Monday, June 22, 2020

Streaming Reviews: Scare Package (2019)

Streaming Reviews: Scare Package (2019)

Platform: Shudder

Directed By: Courtney Andujar, Hilary Andujar, Anthony Cousins, Emily Hagins, Aaron B Koontz, Chris McInroy, Noah Segan, Baron Vaughn

Starring: Jeremy King, Noah Segan, Baron Vaughn, Toni Trucks, Chase Williamson, Joe Bob Briggs

    Scare Package reminds me a lot of the member berries from the series South Park. Member Halloween? I member. Member the Freddy car from Nightmare on Elm Street? I member. Member Joe Bob Briggs? I member. You get the picture. Scare Package is a collection of different horror stories all framed around a horror film obsessed video store clerk and his new employee. Sometimes less is more. Just because you can blend in every '80's horror into a self-aware smoothie doesn't mean you should. The major factor of enjoying Scare Package comes down to two questions: Do you like meta jokes? And I mean LOTS and LOTS of them. Do you like movie references, and not subtle ones but like name checking horror movies and also the troupes used?  If you do, you will most likely love this movie. If, you like me, feel like the Meta-horror genre is over-done. Not to mention a lazy writing device that isnt nearly as clever as the writers thinks it is, you my friend are in for a long hard ride. The movie even lampshades the over-used Meta-troupes fairly early in the film, which I STRESS isnt the same as being clever about it. I repeat acknowledging the shitty Meta jokes isnt the same as subverting them or doing anything different with them.  I truly think that in small doses I could have let this slide but it just hammers the point in just about every minute of the run-time.

    So, I had been warned by other reviews that this film lends more on the comedy side of horror, which for me personally isn't a deal breaker. In fact, its tricky but horror and comedy can be a perfect marriage. For example, 2010's Tucker and Dale Vs Evil is a brilliant film because it subverts and deconstructs the slasher genre without relying on name-checking movies, overt references and of course fourth-wall jokes. And, its a laugh-riot with stellar performances. That film works as well as it does because it can do this kind of self-reference genre troupes but it still feels very much its own movie. Scare Package never feels like it stands on its own feet and has anything super original to say.

   The segments within the framing device are really something. They all take fairly big swings, some range from "Oh, that was at-least interesting" to, "Um. What?" Again, I hate to be a buzz kill but all of the stories, even the more solid entries could have used a polish writing wise. Some have fun and even interesting concepts that just miss the mark. Lets take MISTER for example. I loved the idea of fusing toxic manhood and the supposed "alpha status" with werewolves but, again the themes are never taken far enough to be interesting or memorable. The chocolate bar gag was pretty clever, I will give them that. Probably my favorite segment was So Much to Do written directed and starring Baron Vaughn. This is a seg-way into what I think whats about the film, because  I dont get enjoyment from crapping on a film, especially one clearly made by horror fans. As I said the film is probably more comedy than it is horror, and, I admit there are some pretty funny jokes and gags throughout. Damned if i didnt get at least some chuckles here and there. Now onto what I think this film really has going for it, the effects. Wow. The filmmakers truly celebrate the art of practical movie magic and that love is strong. Goopy gloopy messy and gallons of blood, this is a gore hounds wet dream. And, despite the flaws, each segment has a high energy feel and I dont get the sense that the filmmakers are simply phoning it in. Truly these filmmakers took their love of video renting, 80's horror and over-the-top comedy and stitched together an anthology. But, again it comes down to the film feels wildly unfocused feels the need to bash us over the head with its influences. At just shy of an hour and fifty minutes the film over stays its welcome. The final wrap around segment just goes on for an absurd amount of film which starts to get indulgent and boring.  Look, I'm all for fun even outrageous cinema but you need a skill set to pull it off. Its not to suggest the film is devoid of talent, far from it, it just tries way too hard and comes off annoying.

