Greetings! Happy New Year local film lovers! Now that the holiday season is concluding and it’s back to the real world of work and winter, it’s again time to focus on new releases on dvd. Over on the Vintage Vinyl page, that review of the year in music in 2010 is nearly ready. Stay tuned for that and upcoming releases on disc. Please subscribe to both pages. It’s still free to have both emailed directly into your life. Thank you!
NEW ON DVD, TUES., 4 JANUARY 2011:
“DINNER FOR SCHMUCKS” starring Paul Rudd & Steve Carell.
This is one of those general releases that will show up soon at Half Price Books. Wait for that to happen. There are some funny moments in this film and you saw them all if you saw the trailer.
“THE LAST EXORCISM” starring Patrick Fabian & Ashley Bell.
This is another general release that was supposed to be scary. It was…scary that it even got made. Scary that any theater agreed to show it. Scary that it made any money at all. Stop the chain of wasteful spending by not buying the disc…unless it’s to keep Half Price Books in business.
“MACHETE” starring Danny Trejo, Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Michelle Rodriguez, Lindsay Lohan, Cheech Marin, Jeff Fahey, Don Johnson & Steven Seagal.
This film turned out to be much better than it should’ve been. It’s a violent tale of betrayal and double-cross. It’s also a B-movie despite De Niro’s presence. Try to find it for about $15 even if you have to wait for a while. It is pretty good, though, and everyone, including Lohan, does a good job in it. If Best Buy’s price is more than $15, check out the deals on Amazon.com.
“MANNIX: SEASON 4” from Paramount, starring Mike Connors. SRP: $55.
Check Best Buy if you want this right away but Amazon.com has prices as low as $37.
THE JACK LEMMON COLLECTION
These films were(are) available in a boxed set with some bonus features. Best Buy still sells copies though not as regularly as when it was released. The individual films go for about $15 apiece but are well worth it, especially for hardcore fans of Jack Lemmon. He was one of America’s funniest and most charming male leads. The fact that he could film some of these scenes with a straight enough face to complete a take is tribute to his talent. The word ‘classic’ always gets thrown out there but few words are as applicable so go with that. Pick and choose but try to end up with all of these films. You won’t be disappointed.
“GOOD NEIGHBOR SAM” Dir.: David Swift. Stars: Jack Lemmon, Romy Schneider.
Lemmon’s character decides to be neighborly by pretending to be the husband of his married neighbor-with his wife’s permission. Then, the neighbor’s husband comes home and (mild) chaos ensues. This is considered one of Lemmon’s best comedies by many. It is hilarious and Schneider matches his comic talent.
“THE NOTORIOUS LANDLADY” (1962) Dir.: Richard Quine. Stars: Jack Lemmon, Kim Novak, Fred Astaire, Lionel Jeffries.
Novak is suspected of killing her hubby. Lemmon has to prove it but falls for her. Co-written by Blake Edwards (“Pink Panther”), this should-be drama is laced with oddly-timed slapstick that works because of the timing and the ability of the cast to pull it off. It’s one of Novak’s best films and she did several really good ones.
“OPERATION MAD BALL” (1957) Dir.: Richard Quine. Stars: Jack Lemmon, Dick York, Ernie Kovaks, Kathryn Grant, Mickey Rooney.
Also co-written by Blake Edwards, this is not quite as funny as some of his efforts. Pvt. Hogan (Lemmon) falls for dietetic nurse Betty Bixby (Grant). Ernie Kovaks is the complication who tries to stifle any budding romance between the two. Cpl. Bohun (Dick York) aids Hogan in an attempt to organize a ball for all the nurses. The ball goes off but there are even more complications. This is the weakest of the collection but, again, not horrible enough to dismiss.
“PHFFT!” (1954) Dir.: Mark Robson. Stars: Jack Lemmon, Judy Holliday & Kim Novak.
In this one, Lemmon and Holliday are divorcing but may or may not still have feelings for each other. Enter Novak, a Marilyn Monroe-like goddess who has the hots for Lemmon. Not surprisingly, Lemmon finds it extremely difficult to resist her. Novak was a stunningly gorgeous gal and this film shows exactly how gorgeous she was, even for the times. Holliday was no slouch either which makes this film even more interesting.
“UNDER THE YUM YUM TREE” (1963) Dir.: David Swift. Stars: Jack Lemmon, Carol Lynley, Dean Jones, Edie Adams, Paul Lynde, Imogene Coca & Bill Bixby.
Those who don’t consider “Good Neighbor Sam” to be Lemmon’s best work feel that way because of this film. Mr. Hogan (Lemmon) manages a women-only apartment complex, freely dating his tenants. Then Robin (Lynley) moves in. She is engaged and her boyfriend (Jones) will soon move in with her. Mr. Hogan bends over backward to impress Robin and to keep the boyfriend out. His efforts to do so are hilarious and the supporting cast all contribute some memorable cameos along the way. Lynley is as sweet as a girl can be without being sickeningly so. This was nine years before her role in “The Poseidon Adventure” would add even more dimension to her acting talents. Her experience already included Broadway and some television, having done some work with Alfred Hitchcock. Her list of memorable television appearances would eventually include The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Night Gallery, Mannix, Charlie’s Angels and Hawaii Five-O. It’s all very subjective according to personal tastes but this film is funnier and better developed than “Good Neighbor Sam”. Check out both and decide for yourself which side you are on. Either way, you get to see two really great comedies.
As always, seeya at the movies…