Gees, The: How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?
(2021/Aretha Franklin/MGM/UA/Universal Blu-ray w/DVD)/Tina
(2021/Tina Turner/HBO/*all Warner Archive Blu-ray)
B-/B/B/B & C/B- Sound: B/B-/B-/B+ & C+/B- Extras:
C-/B/C-/C/C- Main Programs: B+/B-/B-/B/B+
Blu-ray are now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
next is one of the best groups of music titles we have ever
start with the first of several remarkable documentaries, Frank
Bee Gees: How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?
(2020) may not be the first to cover the lives of the extremely
successful supergroup, but it is the best of them, longest and most
thorough. Some clips
from the older ones (including This
Is Where I Came In
Official Story Of The Bee Gees
and the 50th Anniversary release The
Bee Gees - In Our Own Time,
both reviewed elsewhere on this site) and further vindicates their
great talents as Barry Gibb becomes the last survivor of the band and
his immediate family.
most in the U.S. had not heard of them until they rode a later
British Invasion wave in the later 1960s (becoming one of its most
successful acts,) they formed in the late 1950s as a musical child
trio, eventually appearing on the Australian Bandstand series
(not produced by Dick Clark, but similar in some ways as a music
show) and even then had amazing harmonies. Eventually one of the
most successful family acts of all time, they instantly hit on both
sides of the Atlantic on (ironically) Atlantic Records' Atco label in
the U.S. and Polydor in the U.K., et al. They were writing and
co-producing their work that early too.
first era usually included smart ballads that landed up being
chart-toppers and a few often covered classics (like the title of
their song used for this release) and the personal issues broke them
up for a while. They reformed at RSO Records (Manager Robert
Stigwood's new label that Atlantic handled at first) and a new era
(the falsetto/disco era they are best known for) was launched thanks
to genius producer Arif Mardin and the instant international success
of Jive Talkin' and more hits. Saturday Night Fever,
other hit albums and records and other projects kept them going until
they got targeted in a still-insane, inane record-burning event in
Chicago that landed up resembling a Nazi rally.
a very packed 111 minutes (and they skipped things like their solo
albums, Sesame Street Fever, their unusual Sgt. Pepper's
movie with Peter Frampton, hits from Fever sequel Staying
Alive and more) that could have gone on even longer without being
boring if it wanted too, it is the most personal of all the programs
on the group, covers more about youngest brother Andy Gibb and more
about their creative process than the still-impressive earlier works.
They were survivors even after disco ended, the music endures, some
of it is now among the greatest guilty pleasures in music history,
others will play and sing it blatantly and their influence on dance,
New Wave and other genres is something they did not have enough time
to get into, but Barry Gibb is totally vindicated by now.
important, it is a priceless, underrated part of music history
everyone needs to see and know about, a rare look inside the music
world, the music industry and shows just how grade-A they were and
are as talents and a music act in all of industry history. A
reminder that a special combination of classiness and talent used to
be the gold standard in the music business and how that standard has
been trashed too much since. I am not alone in loving The Bee Gees,
thinking they (and Barry throughout) among the most commercially and
critically successful singer/songwriters of all time, even before his
huge hit albums for and with Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick and
Kenny Rogers, et al.
Marshall gets to the heart of the matter and leaves no stone
unturned, making The
Bee Gees: How Do You Mend A Broken Heart?
one of the most important documentaries of the last few years and
that says something.
Deleted Scenes are the only
(1991) is an impressive record of some great blues musicians you
likely have not heard of unless you really love the genre, if that,
but they all have a huge fan in the underrated Dave Stewart. Highly
influenced by such music (among many genres) and a very formidable
musician on his own, the co-founder of one of the greatest duos in
music history, Eurythmics (with the amazing Annie Lennox) and player
and producer on even more music (including helping out Tom Petty when
he was injured during the course of making an album) decided to fund
this project and recruited some of the best people he could find to
help him out.
Gospel According To Al Green)
was brought on to helm the project and Writer Robert Palmer to write
up and narrate its long, rich 91 minutes and if you like this kind of
music, this delivers over and over and over and over again. Even if
it not your music, cheers to all involved for capturing some key
moments of a scene that is being way too ignored for all of our own
good. That film was chosen over video is a huge plus and gives this
and the people in it the respect they deserve. As good as any
release we've covered over the years on the subject, it is definitely
worth a good look.
include another nicely illustrated booklet (from Film Movement, up to
their usual high quality standards) on the documentary including
informative text and an essay by the great Anthony DeCurtis, the
inside Blu-ray case sleeve has notes by Director Mugge and the disc
adds a feature length audio commentary track by Mugge, plus a solid
Behind The Scenes featurette running a half-hour and featuring some
great extra music performances and three theatrical trailers, one of
which is for this film.
