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Insights from home entertainment industry experts. Home Media blogs give you the inside scoop on entertainment news, DVD and Blu-ray Disc releases, and the happenings at key studios and entertainment retailers. “TK's Take” analyzes and comments on home entertainment news and trends, “Agent DVD Insider” talks fanboy entertainment, “IndieFile” delivers independent film news, “Steph Sums It Up” offers pithy opinions on the state of the industry, and “Mike’s Picks” offers bite-sized recommendations of the latest DVD and Blu-ray releases.


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24 Apr, 2010

Updating the Files: ‘Lost,’ ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Robin Hood,’ ‘The A-Team’

Checking in with some bits and pieces from the past week:

End of the Beginning for ‘Lost’

As “Lost” rushes toward its series finale May 23, plans are already in place to release the complete series on DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Lost: The Complete Sixth and Final Season (five-DVD set $59.99, Blu-ray $79.99) and Lost: The Complete Collection (38-DVD set $229.99, 36-disc Blu-ray $279.99) are slated for Aug. 24 (order date July 13).

The sixth-season set will include original scripted content that delves deeper into the stories, from the show’s creators; deleted scenes; behind-the-scenes footage; commentaries; bloopers and more. The complete series will contain all the extras from the individual seasons, plus an exclusive bonus disc with at least two hours of content.

More Robins for the Hood

Just in time for the May 14 theatrical bow of Universal’s Robin Hood remake from Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment May 11 releases four vintage “Robin Hood” movies at $14.94. The selection includes 1946’s The Bandit of Sherwood Forest, 1948’s Prince of Thieves, 1950’s Rogues of Sherwood Forest and 1960’s Sword of Sherwood Forest.

These aren’t the only “Robin Hood” DVDs piggybacking the new movie. Reality Films April 27 releases the documentary Robin Hood: The Truth Behind Hollywood’s Most Filmed Legend (reviewed here). And Classic Media May 11 offers Mr. Magoo in Sherwood Forest ($9.98), which combines into a single movie the four-part episode “Mr. Magoo’s Robin Hood” from the 1964 series “The Famous Adventures of Mr. Magoo.”

Pounding Out the Pity

Speaking of piggybacking, Anchor Bay Entertainment in June will release UFC: Rampage Greatest Hits, a collection of mixed martial arts fights featuring Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, who plays B.A. Baracus in the new A-Team movie (the role Mr. T played on the TV show). The DVD streets June 1 at $19.97, with the Blu-ray on June 8 at $29.97. Fox releases The A-Team June 11.

The Galaxy’s a Stage

Finally, an odd tidbit from the realm of so-called “legitimate” theater. It seems CBS Consumer Products is preparing an interactive stage show called “Star Trek Live” to be performed five times a day starting June 11 at the 300-seat Astronaut Encounter Theater at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex near Orlando, Fla.

Based on the franchise (though the plot seems more like the new movie), the 30-minute experience combines special effects and audience interaction, letting fans play new cadets at Starfleet Academy, where they will have to learn quickly about living, traveling and working in space and about the latest in communication and technology.

Sounds like a smart way to get the word out about this obscure franchise. ;-) Actually, the NASA connection makes a lot of sense.

This wouldn’t be the first interactive “Star Trek” experience for fans. Universal Studios theme parks in the late 1980s and early 1990s offered The Star Trek Adventure, which cast audience members as Starfleet officers and Klingons as they filmed an episode, and let participants buy a tape of the final result. And The Star Trek Experience operated out of the Las Vegas Hilton from 1998 to 2008, letting fans sip drinks at Quark’s Bar from “Deep Space Nine,” travel back in time to fight the Klingons, or fight off an invasion by the Borg. Highlights from the Vegas exhibit are available on the bonus disc of the Star Trek: The Next Generation Motion Picture Collection DVD and Blu-ray.

Maybe they should bring the whole Star Trek Experience to Florida.


23 Apr, 2010

The “South Park” Syndrome


The pop culture world is abuzz about Comedy Central censoring even the name of a certain religious prophet on “South Park,” following death threats against the show’s creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The network even bleeped the whole final speech “about intimidation and fear,” they said.

