No matter what you feel about “Batman and Robin,” you can’t deny that it almost killed the comic book movie as a sub-genre. It also about killed the careers of Alicia Silverstone, Chris O’Donnell, and Uma Thurman, all of whom took years to recover. Even today with so much nostalgia and looking back on classically bad movies, “Batman and Robin” is still just bad. I understand Warner wanted kid friendly, and Joel Schumacher delivered on kid friendly, but in the process he also delivered a nigh unwatchable sequel that also killed Batman on film for years until Christopher Nolan swooped in to reboot the whole kit and caboodle.
When “The Universal Horror Collection” was originally announced, it was titled the “Boris Karloff/Bela Lugosi Collection” by Shout Factory. One can only assume that they’ve managed to retain the rights to many Universal movies obscure and classic, thus changing their new series to “The Universal Horror Collection.” With that broad a title, the sky is apparently the limit for Shout Factory and what they can do with these volumes. Since this was originally a Karloff/Lugosi four movie set, the whole of the films included star the pair of horror icons. With Volume 1 of “The Universal Horror Collection,” fans will be elated to see that they’re starting us off on the right foot.
It’s more budgetary double feature Blu-Rays for movie collectors that want to own two somewhat—uh—okay comedies, but don’t want to spend money on them. If you’re a fan of either film, they’re basically only available on this double bill Blu-Ray for now, sans the features. So sadly there’s no audio commentary with Jon Lovitz and Tia Carrere going over the finer nuances of “High School High.” In either case, if you’re also a nineties completist, it’s definitely a double bill worth owning.
Writer Paul Rudnick walks a fine line with “Jeffrey” as he balances comedy and drama with his stage play and film. “Jeffrey” has every opportunity to be melodramatic or cheaply exploitative, but it instead manages to find a way to laugh through tears and fears. In 1995 America was still basically in the midst of the AIDS epidemic with the government doing just about nothing about it, so “Jeffrey” examines the relative fear and terror behind it.
I’d almost be willing to bet money that Warner is planning a big deluxe boxed edition of “A Star is Born” for Christmas or perhaps the new year. Until then, fans of “A Star is Born” can double dip or opt for either edition that’s been released. While the original release is very good with some interesting extras, The “Encore Edition” is an okay release if you want the extended edition and a lot more material with what is an already great film. You can’t go wrong with “A Star is Born,” a wonderful remake that managed to be the best musical of 2018, bar none.
“To Wong Foo” was an especially curious film for me when I was twelve as I was admittedly not at all aware of what Drag Queens were. All I knew about “To Wong Foo” then is that it starred three of my favorite movie stars dressed as women. While the trailers completely advertised the film as men who dress as women for some kind of action oriented premise, I was surprised that it was a lot better than that. “To Wong Foo” isn’t a masterpiece, but through and through it’s a charming and funny drama comedy about acceptance, and enduring through pain.
With fans of Mighty Morphin complaining that they could only get the 1995 movie on DVD when it was released as part of a complete box set, Shout! Factory finally releases the big feature film on Blu-Ray for collectors. “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie” admittedly has a ton of nostalgic and sentimental value for me, so I’m not even going to pretend to thumb my nose up at it. All I know is it’s a damn fun movie, and one you can watch the equally underrated “Power Rangers” from 2017.
I’m frankly surprised that “Batman Forever” doesn’t show up often on lists about homoerotic mainstream films. In the annals of homoerotic cinema, “Batman Forever” is right up there. While Joel Schumacher pretty much does what Warner asked by making Batman less menacing, less violent, and a lot more family friendly, it’s also incredibly homoerotic. That doesn’t hinder the experience, but it’s worth discussing how Batman goes from fighting with a Latex covered sex zombie to building romantic tension with a young man he takes in seemingly out of nowhere.