Madman DVD Reviews:
Madman is an independent DVD distribution company in New Zealand releasing about 40 new titles per month.
This week Scoop’s Jackie Little casts an eye over the American adventures of one of her great heroes, Stephen Fry
, while son Callum offers his opinion on the Robot Chicken Star Wars parody
Stephen Fry In America.
Review By Jackie Little
British comedy genius Stephen Fry, invariably described in the press as quintessentially English introduces his sojourn
across the States with the shocking revelation that he was almost born an American.
His father had been offered a post at Princeton University in the fifties and came within a whisker of accepting, but on
reflection decided against uprooting his family, hence sparing Stephen the ignominy of becoming a “Steve”.
This, he suggests is partly the inspiration for his idea of getting behind the wheel of a London Black Cab and driving
clear across the endlessly changing and fascinating States that make up the USA to discover what kind of a world “Steve”
would have inhabited.
The answer of course proved to be one of infinite variety. From the opening scene of Fry learning to sedate a freshly
caught Maine lobster while extolling the work ethic of the fishing crews, to conversing with one of the last inhabitants
of a MidWest ghost town, Fry’s genuine interest in what makes America and its inhabitants tick shines through.
What also stands out like a stiff upper lip is Fry’s enjoyment and pride in living up to his image of the
“quintessential” Englishman. Roaming the States, commenting on all aspects with quiet, gentlemanly enthusiasm (I wish I
had counted the number of understated “Oh Mys” he uttered during his travels, whether talking to an Alabama socialite–
who had been at JFK’s wedding – or touring a Nevada brothel)
Fry even managed to immortalise himself – as if more immortalisation was needed by the dear chap – by contriving and
naming his very own variety of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream. (To my shame I have forgotten what he titled it and as I
haven’t the time to troll the DVD again at this moment you will just have to order it and discover for yourself, you
won’t regret it).
He also turned his hand to deer hunting – though despite being a self confessed carnivore, he could not bring himself to
actually pull the trigger, hopping to and fro at the great divide and (looking a tad flushed and less than debonair)
whisky tasting at a Kentucky distellery to name but a few of his exploits.
Obviously the undertaking was vast, and some States – notably Idaho – had to be passed over in a few words, but the DVD
contains hitherto unseen bonus footage – a bonus indeed for any died in the wool Fry fan such as myself,
In gloomy times with the need for entertainment to be cheap and cheerful, an evening in with The wonderful Mr Fry and
his black cab (not actually the one in which he drives around London as a private citizen but a hired substitute) will
delight all but the sourest with its feel good factor.
Robot Chicken Star Wars Episode 2
Review By Callum Llewellyn Aged 11
Robot chicken is a good series it is quite well set up and looks very hard to make. The animation is great and the fact
that it is called robot chicken just makes it better. This episode was actually the first I have seen and after hearing
a lot about robot chicken and seeing tiny little clips on comedy central I saw the Madman catalogue and thought I must
watch that and I did. I would give it 3 and a half stars 1 and a half stars because it’s funny 1 more because it is star
wars and half a star because it looks like people spend a heck of a lot of time on it.
(Mum chips in: The best joke is a take on the scene that tugged at my heartstrings when I was in love with Harrison Ford
all those years ago. Poor old Han is about to be cryogenically slaughtered and the hitherto proudly aloof Leia blurts
out “I love you” . Cool as ice (ha ha) he replies “I know” before being plunged to his doom.
In Chicken Robot Chewbacca, at this stage lets out an anguished roar. “THAT I did not know” ripostes our hero, deadpan.)
Check out this month’s latest hot releases at www.madman.com.au