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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Comedy > Romance > Lesbian > Movie Stars > Dysfunctional Relationship > Addiction > Adultery > Mur > Afternoon Delight (2013/Cinedigm Blu-ray w/DVD)/Burton & Taylor (2013 Telefilm/BBC DVD)/Crimes & Misdemeanors (1989/Orion/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Free Fall (2013/Wolfe DVD)

Afternoon Delight (2013/Cinedigm Blu-ray w/DVD)/Burton & Taylor (2013 Telefilm/BBC DVD)/Crimes & Misdemeanors (1989/Orion/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Free Fall (2013/Wolfe DVD)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Crimes & Misdemeanors Blu-ray is a limited edition release from our friends at Twilight Time, will only be produced with 3,000 copies, is now only available from Screen Archives and can be ordered from the link below.

Here are some dramas that are at least interesting...

Jill Soloway's Afternoon Delight (2013) has a bored, married housewife (Kathryn Hahn) trying to do something different with her life when she gets involved with helping out a young woman (Juno Temple) who just gave her a lapdance at a party! In most hands, this would have been a stupid comedy, but the script is intelligent, has some ideas and things to say, resulting in a watchable tale that does not always work, but is different enough that I took it seriously. Josh Radnor and Jane Lynch also star.

Extras include Deleted Scenes, some Behind-The-Scenes featurettes, Trailer and feature length audio commentary by Soloway and lead actor Kathryn Hahn.

Richard Laxton's Burton & Taylor is a 2013 telefilm that has the underrated Dominic West as Richard Burton and Helena Bonham Carter as Elizabeth Taylor in their later years when they reunite to perform Noel Coward's play Private Lives on Broadway. Running 90 minutes, this may have seemed like a good idea initially, but the final results are very mixed and do not always work.

Still, this has a few interesting moments and if you are interested, you might want to catch it, but I was not as impressed and hoped it would get better somehow as it moved along. Oh well.

Two Behind-The-Scenes featurettes are the only extras.

Woody Allen's Crimes & Misdemeanors (1989) is a film that is a rare serious Allen film that is also comic enough. In that, it really needed more time to really work, but the story of a filmmaker who loves films and is making a documentary of a older Jewish philosophy professor has a great cast, some interesting twists, a few laughs and holds nothing back in what it has to show and say.

His wife (Joanna Gleason) wants him to get a filmmaking job that pays, so a media friend (Alan Alda) hies him to do a documentary about how great a media guy he is. An eye doctor friend (Martin Landau) is having an affair with another woman (Anjelica Huston) behind his wife's back (Claire Bloom) and when said mistress threatens to expose him, he starts considering a suggestion to kill her or have her killed. Sam Waterston, Jerry Orbach and most ironically of all, Mia Farrow also star.

Farrow showing up is the hardest thing to watch here knowing that 25 years later, they are fighting as much as ever and in public, so their scenes here come across intertextually as odd. However, this remains one of Allen's more interesting films, though I found often that people tend to misinterpret the film in odd ways. Some think Allen's character worships the professor, which misses many points here and others think he is going after all media that is not artistic, which is a big overgeneralization. Instead, he juggles his many concerns in his first major post-Reagan work and succeeds more than not. To say anything else would spoil one of his most interesting recent films, but even as a solid limited edition, nice to see it finally reach Blu-ray.

Stephan Lacant's Free Fall (2013) comes from Germany and deals with a married cop named Marc (Hanno Koffler) who has a pregnant wife at home, but gets the attention of fellow gay cop Kay (Max Riemelt) who starts hitting on him thinking he might be interested no matter what. Slowly, Marc gets interested, but is not certain about what he wants to do.

I was impressed by how mature and consistent the film was throughout, from the performances to the exchanges between characters. I expected a little more and maybe more exposition would have put over better, but the 100 minutes here are impressive and one of the best gay male dramas we have seen in a while for the few we get. I wish more of them took themselves this seriously.

A trailer is the only extra.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the two Blu-rays are the best presentations here, but Delight has some definition limits and darkness issues, while Crimes has one too many off shots mixed in with some fine ones that look as good as the film did when Orion issued it back in 1989. Director of Photography Sven Nykvist shot all of Ingmar Bergman's major films and Allen (who was a big Bergman fan) worked with him a few times as a result.

The anamorphically enhanced DVD version of Delight and anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Burton are the softest presentations here, sometimes difficult to watch. That leaves the anamorphically enhanced, Arri Alexa-shot 1.85 X 1 image on Fall looking good, the best DVD here despite having it limits as well.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Delight is the sonic winner here, even with a limited soundfield, but the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix on its DVD version is the worst presentation here with much weaker sound than expected. The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mix on Crimes is not badly recorded, as Allen is the last major filmmaker sticking with mono or simple stereo, but it is tied in the middle for playback quality with the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Taylor and Fall, but Fall is surprisingly clean, clear and exceptionally well recorded. Bet this would sound better in a lossless presentation.

You can order the Crimes & Misdemeanors Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray while supplies last at this link:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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