   Scare Package begs the question is Meta horror over done? For every New Nightmare, Scream and Cabin in the Woods that uses skilled writing to take apart the horror genre, filmmaking troupes and cliches and re assemble them into something exciting Scare Package does not. Again, my problem isn't with the heart and passion or the effects but with how much the film falls back on the same joke over and over. Its like References: The Movie. Some people love this movie and hey, more power to you. I was that '90's kid that always had an fistful of video tapes from my local mom and pop and I like to think I am extremely knowledgeable when it comes to films in general especially horror.  I have seen literally thousands of them from all over the globe. I dont say this as a brag but to say I am certainly this films target audience but it failed to connect with me. Even the nostalgia for mom and pop rentals and Joe Bob (his cameo is epic btw) wasnt enough to make this an enjoyable movie.This is currently streaming on Shudder if you still want to check it out.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Pennyworth Season One Blu Ray Review Warner Archives

Pennyworth Season One Warner Archives June 23rd 2020

Created By: Bruno Heller

Starring: Jack Bannon, Dorothy Atkinson, Ben Aldridge,  Emma Paetz

With big screen hits like Joker (2019), Wonder Woman (2017)  and television shows like Batwoman and Doom Patrol, DCEU is finally catching fire after a string of disappointments. The origin of Alfred Pennyworth the Wayne's faithful butler is detailed in this new pre-Batman show. Pennyworth is a former British SAS soldier who, looking to branch out forms his own security company. The former solider soon finds himself the target of an extremist group called The Raven Society, whose goal is to over throw the government. Pennyworth show runner Bruno Heller developed Gotham for Fox. If you`ve been living under a rock Gotham the series which ran a respectable five seasons, tells the story of a young Bruce Wayne (David Mazouz) James Gordon (Ben McKenzie) and of course the future roughs-gallery of Batman villains. The show was a hit but some die-hard fan's didnt like how the show would slide into sometimes over-the-top. I actually liked how the show blended gritty Nolan Batman with a dash of the Adam West era. Heller is now heading up another Batman origin story, this time set before Bruce Wayne is even born. Pennyworth certainly feels more grounded than Gotham and my first impression is it plays things things way more seriously. Thankfully Heller injects some much needed humor into the mix. The show is set in the '60's and the costume design and production design is really well done. Heller creates a world that you can instantly engage with. Despite some rough patches Pennyworth is a very entertaining show with plenty of nice twists and turns.The show has already been picked up for a second season due out in late October of this year.

Episode List: 

The Landlords Daughter
Martha Kane
Lady Penelope
Shirley Bassey
Cilla Black
Julie Christie
Sandie Shaw 
Alma Cogan
Marianne Faithful 

Warner's does a great job at with this transfer. Details are sharp and you can see the hard work that went into the '60's era backdrop. The color scheme is not overly bright but extremely moody and well done and the 1080p helps highlight this. Sound is also good and this track really shows off its amazing soundtrack and sound design.  The season has no extras.

Gotham had a nice mix of camp and grit yet Pennyworth tries to lean more to the latter. This is probably a good choice, even though I enjoy Gotham un-ironically. If you are a Bat fan or even someone new to the comics, Pennyworth is a interesting new spin on the lore. Worth checking out.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Inferno of Torture (1969) Arrow Video Review

Inferno of Torture (1969) Arrow Video July 7th 2020

Directed By: Teruo Ishii

Starring: Teruo Yoshida, Masumi Tachibana, Asao Koike

  There really is truth in advertising, as, by looking at the cover for Arrow's release of Inferno Of Torture (1969), you know exactly what you are in for. In the backdrop of a geisha house, two master tattoo artist battle for who can create the ultimate masterpiece literally on the backs of girls. Inferno right out of the gate is a almost cartoon level of blood and gore. So, if goes without saying but, if women being raped and tortured is triggering, you will most certainly want to skip this film altogether. Now, with that out of the way lets begin.

   This is Arrow's fifth film released by writer, director Teruo Ishii. Ishii is a director that can somehow straddle the line between in your face and weirdly beautiful even subtle at times. Inferno is a visually stunning film, something that those not familiar with Ishii might be surprised by. Since the film is all about the art of tattooing there is of course a lot of great body-art on display. And, of course a lot of nudity if your into that. The plot isnt what i`d call amazing but it was engaging enough throughout its nicely paced ninety-four minute run-time. I liked the emotional through line that helped raise the stakes and make it a more compelling narrative. The ending is very satisfying, with a finale that gore hounds are likely to not forget. And, because this is a ero-guro its chocked full of steamy erotic sex, nudity, blood and guts with some nice set-pieces. Overall, its not my favorite of Ishii's work (that would probably be Malformed Men) but, the film has a decent plot, the pacing is well done and of course its beautifully shot with some very well done action sequences. If you are new to the films of Ishii I dont know if this would be the best to start with but, its still a good film and I'm glad to see Arrow has re-released this.

Picture wise Arrow has done a fine job at cleaning this film up. The new scan is clear but not overly washed out and it maintains the mood and color scheme that Ishii intended. As I stated above this is a great looking film and this release truly does it justice. The sound is also great with no background noise or hiss and dialogue comes through crystal clear.

