Blu-ray/DVD Reviews


Currently showing posts tagged Bill Murray

  • Where the Buffalo Roam (1980) Collector's Edition Blu-ray Review

    Where the Buffalo Roam (1980)

    Director: Art Linson

    Starring: Peter Boyle & Bill Murray

    Released by: Shout Select

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    Culled from the wild and crazy exploits of gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson, Where the Buffalo Roam centers on the eccentric reporter (Bill Murray, Caddyshack) and his ex-attorney Carlo Lazlo, Esq. (Peter Boyle, Young Frankenstein), fueled on drugs and a madness for adventure, as they navigate the politically spiraling and violent days of the late sixties and seventies.

    The first film taken from Thompson’s toxic brand of chaotic intellect, Where the Buffalo Roam takes liberties with the facts concerning the journalist’s construction of a story based on the misadventures of friend and ex-attorney Carlo Lazlo, Esq.  Rewinding to the years 1968-1972 where Lazlo attempts to free an avalanche of San Francisco youths from overly severe drug charges, Thompson drinks and drugs his way through the proceedings while his latest deadline looms.  Rambling his way from one city to the next and leaving a trail of destruction in his wake, Thompson’s coverage of Super Bowl VI is sidetracked by the equally eccentric Lazlo’s presence who convinces the writer to join him on a mission to supply freedom fighters with heavy artillery.  Bailing on the plane escaping madness once the fuzz show and capturing the attention of young adults across the college campus circuit, Thompson offers sage advice by supporting the notion of illegal substances in the writing process and confronting then Presidential candidate Richard Nixon during an awkward bathroom encounter.  While the chemistry between Murray and Boyle sells and their performances, most notably Murray who does a sound impression of Thompson that was, for better and sometimes worse according to his fellow cast members, carried over to his next season of Saturday Night Live, Where the Buffalo Roam is structurally messy and never as funny or witty as it thinks it is.  Scored by Neil Young in one of his only film efforts, a lackluster screenplay and dismal box-office returns, trifled by Thompson’s own disdain for the finished effort, leaves Where the Buffalo Roam as merely the forgotten predecessor to Terry Gilliam’s much trippier and appreciated Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas adaptation.

    Shout Select welcomes Where the Buffalo Roam to high-definition with a 1080p transfer, preserving its 1.85:1 aspect ratio.  A softer sight, colors are favorable but never do much popping while, skin tones remain nicely detailed and natural-looking.  Very scant notices of scuffs aside, a filmic quality is inherent throughout the feature without any over-sharpening techniques applied.  Equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix, dialogue is serviceable with the mumbling manner of Thompson’s speech requiring an occasional increase in volume while, the film’s excellent music choices (presented for the first time ever on home video!) ranging from cuts by The Jimi Hendrix Experience, The Temptations, Neil Young and more, offer stronger boosts in range and bass.  

    Billed under Shout Select’s Collector’s Edition banner, special features, although limited, include, Inventing the Buffalo: A Look Back with John Kaye (41:58) where the screenwriter recalls being originally tasked with scripting Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, although caring little for its source citing a lackluster narrative structure, while its rights situation was resolved.  Bluntly put, Kaye also admits to being a former drug-addict and cites his research trip with Thompson through such cities as Aspen, Los Angeles and New Orleans as a fun drug binge.  In addition, Kaye felt Art Linson, making his directorial debut on the picture, was in over his head and maintains that his working relationship with Murray was a friendly one with the exception of one evening where the star badgered Kaye to come out and party resulting in Kaye having him removed from his hotel.  Lengthy and refreshingly honest, the interview is a must-watch for fans and detractors alike.  Furthermore, the Theatrical Trailer (3:14) and Reversible Cover Art conclude the supplemental package.

    Rarely funny but earning mild points for Murray’s spot-on interpretation of Thompson and Boyle’s equally worthy performance, Where the Buffalo Roam remains Hollywood’s dusty paperback attempt at bringing Thompson’s madcap brilliance to the big-screen with mostly unfavorable results.  Although its Collector’s Edition status, given its limited supply of extras, may be debated, the quality of Kaye’s interview and the film’s original music fully intact is warrant enough.  Murray completists will be pleased with what he brings to role of one of journalism’s most eccentric voices while, Thompson purists won’t help feeling underwhelmed.

    RATING: 3/5

    Available now from Shout Select, Where the Buffalo Roam can be purchased via, and other fine retailers.

