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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Romance > WWII > Art > History > Espionage > Action > Swords > Fights > Disaster Cycle > Endless Love (2013 remake/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Monuments Men (2014/Sony DVD)/Pompeii (2014/Sony Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D)

Endless Love (2013 remake/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/The Monuments Men (2014/Sony DVD)/Pompeii (2014/Sony Blu-ray 3D w/Blu-ray 2D)


3D Picture: B- Picture: B- & C+/C/B Sound: B & B-/C+/B Extras: C-/C/C Films: C-/C+/C



Here are three different kinds of dramas trying to do different things and with the results as follows...



Shana Feste's Endless Love is a 2013 remake of the failed Brooke Shields/Martin Hewitt romance film whose title duet theme song was a massive hit (Diana Ross & Lionel Ritchie) that has been a hit in the form of several remakes (Ross even cut a successful solo version at the same time!) and now we have this new film where isolated in success Jade (Gabriella Wilde) has the dull tranquility suddenly interrupted by a more outgoing, but gentlemanly David (Alex Pettyfer), break out the strings because they have fallen for each other.


Her family and their moneyed friends object because of socio-economic class division, but the script is too timid to really deal with that as the boredom and melodrama kick in. They do not offer a remake of the original theme song, but the parts of the original they recreate is the boredom, forgetability, endless melodrama and somehow making the possibly appealing leads sexless mannequins. Though thy have American accents, the actors are all British!?!


This does join a new bad cycle of bad cinema we seem to encounter weekly here at the site: bad, unnecessary remakes of usually bad 1980s films.


Please STOP!!!



George Clooney's The Monuments Men (2014) uses hybrid characters to tell the tale of some great, brave and unsung heroes of WWII who faced death, madness and the like to track down and save as much of the art of the world as possible that the Nazis and their Axis partners stole as well as stopping the Soviets from getting and possibly even destroying said artwork. Cate Blanchett shows up as an art lover who has a priceless document that could help matters tremendously.


In a sort of Dirty Dozen (clean seven is more like it) mode we have Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Bob Balaban and Hugh Bonneville as the team who go into action on behalf of the U.S. Government to do this, even when it is not everyone's top priority. The story has its moments and the history is interesting, but the film here holds back too often by being too clean, not edgy enough and not seeming like it has an honesty closure or end point when it all ends. It is still worth a look, but it does not pay off as I wish it did.



Finally we have Paul W.S. Anderson's Pompeii (2014), which could and should have been at least a fun actioner and had possibilities by combining the sword and chain fighting in ancient arenas (Kubrick's Spartacus, Scott's Gladiator, HBO's Game Of Thrones) with a time running out disaster film scenario (Cameron's Titanic, several Irwin Allen films) into a blockbuster with punch. Instead, we get a sadly formulaic wreck in the hands of a director who does know his way around a genre, but seems bored and does nothing new with it.


Kit Harington is the underdog fighter, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as his sudden friend, Kiefer Sutherland as a boo-hiss villain so silly that the only way he could have hammed it up any more is if the producers licensed Porky Pig and stuck him in here CGI, the endless CGI volcanic effects are the only thing en masse that can compete with the cliches in the script and even Carrie-Anne Moss, Emily Browning and Jessica Lucas can stop this from being a bad dude's movie. I can see why no one is talking about this one. It is a yawner. Jared Harris also stars.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image on Pompeii is produced well enough, but is not always great despite a few decent holographic shots, but I was surprised and more impressed by the solid consistency of the 2D version from its RED EPIC 4K shoot. Anderson has done better in 3D and 2D before, but this is not bad.


The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Endless is a digital shoot that is not great in all of its attempts to look naturalistic and issues include detail, color and light blowing out the image slightly, which one notices more on the anamorphically enhanced DVD version. The original film might not have been great, but at least it looked decent.


The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on Men looked good in my theatrical screening, but this DVD is way too soft for its own good and anyone who wants to see this should get the Blu-ray instead, especially since it is the best-looking release on this list ironically.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Endless and Pompeii tie for best sonic presentations. It is not that Pompeii does not sound strong and is up to the sonic standards we get out of Anderson's genre films, but that Endless is extremely well recorded and mixed in unexpected ways. This does not improve either release, but you'll have no problem being able to here them due to these professionally realized, well recorded, engineered and mixed tracks.


The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on the Endless DVD is second place and sounds better than the still decent, passable, lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Men, but that sounded solid in theaters and we'd bet the DTS on its Blu-ray would sound good.


Extras on all three releases include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices and a Making Of featurette, with Men adding a second Behind The Scenes piece and Pompeii adding a 20 Deleted Scenes, feature length filmmakers' audio commentary track and five more featurettes, four of which are Blu-ray exclusives and cover aspects like visual effects, cast/characters, wardrobe, stunts, production design and the history that inspired the film.



- Nicholas Sheffo


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