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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Spoof > Satire > Martial Arts > Musical > Backstage > > TV Situation Comedy > School > Relationshi > Enter The Fat Dragon (2020/Well Go Blu-ray)/Girl Crazy (1943/MGM/Blu-ray*)/Head Of The Class: The Complete First Season (1986 - 1987/DVD*)/Strike Up The Band (1940/MGM/Blu-ray*)/Sunday In New York (19

Enter The Fat Dragon (2020/Well Go Blu-ray)/Girl Crazy (1943/MGM/Blu-ray*)/Head Of The Class: The Complete First Season (1986 - 1987/DVD*)/Strike Up The Band (1940/MGM/Blu-ray*)/Sunday In New York (1963/MGM/Blu-ray/*all Warner Archive)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Head Of The Class DVD and Blu-rays of Girl Crazy, Strike Up The Band and Sunday In New York are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and all can be ordered from the link below.

Here are our latest group of comedies, most of which add something else to the mix...

First, check out international superstar Donnie Yen (IP Man, Star Wars: Rogue One) in a brand new and comical light as he wears a fat suit and still kicks the same amount of ass.

Filmmakers Jing Wong and Kenji Tanigaki's new action comedy, Enter The Fat Dragon (2020), is packed full of laughs and incredible fight sequences to match. If you're into Jackie Chan comedies or simply a fan of Donnie Yen's work, then this is definitely in the same genre as Yen comically kicks butt in a way few can!

The film also stars Niki Chow, Wong Jing, Teresa Mo, Jessica Jan, Naoto Taeknaka, Hiro Hayama, and Jim Chim to name a few.

A badass police officer (Yen) suspect suffers a mysterious death that he is determined to investigate, even if he has gained a few pounds over a broken heart. Teaming up with an undercover inspector and wok-wielding restaurant owner, they together solve his complex mystery.

Enter the Fat Dragon is presented in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and audio mixes in Cantonese DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 and Cantonese LPCM 2.0 Stereo lossless, which have English subtitles. The film looks and fine great on the Blu-ray format with minimal complaint. This is a high budget feel and the money is certainly on the screen here.

Special Features are lacking and just have some trailers for the film and other Well Go releases.

This is a fun movie to watch and certainly is recommendable to action / comedy lovers!

The Blu-ray presentation here is solid as well!

Norman Taurog's Girl Crazy (1943) is the first of two Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney movies we are covering this time out (they made about 10 altogether) and the better of the two as they were older, the previous formula approach was played out and the studio put out more money than usual for this Gershwin musical adaptation. In addition, Tommy Dorsey and his orchestra are on hand, June Allyson shows up and Nancy Walker eventually shows up and steals the show at times.

Rooney is the son of a rich man who is unhappy when he makes the wrong kind of splash in the society pages, so he sends him to a school in the middle of nowhere, with the film switching quickly from high society city life to a comedy western, albeit a musical. ''I Got Rhythm'' and ''But Not For Me'' are among the songs and the comedy is hit and miss, but this was the last pairing of Garland and Rooney under the legendary Arthur Freed unit at MGM. It has the feel of an era coming to en end, but not yet and was a huge hit in the midst of WWII. Its worth a look for the curious, but (as I will explain below) am not a big fan of the Rooney/Garland cycle.

The inspirational and funny sitcom, Head Of The Class: The Complete First Season (1986 - 1987) gets a nice DVD release courtesy of Warner Bros.

A New York high school substitute teacher (Howard Hesseman) ends up at the head of an honors class of very brilliant young people. He reaches these complex and super smart kids by relating to them and showing concern for their well being, crafting a great and inspirational teacher figure for them to look up to.

The show stars Robin Givens, Khrystyne Haje, Dan Frischman, Dan Schneider, Tony O'Dell, Jeannetta Arnette, Leslie Bega, and Brian Robbins.

