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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Sex > Fantasy > Satan > British > Indepentent Film > Romance > WWII > Relationships > Satire > Advert > Bedazzled (1967*)/Best F(r)iends (2017 - 2018/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/A Matter Of Life And Death (1946/Criterion Blu-ray)/Second Act (2018/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957/*bo

Bedazzled (1967*)/Best F(r)iends (2017 - 2018/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/A Matter Of Life And Death (1946/Criterion Blu-ray)/Second Act (2018/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957/*both Fox/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-rays)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Bedazzled and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? Blu-rays are now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, are limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last and can both be ordered from the links below.

Here's a very diverse set of comedies, a few of which go far beyond the genre and you should know about...

Peter Cook and Dudley Moore star in Stanley Donen's Bedazzled (1967), the ''thinking man's comedy'', which is now on Blu-ray courtesy of Twilight Time. Infamously remade in 2000 by Harold Ramis with Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley, a struggling burger flipper (Cook) ends up selling his soul to the Devil (Moore) in exchange for three wishes. Hopelessly in love with a co-worker, Cook will do anything to win her heart. However, his wishes don't go exactly as planned...

The film also stars Eleanor Bron, Raquel Welch, Alba, Barry Humphries, and Robert Russell. This classic comedy has a great script, and Cook and Moore play quite well together on screen. Thinking back to Harold Ramis' remake (which really wasn't that bad), you can tell that the late filmmaker certainly had a fondness for this film.

Bedazzled has been restored and is presented here in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and audio tracks in lossless English 2.0 DTS-HD MA (master Audio) Stereo and English 1.0 DTS-HD MA Mono. The transfer is highly detailed with a nice color palette and no signs of compression issues. Dudley Moore's jazzy soundtrack (which also gets it's own isolated music track on the disc) is nice and center in the mix, and suits the film well.

Special Features include...

Isolated Music & Effects Track

Peter Cook & Dudley Moore on The Paul Ryan Show

A Bedazzled Conversation with Harold Ramis

Original Theatrical Trailers

and a Collectible insert booklet (w/color photos) with linear notes by Julie Kirgo

Psychedelic and wild, Bedazzled is a product of the late British 1960s, and is a fun comedy that hasn't aged much thanks to Twilight Time.

Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero of The Room fame step back into the spotlight with Best F(r)iends Volume 1 (2017) and Volume 2 (2018). With Wiseau in the lead, you know you're in for a bizarre ride and that is certainly what you get when you pop this in.

While it makes a bit more sense than The Room, and was certainly better received critically on a whole, Best F(r)iends is a long two volume journey into an absurd story of a drifter (Sestero) and a mortician (Wiseau) who form a bizarre partnership selling gold teeth on the black market (that Wiseau steals from corpses in the morgue) and get filthy rich quick. However, either man is far from sane and they both end up overwhelmed with paranoia of one another and get in more than one sticky situation.

Best F(r)iends also stars Kristen Stephenson Pino, Paul Scheer, Tom Bissell, Farhan Umedaly, and Michael Davis to name a few. The film is directed by Justin MacGregor and the screenplay is by the film's co-star Greg Sestero.

The film is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a nice sounding track in lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and lesser, lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 tracks in English, Spanish, and French depending on your personal taste or needs, but why no lossless sound option is odd. While some of the lighting is a bit odd (some scenes even have noticeable lens flare and overexposed elements), the film looks and sounds fine for the format and had to have some budget behind it. Aerial shots of some of the film's locations in Las Vegas and Los Angeles most notably hold up nicely here in 1080p, Best F(r)iends definitely has a bigger budget than The Room.

Special Features include...

Deleted Scenes

Behind the Scenes: ''Behind the F(r)iendship'' featurette

Commentary with Sestero and Wiseau

and Behind the Scenes: ''Uncle Rick'' featurette

When The Archers, Emeric Pressburger and Michael Powell, made a comedy, it was going to be more than a mere genre film and deliver something you've never seen before. Such is the case with the amazing A Matter Of Life And Death (1946, actually issued as Stairway To Heaven in the U.S.!) has fantasy elements as well as a British pilot (David Niven) has his airplane destroyed in flight and he has to parachute to safety. That is if he can make it!

He is supposed to die, but 'death' is running a bit late and he instantly falls for an American radio operator (Kim Hunter) and vice versa. So this is great, but he still has to die, but is it his fault that powers beyond him that he did not even know about fail to do their job? This lands up including visits by mysterious strangers, visits to heaven and other interesting ins and outs that make this a really fascinating film. It even has some romance to it, but it asks hard questions about the title subjects and the world at the time the film was made, including a great sense of history.

Another highlight is the brilliant cinematography of Jack Cardiff, B.S.C., who makes heaven in crisp black and white the the moral world in brilliant three-strip Technicolor, one of the best uses of the format ever. The rest of the on-the-money cast includes Roger Livesey, Abraham Soafer, Marius Goring, Kathleen Byron and Richard Attenborough among others. How young everyone is here, but this is one of the great British cinema classics and it has been restored to its amazing glory. A few parts might be a tad trite, but its a classic everyone should see and this new Criterion Blu-ray is the best way outside of a mint-condition film print to see it. Add the massive production design by Alfred Junge and its ready for the best 4K and 8K Ultra HDTVs out there!

