(2020/Music Box DVD)/Driveways
(1993/Arrow/*all MVD Blu-rays)/Succession:
The Complete Second Season
C+/B/B-/B+/C Sound: C+/B/B-/B+/C+ Extras: C/C-/C/B/C Main
a new mix of dramas, some of which work, some of which do not....
start with an impressive independent British/Scottish production,
Brian Welch's Beats
(2020) telling us the story of an unlikely friendship built on loving
electronica music, which is suddenly banned (unbelievably) parties
with such music (or the like, like Rap/Hip Hop) in 1994, but that is
not going to stop them from finding parties to go to and have fun at.
Legal or illegal, they are off, as Spanner (Lorn Macdonald) is
stuck with a dead-end life with his older brother and little
opportunity, while Johnno (Cristian Ortega) has a decent middle-class
family and the possibility of a better life.
the meantime, Johnno's mother does not like Spanner much (of course)
and sees him as a bad influence, but Johnno more focused on the music
and what else can he get into that might be fun or help him meet gals
who might like him. So many films claim to be slice-of-life films,
but this is one of the very rare ones in the last few decades to
deliver, despite some flaws, limits and a few things we have
obviously seen before.
Soderbergh liked it enough to push it as Executive Producer and I am
glad, because this is well directed and the actors here deserve to be
seen and seen in more work. Beats
is an honest film and we don't see that enough these days either.
include Scotland 1994: The Making Of Beats featurette, Photo &
Poster Gallery and an Original Theatrical Trailer.
an amazing body of work and a long career, the world lost actor Brian
Dennehy and up to then, her was still working on plenty of film and
TV shows. He plays a Korean War veteran in Andrew Ahn's Driveways
(2019) as the neighbor who sees a lone neighbor pass away, only to
see her sister (Hong Chau) go in and try to pick up the pieces. She
brings her young son Cody (Lucas Jay) who is shy and possibly
is a bit blue too, especially when she sees how much her sister was
hoarding, but there is more for her to learn and as Del (Dennehy)
befriends her son, she is rightly cautious at first, but they start
to get to know each other better and slowly-but-surely connect.
is well done for what it is and the actors are good, but the only
problem is that we have seen some of this often before, though as bad
as things are these days, there was something somewhat charming about
any film with such a story. It never comes across as fake and is not
always safe, but it is also ambitious and those interested should
give it a look. Christine Ebersole leads the supporting cast.
include a few stills behind the scenes and an
Original Theatrical Trailer.
Bill started as a successful supporting actor in the 1960s on TV and
in feature films, then was a successful producer by the 1970s, so in
all this, why not try directing. His first theatrical feature film
was My Bodyguard,
one of the best teen movies ever made, but sadly, it was all downhill
form there, going back and forth from TV to more features. By 1990,
he had made one of the worst films I have ever seen still in my
entire life, the would-be comedy Crazy People with Dudley Moore
(before he got very ill) and Daryl Hannah, a film so bad, he should
have been put in director's jail and never let him out, co-director
or not. Just before hitting rock bottom, he made the shockingly bad
period drama Five Corners
in the early 1960s, the film is already playing loose with history
and any semblance of consistency when we hear The Beatles classic
''In My Life''
thanks to the film's co-producer, the late, great George Harrison.
The problem, the song had not been written yet!
Foster (starting her comeback after taking a break for college, et
al) plays Linda, who was once attacked by a local criminal, well know
Heinz (the also always-great John Turturro) who is just getting out
of prison for that. Then there is civil-rights aware Harry (Tim
Robbins) who is happy to see her again, but is ready for trouble from
all over and Todd Graff, who I really miss as an actor, knows them
all and knows only bad things can happen unless he can get something
place over two days, this button-pressing mess cannot get the drama
or melodrama correct and you keep waiting for it to get better
because you love the cast. Unfortunately, it is a mess and just gets
more and more shallow and even condescending as it goes on. Even the
appearance of a young Eriq La Salle cannot make a difference and we
do not get enough character development on any of these characters
for this to work. All in all, it adds up to a gigantic
94-minutes-long missed opportunity and is one of the most
disappointing indie films of the 1980s and probably of all time.
