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Category:    Home > Reviews > Drama > Comedy > Coming Of Age > Teens > Gay > Documentary > Biography > Literature > Poetry > British > Peopl > Love, Simon (2018/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/My Letter To The World (2018/DVD)/A Quiet Passion (2017/Blu-ray/both Music Box)/Sense and Sensibility (1995/Sony/Columbia/Twilight Time Limited Edi

Love, Simon (2018/Fox 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)/My Letter To The World (2018/DVD)/A Quiet Passion (2017/Blu-ray/both Music Box)/Sense and Sensibility (1995/Sony/Columbia/Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray)/Six Films by Nikolaus Geyrhalter (1999 - 2016/KimStim/Icarus DVD Set)

4K Ultra HD Picture: B Picture: B-/C/B/B/C Sound: B/C+/B/B/C+ Extras: C+/C/B-/B/C+ Main Programs: C+/C+/B-/B-/B

PLEASE NOTE: The Sense and Sensibility 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 from the links below.

The next set of films all feature individuals against worlds they are not necessarily respected in, made to feel welcome in and even facing circumstances beyond anyone's control that makes the realism of the given situation all the more so...

Greg Berlanti's Love, Simon (2018) is a teen movie with the twist that the title character (Nick Robinson) is gay and hardly anyone knows it yet, including his family (Jennifer Garner and Josh Duhamel are his parents) and the film is very practical in dealing with this versus the endless number of 'gay' releases where the coming out/discovery/self discovery is accompanied by a phony 'everything will be fine if you come out' angle which is always highly dishonest.

Unfortunately, we get plenty of other cliches and predictability throughout, few surprises and despite a good cast and some good locales, this is not very, even though Fox has issued this as an 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray/Blu-ray set. Its as dull as most boring 'heterosexual' teen films, though not as stupid, gross and pointless as many have been in the last decade or so. Didn't buy the ending either.

Extras include digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other cyber iTunes capable devices, while both discs add a feature length audio commentary track by Director Berlanti, Producer Isaac Klausner & Co-Screenwriter Isaac Aptaker, then the Blu-ray also adds Deleted Scenes, five Behind The Scenes/Making Of clips and a Photo Gallery.

The next two releases involve actress Cynthia Nixon dealing deeply with the work of writer Emily Dickinson. Solon Papadopoulos' My Letter To The World (2018) and Terence Davies' A Quiet Passion (2017) thoroughly consider the life and work of Miss Dickinson, a key all-time writer who has hardly been addressed. World is a documentary look at her life, while Passion is the dramatic feature film recreation that has been criticized for taking too many liberties with the history and truth of her life. One would need an essay to sort all that out, but in what we get, this is very interesting just the same.

The documentary is a bit flat at times, but knows when to end after 81 minutes, while the feature film runs 126 minutes-long and even with the changes, it tends to still be an interesting watch like Michael Collins, even when you know or find out they've changed too much. Nixon (now running for public office as we post this coverage) is actually really good here and very convincing and with Davies, does get the period and its silent density correct, so it becomes a mood piece that is effective, even when the film fails to follow what we know as the actual history. Davies has that kind of directing talent and it makes it worth a look.

Both discs offer Emily Dickinson Poems recited by Cynthia Nixon and Terence Davies as its sole extra, while the Blu-ray ads an Original Theatrical Trailer, A Tale of Two Masters: Behind the Scenes of A Quiet Passion featurette, CBC Interview with Cynthia Nixon and Q & A with Terence Davies and Cynthia Nixon at Lincoln Center.

Ang Lee's adaptation of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility (1995) is one of his best films by default because it lacks the predictable pretensions so many of his later films had (and still have) that led to his recent artistic implosion. However, with her starring role, Academy Award for the writing and energy in all this, Emma Thompson is as much the author of this particular adaptation and film as anyone and I highly doubt Lee would have been as successful making this film without her.