The release may be short on features for this release but, they are great none-the-less. A nearly thirty-minute featurette entitled: Teruo Ishii: Erotic Grotesque Nonsense and Japan's Cult Counterculture. This is basically a shortened version of Jasper Sharp's Miskatonic Institute of Horror Studies and his lecture on ero-guro movement and its key creators like Teruo Ishii and Edogawa Ranpo. This is a very eye opening interview/lecture with Sharp who helps put this sub-genre into film and a historical context. I know a little about this genre/style of film but, I still learned a lot and this is perfect for new comers to this type of Japaneses film. This is such a great addition. The second feature is a running commentary track by  Tom Mes. Mes gives a entertaining and enlightening track which, like the Sharp featurette really helps put the film into a greater context and frankly made me like the film more on my second viewing.  Rounding out the features is an original trailer.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Romance on the High Seas (1948) Warner Archives Blu Ray Review

Romance on the High Seas (1948) June 16th 2020 Warner Archives

Directed By: Michael Curtiz

Starring: Jack Carson, Don DeFore, Doris Day, Janis Paige

     Let's get one thing out of the way. I love classic movies but I have never been big on musicals. For whatever reason they never seem to do it for me. Honestly, the only musical I enjoy is probably Rocky Horror or Phantom of the Paradise.  So why would I choose a musical from post WWII?! Well, I am a big fan of Curtiz and Jack Carson. Also, there is something to be said about getting out of ones comfort zones cinema wise. Michael (Don DeFore) and Elvira (Janis Page) both distrust each other from the very start of their marriage. Elvira suspects her husband of cheating as he constantly breaks off engagements. And, Michael also thinks Elvira is fooling around. High-sea hi-jinks ensue when night club singer Georgia (Doris Day) assumes Elvira's identity in a scheme to trap her husband in infidelity on a cruise. While on the cruise, Michael hires private eye Peter (Jack Carson) to spy on Elvira who is actually Georgia.

     As you can tell from the plot description the film you need to suspend some disbelief-however I kind of love these over-the-top and frankly ridiculous plots. As always, Curtiz brings a polish to this production and this kind of big splashy production seems to be right in his wheelhouse. This truly was a big mega-budget film with rich production design, lavish costumes and sets not to mention grand musical numbers by the legendary Busby Berkley. The cast is great as well and Romance is filled with wonderful character actors like Jack Carson, Don DeFore and of course Janis Page and Doris Day making her feature film debut. Day of course known for her singing dazzles with her voice as well as ease and charm in front of the camera. This film also features a favorite actor of mine S.Z Sakall a German actor who normally played funny-supporting roles. Film fans will recall him in Casablanca (1942) and Christmas in Connecticut (1945). Fo not liking musicals I will say this movie didnt convert me to be a lover of the genre but, I will say it was a decent enough film. Now, I know that sounds like a back handed compliment but I did enough aspects of it. Sure, its silly the plot is kind of hard to believe (which is par for the course with a lot of older movies) but its a bit of fun mindless fun. A breezy and fairly predictable movie which is probably most famous for being Day's first film.

Warner's rolls out a stunning looking film. The colors truly pop in this new print of this post-War Technicolor bit of fluff. All artifacts and scratches have been scrubbed clean and it really helps showcase the lavish and grand scope of this film which was typical of the era. Sound is also great with a nice crisp clean sounding track. Features include a vintage Sing-A-Long which is 10 minutes in length. A vintage Warner Hare Splitter cartoon and trailer rounds of the features.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Why Dont You Just Die! (2018) Arrow Video Blu Ray Review