Extras include an foldout inside the Blu-ray case with illustrations, technical info and an essay by critic Stephanie Zacharek, while the Blu-ray adds a feature length audio commentary from 2009 featuring film scholar Ian Christie, New interview with editor Thelma Schoonmaker, director Michael Powell's widow, New interview with film historian Craig Barron on the film's visual effects and production design, Interview from 2009 with filmmaker Martin Scorsese and The Colour Merchant, a 1998 short film by Craig McCall featuring cinematographer Jack Cardiff.

Jennifer Lopez is back in another formulaic comedy that thinks int might be romantic, but Peter Segal's Second Act (2018) is one act that should have ended after whatever the first one was. Lopez is a middle aged woman with no college degree (one of the best looking non-college grads in cinema history...) and keeps getting passed over for promotions because of educational snobbery. Can she find money, romance and happiness? Leah Remini is here as her 'best friend' essentially playing the same role she plays in every sitcom she surfaces on and though the actresses are friends in real life, we get little more than that here.

Milo Ventimiglia and Vanessa Hudgens also show up, but are given little to do either and this lands up being the theatrical package deal version of the fluff from bad TV networks (Hallmark, cough!) that destroy the viewers minds. This is not as bad, but too often close. Yet another STX package deal that does not deliver, distributor Universal has issued it in a near-basic Blu-ray/DVD set. Lopez can act, but this offers hardly any challenge to her talents. I get that it is meant for a certain audience, but why make a film that limited?

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds brief clips used to promote the film at the time of its theatrical release.

Last but not least is the great and often dark comedy Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957), one of the best films from one time animation genius Frank Tashlin, who turned out to be one of the most important and now underrated comedy directors in cinema history. Possibly Jayne Mansfield's best film, we reviewed the film as part of a DVD box set of her's years ago. Here is what I had to say in slightly upgraded form about the film...

Based on the play about Hollywood, but reset in the world of New York advertising. Can the title character (Tony Randall, in one of his greatest performances) become a big hit with is bosses to keep his job and make it big once and for all. His daughter loves the big movie star Rita Marlowe (a combination of Monroe and Mansfield) and he could care less, until he sees her and sees her as the next star connected to tacking Stay-Put brand products like glow-in-the-dark lipstick (so 'he' can always find 'you' in the dark. The film loves commercialism and also shows its darkest, more horrific side. The film is about the madness of commodification of everything and how TV plays into this, beginning with a struggle between early TV and big-screen movies.

The film opens with Randall talking to the audience as if reintroducing color and widescreen, then a set of spoofs of TV commercials kick in. Everything the products promise go wrong, always an issue when ads were done live, but echoing the likes of the mythical up to no good car salesman. Media has not changed this; it has just added a candy coating. Henry Jones is back, as well as the actor John Williams and the great Joan Blondell. It is an often brilliant, influential comedy that may be one of the first explicitly dark ones Hollywood ever produced, but is a marvel to watch for all kinds of reasons.

Before her slow decline and quick death, Mansfield proved she could act and definitely established that when she landed the first stage version of Rock Hunter, with Tashlin knowing exactly what to do with her. The film has only become more relevant in recent years and we post this as Fox has been taken over by Disney in a deal that is now complete. I won't say anything more about the film as not to ruin it, but it also makes for an interesting companion to any and all versions of A Star Is Born and is a must-see film for anyone serious about cinema.

Extras include an Isolated Music Score in lossless DTS-MA sound, an illustrated booklet with tech info and yet another excellent essay by the ever amazing Julie Kirgo, then other extras from the original DVD release include Movietone Newsreels on Mansfield, an Original Theatrical Trailer and a remarkable, stunning feature length audio commentary by film historian, scholar and Professor Dana Polan. Get this soon though, because Fox allowed this gem to be a Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray.

As the last three releases are mine, I'll cover their technical playback quality in this last section here.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Matter rarely shows the age of the materials used, because the restoration from the Sony team is so superior, there are demo shots here above my letter grade for the picture. We get amazing black and white, plus British dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor as noted above so rich, wide-ranging and often stunning that it will challenge the viewer use to lesser HD color these days. A 4K scan of the three-strip Technicolor negative was done, then all combined to stunning effect. The PCM Mono sound is form a nitrate optical sound film print and shows its age, but has been cleaned up the best it could be without ruining fidelity or detail.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Act is a typical, clean, if uninspiring HD shoot that is passable, but not very memorable and the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image is much softer and harder to watch. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the Blu-ray is talk-based with music intruding when it probably should not, a situation more obnoxious on the DVD with its lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Hunter can also show the age of the materials used, including some optical printing the older DVD hid and a few other minor issues, but the color, detail, depth and even more frame showing than the DVD make seeing the film far more funny, creepy and enjoyable. Shot with the old CinemaScope system, it has some flaws and distortions inherent to the system, but the DeLuxe color is far better, richer and wide-ranging than it was on the DVD or just about anywhere else I've seen it.

We also get no less than three soundtracks in which to view the film in the lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) format: 5.1 (the best option), 4.0 and 2.0 Stereo mixes. The film was originally a 4-track magnetic sound release with traveling dialogue and sound effects in the best screenings that could plays those tracks. The soundmaster holds up here and with the image looking like new, delivers the film as vividly as it has been seen in decades, so getting this limited edition copy from Twilight Time makes it worth going out of your way for.

To order the Bedazzled and Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? limited edition Blu-rays, buy them while supplies last at these links:




- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Bedazzled, Best)



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