Key And Peele is a sketch comedy series on Comedy Central starring
Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele. The first two seasons have now been
released in a four-disc box set, which includes bonus features as well.
The series is seriously
funny. And one thing that sets it apart from other sketch comedy shows is that
the segments are filmed ahead of time, so they’re like a series of short
comedic films, with introductions and other silliness shot in front of an
audience linking the sketches. Both men are bi-racial, and a lot of their comedy comes
from that, particularly in the first season.
The first episode of the
first season, “Bitch,” is one of my favorites. The title skit is about two
married men who are bragging to each other about calling their wives "bitch" but are terrified that the
wives might hear. So they remove themselves to more and more remote spots
before repeating the word. This skit gets funnier as it goes on (while never
mentioning that they're afraid of their wives). During one of their live
segments, they rip on the premises for reality television programming, such as,
"You have a mental illness - let us rearrange your furniture for you."
I absolutely love that, and it leads into a sketch making fun of those kitchen
shows. One of my favorite bits is a fake commercial for Ancestry.com, in
which all black people trace themselves back to Thomas Jefferson.
Junk is a completely enjoyable, seriously funny and surprisingly sweet
film about two guys who must set aside their differences when their movie is
accepted at a small film festival. Don’t let the photo on the DVD fool you.
This is not a drug movie. Sure, some of the characters do some drugs, but that
is not the focus. This is a movie about films and friendship, and while it is
often very funny, it also has heart and substance.
The film stars Kevin
Hamedani as Kaveh, a man who directed a film titled Islama-rama 2, which has been accepted in a film festival. Kevin
Hamedani also directed and co-wrote Junk.
Ramon Isao co-wrote Junk, and plays
Raul, the man who wrote Islama-rama
2. When the film opens, Kaveh is rehearsing a speech in front of the mirror
about changes he’s making to his life. He then goes to meet his ex-girlfriend
Natasha, telling her he still loves her and that he’s changed (“I even listen to R.E.M. now”) in an
attempt to win her back. This attempt fails, as she is seeing someone new (“Somebody who listens to my stories without
needing to take a bong hit”). But it’s interesting to see where this
character’s priorities are. His film has been accepted to a film festival, and
the first thing he thinks of is using that as a way to win back the love of his
ex-girlfriend. That right there lets you know that this is a character-driven comedy, and not a slapstick comedy about silly situations.
Meanwhile Raul, his
filmmaking partner, is in New York, in a writing workshop, which is not going
well for him. The leader of the workshop tells him, “You’re not a good writer, but you’re a good film thing. So be a film
thing.” We also get a truly sweet moment with Raul and his wife, Sachiko.
Kaveh and Raul haven’t
spoken in a year, but the two are going to be sharing a motel room together. Their goal is to pitch their next film to a famous producer who will be attending the festival (described as a Japanese Roger Corman). When
the two meet up in their crappy motel room, the scene is allowed to play out,
which is nice. We see a little of the sources of their animosity (Kaveh can’t
be bothered to remember Raul’s wife’s name, or even her nationality for that
matter), but also the way they try to hide it with pleasantries. It’s actually
a really good scene. Because of the really good performances by both lead actors, it’s believable that they have a history, and their
awkwardness is likewise believable. It’s not overplayed for comedy.
I’ve been attending the Independent Shakespeare Company’s
Griffith Park productions for several years, and have always been impressed by
the talent of this group. The acting, the staging, their style, and their energy and joy make each of their productions a treat. So I was
excited to see this company in the more intimate setting of their Independent
Their new production of Romeo And Juliet features a cast of eight (so there is quite a bit
of doubling of roles, while others characters are cut completely), and is
presented at a quick pace, particularly at the beginning (though the quieter moments are given their needed
time). There are several choreographed moments throughout the production, giving
it an interesting feel and style. That tone is set at the beginning, with all
of the actors on stage, a book being passed among the cast members. That leads
to the Chorus, which is performed by the entire cast, each taking a different
line or phrase, until “their parents’
strife,” which is repeated by everyone and leads into a very stylized
choreographed fight scene (without props such as swords).
It’s an interesting way to present the opening street
brawl, and by cutting Sampson and Gregory, it’s also a way to save some time. The first line of Act I in this production is the Prince’s “Rebellious subjects.” The line is spoken
while he stands on top of a chair. The set is very simple, which I appreciate.
Upstage there is a brown fence which has two entrances. There are a few chairs,
a table and a step ladder (all painted brown) which are used to various effects
throughout the production.
You really can’t beat the
title Bettie Page Reveals All, and
you can’t beat Bettie Page, still the world’s most famous pin-up girl. In this
new documentary, Bettie Page does in fact reveal many things about her life
through interviews that function as the film’s narration (Bettie Page does not
appear on screen, as she wished for folks to remember her as she was in her
The film opens with a few
thoughts on Bettie Page from people like Hugh Hefner (who
talks about how much her image has influenced pop culture) and Dita Von Teese
(who says, “It’s sort of confusing even
whether she was a real person or not”). We then briefly see her funeral at
Westwood Village Memorial Park in December of 2008.
