Booze News: Laurel & Hardy finally arrive on U.S. DVD!

>> Thursday, July 21, 2011

Greetings, fellow inebriates,

Lovers of soused cinema and slapstick comedy rejoice! On October 25th, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy's classic sound-era shorts and features will be released in a 10-DVD box set! While these films have long been available in Europe, this is the first time most of the duo's talkies will be released in the United States.

The contents of the set have not been announced in full, but it is said to contain 58 shorts and features from 1929-1940. This should include many alky-centric classics, such as Blotto (1930), Them Thar Hills (1934), and the boy's classic teamings with the dean of drunk character actors, Arthur Housman -- Scram (1932), The Live Ghost (1934), The Fixer-Uppers (1935), and Our Relations (1936).

This is a collection that no self-respecting soused cinema enthusiast should be without! For those interested in the full details (and why wouldn't you be), below is the press release:

"TIMELESS SOUND-ERA FILMS FROM THE LEGENDARY HAL ROACH LIBRARY DEBUT IN ONE EXTRAORDINARY DVD SET
FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE U.S.

LAUREL & HARDY: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION

Digitally Remastered And Digitally Restored, Loaded With Over Two Hours Of Special Features, The Spectacular 10-Disc Set Arrives October 25 From RHI Entertainment And Vivendi Entertainment

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA – Celebrating the genius of the most beloved comedy team of all time, LAUREL & HARDY: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION debuts in a stunning 10-disc set on October 25, 2011 from RHI Entertainment and Vivendi Entertainment. With a comedic style that defined an era and created a legacy that is still celebrated today, 58 of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy’s talking shorts and feature films, produced under legendary movie mogul Hal Roach from 1929 through 1940, are now available for the first time in the U.S. all together in one magnificent collection.

Transferred in high definition for the first time and digitally enhanced for home viewing in the finest quality available to date, the set contains favorites that have been enjoyed for generations including Helpmates, Hog Wild, Another Fine Mess, Sons of the Desert, Way Out West, and the Academy Award® winning* film The Music Box.

LAUREL & HARDY: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION comes housed in collectible, book-style packaging with an extensive, detailed film guide. The set also boasts over two hours of special features including exclusive, never-before-seen interviews with comedy legends Dick Van Dyke, Jerry Lewis, Tim Conway and more, who discuss the enduring impact and influence of Laurel and Hardy.

Additional features include commentaries by Laurel and Hardy aficionados, along with a virtual location map that allows viewers to take an interactive tour of the iconic places in and around Los Angeles where Laurel and Hardy filmed. Available for the suggested retail price of $99.98, LAUREL & HARDY: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION showcases some of the most cherished and hilarious films in cinema history and is a must-have for comedy fans and collectors everywhere.

BASICS
Price: $99.98
Street Date: October 25, 2011
Order Date: September 20, 2011
Catalog Number: RH3021
Language: English
Running time: 1941 minutes
Rating: NR"

The official Website of this DVD set: LAUREL & HARDY: THE ESSENTIAL COLLECTION

Cheers,
garv

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Review: Cocktail (1988)

>> Sunday, July 10, 2011

USA/C-104m./Dir: Roger Donaldson/Wr: Heywood Gould/Cast: Tom Cruise (Brian Flanagan), Bryan Brown (Doug Coughlin), Elisabeth Shue (Jordan Mooney), Kelly Lynch (Kerry Coughlin), Gina Gershon (Coral), Ron Dean (Uncle Pat)

Cocktailmanages to present the worst of the 1980’s--greed, machismo, feathered hair, annoying pop songs, and general douche-baggery--in a tight 104-minute package. For those lucky enough to have missed the movie (or the decade for that matter), I would advise steering far clear of this glossy piece of trash. Instead, let me take the bullet for you. I had to watch Cocktail in documenting the booziest films of all time. There is no way for me to un-watch it. Let my trauma serve as a warning to keep other viewers from suffering the same fate.

Tom Cruise smugly swaggers through the flick as Brian Flanagan, an army veteran freshly out of the service, who is looking to make it rich in NYC. When he is unable to find a lucrative position, due to his lack of education and experience, he takes a bartending job at T.G.I. Friday’s. Initially, Flanagan doesn’t know a Singapore Sling from a Kamikaze, but the experienced bartender, Doug Coughlin (Bryan Brown), helps the newbie master mixology and numerous flashy bar tricks. Soon Brian and Doug’s showboating saloon skills are in such demand that they move up to a trendy nightclub, serving yuppies and heiresses with big hair. However, the friendship/partnership breaks up due to a bet over Flanagan’s girlfriend (Gina Gershon).

Three years later, Brian is tending bar and juggling bottles in Jaimaca, while trying to save up money to open his own place. There he falls for a vacationing blonde, Jordan Mooney (Elisabeth Shue). Around this time, Doug also shows up in Jamaica with a hot, rich wife (Kelly Lynch) that has a proclivity for wearing skimpy swimsuits that show off her buttocks. Flanagan manages to torpedo his relationship with Jordan through another bar bet with Coughlin; and then a bunch of other stuff happens, but I’m guessing by now that you’ve lost interest.

Cocktail is loud, slick, and vapid--the cinematic equivalent of junk food. The filmmaking and actors are competent, but the dialogue Cruise and company are forced to recite is so laughably bad that it is impossible to take any of it seriously. I kept waiting for Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo to show up make fun of the proceedings, but I ended up having to rag on the flick myself.

There are adult beverages galore on display in Cocktail, and the film is undeniably important in drink culture for helping to popularize flair bartending, which involves tossing around bottles and bar tools while preparing mixed drinks. Still, the film is only recommended for the most stout-hearted of soused cinema enthusiasts. Others beware.

Drinks Consumed--Beer, Red Eye cocktail (beer, tomato juice, spices, & egg), Turquoise Blue cocktail (Bacardi rum, Blue Curacao, & pineapple juice), Daiquiri (rum, lime juice, sugar, & crushed ice), Champagne, white wine, Lois XIII brandy, and various unnamed cocktails

Intoxicating Effects--Stumbling, harmonizing, soused sex, brawling, passing out, and hangover

Potent Quotables--FLANAGAN (offered a shot of cognac): I’ll stick with the brew.
COUGHLIN: Beer is for breakfast around here. Drink or be gone.

Video Availability--Cocktail Blu-rayand DVD(Buena Vista)

Similarly Sauced Cinema--Elisabeth Shue went on to co-star in a much better alky-centric flick, Leaving Las Vegas (1995).

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I like to drink. I like to watch movies. I like to watch movies about drinking. I like to write about the movies I’ve watched, but only if I’ve had a drink first.

All text including the title "Booze Movies: The 100 Proof Film Guide" Copyright William T. Garver

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