(2015 Rocky spin-off/MGM/New Line/Warner Blu-ray w/DVD)/F1
Official Review Of The 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship +
MotoGP 2015 World Championship Official Review (MVD/Duke
B & C/B-/B- Sound: B & C+/B/B- Extras: C/B-/C
Main Programs: C+/B+/B
are a new set of sports titles worth looking into...
I first heard about Ryan Coogler's Creed
(2015), a spin-off of the long-running (on life support?) Rocky
series, it seemed like a bad idea and a tired concept for a package
deal that would be formulaic, condescending and predictably
pointless. It is not a great film, but like Rocky
from a few years ago, Stallone and his co-producers have made a
somewhat invisible ideological move to abandon the Reagan-era style
and bring the series back to its true Vietnam-era 1970s roots, even
if it does not have the guts to admit that.
is a fan and convinced the producers and MGM to have this new story
where Adonis (the underrated Michael B. Jordan) is a young man with a
good white collar job, friends, a good surrogate mother (an oddly
cast Phylicia Rashad) who saved him from a troubled life. He turns
out to be the son of the late, great boxer Apollo Creed, once Rocky's
original opponent. To the surprise of his few close friends, Adonis
wants to go into boxing and has been doing this in Mexico with some
success. He now wants to move forward professionally, but under his
current name which is not his father's.
knows he has to turn to someone who would know best, so he flies from
Los Angeles to the equally great city of Philadelphia to visit a
famous restaurant owner, one more famous for his fight back from
being an underdog to championship boxer. Rocky is still in mourning
for Adrian, the love of his life, but has support of those in the
neighborhood who know him and makes do. Adonis visits him and
eventually convinces Rocky of his identity. Adonis wants him to
help, but Rocky is reluctant... at first. Then...
you know where this is going and thus, some of this gets predictable,
but Jordan and Stallone are convincing, both unexpectedly getting
support from each other, connecting inevitably over someone Rocky
respected (and gave his life for his country) and a father Adonis
never knew, but is about to find out and connect to that past to
regain his own soul. In that, this film had the set-up to be much
better than it turned out, but Jordan carries the film well, even
when the script is not where it could be. Tessa Thompson also
impresses in a star-making turn as a singer who becomes his
girlfriend and the makers rightly make Philly a character of the film
at times, if not enough for my tastes.
sad part for me was watching the film was how in a few scenes, the
original feel of the film comes alive in brief spurts, reminding
series film buffs like myself how great United Artists was, even 35+
years after it merged with MGM. Both were still studios until
recently when they shrunk to a (maybe the)
production company in Hollywood, now being distributed by various
majors. Here, they are handled by New Line, itself folded in Warner
Bros. a few years ago. It reminds me how the original film could
likely not get made today among many, even though it is not
particularity political or controversial, a relatively simple story
about people that this film tries to be at times. That I why it is
worth one look at least, flaws and all.
include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other
cyber iTunes capable devices, while the discs add Deleted Scenes and
two featurettes (Know
The Past, Own The Future
worth looking at after watching the film.
For more on our coverage of the Rocky series, start at this link.
are the latest installments in the annual look at the best Formula
One races in the world and best high powered motorcycle races in the
world courtesy of Duke Video. F1
Official Review Of The 2015 FIA Formula One World Championship
2015 World Championship Official Review
arrived for the year and they are as rich, long, thorough and
fired-up exciting as last year's set. The F1
set runs over 5 hours and is never boring with all the sites, sounds,
locations, racing talent and even international stars who show up
when you least expect them, but the races are the crux of it all and
they never disappoint. Wrecks, passbys, dangerous close calls and
amazing driving never lets up because that's what it takes to win.
Like the previous set, it is very involving and fun, especially if
you have a home theater system. Those used to even the most
expensive state-of-the-art videogame systems will be taken aback by
encountering the real thing.
can say the same thing with confidence for the MotoGP
Blu-ray, so much so that it actually gives you a new respect for
these bikes and the racing of them. It takes very serious skill and
you have less protection than in any car, though one could argue both
are 'unsafe at any high speed' but that misses the point of the
action and fun. They again trump any videogame variant and have the
high energy that inspired the Tron franchise at its action best
throughout. This runs 205 minutes and is also never boring, never
fails to be engaging and is worth sitting through like some sports
mini-series. Wonder if Duke can come up with any other motor racing
to license and issue on Blu-ray!
this time include
an entire bonus Blu-ray with seven bonus clips and raw on board
camera footage, while MotoGP
three featurettes on Jorge Lorenzo (the winner this time) and End
highlights. For more on last year's great set, go to this link...
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on Creed
is a decent digital HD shoot that has some nice shots at times, but
is content to be workable and has a chance to get contrasted to
similar film footage when older 35mm clips of early Rocky
films are shown. We'll never see grain quite like that again, yet
Director of Photography Maryse Alberti manages to bring back the look
of the early and previous film while still making this a modern
digital shoot (he could have gone 35mm, but does not here) in a way
that does not make the new footage seem inferior or lesser... not an
easy thing considering what can and often still goes wrong with HD
shoots. Though not perfect or the best HD shoot, it achieves what it
sets out to do and that's a good thing. The anamorphically enhanced
DVD version is no match for the Blu-ray, but is passable at best,
though maybe softer than it should have been for the format.
1080i 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on both Duke
Blu-rays have some nice shots, but we get some minor aliasing and
detail issues. I hope the makers see the HD camera switch to
progressive scan next season, but the shots are fine and color is
usually solid and consistent.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 7.1 lossless mix on Creed
is well mixed and presented, but despite kicking in nicely in
action/boxing sequences, tends to be quiet and refined more than
expected to the film's advantage for story and character development.
Thus, it sounds as good as any film in the series and plays just
fine, but the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on the F1
Blu-ray can more than compete bringing home the racing action as well
and sometimes better than expected. Both have good soundfields,
though the mix
is sadly again credited generically on the case as just '5.1' does
its best to capture and present the location audio throughout its
long main program. The MotoGP
again settles for lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (generically listed
as 'stereo') and just manages to match it more often than not.