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The Bootleg Files: Minstrel Man

BOOTLEG FILES 688: “Minstrel Man” (1944 musical).

LAST SEEN: On YouTube.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On public domain labels.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: A lapsed copyright.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
No one is rushing to digitally restore this title.

When one thinks of the 1940s musicals, few people will automatically cite the Poverty Row mini-studio Producers Releasing Corporation (PRC). Indeed, that cheapo endeavor gained a belated cult following for its thrillers, horror flicks and Westerns, but not for musicals. However, this scrappy little operation created at least one notable musical that snagged a pair of Oscar nominations and brought together an unlikely band of talent.
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Five Great LGBTQ Films

We’re in the thick of pride month (Go see “Booksmart”!) and as many online entities and blogs celebrate the month, we’re naming five of our personal favorite LGBTQ films of all time. They’re ordered by year, as I have a hard time naming my favorite of the sub-genre. These are only some of the many excellent titles, of course, as there are some banner films like “Brokeback Mountain,” “Jeffrey,” “The Bird Cage,” “Hedwig and the Angry Inch,” “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” and so much more.

Feel free to let us know what some of your favorite LGBTQ films of all time are, and celebrate with us. Happy Pride Month.

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A Star is Born (2018): Special Encore Edition [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

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.

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Isn’t It Romantic (2019) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

I’m all for movies that call out the inherent stupidity of romance comedies, and how we can often lose sight of reality if we spend too much time lost in fantasy and Hollywood manufactured clichés. “Isn’t It Romantic” is a confused comedy though, that can ironically be identified as a romantic comedy, even though it purports to be a movie that tears the whole illusion of Hollywood romantic comedies down all around us. It never seems to know if it’s endorsing the idea of romantic comedies, or still spoofing them. The results are a mediocre, flat, albeit occasionally charming film.

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The Bootleg Files: Elstree Calling

BOOTLEG FILES 678: “Elstree Calling” (1930 British musical revue co-directed by Alfred Hitchcock).

LAST SEEN: We cannot confirm the last public exhibition of this film.

AMERICAN HOME VIDEO: On bootleg video labels only.

REASON FOR BOOTLEG STATUS: Never made available for U.S. commercial home entertainment release.

CHANCES OF SEEING A COMMERCIAL DVD RELEASE:
It is possible, but not a priority.

In 1930, the first British musical feature film was released under the title “Elstree Calling.” Today, most people are aware of the film only because of Alfred Hitchcock’s involvement in the production.

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I Wanna Hold Your Hand (1978): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

Robert Zemeckis’ “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” is a charming, if flawed tribute to the Beatles and the rampant Beatles Mania that ran throughout much of the late sixties. I’m sure Zemeckis bear witness to a lot of the “Beatlemania,” and his film seems to come from a place of experience. For folks that loved movies like “American Graffiti” or “Dazed and Confused,” Zemeckis’ 1978 comedy is one of those movie set over the course of a night that centers on a group of teenagers that are so devoted to the Beatles, they risk just about everything to see them on the Ed Sullivan Show.

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A Star is Born (2018) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

Director/Star Bradley Cooper’s “A Star is Born” will likely go down in history as one of the greatest remakes of all time. Cooper doesn’t try so much to remake a story that’s been already remade, but rethink it for a modern culture. In the end “A Star is Born” excels because it doesn’t lose sight of what it wants to convey as an epic romance, and a tale about identity, and stardom. It’s a beautiful and often soul shattering drama that Cooper directs with immense humility and is able to derive wonderful performances all around.

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Anna and the Apocalypse (2018)

One of the best movies of 2018, “Anna and the Apocalypse” is a movie that’s destined to catch on with midnight audiences, as it begs for sing alongs from an enthusiastic audience. John McPhail’s zombie horror musical is a pastiche of the best from the genres it puts on the big screen, delivering what is one of the pleasing and creepiest zombie movies of the years. “Anna and the Apocalypse” manages to be both life affirming and a spectacularly vicious zombie movie at the same time, with some of the more entertaining musical numbers and sequences filmed in a long time.

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