Porky Pig 101 (DVD)

I’ve seen so many hours of Looney Tunes that it’s obscene. My mom bought my brother and I about five or six Looney Tunes compilations on VHS when we were kids and I saw them at least eighty times a week. When I got cable television, I watched looney tunes almost obsessively. From the “Bugs & Tweety Show” Saturday mornings, to various hour blocks on Cartoon Network like “Toonheads” and “Acme Hour,” to twenty two day blocks of Bugs Bunny called “June Bugs” my appetite was insatiable. One of the big things you learn being a Looney Tunes fanatic is that Bugs Bunny was not the OG of the Warner animated gallery, it was in fact Porky Pig.

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Batman vs. Two Face (2017) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

I was not at all a fan of the original “Batman” animated movie, as I felt it was somewhat unfocused. Thankfully “Batman vs. Two Face” not only gets the idea more about the Batman series, but uses Two Face quite cleverly. As most fans know, the original Adam West Batman show wanted Clint Eastwood to play Two Face, but deemed the character too disturbing for viewers. Producers for this animated movie go back to re-cast Two Face for their show, but bring aboard another television icon to play the villain, William Shatner. Shatner is perfect for the role of the duplicitous deviant ne’er dowell known as Two Face, and what makes the pot even sweeter is that he’s turned in to an allegory for homosexuality.

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I Love You, Daddy (2017)

If anything of value emerged from the career-killing isolation imposed on Louis C.K., it is the good fortune of saving audiences from having to pay to witness his horrendous feature “I Love You Daddy,” which was yanked out of circulation by its distributor as news of the non-funnyman’s sexual peccadilloes came to light.

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The Bootleg Files: Bat Pussy

BOOTLEG FILES 613: “Bat Pussy” (early 1970s porn flick).

LAST SEEN: At this year’s Fantastic Fest.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On VHS and DVD.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A rather inane violation of copyright protection.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE: Actually, there is a newly restored Blu-ray edition.

During the 1960s, DC Comics began to flex its litigation muscles when it discovered creative artists were borrowing its beloved Batman character without clearing permission. The company forced Andy Warhol to withdraw his “Batman Dracula” film, which was only being presented in art exhibitions and not theaters, while director/producer Jerry Warren fended off DC Comics’ lawyers after he put forth “The Wild World of Batwoman.” The threat of lawsuits also helped to keep several Philippines-based productions with their own unauthorized Batman characters from being imported across the Pacific, including the now-lost 1967 “Batman Fights Dracula.”

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Mr. Fish: Cartooning from the Deep End (2017) [Doc NYC 2017]

The life of cartoonist Mr. Fish has seen through his eyes and those of his loved ones, co-workers, and a few other people.

From director Pablo Bryant, this documentary mixes interviews with a lot of visual material, giving a good idea of who Mr. Fish is, how he thinks, and how he creates. The film covers his life from childhood until now and shows not only how he works but also his home life which has an influence on his work and vice versa. This is done in a way that gives a good, unobstructed view of things and lets the viewer make their own mind as to if Mr. Fish is doing things right or not. Of course, the film does come at the subject from a specific angle and has its own agenda, but that does not keep it from having an openness about its subject.

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The Philadelphia Story (1940): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

George Cukor’s “The Philadelphia Story” isn’t just a masterful romance comedy, but it’s also an important piece of filmmaking that marked important turning points in the lives of its stars. In particular there was Katharine Hepburn who, believe it or not, was considered “Box Office Poison” by critics after a series of cinematic flops. Once “The Philadelphia Story” proved her brilliance as an actress, her career only went up. “The Philadelphia Story” is one of the least cloying romance comedies I’ve ever seen, as it’s one wrapped up in genuine human emotion and spite that tends to be shockingly entertaining. The fact that the film is models itself after the hit play never hinders the production, allowing “The Philadelphia Story” to feel very lively and energetic.

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Daguerrotype (Le secret de la chamber noire) (2017)

In a French mansion, a photographer is obsessed with reproducing long lost photos taken with the daguerreotype technique of yore.  When he hires a young assistant for his project, things get complicated.

Written by Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Catherine Paille, and Eléonore Mahmoudian and directed by Kurosawa, Daguerrotype is a very slow burn of a film that feels more like a drama than anything else.  This being said, there are a few elements that will be surprising if the viewer goes into it completely blind and thus will not be spoiled here.  Having the genre pre-established as anything other than drama will lead into guessing a few of these.  Given the director and his resume, this aspect can be easily guessed.  Here he works in a manner where the characters are given plenty of time to develop themselves and their arcs while the story builds around them.  The writing and directing of the film feel like a proper mix of French and Japanese cinema in a way that is hard to explain but works wonderfully well here.

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The Lake (2015)

Michael Buie’s “The Lake” is a masterpiece of a short film. It’s a beautiful, somber, and heartbreaking look at how the inevitability of our death doesn’t mean we have to stop living life. I sat through the entirety of “The Lake” with a teary eye, mainly because director and writer Michael Buie manages to convey the terror and confusion of being told you’re about to die with pure brilliance. “The Lake” is never exploitative or over saccharine, it’s just about learning to make the most of the time we have in our life.

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