Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

New on DVD / VOD

  • Print
Betty Boop

Enlarge Image

Betty Boop

Betty Boop: The Essential Collection Vol. 1

'MADE of pen and ink, she can win you with a wink."

So goes the theme for Betty Boop, who was probably the most sexualized cartoon character in animation history... at least before Jessica Rabbit arguably stole that concupiscent crown.

The Depression-era kewpie doll -- voiced in succession by Mae Questel, Bonnie Poe and Ann Little -- was given to titillating undressing (Betty Boop's Rise to Fame), near-topless hula dancing (Betty Boop's Bamboo Isle) or showering in a garden sprinkler in her rooftop abode (Betty Boop's Penthouse).

The films likewise featured gags of an distinctly adult nature. The scary Frankenstein-like monster in Betty Boop's Penthouse is transformed into a campy ballet-dancer with just a spritz of Betty's perfume. And you sure didn't hear songs about "kicking the gong around" (slang for opium-smoking) in Disney's Silly Symphonies of the era.

Alas, Betty's frequent collaborator, the great Cab Calloway, is hardly seen in this first collection of 12 shorts, although the Calloway-inspired cartoon The Old Man of the Mountain is excerpted in Betty Boop's Rise to Fame.

The first of a series of Blu-ray collections from Olive Films are newly remastered in high-definition from 4K scans of the original negatives. The results are not entirely as pristine as you might expect, but the beauty of producer Max Fleischer's cartoon creations (also including the original Popeye the Sailor cartoons) is that a little visual shabbiness is in keeping with Fleischer's lived-in, threadbare esthetic.

The Blu-ray has no extras, and the collection seems pretty random, with the series' most hallucinogenic entries -- such as Betty Boop's Snow White and Minnie the Moocher -- unaccountably absent. (There was a reason Betty enjoyed a resurgence in popularity in the druggy '60s and '70s.) Presumably, they'll be showing in later collections. ****

 

James Purefoy as Solomon Kane

Enlarge Image

James Purefoy as Solomon Kane

Solomon Kane

ACTOR Pete Postlethwaite died in January 2011, and his presence in this action-fantasy should give you an idea of how long this movie has lingered on the shelf.

Completed in 2009, Solomon Kane probably deserved a better release than it got.

The character of Kane, a soldier of fortune-turned-Puritan pacifist, was hatched by Conan the Barbarian creator Robert E. Howard, and Kane initially shares a talent for supernatural ass-kicking with that famed Cimmerian freebooter.

But upon learning he is destined for a berth in hell from the devil himself, Kane (James Purefoy) undergoes a change of heart, leading him on the path to the New World in the company of Postlethwaite's Puritan patriarch. But when their party is set upon by the cult of a demonic sorcerer named Malachi (Jason Flemyng), and the family's winsome daughter Meredith (Rachel Hurd-Wood) is kidnapped, Kane is obliged to pick up the sword again.

It's debatable if the movie was worth the wait, but it does have a distinctive dynamic uncommon to other movies in the Robert E. Howard oeuvre: imagine Conan with guilt. **1/2

 

Luke Evans

Enlarge Image

Luke Evans

No One Lives

IN the lightning-strikes-twice premise of this horror thriller, a backwoods family of psychopathic crooks inadvertently kidnap a man who turns out to be far more violent and scary than they are.

Basically, the Texas Chainsaw Massacre family invokes the wrath of Jason Voorhees.

Admittedly, this thriller from the wrestlemaniacs at WWE Studios is a little more grounded than either TCM/Friday the 13th properties, and in the bargain boasts a decent cast, fronted by Luke Evans as the victim-turned-killer credited as "The Driver" and Adelaide Clemens (Silent Hill: Revelation) as an heiress who knows the full extent of his homicidal abilities. The film is directed by the talented Ryuhei Kitamura (Versus).

But if the movie demonstrates a little more talent than you would expect in the average psycho-horror movie, a scene near the beginning comes close to derailing the whole project.

Remember the scene in The Silence of the Lambs when Hannibal Lecter disguises himself with the uniform and face of a dead cop? Let's just say The Driver goes him one better utilizing the hulking corpse of his first victim.

Whatever the savage merits of the rest of the movie, this bit is as unforgivably stupid a scene as you'll ever see in a genre film. **

 

randall.king@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 22, 2013 C12

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Mayor Bowman reacts to Caspian investigation

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young gosling flaps his wings after taking a bath in the duck pond at St Vital Park Tuesday morning- - Day 21– June 12, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • MIKE APORIUS/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS BUSINESS - cow on farm owned by cattle farmer Lloyd Buchanan near Argyle Wednesday afternoon -see Larry Kusch's story  January 04/2006

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you think it's a good idea for Theresa Oswald to enter NDP leadership race?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google