Pulling – The Complete First Season (DVD)

Coming off like a British version of Sex and The City, without the obsessive comments about shoes, Pulling does a far better job of appealing to members of both sexes. The first season of the show, originally aired in the UK in 2006, is finally making it to the U.S. via DVD. Continue reading “Pulling – The Complete First Season (DVD)”

Rhoda: Season One (DVD)

While I was about a decade out from being born when Rhoda hit the airwaves, I still was fairly cognizant of the show through the reruns that were present on TV Land and the like. I was actually surprised when I received this DVD set, as I did not believe that a show like Rhoda was scorned for so long in regards to having a DVD set released. For those individuals that did not have the chance to watch or learn about the show in any capacity, Rhoda ran between 1974 and 1978, and was originally spun off from The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Continue reading “Rhoda: Season One (DVD)”

El Chicano – In The Eye of the Storm (CD)

El Chicano has been on the music scene for nearly 40 years: 1970 marked the first time that the band came together and created their own special type of Latino R&B meets funk. “In The Eye of the Storm” is a documentary that shows the evolution of the band from their earliest days to the present, while the second disc captures their magic in a May 2008 show at The Avalon. Continue reading “El Chicano – In The Eye of the Storm (CD)”

The Ascent of Money (DVD)

The Ascent of Money is one of the few DVDs that one can actually watch that provides a fair and balanced perspective into what is currently happening regarding the economy. Where there are a number of different talking heads weighing in on the issue, only Niall Ferguson seems to have a solid head on eir shoulders. The Ascent of Money, adapted from one of Ferguson’s lectures on the circuit, is an incredibly poignant discussion of what the factors were in creating “the perfect storm” that has ravaged the global economic market. Continue reading “The Ascent of Money (DVD)”

The Casting Out – Go Crazy! Throw Fireworks! (CD)

Though The Casting Out is led by former BoySetsFire singer Nathan Gray, don’t expect this new outfit to sound anything remotely like the post hardcore band he used to front. On the band’s debut, Go Crazy! Throw Fireworks!, the angry guitars and angsty bellows have been replaced by a more pop/punk sound and a few song-along choruses. Continue reading “The Casting Out – Go Crazy! Throw Fireworks! (CD)”

Blue Ice Organic Wheat Vodka (Vodka)

We have had the ability to taste a number of different types of vodka over the year or so that the alcohol review section has been active. However, we have not had too much in the “organic” section of things, and Blue Ice is one of many reviews that we are conducting over the course of the next month to see how organic spirits stack up to their non-organic brethren. The bottle itself is pretty unique, combining the bottle shape with formed ice crystals on the back of the bottle. Continue reading “Blue Ice Organic Wheat Vodka (Vodka)”

Dark Matter (DVD)

Very few directors of opera, I believe, take the plunge in directing a feature film, and even smaller of a number tackle a project with Meryl Streep. That is what Chen Shi-Zheng did with “Dark Matter”, and eir aptitude and skill behind the camera is enough to even take someone like Streep’s style to the next level. The film itself deals with the linkages between Streep’s character (Joanna), a rich individual that is more in the vein of philanthropists than anything and Chinese charge Liu Xing (Ye Liu, known from Curse of the Golden Flower and Blood Brothers). Continue reading “Dark Matter (DVD)”

The Showdown (DVD)

The Showdown is a Western, showcasing the trials and tribulations of US Marshal Luke Canfield, played here by Bob Handegan, a powerful newcomer to film. Specifically, Luke is pitted against a gang, a group of ruffians that would like no more than to murder the love of eir life, Dixie (Ann Hagemann) and son. Whether Luke folds under the pressure and allows the gang to run roughshod over eir territory or stand up for eir principals is the ultimate question that The Showdown looks to solve, and the emotions run high throughout the entirety of the film. Continue reading “The Showdown (DVD)”

Paramount Blu-Ray Reviews: Ferris Bueller, Grease, Saturday Night Fever

These three classic films are released on Blu-Ray for the first time, and each brings something slightly different to the table. Despite the difference in release year (1977, 1978, and 1986), each of the films are brought to the current period in terms of video and audio quality. Each of the releases will provide purchasers with a tremendous amount of added features, as they represent at the base level the content involved with the comprehensive DVD versions of each film. Finally, the films themselves are placed at the (current) low-end of Blu-Ray releases.

