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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Counterculture > Terrorism > Marriage > Silent Cinema > Animation > Satire > Spoof > TV > Spies > Esp > The Oath (2018/Lionsgate DVD)

De Niro & De Palma: The Early Films (Wedding Party/Greetings/Hi Mom!/1963 - 1969/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray Set)/Family Guy: Season 16 + 20 Greatest Hits (2017 - 2018/Fox DVD Sets)/Johnny English Strikes Back (2018/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Oath (2018/Lionsgate DVD)

Picture: B/B-/B+ & B/B- Sound: B/B-/A & B-/B- Extras: B/C+/B/C+ Main Programs: C+ C+ B-/B & B+/C/C

Here's interesting comedy from all over the place...

Back when Robert De Niro and Brian De Palma (Scarface, Carrie) were both starting out in the film business, they made these three comedies that feature quite a few other familiar faces as well. While they haven't always been readily available, these films have been remastered in HD by Arrow and look marvelous in the new De Niro & De Palma: The Early Films set. Packed with extras and a beautiful package, this is a great set for any fan of either De Niro or De Palma.

Greetings (1968) - The first film to receive the infamous X rating, the story centers around three friends (a conspiracy theorist, a filmmaker, and a voyeur) that are all avoiding the draft.

The Wedding Party (1969, finished 1963) - An interesting film to say the last, this one explores a wedding that may or may not happen according and an exploration into different possibilities.

Hi, Mom! (1970) - De Niro returns as the same character from Greetings, only this time he makes porno movies. An interesting look back in the 1960s, the film explores many types of filmmaking as well as other heavy themes for the time.

Aside from Mr. De Niro, the films also star Charles Pfluger, Rutanya Alda, Jill Clayburgh, William Finley, Jonathan Warden, and Gerrit Graham among many others.

The films have been presented in 1080p high definition and varying aspect ratios.

Greetings is presented in a 1.85:1 widescreen ratio and a nice sounding LPCM Mono mix, which lovingly restores the film for the best it has looked maybe ever. The Wedding Party is the only black and white film out of the film and has a 1.33:1 full frame aspect ratio and a similar uncompressed LPCM 2.0 Mono mix as Greetings does. And lastly, Hi, Mom! has a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio that is also paired with an uncompressed LPCM Mono mix. All three presentations are finely done and really are interesting to see the past in a clear light.

Special Features include...

Brand new commentary on Greetings by Glenn Kenny, author of Robert De Niro: Anatomy of an Actor

Brand new appreciation of Brian De Palma and Robert De Niro's collaborations by critic and filmmaker Howard S. Berger

Brand new interviews with Charles Hirsch, writer-producer of Greetings and Hi, Mom!

Hi, Mom! theatrical trailer

Newly commissioned artwork by Matthew Griffin

and a limited collector's edition booklet featuring new writing on the films by Brad Stevens, Chris Dumas and Christina Newland, plus an archive interview with Brian De Palma and Charles Hirsch.

While pretty dated, these films are fun to look back on these two very iconic figures in cinema in their early days whilst they were still learning the craft. For more on Hi, Mom, try our coverage of the DVD:


Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy is one of the most successful (and longest running) animated series of all time, third to only South Park (which is for a more mature audience) and The Simpsons (the longest running of them all). The dysfunctional family comedy (which started all the way back in 1999), centers around the Griffin family who end up in most hilarious situations than you can shake a stick at!

Family Guy: Season 16 (2017 - 2018) and 20 Greatest Hits DVD sets show there is continued life for the huge hit show that survived being cancelled twice. The newest season continues the various family members making the worst possible decisions in their lives while the most bizarre situations creep up, like a new fate for Rupert The Teddy Bear, Meg becoming a drunk or the 300th Episode, complete with the usual out-of-nowhere pop culture references in 20 half-hourish episodes in all.

For the ultimate fan, there is also the new compilation of Musical episodes on a second three-disc DVD collection rounds up 20 of the show's best musical episodes. There's even a booklet included so that you and your friends can sing along!

The Family Guy all star voice cast includes Seth MacFarlane, Alex Borstein, Seth Green, Mila Kunis, Mike Henry, and Patrick Warburton to name a few.

The 20 Greatest Hits episodes include...

Disc One - Road to Rhode Island, When You Wish Upon a Weinstein, Brian Wallows and Peter Swallows, The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire, PTV, The Courtship of Stewie's Father, and Brian Sings and Swings.

