Friday, April 25, 2014

This Week in DVD and Instant Watching

Mr. Magoo Theatrical Collection: In a weak week for DVD, this collection stands out. It offers all 53 old theatrical Magoo shorts (not to be confused with the TV show), remastered from original elements, plus extras. Shout Factory doesn't always do a good job, but when it does, it produces something special, and this looks like the case here. Apologies for making the obvious comment here, but you'd have to be blind to pass this up. Wait, that's insensitive. You'd have to be a stupid moron to pass this up! That's better.

Madea's Neighbors from Hell: In an apparent effort to ensure some kind of Tyler Perry product is on the shelves at any given time, he releases a taped performance of a stage play. I'm sure his performance as Madea is even more nuanced and subtle when he's performing in a theater.

Barefoot: I don't even know what this is about. If you're into it, more power to you.

Bettie Page Reveals All: Get it? Nudge, nudge, wink, wink. That's right, Bettie Page finally explains the role of the Illuminati in controlling global finance. But is she barefoot?

Chances Are 25th Anniversary Edition Blu-Ray: I normally try to avoid one word snarky comments on individual titles--I feel I owe you at least a few extra words of snark--and I try to avoid the Internet tendency to make reductive one-word snap judgments, but when I see a 25th Anniversary Edition of "Chances Are," can you blame me for thinking...Really?

Riot in Cell Block 11: Criterion delivers Don Siegel's seminal prison, which of course was the inspiration for "Tango & Cash." Nah, not really, but oh, would that it were!

Master of the House: Another fine Criterion effort on a classic foreign fi;m--You know what? All I can think of is George Costanza singing, "Master of the house, keeper of the inn..."

Newhart Season 3: For many fans, this is the season when "Newhart really BECOMES "Newhart." Dear Lord, I just got a vision of a TV Land reality show called "Becoming Newhart."

Client List Season 2: Answer is, no, she's not naked in this season, either.

Eddie Cantor Lost Performances Volume 1: Anybody know what the deal is with this? The Amazon description says:

Eddie Cantor springs to life with this rebirth of some of his most memorable performances that until now were lost somewhere in a studio vault. Eddie really delivers with a collection of 18 songs and 3 skits and is joined by the likes of Connie Russell, Helen O'Connell, Shemp Howard and the Three Stooges, and many more.

It looks like a bunch of clips from old television programs. Unfortunately, it's only listed as 60 minutes and doesn't appear to be a great value.

WWE Best of Raw After the Show: Would you believe that after the show goes off the air, live crowds are often treated to "dark matches" and segments, main event caliber bouts or sometimes just goofy things designed to keep the audience sticking around to the very end and to go out on a high note? Well, this happens, and this collection features that rare footage. It's interesting because with so much content going on the WWE Network, this is a good idea of how to make a DVD release relevant nowadays. We'll see how this sells.

Warner Archive has the musical Irene with Ray Milland and Anna Neagle, the 1984 "video album" Heartbeat City from the Cars, and a pair of cool double features. The classic comedy duo--well, almost classic--Brown and Carney appears in Radio Stars on Parade. The Warner Archive description says the team is "often likened to Abbott and Costello." Yeah, they are, as in, "Boy, these guys are nowhere near as funny as Abbott and Costello." I enjoy watching them, though, and am glad to see more of them on disc. This feature is paired with George Murphy in Mayor of 44th Street. Another double feature combines She's Got Everything and The Smartest Girl in Town, two romantic comedies teaming Ann Southern and Gene Raymond, who are never likened to Abbott and Costello.

And in Streaming...

Hulu, I know I've been badgering you for weeks to add those CBS shows that you announced you were adding. And I know you added a few last week. But, guys and gals, I was hoping for something like" Sgt. Bilko" or "The Invaders." I certainly wasn't waiting for A Gifted Man and The Ghost Whisperer.

BUT I am intrigued by the addition of the 1980s Ralph Bakshi New Adventures of Mighty Mouse. Now, here is an interesting, seldom seen CBS show. Let's have more of this, Hulu.

Hulu still "wins" this week, though, just by adding season 2 of Moone Boy with Chris O'Dowd, a delightful Britcom that deserves more attention, and the series finale of The I.T. Crowd, also starring O'Dowd. That one aired overseas last year but makes its stateside debut this week on Hulu. It's a solid way to close out a great series.

Netflix mostly takes  the week off again, but...

Charlie Countryman may be a big deal, but honestly, I saw Shia LeBoeuf's name and dismissed it. You may not be familiar with Instructions Not Included, but this Mexican comedy was a pretty big hit last year. I don't know much about Dean Koontz adaptation Odd Thomas, but it looks like a lot of people are excited about it.

The clear highlight for me in another slow week for Netflix is Joseph Gordon-Levitt's Don Jon. I know the title is a riff on Don Juan, but I just think of the immortal Butt-Head saying, "I'm no Don Johnson, you know."

Warner Instant didn't add anything new this week, at least not that I noticed, and unfortunately the resume playing feature isn't working for me anymore. On the plus side, there is a convenient row of Leaving Soon movies on the Roku screen. Also, the main page added some subcategories such as "Sinatra on Screen" and "Revisionist Westerns."

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