Of Barry McKenzie
(1991/both Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-rays)/The
Or Hardy: Early Solo Films Of...
(1914 - 1926/Flicker Alley Blu-ray Set)/War
(2020/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)
B-/B-/C+/B+/B-/B+ & B- Sound: B-/B-/C+/B+/B-/B+ & B-
Extras: C+/D/C/C/B-/D Films: C-/A-/C/B/B/C-
Adventures Of Barry McKenzie
Import Blu-rays are now only available from our friends at Umbrella
Entertainment, are both region free and can be ordered from the link
for a group of comedies that includes some classics and more...
Beresford later became known for his dramas and as a capable
journeyman director, but his early work includes the hit comedy The
Adventures Of Barry McKenzie
(1972) which is a big deal in its home country of Australia and is
considered an Oz-Ploitation classic, but I always found it dull,
boring and at best, an acquired taste like vegemite or torture porn.
My boredom of this films and any follow-ups can be seen in this
review, which is connected to other such coverage:
course, if you like the film and related films, your are in luck
since this has many extras and is as upgraded as it likely will ever
be (more on the tech side below) and I do not even have any issues
with the cast (Peter Cook, Dennis Price and Spike Mulligan are part
of the cast) or even locales. It is just not my kind of humor and at
least, it can be considered very Australian, I guess. Dame Edna is
an icon, after all.
include comic strip/photo novel piece inside the cover sleeve, while
the disc adds a Stills & Poster Gallery, Dame Edna Everage
Of Bazza in Chunderland
feature-length documentary, vintage TV special on the film, A
Conversation with Barry Humphries, clip on the film from the Not
documentary, the Humphries short film The
TV commercials, other Beresford and Humphries trailers and an
Original Theatrical Trailer for this film.
all these years and they many, continuing successes, The
Coen Brothers' Barton
(1991) remains one of their greatest films and one of the best films
ever made about Hollywood. Early on on this site, we reviewed the
DVD edition and raved about it at this link:
Blu-ray edition has been circulating for a few years and has finally
reached the Australian market in this version we are covering now.
It is great to see the film again and audiences still have not
completely caught up with it. Playing a little better than the DVD,
you can see more about it technically below, but the cast including
the great John Turturro in the title role, plus great turns by John
Goodman, Judy Davis, John Polito, John Maloney and Michael Lerner
make this all highly watchable and rewatchable. If you have never
seen it, consider it a must!
are sadly no extras.
Angelo Covino's The
(2020) wants to redo the buddy movie and thinks it is doing something
by simply twisting around conflict (one male friend is sleeping with
the wife of another... wow, surprise?!?!) but to call this innovative
and rave about it is a telling sign that one has hardly seen any
buddy films (paging Robert Altman!!!) and we have seen something like
this recently anyhow.
result is something more akin to a bad cable TV sitcom with unknown
Kyle Martin playing opposite the director himself (who is no Woody
Allen) and never convincing me of any of this in its long, long, long
94 minutes. Why are these people friends? Why should they be? Why
would we care? How can two people be so boring and uninteresting?
out the duo co-wrote this and then did not know how to fill in what
they created. They should have hired other actors, but at least
George Wendt shows up and breaks the monotony for his brief moments.
Otherwise, you are better off 'climbing' over this dud and finding a
include an Original Short film, filmmaker's feature length audio
commentary track, Deleted and Alternate Scenes
oddball romantic comedy that is beautifully put together, Inside
(2019) directed by Aaron Fisher tells the story of a multi disordered
young man named Shawn (Aaron Fisher) who finds love outside of a
strip club when he meets the beautiful and exotic Emma (Ellen
Toland). Facing expulsion from college, he and his new female friend
(who is a porn actress, model, and stripper) end up making a movie to
prove his innocence. Somewhere along the way they find love. The
film features some great performances by Rosie Perez, Paul Schulze,
and Eric Roberts.
only extra is a Trailer.
