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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Crude > Drama > Character Study > School > Religion > Animation > Animals > Daddy Daughter Trip (2022/Mill Creek DVD)/Hail Caesar (1994/MVD Blu-ray)/The Holdovers (2023/Focus/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Journey To Bethlehem (2023/Sony Blu-ray)/Rover Dangerfield (1991/Warner Arch

Daddy Daughter Trip (2022/Mill Creek DVD)/Hail Caesar (1994/MVD Blu-ray)/The Holdovers (2023/Focus/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Journey To Bethlehem (2023/Sony Blu-ray)/Rover Dangerfield (1991/Warner Archive Blu-ray)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Rover Dangerfield Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.

Now for the most bizarre grouping of comedies we have posted to date, including two comedy actors directing projects they think will help keep their careers going...

Rob Schneider's Daddy Daughter Trip (2022) is the first of those projects, a lowest-level-humor tale of an investor (Schneider) in a rut who is determined, no matter the lack of resources, to take his 8-year-old daughter on a field trip. Unfortunately, we a forced to go with them!

In real life, once every few years, Schneider can actually show that he can sometimes give a comic acting performance and even more rarely, even be funny like a few Saturday Night Live performances way back in the day. Otherwise, all he does is wallow in one-note, dumb, gross, goofy humor that is way too predictable and pointless. He goes whole hog here on it and SURPRISE, we get nothing new. The supporting cats looks bored and even John Cleese cannot save this disaster. Trip is a lame trap for your time and money and should b avoided, unless you really, really, really like this kind of really bad pseudo humor.

There are unsurprisingly no extras.

Anthony Michael Hall's Hail Caesar (1994) has the actor trying to take more control of his career and make the transition from child actor to adult. He made it in real life, but not from this film. Here, he tries to change his look and its like a semi-New Wave look of some sort. As the crazed lead singer of the Rock band of the film's title, he wants to have the lifestyle and live large, even if the talent is not there. Instead, he falls for the daughter of the man he works for at a plant that makes erasers, a job that machines and maybe robots have replaced if the jobs were not sent overseas by 2024.

Robert Downey Jr. steals his scenes as the head of the record company our would-be superstar wants to sign with, but will it happen. If anything, Hall can think of it as a transitional work after his Vacation films, John Hughes films and other on screen to the long career he had. Had this been a better film and much more commercially successful one, it would not have hurt him of course, but he left the 1980s behind to survive and that was that.

Cheers to the rest of the supporting cast including Frank Gorshin, Judd Nelson, Nicholas Pryor, Bobbie Phillips, Samuel L. Jackson and Robert Downey, Sr. They bring some fun to this and everyone was working hard to give this some energy, something we rarely see in any feature film releases these days, so it is a nice indie time capsule of how good risk-taking independent films with commercial hopes used to be. Too bad these are so rare now, but it is a curio those interested should definitely check out.

Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer and Mini Poster inside the Blu-ray case, with our copy including a slipcase.

Alexander Payne's The Holdovers (2023) is an awards season contender, taking place in 1970 and reuniting the director with his Sideways lead actor Paul Giamatti, playing a strict school teacher at a lesser-known boys school for the privileged. Christmas, et al, has arrived, but some of the students will be there for a while and Angus (Dominic Sessa, in what might launch a serious acting career) is going to be there longer than he imagined.

They do not get along, though Hunham (Giamatti) is abrasive with all of them. As the film started, I was shocked at how bad and sloppy it was, trying way too hard to emulate its time period in odd ways and it was getting so bad, I thought we were getting some kind of horrid rehash of the already overrated and awful Dead Poets Society. Eventually, the film picks up, but about twenty minutes of it could have been cut and it would have helped the film get to the point. Those mostly early scenes belong in the also lame deleted clips in the extras.

Vietnam is touched upon, but probably not enough and though it does a good job of mostly convincing us it is period, there are more errors and mistakes here than there should be, especially for a director as savvy as Payne. Thus, it is not as strong as Citizen Ruth, About Schmidt, Sideways, The Descendants or even Election, but it is still worth a look for the performances and the latter parts that do work. Longtime actor Tate Donovan leads the rest of the supporting cast, some of whom have been around for a while and others that are new faces. That does nto hurt the film one bit.

Extras include Digital Code copy, while both discs include Deleted Scenes and three Behind The Scenes featurettes.

Adam Anders' Journey To Bethlehem (2023) looked at first to be another dull, formula, preachy, holiday religious project like the hundreds of endless Hallmark TV movies that have the same dippy music and essentially use slight variations of the same teleplay. What we get here instead is a comedy with no laughs, sort of a Monty Python/Mel Brooks-style mess that is trying to be funny with zero ironic distance, new ideas or a single laugh or giggle.

