DVDs: Downton Abbey Has Gone Down, Down, Down In High quality
POLDARK The whole Assortment ($seventy nine.99; Acorn) — Do not tell my mother, but Downton Abbey has swiftly declined from a pale imitation of the unique Upstairs Downstairs to a pale imitation of Falcon Crest. She’s enjoying the show but I quickly switched from eagerness to see if the second season may construct on the over-praised first to laughter at its foolishness to boredom. The primary season lifted total plot lines from U/D (and shamelessly from Mrs. Miniver) but it was fun. This season it has gone fully off the rails, with episodes ending with cleaning soap-like revelations (complete with “da-dum!” foreboding musical cues), characters behaving completely without rhyme or motive from one second to the following. Why, for example, has Isobel Crawley gone from a wise if blunt lady to a blithering idiot? The plot twists come so quick and furious all you can do is chuckle. However they keep coming at a ludicrous pace, till even the guilty pleasure is drained out of it. Having seen the complete season, trust me — it would not pull itself collectively. Maggie Smith nonetheless manages to swat down one-liners with aplomb, but the rest of the high-quality solid is totally at a loss. You’d be a lot better off watcing Poldark, an earlier technology’s PBS sensation. This has all of the pleasures of Downton, including the period setting and juicy storylines. However it’s intelligently done and the characters do not change from moment to moment and all of it wraps up nicely in two seasons (though there have been many extra books for them to attract upon.) Downton, I concern, is going to be with us for a few years to return.
LADY AND THE TRAMP ($39.99 BluRay combo; Disney) — It is a knee jerk response to refer to each single Disney animated film as a basic. However proper beneath the highest-tier of Snow White and Pinocchio and others, you will discover the second tier of superb movies which are charming and have stood the check of time — even if they don’t seem to be stone chilly masterpieces. In that group resides Lady and the Tramp, a sweet and charming tale bolstered by Peggy Lee’s terrific songs and one of the crucial romantic kisses in display screen historical past. No surprise it’s on the cover of this set, which seems to be great and options the robust extras that a Disney manufacturing deserves.
DRIVE ($39.Ninety nine BluRay; Sony)
THE IDES OF MARCH ($35.Ninety nine BluRay; Columbia) — Actor Ryan Gosling had the sort of 12 months each savvy actor longs for when constructing a profession. He co-starred in the popular romantic comedy Loopy Silly Love and garnered consideration for both his abs and his comedic chops. Then he took the cool character examine Drive to Cannes where it obtained tons of acclaim for critics, launching a reasonably good field workplace run in addition to Oscar talk for his co-star Albert Brooks. He wound it up with the political drama The Ides Of March, which did in truth garner an Oscar nomination for director George Clooney’s screenplay. All Gosling wants now’s an out-and-out hit (or better but franchise he can name his personal, a la Matt Damon’s Bourne movies) and he’ll be able to proceed making the smart, bold films he needs for years to come back.
U2: FROM THE SKY DOWN ($24.98 BluRay; Island/Universal)
THE RICHARD THOMPSON BAND: Reside AT CELTIC CONNECTIONS ($19.98 BluRay; Eagle Rock)
CHRIS ISAAK Reside IN Concert/Biggest HITS Live ($17.97 BluRay; Picture)
X: THE UNHEARD MUSIC ($16.95; Angel Media/MVD)
TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS: Live IN Live performance ($17.97 BluRay; Picture) — The U2 documentary is a fine simple documentary that appeared within the lavish reissue of Achtung Child. This edition is longer than that one, which appears fairly merciless if you happen to forked over more than $one hundred for the set. Nonetheless, it is a strong have a look at a turning level within the band’s profession, albeit strictly for followers of the band already. Richard Thompson is a sterling dwell act and one among my all-time favorites, but this live performance is for his album Dream Attic, which is not one of his greatest. Because the concert leans so closely on it, this show is solely good and would not scale the peaks Thompson so often does. Chris Isaak has quietly gone about amassing a chunk of great singles, however this awkward mixture of two live shows accommodates three songs that appear on both (a lot when the shows only embody 11 or 12 tunes). He’s fun and in good voice however deserves a better dwell document. In contrast to U2, the LA band X delivered a really memorable documentary about their group earlier than calling it a day, although X: The Unheard Music has been missed for years, due to its lack of availability. This high quality new set with extras ought to treatment that. Lastly, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are a legendary reside act, but like Springsteen, they’ve by no means been nicely captured on movie. The same, sadly, is true here of this tremendous but unremarkable performance for Soundstage.