  • Moving Violations (1985) Blu-ray Review

    Moving Violations (1985)

    Director: Neal Israel

    Starring: John Murray, Jennifer Tilly, James Keach, Wendy Jo Sperber & Sally Kellerman

    Released by: Kino Lorber Studio Classics

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    After breaking the rules of the road, Moving Violations finds lazy landscaper Dana Cannon (John Murray, Scrooged) and a group of other disobedient drivers sentenced to traffic school.  When their tight-laced patrolman teacher (James Keach, The Long Riders) and a corrupt judge (Sally Kellerman, Back to School) conspire to cash in on their impounded vehicles, the reckless class shift into high gear to get even.  Neil Israel (Bachelor Party) takes the directing wheel in this comedy crash course.

    From the makers behind Police Academy and borrowing heavily from the boys in blue’s formula, Moving Violations sets an unlucky band of motor vehicilists off in the hilarious race of their lives against the man.  Headlining in one of his few film roles and uncannily exuding the comic charm of elder brother Bill, John Murray’s Dana finds himself wrestling the feathers of traffic deputies Halik (Kean) and Morris (Lisa Hart Carroll, Terms of Endearment) enough to lose his license and land himself behind a desk in a teeth-pulling traffic course.  Joined by a ditzy rocket scientist (Jennifer Tilly, Bride of Chucky), a geeky puppeteer (Brian Backer, The Burning), an unwavering hypochondriac (Wendy Jo Sperber, Back to the Future), a pipe-smoking car doctor (Fred Willard, Best in Show) and a horror movie hound (Ned Eisenberg, Hiding Out) among others, Dana’s incessant sarcasm and class clownish hijinks do him no favors against his strict arresting officer and new teacher, ensuring his class a tough as nails road ahead.  Sparing time for romance with his raspy-voiced NASA classmate and a memorable lovemaking sequence in zero gravity, the classes troubles are only beginning when Halik and their sentencing judge hatch a plan to fail them at all costs in order to split the cost of their impounded cars.  Bending the rules and going behind enemy lines, the license-less students attempt to retrieve the necessary evidence only to have a convention hall of officers on their tails.  Featuring Don Cheadle (The Avengers: Age of Ultron) in his film debut as a fast food server and capturing nostalgic footage of new wave punkers, Moving Violations drives wildly and attracts big laughs thanks to an animated cast and a simplistically silly tale that saves seriousness for the other slowpokes on the road.  A solid entry into the underdogs against higher society genre of comedy making, Moving Violations rarely misses a funny beat and keeps the hilarity honking.

    Kino Lorber Studio Classics presents Moving Violations with a 1080p transfer, sporting a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.  Boasting a healthily filmic appearance with only very scant traces of flakes and speckles, colors are prominent in bold costume choices while, skin tones always read naturally and well-detailed.  Furthermore, exterior daytime sequences seen in the film’s big chase finale are crisply photographed with a nighttime scene set outside of a punk club handling the lower lighting and neon signage just as appropriately.  Equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 mix that prioritizes dialogue with ease, hiss and cracks are unnoticed while, Sammy Hagar’s “I Can’t Drive 55” makes a notably rockin’ appearance on the track.  Special features include a lively Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Neal Israel that covers all aspects of the film’s development and shooting including, its fast-paced writing process and interesting revelations regarding Michael J. Fox’s interest in the lead role before producer concerns about his age cancelled what could have been and Israel’s own experiences in traffic school.  Finally, Trailers for Moving Violations (1:28), Up the Creek (3:16), Porky’s II: The Next Day (2:26), Porky’s Revenge (1:27) & Miracle Beach (2:01) round out the supplements.

    A well-oiled comedy that hits the ground running with ample absurdity, Moving Violations is a pleasant detour through familiar territory from the era that still holds up.  Featuring funny performances from all, namely Murray, whose comedic timing and mannerisms eerily echo that of his Ghostbusters starring brother, this laugh at punished drivers never runs out of gas.  Meanwhile, KL Studio Classics takes viewers for a ride with a solid HD transfer and a director commentary track well worth listening to.

    RATING: 4/5

    Available December 13th from Kino Lorber Studio Classics, Moving Violations can be purchased via, and other fine retailers. 

  • The Jungle Book (2016) Blu-ray Review

    The Jungle Book (2016)

    Director: Jon Favreau

    Starring: Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o, Scarlett Johansson, Giancarlo Esposito, Christopher Walken & Neel Sethi

    Released by: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment

    Reviewed by Mike Kenny

    Based on the timeless tale, The Jungle Book centers on young Mowgli (Neel Sethi in his film debut), a man-cub raised by wolves, as he embarks on an adventure of self-discovery where great danger and unexpected friends lie.  Featuring the talented voice work of Bill Murray (Lost in Translation), Ben Kingsley (The Walk), Idris Elba (Star Trek Beyond), Lupita Nyong’o (12 Years a Slave), Scarlett Johansson (Lucy), Giancarlo Esposito (Once Upon a Time) and Christopher Walken (Hairspray), Jon Favreau (Iron Man) directs this modern adaptation.