Why Dont You Just Die! (2018) Arrow Video April 21st 2020

Directed By: Kirill Sokolov

Starring: Vitaliy Khaev,Aleksandr Kuznetsov,Elena Shevchenko,

* Some Spoilers for this review. Sorry but its unavoidable.**

   Director Kirill Sokolov first film debut exploded onto the scene with a bang with 2018's Why Dont You Just Die! which finds a home in the US from Arrow Video. Andrey (Vitaliy Khaev) is a nasty corrupt cop who is the victim of a home invasion/attack by a young thug named Matvey (Aleksandr Kuznetsov). Money, betrayal and a victim that just wont die in this bitterly dark Russian comedy. The film opens with a lot of tension and mystery then quickly explodes into a cartoon level of hyper-violence and an orgy of blood. This first ten-fifteen minutes will be a good marker if you like this film or not. Sokolov for better or worse wears his influences firmly on his gore soaked sleeves. Clearly this is the directors love letters to Quentin Tarantino and oddly enough the spaghetti Western genre (lots of western music cues, and even a traditional stand-off/show down.) The first act and mostly second is a nearly break neck paced hyper-stylized which can get a little much if I'm being honest. It certainly stinks of a overly ambitious first feature film by a young film student. I think its possible to be clever and interesting why also reigning things in just abit. Its the same issue I had with 2017's The Babysitter, which was overly obnoxious about its slick "cool" style over story.  But, where the film succeeds over Babysitter is it does manage to tell a good (albeit somewhat predictable) story. The use of a non-linear structure kept me engaged throughout the first and second act.

    However, I think where the film starts to show its cracks is in its final act. The last fifteen minutes starts to feel somewhat one-note -that note being Matvey just not dying (hence the title) and I kept waiting for an interesting twist at the end which never happened. Its this lose of momentum that sadly muddles an otherwise great film. Even the fairly consistent tone changes to something more serious and it almost feels like a different film, which is a bit jarring. While I thought the characters were fleshed out it was disappointing that the mother Tasha played wonderfully by Elena Shevchenko is so flatly written. Now, I understand that sometimes Mother characters, especially ones that dont factor into the thrust of the story might be challenging but she's pretty much only a punching bag for Andrey, which is frankly hard to watch. I kept waiting for her to get a cool or interesting arch but instead she gets a rather mean-spirited and bleak send off. It feels like Sokolov rushes towards a very predictable ending that anyone could see a mile away. Why manages to be entertaining for the first two acts but seems to run out of steam. Still, you cannot deny how incredible of a first feature film this is. If Sokolov can find his own voice while still paying homage, and also reigning himself in, I think he could be the next big thing within the genre. I want to stress that, even though I thought it has its flaws this is still a damn entertaining film and I am very excited to see what the filmmaker has in the works.

   Arrow always delivers when it comes to a nice clean transfer and Why Dont You Just Die! is certainly no exception. The image is incredibly crystal clear and sharp and, serves to highlight the detailed production design. Die has a weird color palate of greens and yellows and this transfer really showcases that evocative style. The sound is also great with a nice 2.0 track. Dialogue comes through just fine and highlights the various music/music cues and rich sound design. Arrow gives this movie a great disc. Features include an insightful new interview with Kim Newman which explores the history of single location's in cinema. Newman is always very interesting and this is a nice feature. There are some nice behind the scenes features including storyboards (BD-ROM content) and some nice footage of rehearsal. I'm a sucker for seeing how films are made so this was a treat to watch. Rounding out the features is a collection of short films which, again is a great addition and shows the very beginning of Sokolov's career. Overall this is a great collection of extras and I hope that we see more films from Sokolov that are released through Arrow Video.

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Deathtrap (1982) Warner Archives Blu Ray Review

Retro Review: Deathtrap (1982) Warner Archives November 2012

Directed By: Sidney Lumet

Starring: Michael Caine, Christopher Reeve, Dyan Canon, Irene Worth, Henry Jones

     Sidney Lumet has been some of marveling movie goers ever since his feature film debut (if you dont count his made-for-television film) of 12 Angry Men (1957). But, it was really throughout the '70's with hits like Network (1976), Serpico (1973), Dog Day Afternoon (1975) and Murder on the Orient Express (1974) that he truly found his voice and style. Deathtrap (1982) follows a legendary murder/thriller playwright Sidney Bruhl (Michael Caine) as he suffers his fourth major flop in a row. Enter Clifford Anderson (Christopher Reeve) a young playwright with a manuscript possibly worth killing for? Twists and turns abound in this brilliant film based on the play by Ira Levin.  When I think of the perfect marriage between a first-rate director, a Oscar nominated screenwriter and a wonderful cast, Deathtrap is among the films that come to mind.