Further, Comedy Central pulled reruns of the episode and won’t let it stream on the “South Park” website. Naturally, this has sparked a whole debate over the value of free speech in our society, and how reticent some of us are to protect it. Jon Stewart devoted a lengthy segment to the subject on the April 22 “Daily Show,” denouncing anyone who would threaten violence over a political or religious disagreement.

So what now? A lot of fans are wondering what this will mean for the eventual 14th season DVD set of the show. As the DVD (and Blu-ray) won’t be released for another year, I imagine that decision is a long ways off.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the censorship carried over to home video. The character in question did appear uncensored in the “Super Best Friends” episode from the fifth season, but that was before the controversy erupted a few years ago, and that episode has since been yanked from SouthParkStudios.com, which streams every episode for free. The season 10 episode “Cartoon Wars” specifically addressed the reaction to images of him, while also censoring his appearance. This censorship carried through to the DVD. I only hope they don’t leave the latest episode off the DVD altogether. (Ironically, the character has appeared briefly in the opening title sequence of every episode for the past few years.)

After all, the whole point of these episodes has been to demonstrate how absurd the censorship was to begin with, and for a network to step on that message is to neglect the very reason it took a chance on the series in the first place.
 


20 Apr, 2010

‘Avatar’ Brings the Hype to Retailers


While the Thursday, April 22, release of Avatar dominates the week, promotions connected to the movie are kind of muted. Several retailers are preparing midnight madness sales, but most don't offer anything by way of specific exclusives for anyone who doesn't attend those events.

Wal-Mart, which offers Avatar at midnight, offered a 3D sticker to the first 50 buyers at each store.

Other promotions were tied to sales of existing product. Best Buy offered the Avatar soundtrack at $7.99 and Avatar video games for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii at $19.99. A total of 250 Best Buy stores will open at midnight, with 10 core major-market stores offering gaming promotions sponsored by Ubisoft. Participants can receive T-shirt giveaways at core stores, with poster giveaways at other midnight madness events. Anyone who buys the movie has a chance to have a tree planted in his or her name. More information is available at BestBuy.com/Avatar.

Target offered a $3 savings off Avatar with the purchase of select Fox titles, such as Independence Day and The Day After Tomorrow, with qualifying Blu-rays at $14.99 each and DVDs at $7.99.

Also big this week were titles that were retailer exclusives.

Best Buy scored a coup with the exclusive Blu-ray availability of The Drawn Together Movie: The Movie!, while other retailers could offer only the DVD version.

Wal-Mart had the TV movie Secrets of the Mountain for $12, which included a DVD and the CD soundtrack.

Target has been offering a selection of Bravo reality show DVDs.

Since April 22 also is Earth Day, some retailers also set up displays in that direction. A Wal-Mart in Long Beach, Calif., had a nice endcap display with a selection that included Planet Earth, National Geographic titles and other nature documentaries.


19 Apr, 2010

New on disc: 'Crazy Heart,' 'Tales From the Script' and more …


Crazy Heart

Street 4/20
Fox, Drama, B.O. $38.8 million, $29.98 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray, ‘R’ for language and brief sexuality.
Stars Jeff Bridges, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall, Colin Farrell.
2009.
As broken-down singer “Bad” Blake, Oscar winner Jeff Bridges looks as if his halitosis has halitosis — though the moniker he carries in writer-director Scott Cooper’s script (adapted from Thomas Cobb’s novel) is effective in its hard-consonant directness and simplicity.
Extras: The actors talk about their attraction to the project on the Blu-ray, which also has a couple alternate cuts of tunes that the regular DVD doesn’t have. Both versions contain deleted scenes.
Read the Full Review

Minority Report (Blu-ray)

Street 4/20
Paramount, Sci-Fi, $29.99 Blu-ray, ‘PG-13’ for violence, brief language, some sexuality and drug content.
Stars Tom Cruise, Samantha Morton, Max von Sydow, Colin Farrell, Neal McDonough, Steve Harris.
2002.
Director Steven Spielberg’s kinetic, futuristic take on the police procedural is still a dandy that shows how good an actor Tom Cruise can be.
Extras: Includes a newly edited mix of vintage and fresher material, plus an interview with Spielberg shot just as the movie was opening theatrically.
Read the Full Review