    Seamlessly blending the magical whimsy of Walt Disney’s animated classic with cutting-edge visual effects, Director Jon Favreau’s live-action adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s masterwork balances emotional gravity and awe-inspiring moments of marvel for a mesmerizingly audacious experience.  Scripted by Justin Marks (Street Fighter: The Legend of Chun-Li), The Jungle Book remains true to the spirit of its cinematic predecessors while, injecting more of its source material back into its finished product.  Raised by wolves in the Indian jungles, man-cub Mowgli struggles to keep up with the daily challenges of his adopted family.  Plagued by a dry spell, the animals of the jungle congregate at a peaceful drinking location where the feared and severely scarred tiger Shere Khan (Elba) voices his animosity and desire to kill Mowgli.  After much deliberation, the young man-cub solely decides to leave his family for their own safety with assistance from the trusted panther Bagheera (Kingsley).  Journeying to the nearby village, Shere Khan strikes, separating the two and leaving the child to navigate exotic depths of the jungle unknown to him.  Following a near-death encounter with a hypnotic python, Mowgli is rescued by the lovably lazy bear Baloo (Murray), forging a new friendship built on ingenuity and honey consumption.  After reuniting with his former protector Bagheera and news of tragedy is reported, Mowgli overcomes a labyrinth of monkeys and their royal King Louie (Walken) to face his destiny back in the only home he knows.

    Retaining the beloved musical tunes of Terry Gilkyson and the Sherman Brothers, The Jungle Book guides viewers through a computer-generated realm of unbelievable reality populated with photorealistic animals that break new ground in movie magic wizardry.  Stunningly realized by a voice cast of Hollywood’s finest including, the pitch-perfect Bill Murray as Baloo and the briefly seen yet, wholly impactful Scarlett Johansson as the seductively sneaky Kaa, newcomer Neel Sethi brings a youthful energy and wide-ranging charisma to his role as the film’s only central human character.  Epically conceived and pushing the boundaries of adventure to new heights, The Jungle Book delivers far more than the bare necessities, ensuring a heartwarming and intensely packed avenue of escapism for all ages.

    Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment presents The Jungle Book with a 1080p transfer, sporting a 1.85:1 aspect ratio.  Flawless in every aspect, the lush greenery of the jungle to its more rainy and overcast skies read with exceptional clarity.  Meanwhile, Mowgli’s skin tone breathes with natural ease while, scars and the delicacy of all animal furs appear with impressive detail.  Finally, black levels found in Bagheera’s coat and King Louie’s dilapidated kingdom are exquisitely inky and deep making Disney’s latest transfer yet another mark of visual perfection.  Equipped with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 mix, dialogue is solidly relayed with the natural ambiance of a jungle setting nicely supported.  In addition, John Debney’s (Sin City, Iron Man 2) score packs immersive depth while, animal roars, bass heavy stampedes and of course, Murray and Walken’s renditions of “The Bare Necessities” and “I Wan’na Be Like You”   making reference quality statements.  Special features include, an Audio Commentary with Director Jon Favreau that is both highly informative and passionate, The Jungle Book Reimagined (35:02) presents a roundtable discussion with Director Jon Favreau, Producer Brigham Taylor and Visual Effects Supervisor Robert Legato on the long, rewarding process of making the film, I Am Mowgli (8:18) explores the charming qualities that earned newcomer Neel Sethi his role in the film and his unique interactions working on an imagined set while, King Louie’s Temple: Layer by Layer (3:14) presents a nicely edited rendition of “I Wan’na Be Like You” juxtaposing from Walken’s recording, the computer-generated developments of the sequence and John Debney’s conduction of the music.  Lastly, Sneak Peeks at Disney Movie Rewards (0:20), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (1:43) and Zootopia (1:37) are included alongside a DVD edition of the release and a Digital HD Code.

    A visual splendor from start to finish, The Jungle Book continues Disney’s long, storied tradition of timeless tales and breathtaking adventure.  Achieved through dazzling technological advances, Director Jon Favreau’s modern rendition honors its animated forefather with the utmost respect while, pushing cinematic boundaries that Walt Disney himself would be impressed by.  Serving its feature rightly, Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment delivers a pristine high-definition experience with a delightful dose of supplements including, a highly enjoyable commentary with Favreau that will leave viewers swinging from the trees in excitement.

    RATING: 4.5/5

    Available August 30th from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment, The Jungle Book can be purchased via and other fine retailers.