Then they actually add music and it gets worse with each song, then they still try to say they are honoring the events of the Nativity in a serious, loving way. Maybe they think they are, but I bet more than a few more serious, conservative, and (yes) humorless people of faith would find this dumb, possibly offensive and a few might even say sacrilegious. I just found it a bizarre waste of time I never bought once and even Antonio Banderas suddenly showing up cannot save it or the way-off-kilter acting. It also shows how dead Musicals really are. Oh well.

Extras include Digital Movies version, while the disc adds:

  • Meet Mary and Joseph

  • The Heart of The Journey to Bethlehem

  • Meet Fig

  • Meet Mary's Sisters

  • Meet Antipater

  • Deleted Scenes: A Great Navigator

  • Deleted Scenes: Travel Montage

  • and Deleted Scenes: Joseph's Catapult.

Lastly, we have Jim George and Bob Seeley's animated Rover Dangerfield (1991) with the late, great Rodney Dangerfield as a dog with some wit, but wit restricted by a G rating. Intended as something with a higher rating, the home of Looney Tunes thought maybe they could go for something different and family fun, but this one has so-so musical numbers (the titles are funnier than the songs are good) and Harold Ramis even co-wrote the story with Dangerfield. It just does not gel.

Our title character starts in Las Vegas having the time of his life, give or take some minor issues one would expect there, but he lands up on a farm (???) where he is forced to figure out what to do with his life next, then he might just fall in love with a female counterpart.

I always thought Dangerfield was one of the funniest comics of all time and remains a giant, so much so at the time that you can see why a major movie studio would even bankroll such a project. He was very big, selling comedy records, selling out comedy venues, jumping up ratings on any show he appeared on and he had a few hit films with even the live action disappointments becoming curios. Warner even used their now sadly defunct warner stores chain to sell tie-ins to the film, but they landed up in the cut-out section.

Warner Archive has finally issued the film on Blu-ray for everyone to see and though it has no new extras or any extras tied to the film itself, now you can judge for yourself. Made at a time when adult humor animation was still not more common, it makes one wonder what might have been had a vision of the film had been clearer from the start.

Extras include an Original Theatrical Trailer and two classic warner animated Technicolor classics in HD: well done Dog Daze and charming, funny Porky Pig short Dog Collared.

Now for playback performance. The 1080p playback on all four Blu-rays are a little bit different, but oddly have about the same level of qualities and flaws. The 1.78 X 1 image on Hail Caesar had its lab work done by FotoKem and it is pretty good for its age, but there is also some softness and a little more grain than usual, suggesting an older HD master and/or that the original camera materials have some slight issues. It still has good color and an consistent look. The PCM 2.0 Stereo is not bad, might play better on your system with Pro Logic-like surrounds,but was not issued in theaters with any kind of noise reduction system. Skipping cheaper Ultra Stereo probably helped.

The 1.66 X 1 image on Holdovers goes a little overboard trying to recreate the look of an early 1970s color movie, which includes some intentional softness (the HD with some of its own limits too) and very, very slightly faded colors. Nice try, but not 100% convincing, though fine for the most part. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 3.0 (yes, you read that correctly) Stereo lossless mix is not like any sound format of that time, but does hold the film back from being too modern sounding to match its image. The anamorphically enhanced 1.66 X 1 image on the DVD version is much softer than it should be and the lossy Dolby Digital 3.0 Stereo definitely looses warmth.

The same can be said for the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on the Trip DVD, which is a flat HD shoot with no style, albeit consistent by default and the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 (oddly listed as 'Dolby Audio' on the back of the case, which is not the name of one of their formats) is barely better and the dullest sound on the list despite being one of the newest recordings.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Journey is an HD shoot that has more softness than its styling should offer and the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is competent at best, but sounds slightly more forward than it should. That does not help the humor or make it more clear either.

Finally, the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Rover Dangerfield is consistent, but has much more grain than expected and to be honest, the color is a little flat and off. The early tech and work of the digital visual opening is fine, then the quality drops in the next analog, hand-drawn animated shot and never improves for the rest of the film. Checking on stills and images of the film on-line, my memory was strongly confirmed, so fans will be a little disappointed. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix was issued in Dolby's old A-type analog Dolby System format and offers some Pro Logic surrounds, though you can try variants on your system to see if it makes the sound even better. One of the last animated feature films in the old format, its not bad.

To order either of the Warner Archive Rover Dangerfield Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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