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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Literature > Shakespeare > Gay > Coriolanus (2011/Weinstein/Anchor Bay Blu-ray w/DVD)/Private Romeo (2011/Wolfe DVD)

Coriolanus (2011/Weinstein/Anchor Bay Blu-ray w/DVD)/Private Romeo (2011/Wolfe DVD)


Picture: B- & C+/C+     Sound: B- & C+/C+     Extras: B-/C+     Films: B-/C+




Though I like Shakespeare, a steady diet of it only goes so far for me and when the interpretation is set in the modern day, which can be very trying.  Here are two recent examples.



Ralph Fiennes directs and takes the title role in Coriolanus (2011), an ambitious, all out production that sets the tale in the “near future” where people in power have hoarded resources like food and water (when they were not poisoning or destroying them) with Fiennes as the very popular, successful head of the quasi-fascist military keeping the helpless at bay, but a strange twist of fate causes him to assume a new identity to survive, but he has a sword enemy (a very effective Gerard Butler) who wants at him at any costs for betraying all people.


Though I could only take so much of it, it is very well done, terrifically acted and has a strong supporting cast including Brian Cox, Jessica Chastain, James Nesbitt (Monroe) and Vanessa Redgrave.  One of the better modern interpretations of late, it is not always going to be an easy work for some, but it is very consistent and thorough overall, making for a lesser-seen and read work by The Bard interpreted faithfully and well.  Extras include a feature length audio commentary track by Fiennes.



Alan Brown’s Private Romeo (2011) is a gay interpretation of Romeo & Juliet that happens to also be set in a military content, this time, a military school where the cadets start reading the classic play in a classroom setting, then everyone starts talking like the book and the whole book is acted out until the final tragic moments with a little change.  This was like watching a musical that did not always work and though I give the cast credit for trying to do something different with the material, this does get as much done in 98 minutes (or goes as far with the familiar material) as it could have.  Still, those curious might want to see it, but once was enough for me.  Extras include a feature length audio commentary track, Web Clips, Trailer and a Behind The Scenes featurette.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Coriolanus was shot on 35mm film by Director of Photography Barry Ackroyd, B.S.C. (The Hurt Locker, United 93) using the 2-perferation Techniscope format as Shame (reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) did so well resulting in some nice definition and detail, though some styling choices and video imaging that is supposed to look slight less clear shows up throughout.  The anamorphically enhanced DVD version is softer, but is not bad and on par with the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Romeo, which has its softness and some motion blur throughout.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Coriolanus is warm and well recorded, but also is dialogue-based enough that the soundfield is a little inconsistent, though surrounds and LFE .1 bass do kick in during the more active moments.  The DVD’s lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is not as good or as warm, but is sufficient for the low def format, which we can say about the same sound on the Romeo DVD.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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