After those opening shots, the film is
basically told in chronological order. Through the interview, Bettie Page is
really allowed to tell her own story, and she does a great job of it, offering
fantastic and surprising anecdotes and information. Bettie speaks with candor
about not only her professional life, and not only about her triumphs and joys,
but about her troubles. About her father, she says: “A sex fiend is the way to put it. I mean, sex with anything that he
could get his you-know-what into. Chickens and sheep and cows and anything.”
He had sex with Bettie’s two sisters, and Bettie talks about how she let him
touch her in order to get money to go to the movies. Her mother then took
Bettie and the other children and left him. But because there wasn’t
enough money to care for all six children, Bettie was put in an orphanage for a
As striking as that is,
perhaps even more surprising is that Bettie Page aimed to be valedictorian of
her high school class in order to get a scholarship and missed it only
slightly, becoming salutatorian. Who would have guessed? It was very early in
this film that I was already completely engaged.
The third season of Newhart saw one significant cast change.
Peter Scolari became a regular cast member, taking the place of Steven Kampmann.
Michael Harris (Peter Scolari) had appeared in a few episodes of the second season, as the producer of Dick Loudon’s local television program. In
the third season, his relationship with Stephanie (Julia Duffy) is developed.
The first episode of the
season, “Tell A Lie, Get A Check,” briefly explains the absence of Kirk (Steven
Kampmann) and Cindy (Rebecca York). The episode opens with Dick and Joanna
returning to the inn. Dick says, “After
two weeks of staying in one hotel after another, it’s really great to be back
home in our inn.” I love that great dry delivery of his. They learn that
Kirk and Cindy left town while they were away, as Cindy got a job as a clown.
Dick is left with the job of selling Kirk’s café, which leads to a great guest
appearance by Ray Walston as Claude Darling, the man who initially buys the
café. Dick has a great line to him: “Trust
us, we lied to you.” And so Larry, Darryl and Darryl buy the café.
Larry, Darryl and Darryl
play a bigger role in this season. That famous introduction “Hi, I’m Larry, this is my brother Darryl,
and this is my other brother Darryl” gets a bit old, but by the end of the
season the writers are playing with it, creating jokes from the very fact that
it was repeated so often. Like in "The Prodigal Darryl," when the first Darryl disappears and Larry leaves a gap in his introduction for the missing Darryl.
Throughout the season, Michael keeps trying to get Dick
to promote his television show, but Dick and Michael disagree about the image the show should have. Several episodes feature his Vermont television show. In one episode
George (Tom Poston) is a guest, and in another Joanna (Mary Frann) is the co-host. In the season’s final
episode, Dick is driven to compete for a Vermont television award. Michael
again wants him to change his image, and this time Dick gives it a go, and the
results are disastrous and hilarious. That episode also features a puppet show
put on my Larry, Darryl and Darryl to cheer up a sick Stephanie.
I'm recording the intro into my phone. I don't know if it's going to actually say what I want it to say or if the words will be wrong. I refuse to actually look at that, I'm just going to send it in as done. The interview guest today is amazing, he's awesome, he's fantastic, is one of the best, he's one of the best best and he's black! That's right guys, we did it, we got a black. I knew that was the goal the whole time. I didn't tell him that but god damnit that was my goal. I had to fill that quota and who better to fill quota with than today's guest dot dot dot Tim Barnes!
Riggs: How are you?
Barnes: You know, I'm doing well! I've been staying busy with video projects, stand up, and working at a Dunkin' Donuts. How about you? What's going on with good old Matty Riggs?
I knew nothing about the
Gothic Symphony before viewing this film. In fact, I hadn’t even heard of the
composer, Havergal Brian. But the opening title card of The Curse Of The Gothic Symphony immediately set me at ease: “In 1919 obscure British composer Havergal
Brian began to write the Gothic Symphony.” Yes, that word “obscure,” made
me no longer feel bad about not knowing him. It continues: “Finished eight years later, it became the
largest, longest and most complex symphony in history. Many great conductors
tried to mount performances, but their attempts were thwarted. As a result the
composer declared the work to be cursed.”
The Curse Of The Gothic Symphony tells the story of a group of
enthusiasts, led by Gary Thorpe, who are determined to mount a production of
the symphony in Brisbane, Australia. The Gothic Symphony hadn’t been performed
in thirty years, and never previously outside of the United Kingdom. It had
only been performed four times in the UK. Because of the inherent troubles in mounting a
production, this symphony has been considered cursed. It’s interesting that the
composer himself considered the piece to be cursed. Part of the problem is the
large number of musicians and singers that it requires – approximately six
hundred people (and that’s six hundred incredibly talented people, including a
children’s choir). That means a large venue, and some serious coordination.