Tales From the Script

Street 4/20
First Run, Documentary, B.O. $0.008 million, $24.95 DVD, NR.
2010.
“Talking heads documentary” can be a pejorative term, but when the subject is screenwriters discussing their craft and, too often, their heartbreak, the talk is likely to be on a very high level. Tales is the most telling screen portrait on its subject that we’re likely to have.
Extras: Whatever you do, don’t skip the DVD’s bonus section. The supplemental interviews have some of the juiciest anecdotes.
Read the Full Review

Vivre sa vie

Street 4/20
Criterion, Drama, $39.95 DVD or Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Anna Karina, Sady Rebbot.
1962.
The movie is constructed as a dozen tableaux scenes chronicling a woman’s descent from a record store employee who can’t pay her rent into a prostitute. Like a lot of Jean-Luc Godard films, it eschews narrative fat for the so-called high points.
Extras: The DVD/Blu-ray transfers jump off the screen, and one of the many Criterion supplements is a vintage article describing how the natural sound recording here was very advanced for its time.
Read the Full Review

Arizona Dream

Available now via WBshop.com’s Warner Archive
Warner, Drama, $19.95 DVD, ‘R.’
Stars Johnny Depp, Faye Dunaway, Jerry Lewis, Lili Taylor.
1993.
Johnny Depp and Jerry Lewis play car salesmen. For collectors of the peculiar, this may be your day.
Read the Full Review
 


19 Apr, 2010

A Day at the Con

(L-R): Burt Ward and Adam West
(L-R): Burt Ward and Adam West

This past weekend’s Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con proves that not every fanboy event has to be up to the level of that show in San Diego.

The Anaheim event was the kind of quaint, low-key festival that really gives fans their money’s worth: a chance to see a handful of reasonable celebrities without the god-awful crowds bigger shows often attract.

There couldn’t have been more than a few thousand people at the Anaheim show over the weekend, compared to more than 120,000 who descend upon San Diego. Comic-Con International, of course, draws fans from around the world. Wizard World mostly caters to local audiences.

In fact, Anaheim Comic Con wasn’t even the biggest show held at the Anaheim Convention Center over the weekend. That honor goes to a convention of coffee industry professionals, which took up most of the floor room. Due to how the halls were sectioned off, the Comic Con show floor (which was half exhibitors and half celebrities offering paid autographs) was at the extreme south end of the convention center, while panels were held in rooms on the second floor of the north end of the hall, several hundred feet if not a quarter mile away. Covering that distance can be quite a chore, especially considering the average attendee isn’t in the best of shape, and the average panelist must have been in their 70s. (At one point I passed by an exhausted-looking Mickey Rooney, who was being dragged around in a wheelchair by his handlers.)

I know that Anaheim has been making a play for the International show (which is close to a three-year extension with San Diego, to 2015, according to Internet buzz). But if this past weekend is any indication, I have yet to be convinced the Anaheim Convention Center is an ideal venue for a show the scope of Comic-Con International.

Still, even the few hours I spent there were a reasonable experience, and a tad more mellow than the hustle and bustle of the big show, which is how I prefer it.

Of the three days (April 16-18), I attended only on Saturday and caught some of the afternoon panels. (Click here for photo gallery).

One I was really keen on seeing was a panel celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back, one of my favorite movies. At the same time, it seems, the real “Star Wars” news was emanating from the C2E2 Con in Chicago, where Lucasfilm’s Steve Sansweet said a Blu-ray of the saga was in the works. TheDigitalBits.com estimates a release date of October 2011.

The Anaheim panel turned out to be underwhelming, consisting only of a Q&A with Billy Dee Williams, who mostly defended Lando’s decision to betray Han Solo, and who discussed how much the Sarlaac in Return of the Jedi looked like a part of the female anatomy.

ESB director Irvin Kershner was slated to appear but sadly had to cancel after being hospitalized a few days earlier due to complications from cancer.

Still, the room was packed to capacity with hundreds of guests, as opposed to the next panel, a Q&A with Superman producer Ilya Salkind, attended by only about 50 people. He was joined by Aaron Smolinski, who played the baby Kal-El in the first movie and the kid in the photo booth in the third (I said it was a low-key event). Salkind has a habit of being verbose, but he can be really insightful about the making of the franchise. He said he was encouraged by news that Christopher Nolan would oversee the next Superman movie because he thought Nolan’s Batman movies were great.

