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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Cross Dressing > Gay > British > Musical > Counterculture > Western > Thriller > Politics > The Adventures Of Priscilla – Queen Of The Desert (1994) + Death At A Funeral (2007) + Hair (1978) + The Long Riders (1980) + New York, New York (1978) + Original Sin (Uncut/2001) + Posse (1993/MGM Bl

The Adventures Of Priscilla – Queen Of The Desert (1994) + Death At A Funeral (2007) + Hair (1978) + The Long Riders (1980) + New York, New York (1978) + Original Sin (Uncut/2001) + Posse (1993/MGM Blu-rays)


Picture: B- (Riders: C+)     Sound: B-/C+/C+/C+/B-/B-/B-     Extras: C+/C-/C-/C-/B+/C-/D     Films: C+/C-/C/C+/B+/C-/D



The back catalog titles continue to pour out from MGM and here are seven of the latest…


The Adventures Of Priscilla – Queen Of The Desert (1994) - This is one of two we have covered before on DVD and you can read about it at this link:




You get the same extras and the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix here is only very narrowly better than the DTS DVD.  The AVC @ 36 MBPS image has slightly better color range and fans who liked the film or the new stage musical will want this edition over the previous DVDs.


Death At A Funeral (2007) is a feature film directed by voice and live action actor Frank Oz that was a dud in its time and was not even as interesting as the likes of What About Bob? or Dirty Rotten Scoundrels trying to be a comedy of manners and understatement set in England.  Despite a good cast that includes Ewen Bremner, Matthew MacFayden, Peter Vaughn and others, the film just never works and is not very memorable either.  It might be a curio at best, but I had forgotten about it until it resurfaced here.  The 1080p 1.85 X 1 AVC @ 38 MBPS image is not bad at times, but also has grain and shows sings of being date, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is dialogue-based and not very active.  Extras include two audio commentary tracks (one by Oz, the other by Writer Dean Craig and co-stars Alan Tudyk & Andy Nyman and a Gag Reel.


Milos Forman seemed the ideal choice to make Hair (1978) into a feature film from the all-time classic Broadway Musical which had already seen hit record success for the decade or so before this film was made, but it arrived the year of Grease and actually seemed older and more dated than the 1950s retro hit.  Why?  Because it lacks any serious energy despite a cast that includes John Savage, Treat Williams, Beverly D’Angelo, Don Dacus (of the band Chicago at one point), Cheryl Barnes, Melba Moore, on the rise Nell Carter and even an appearance by Charlotte Rae that is a hoot.


Another problem is that the film was too late and that era had passed, the U.S. was our of Vietnam, Carter was President, the Republicans were disgraced by Watergate and the country was in a new artistic moment, but films like Star Wars had also arrived (changing the business in different ways), people wanted something new and different and the film had nothing new to add.  That is odd for Forman, who also continued this rut with his ill-fated film of Ragtime.  As a result, the film comes across as shallow, boring and trivializes the very things it should be celebrating or telling about.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 AVC @ 37 MBPS image has some good shots, but also has grain, a dated print and is not as impressive as it could be, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix has more distortion than expected, including compression & other flaws and someone needs to go back to the original music tracks and remix this film whenever a new Special Edition is made.  Being an old Dolby A-type analog theatrical release has nothing to do with its age either.  The only extra is the original theatrical trailer.


Walter Hill’s The Long Riders (1980) is a good film getting a poor Blu-ray here, but the film was not the biggest hit in its time despite a good script, good directing, the cast (including David, Keith & Robert Carradine, as well as James & Stacy Keach, Dennis & Randy Quaid and Christopher & Nicholas Guest), a fine score by Ry Cooder and enough realism to be a serviceable Western as they were at the end of their original decline.  Of course, it is also the film that was roughly recycled as Young Guns (1988) becoming a surprise hit and renewing interest in the genre.  I just never thought this exceeded its genre, but it is an ambitious film with some ironic moments considering what has happened to the cast since.


The 1080p 1.85 X 1 AVC @ 36 MBPS image is just too noisy and grainy, looking like the same master used for the older DVD a long while ago and is also not as impressive as it could be, deserving a new print (that new United Artists logo does not matter much), while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is a very rough translation of the old Dolby A-type analog theatrical sound and Cooder’s fine score suffers as a result.  There is much more distortion than expected and I know this could also sound much better with some work.  The only extra is the original theatrical trailer.


Martin Scorsese’s New York, New York (1978) is the other film we previously covered as part of a nice MGM DVD box set, which you can read more about here:





It has the same extras and 5.1 master, but it sounds a little better here.  The 1080p 1.66 X 1 AVC @ 24 MBPS image may have more grain in shots than expected, but there are some fine shots and color reproduction at its best surpasses the older DVD edition with ease, while the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless can still show the age of the film, but this was not meant to be a serious multi-channel film and music is the greatest beneficiary.


Michael Cristofer’s Original Sin (2001) wanted to capitalize on the sexy thriller trend, but is set a century earlier in Cuba with wealthy Antonio Banderas getting involved with a young and sexy Angelina Jolie (before everybody knew who she was) from letters they have been sending to each other, which leads to a hot relationship, but a doomed one.  They get married, but she eventually becomes deeply involved with an American (Thomas Jane who was less known then as well) causing even more trouble for all involved.


The sex scenes seem old-fashioned, but expect serious nudity I doubt these actors will allow again, but the script is very weak, formulaic and once again, Cuba proves to be a bad idea for a Hollywood narrative locale.  Take out the sex and this becomes even more obvious.  A curio, but not much more, so don’t expect much.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 AVC @ 38 MBPS image is not bad for being the second most recent film here, but this is an older HD master and it has detail and color limits.  This was also originally a DTS and SDDS 5.1 theatrical film release so the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is not bad and though not great, shows this was well-recoded for its time.  Being set in the past, the sonics are only so pronounced.  Extras include a feature length audio commentary by the director, Original Theatrical Trailer and Music Video for the song Gloria Estefan cut for the soundtrack in hopes of a hit or Oscar nomination: You Can’t Walk Away From Love.  Not her best song.


Last and definitely least is Mario Van Peebles’ Posse, his laughable, atrocious 1993 attempt at a Western too dumb to be called revisionist.  It is amazing that even when his films try to look dirty, they still look clean.  This one is set in 1892.  The cast never gels despite having Billy Zane, Blair Underwood, Nipsey Russell, Aaron Neville, Pam Grier and Isaac Hayes (but also get Stephen Baldwin and Peebles himself), this tale of African American cowboys (a bad one at that) during the Spanish-American War is far from historic (though its idea of history is as clichéd as its script) and this is one of those films that starts out bad and just gets worse and worse like Panther.  The title wanted to have some commercial appeal since it had become a catchphrase on the then-hit Arsenio Hall Show.  That backfired too.  This is a yawner, so don’t operate heavy machinery or do anything that needs serious attention if you dare to watch it.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 AVC @ 36 MBPS digital High Definition image transfer looks older than it should, but is not bad for an old HD master, though you could imagine that no one was going to spend money to redo this one.  The print is in fair shape and a DVD would likely not look as good, but this is hardly demo quality.  That extends to the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix that has some semblance of a soundfield, but not much.  You get the idea.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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