The film begins in 2007.
Interestingly, the film’s producer, Veronica Fury, is also interviewed as a
subject because she ends up becoming involved in helping the symphony happen
through her involvement in the film itself. And that is just one of the many
interesting stories that come as a result of this endeavor.We meet several of the people involved in the
project. It’s interesting that one of the people who is involved for a time,
Michael Black (Chorus Master, Opera Australia), himself hadn’t heard of the
symphony before. He says he is not concerned with the curse, but then due to
mounting troubles and scheduling conflicts, he ends up being unable to stay
with the project.
"The Pirate Fairy" finds Tink and her friends rushing to the aid of Zarina (voiced by Mad Men's Christina Hendricks) who has joined a band of pirates on Skull Rock. The pirates are led by a young cabin boy named James and voiced to perfection by Tom Hiddleston (Thor, Avengers, War Horse).
Before long it's Fairies Vs. Pirates with a swashbuckling adventure that will captivate both girls and boys!
Blu-Ray special features include:
- Second Star to the Right: The Legacy of Never Land
- Deleted Scenes
- Sing-Along Songs and More!
Here's hoping the the "The Pirate Fairy" is not the last we've seen of Tinkerbell, Zarina or James.
Great news for fans of the Colbert Report! Stephen Colbert will be passed the Late Show torch! After the announcement of Letterman's retirement, we've wondered who would take the helm: Would it be Craig Ferguson of The Late Late Show? Don King? Barbara Walters? Edward Snowden???
No! It's famed Ching Cong Ding Dong support Stephen Colbert in 2015! Stay tuned!!
I admit: I’m a sucker for
films that play with time and reality. Maybe that’s because at times it seems
our grasp on reality is tenuous at best. Perhaps it’s because those films
explore those strange areas of possibility and probability where we can fix mistakes
and have second chances. Or destroy humanity. It’s all rather appealing.
The newest time-bending
film, 95ers: Time Runners, tells the
story of Sally Biggs, an FBI agent who has the ability to travel backwards
slightly in time, which enables her to correct mistakes and become an expert
marksman and so on. It is an enjoyable, interesting and imaginative film, and features a
decent performance by Alesandra Durham as Sally.
The opening scene has a
dreamlike quality to it. A man has died, and his daughter looks out the window
at snow falling. After a moment, the snow stops, freezes in place, and then
begins to rise, as the young girl continues to look out. And then the opening
title comes on. It’s a nice, simple, but intriguing opening, with no dialogue.
And then we’re in the
future, where a battle is taking place. The Earth seems under siege. Meanwhile,
a mission is being discussed, with a target in the date December 19, 2003. So
then we go to that time and meet Horatio Biggs (Joel Bishop), a man who is
keeping a diary and is a bit full of himself, though possibly with good reason.
Congress, based partly on his recommendation, has set aside a lot of money for
an important project. On this date, he falls in love with Sally, who is part of a Christmas
carol group that he sees through the window of the café.
The Bunker is an odd war film which takes place in the Hobo Woods
in Vietnam in 1965. It is about a man named Tiberius (who goes by Ranger), the
leader of a Special Forces unit that occupies an underground bunker. Tiberius
is obsessed with finding traitors, and he sees them everywhere.
When the film opens, U.S.
soldiers are silently killing the sentries outside an enemy’s building. They
make their way inside, and demand to know the name of an informant. The only
information they’re able to get is that it’s a girl with a tattoo on her back.
There is a U.S. prisoner in the building, and we expect that the team is there
to rescue him, but instead they kill him after accusing him of being weak since
he allowed himself to be captured. (The soldier doesn’t really put up much of
an argument, so maybe he is weak.) They cut the prisoner’s finger off, then
detonate the building.
Tiberius (Christopher Bihrle) is amassing a
fairly good collection of fingers, it turns out, and fingerprinting them.
Some other U.S. soldiers
are leading some Vietnamese prisoners through the woods. They find a Special
Forces ring, which leads to this bit of dialogue:
“Special forces? What the fuck are they doing here?”
“I bet it has something to do with that bunker right there.”
The soldiers split up,
two of them taking the prisoners. Those two are then attacked by the Special
Forces unit, who take their prisoners and their fingers. The prisoners make no
sound and seem to have no reaction whatsoever to what transpired, and silently
go with their new captors.
The rest of the team find
their two dead men, and radio it in. They request permission to check out the
bunker, but are denied. “There is no
bunker, Sergeant, and no Special Forces ring.” So clearly something is up.
Shout Factory has opened preorders for their epic Werner Herzog 16 Film blu-ray set Herzog: The Collection. It's a beauty from the looks of it.
