOOL looks back at their own high school proms. You'll never guess who dressed up as a famous movie character and who never made it to the dance at all.


Cap 'n Gown 'n Giggles - Teddy may deliver a heartfelt graduation speech, but behind the scenes cast and crew were exploding with laughter as Kevin Hart's speech turned into a full blown standup comedy show.


Making of the Dance Battle - Take a sneak peek into the dance rehearsal of the infamous prom night dance battle.


Christian Chicken - When Teddy gets a sign from the Lawd to sell precious poultry, it only makes sense that he take it global. Check out this never before seen Christian Chicken commercial that was simply too delicious to air.


Game Over - Our favorite misfit, Teddy may be the class clown but he's not fooling the ladies who keep him in check. Watch as Kevin Hart joins cast-mates Yvonne Orji and Megalyn Echikunwoke to discuss the complicated relationship between Maya and Teddy.


And Extended Performance "El Sueno" - Every prom needs a hit song and this extended version of Luis's original "El Sueno" is sure to make you swoon.



Family Guy mastermind Seth MacFarlane stars in the new Sci-Fi comedy The Orville: The Complete First Season (2017), which takes a page out of Star Trek's book, but twists it with humor similar to Galaxy Quest. The show has great looking special effects, and while it could have easily been an animated piece like MacFarlane's other shows, it ends up working well as live action and has a surprisingly entertaining storyline.


The Orville follows Capt. Ed Mercer (MacFarlane), who is the new captain of the Orville - a ship similar to Star Trek's USS Enterprise. While at first the mission seems to go accordingly, he soon finds his ex-wife Kelly Grayson (Palicki) is his first captain. Along with a crew of aliens and misfits, the crew of The Orville face intergalactic challenges set 400 years from now.


Orville also stars Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson, Haiston Sage, Scott Grimes, Peter Macon, J. Lee, Chad Coleman, and Mark Jackson.


12 Episodes span four DVDs and include Old Wounds, Command Performance, About a Girl, If the Stars Should Appear, Pria, Krill, Majority Rule, Into the Fold, Cupid's Dagger, Firestorm, New Dimensions, and Mad Idolatry.


The show is presented here in an anamorphically enhanced standard definition DVD with a 1.78:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a 5.1 lossy Dolby Digital mix. The sound looks and sounds fine for the format, but is a bit compressed overall which is expected with DVD. It is nice to see the show uninterrupted and without commercials, though. One cool aspect to the series is that its music composers are pretty top notch with Bruce Broughton (Tombstone, Lost in Space (1998)), Joel McNeeley (Star Wars: Shadows of the Empire), and John Debney (Iron Man 2).


As of this posting, The Orville is not available on Blu-ray or 4K UHD, but DVD only.


Special Features include...


Q and A with the Creative Team


Inside Look


Directed By featurette


The First Six Mission featurette


Designing the Future featurette


The Orville Takes Flight featurette


The Science of the Orville: Quantum Drive and Alien Drive featurette


Crafting Aliens featurette


and A Better Tomorrow featurette


The Orville is an entertaining change of pace for MacFarlane, and is about to continue in its second season.



Finally, we have Norman Z. McLeod's Topper Takes A Trip (1938) the odd first sequel to the comedy classic Topper with Roland Young reprising his title role, but it gets twisted because the Hal Roach Studios that made it switched from MGM distribution to United Artists, or form the #1 studio of the classic Hollywood period to one of this then-smallest distributors. Not a major studio yet (later to go bankrupt in 1980), the film has a bad case of pre-home video sequelistis as the film recycles way too much from the first film.


Part of this is courtesy of Cary Grant, the biggest name from the first film, who agreed to allow the makers to do this, but the retread done in flashbacks as Cosmo Topper lands up in a courtroom, takes a nice early chunk of the film, so the actual new film is barely an hour long from its 84 minutes running time. That's called a cheat and it only helps those who never saw the original film, though you could probably wing it anyhow.


Constance Bennett is back as the other main ghost from the first film, Billie Burke (The Wizard Of Oz) is back as Mrs. Cosmo and at least this has a few interesting moments. Too bad its only so good, but the supporting cast (including Franklin Pangborn) are not bad to watch and you could do worse. For the very curious only.


The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer is better than I've seen the film before, but even at its best, the older footage that is repeated was re-transferred in 1940, so it is second-rate and has some grain and generational transfer issues, so this is not going to look great throughout. We're lucky its this good.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix can only do so much and shows the age of the original recording and materials used, but is audible at best.


Like the other VCI Topper sequel Blu-ray, the only extras are Original Theatrical Trailers for the three films in the series.



- Nicholas Sheffo (Night DVD, Topper) and James Lockhart

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


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