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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Music > Variety > Skits > TV > Concert > Horror > Satire > Adventure > Teens > Slapstick > Rural > Spoof > Best Of Cher (1975, 1978 - 2013/Time Life DVD Set)/Beetlejuice 4K (1985) + The Goonies 4K (1985/both Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Kentucky Kernels (1934/RKO)/Michael (1996/both Warner Archive

Best Of Cher (1975, 1978 - 2013/Time Life DVD Set)/Beetlejuice 4K (1985) + The Goonies 4K (1985/both Warner 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/Kentucky Kernels (1934/RKO)/Michael (1996/both Warner Archive Blu-rays)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Kentucky Kernels and Michael Blu-rays are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Now comes a big new set of comedy releases, sometime offering even more, all restored and look and sounding better than even we expected...

We start with Cher, at the point she was totally solo. Even in the beginning, she was cutting solo records, but her partnership and marriage with Sonny Bono was the main act and it was that way for years, until they had an ugly divorce at the height of their popularity on TV and the charts. CBS was the #1 TV network and it was a big hit for them, but they were not going to continue together after what had happened. However, they both decided to continue separate variety shows, so Sonny landed up at ABC and Cher launched her own solo show in 1975 on CBS. Some people blamed her (sexist stereotypes) for the breakup and did not watch the show, but it still fared better than Sonny's show did. She also had more star power in her guests.

Though they eventually, temporarily reunited to relaunch their show when both shows did not fare as well as expected, her show was stronger. Now, you can see 10 episodes of it and much more in the new 9-DVD set The Best Of Cher. Not seen in 4 decades, she dopes just fine on her own with more skits, more amazing Bob Mackie outfits and guest stars like Charo, Ray Charles, Elton John, The Muppets (before their hit TV series), Linda Ronstadt, Raquel Welch, Flip Wilson, Teri Garr, Tatum O'Neal, The Pointer Sisters, Liberace, Nancy Walker, Tim Conway, Ike & Tina Turner, Lily Tomlin, Jimmy Webb, Art Garfunkel, Gregg Allman, Dennis Weaver, Kate Smith, McLean Stevenson, Art Carney, The Hudson Brothers, David Groh, Freddie Prinze, Carol Burnett and The Jackson 5. Each show now plays like a pop culture event and has great, fun and very amusing moments.

She found her way and without a regular ensemble cast like Carol Burnett had, is truly breaking ground here as a female lead for such a grand variety show like no other before or since. In that, it is at least a minor classic in TV history.

Extras for these first 5 discs include exclusive new interviews with Cher, Designer Bob Mackie, comedy icon Lily Tomlin and Cher executive producer George Schlatter, TV appearances on The Dick Cavett Show and Dinah (both 1975) and Cher CBS Promo and the newly produced featurette, Cher: Then & Now.

Instead of more episodes of the show and its brief run, the second set of discs includes concerts, specials she made after the series folded and new programming. So here, we get both of Cher's legendary TV Specials from the '70s: Cher...Special (1978), Cher...and Other Fantasies (1979), two unforgettable concerts in Vegas after more hit records, live from the Mirage (1991) and MGM Grand (1999), as well as exclusive extras including backstage home movies, rehearsal songs and more, the full-length documentary Dear Mom, Love Cher offering a rare peek into Cher's fascinating family history and bonus features including a 2018 appearance on The Late, Late Show with James Corden.

No hits CDs here or an all-audio DVD, but you get plenty of her singing sounding good still, including earlier hits you may have forgotten or never heard. It is a great, long-overdue set by an ever-underrated talent and how she kept building up and building up her career against all odds and (often petty) criticism (and this set does not even include any of her theatrical feature films) but she proved them all wrong again and again. This set of lesser-seen, classic materials is more than a testament to that.

