Matinee Blu-ray review

Joe Dante's period comedy is a must-see for fans of vintage creature-features

This criminally overlooked 1992 comedy finds cult filmmaker Joe Dante crafting a love letter to classic 1950s monster movies set against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Set in Key West in 1962, Matinee stars Simon Fenton as Gene, a teenage Navy brat who, along with his friends, has only two things on his mind: girls and B-movie producer Lawrence Woolsey (a superb John Goodman), who is premiering his new creature feature Mant! in the town. Add to this a teenage hoodlum up to no good and a town gripped by the very real fear of imminent nuclear annihilation and you have one heck of a combustible situation.

Picture: Unlike its 2014 Blu-ray release of Joe Dante's The 'Burbs, Arrow hasn't done its own restoration of Matinee. But here that's no bad thing as the 1.85:1-framed HD master is in pretty good shape. Detail levels are good throughout, colours are warm and there are no traces of print damage. Meanwhile, the black-and-white Mant! footage highlights the accuracy of the encode's contrast and brightness.
Picture rating: 4/5

Audio: Matinee's LPCM stereo mix is surprisingly effective. Dialogue is crystal-clear, while Jerry Goldsmith's playful score sounds as good as you could hope for. There's also plenty of range in the two-channel mix, as evidenced by the low-frequency 'Rumble-Rama' effects towards the movie's end.
Audio rating: 4/5

Extras: Arrow has amassed lots of supplementary material for fans to sink their teeth (or mandibles) into. Bit Parts! The Joe Dante Players featurette focuses on several actors – Archie Hahn, Robert Picardo, Belinda Balaski, John Sayles and Dick Miller – who often pop up in Dante's films. Atomo-Vision! Making Matinee chats to cinematographer John Hora and editor Marshall Harvey, while Paranoia in Ant Vision is a fascinating half-hour sit-down with Dante conducted for the French Blu-ray released by Carlotta Films in 2011 (don't worry, it's in English!).

Best of all is the inclusion of the complete edit of the Mant! movie, which runs to 16 minutes and includes a fair amount of footage that isn't seen in Matinee. This is accompanied by the full-length version of the Mant! trailer, once again containing some exclusive footage, and a short intro to Mant! from Dante.

Rounding things out are the original EPK featurette, a reel of behind-the-scenes footage, five deleted/extended scenes and the original theatrical trailer. The first pressing of the Blu-ray also ships with an info-packed 20-page booklet.
Extras rating: 4/5

We say: A great hi-def release that should bring this wonderful film the attention it always deserved

Matinee, Arrow Video, Region B BD & R2 DVD, £20