include a very mixed feature length audio commentary track by two
fans of the film, Actor Text Bios and an Original Theatrical Trailer.
frightening and disturbing film to say the least, Director Hideo
Sekigawa's Hiroshima (1953) is based on the written
eye-witness accounts of its child survivors compiled by Dr. Arata
Osada for the 1951 book Children Of The A-Bomb: Testament Of The
Boys And Girls Of Hiroshima.
from the Japanese perspective, the film focuses on the bombing of
Hiroshima and the horrific aftermath following the detonation of an
atomic bomb on humans for the first time in history.
film stars Eiji Okada, Yumeji Tsukioka, Yoshi Kato, Takashi Kanda,
Isuzu Yamada, and Yasumi Hara.
deep the subject matter and content may be, the film is impressively
made even by today's standards and being shot in black and white film
certainly helps capture the feel and make it seem more timeless.
interview with actress Yumeji Tsukioka
Nagasaki Download (2011), 73-minute documentary featuring
interviews with survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic
bombings now residing in the United States, with an introduction by
the director Shinpei Takeda
video essay by Jasper Sharp
commissioned artwork by Scott Saslow
FIRST PRESSING ONLY: Collector's booklet featuring new
writing on the film by Mick Broderick.
another hit HBO series continues as Succession:
The Complete Second Season
(2019) arrives on DVD. Telling the trials and tribulations of a
wealthy family who made their fortune in newspaper publishing (itself
seeming a bit belated with that industries decline, as well as the
show seeming to have missed Murdoch Empire comparisons by a few
years) is still a well-written, well cast show with money behind it.
For more on the show, try our coverage of the first season at this
some limits, Brian Cox is great as the patriarch of the family, which
is having all kinds of issues between seasons here and the supporting
cast is solid, but it is Kieran Culkin who is really delivering and
shows once again he has talent that differs more than enough from his
older brother (who got bored with the industry, understandably) and
steals more than a few scenes without trying. The plots of hostile
takeovers (pre-COVID) are realistic (will this look like the 'good
old days' soon in some odd way?) and the show is not dumbed-down by
any means. I would just say start with the first season, or this
will not work as much.
include 10 Inside The Episodes clips and An
Invitation To The Set with the Series' Storytellers.
for playback performance. The anamorphically enhanced black and
white 1.85 X 1 image and lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Beats
looks as good as it can for the old DVD format and probably would
benefit from a Blu-ray or even 4K release, but even here you can see
how well shot and consistent it is. Director of Photography Ben
Kracun keeps the look and feel consistent and helps the already solid
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Driveways is a
very consistent HD shoot and has some good composition, while the
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix may be dialogue-based, but
has some good ambiance and soundfield throughout. Not bad.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Five
Corners can show the age of the transfer used, likely one from
an older edition of the film on Blu-ray, leading to a flat look that
is not just any intended grittiness on the part of the filmmakers.
Like some other HandMade Films catalog releases, it needs a new scan.
The PCM 2.0 Stereo sound is a bit dated, but is probably a
generation or two down, so the combination is about as unimpressive
as the film, save the actors.
is presented here in 1080p high definition black and white with a
full frame aspect ratio of 1.37:1 (a film rare in both its framing
and being monochrome these days) and a Japanese LPCM 2.0 Mono mix
with English subtitles. It is easily the best-looking and best
sounding release here.
the anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1
image on Succession
is as good as the previously reviewed DVD set and that's fine, while
the lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 sound is also well-recorded, once again
begging the question, where is a Blu-ray edition? Otherwise,
watchable enough, but with limits.
Nicholas Sheffo and James