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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Sports > Wrestling > Basketball > Biography > Comedy > Baseball > Cable TV > 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 T

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.


The 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 the franchise.


The 1080i 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.


Extras 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 Experiences.



For more NBA Blu-rays, try these links:


NBA Finals Series: L.A. Lakers 2010



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-   Nicholas Sheffo


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