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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Stand-Up > TV Situation Comedy > Sequel > Satire > Spoof > Amy Schumer: Live At The Apollo (2015/HBO DVD)/Shameless: The Complete Fifth Season (2015 U.S. Version/Warner Blu-ray Set)/Ted 2: Unrated (2015/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)

Amy Schumer: Live At The Apollo (2015/HBO DVD)/Shameless: The Complete Fifth Season (2015 U.S. Version/Warner Blu-ray Set)/Ted 2: Unrated (2015/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)

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

Here's a look at a new slate of comedies, new ones that show where the genre has gone for better and worse...

Amy Schumer: Live At The Apollo (2015) was a chance for me to see the comic actress doing a one-woman show. I thought she had been good as other characters, but nothing stood out. However, she is excellent here and when she gets gross, her matter-of-fact way of handling it adds a touch of ironic distance without trying. This HBO special is extended at 65 minutes and she is really good, especially since she has things to say... more than expected. And yes, she is funny, but I would add that she is following greats like Joan Rivers in adding a new female discourse to comedy that was not there before and because she is not over the top, may just be getting warmed up. No wonder she has picked up slowly in such a positive way. The showmanship is impressive, as is her ability to interact with the audience. Definitely the best entry here, worth going out of your way for.

There are sadly no extras.

Shameless: The Complete Fifth Season (2015) is the hit U.S. Version of a British sitcom (reviewed elsewhere on this site) that I was not fond of, did not stay with me and still managed to last nine (!) seasons long there. A comedy that confuses 'gross' for 'realism' ad the like, no doubt having a well-cast show led by William H. Macy, Emily Rossum and Joan Cusack has helped carry the show this dysfunction family/ dysfunctional relationships show far and over its many flaws and more numerous predictabilities, but here it is. Made by Warner and shown on the Showtime Network, it is just above adequate entertainment for its laidback audience, but it is not very funny, though it can be interesting.

Setting it in Chicago is a great idea, yet the show really does not take advantage of the locale enough any more than it gets the most out of the talent involved, so this is a for-fans-only show. I am still curious about the early seasons and will have to catch up to them at some point, but the writing is not great and show on automatic pilot oat this point... unless that is how it started.

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber-capable devices & a paper pullout inside the Blu-ray case with brief episode guide, while the Blu-ray adds Unaired Scenes, an audio commentary track on Episode 7 and 2 Behind The Scenes/Making Of featurettes.

Finally we have Seth MacFarlane's Ted 2: Unrated (2015), the sequel to the surprisingly funny R-rated comedy about a smart-alec talking teddy bear who likes to abuse illegal substances, have sex, is a victim of pop culture and be wacky. His best friend (Mark Wahlberg back in comic form) I also back, but a new gal (a scene-stealing Amanda Seyfried, who partly saves the film form its many issues) enters to be their lawyer when an evil toy executive wants to rob our title character of his personhood and make a fortune off of him in the worst way.

Like the original film, it works best when it is trying to be funny without trying so hard, but more often in this sequel, trying too hard is being more gross to the point of ruining the pace of the screenplay. This kind of sloppiness is not good and undermines what should have been a simple, surefire sequel hit. Instead, it was a mixed critical and commercial success. Worst of all, some greta joke opportunities were missed and that is the biggest tragedy of all, even in the unedited version. It is worth a look at best.

Extras include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable, iTunes and other cyber-capable devices, while both disc versions offer Creating Comic Con, Roadtripping, Thunder Buddies 4 Lyfe and a feature length audio commentary track. The Blu-ray exclusively adds Deleted Scenes, a Gag Reel, A Giant Opening Dance Number and Cameo Buddies.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Amy looks as good as it can with its stable, static shots, but don't expect fancy editing in a decent HD-shot show. The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the Shameless episodes are just fine, but also nothing special and can have slight blur and slight detail issues. The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Ted is the best performer here, also an HD shoot, looking good throughout and the money is often on the screen. The look is consistent with the last film, but only expect so much, yet the anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1 image on the DVD version is softer than expected and very hard to watch.

As for sound, both Blu-rays offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes that are as good as you could expect from dialogue/joke-driven comedies, though Ted has some more dynamic moments in between its quieter talk segments. The DVD version has a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 and you can hear the drop in warmth and fullness between the two versions to the point that the lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo on Amy can compete!

- Nicholas Sheffo


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