She and Kate Winslet are sisters dealing with sexism, class division and other issues in a rare comedy/drama based on Austen's work that does not ring phony or regressive. Helping in all this is a great supporting cast including Alan Rickman, Hugh Grant, Gemma Jones, Greg Wise, Imelda Stanton, Harriett Walter and Hugh Laurie that would turn out to be rare than anyone could have imagined at the time.

Despite its huge commercial and critical success, Sony has decided to release this film as a Twilight Time Limited Edition Blu-ray, which they occasionally do with their more recent gems. If you love the film, get it while supplies last!

Extras include another nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and yet another excellent, underrated essay by the great film scholar Julie Kirgo, while the Blu-ray adds an Isolated Score Track of Patrick Doyle's music in lossless DTS-MA, Feature Length Audio Commentary with Actress Emma Thompson and Producer Lindsay Doran, second Audio Commentary with Director Ang Lee and Co-Producer James Schamus, featurettes Adapting Austen, Elegance & Simplicity: The Wardrobe of Sense and Sensibility, Locating the World of Sense and Sensibility, A Sense of Character, A Very Quiet Man, Deleted Scenes, Emma Thompson's Golden Globe Acceptance Speech and an Original Theatrical Trailer.

Finally we have Six Films by Nikolaus Geyrhalter (1999 - 2016), two of which we extensively discussed in previous reviews. The films here are...

Pripyat (1999) about people who could not leave the area where the Chernobyl nuclear accident occurred and still exists. As relevant as ever, the situation is as bad or not worse nearly 20 years later as we post this coverage and with more accidents and negligence since, shows most people have not learned and too many of those who could fix things simply could care less. It is a powerful 100 minutes.

Elsewhere (2001) is extensive and we covered it at this link...


Our Daily Bread (2005, 92 minutes) has no talking, but speaks volumes as we see advanced, mechanical means in which much of our food supply comes from high-tech machinery and much, much more. It is compelling to see, but some might not be able to handle it.

Abendland (2011, 90 minutes) shows us first-world countries, et al, at night to point out how there are ups and downs to 'progress' and the director tries to come up with some new ways to consider it all.

Over The Years (2015, 188 minutes) is a highly detailed look over a period of 10 years of how manual human labor is replaced with automation and how that affects and displaces workers who are people who have to do something to survive. The recent discussions of A.I. in the workplace and more robots make this pone more relevant than ever.

and Homo Sapiens (2016, 94 minutes) is another piece with no talking and we reviewed it at this link...


Extras include an illustrated booklet on all six films including informative text, a survey of of the director's films covering 17 years of work and trailers. If you have patience and are interested in this kind of documentary filmmaking, you should get this set and half of the films are making it to home vide for the first time, so this is the Geyrhalter title to get now.

The 2160p HEVC/H.265, 2.35 X 1 HDR (10; Ultra HD Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Simon has good color and is shot decently, but for the good quality of the picture here in 4K, it was odd to see that with a little more motion blur than we should have seen, something that continues on the regular 1080p AVC @ 32 MBPS digital High Definition image transfer on the Blu-ray that makes it even harder to watch.

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image on the HD-shot Passion has less motion blur than either version of Simon, but it is still there, though this is a better-lensed project and color is not bad. Nice that they did not overdue the styling.

The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Sensibility has style and was shot on 35mm film, but it does not overdo it (despite its director) and is the best presentation here by a hair. Director of Photography Michael Coulter, B.S.C., gives this a rich look that puts it above all the (endless!) Austen productions (big and small screen) since.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on the DVDs are HD shoots and can have some motion blur, but are more than watchable enough.

As for sound, both versions of Simon, plus Passion and Sense offer DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes that are all well-recorded, well-mixed and professionally finished, so they tie sonically for first place. Sense also offers a slightly lesser DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix that's good for older systems, but not as good as the 5.1 version.

The DVDs all offer lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo that is passable and fine, but far from anything dynamic or impressive, they are dialogue-based if that, so you are only missing so much.

To order the Sense and Sensibility limited edition Blu-ray, buy it and other great exclusives while supplies last at these links:




- Nicholas Sheffo


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