is the kind of film you would certainly see at a film festival. It's
quirky, nicely shot, and yet maintains an indie feel.
of the most interesting comedy sets in a while, Laurel
Or Hardy: Early Solo Films Of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy
(1914 - 1926)
collects and restores many short films by both actors before they
became the most successful comedy team in cinema history (Lewis and
Martin broke up too early, Bud Abbott passed away too soon) and
surprisingly does not have much overlap with a DVD with a similar
title we reviewed a very long time ago.
films are as follows...
and Bad Men (1918); The Egg (1922); A Weak-End Party (1922); The Pest
(1922); When Knights Were Cold (1923); The Handy Man (1923); Pick and
Shovel (1923); Collars and Cuffs (1923); Gas and Air (1923); A Man
About Town (1923); The Whole Truth (1923); Brothers Under the Chin
(1924); Zeb Vs. Paprika (1924); Wide Open Spaces (1924); Detained
(1924); Twins (1925); Pie-Eyed (1925)
Baby Boy (1914); Servant Girl's Legacy (1914); An Expensive Visit
(1915); A Lucky Strike (1915); The New Adventures of J. Rufus
Wallingford: The Lilac Splash (1915); The Serenade (1916); Hungry
Hearts (1916); The Candy Trail (1916); The Chief Cook (1917); Hello
Trouble (1918); Married to Order (1918); He's In Again (1918); The
Rent Collector (1921); The Bakery (1921); The Show (1922); Rivals
(1925); Wandering Papas (1926, directed by Stan Laurel!); Say It With
their own, Laurel became a bigger comedy leading actor and star than
anyone seems to have remembered, his work so overshadowed by his
later success with Hardy, while Hardy, as 'Babe' Hardy, became one of
the best supporting comic talents in the business and made good
comedies better. No wonder the two became a team, but no one could
have known how massively successful they would have become. In all
cases, they would take an idea and go all out with it, squeezing
every laugh and idea for a laugh they could. Great then that they
were both this ambitious early on.
out the camera always liked these guys and that helped make them
stars with any success, plus they both had great comic timing and
would not only take risks, but never had any fears whatsoever about
getting physical to get a laugh. Much of this is surprisingly funny,
charming, amusing, entertaining, fun and interesting. It also often
has some fine time capsule moments and only a few points (some oddly
racist parts in two of the Laurel shorts, but not much in these films
overall, fortunately) that are bad. Also, a few things they did
separately in these films, they tried again together, so it is
definitely a real treasury worth your time and you will find
surprisingly funny and entertaining.
of these films have their original title cards and it reminds us of
how classy, ambitious and great early silent cinema could be at its
best. I hope we see a second volume as there are shorts yet to be
saved, but for now, this is a very pleasant surprise for the most
part and show how both legends had they knock for laughs early on.
It is worth going out of your way for and makes a great pairing with
the Laurel & Hardy Blu-ray set Flicker Alley recently issued that
is also great, reviewed elsewhere on this site.
include a high quality, well-detailed, illustrated booklet on all the
short film including informative text and synopsis on all films,
while the discs add thorough Image Galleries with rare still,
publicity materials and more that are rare and hardly seen.
Robert De Niro takes another comedic turn in The
War With Grandpa
(2020), which is another film that lost out on the theatrical market
due to the pandemic. Now on Blu-ray in HD, the muddled family comedy
isn't short of famous faces, but can't escape its bitter screenplay.
You know when the movie ends in a dodgeball battle it's bad.
film has an incredible supporting cast including Uma Thurman,
Christopher Walken, Rob Riggle, Cheech Marin, Jane Seymour, and Oakes
a little bratty kid (Fegley) has to give up part of his bedroom for
his poor widowed Grandfather (De Niro) to stay in after he can no
longer take care of himself, the little spoiled kid launches a 'war'
with him that involves elaborate pranks. The 'war' is a battle over
the bedroom space, which is an absurd thing to be mad about anyway as
his replacement bedroom that the kid gets doesn't seem so bad to me.
