DVDs: Downton Abbey Has Gone Down, Down, Down In Quality
POLDARK The whole Assortment ($79.Ninety nine; Acorn) — Do not tell my mother, however Downton Abbey has swiftly declined from a pale imitation of the original Upstairs Downstairs to a pale imitation of Falcon Crest. She’s having fun with the show but I rapidly switched from eagerness to see if the second season could construct on the over-praised first to laughter at its foolishness to boredom. The first season lifted entire plot strains from U/D (and shamelessly from Mrs. Miniver) nevertheless it was fun. This season it has gone utterly off the rails, with episodes ending with soap-like revelations (full with “da-dum!” foreboding musical cues), characters behaving totally without rhyme or motive from one moment to the next. Why, for example, has Isobel Crawley gone from a sensible if blunt woman to a blithering idiot The plot twists come so fast and furious all you are able to do is giggle. But they keep coming at a ludicrous pace, till even the guilty pleasure is drained out of it. Having seen your complete season, belief me — it would not pull itself collectively. Maggie Smith still manages to swat down one-liners with aplomb, but the remainder of the superb 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. But it is intelligently executed and the characters do not change from moment to second and it all wraps up stone island vest sale nicely in two seasons (regardless that there have been many more books for them to attract upon.) Downton, I concern, goes to be with us for a few years to come back.
LADY AND THE TRAMP ($39.Ninety nine BluRay combo; Disney) — It is a knee jerk response to refer to every single Disney animated film as a traditional. However right below the top-tier of Snow White and Pinocchio and others, you may find the second tier of excellent movies which can be charming and have stood the check of time — even if they are not stone chilly masterpieces. In that group resides Lady and the Tramp, a sweet and charming tale bolstered by Peggy Lee’s terrific songs and probably the most romantic kisses in display screen history. No wonder it is on the cowl of this set, which appears great and options the sturdy extras that a Disney manufacturing deserves.
DRIVE ($39.Ninety nine BluRay; Sony)
THE IDES OF MARCH ($35.99 BluRay; Columbia) — Actor Ryan Gosling had the type of 12 months each savvy actor longs for when building a career. He co-starred in the favored romantic comedy Loopy Silly Love and garnered attention for both his abs and his comedic chops. Then he took the cool character examine Drive to Cannes the place it obtained tons of acclaim for critics, launching a pretty good box workplace run as well as Oscar discuss for his co-star Albert Brooks. He wound it up with the political drama The Ides Of March, which did the truth is garner an Oscar nomination for director George Clooney’s screenplay. All Gosling needs now could be an out-and-out hit (or better yet franchise he can name his personal, a la Matt Damon’s Bourne movies) and he’ll be able to continue making the smart, daring films he desires 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 Stay IN Concert/Greatest HITS Reside ($17.97 BluRay; Picture)
X: THE UNHEARD MUSIC ($sixteen.Ninety five; Angel Media/MVD)
TOM PETTY AND THE HEARTBREAKERS: Dwell IN Live performance ($17.Ninety seven BluRay; Image) — The U2 documentary is a fantastic simple documentary that appeared within the lavish reissue of Achtung Baby. This edition is longer than that one, which appears pretty merciless if you forked over greater than $one hundred for the set. Nonetheless, it’s a strong look at a turning point within the band’s career, albeit strictly for fans of the band already. Richard Thompson is a sterling stay act and one in all my all-time favorites, but this concert is for his album Dream Attic, which is not one of his greatest. Since the concert leans so closely on it, this present is solely good and doesn’t scale the peaks Thompson so typically does. Chris Isaak has quietly gone about amassing a chunk of nice singles, however this awkward combination of two concerts incorporates three songs that appear on both (too much when the exhibits solely embrace eleven or 12 tunes). He is fun and in good voice but deserves a better live document. Not like U2, the LA band X delivered a very memorable documentary about their group before calling it a day, though X: The Unheard Music has been ignored for years, thanks to its lack of availability. This tremendous new set with extras ought to remedy that. Finally, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are a legendary reside act, however like Springsteen, they’ve by no means been nicely captured on film. The identical, sadly, is true here of this superb but unremarkable performance for Soundstage.
