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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Relationships > Biography > Satire > Mistaken Identity > TV Situation Comedy > Drunk > Scotland > Madness In The Method (2019/Cinedigm DVD)/Major And The Minor (1942/Paramount/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)/Step By Step: The Complete Sixth Season (1996 - 1997/Warner Archive DVDs)/Whiskey Galore! (1948)/Maggie

Madness In The Method (2019/Cinedigm DVD)/Major And The Minor (1942/Paramount/MVD/Arrow Blu-ray)/Step By Step: The Complete Sixth Season (1996 - 1997/Warner Archive DVDs)/Whiskey Galore! (1948)/Maggie (1954/Film Movement Blu-ray Set)

Picture: B-/B+/B-/B/B Sound: B-/B+/B-/C+/C+ Extras: D/B/D/C+ Main Programs: C+/B/B/C+/C+

Here's a new mix of comedy releases...

Fans of Kevin Smith and Jay and Silent Bob will want to check out Madness in the Method (2019), a film directed by (and starring) Jason Mewes himself!

The film is a funny parody of Mewes' own life and how he has been typecast for his infamous role as Silent Bob's sidekick. Hoping to prove Hollywood that he can be a serious actor too, Mewes and Kevin Smith embark on a journey to track down a book that will allow him to become the serious actor that he wishes to be. Along the way, he ends up committing murder and gets the attention of the press, which somehow helps him land a role in a film, and it isn't long until he kills again. At first, the film seems like it's going to be an honest account of Mewes' life and ends up taking a turn into a silly (and far fetched) dark comedy. Clerks co-Star Brian O'Halloran shows up as Mewes adversary at one point and pokes some more fun at these two guys who have obviously been type casted for their roles in Kevin Smith movies.

The film has a great cast including Danny Trejo, Vinnie Jones, Gina Carano, the late Stan Lee, Teri Hatcher, Dean Cain, Casper Van Dien, Judd Nelson, and many others.

Madness in the Method is presented in standard definition on DVD with an anamorphically enhanced 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix. The presentation is a bit compressed and of the norm for the format. The film isn't badly shot and has a surprisingly professional look and feel to it given the subject matter. While an HD version would be better, it looks fine here in an upscale.

No Extras.

Madness in the Method is silly fun and definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of Mewes and/or Kevin Smith.

From legendary filmmaker Billy Wilder (Some Like It Hot, Sunset Boulevard) comes the black and white comedy epic The Major and the Minor (1942), which has been newly restored in HD courtesy of Arrow Academy.

The classic film stars Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland and centers around a woman who disguises herself as a 11-year-old child to save on an expensive train fare. Almost apprehended by the conductor and his men, she hides in the quarters of a Major Philip Kirby (Milland) who believes she is as young as she says she is, and ends up at a military academy where Kirby teaches. There she finds it a bit more difficult to keep up her act when Kirby's fiancee and other grow wise to her scheme.

The film also stars Rita Johnson, Diana Lynn, Robert Benchley, and Norma Varden.

The Major and the Minor is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a 1.37:1 full frame aspect ratio and a great sounding, lossless English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono mix. The black and white transfer has been nicely restored here with plenty of detail in the image and nothing hindering the presentation. The scan is from the original 35mm camera negative and scanned in 2K, showing off how good Paramount's labs were at the time.

Special features include:

New audio commentary by film scholar Adrian Martin

Half Fare Please!, a newly filmed video appreciation by film critic Neil Sinyard

Archival interview with Ray Milland

Rare hour-long radio adaptation from 1943 starring Ginger Rogers and Ray Milland

Image gallery

Original trailer

Reversible sleeve featuring original and newly commissioned artwork

and First Pressing Only: collector's book with essay by Ronald Bergan

I could see this film getting remade and being an effective comedy under the right female lead.

The 1990s sitcom Step by Step (1991-1998) continues to be released on DVD in its Sixth Season courtesy of Warner Archive. The series revolves around a modern family that are all growing through their own series of comedic growing pains. Frank Lambert (Patrick Duffy, Dallas, Man From Atlantis) has three children and so does Carol Foster (Suzanne Somers, Three's Company) and now they are all under one roof. Each family member has their own unique personality and there's constant life lessons and morals to be had. Watching it now is interesting and the show surprisingly isn't as dated as you might think. There are, however, some really old cell phones that pop up comedically.

The TV series stars Staci Keanan, Sasha Mitchell, Angela Watson, Brandon Call, Christine Larkin, and Christopher Castile to name a few. The show is similar in some ways to Full House but not quite as wholesome and cheesy. Step By Step: The Complete Sixth Season (1996 - 1997) has a cameo by then high-profile model Fabio himself (he had been the model for many a cheap romance paperback at the time) in the episode 'Absolutely Fabio'.

Episodes include Crazy Love, Road Trip, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, Just Say Maybe, The ''L'' word, She's the One, Independence Day, Reality Bites, Locket Man, How The West Was Won, Absolutely Fabio, Loose Lips, The Big Date, Future Shock, Show Me The Money, It Didn't Happen One Night, Macho Man, Ain't Misbehavin', The Facts of Life, Talking Trash, Walk Like a Man, Shear Madness, The Kissing Game, and Bonjour Jean-Luc.

The series is presented on standard definition DVD with a full frame 1.37:1 full frame aspect ratio and a lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix. Though compression issues are evident, it looks fine on DVD but could be improved with an HD upscale. No commercials or watermarks make it much more enjoyable to binge watch on disc as opposed to cable.

No extras.

Finally, we have two more classic comedies from the Ealing Studios, both directed by Alexander Mackendrick. Whiskey Galore! (1948) was the first film ever shot totally on location by the studio and in Scotland, but this comedy about a country forced to go dry because a shipment of the title alcoholic beverage failed to arrive due to a shipwreck is not exactly going to be prime feature film screening at the top of any Alcoholic Anonymous list. Maggie (1954) is about the plight of a U.S. businessman trying to get private cargo shipped, only to have to rely on the title ship, a small 'puffer' that runs on coal, portrayed sentimentally, the environmental damage the little ship causes makes it much less endearing, no matter the nostalgia involved.

Both films still have good casts and some humor worth catching, not to mention some great location filming, with the mostly unknown cast in Whiskey (including Joan Greenwood and Basil Radford) handling their work well, but it is supporting actor Gordon Jackson who was to go onto greater fame. The amazing Paul Douglas nearly steals the show in Maggie as a good American businessman with flaws and makes it at least as believable. James Bond fans will notice the late Geoffrey Keen, who played the Minister of Defence in every Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) to The Living Daylights (1987) in a supporting role here.

Both even have good slapstick humor moments that do not seem forced, but these films are not for everybody and some would say they are an acquired taste. As to say if they merely display 'British' humor (not far from Scottish) is not accurate either way, but they are obviously both important enough to be restored and in print, so this latest Film Movement/Ealing release is as welcome as Titfield Thunderbolt and the rest scheduled to be issued this year and beyond. Now you can see for yourself.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image on both films look about as good as they can using the best 35mm film elements available. There are a few shots on both films that look a bit brighter than they should or lack some detail, but they are fine otherwise. The original theatrical mono sound on both are represented in PCM 2.0 Mono tracks that sound good, but also show the age of the older productions.

Extras include an illustrated booklet on the film including q Blu-ray exclusive 16-page booklet with notes by film scholar Ronald Bergen, Whisky Galore! feature-length audio commentary by John Ellis, Distilling Whisky Galore! documentary and The Real Whisky Galore! featurette.

- Nicholas Sheffo (Ealing) and James Lockhart



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