Card Subject To Change (2011/Cinema Libre DVD) + Eastbound & Down – The Complete First Season + The Complete First Season (HBO Blu-ray
Sets) + 2011 NBA Champions: Dallas Mavericks
(Image DVD) + When They Were Young
(2011/NBA/Image Blu-ray + DVD)
Picture: C/B-/C/C+ & C Sound: C/B/C/B- & C+ Extras: C+ (Dallas:
C) Main Programs: B- (Eastbound: C+)
The following shows yet again how diverse the
sports-related releases on Blu-ray and DVD can get.
Tim Disbrow’s Card
Subject To Change (2011) is a new documentary look at the world of
underground, independent wrestling, but just when I thought the Mickey
Rourke/Darren Aronofsky hit The Wrestler
(reviewed elsewhere on this site) had the last word on the subject, we get new
people, new histories, new stories and new problems you would expect from such
a tough profession. Fighters includes
Kevin Sullivan, Michael “Trent Acid” Verdi, Rhett Titus, Sabu, Necro Butcher,
Lacey Von Erich and other surprises in this surprisingly well made and rich
work. I wish it could have been longer,
but anyone who liked The Wrestler
will really enjoy it.
The 1.33 X 1 image is a bit soft from being made on
location and in various limiting environments, but this is a documentary so you
can expect that. Low def digital video is
apparently the source. The Dolby Digital
2.0 sound is barely stereo with plenty of location audio with its usual
limits. Extras include Outtakes,
Promotional Videos and Deleted Scenes.
We previously covered Eastbound
& Down – The Complete First Season on DVD and now, it and The Complete First Season are being
issued at the same time on Blu-ray by HBO.
Here is the link to our original coverage:
Well, the show did not improve as it moved on, but the big
story here is how much of an improvement the Blu-rays are from the DVDs. The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition
image transfers still have motion blur and some other flaws that can be
distracting (picture becomes pale, color is off at times), but it now looks a
little richer and is more watchable overall, but the even bigger gain is in the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes that have much richer, warmer sound
and even have decent soundfields. The
Dolby Digital lossy mixes on the DVD set of the First Season was selling the sound short. Extras are the same for Season One as they were no the DVD, while Season Two has Outtakes, Deleted Scenes, Invitation To The Set, Big
Red Cockfighting and episode Audio Commentaries.
And now for basketball. The 2011 NBA Champions: Dallas
Mavericks DVD tells us the long road for the famed team to finally get a
great team together and finally win a championship. Released by Image Entertainment (and not
Magnolia/MagNet), the turning point is when Mark Cuban buys the team and
eventually gets them on the right track.
I did not realize they were in such bad shape as I do not follow the
game much, but I give Cuban credit for acting like a real owner who cares and
making things happen like all owners should.
If they cannot, they should get out of the game.
This runs a good 78 minutes and is very watchable
throughout. Even if you know the story,
the approach here is as effective as I have seen for the many such championship
documentaries I have seen over the years.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image is good on the new footage, but we also
get our share of older and newer NTSC analog video and other footage that
creates a documentary mix where flaws are more excepted, while the Dolby
Digital 2.0 Stereo has its share of location audio dropouts and we get some
monophonic audio here as well. Extras
include individual video pieces on the players.
I give the NBA credit for being
more proactive in getting material out on the Blu-ray format than you might
expect and as much as MLB or the NFL. Carmelo Anthony, Tim Duncan,
Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade are among those featured in the
new documentary When They Were Young
(2011), which goes back and traces the rise of some of the most successful
players in league history, but it is also about dreams coming true as well as
the energy and drive that keeps the NBA so popular.
Running about an hour, I’ll bet fans have seen at least a
good chunk of this, but those who have not and are interested will be impressed
with the pacing and research that this too-short work offers. Still, it also gives us a rare look anywhere
into a world where African American males excel in a world that is now belongs
to them more than any other major sport as their success has built and rebuilt
1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer is a mix of new HD interviews,
new HD footage and analog video footage, especially since the capturing of the
subjects all started as the league had long moved onto NTSC analog video. Amateur video (VHS, Beta, low def digital,
etc.) is also prominent of course, all of which is a bit weaker throughout on
the anamorphically enhanced DVD. The PCM
2.0 Stereo has its share of simple stereo and old analog mono audio to match
the mix of analog video, but the added new music in the mix is not bad. The Dolby Digital lossy 2.0 Stereo is not bad
for the format, but not as warm or full as the PCM on the Blu-ray.
include featurettes Carmelo Anthony: NBA
Draft Day, Tim Duncan: Rookie Year
All-Star, 2000 Finals: Shaquille
O’Neal’s Top 10 Plays, Kobe Bryant:
Slideshow and Dwayne Wade: All Star
For more NBA Blu-rays, try these links:
NBA Finals Series: L.A. Lakers 2010
Sons Of The City
- Nicholas Sheffo