Take A Good Look Coming to DVD in October

Take A Good Look DVD Ooh, this one’s been a long time coming, but if you like to laugh it up significantly and like old TV (or hey, just want to see something more fun than the usual modern reality junk), well here you go. Okay, so you have to wait until October, but that’s not too far away, right? Right.

Ernie Kovacs: Take A Good Look – The Definitive Collection is now up for pre-order on Shout Factory with the first 1000 copies getting an exclusive bonus disc, Ernie Kovacs: Private Eye, Private Eye. If you’re new to Kovac’s work, you’re in for a real treat. The man did so much to elevate comedy that it’s astounding he only did about ten years worth of work before his untimely death in 1962.

Hmmm… I smell a short press release… it’s minty!
 

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Take A Good Look – The Definitive Collection is now set for release on October 17! This DVD set is the third box set of Ernie Kovacs amazing body of television work (1952 -1962) to be released over the better part of this decade. All 49 existing episodes of Kovacs cockeyed and offbeat gameshow are presented here, fully restored and digitized by the Library of Congress.

Take A Good Look hosted an eclectic mix of guest stars, such as my mom (!), performer Edie Adams, writer/director Carl Reiner, the glamorous Zsa Zsa Gabor, comedian Mort Sahl, Our Gang’s Jean Darling, chess world champion Bobby Fischer, Major League Baseball’s Rogers Hornsby, White House Butler Alonzo Fields, Los Angeles Dodgers Chuck Essegian and Don Drysdale, Hawaiian Congressman Daniel Inouye, Miss America 1959 Mary Ann Mobley, several Olympic athletes, and many mor

-GW

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DVD Review: A House Is Not A Home

a-house-is-not-a-home_mvd8444dAs an effective horror film, Christopher (Douglas-Olen) Ray‘s chiller A House Is Not A Home is quite well made, but isn’t the scariest film you’ll ever see by a long shot. Don’t get me wrong – other than a lack of gore, it covers the expected fright bases alright and has very solid performances all around. The problem is, it sticks a wee bit too close to the films it’s influenced by to be memorable outside of a few scenes.

Referencing The Exorcist, The Amityville Horror, The Entity, and a few other more modern horror flicks, AHINAH’s best trick is playing with the old Eddie Murphy joke that black people would get the hell out of a haunted house as soon as the first sign of something scary took place. In this case, the big twist is… the house here just won’t let them, and that’s AFTER it’s supposedly been dis-possessed by a voodoo priest in a lengthy process that involves a room-to-room “cleansing”. Oops.

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Random Film of the Week: Hundra

Hundra DVDIs Matt Cimber‘s 1983 sword and not an ounce of sorcery flick Hundra a “great” movie?  Well, that depends on one’s perspective on these sorts of fantasy movies. If you go in with “epic” level  expectations from what’s basically a very straightforward and competent “B” movie with a nice mix of action and humor, that answer might be “nope.”

On the other hand, it’s not bad at all if you bust out the popcorn and fizzy adult beverages and don’ forget to grab a few like-minded friends who enjoy stuff like Xena: Warrior Princess or other fun shows or films with strong female leads. In that case, you’re in for a pretty solid time in front of the TV, warts and all.

(Thanks, Cinema Epoch!)

Laurene Landon‘s striking looks and gung-ho athletic ability (she did her own stunts) outstrips her less than dynamic acting talents here. But her raw performance really works well for the film’s purposes because she’s playing a wild female warrior type in search of a man to impregnate her so she can restart her slain nomadic tribe’s lineage.

“Say whaaaaaat?” Continue reading

George Crumb: Voice of the Whale – Soul Music of A Different Sort

And now, ladies and germs… it’s time for a little dose of culture for today:

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“I feel intuitively that music must have been the first cell from which language, science, and religion originated.” – George Crumb

George Crumb: Voice Of The Whale
coming to DVD on June 24th (MSRP: $19.99)

 

Robert Mugge’s 1976 portrait of renowned composer George Crumb featuring a performance of his composition “Vox Balaenae”

In 1976, “music filmmaker” Robert Mugge created his first music-related film. Titled GEORGE CRUMB: VOICE OF THE WHALE, it was a strikingly original, 54-minute portrait of Pulitzer Prize-winning and Grammy-winning composer George Crumb.

To celebrate the film’s 40th anniversary (it was first broadcast over PBS on June 6, 1978), MVD Visual is making available a newly remastered version on DVD, transferred to HD from the original 16mm film and lovingly restored. Now that you’re curious, go click this link to see a tiny bit of the film and if you like what you see, go order away at your leisure. Or faster than that if you prefer.

ELSTREE 1976: This Is The Documentary You’re Looking For

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I thought I was done with Star Wars references for the day, but my inbox has other ideas in the form of this new documentary I now NEED to see. Ellstree 1976 will start a US theatrical run on May 6th in select cities including Los Angeles and New York City (a full list of theaters and ticket information are here). My inner 14-year old self just popped out and recalled all those magazines and newspaper clippings I’d collected back then. Everything Star Wars! Anyway, here’s some info on the film as well as its trailer:

ELSTREE 1976 explores the lives of the actors and extras behind one of the most celebrated Science Fiction films in cinematic history, Star Wars.

From the man behind film’s most iconic villain, to the actor whose character was completely cut from the final film, the documentary delves into the eccentric community these individuals have formed and how the Star Wars franchise – which spans five decades from A New Hope to The Force Awakens – continues to impact their lives decades later.

