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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Biopic > History > Teens > Crime > Urban > Prison > Sports > Health > Stroke > Comedy > Relationships > Mu > Diana (2013/E1 Blu-ray + DVD)/Jamesy Boy (2013/Phase 4/Xlrator Blu-ray)/1001 To 1 (2013/Cinedigm DVD)/Red Flag/Rubberneck (2012/Tribeca/Cinedigm DVD)

Diana (2013/E1 Blu-ray + DVD)/Jamesy Boy (2013/Phase 4/Xlrator Blu-ray)/1001 To 1 (2013/Cinedigm DVD)/Red Flag/Rubberneck (2012/Tribeca/Cinedigm DVD)

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

Here is a group of dramas you may soon hear about...

Oliver Hirschbiegel's Diana (2013) has Naomi Watts as the late Princess of Wales trying to tell us an alternate story of her life in which she starts seeing a medical doctor (Naveen Andrews) after her royal marriage ends and before her fateful relationship with Dodi Faaed. Watts is not bad in the title role and we get a few interesting moments here, but most of the script covers territory we have seen before, lacks focus and does not serve the leads well by simply being flat and dull like a TV movie.

I wish the makers had spent their 113 minutes trying to find additional new ground about her and her life, but this is just too pedestrian too often and though Watts plays this better than you might think, she is not given enough to do.

Both format editions of the film include a booklet on Diana Fashion inside their format's respective cases, while the actual discs have Cast/Crew Interviews.

Trevor White's Jamesy Boy (2013) is a little more successful in telling the tale of the title character (Spencer LoFranco) who is a good guy who cannot stay out of trouble, so he lands up in prison with mixed results. James Woods is the corrupt cop running things there his way in the worst way, Ving Rhames is the older con artist he befriends, Mary Louise Parker plays her usual poor mother role and at 109 minutes, not enough is done with the time to make this really work.

The actual prison as portrayed is too fake and not realistic enough, then add the cliches and predictability and the actors are not allowed to really show their range, including some decent unknowns. I wanted to like this one, but the realism is too often upended by false notes.

Extras include a Director's feature length audio commentary track, Cast Interviews and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Michael Levine's 1001 To 1 (2013) plays it even safer in a biographical tale of a young man named Corey Weissman (David Henrie) in college playing basketball when he shockingly has a bad stoke at a young age. He was very physically active, athletic and popular, but it still happens and he has to take the long way to recover. Beau Bridges is the coach who helps him recover and Michael Lerner (Barton Fink) has a good turn here, but between the flaws noted, too much music and too much corniness, what should have been a decent work backfires because the makers behind the camera tried way too hard.

Though unlisted on the DVD case, extras include a Behind The Scenes featurette, clip about Gettysburg College and PSA from the American Stroke Association.

Actor Alex Karpovsky is getting more notice on the big screen, but he also happens to be a director and starred in two films released in 2012, a so-so comedy that falls apart into formulaic mumblecore called Red Flag and a much more successful drama about an unhappy man who has heart issues and makes the mistake of dating a woman at work in Rubberneck. He is good in both films, but the latter really shows his talents, though Flag could have been funnier if it had more story and less one-liners later in the film when it needed story. Both are included on a single DVD as a double feature.

There are no extras for either film though.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Boy and 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Diana tie as the best image performers on the list, but being digital shoots, they both have some detail issues. However, part of it in both cases are their respective visuals trying for a certain style. The anamorphically enhanced Diana DVD ties for second place with the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Rubberneck, leaving the same frame on that DVD's Red Flag and on 1001 much softer than I would have liked.

As for sound, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Diana and Boy have the best sound here, but both tend to be dialogue-driven despite some moments of surround activity throughout, so they are as good as expected. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Diana DVD is weaker and ties for second place with the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Rubberneck, leaving the same type of sound on that DVD's Red Flag and on 1001 weaker than I would have liked. That tells you something about the common denominators between the productions.

- Nicholas Sheffo


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