Salkind continued to justify his creative decisions for Superman II and said Superman III’s original concept involved Supergirl and traditional Superman villains Brainiac and the impish Mr. Mxyzptlk, yet the powers that be started meddling after Richard Pryor mentioned on “The Tonight Show” that he wanted to be in a Superman movie (though if anyone has seen the original plot outline for III online, you’ll probably agree it was mostly unfilmable). Remnants of the original concept that survived into the final film include Superman’s battle with the super computer, and the fight between Superman and Clark Kent (which most fans consider the best part of the movie).

William Shatner then put in a brief appearance to discuss not only the pilot he shot for a sitcom based on the Twitter meme “Sh*t My Dad Says,” but also previous projects such as Invasion Iowa, Kingdom of the Spiders and “Boston Legal” (not much talk about “Star Trek,” oddly). He also discussed current projects, such as his celebrity interview show, “Raw Nerve,” and a new show, “Aftermath,” in which he catches up with media figures years after their 15 minutes are up. In one amusing interlude, Shatner was asked about playing a villain in three “Columbo” movies, and began to memorialize Peter Falk when an audience member said he was dead. “I know he died, I just forgot about it,” Shatner commented (which isn’t a surprising sentiment, since as far as I know Falk is still very much alive, and only about 4 years older than Shatner). It’s probably a miracle Shatner could attend at all, since he was almost grounded in Europe by the Iceland volcanic ash cloud.

But the best panel involved a reunion of the 1960s Batman cast, which quickly devolved into a battle of double entendres. Describing how they got to the Batmobile, Adam West said, “his pole was bigger.” Julie Newmar (Catwoman) said her costume was like “melted licorice poured onto her body.” Lee Meriwether (Catwoman in the movie based on the show) looked so happy to be among the fans, but embarrassed by the tone of the conversation. West said Fox and Warner lawyers were trying to divvy up the DVD rights to the show and hoped it would be resolved soon (his analysis may be overly simplistic, but we might as well hope for the best, right?). He nonetheless plugged his own DVD reflections on the show. What a fun panel, and proof that you don’t need the superstars of today to have a good time at the Con.
 


13 Apr, 2010

Playing Retail Roulette

Target's <i>Crazy on the Outside</i> DVD
Target's <i>Crazy on the Outside</i> DVD

After a few weeks marked by several major films hitting disc, the past couple of weeks have hit a comparative lull.

The only major theatrical title released April 13, the underperforming Pirate Radio, wasn’t even stocked at a Wal-Mart in Long Beach, Calif., which classified the title as online only. Yet the store had abundant copies of smaller fare such as Lionsgate’s direct-to-video Tenderness and Sony Pictures’ indie Defendor on hand.

Target filled the new-release void with a wave of exclusive titles, led by the Fox’s Tim Allen vehicle Crazy on the Outside on DVD ($10) and Blu-ray ($19.99). The retailer also had a selection of exclusive season sets of Bravo reality shows on disc.

At Best Buy it’s all about Avatar. A store in Costa Mesa, Calif., was filled with Avatar preorder displays, and the Best Buy Insider circular has a cell phone code that lets fans get a special promo video. The Best Buy Web site promises midnight madness sales when the DVD and Blu-ray is released April 22.


12 Apr, 2010

New on Disc: 'Pirate Radio' and more …


Pirate Radio

Street 4/13
Universal, Comedy, B.O. $8 million, $29.98 DVD; $36.98 Blu-ray, ‘R’ for language, and some sexual content including brief nudity.
Stars Philip Seymour Hoffman, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh.
2009.
Writer-director Richard Curtis’ fictional extrapolation of British pop history never quite mines potential that could have been the foundation for a classic. And yet, if you love rock and roll, there’s no way you should fail to check out this rendering of how official BBC blue-noses tried to pretend the Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Who didn’t exist. There are at least three reasons to give it a look:  Philip Seymour Hoffman as an imported American DJ; Kenneth Branagh, the film’s biggest laugh-getter, as a pasty BBC prig; and a brief appearance by “Mad Men” lovely January Jones.
Extras: Commentary and deleted scenes, and the Blu-ray adds six featurettes to the mix.
Read the Full Review

The Natural (Blu-ray)