The MSRP for each of these films is $29.99, while intrepid bargain hunters will be able to find them new and sealed for a third off. While there have been a number of releases of each of these three titles, Paramount has ensured that they will not be bothered in the near future with having to revamp the existing edition: consequently, other films (some of which may not even have a DVD version) can be restored, featurettes added, and can then be brought over to the newer format. Paramount has hit a home run with these titles, and I will be looking for subsequent releases of classic films such as these.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off : Bueller…Bueller…Edition / 2009 Paramount / 102 Minutes / http://www.paramount.com/homeentertainment

Aside from the feature presentation of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off itself, the Blu-Ray edition of the film brings a number of new things out. This means that the film has the vibrant eighties feel that really was missing during cable showings after its release, while the slightly-muffled audio present in earlier iterations of the film has been cleaned up considerably for the Dolby True HD. The featurettes that are present on the Blu-Ray version of the disc are stellar, blending together lost and deleted footage with some “looking back” type of footage.

Of course, Ben Stein is the focal point of yet another featurette, while there is a class album feature that breaks things out a little further than was present in the film itself. For those individuals that want to see exactly how the movie’s magic was created, “The Making of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is a must see, showing exactly how detailed the process was. The film itself never seemed to age, despite being nearly twenty-five years old. The Blu-Ray edition of the film, released by Paramount just a short time ago, will ensure that the film does not age any further. Buy this Blu-Ray even if you have the DVD, as the steps forward in terms of video, audio, and featurettes more than make up for the asking price.

Saturday Night Fever: 30th Anniversary Special Collector’s Edition / 2009 Paramount / 118 Minutes / http://www.paramount.com/homeentertainment

Saturday Night Fever is a film that influenced a generation. However, at least for individuals my age, it seems like the film’s importance has been muted by the passage of time. Compared to either Ferris Bueller’s Day Off or Grease, it seems to be the film that is replayed the least on cable. However, the package that Paramount has released, the 30th Anniversary Special Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray, really returns Saturday Night Fever to its rightful place. Compared to the other two films, I feel that Saturday Night Fever benefited the most from the better video quality that Blu-Ray provides.

While the audio is on par with other transfers to Blu-Ray, what always seemed to me to be a very dark and dirty type of film is now something that represents a more realistic set of colors. The upgrade in video quality is so impressive, in fact, that I would recommended that fans of the movie buy it purely based on this upgrade. However, there are other additions to this presentation that provide a serious amount of value added.

The ‘70s Discopedia allows individuals that were not into that genre to get a better understanding of the music side of things, while the “Fever Challenge!” ensures that viewers actually pay a pretty decent amount of attention to the film. The commentary by John Badham (director) allows further context to be filled in about the creation of the film, while the deleted scenes weave together scenes in an improve capacity over the original film. Satruday Night Fever on Blu-Ray is a delight for anyone that is a fan of disco or of Travolta’s earlier film. If you are a fan, or would like to get someone into it, buy this edition of the film.

Grease: Rockin’ Rydell Edition / 2009 Paramount / 110 Minutes / http://www.paramount.com/homeentertainment

We had a chance to review the Rockin’ Rydell edition of Grease a few months ago for NeuFutur.com , and individuals can access that at http://neufutur.com/?p=5090 . However, Paramount has brought the Rockin’ Rydell edition to Blu-Ray, and while there are a number of similarities, there are some significant differences. The DVD edition of the film was the best possible release that could be released for that console, but the transfer over to Blu-Ray has ensured that individuals should buy the Blu-Ray edition. The 1080p / high definition cut of the film is sharp, bringing out figures and actions that took place in the background that had not been seen in any major form since the film’s original theatrical run.

The audio ensures that viewers are able to hear each of the musical numbers crispy, allowing them to sing along with more aplomb and intensity than they have in years. Of course, the different featurettes are welcome editions to the film, giving viewers the chance to see 11 different deleted scenes, and even go behind the scenes and see how the actors have aged over the course of twenty-five years. Where Grease’s Rockin’ Rydell edition was the premiere Grease release in October of 2008, the Blu-Ray version of that package is the only copy of Grease that one needs. If you have a DVD played, make it a point to pick up Grease the next time you are at a local video shop.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off Rating: 8.8/10
Saturday Night Fever Rating: 8.4/10
Grease Rating: 8.3/10

Enchanted April (DVD)

Enchanted April was originally a book written by Elizabeth von Arnim, and the book itself was brought to the silver screen on the seventieth anniversary of the release. The film centers around two women that wish to be free of the monotony of their daily lives. Packing up and taking a trip away from these lives, their husbands, and damp, murky England, they set out to the Italian Riviera. Adding in a second pair of individuals, they come together to rent out a palatial villa for a month. Continue reading “Enchanted April (DVD)”