(2011/Weinstein/Anchor Bay Blu-ray w/DVD)/Private
Romeo (2011/Wolfe DVD)
B- & C+/C+ Sound: B- & C+/C+ Extras: B-/C+ Films: B-/C+
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
- Nicholas Sheffo