Sony Pictures, Drama, $24.95 Blu-ray, ‘PG.’
Stars Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey.
1984.
With the passage of time, one appreciates even more the bang-up cast director Barry Levinson assembled and how much of an iconographic role that aging slugger Roy Hobbs now seems in the career of lead Robert Redford. But why in the world would Sony not release the superior 2007 director’s cut?
Extras: Several featurettes from the 2007 DVD. But missing is the wonderful 44-minute featurette from the very first DVD of The Natural (it wasn’t on the two-disc 2007 edition, either) in which Cal Ripken Jr. discussed his affection for the film.
Read the Full Review

The Essential Games of the Detroit Tigers

A&E, Sports, $29.95 four-DVD set, NR.
1968-2006.
Game 5 of the 1968 World Series is the jewel that kicks off this set, which also contains the 1984 World Series Game 5 clincher in which Kirk Gibson hit two home runs, the 1999 final game at old Tiger Stadium, and Game 4 of the 2006 ALCS.
Extras: Per always with these A&E baseball boxed sets, extras are bountiful.
Read the Full Review

The Bombing of Germany (American Experience)

PBS, Documentary, $24.99 DVD, NR.
Narrated by Joe Morton.
2010.
Historians debate the bombing or at least present it in skeptical grays. But what’s missing is a real sense of the devastation’s horror and scope. 
Read the Full Review

The Best Man

Available via Amazon.com CreateSpace.
MGM, Drama, $19.98 DVD, NR.
Stars Henry Fonda, Cliff Robertson, Lee Tracy, Edie Adams.
1964.
The movie of Gore Vidal’s Tony-nominated play is too smart and un-dated in certain regards to be called a museum piece, but for those used to seeing elections determined by the primary process, here is perhaps a revelatory window into how the political game was once played.
Read the Full Review
 


9 Apr, 2010

Moverman’s ‘Messenger’ Hits Home

Oren Moverman
Oren Moverman

Oren Moverman doesn’t aim to convince viewers of one particular thing with his film The Messenger (on DVD/Blu-ray May 18 from Oscilloscope Laboratories), which tells the story of two soldiers who notify next of kin that their family member has died in battle.

“I think that people come into the film with certain kinds of biases and maybe walk out with certain biases enhanced and others changed,” Moverman says of the film, which he says has seen support both from left-wing anti-war activists and the U.S. Army itself, which approved the film and allowed a colonel to be a technical advisor on the film, helping gain access to military bases and learning the language of the military.

“It didn’t interfere with the creative process,” Moverman said. “It really kind of saved the day a lot of times.”

The $29.99 DVD and $34.99 Blu-ray Disc contain a short film called “Notification,” a companion piece to the film directed by late filmmaker Joe Kelly, in which real Casualty Notification service members are interviewed.

“When I saw [“Notification”], knowing that it was going to be on the DVD, I almost thought, as emotional as The Messenger is, there’s something about seeing the real people and listening to them … that is, in a way, more emotional than the film itself,” Moverman said.

The DVD and Blu-ray also will include a commentary with Moverman, stars Ben Foster and Woody Harrelson, and producer Lawrence Inglee; behind-the-scenes footage; and a Q&A with the cast and crew. What the releases will not contain are deleted scenes.

“I do have to say the film is the cut that I wanted and the cut we all felt strongest of,” Moverman said of the half an hour or so of scenes that were cut from the film for aesthetic reasons and for time. (The film, as it stands, is nearly two hours.)

Moverman says he has not yet seen The Messenger on Blu-ray but that extensive, subtle sound-work was done on the film that could be greatly enhanced by high-definition.

“The thing that’s exciting to me about [the DVD and Blu-ray release] is there’s a whole new audience exposed to the film, and it if it’s on Blu-ray, this kind of technology is giving them a more enhanced experience,” Moverman said.

Indeed, The Messenger made just more than $1 million at the U.S. box office, but with Oscar nominations both for Moverman (best original screenplay) and Harrelson (best supporting actor), the filmmaker said the film has gotten much more attention that it would have normally. He hopes with the film’s DVD/Blu-ray release, more people will see the film and draw their own conclusions about the film’s message.

“I think what [the film] does is present [its subject] as objectively as possible,” Moverman says. “What that does is open debate.”