A very HAROLD & KUMAR CHRISTMAS ($35.Ninety nine; Warner Bros.) — Perhaps it was the holiday season, however this third H&Okay movie got closer to the candy spirit of the unique than the fairly bitter sequel. And naturally there can by no means be enough of Neil Patrick Harris in self-mocking, lady-killer mode. Although the three-D was used extensively in theaters, for some odd motive it is just sort of dumbly amusing to see all types of issues flying out at the digital camera even in 2-D. Will there be a fourth? After all there will likely be a fourth.
WINGS ($29.Ninety nine BluRay; Paramount)
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD 50TH ANNIVERSARY ($26.98 BluRay; Common)
A STAR IS BORN 1937 ($29.95 BluRay; Kino)
Wings was the final silent film (certainly the one silent movie) to win the Oscar for Finest Image and it is also memorable for one in all the good display screen debuts — Gary Cooper makes a tremendous impression in a small position as a doomed pilot. It might soon be joined by the silent homage The Artist in that uncommon category. This nicely restored BuRay showcases the nonetheless enjoyable if creaky movie and kicks off a series of Paramount restorations. To Kill A Mockingbird can be beautifully introduced by Universal, which is sensible for one of many films that truly deserves the word beloved. I prefer it higher than the book but have by no means been loopy about either (it is often good to maintain that to your self on a primary date; I can’t tell you the way usually individuals say, “However that’s my favorite e book!”) And A Star Is Born is at all times ripe for remake, but the Janet Gaynor and Frederick March edition is just too usually overshadowed by the Judy Garland and James Mason take. This sharp-wanting restoration is good though the all-however absent extras are not up to plain for a movie with this strong of a historical past.
TRANSFORMERS: Dark OF THE MOON ($54.Ninety nine 3-D BluRay combo; Paramount)
Real STEEL ($39.99 BluRay; Touchstone/Disney) — Why Transformers continues to make hundreds of money is beyond me. I perceive fans turning out for the original and then seeing the sequel with hopes it is perhaps higher. But absolutely by the time of this third edition, it’s clear the noisiest and dumbest franchise round cannot be bothered to do something but smash things collectively. The 3-D was pointless within the theater, frankly and it might even be marginally much less tiresome to observe the movie on 2-D at home than with the glasses. That does not nevertheless make the movie any good. Actual Steel a minimum of bothered to provide you with a plot, albeit a hackneyed one a few dad finding frequent floor with his estranged son by constructing and fighting robotic boxers. Hugh Jackman has horrible taste in scripts (or wants a manager who does). To go from this to showing on Broadway where he can sing “Stepping Out” and then be greeted by actually thousands of adoring followers afterwards…properly, it is a miracle if he ever makes a movie once more.
SID & NANCY ($24.99 BluRay; MGM/Fox)
GOOD MORNING VIETNAM ($19.Ninety nine BluRay; Touchstone/Disney)
Lifeless POETS SOCIETY ($19.Ninety nine BluRay; Touchstone/Disney)
SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE ($14.Ninety nine BluRay; Miramax) — First let me notice the glad truth of falling prices for BluRay. I never thought they need to have been priced a penny greater than DVDs and it is good to see traditional titles coming out at $15 and $20 price points, with sale costs even lower. Gary Oldman could be my pick for best actor this yr for his work on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. But he’s been wowing us for many years, including his marvelously unhinged immersion into the role of Sid Vicious. Robin Williams tore it up within the uneven Good Morning Vietnam however correctly acquired out-of-the-manner in Dead Poets and ceded the stage to the proficient young college students led by Robert Sean Leonard and Ethan Hawke. Lastly, Shakespeare In Love is commonly seen as lighter fare that robbed Saving Non-public Ryan of its Best Image Oscar, but it’s a enjoyable romp and holds up fairly nicely thanks.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA At the ROYAL ALBERT Hall ($39.98 BluRay; Common) — In just a few days, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom will have a good time its 10,000th efficiency on Broadway and has just passed its twenty fifth anniversary in existence. This lavish one-time staging at the Royal Albert Hall is a live efficiency starring Ramin karimloo and Sierra Boggess for broadcast all over the world. it avoids the sterility of the Joel Schumacher movie and provides a bit oomph to a show so many individuals have seen in person already. I am going to take the music of Cats, Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar over this, however virtually everybody else on this planet seems to disagree with me. In the event you like it, it is a positive dwell version.