The sixteen titles featured include:
EVEN DWARFS STARTED SMALL NOSFERATU THE VAMPYRE (also releasing on a Scream Factory Blu-ray) LAND OF SILENCE AND DARKNESS FITZCARRALDO FATA MORGANA BALLAD OF LITTLE SOLDIER AGUIRRE, THE WRATH OF GOD WHERE THE GREEN ANTS DREAM THE ENIGMA OF KASPAR HAUSER COBRA VERDE HEART OF GLASS LESSONS OF DARKNESS STROSZEK LITTLE DIETER NEEDS TO FLY WOYZECK MY BEST FIEND
No word yet on special features.
You can preorder it now from Amazon but if you ask quick you can preorder one from Shout. The first 100 of them will be signed by the filmmaker himself.
The Massive Box Set Containing Every Episode of the Classic Lucille Ball Sitcom Arrives on DVD From MPI on March 25, 2014
"Like no one before or since, she seemed a part of the family. ... It is hard to imagine television without her."That's how PBS' "American Masters: Lucille Ball - Finding Lucy" summed up television's greatest comedienne. And now, for the first time, the entire six-season run of Ball's top-rated sitcom arrives on DVD in HERE'S LUCY: THE COMPLETE SERIES. The 24-disc box set, filled with extras, will be released by MPI Home Video on March 25, 2014, with an SRP of $159.98.
A top 10 hit throughout its 1968-1974 run, HERE'S LUCY was the I Love Lucy star's fourth sitcom for CBS, and her first to air in color for its entire duration. It received multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.
The legendary queen of television comedy is joined by her real-life children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr., as well as Gale Gordon, her co-star from the earlier Lucy Show. Ball plays Lucille Carter, widowed mother of teenagers Kim and Craig. Lucy works for her brother-in-law Harry (Gordon), who owns Carter's Unique Employment Agency, leading Lucy into endless predicaments and hilarious hijinks.
Ball was such a huge star that she could get other top Hollywood figures as guest stars on her series, including Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Andy Griffith, Joan Rivers, Danny Thomas, Steve Lawrence & Eydie Gorme, Frankie Avalon, Eddie Albert, Milton Berle, Chuck Connors, Ed McMahon, Don Knotts, Donny Osmond, Eva Gabor, Joe Namath, Petula Clark, Ricardo Montalban, Elsa Lanchester and many more.
HERE'S LUCY: THE COMPLETE SERIES gathers all 144 uncut and digitally remastered episodes together for the first time and features a wealth of special features. They include: episode introductions; featurettes; "Let's Talk to Lucy" lost interviews; special TV appearances and interviews; "Treasures From Lucy's Vault"; special U.S. savings bond episode and public service film; slide shows; series production files; original CBS-TV network and syndication promos, and original sponsor billboards.
I still remember when I
was a kid buying that first Clash album. It was on cassette, and was the
American version, so it had “I Fought The Law,” which in fact might have been
the only song on it I’d heard before I made my purchase. And something
certainly changed for me when I popped that cassette into my stereo for the
first time. This was one of those albums that had an immediate and lasting
impact. But I never bothered to learn anything whatsoever about the band. Maybe
I didn’t want to know. But now I do.
The Rise And Fall Of The Clash, the new documentary film about the band, features
a new interview with Mick Jones, and surprisingly opens with a quoted passage
from Shakespeare: “Be not afraid of
greatness: some are born great, some achieve greatness and others have
greatness thrust upon them.” Of course, those lines are given in jest in
the play, Twelfth Night, as part of a
prank on Malvolio. And perhaps that is the spirit it is offered here, for the
music of The Clash did have a certain sense of humor.
The Rise And Fall Of The Clash has some concert footage and does
discuss certain songs, but it’s really about the relationships of the band
members to each other, and the relationship of the band with its manager, Bernard
Rhodes. This documentary should be titled simply The Fall Of The Clash, for it has basically no information
whatsoever on the formation of the band or its early years. This film focuses
on the years 1981 – 1985, when most of the band’s greatest music had already
been released, and it really centers on the influence of band manager Bernard
Rhodes, which led slowly but inevitably to the band’s destruction. Rhodes
managed the band from 1976 to 1978, and then again from 1981 through 1985. It
is this second period that is the subject of this film.
All images, characters, and related material are copyrighted by their respective owner(s).
Pop Culture Beast receives NO monetary or gratuitous compensation for our reviews outside of ad and affiliate revenue. We do, however, review materials and products provided to us by PR Firms, Studios, Record Labels, Publishers, Artists, Affiliates, etc.
This has absolutely no influence on the outcome of our reviews.
We pride ourselves on our honesty and our integrity. We do not, and will not, accept financial compensation from any individual involved with any of the items we cover on this site.