Movie Review: MATINEE (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray

MATINEE was directed by Joe Dante from a screenplay by Charles S. Haas and stars John Goodman at his uproarious best as the William Castle-inspired movie promoter Lawrence Woolsey, who brings his unique brand of flashy showmanship to the unsuspecting residents of Key West, Florida. Cathy Moriarty, Simone Fenton, Kellie Martin, Omri Katz, Lisa Jakob, Robert Picardo, John Sayles and Dick Miller also star.

A loving homage to the kitchy creature-features of the atomic age, the delightful comedy Matinee is a smart and sharp period comedy that captures of joy of growing up on cheesy B-movies. It’s 1962, and fifteen-year-old fan Gene Loomis (Simone Fenton) can’t wait for the arrival of Woolsey, who is in town to promote his latest offering of atomic power gone berserk, Mant! But the absurd vision of Woolsey’s tale takes on a sudden urgency as the Cuban Missile Crisis places the real threat of atomic horror just 90 miles off the coast. With the help of Woolsey’s leading lady, Ruth (Cathy Moriarty), the master showman gives Key West a premiere they’ll never forget. Anything can happen in the movies, and everything does in this hilarious tribute to a more innocent (and outrageous) time in American cinema.

Can you imagine how tense things got back in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis? This movie shows a lighter side of how some people might have handled it. The movie takes place in Key West, Florida (just 90 miles from Cuba) and follows Lawrence Woolsey (John Goodman), a low budget filmmaker who shows up with his actress/girlfriend Ruth (Cathy Moriarty) to promote his latest B-movie, MANT! There’s also some local teens that the movie follows around. First up is Gene Loomis (Simone Fenton) who loves to go to matinees and ends up meeting the filmmaker and helps him out some. There’s Sandra (Lisa Jakob) who catches Gene’s eye and the two end up hitting it off and even have a little fun in a bomb shelter during a false alarm. There’s also Sherry (Kellie Martin) who has a crush on Stan (Omri Katz) but standing in the way is a jealous boyfriend with a touch of mischief to him but eventually things work out for the two.

The majority of Matinee takes place before the premiere of MANT! with Lawrence Woolsey going around the small town promoting his movie and setting up his theatrical gags that go along with the unique moviegoing experience. The gags include lots of propaganda, a man in a monster suit who runs around scaring the audience, electric buzzers installed in the seats, blasting speakers that help with the terrifying adventure and more. At the end of the day, what the charismatic filmmaker does is offer a temporary escape from reality. MANT! delivers some thrills and chills to to those who attend the screening and witness first hand what the hype was all about. In the end he pulls it off with flying colors (with an exception or two), the teens have an experience of a lifetime, and the tense standoff between the United States and Russia finally comes to an end.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. The front features the new artwork you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve also features some original artwork and movie credits so you have your choice of which side you’d like to use as the front cover. The disc features some matching artwork. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, I had a blast revisiting Matinee and I guess it had been when it first released back in 1993 since I had watched it. The fun story takes the viewer back to a much simpler time and shows how life goes on in this small seaside community while this terrifying missile crisis takes place in the background. The cast did a great job with their characters and John Goodman nails it as this B-movie king who arrives and puts on one heck of a show. I’ve been a Joe Dante fan since I was a kid and I’m actually one of the ones who went to see this movie on the big screen and I also know it bombed at the box office even though it deserved so much more. Maybe because it doesn’t really fit in one certain genre? I’m not sure because it’s a gem of a movie and it’s one of those rare treats that simply gets better as it ages. This delightful period piece has been called Joe Dante’s most personal movie that serves as a love letter to those wonderful monster matinees from the 50’s. This charming atomic-age comedy makes its Blu-ray debut in the U.S. as part of Shout! Factory’s new Shout Select line on January 16th and is definitely worth checking out.

Distributor: Shout! Factory

Run Time: 99 Minutes

Rated: PG

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (1.85:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0

Subtitles: English

Special Features: Good Stuff! There’s hours of impressive extras that include all-new interviews with some of the cast and crew along with some bonus material that has been imported over from previous home video releases.

  • NEW Master Of The Matinee – An interview with director Joe Dante (20:29)
  • NEW The Leading Lady – An interview with Cathy Moriarty (12:02)
  • NEW MANTastic! The Making Of A Mant (25:12)
  • NEW Out Of The Bunker – An interview with actress Lisa Jakub (16:17)
  • NEW Making A Monster Theatre – An interview with production designer Steven Legler (15:35)
  • NEW The Monster Mix – An interview with editor Marshall Harvey (11:39)
  • NEW Lights! Camera! Reunion! – An interview with director of photography John Hora (21:13)
  • Paranoia In Ant Vision – Joe Dante discusses the making of the film (32:37)
  • MANT! – The full length version of the film with introduction by Joe Dante (22:45)
  • Vintage making-of Matinee featurette (04:27)
  • Behind-the-scenes footage courtesy of Joe Dante (08:22)
  • Deleted and extended scenes sourced from Joe Dante’s workprint (02:21)
  • Still galleries (03:59)
  • Theatrical trailer (01:57)


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