Disc Two - Patriot Games, Sibling Rivalry, Deep Throats, Peter's Two Dads, Airport 07, Play it Again, Brian, and I Dream of Jesus.

Disc Three - Episode 420, Road to the Multiverse, Road to the North Pole, Friends of Peter G., In Harmony's Way, and Candy Quahog Marshmallow!

Presented in standard definition on DVD with an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of 1.66:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, the animated program looks and sounds fine for the format. Compression issues evident (especially when comparing directly to HD), and is comparable to the original television broadcast.

Special Features include...

300 Episodes, Two Cancellations, and One Mural Featurette

'I Need A Jew' Lyric Video

'Drunken Irish Dad' Lyric Video

'It's a Wonderful Day For Pie' Lyric Video

Music Machine (on each disc)

and that Collectible Insert Booklet with lyrics to the songs in each highlighted episode.

If you're a Family Guy super fan, then you won't want to miss this nice 3-disc set.

The third film in the Johnny English series (and the first we've been able to cover), Johnny English Strikes Again (2018) lands on disc and stars Rowan Atkinson (Mr. Bean). The third entry is more of the same slapstick humor, which is reminiscent of the Pink Panther movies, and every other spy parody out there. There's some funny bits here and there of course, but ultimately the film is predictable and essentially eye candy that you can watch on low brain power.

The film also stars Olga Kurylenko (who is a previous Bond girl from the Daniel Craig led Quantum of Solace), Jake Lacy, Ben Miller, and Emma Thompson.

Johnny English (Atkinson) is a secret agent and has been recruited to save the world once again, when a hack comprises Britain's database and the identities of all of the secret operatives are exposed. Being an expert in 'offline' spy tactics, the aging English bumbles through one misplaced situation to another as he struggles with new technology... and saves the world in the process.

The film is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and audio tracks in DTS X 11.1 (a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 track mixdown for older systems) lossless audio, both of which are pristine and sound fantastic here. While it's not as impressive as Ultra HD, the film looks and sounds fine in 1080p with plenty of detail on some of the exotic locations and production design. There is apparently a 4K Ultra HD version available, but we are just covering the standard Blu-ray release here.

Also included is a lesser standard definition DVD with an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. While its of high quality for the aging format, it looks considerably worse than the Blu-ray edition. Also included in the set is a digital HD copy.

Special Features...

Audio Commentary with Director David Kerr

The Comedy Genius of Rowan Atkinson featurette

A Cast of Characters featurette

The Johnny English Legacy featurette

Virtual Reality Johnny English Style

The Gadgets

The Cars

and Locations and Design

While I'm more a fan of Atkinson's Mr. Bean character (others might like Black Adder too or liked his comic turn in the last Sean Connery James Bond film: Never Say Never Again (1983)), the Johnny English series isn't exactly geared towards Americans as much as other comedies out there. While not horrible or too painful to watch, the film just ends up being exactly what you expect with no surprises. Let's hope this is the last entry before the franchise runs out of more gas.

Rising stars Tiffany Haddish (Night School) and Ike Barinholtz (Blockers) star in the political comedy The Oath (2018), which centers around a new requirement for Americans to sign a Presidential loyalty oath. The film essentially breaks down several different character reactions to this news announcement, and how it affects their personal and social lives... with a comedic twist. In essence though, you could replace the oath with any newscast and the film would still play out the same. Some of the gags work and some of them go a bit too far, but the comedy feels pretty relevant despite its more grandiose attempts at humor.

The film also stars John Cho, Billy Magnussen, Jon Barinholtz, Nora Dunn, and Carrie Brownstein.

When Chris (Barinholtz), a high-strung news junkie, and his more levelheaded wife (Haddish) learn about the new hot news topic: a loyalty oath to the president. This news along with personal woes, end up keeping things tenser than usual between the interracial couple. As the Thanksgiving deadline to sign this Oath approaches for all American citizens, sparring relatives and the unexpected arrival of two government agents turns a tense family holiday gathering into hell on earth.

The Oath is presented on standard definition DVD with an anamorphic widescreen aspect ratio of 2.40:1 and a lossy English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, both of which are of the norm for the format. Compression issues are evident and there isn't as much texture as there is obviously in HD. No other gripes, really, as Lionsgate always does a good job.

Special Features include...

Deleted Scenes

Fake News or Facts

Turkey Day Trauma

The Oath Image Gallery

and 'Also from Lionsgate' trailers.

- Nicholas Sheffo (Guy Season 16) and James Lockhart



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