     Lumet cleverly crafts a darkly funny film that manages to stick the landing with its multiple twists. Lumet brings a lot of charm but also dry sardonic wit and screenwriter Jay Presson Allen (who wrote the vastly underrated Marine for Alfred Hitchcock) brings layers, intrigue and wit which never feels convoluted. The film feels stagey but since its in the context of, and based on a stage play, it seems actually fitting. The pace is almost break neck with never a dull moment or filler scene to be had. Allen follows the strict rule of, if its not advancing the plot, it doesn't need to be in the film. This film has a great deal of Meta humor which is handled well without beating the audience over the head. Again, it comes back to Allen and Lumet knowing exactly where the line of over-the-top is and just narrowly skirts it. You of course cannot talk about the brilliance of Deathtrap without talking about the acting that gives it life. Reeve's and Caine are really in the top of their respected games. Both veteran actors turn in a well rounded and at times intense performance, yet, surprisingly it never gets hammy. Dyan Cannon also brings a funny yet emotionally vulnerable and sympathetic turn as Sidney's wife Myra. And, of course how can you forget Irene Worth who portrays the hooky German physic Helga. Worth's performance is the only one that feels a bit hokey but its so much fun i'll allow it anyways. You combined all this with a truly electric score by Oscar winning composer Johnny Mandel a expertly detailed production design by Oscar winner Tony Walton and snappy editing by Jack Fitzstephens you have a murder-mystery dark comedy that is a winner. I left a lot of the plot vague because it really does hang largely on its fun plot twists. If you liked the recent film Knives Out (2019) and are craving more of that ilk, I certainly highly recommend this film.

Warner Archives gives fans of this film a brand-new transfer worth of Lumet's genius. Colors are crisp and small details in the set truly come to life. Faces have a nice natural look and of course the film has not a speck of dirt or artifacts. This disc also features a robust soundtrack which showcases its wonderful score. Dialogue also comes through with a nice crisp clarity. No extras are included on this release.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Dream Demon (1988) Arrow Video Blu Ray Review

Dream Demon (1988) Arrow Video June 23rd 2020

Directed By:Harley Cokeliss

Starring: Jemma Redgrave, Kathleen Wilhoite, Timothy Spall,Mark Greenstreet,

    I've seen it before, and i'll say it again, Arrow Video is one of the most interesting labels, because they have such interesting releases which include mainstream films but also little known gems. And, they give both equal amounts of love. Dream Demon from 1988 is a film I had never heard of, and, chances are you haven't either. This British film centers on Diana (Jemma Redgrave) and her upcoming high profile marriage to Olivier (Mark Greenstreet). This sets off a chain-reaction of horrible nightmares which begin to result in grisly murders. She begins to understand the nature of this horrible dreams with the aid of Jenny (Kathleen Wilhoite) a woman with a mysterious past. So, yeah. Where to begin? Dream Demon feels like the filmmakers blended the core premise of A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) and its later sequel's surreal dream-states with the gross-out grotesque splatter effects of early Peter Jackson with a heaping helping of the phsycho-sexual world
of Clive Baker's Hellraiser (1987). Whew!

       This film is certainly a mixed bag and has its share of strengths and weaknesses. For me, the film sort of sets itself up for failure as it seems to constantly try to get out of the very long shadow cast by a certain razor gloved nightmare man. Its not to say that this is a rip-off of that film series, however its hard not to draw comparisons by its very premise. Thus I feel like it never really finds its own voice. The other issue is the film really could have used a tighter focus narrative wise. Cokeliss never really fleshes the story out or the rules of this dream world,  unlike its American counter-part Elm Street. I think what makes this film a stand-out is its aptly surreal visual style. Using amazing lighting, off-kilter and inventive camera work and loads of fever-dream atmosphere, Dream Demon really is a haunting and beautiful looking film. And, even in the non-dream scenes have a very strange vibe to them. I also liked how they used this undercurrent of sexual repression with Diana which helped fuel this Baker-esque nightmare world of dark desires. Another point in this films column is just how incredible the practical gore effects and make-up's are. Its so wonderfully gooey, gross-out chunky and vomit inducing, everything you`d want out of an '80's splatter film. It reminded me a lot in that respect to say Bad Taste (1987). Demon has a surprisingly rich cast that includes solid performance by Kathleen Wilhoite of Road House (1989) fame and of course Timothy Spall, best known for portraying Wormtail in the mega-successful Harry Potter film series.  Spall gives a wonderfully manic and fittingly over-the-top turn that helps make this a stand-out feature. Jemma Redgrave is also great at giving some creditably to a fun but admittedly silly plot. Redgrave has a natural ease and beauty but, I also very much bought her variability and innocents.  Overall, I think Dream Demon is a very ambitious film that delivers on the surreal and the horrific, yet feels like it lacks a bit in the story department. Still, I think its just interesting and nuts enough to keep one entertained despite its issues. Honestly, its worth it alone for the zany gore effects and Spall as a character maybe greaser than Wormtail.

