Hall & John Oates: Live In Dublin
The Woods (2014/Disney
Blu-ray)/Shania: Still The
One - Live From Las Vegas
B/B/B- Sound: B+/B/B Extras: C+/B/C+ Main Programs:
for some new music releases...
Hall & John Oates: Live In Dublin
(2014) has the most successful duo in music history (passing the
great Everly Brothers by the early 1980s) as popular as ever, playing
their first-ever show in Ireland... ever! It's just one of those
things, but turns out they are hugely popular there too and have
changed some members of their great band (as featured in the Live
From The Troubadour
show a few years ago) to now include no less than three members of
the great Scottish group Average White Band, old friends from their
days at Atlantic Records where both acts found their first successes
and by the great people at that company including the late great
super-producer Arif Mardin.
yet more new ways to deliver their classic hits, the duo is in great
form here delivering 15 classics that pull more from their Atlantic
days than any of the other many shows I have seen of their issued on
home video over the decades. 1980s hits Like Private
On My List,
Can't Go For That (No Can Do),
Make My Dreams
are joined by older his Sara
What You Want Be What You Are
and rarities It's
Not in that order, but very, very well done and played. Now, they
join Yes, Heart, Elton John, The Moody Blues, Jeff Beck and Paul
McCartney for best concerts on Blu-ray. This one is worth going out
of your way for.
include two interview segments with the duo and an illustrated
booklet on the show.
(2014) is the feature film version of the Stephen Sondheim/James
Lapine stage musical that became another star vehicle for the great
Bernadette Peters (see the monophonic Blu-ray of that upscaled show
reviewed elsewhere on this site; the disc was reissued in its
original stereo, a copy guaranteed if you get Image's 6-title Stephen
Blu-ray set), now from the director of Chicago
coming up with a decent, if not great, feature film version of the
work. The clever extrapolation of Grimm's Fairytales with its irony
and intelligence. Some adjustments had to be made for the big
screen, but a little intimacy is lost in the transition and
this is a bit better than expected, if not a knockout home run and
part of it comes from its cast including Meryl Streep (too obvious a
choice, she was Oscar nominated for Best Supporting Actress, but this
is still playing it safe), James Corden, Emily Blunt, Tracy Ullman,
Anna Kendrick, a surprising Chris Pine, Johnny Depp, Tammy Blanchard,
Billy Magnussen and Frances de la Tour. They gel better than
expected, keeping this moving, even when it hits some mixed patches.
The worst is too many scenes ending with instruments
over-dramatically going 'boom' over and over again. Too many chapter
stops are separated by this too; a big mistake.
its credit, it never becomes proto-Disney product and is never sold
out as such, i.e., just another live action blockbuster (like the
falling back on their child and fantasy catalog, but this never
breaks out and shows the full edge it might have in the tradition off
past Sondheim works. For this, if you like musicals, it is
definitely worth a look.
include Digital HD Ultraviolet
Copy for PC, PC portable and iTunes capable devices, while the
Blu-ray adds a feature length audio commentary track with Marshall,
Streep singing an unused original song by Sondheim called 'She'll
with a Marshall intro, Music & Lyrics piece that lets you go to
your favorite song, a 4-part Making Of featurette and Behind The
Scenes short The
Cast As Good As Gold.
Still The One - Live From Las Vegas
the hugely successful and popular Country vocalist doing her 25-song,
elaborate Vegas stage show. She is likable enough, but you can hear
her struggling to perform her songs (addressed in the featurette
included) and (as per Vegas) the shows is gaudy and a bit
overproduced to the point it gets in the way of the music and becomes
a bit listless when it needed more energy. It also becomes too campy
with its dancers and the show, but this is also really great towards
fans... maybe too much. I don't think it is the best into to Miss
Twain, but it is one of the highest-fidelity representations of her
work for now.
include an illustrated booklet on the show and a Backstage Pass
featurette on how Twain prepared for the series of shows, including
dealing with voice and throat issues.
three productions are HD shoots and look about as good as expected.
The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Oates
is not as colorful as the Troubadour
Blu-ray (unreviewed), but has a little less motion blur though it is
a bit darker a shoot, while Shania
has more motion blur (not counting the videoscreen presentations) and
can be a little trying to watch at times. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital
High Definition image transfer on Woods
is a little dark, but consistently decent from an Arri Alexa XT HD
camera (et al), which uses few CGI digital visual effects to its
of Photography Dion Beebe, A.C.S., A.S.C. (Chicago,
is as good as any of his work to date and usually uses the very
widescreen frame to its fullest extent. Of course, it has the most
money in it of the three releases here.
for sound, all three offer lossless DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) mixes,
offering a 7.1 mix and the two concerts 5.1 lossless mixes. Woods
should be the outright sonic winner here, but to my surprise, sound
is coming from the front speaker too often as if this were a mixdown,
so not only can both concerts compete sonically, but Oates
is actually the winner here with the best sound I have heard the duo
in (including the decent Dolby TrueHD 5.1 on Troubadour
and and DSD 2.0 Stereo on the limited edition Mobile Fidelity Super
Audio CDs of the duo's classic albums Voices,
so be ready to be impressed with that one!