22 episodes span three DVD discs and include Pilot, Back to the Future, Charliegate, Love at First Byte, The Outsider, Teacher's Teacher, Volleyball, Anyone?, Critical Choices, Cold Turkey, You've Got a Friend, As Time Goes By, The Way We Weren't, Rebel Without a Class, Ode To Simone, Past Imperfect, A Problem Like Maria, The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, Valentine's Day, Video Activity, Privilege, Crimes of the Heart, and The Secret Life of Arvid Engen.

Head of the Class is presented in standard definition on DVD with a 1.33 X 1 full screen aspect ratio and a standard, lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mix. The presentation is NOT that detailed and it shows that not much has gone into the show's restoration sadly with this release. Compression issues and an overall lack of detail are the main issues in the DVD image.

No extras.

This show is actually pretty good. It's funny and Howard Hesseman is really easy to watch. The cast of young people are diverse and interesting with each episode outlining what it's like to be a teenager in a funny sitcom kinda way. This is a nice flashback to the past and worth revisiting (or watching for the first time), if you like '80s sitcoms. The only glaring issues are the aging and compressed transfer and lack of special features in what is otherwise a great release.

Busby Berkeley's Strike Up The Band (1940) is an earlier Arthur Freed-supervised Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney film, directed professionally enough as Rooney plays a drummer, Garland is a singer and they are in high school. Can their talent help them get to where they want to go?

Even with dance number/song combos like 'the title tune, ''Do The La Conga!'' and ''I Ain't Got Nobody'', the film never worked for me like pretty much all the Rooney/Gar;and films as he seems in a world of the time and of his own, but as soon as she starts singing, everything else but her vocals make the films seem dated and they do not hold up too well. I never bought their chemistry either, though I have no problems with Rooney per se, but they were a hit in their time and MGM spent the money to make these films work.

To bad Berkeley could not make this work better, give it more energy or some kind of surprise, but it is what it is, a backstage musical with mixed results. Now you can see for yourself.

Finally we have Peter Tewksbury's Sunday In New York (1963) based on the comedy stage play with Jane Fonda engaged to Robert Culp, but unsure of things, meets and starts to fall for Rod Taylor. This puts her brother (Cliff Robertson) in a strange position as well and the question is, will she make the best choice for herself and will it work out?

The film never makes anyone a bad person, so it is a lite comedy about people trying to figure out who they are when they are at an age where they are expected (unreasonably) to know it all so soon, so this is also a smart comedy that takes its time to explore the material and characters without being a deep character study, but to be more than just a token TV sitcom. Jim Backus and Jo Morrow are among the supporting cast that are a plus.

Sure, the film has dated and seeing Fonda before her career kicked in and her off-screen life took off is always interesting as well. She was two years away from Arthur Penn's The Chase (reviewed elsewhere on this site) so whatever choice her character makes in the film, that will be an ironic echo of what was about to happen in real life. Though not all of this works, it is worth look just for the talent, seeing New York of the time and for its time capsule value.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black and white digital High Definition image transfers on Crazy and Band can show the age of the materials used in a few spots, but they look really good and Warner has once again saved two more gems. You can see how expensive the MGM black and white-handled film was.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Sunday also looks good with its decent MetroColor cinematography. There were no major flaws here and it might be the best-looking film on the list to me.

All three Warner Archive movies offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless sound and they sound as good as they likely ever will, but Band does sound a little older than the other two, which makes sense as it is the oldest of all the films. Otherwise, the restoration work payed off here too.

Finally, all three Warner Archive movies have extras in their Original Theatrical Trailers, but Crazy and Band add menus to go directly to their songs, introductions by Mickey Rooney recorded decades later, live action shorts (Hollywood Daredevils on Crazy, Wedding Bills on Band) and animated MGM cartoon shorts (The Early Bird Dood It on Crazy, Romeo In Rhythm on Band). Band also adds a Leo Is On The Air radio promo, 1940 Lux Radio Theater version of the film and stereo remix of ''Do The La Conga!'' Crazy also adds a ''Bronco Busters'' outtake and stereo remix of ''I Got Rhythm''.

To order the Head Of The Class DVD and/or Blu-rays of Girl Crazy, Strike Up The Band and Sunday In New York, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo (Archive movies) and James Lockhart



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