The new transfer is outstanding and really highlights the element of the film that is the strongest, that being the visuals. Faces look natural and colors look crisp and truly help the gorgeous gore pop. Darkly lit scenes seem to benefit most from this new print. Sound wise is also great and highlight Bill Nelsons wonderful strange and dark score. Dialogue comes through crystal clear with no background hiss or noise. Arrow packs in over TWO HOURS of extras and, as always they are wonderfully entertaining. I broke down the cast/crew interviews as followed:

Dream Master (27 minutes) Director Harry Cokeliss interview.
A Nightmare on Eton Avenue (37mins  ) Producer Paul Webster
Dreaming of Diana (16mins) Jemma Redgrave
Cold Reality (9 minutes) Actor Mark Greenstreet
Sculpting the Part (8 minutes)  Actor Nickolas Grace
Angels and Demons  (9 minutes) Actor Annabelle Lanyon
Demonic Tones (15 minutes) Composer Bill Nelson

Harry Cokeliss and producer Paul Webster do a great job at explaining the how's and why's of the film and it was really interesting to hear their stories. Arrow always does a fine job at getting lively and engrossing interviews which help shed a lot of light onto the film. In fact I found that after watching these interviews then re-watching the film (with selected commentary) I couldn't help but like it more the second time. The actors are also a nice addition and Arrow managed to get all the main players as well as Nelson who does an amazing job on the score.  The film does have a scene selected commentary by Cokeliss and Webster. The real cherry is the newly filmed documentary titles Foundation of Nightmare: The Making of Dream Demon (26 minutes) which features new interviews with cast and crew. Rounding out the features is a trailer, photo gallery and the theatrical cut of the film.

Its a dream no longer -Arrow Video delivers the goods on a British horror gem!

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

America as Seen by A Frenchman (1960) Arrow Academy Blu Ray Review

America as Seen by a Frenchman (1960) Arrow Academy June 2nd 2020

Directed By: Francois Reichenbach

     Francois Reichenbach is one of those directors that helped pioneer French New Wave but sadly, does not get the attention as say, Goddard or Francois Truffaut. Thanks to Arrow Academy we get a brand-new transfer of his film  America as Seen by a Frenchman (1960). Part documentary part travel log, Reichenbach travels a crossed the US highlighting some uniquely American activities. 

     At a brisk ninety minutes the America is basically a collection of home movies (with some obviously scripted moments) but, what keeps it from being just boring travel-log is two things: While Reichenbach never offers his opinion on the material he just inject personality and even some sass in his narration. At times he picks apart some hypocritical aspects, but does so in a lighthearted and sardonic tone.  For example he talks about how no other country respects the institute of marriage more, yet has quickie car park ceremonies. The second is, this is a fascinating look at '60's (or late '50s depending on when it was filmed) America. Of course, everything is raw and real and, if you love kitsch from this era, this is a must watch. Some of the highlights of this documentary are showcasing a prison rodeo, taking a look at a young Disney Land (which opened in '55) and a brief exploration of the art of strip tease. Everything is kept very light, tone wise which I thought was the right choice. It veers slightly when they discuss crime among youth but even still it never gets too bleak. I was endlessly engrossed by the different aspects of the film, not so much by the content (which most people would be very familiar with) but with how differently things are done at the time of filming versus today. To young eyes it really does offer a slice of a America that no longer exists and therefore makes it as an invaluable document. If I would have to say one major failing of this film its that Reichenbach never interviews anyone. Yes, there is something to be said about just filming the reality and letting it play out and believe me I think thats a valid documentary framework. But, I think in this case it would have added a personal touch. I got a very detached feeling more akin to a nature documentary rather than one that deals with living breathing people and and their ways of life at this point in time. It also would have been very interesting if there was some kind of cultural exchange between the subjects and the filmmakers. If you, like myself love kitsch and everything '50's-60's and Americana, this is a very worth while watch from a underrated director. 

P.S I want that giant sundae like NOW!

For a film that turned sixty this year, America as Seen by a Frenchman looks AMAZING! Colors pop out and I was impressed by the lack of any artifacts, scratches etc. I dont know for sure but i`d wager this is a 2k scan. Clearly a lot of love and resources went into restoring this footage and its one of the reasons why I adore Arrow. The sound is great as well and the audio comes through clean and clear with no hiss or distortion. The extras include a great 23 minute video essay by famed author and critic Philip Kemp. Kemp does a great job at giving us background on the filmmaker and some great context for the documentary. It was very enlightening and entertaining. Overall, while I had a few issues, this is a engrossing documentary and Arrow Academy gives it the treatment is deserves!