A very HAROLD & KUMAR CHRISTMAS ($35.99; Warner Bros.) — Possibly it was the vacation season, however this third H&Ok movie got nearer to the sweet spirit of the original than the somewhat sour sequel. And of course there can by no means be enough of Neil Patrick Harris in self-mocking, lady-killer mode. Though the three-D was used extensively in theaters, for some odd purpose it’s just type of dumbly amusing to see all sorts of things flying out at the digital camera even in 2-D. Will there be a fourth In fact there can be a fourth.
WINGS ($29.99 BluRay; Paramount)
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD 50TH ANNIVERSARY ($26.98 BluRay; Common)
A STAR IS BORN 1937 ($29.Ninety five BluRay; Kino)
Wings was the final silent film (indeed the only silent film) to win the Oscar for Best Picture and it is also memorable for considered one of the good screen debuts — Gary Cooper makes an incredible impression in a small role as a doomed pilot. It may soon be joined by the silent homage The Artist in that rare class. This properly restored BuRay showcases the still enjoyable if creaky movie and kicks off a sequence of Paramount restorations. To Kill A Mockingbird is also beautifully presented by Common, which is sensible for one of many movies that really deserves the word beloved. I prefer it better than the e-book however have by no means been loopy about either (it’s usually good to maintain that to yourself on a primary date; I can not inform you how usually individuals say, “But that is my favourite e book!”) And A Star Is Born is always ripe for remake, however the Janet Gaynor and Frederick March edition is simply too often overshadowed by the Judy Garland and James Mason take. This sharp-looking restoration is nice although the all-however absent extras will not be up to standard for a movie with this sturdy of a history.
TRANSFORMERS: Dark OF THE MOON ($54.Ninety nine three-D BluRay combo; Paramount)
Actual STEEL ($39.99 BluRay; Touchstone/Disney) — Why Transformers continues to make loads of cash is beyond me. I perceive fans turning out for the unique after which seeing the sequel with hopes it is perhaps better. However surely by the time of this third edition, it is clear the noisiest and dumbest franchise round cannot be bothered to do anything however smash issues collectively. The 3-D was pointless within the theater, frankly and it would even be marginally less tiresome to observe the movie on 2-D at dwelling than with the glasses. That doesn’t however make the movie any good. Real Steel at least bothered to come up with a plot, albeit a hackneyed one a couple of dad discovering common floor with his estranged son by constructing and combating robotic boxers. Hugh Jackman has horrible style in scripts (or needs a supervisor who does). To go from this to appearing on Broadway where he can sing “Stepping Out” after which be greeted by literally thousands of adoring followers afterwards…well, it’s a miracle if he ever makes a film once more.
SID & NANCY ($24.99 BluRay; MGM/Fox)
GOOD MORNING VIETNAM ($19.Ninety nine BluRay; Touchstone/Disney)
Useless POETS SOCIETY ($19.99 BluRay; Touchstone/Disney)
SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE ($14.Ninety nine BluRay; Miramax) — First let me note the completely satisfied reality of falling costs for BluRay. I by no means thought they need to have been priced a penny more than DVDs and it is nice to see traditional titles popping out at $15 and $20 worth points, with sale costs even decrease. Gary Oldman could be my decide for greatest actor this yr for his work on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. However he is been wowing us for many years, including his marvelously unhinged immersion into the role of Sid Vicious. Robin Williams tore it up in the uneven Good Morning Vietnam but correctly bought out-of-the-method in Useless Poets and ceded the stage to the proficient younger 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 Finest Picture Oscar, however it is a fun romp and holds up fairly properly thanks.
THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA At the ROYAL ALBERT Corridor ($39.98 BluRay; Common) — In a couple of days, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom will have a good time its 10,000th efficiency on Broadway and has simply handed its twenty fifth anniversary in existence. This lavish one-time staging on the Royal Albert Corridor is a dwell performance starring Ramin karimloo and Sierra Boggess for broadcast world wide. it avoids the sterility of the Joel Schumacher movie and provides a bit oomph to a show so many people have seen in individual already. I am going to take the music of Cats, Evita and Jesus Christ Superstar over this, but just about everyone else on this planet appears to disagree with me. If you happen to prefer it, this is a nice dwell model.
