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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Satire > Religion > Scam > Stage > Acting > Show Business > Novelist > Writing > Publishing > Literat > Believe Me (2014/Riot Blu-ray)/The End Of Something (2014/Vintage Youth DVD)/Listen Up Philip (2014/Tribeca/Cinedigm DVD)/Love and Death (1975/United Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)

Believe Me (2014/Riot Blu-ray)/The End Of Something (2014/Vintage Youth DVD)/Listen Up Philip (2014/Tribeca/Cinedigm DVD)/Love and Death (1975/United Artists/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Love and Death Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Twilight Time, is limited to only 3,000 copies and can be ordered while supplies last from the link below.

These new comedies have some, if not many, laughs...

Will Bakke's Believe Me (2014) is about a group of guys who decide they can pretend to be holy rollers and make money off of naïve Christians, but to the script's credit, the Christians are not portrayed as airheads. That does not mean this is as funny as Saved! with Mandy Moore, but is not another angry live action cartoon that is easily dismissed as exploitative, predictable junk. Nick Offerman (here briefly) and Christopher McDonald offer helpful supporting appearances, but this ultimately turns into a flat 93 minutes that did not stay with me. You can see for yourself, but don't expect much.

Extras include Outtakes, an Original Theatrical Trailer and Deleted Scenes.

Colin Rivera's The End Of Something (2014) is yet another backstage comedy where the actors are clashing, allegedly funny and that we are seeing something secret we should not be seeing. I did not buy it all and thought the many jokes or pseudo-jokes fell flat, most of which if they had been cut would have made this more watchable. Actor/producer Cuyle Carvin takes a supporting role here smartly and allows the rest of the unknown cast really get a chance to show their talents.

What I did like was the chemistry and positive attitude the film had, meaning if the script did not try so hard and therefore did not segment this so much, this would have worked even better than most such projects we have seen over the decades and the gang here is likable. Hope we see more of them in the future, but I found this uneven, but interesting overall.

Extras include Outtakes, 'rare' audition footage and featurette 'A Day In The Life'.

Alex Ross Perry's Listen Up Philip (2014) has Jason Schwartzman as a writer trying to get his second novel out there, which he thinks will be a hit and not be phased by the sophomore curse. With much voiceover (in the mode of early Woody Allen), the film has a consistent mood and look, a love of books and the printed page (including paperbacks) and wants to be a character study as well as an outright comedy, but it too gets a little lost in all the things it tries to do.

Still, I liked the attitude here as well, Elisabeth Moss is solid as his girlfriend, Jonathan Price in rare form as his author/idol and just a fine supporting cast that always makes this feel like the recent period piece it is supposed to be. Not bad, but book fans should take this one as a must-see.

Extras include faux book covers, teaser trailer, a featurette, separate Behind The Scenes piece, Deleted Scenes and feature length audio commentary by Director Perry.

Finally we have the man himself in Woody Allen's Love and Death (1975), his satire of many intellectual things form Russian literature to Soviet cinema and anything else intellectual he can fit into it in between as he becomes involved in the French Revolution (watch out Napoleon!), references to other literature and to his love of Ingmar Bergman. It is a fun, funny and good-looking film, even if it is a little fragmented as a result.

Still, it is great work by Allen and joined by a cast that includes Diane Keaton and Harold Gould, has Allen in his early prime period where he was as formidable as any comedy filmmaker or any filmmaker around. You don't even have to know all the intertextual references to enjoy the many zingers and one-liners that deliver throughout, but you should know this is not an outright comedy you can just start watching. When you know what to expect, however, it is very rewarding and the best film on the list.

An illustrated booklet with tech info and essay by Julie Kirgo, plus an Original Theatrical Trailer and Isolated Music & Effects track are the extras.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Believe is a digital shoot with some flaws and errors here and there, but it is not bad, though no match for the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Death, the best-looking entry on the list despite being 40 years older than anything else on the list. Director of Photography Ghislain Cloquet (Renais' Night & Fog, Polanski's Tess) gives the film the look of an epic film as well as a European one, which holds up well today, even in the post-Barry Lyndon era. With little to complain about, the print ands transfer are consistent with how the film should look with fine color throughout.

The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image in Something (a digital shoot with some digital flaws) and the anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on Listen (well-shot on Kodak film in the Super 16mm format) are both a little softer than they should be for DVD and would both benefit from Blu-ray releases with their consistent looks.

As for sound, the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mix on Death is well mixed and presented for its time, so music is as clean and clear as the jokes, but with its warmth and enough fullness, it manages to outdo the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mixes on the Believe Blu-ray (why was this not a lossless presentation?) and Listen DVD (which would even benefit more from a lossless presentation). The lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Something has location audio issues and has been transferred on the lite side sonically, so be careful of volume switching and high volumes.

To order the Love and Death limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and many more great, ket releases while supplies last at this link:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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