Many of the minor characters were merely part of the set design, but eventually gained recognition as the Star Wars universe expanded into books, comics, etc. Fans learned the history of masked characters like Boba Fett and Greedo, but the sci-fi blockbuster also had a lasting impact on the people inside the costumes.

 

And if you can’t make it to that theater near or not so near you, guess what? MVD Entertainment Group will be getting the doc out on DVD June 28th via MVD Entertainment’s online shop as well as Amazon. SOLD!

All I need to do is step into this carbonite chamber I got cheap on eBay and freeze myself for just over a month and I’m set. What? Not a good idea? The guy who sold it said it was only used once and worked REALLY well.

The QFX VP-113 Gets It Done With A Retro Touch

VP-113

Thanks to a friend sending me a few PAL format DVD’s earlier this year and my old laptop’s universal media player dying with the old laptop, I needed an inexpensive player of decent quality I could keep next to the console setup that wouldn’t take up a load of room and was a multi-tasker of some sort. While poking around at a few options (there’s a nice Samsung player under $30 that was my initial choice), I stumbled across the QFX VP-113, a budget DVD player that only caught my eye because it not only played DVD, VCD, SVCD, CD, CD-R, and CD-RW formats, it also had a built-in karaoke function, a USB stick reader and much to my surprise, played “games” of some sort. What sort of games, I had zero idea. But the price was right (under $35 where I found it) and my curious collector side was curious about those GAMES. Because, you know that’s what I like (and like writing about). Continue reading

BUY IT! MVD Entertainment Has Reptiles and Ants For Sale

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Oh yep. I’ve since forgotten who introduced me to Amphetamine Reptile Records way back in the day, but it was a fine and more than a little insane musical journey that was great while it lasted. MVD Entertainment Group is getting me (and some of you) to relive those glory days of noise rock with what’s going to be one of the best documentaries on the subject, Eric Robel’s The Color of Noise in a Blu-Ray/DVD combo pack. This trailer gives you a little taste of what to expect when the doc appears on home video November 24 and even better, MVD and AmRep will also re-issue some of the best releases from the label’s catalog on vinyl and CD starting in December 2015 and continuing into 2016 and beyond. Continue reading

A Little Hope on Memorial Day From MVD


 

For those of you who’ve served, thank you for your service. For those of you who remember the late, great Bob Hope doing his part for those who’ve served or want to know what some of the fuss was about, courtesy of MVD Visual here’s a Memorial Day buy that’s not some condescending mattress, car, food or other product not worthy of the holiday. Back tomorrow with some updates.

Show & Tell: On Ray Harryhausen’s Fairy Tales

Red StareIn regards to every well-worn fairy tale, “It’s not the tale, but how it’s told” is the order of the day. Parents and other creative adults well-versed in story time voices and acting have this mantra branded on their brain cells and know how to make any yarn they spin keep kids at rapt attention. Still, for many of his longtime fans, Ray Harryhausen’s incredible stop-motion versions of Mother Goose stories and five classic fairy tales are some of the most memorable versions ever created.

Save for The Tortoise and the Hare (which was incomplete until its 2002 premiere), I can recall some of these films along with his earlier Mother Goose shorts being shown during assembly hall sessions or in the occasional class where a regular teacher was out sick and the substitute called in hadn’t time to whip up a proper lesson plan. While most of these 16mm shorts were part of my childhood, I’d imagine plenty of today’s little (and more tech savvy) whippersnappers haven’t a clue who Harryhausen was or what made (and still makes him) him great and such a huge inspiration of countless filmmakers and visual effects artists to this day.

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Review: DEVO – The Men Who Make The Music/Butch DEVO & The Sundance Gig

MVD6055DFun fact: There are three live performances of “Uncontrollable Urge” on DEVO – The Men Who Make The Music/Butch DEVO & The Sundance Gig from 1978, 1996, and 2003 respectively and both the dynamism and choreography haven’t changed a bit. Granted, the younger DEVO was a slimmer, trimmer band way back when that first LP was released, but the more spud-like shapes of the band-mates doesn’t slow them down one bit when it comes to delivering what’s still one of their most memorable hits.

If you’re new to the band or maybe not so new but haven’t yet seen them live, this set of eyeball and ear searing old stuff will show you DEVO’s originality and rather special craft that’s kept fans around through think and thin. With a new tour and cool crowdfunding project happening, MVD is helping bring these guys to a new audience that needs to listen to something other than the radio-ready junk that sells in lower and lower numbers each year…

MVD Visual has done up a VERY entertaining DVD here that’s a combination of the long out of print 1981 VHS tape (DEVO – The Men Who Make The Music) and a complete 1996 reunion concert given at that year’s Sundance Film Festival along with two bonus DEVO clips from a pair of MVD’s other DEVO video discs. The Men Who Make The Music is a bizarre “documentary” of sorts that combines six 1978 concert tour clips, the two videos from 1976’s “The Truth About De-evolution” and three music videos (from the band’s first LP) as it spools out the story of the band dealing with music industry pressures of the time. In all the weirdness, I’m gathering the band may have been having some issues with Warner Bros. Records trying to control it to some extent… or perhaps this was all done as a send-up of this sort of thing common to the industry. In any event, it’s a hoot to see the young spuds, Booji Boy and General Boy “face off” against Rod Rooter and pretty much not follow his dopey orders to stick with those yellow jumpsuits. Continue reading