Grandpa doesn't just sit back and take the threats and punishment of
his bratty Grandson, but he fights back in his own unique and old
school way. The trio of Walken, De Niro, and Cheech Marin is pretty
fun in the few scenes that they are in together, but overall the
movie tries to be some sort of Home
style knockoff that's both innocent at times and a bit aggressive at
others. The kid who plays the lead makes me want to see him get a
spanking from De Niro with a hard wooden paddle, which would have
made for better entertainment.
Extras, which is a little unsettling for such a big release.
Universal used to pack its discs with extras, and now they are
becoming few and far between... or just fluff pieces.
War With Grandpa
is weird in that it's trying to get its audience to side with a
little brat that is hardly likable from the get go. For instance, in
films at least the kid was trying to protect himself and his home,
but here the struggle and pranks are all internal and within the
family and over something pretty dumb to begin with. Who cares about
a bedroom space? The all star cast can't help save this train wreck,
which tries way too hard to be funny. Poor Uma Thurman deserves
better and save a few funny reoccurring gags this is a hard watch.
for playback performance. The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition
image on Barry
is restored and likely the best it will ever look, but the film
source does not have great detail (older, cheaper film? A 16mm
shoot?) though it is still superior to all the previous editions and
other footage and stills of the firm we have ever seen, which is more
than most people in the States. At least it is authentic-looking and
no one started taking liberties or tampering with the presentation.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix also shows its age and
a few location audio flaws are permanent parts of the production.
Cheers to those who tried to save and preserve it, but there is only
so much one can do and even with better fidelity, I did not laugh any
more, which was not much tor begin with.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Barton
is an older HD master on the grainy side that looks better than the
old DVD we reviewed eons ago and seems to be the same version on the
U.S. Kino Blu-ray edition, but the cinematography is so complex and
has such a wide range of color, that it really needs a 4K disc and
the negative, an 8K scan. Director of Photography Roger Deakins
(B.S.C. And now more) is remarkable and holds up extraordinarily
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix is also not bad, the
film issued in then new and superior Dolby SR (Spectral Recording)
analog sound. The combination is good, but not great. I know this
can sound a little better too.
is presented in 1080p high definition on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4
AVC codec and a widescreen aspect ratio of 2.39:1 and a lossless,
English DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 mix (2.0 Stereo also on the
disc.) The cinematography is nicely captured here along with the new
1080p 1.21 X 1 and 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition
image transfers for all these Laurel
shorts can obviously show their age, with some shorts sadly only
surviving partially for now. However, much of this looks fine and
even remarkable and I was stunned at how well some of the shorts had
actually survived. Once again, the very hard work of many people
make this collection possible and that such priceless work has been
saved from being lost forever is something for serious film fans to
celebrate. The clarity also makes it much more fun to watch and
enjoy. New music has been made for the shorts and are presented in
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless sound. They are fine
for what they are, but do not appeal to me as much and I enjoyed it
all with the sound low or off.
Blu-ray/DVD combo pack for The
War With Grandpa
provides a strong presentation of the film on both discs. Presented
in 1080p on Blu-ray disc with an MPEG-4 AVC codec, the film has a
1.85:1 widescreen aspect ratio and a lossless, English DTS-HD MA
(Master Audio) 5.1 mix. The anamorphically enhanced DVD presentation
is similar but more compressed with a lossy 5.1 Dolby Digital mix.
The film is shot very clean and up to par with what you would expect
in a high budget film of this nature. Seeing that it's a goofy
comedy it doesn't really need to be in the 4K UHD format.
anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on The
is a passable digital shoot and looks fairly good, if flat and not
memorable, while the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is dialogue and
(apparently) joke-based and also passable, though it does try to fill
the soundtrack with music. The results are mixed at best.
order either of the
Umbrella import Blu-rays, The
Adventures Of Barry McKenzie
go to this link for them and many more hard to find titles at:
Nicholas Sheffo and James