Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Oz-Ploitation > Filmmaking > Surrealism > Buddy > Relationships > Infidelity > Romance > Shorts > S > Adventures Of Barry McKenzie (1972)/Barton Fink (1991/both Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-rays)/The Climb (2020/Sony DVD)/Inside The Rain (2019/MVD/FilmRise Blu-ray)/Laurel Or Hardy: Early Solo Films

Adventures Of Barry McKenzie (1972)/Barton Fink (1991/both Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-rays)/The Climb (2020/Sony DVD)/Inside The Rain (2019/MVD/FilmRise Blu-ray)/Laurel Or Hardy: Early Solo Films Of... (1914 - 1926/Flicker Alley Blu-ray Set)/War With Grandpa (2020/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)

Picture: 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-

PLEASE NOTE: The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie and Barton Fink Import Blu-rays are now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment, are both region free and can be ordered from the link below.

Now for a group of comedies that includes some classics and more...

Bruce 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:


Of 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.

Extras include comic strip/photo novel piece inside the cover sleeve, while the disc adds a Stills & Poster Gallery, Dame Edna Everage introduction, Adventures 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 Quite Hollywood documentary, the Humphries short film The Naked Bunyip, TV commercials, other Beresford and Humphries trailers and an Original Theatrical Trailer for this film.

After all these years and they many, continuing successes, The Coen Brothers' Barton Fink (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:


The 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!

There are sadly no extras.

Michael Angelo Covino's The Climb (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.

The 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?

Turns 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 better comedy.

Extras include an Original Short film, filmmaker's feature length audio commentary track, Deleted and Alternate Scenes

An oddball romantic comedy that is beautifully put together, Inside The Rain (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.

The only extra is a Trailer.

Inside The Rain is the kind of film you would certainly see at a film festival. It's quirky, nicely shot, and yet maintains an indie feel.

One 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.

The films are as follows...

Stan Laurel Films:

Bears 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)

Oliver Hardy Films:

Mother's 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 Babies (1926)

On 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.

Turns 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.

Some 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.

Extras 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.

Lastly, 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.

The film has an incredible supporting cast including Uma Thurman, Christopher Walken, Rob Riggle, Cheech Marin, Jane Seymour, and Oakes Fegley.

When 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.

Anyway, 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 Alone 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.

No 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.

The 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 the Home Alone 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.

Now 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. The 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.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Barton Fink 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 well. The 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.

Inside The Rain 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 age soundtrack.

The 1080p 1.21 X 1 and 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfers for all these Laurel Or Hardy 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.

The 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.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on The Climb 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.

To order either of the Umbrella import Blu-rays, The Adventures Of Barry McKenzie and Barton Fink, go to this link for them and many more hard to find titles at:


- Nicholas Sheffo and James Lockhart (Rain, War)



 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com