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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Aging > France > Arts > Censorship > Legal > Italy > Teens > Sex > Adieu Paris (2021/Icarus DVD)/King Of Laughter (2021/Film Movement DVD)/The Last American Virgin (1982/Cannon/MGM/MVD Blu-ray)

Adieu Paris (2021/Icarus DVD)/King Of Laughter (2021/Film Movement DVD)/The Last American Virgin (1982/Cannon/MGM/MVD Blu-ray)

Picture: C+/C+/B Sound: C+/C+/B- Extras: C-/C/B- Films: C+/B-/C+

Now for some comedies with some unusual things to say and show...

Edouard Baer's Adieu Paris (2021) is a French drama with bits of comedy, not always ironic, even when it thinks it might be. It is also part of an unrecognized cycle of films with casts of well-known, older actors, supposedly reflecting on the past and offering a long goodbye to good times and their lives. Trainspotting 2 and a recent film featuring the Shawn Of The Dead cast, plus the Wolverine superhero film Logan are at the younger end of this cycle, though other such films have even been gangster comedies. The bored-looking Gerard Depardieu, looking very tired here (maybe he just got back from a trip to Russia) leads a cast of actors mostly known in Europe.

The eight friends here call themselves the 'Kings of Paris' (a title they thankfully did NOT use for this 101 minutes of trying viewing) and when you finish watching it, you too may be saying 'off with their heads'! I never bought the talking, dialogue, conversations and in the end, I never believed they really knew each other, even if they do in real life.

For the most curious only, but be aware this is light years away from any energy, French New Wave or otherwise.

Trailers are the only extra.

Mario Martone's The King Of Laughter (2021) is a decent Italian film about a popular playwright in Naples (Toni Servillo) known for his comic wit and timing, even when his private life was bad. In 1902, he decided to write something a little more serious, daring, bold and personal, but instead of more critical acclaim, he got booed, sued and had to fight about his art and legacy in a lengthly court battle.

For fans fo Italy, the stage and classic stage productions, this will be a pleasant surprise, well made, acted, crafted, feels like the period and has the feel and density of the time. Its fell of old Italy, et al, holds true and I am surprised this has not been a more talked-about film, but I guess COVID and the glut of lame product has hurt good releases like this. With a solid cast, I would definitely go out of my way for this one if this is your kind of storytelling.

The short film La Smorfia by Emanuel Palamara (14 minutes) is the only extra.

Finally we have Boaz Davidson's The Last American Virgin (1982,) a title that got plenty of laughs when it was originally released and was heavily promoted for an independent film, especially considering its low budget. Trying to hop on the Animal House/Porky's box office bonanza bandwagon, it did some business in its time and starts out better than it ends.

Three friends (Lawrence Monoson, Steve Antin, Joe Rubbo) are trying to hit on gals and get VERY intimate with them, but their knowledge of how to relate to the opposite sex is like a bad as trying to operate a quantum computer with a working Commodore 64 machine from a thrift store. The result is one crazy escapade after another, some of which are funny, others of which are gross and one so wild, you would NEVER see it in any U.S. film production today.

However, the reason to see the film at least once is not for any particular scene, but as a time capsule of a time when it seemed teens were not growing up with enough guidance and less preparation for the future. Versus what we see on the news everyday, these teens had it better than anyone could have thought.

The other real attraction the film had was a huge number of hit songs that were licensed and not just any songs, but some very big hits of the time. Too many in fact, including better choices (The Waitresses, The Cars, Blondie, The Police, Tommy Tutone, DEVO) and others that do not work at all or seem out of place. I will not go into a whole list, but it is obvious some songs were going to be inserted later (the characters talk generally about the songs, but hardly ever name any, so they had no idea what the licensing would be during production) but this was the early peak year of MTV and this film was going to be on that bandwagon too.

The cast of unknowns is mostly not bad and I like how it is shot and edited, plus the film was at the end of one teen cycle, about to be overtaken by the nerd/geek cycle. Today, a film this low budget would, save something extraordinary, never be able to afford the royalties on hits this big or their equivalent today. In all that, everyone should see this one once.

Extras include a mini-poster, still on the other side of the sleeve, plus the disc adds a TV Spot, Original Theatrical Trailer, Photo Gallery and four on-camera interviews in HD including Davidson, Lawrence Monoson, Diane Franklin and Director of Photography Adam Greenberg (about 25 minutes average).

The anamorphically enhanced 1.66 X 1 image on Adieu and anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on King look good for the format and in being HD productions from the same year. Color is not bad, though limited and not perfect, partly thanks to this older format. Both discs offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo mixes and King even adds a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but they are both on the dialogue-based side, though music and location sound are convincing and fine.

That leaves the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Virgin showing its age here and there, though this is the best I have seen the film looking since its original release. Color is decent and can be really impressive at times. The PCM 2.0 Stereo also shows its age, but is not bad for its budget, the film released in Dolby's old analog A-type noise reduction system. It helps the hit records, especially in the first parts of the film, helping it all sound period. This is as good as this is ever going to sound and you should play it back in Dolby Pro-Logic or a similar decoding format.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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