POIROT Collection 1 ($49.Ninety nine BluRay; Acorn)
STAR TREK The following Generation: stone island wholesale The following Level ($22.Ninety nine BluRay; Paramount) — I’ve seen David Suchet’s definitive efficiency as Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, however I used to be not there firstly. So I’m very excited to begin this series at first and observe him all the way by way of from the first thriller they broadcast (“The Adventure Of The Clapham Cook”) right down to the final whatever (Suchet is determined to film every single Poirot tale, whatever its origin). I do not suppose Poirot followers are obsessive about picture quality, but the BluRay seems to be excellent. It is a pity they could not have put out an enormous boxed set with, say, half of all the run in chronological order in a single place, somewhat than dribbling out these season by season releases for a present that has been on so long. But you can’t have everything…until you’re a Star Trek fan. Paramount is set to give you what you need and certainly these fans do care about hi-def. This teaser set comprises three episodes from ST: TNG transformed into high-definition and the results are fairly stunning so far as the extent of detail now visible. it’s sure to get fans chomping at the bit for the BluRay launched of the complete series after such careful remastering.
THE Moment OF Truth ($29.99 BluRay; Criterion)
THREE Fashionable Movies BY JEAN-PIERRE GORIN ($44.Ninety five; Eclipse/Criterion) — I’ve by no means enjoyed my homework more than now when it comes from Criterion. When other labels reissue films, it is normally movies I’ve seen like Shakespeare In Love and To Kill A Mockingbird. But when Criterion reissues a movie, it is typically a film I’m utterly unfamiliar with but am sure to find fascinating. I can not wait to get to the bullfighting drama The Moment Of Truth, by Italian director Francesco Rosi, starring actual-life matador Migeulin. I can solely assume that Hemingway beloved it. And from their marvelous Eclipse series comes three documentaries by Gorin that focus on twin sisters, model practice enthusiasts and a Samoan road gang. All from the 1980s and all of which are fully new to me — for some other label, that could be concerning. However when Criterion takes the time to put it out, it is certain to be worth your time too.
THE Apartment ($24.99 each on BluRay; MGM) — I’ve reviewed a string of old movies that were reissued in the last few weeks — To Kill A Mockingbird, A Star Is Born, Wings and so forth. I’ve casually talked about that they look good to nice. It is simple to take without any consideration the work and expense that wants to go into those releases so they do look good…however not when you’re faced with lazy work finished right here. This batch of six titles from the MGM library are all on BluRay and trust me, these are not restorations or even remasterings however simply whatever print was out there slapped onto Bluray after which given the insulting tagline “The last word excessive-Definition Expertise.” Uh, hardly, not when my years-outdated DVDs look nearly the same. The start of Woody Allen’s Manhattan is one of the crucial famed openers in movie historical past and may stun you with its lavish black and white. Right here it appears grainy and ugly, as if smog has descended on New York. After all these years, you’d think they’d want to do it right. The same is true with every different movie right here; they’re at greatest no better than the newest DVD releases. That is puzzling to say the least since by now studios understand the value of their film libraries and few administrators are extra well-liked than Alfred Hitchcock. However here he have one in every of his best (Infamous), one in all his worst (Spellbound) and a work-for-hire that received Best Picture (Rebecca) all delivered with indifference. Ditto Woody Allen’s Manhattan and Annie Hall, in addition to Billy Wilder’s coruscating The Condo. I might have two or three of these six films on my all-time greatest listing. However if you already personal them, there is not any reason to purchase these BluRays. And if you do not personal them, purchase a used or new DVD at a cheaper price and wait until they do it right.
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Thanks for reading. Michael Giltz is the cohost of Showbiz Sandbox, a weekly pop tradition podcast that reveals the industry take on leisure news of the day and options prime journalists and opinion makers as visitors. It is accessible at no cost on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his webpage and his daily blog. Download his podcast of celebrity interviews and his radio show, additionally called Popsurfing and in addition accessible without spending a dime on iTunes. Link to him on Netflix and achieve access to hundreds of ratings and reviews.
Note: Michael Giltz is provided with free copies of DVDs and BluRays with the understanding that he would be considering them for review. Usually, he does not guarantee to evaluation and he receives far more titles than he can cover.
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