Fulvue Drive-In.com
Current Reviews
In Stores Soon
In Stores Now
DVD Reviews, SACD Reviews Essays Interviews Contact Us Meet the Staff
An Explanation of Our Rating System Search  
Category:    Home > Reviews > Classical Music > Ballet > Opera > Politics > Drama > Musicians > Car Men/Kylian (1993 - 2006/ArtHaus Blu-ray)/Dance! (2005 - 2013/EuroArts Blu-ray Box w/Chaplin, Poppea Poppea 3D & Great Mass)/Der Ring des Nibelungen (Ring Cycle)/D. Barenboim/Wagner (2010 - 2013/Te

Car Men/Kylian (1993 - 2006/ArtHaus Blu-ray)/Dance! (2005 - 2013/EuroArts Blu-ray Box w/Chaplin, Poppea Poppea 3D & Great Mass)/Der Ring des Nibelungen (Ring Cycle)/D. Barenboim/Wagner (2010 - 2013/Teatro Alla Scala/ArtHaus Blu-ray)/Great Ballets From The Bolshoi (2010 - 2011/Bel Air Blu-ray Set)/Song One (2014/Cinedigm DVD)

3D Picture: B- Picture: C+/B-/B-/B-/C+ Sound: C+/B/B/B/C+ Extras: C/C/C/C-/C Main Programs: C+/B-/B/B/C+

Here's more music releases, with some revisits and a new drama that has its moments...

Car Men is a single Blu-ray from Jiri Kylian that features three works taped from 1993 to 2006 and was featured on the larger (and pricier) 10-Blu-ray Edition box set we reviewed at this link:


I liked this one enough that I would recommend it as a preview of what the choreographer achieved, though you could go all out for the larger set.

Dance! (2005 - 2013) features three very interesting ballet releases on EuroArts Blu-ray in Chaplin, Poppea Poppea 3D & The Great Mass, but we happened to have already reviewed two of them at these links...

Chaplin ballet


Poppea Poppea 3D


The Great Mass is by Uwe Scholz, runs 130 minutes, is based on an unfinished Mozart work and also adds Gregorian Chant and pieces by Gyorgy Kurtag, Thomas Jahn and Arvo Part for an interesting and always entertaining post-modern, neoclassical program with a requiem and more ins and outs with the Leipzig Ballet. Not all of this is my kind of thing, but I liked its ambition and if it interests you and you like the other titles, this box set is the way to go.

Now for the latest version of Richard Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, the famed 14-hour Ring Cycle, this time in four programs (2010 - 2013), this time conducted by the great Daniel Barenboim with the Teatro Alla Scala. Our previous coverage of the classic work is as follows:

Gotterdammerung only in a superior Blu-ray presentation


This Das Rheingold/Die Walkure combo Blu-ray is almost as good...


This DVD box of the whole 14 hours looks and sounds as good, but the overall shows are better...


There is this sampler of the work by Zubin Mehta on Blu-ray is not bad...


and most recently, with conductor Lothar Zagrosek...

I like Barenboim very much and cannot find fault in the music and even the look of the four parts are dark and consistently effective as such, but it is still a long production and at times, the overall results of Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried and Gotterdammerung don't totally gel or take off as I had hoped. I was not having outrageous expectations for this and don't think the several years in between hurt it, yet it is as good as any version we have covered to date.

Great Ballets From The Bolshoi (2010 - 2011) has four ballets in all, including Giselle, which we covered at this link...


Also in this DigiPak book are a really decent version of The Nutcracker conducted by Pavel Klinichev that is one of the best and least phony I have seen of the work to date, Sleeping Beauty conducted by Vassily Sinaisky is also well done and both fare better combined than the two versions of those classics by the Dutch National Ballet as covered at this link (repeating one above):


Finally we have The Flames Of Paris conducted by Pavel Sorokin, which is new to us about the French Revolution by Boris Asafiev which works pretty well and deserves more analysis in essay form and if we could see a few more versions, but it is welcome and may have more politics involved in it than one might consider. That makes this a solid set worth your time.

Extras in all the above classical release include multi-lingual, illustrated booklets on each respective program, save the Bolshoi set which sacrifices the booklets (which may have been included in the single Blu-ray versions of all four ballets. Poppea in the Dance! set retains its 5-minutes bonus clip and Paris has 21 minutes of bonus footage on the Bolshoi set. Trailers show up on some discs too, but not as often as you might think.

Kate Barker-Froyland's Song One (2014) is a decent drama about a young woman named Franny (Anne Hathaway) who has to rush back home when her musician brother (Ben Rosenfield from Boardwalk Empire) hit by a moving vehicle when he crosses the street at night without looking. They were not talking since he chose music over college and finds out the bad news from her mom (Mary Steenburgen), both by his side in intensive care. As Franny looks into his life, having a tough time dealing with the loss, she discovers a British singer/songwriter (Johnny Flynn) he liked and decides to contact him. Then they get involved!

Some of this is predictable, but Hathaway is really good here in this Jonathan Demme-co-produced indie and the cast is solid all around. There are some good moments and this is very watchable and involving, but the last 15 minutes shows the makers did not know how to end this one and I was very disappointed by the conclusion which, when you think about it, does not add up or seem honest versus the best earlier scenes. See it for yourself!

Extras include some brief Deleted Scenes running just over 4 minutes, an Original Theatrical Trailer and 16+ minutes look at the making of the music for the film.

The 1080i 1.78 X 1 MVC-encoded 3-D - Full Resolution digital High Definition image on Poppea still has some of its ghosting and alignment, but looks as good as its 2D version just about. The rest of the 2D presentations on the rest of the Blu-rays are also 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer with their share of minor detail issues, black crush, slight break-up and even some staircasing. The 1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Car are all upscales and the two bonus programs (which we do not count as bonus works) are 1.33 X 1.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on the Song DVD looks just as good as Car with its own softness and detail issues, but it has a consistent look and I bet would look better on Blu-ray.

As for sound, all the classical Blu-rays (except Car Men, only with PCM 2.0 Stereo that shows the age of the recordings along with their image quality) offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes that all tend to be well recorded, top rate and though none are standouts, they are clean and have solid soundfields. They all also come with PCM 2.0 Stereo counterparts that are not as good, but are fine for such limited mixes. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Songs sounds best when the music kicks in, but is on the quiet side, yet I bet the lossy nature of the codec is having something lost in the sound as presented here.

- Nicholas Sheffo


 Copyright © MMIII through MMX fulvuedrive-in.com