“I think a big thing in The Messenger is this question we kept asking ourselves, ‘how do you get through life, knowing there’s grief and hardships, how do you go on living?’ The answer is through the simplest thing — love, friendship, humor and finding things in other people that make their lives better.”

By: Billy Gil


6 Apr, 2010

‘Rings’ Still Reigns at Retail

Best Buy's <i>Lord of the Rings</i> with sword
Best Buy's <i>Lord of the Rings</i> with sword

Nearly a decade after its debut, the impact of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings is still being felt. With the Blu-ray disc boxed set of the theatrical version of the trilogy hitting retail April 6, studios kept the shelves relatively clear of any groundbreaking new releases.

The only new theatrical title was the Nicolas Cage-starrer Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, which barely made a blip in theaters. It had enough star power, however, to earn decent placement at most retail outlets.

Another title earning some unsuspecting attention was Party Down: Season One, which most retailers didn’t bother including in their weekly ad circular. Best Buy offered a $25 gift card deal to buyers who also ordered the Starz cable channel on which the show airs. And Wal-Mart gave fans a treat with a bonus disc containing two episodes from the upcoming season of the show.

As for Rings, while the boxed set was a featured title at most locations (a Wal-Mart in Long Beach, Calif., devoted only a single slot for it in its Blu-ray section, and it was sold out), most shied away from any special promotions.

Best Buy offered the trilogy Blu-ray with an exclusive letter opener shaped like the Andruil sword from the films. This deluxe set also includes a $10 coupon for the purchase of Weta collectibles.


5 Apr, 2010

New on Disc: 'Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans,' 'The Abbott and Costello Show: The Complete Series' and More …


Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans

Street 4/6
First Look, Drama, B.O. $1.7 million, $28.98 DVD, $29.98 Blu-ray, ‘R’ for drug use and language throughout, some violence and sexuality.
Stars Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendes, Val Kilmer, Fairuza Balk, Xzibit, Jennifer Coolidge.
2009.
Director Werner Herzog’s loose remake of 1992’s Bad Lieutenant had me from the get-go. What makes the movie increasingly funny (and intentionally so, make no mistake) is that the further we go, the more we see we’re on the way to a tidy and even happy resolution.
Read the Full Review

The Abbott and Costello Show: The Complete Series — Collector’s Edition

Street 4/6
E1, Comedy, $59.98 nine-DVD set, NR.
Stars Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Sid Fields, Hillary Brooke, Gordon Jones.
1951-53.
The 52 syndicated episodes of the famed comedy duo’s half-hour television series — which Jerry Seinfeld has cited as an inspiration for his own show — have been remastered and restored from 35mm materials to look and sound outstanding for their day.
Extras: The set comes with a 44-page book, a 1978 TV documentary on the team, interviews with daughters Chris and Paddy Costello, a restored 1948 short on Lou’s philanthropic work, rare home movies and more. 
Read the Full Review

Jesse James’ Hidden Treasure

A&E, Documentary, $19.95 DVD, NR.
2009.
Now, here’s a wild one that sometimes plays like the product of an overactive imagination, as controversial historian Ron Pastore treks through strange caves in Kansas in search of a rumored $1.5 million of buried J.J. booty. As a story of personal obsession, it separated my upper jaw from my lower for at least some of its length.
Read the Full Review

Masters of American Music: Count Basie — Swingin’ the Blues

Euroarts, Music, $19.99 DVD, NR.
1992.
Buoyed by archival footage and then fresh interviews with the likes of Joe Williams, Jay McShann and Harry “Sweets” Edison, this portrait makes the points that even though Count Basie always swung, he was always doing some variation on the blues; that he went for a relaxed atmosphere and was just about the only big band leader who didn’t change with success; and that he got more music out of the sparest piano playing than anyone else. 
Read the Full Review

Too Much, Too Soon

Available now via WBshop.com’s Warner Archive
Warner, Drama, $19.95 DVD, NR.
Stars Dorothy Malone, Errol Flynn, Ray Danton, Efrem Zimbalist Jr.
1958.
Alcohol figures prominently in this biopic about Diana Barrymore (John’s daughter and half-sister of actor John Drew Barrymore — Drew’s dad) and her famous family, which is what makes this very spotty film worth a look. It’s based on Diana’s tell-all book released in 1957. She died in 1960.
Read the Full Review