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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Food > Biography > TV Situation Comedy > BritCom > Jiro Dreams Of Sushi (2011/Magnolia Blu-ray)/Roy Clarke’s Last Of The Summer Wine 1992 (BBC DVD Set)

Jiro Dreams Of Sushi (2011/Magnolia Blu-ray)/Roy Clarke’s Last Of The Summer Wine 1992 (BBC DVD Set)


Picture: B-/C     Sound: C+     Extras: B-/C-     Main Programs: B-/C-



Food and drink are always concurrent themes in film and TV, whether the works are dramatic and scripted or documentaries, but some programs get more centered on them and this occurs in all kinds of ways.



David Gelb’s Jiro Dreams Of Sushi (2011) tells the interesting and sometime amazing story of the now 85-years-old chef of the title, who owns a small 10-seat restaurant in a corner of the subway in Japan that it turns out makes some of the best seafood in the world.  Michelin shocked the international food community when it gave this small eatery its rare three-star highest rating and this surprise hit documentary that is not only about the food, but a character study of the man, the business, Japan and how the world has changed since Jiro grew up and became a cook.


More of the program is spent examining his life outside of cooking than expected, but we also see how that life brought him to this one and some remarkable success.  He has made great food and art and even if you do not eat or like this kind of food, the points made here are undeniable.  This only runs 82 minutes (it should have been longer) and parallels the recent Le Cirque: A Table In Heaven (2009, reviewed elsewhere on this site) about a very successful restaurateur in New York City in his twilight years that also considers changes in the world at large.


This is good too and deserves the good reputation it has, so definitely know the hype is mostly accurate.


Extras include a feature length audio commentary track by Gelb and Editor Brandon Driscoll-Luttringer, a Theatrical Trailer, piece on Masters, a Sushi Gallery and Deleted Scenes; some of which should not have been cut.



Without tying food and drink to old age, the seemingly endless Roy Clarke’s Last Of The Summer Wine 1992 series from the BBC series is a comedy whose title is a metaphor for the twilight years of the characters featured.  For me, it has long become a one-note show and not as good as similar British series, but someone liked it and this latest set is an exclusive from the BBC Store.  If you must see the show, start with its debut season, but you’ll have nine half-hours here if you get this set.

The only extra (we’ll count it as such) is the 1992 TV special Stop That Castle.



The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Jiro was shot on at least two different HD sources that are noticeable.  We get some nice shots here and there, but we also get more than our share of shaky camera work and motion blur.  Still, that is what one expects from documentary production like this these days, so that is no surprise.  The 1.33 X 1 image on Wine is soft and likely comes from older video masters.  The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 Japanese lossless mix is on Jiro has its audio coming from the center channel far too often and only music seems to fill the surrounds.  I have not experienced a mix like this since some of Woody Allen’s films, so it is no surprise that the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Wine is its equal despite it age and the simplicity of its mix.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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