Lullaby Of Broadway
(1951) is are one outright musical and an often lush backstage
musical at that knows it is being a little nostalgic and taking on
often well-known showtunes and classic songs, many of which had
appeared on the charts and in older musicals (read black and white)
so the film is determined to cover each one in Glorious Technicolor
performances backed by Doris Day at her early peak, Gene Nelson,
Gladys George, Florence Bates, S.Z. Sakall and Billy De Wolfe.
the title classic, other songs include Somebody
Loves Me, Just One Of Those Things, Please Don't Talk About Me When
I'm Gone, In A Shanty In Old Shanty Town, You're Dependable
Went The Strings Of My Heart
among others. I always joke that many of the Looney Tunes characters
were also singing many of these songs, but the highly paid actual
actors who did them are not heard doing the same as much these days.
Nice restorations like this change that.
plot had Day going back to New York City to surprise her mother, but
it turns out that 'mom' is an alcoholic in trouble. Its enough of a
story to hang the film on, but the music and performances (including
dancing) is the core of the film and in that, it delivers.
Original Theatrical Trailer is the only extra.
(2021) is one of the year's best and strongest dramatic films with a
stunning performance by Academy Award-winner Jennifer Hudson as The
Queen Of Soul, Aretha Franklin. Aretha had her story to tell,
greenlit Hudson to play her and left us before this gem was
completed, but it is a remarkable film that exceed the biopic and
musical genres to tell us about her life story from the beginning to
a point in her career where she was very personally ill, in trouble
and had to fight and make some tough choices that would make the
difference between not only success and failure, but a future versus
no future and even dying.
seeing her as a young lady, Hudson picks up as she has grown up in
the church run by her father (another brilliant performance by the
always great Forest Whittaker) and dealing with even early heartaches
and disappointments. He is not happy with a local young man (Marlon
Wayans, incredibly good in a mostly thankless role) as she dreams of
doing more with her vocal talents. By the later 1950s, she lands up
at industry giant Columbia Records and gets to cut some very
professionally-made singles and albums, but nothing takes.
an unexpected turn as the ingenious Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records
loves her voice and sees an opportunity, but wants her to switch
gears and record at Muscle Shoals doing more Soul-oriented music.
Things collapse early, but not before she leaves enough material
recording a song a friend wrote called I
Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)
and Wexler is able to cut it into a single. The result is an instant
crossover hit and she's on her way.
there are other problems and issues, which is why we have the film.
The conclusion is also amazing, with Aretha obviously making a huge
statement about her life and herself before she left us and it
succeeds. The rest of the amazing cast (including Mary J. Blige in a
strong turn as Dinah Washington) with chemistry and energy to spare,
the production design, set design amazing clothes (especially
Hudson's Aretha outfits!) and period accuracy is simply remarkable
and Hudson gives it her all on every level. That places her
immediately at the top of every Best Actress award you can think of
(along with Jessica Chastain as Tammy Faye and Nicole Kidman as
Lucille Ball, and awards season is just beginning!!!) in a tour de
force that more than honors one of the most important singers of all
Director Iommy must also be credited for helming this work with a
solid script and some amazing instincts in pulling this all together
and all off. It is very hard to make any kind of movie like this
about an important person in real life people not only love, but grew
up with over many decades and will continue to do so. At almost 2.5
hours, something had to go, though the one scene I wished were here
is Aretha, Producer Tom Dowd (who is in the film, but not in a large
enough way) and Producer/Engineer Arif Mardin (who might be there,
but not credited in the credits as such) doing something with a major
hit to be of hers where they are combining their three geniuses to
pull it off. That might be for another movie on those men, I hope,
but Respect more than delivers and I cannot wait to watch it again!
include Digital Copy, while the discs add five solid featurettes: The
Making of Respect,
Becoming Aretha, Capturing A Legacy, From Muscle Shoals
The Design Of Respect,
all of which I recommend after seeing the film. All the hard work
but absolutely and never not least, Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin's
(2021) is a new documentary about one of the great singers, icons and
performers in all of music history and of all time, Tina Turner. You
may know part of her story if you were lucky enough to read the great
book by Kurt Loder or the remarkable feature film biopic What's
Love Got To Do With It?
with Angela Bassett and Lawrence Fishburne. Now, we get new footage,
unseen vintage footage and a new interview with the legend herself
adding to the record and telling the story of her stunning comeback,
which joins that of Elvis, Dionne Warwick and even Mariah Carey as
the most significant and amazing of all time.
goes into the early years that covers Ike again, but this time, we
also learn about her parents and other parts of her past. Its not
pretty. The early years with Ike had promise and he had some talent,
but he was let down too many times before he met Tina and some
extraordinarily abusive (including horrific sexual abuse) went on for
about 16 years!