The 1.33 X 1 image transfers on the original episodes of the variety show series and its specials can show the age of the materials used, but the NTSC master tapes were stored well and remastered here very well with good color for the format and few flaws. The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono sound is also good for its time, but there are moments I kept wishing for at least simple stereo. Still, this plays as well as any other variety show of the time we have reviewed on DVD and is very watchable.

Later programs and new supplements are all in lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo, simple in the least and solid in newer cases. The earlier 1991 concert has slightly weaker audio than the 1999 show as expected, but they decided to try and fix that by adding a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 Option, the only one in this entire set, to help it. It is a very slight improvement and still sounds a little better than the stereo-only track. Wonder what this newer live music would sound like in a lossless presentation from the best available soundmaster material.

Sonny's own solo show has yet to surface, but we guess that will happen at some point. In the meantime, you can see more on Cher in her series with Sonny, try this DVD set we recently covered called I Got You Babe:


Warner Bros. continues to release the classics on 4K Ultra HD disc, this time with Tim Burton's Beetlejuice (1988) and Richard Donner's The Goonies (1985).

If you have any sort of movie collection at home then there's a very good chance that you've already bought these films in multiple iterations and formats over the years. While the extras on these releases are nothing new, the sound and picture quality is vastly improved even from the previous Blu-ray releases. To date, these are the best these films have ever looked or sounded at home, and so they are worth buying again if you're a hardcore fan with a 4K UHD Home Entertainment system.

Tim Burton's Beetlejuice is one of the greatest horror comedies of all time and the first time that Tim Burton pushed his unique style into the world, which was briefly seen in some sequences of his debut feature, Pee Wee's Big Adventure.

Michael Keaton is hilarious as Beetlejuice, a 'bio-exorcist for hire' that helps a newly deceased couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) scare away a new family (Winona Ryder, Jeffrey Jones, and Catherine O'Hara) who have recently moved into their home. Along the way the ghostly couple end up bonding with Lydia (Ryder) and learn to cope with the after life and its many complexities.

Beetlejuice is presented in 2160p HEVC/H.265, HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on 4K UHD disc, a 1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and audio mixes in lossless Dolby Atmos 12-track sound and a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown (both 48kHz, 24-bit). The HDR10 is where the difference really comes into play as more details are noticeable before and the image overall is considerably sharper, the same goes for The Goonies. The iconic score by Danny Elfman remains one of his best to date, and comes across beautifully here.

Also included is a compressed 1080p high definition Blu-ray version with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and the same audio and extras.

Special Features for Beetlejuice:

Three episodes of the animated Beetlejuice series

and a Trailer

A retrospective documentary interview of any sort or some archival BTS footage would be more than welcome. But oh well.

As for the film itself, I think Beetlejuice is what I would consider a near perfect film. It has the perfect ingredient of horror and comedy, and there simply never has or ever will be a film quite like it. I hope they don't make a sequel to it in all honesty. It's one of those films that deserves to stand alone. Tim Burton is one of my favorite filmmakers of all time despite some of his recent fair to not stand as strong as his classics. Beetlejuice is just another example (much like Edward Scissorhands and A Nightmare Before Christmas) of his fun style (heavily influenced by German Expressionism) executed onscreen flawlessly.

The Goonies is a childhood favorite if you were a kid in the 1980s and still remains a timeless and fun family adventure. The crew behind the camera here is monumental as it was produced by Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy (now head of Lucasfilm), written by Chris Columbus (Harry Potter films), and Directed by Richard Donner (Superman).

The film follows a group of young boys (Sean Astin, Josh Brolin, Jeff Cohen, Corey Feldman, Kerri Green, Martha Plimpton, and Jonathan Ke Huy Quan) who are on a mission to follow an old pirate map that leads to lost treasure and a pirate ship. Along the way they encounter a bizarre family, a monster named Sloth, bats, booby traps, and plenty of other obstacles along the way.

