January 16, 2011

News: Alliance Home Entertainment TV-on-DVD Releases, Feb.-Mar. 2011

Yes, it’s another round of Alliance Home Entertainment’s Canadian TV-on-DVD releases.  There’s an increased reliance this year on relatively obscure shows with one-or-two-season runs.  The Adventures of Sinbad, The Outer Limits and other well-known CanCon quota quickies have been burned through, so Alliance has to reach deeper into its barrel.

With that in mind, here are Alliance’s February 2011 releases, plus a March 2011 release that hasn’t been formally announced:

Dead Man’s Gun: Season 1 (February 15, 2011) | Season 2 (March 15, 2011)
La galère: Season 3 (February 8, 2011)
Amazon: Complete Series (February 22, 2011)
The Adventures of the Black Stallion: Season 3 (February 22, 2011)
The Crow: Stairway to Heaven: Complete Series (February 15, 2011)
Total Recall 2070: Complete Series (February 22, 2011)

The packaging for Dead Man’s Gun is encouraging.  Alliance has finally realized how awful the six-disc Digipak it’s been using since 2010 is, and has opted for a multi-disc keepcase.  I hope this is a permanent change.

If you’ve been keeping score, Night Heat and Da Vinci’s Inquest haven’t been touched yet, while Total Recall 2070 and Amazon (a/k/a Peter Benchley’s Amazon) have.  Eventually, Alliance is going to have to get to Night Heat, just so I can end this running joke.  You can’t hide from the 1980s forever.


July 28, 2010

News: Three Mike MacDonald CBC/Showtime comedy specials on DVD October 5, 2010

Mike MacDonald: A Comic Stripped will be released by VSC on October 5, 2010.  The single-disc compendium of his CBC/Showtime specials will MSRP for $19.98 CDN.  The listed running time is 130 minutes.

Mike MacDonald: A Comic Stripped covers MacDonald’s three CBC/Showtime standup comedy specials, On Target, My House! My Rules!, and Happy As I Can Be.  Extras include a commentary track and Mike MacDonald performing air guitar.

Mike MacDonald is the star of the 1989-91 CBC series Mosquito Lake, though he can hardly be blamed for that show being an epic comedy abortion.  More importantly, he’s the voice of Rip Friend in the Teletoon/Fox Kids cartoon Ripping Friends (2001-02.)

MacDonald is one of Canada’s great standup comics, and it’s too bad he hasn’t become bigger than he is.  How CBC goes from Mike MacDonald and The Kids in the Hall to Ron James and The Ron James Show, I’ll never know.  At least one of Mike MacDonald’s old films is out on DVD, even if it is Loose Screws.

Here’s Mike MacDonald from the 1987 Just For Laughs Festival.  You may remember 1987 as the year Eddie Windsor spent a few minutes desperately trying to wring laughs from a dog and a hoop.

Ten years later, Eddie Windsor was featured on The Worst of Just For Laughs.  WoJFL aired just after The Just For Laughs 15th Anniversary Special.  Guess who hosted The Just For Laughs 15th Anniversary Special?

Yeah, Kevin Bacon!  You sons of bitches.


November 16, 2008

TV Review | Doug Stanhope: No Refunds

Doug Stanhope is one of the most underrated standup comics today.  His beer-drinking, chain-smoking, sexually perverse persona might seem like a gimmick, but it’s not.  He’s simply being himself on stage, venting in a “comedy-friendly format.”

The Comedy Network aired an edited version of No Refunds last night.  For instance, his “fuck the Jews” bit was cut down by The Comedy Network.  His special could have easily gone its full sixty-one minutes, but whatever.

Doug Stanhope is most compared to Bill Hicks.  It’s not an unfair comparison – Hicks is a Stanhope influence, and both have an aversion to organized religion.  Frankly, I judge Stanhope on how good he is compared to the other leading “honest” comics of his era – Lewis Black, Patton Oswalt, David Cross et al.

I prefer Stanhope to everyone else.  Stanhope has biting observations and a lack of caring whether anyone is offended by his comedy routine.  I don’t agree with a lot of what Stanhope says, but damned if he isn’t more genuinely insightful than a thousand Brian Regans.

Take that aforementioned “fuck the Jews” bit.  He’s more offended by people who define themselves by religious preference and/or nationality than anything.  The bit comes after Stanhope mentions being quoted out of context by the London Times while playing the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  Stanhope’s just filling a void he’s neglected for so long after offending Christians, Muslims and other religious types.

What I like about Stanhope is that he doesn’t mince words about his chosen lifestyle.  His “all religions are mind control” stance is in the tradition of George Carlin and Bill Hicks, but he has the talent to pull this stance off.  Stanhope might be an asshole, but he’s a funny asshole with valid points.

I’ll stop short of saying Doug Stanhope is the best standup comic of his generation.  On No Refunds, Stanhope openly wonders if he’s “out of shit.”  Since his standup hasn’t tanked on the level of Denis Leary and Dennis Miller, I doubt he is.  Stanhope could easily go another decade without losing his edge, he’s that in control of his discipline.  If No Refunds is any indication, he’s the most functional drunk since Robert Goulet.