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Category:    Home > Reviews > Musical > Backstage > Teens > British > Rock > Period Piece > Concert > Drama > Musicians > WWII > Comedy > Prop > Absolute Beginners (1986/Virgin/Orion/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators: Live At The Roxy 9.25.14 (2014/Eagle Blu-ray)/Song One (2014/Cinedigm

Absolute Beginners (1986/Virgin/Orion/MGM/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators: Live At The Roxy 9.25.14 (2014/Eagle Blu-ray)/Song One (2014/Cinedigm Blu-ray)/Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943/Warner Archive Blu-ray)

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

PLEASE NOTE: The Absolute Beginners 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, while the Thank Your Lucky Stars Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner Archive series. Both can be ordered from the links below.

Here are some new music programs for you to know about...

Julien Temple's Absolute Beginners (1986) is finally on Blu-ray, even if it is a limited edition, but the U.S. DVD was issued back in 2003. We covered a more recent import at this link:


Now, thanks to Twilight Time, the Virgin Records-produced film (issued by Orion at the time) has David Bowie and Patsy Kensit from Lethal Weapon 2, so that should be enough to make it a curio. Though I was not the biggest fan, I know there is a larger audience for this one and this is now easily the best way to enjoy and experience it. At least it is ambitious and I expect Bowie fans might make this one sell out quickly.

However, there is a new development that has happened recently that should make fans and collector's take notice. Bowie is rumored to be co-creating a musical version of his feature film classic The Man Who Fell To Earth (reviewed elsewhere on this site). That will push this disc over the top in value and collectibility, so if you want one, you should get one (or more) ASAP.

Helping those causes, we finally get some extras on this film including a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and essay by Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray adds an isolated music score.

Slash featuring Myles Kennedy & The Conspirators: Live At The Roxy 9.25.14 (2014) has the great guitarist (of Velvet Revolver and Guns-N-Roses) with an established act covering music by them and his two bands. In the case of the latter, we get You Could Be Mine, Sweet Child 'O Mine and Paradise City, which are decent semi-covers fans should enjoy. I just wished this were longer and had more memorable moments. Otherwise, this is a solid release fans should check out.

Extras include an illustrated booklet with track listing and some text, while the Blu-ray adds four bonus tracks.

Kate Barker-Froyland's Song One (2014) with Anne Hathaway is back as Cinedigm was happy enough with its DVD-only release that they have issued it on Blu-ray. Here is my coverage of the DVD:


Though the film did not improve for me, my ability to enjoy it and take it in did because this is a fine upgrade worth seeing and for the company to release. If you have not seen the film, this is now the way to go so you can judge for yourself.

Extras repeat those of the DVD and 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.

David Butler's Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) is Warner Bros. Big wartime backstage musical where all their major stars show up whether they sing (or can sing) or not, with a silly story build around the slapstick of Eddie Cantor and several big music numbers featuring Dinah Shore in her early prime. Since the script is weak, it becomes a mix of so-so songs and waiting to see who the next big surprise star will be to support the war effort. The latter includes Dennis Morgan, a top billed Humphrey Bogart who is barely there, Bette Davis, John Garfield, Errol Flynn, Olivia de Havilland, Joan Leslie, Ida Lupino, Ann Sheridan, Jack Carson, Alexis Smith, George Tobias, Alan Hale, Ruth Donnelley, Edward Everett Horton, Hattie McDaniel (singing in the boldest musical number in the film, Ice Cold Katy), Don Wilson and more. A real curio beyond its star appeal and propagandic purposes, this gets campy and gas some unexpected moments making it worth a look despite its unevenness.

Director Butler (Sunnyside Up, Just Imagine, Down To Earth, several Shirley Temple hits) had established his comedy and musical capacities in may films for Fox, so Warner felt he was right for this project and he makes as good a film as possible and would make more hits for the studio. It is worth a look for what does work and is deserving of this top rate Blu-ray.

Extras in this great slipcase packaging include two classic Bugs Bunny Technicolor cartoons in HD: Falling Hare and Little Red Riding Rabbit, an Original Theatrical Trailer, Watch On The Rhine trailer, Food & Magic live action b/w wartime public short about not wasting food that some might find a bit sexist, three more live action shorts in regular definition: Three Cheers For The Girls, The United States Army Band & a silent newsreel shot at the Hollywood Canteen and an audio-only Screen Guild Theater Radio broadcast from Sept. 27, 1943 has a half hour of music highlights from this film with Cantor, Shore and Morgan showing up for the fun and promotion.

All four 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition releases look as good as expected with the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Absolute a welcome upgrade from the DVD we covered with much sharper clarity, detail, depth and color range, showing off the scope frame more clearly and you can see the money and effort in the film.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image on Slash is one of the best HD shoots of any concert we have reviewed to date with good color and few flaws, while the 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Song shows detail and smoothness the DVD version was missing.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image transfer on Stars can show the age of the materials used, but this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film and even has its share of demo shots. This is Warner black and white film at its glossiest.

We get DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on all Blu-rays here except Stars, which can only offer a DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 1.0 Mono lossless mix, but to sounds as good as it ever will with the sound cleaned up as much as possible without ruining it.

The lossless 5.1 on Absolute is a huge improvement over the stereo-only DVD, was a film originally designed for 4.1 Dolby 6-track magnetic sound in its 70mm presentations and though it can be a little edgy at times, that's more like it. Still, non-music moments have a dip in fidelity, but that was still the case for musicals of the time. The isolated music score is a little more naturalistic, but it is in DTS-MA lossless 2.0 Stereo sound.

The lossless 5.1 on Absolute is loud as expected and the most consistent soundtrack here, though it is not a sonic knockout, it is well mixed and recorded. Good micing is a plus.

The lossless 5.1 on Song definitely improves the music portions, but cannot improve the quiet dialogue and outright quiet moments of the film since they're obviously not that dynamic, though this is a notable improvement over the DVD's sound overall.

To order the Absolute Beginners limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while supplies last at this link:


and to order the Thank Your Lucky Stars Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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