the other side of this were some hit records, some classic
recordings, a song like the Phil Spector-produced classic River
Deep Mountain High was Top 3 in the U.K. and bombed in the
U.S.!!! They were one of the hottest live duos of the time, but she
was hiding some ugly secrets and it almost destroyed her. Even after
key TV appearances and playing The Acid Queen in Ken Russell's film
of The Who's Rock Opera Tommy (1975,) thing just got worse and
worse, until she found a way to leave Ike. She did and the rest is
program covers some Ike and how others could not let it go even after
she sold a ton of solo records and set solo concert attendance
records, showing how rude the press can be. This in the face of all
of her great new music, positivity, scene-stealing turn as Aunty
Entity in Mad Mad Beyond Thunderdome (1985, now on 4K disc and
reviewed elsewhere on this site) and hit videos on the likes of MTV
for her singles and outright high sales of several of her concerts on
home video. She completed her goal of being a Rock icon in her own
right, trashed ageism an d sexism with ease, created one of the most
positive discourses in music history and only grew and grew as an
all-time force in the industry.
118 minutes, they could have gone on and that would have been fine
with me and they do skip some of her later work or incidents (she
survived a stroke,) but she eventually triumphed on and off stage the
best she could, even if some of the pain remains. She tells it like
it is as usual and when all was said and done, it still felt like she
had a few more big hits in her, maybe something more to share that
was incredible and amazing. Its great to see her again and I cannot
strongly recommend this one enough.
include two clips that promote this well: #LoveTina Celebrity
Tributes and Culture Closeup.
for playback performance. The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition
image on Bee Gees has a bunch of great vintage footage to go
with the music clips, live performances and new interview footage.
More than a little bit of the older footage can have flaws (fading or
damage on film clips, definition limits on any old low-def analog
video clips) and some of those cannot be fixed, so this is a
authentic as it can get and no fake manipulation has been applied to
any fo the footage. This is all pretty color correct too.
1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Blues
can show the age of the materials used a little bit, but this was
shot on full color 35mm film and holds up very well. Someone took
care of the master material and this is scanned in 4K.
1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Broadway
looks really good and is a pretty good representation
of a 35mm dye-transfer, three-strip Technicolor film print, with a
very wide range of color and
1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the Respect
Blu-ray is one of the best HD-shoots I have seen in a while with good
styling and color quality throughout, a good use of the scope frame.
The anamorphically enhanced 2.35 X 1
image DVD is passable and not anywhere near as good, but it likely
could not look better in the format. Hope a 4K edition eventually
leaves the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer in
Tina with some great older stills and footage, including
analog video, some good photochemical film and some home movies
(including some mold damage, unfortunately at times) still retaining
good color. The newer interviews are solid HD shoots and there is
also some great film footage in mint condition. Like the Bee Gees
documentary, the analog videotape
flaws at times including video noise, video banding, telecine
flicker, tape scratching, cross color, faded color and tape damage.
Otherwise, there are some amazing visual moments here and this is
very well edited. A real pleasure to watch!
for sound, the lossless Dolby Atmos 11.1 (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 mixdown
for older systems) on Respect is easily the best-sounding
release that opens up the sound and has its moments throughout. The
dialogue and music very much benefit. Glad they did not hold this
soundtrack hostage for a potential 4K version. The DVD is passable
with its lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix, but it cannot hope to deliver
like the Atmos tracks!
Blues Blu-ray has decent PCM 2.0 Mono mix that is sounds good,
but has this issue where there is a slight harmonic distortion
throughout that was either unnoticed or just not an item that could
not be eliminated. Otherwise, this sounds fine.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix on Lullaby
is well mixed, recorded and presented, off of the original sound
materials, sounding as good as the film will likely ever sound. The
music is more well recorded as expected (this is the case of all
musicals made into about the 1990s) and the source materials held as
well as it could.
leaves the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Bee
with their interviews and newer audio sounding fine and the music
always sounding top rate, especially on Bee
where I have never heard their songs sound so good. Apparently,
while Tina Turner's music masters were fine and are newer, The Bee
Gees got their own soundmasters retransferred (192/24?) and I hope
they reissue their whole catalog with these upgrades. Some of the
audio on Tina
is just older and monophonic often, so that holds back the overall
sonic impact, but all of her solo music from live performances to her
studio work (starting with Private
whose original recording is exceptional; something one can more than
clearly hear on the better vinyl pressing and the now out-of-print
JVC CD) are as dynamic as ever.
order any or (the better choice!) all
of the Warner Archive Blu-rays, The
go to this link for them and many more great web-exclusive