The Goonies is presented in 2160p Ultra High Definition with HDR on 4K UHD disc with a HVEC/H.265 codec, a 2.40:1 widescreen aspect ratio, and a lossless audio mix in English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit). Also included is a compressed 1080p high definition Blu-ray version with an MPEG-4 AVC codec and the same audio and extras. The image is overall quite sharper on the 4K UHD 2160p than the 1080p version and you can see the difference plain as day when looking at both of them closely. The High Dynamic Range option enhances the overall image and brings to life textures I never noticed watching the film before on lesser formats.

Special Features:

Commentary with Director Richard Donner and Select Cast Members

The Making of The Goonies featurette

Cyndi Lauper 'The Goonies 'r' Good Enough' Music Video

Outtakes and a Theatrical Trailer

The Goonies is a very fun family action film that hit at the height of Spielberg's rise in the '80s. Keep in mind that this came out the same year as The Color Purple, Fandango, Young Sherlock Holmes, and Back to the Future! He was very busy that year.

The cast is very fun and the special effects still hold up after 35 years. Very much an inspiration to Stranger Things and J.J. Abrams' Super 8, The Goonies is a unique kids movie that will live on and be passed down for generations to come.

Next is George Stevens' Kentucky Kernels (1934) with the comedy team of Bert Wheeler and Robert Wooster, as two Vaudeville performers currently unemployed. The film tries hard to establish them and launch them as a team, but was not successful in doing this, though they are funny here and the movie has some laughs despite becoming a little ridiculous along the way of its short 75 minutes. The thing that makes this a curio besides it being the early work of a famous director is that is co-stars 'Spanky' McFarland, one of the main stars of The Little Rascals/Our Gang series.

He plays an orphan our duo finds out has inherited a farm in the title locale and figure out a way to adopt him, but none of them know the land is stuck in the middle of a feud between two families in the Hatfields/McCoys mode. Fans of Mama's Family or Green Acres will get a kick out of this one, while Spanky steals some scenes as he is in the earlier part of his career. With a supporting cast that includes Noah Berry Jr., Lucille La Verne, Margaret Dumont and Willie Best, it is worth a look if you have never seen it and great it has been restored. Spanky fans will want to add it to their collection as they wait for his famous shorts to arrive on Blu-ray.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white image transfer can sometimes show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and is surprisingly sharp and clear throughout, meaning it looks as good as almost any monochrome RKO film out there. I was very happy and surprised this survived as well as it did and you would not think it was as old as it is. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix shows its age a little more, yet is also somehow more clean and clear sonically than expected.

Extras are not listed on the back of the Blu-ray case and may be missing any kind of teaser or trailer, or even any Little Rascals/Our Gang shorts despite Warner Archive issuing a set of them on DVD, but include three restored, animated black and white cartoon shorts. In the absence of not having any RKO might have distributed, a Looney Tunes shorts from the Buddy series entitled Buddy's Chorus, plus two classic Popeye Fleischer shorts (originally distributed by Paramount) The Dance Contest and Sock-A-Bye Baby.

Finally, one of John Travolta's most underrated performances is the heavenly comedy Michael (1996), which finally gets a 1080p Blu-ray release courtesy of Warner Archive Collection. The film was directed by the acclaimed late filmmaker Nora Ephron (Sleepless in Seattle, Julie and Julia.) This was long before Travolta tarnished his career with Battlefield Earth and several other stink bombs, and he was still in good graces with audiences after Pulp Fiction.

In this film, Travolta plays Michael, a cigarette smoking, drunk Archangel who has lost his way and is living in the middle of hick town with an old woman. In the film, William Hurt, Andie MacDowell and Robert Pastorelli are writers for a tabloid sent by boss Bob Hoskins to get an exclusive on the heavenly visitor.

Michael is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with a widescreen aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and a new audio mix in English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit) lossless sound. The film looks and sounds fine and hasn't aged too terribly over all of these years. Some of the special effects with his wings and such still holds up and was very well executed for the time.

The only extra is a trailer.

To order either of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, Kentucky Kernels and Michael, go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo (Cher, Kernels) and James Lockhart



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