POIROT Collection 1 ($forty nine.Ninety nine BluRay; Acorn)
STAR TREK The next Generation: The next Level ($22.99 BluRay; Paramount) — I’ve seen David Suchet’s definitive efficiency as Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, but I was not there initially. So I’m very excited to begin this collection firstly and comply with him all the best way by means of from the primary mystery they broadcast (“The Adventure Of The Clapham Cook”) proper down to the ultimate whatever (Suchet is set to movie every single Poirot tale, whatever its origin). I do not assume Poirot fans are obsessed with picture quality, but the BluRay seems to be very good. It’s a pity they couldn’t have put out a large boxed set with, say, half of the complete 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 lengthy. But you cannot have every little thing…except you’re a Star Trek fan. Paramount is set to provide you with what you need and certainly these fans do care about hello-def. This teaser set contains three episodes from ST: TNG converted into excessive-definition and the results are fairly stunning as far as the level of detail now visible. it’s positive to get followers chomping on the bit for the BluRay launched of the complete sequence after such careful remastering.
THE Second OF Reality ($29.Ninety nine BluRay; Criterion)
THREE Popular Films BY JEAN-PIERRE GORIN ($44.Ninety five; Eclipse/Criterion) — I’ve never loved my homework greater than now when it comes from Criterion. When other labels reissue films, it’s usually films I’ve seen like Shakespeare In Love and To Kill A Mockingbird. But when Criterion reissues a movie, it’s typically a movie I am completely unfamiliar with but am certain to search out fascinating. I can not wait to get to the bullfighting drama The Second Of Truth, by Italian director Francesco Rosi, starring real-life matador Migeulin. I can solely assume that Hemingway beloved it. And from their marvelous Eclipse collection comes three documentaries by Gorin that focus on twin sisters, model train enthusiasts and a Samoan avenue gang. All from the 1980s and all of which are completely new to me — for every other label, that might be regarding. However when Criterion takes the time to put it out, it is certain to be worth your time too.
THE Residence ($24.Ninety nine every on BluRay; MGM) — I’ve reviewed a string of old motion pictures that had been reissued in the previous couple of weeks — To Kill A Mockingbird, A Star Is Born, Wings and so forth. I’ve casually mentioned that they look good to nice. It is simple to take for granted the work and expense that wants to go into these releases in order that they do look good…but not when you’re confronted with lazy work achieved right here. This batch of six titles from the MGM library are all on BluRay and trust me, these are not restorations and even remasterings however simply whatever print was obtainable slapped onto Bluray after which given the insulting tagline “The ultimate high-Definition Experience.” Uh, hardly, not when my years-previous DVDs look virtually the same. The start of Woody Allen’s Manhattan is some of the famed openers in movie historical past and will stun you with its lavish black and white. Here it seems to be grainy and ugly, as if smog has descended on New York. After all these years, you’d assume they’d need to do it proper. The identical is true with each different film right here; they’re at best no higher than the latest DVD releases. That is puzzling to say the least since by now studios realize the value of their film libraries and few administrators are more widespread than Alfred Hitchcock. But right here he have one in all his best (Notorious), one among his worst (Spellbound) and a work-for-rent that received Best Picture (Rebecca) all delivered with indifference. Ditto Woody Allen’s Manhattan and Annie Corridor, in addition to Billy Wilder’s coruscating The House. I might have two or three of those six films on my all-time finest listing. However when you already own them, there’s no reason to buy these BluRays. And if you don’t personal them, purchase a used or new DVD at a less expensive worth and wait until they do it proper.
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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 information of the day and options top journalists and opinion makers as friends. It’s available for free on iTunes. Visit Michael Giltz at his webpage and his each day weblog. Obtain his podcast of celeb interviews and his radio present, additionally called Popsurfing and also available for free on iTunes. Hyperlink to him on Netflix and acquire access to 1000’s of rankings and evaluations.
Notice: Michael Giltz is supplied with free copies of DVDs and BluRays with the understanding that he would be contemplating them for evaluate. Typically, he does not assure to evaluate and he receives far more titles than stone island vest sale he can cowl.