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New on Disc: 'Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story' and more …

13 Feb, 2012 By: Mike Clark

Under the Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story

Street 2/14
Docurama, Documentary, B.O. $0.013 million, $29.95 DVD, ‘G.’
Narrated by Zachary Levi.
Competitive Monopoly gets its day in a portrait that’s more interesting around the edges (the game’s history and the collector mania it has launched) than it is down the middle (the final game of the 2009 World Championship and events leading up to it). 
Extras: This is one of those occasional DVDs for which the chief selling point is the bonus section, which includes about 40 minutes of a fascinating course lecture from super expert Tim Vandenberg on the “methods, math and myths” of the game. There’s a statistical analysis of which properties get landed on the most; why Park Place and Boardwalk are somewhat overrated as desired buys; when it’s smart and not to use “jail” as a tool; and why you have to follow the rules to the letter if you want to wrap a game in a civilized amount of time. (Playing the contest variation where players put all fees in the middle of the board and collect this major booty by landing on Free Parking will only allow a near-whipped opponent to get back on his feet.)
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The Geisha Boy

Street 2/14
Olive, Comedy, $24.95 DVD, $29.95 Blu-ray, NR.
Stars Jerry Lewis, Suzanne Pleshette, Nobu McCarthy, Sessue Hayakawa, Marie McDonald.
Jerry Lewis rarely got the lines between slapstick and sentiment to intersect as harmoniously as much as he did here. Frank Tashlin was Lewis’s best director, other than perhaps Lewis himself, and this bright Technicolor comedy gets off to a good start with an opening credits sequence much akin to the one in Tashlin’s Hollywood or Bust, the 16th and final Martin and Lewis vehicle. Picturing geisha dancers brandishing large Japanese fans, it sets the tone for a farce in which magician Lewis (complete with white rabbit named Harry Hare) takes a USO job after a long period of unemployment. Featured here in her big-screen debut is Suzanne Pleshette, looking good within the limitations of army garb and hindered some by some aggressive lipstick that the makeup person should have toned down.
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Lady and the Tramp: Diamond Edition

Blu-ray available now; Standalone DVD Streets 3/27
Disney, Animated, $29.99 DVD, $39.99 Blu-ray/DVD, $44.99 BD combo pack with digital copy, ‘G.’
Voices of Barbara Luddy, Larry Roberts, Peggy Lee, Bill Thompson, Bill Baucom, Stan Freberg, Lee Millar.
Lady and the Tramp was Disney’s first widescreen feature cartoon (2.55, baby!), and I think it was the animated achievement that most hit its demographic where it lived at the time of release. The Blu-ray presentation really brings back what seeing Lady was like in ’55, and I dug the 7.1 dts-HD Master Audio enhanced soundtrack (there’s a super rendering of the original 3.0 as well). The culmination of Disney’s perennial is a brood spawned by Tramp and Lady, which led to a spin-off puppy who, as Scamp, eventually rated his own comic strip and, in 2001, a direct-to-video sequel.
Extras: A lot of extras, including a nice making-of featurette, are carried over from earlier DVDs. And there’s a newly added “Second Screen” function involving apps, allowing viewers to check out a variety of featurettes as they watch the film.
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About the Author: Mike Clark

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