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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Classical Music > Australia > Musical > Adventure > Pop Music > Satire > Japan > Documentar > Cosi (1996/Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-ray)/Dancing Pirate (1936/Film Detective Blu-ray)/Legend Of The Stardust Brothers (1985/SRS DVD*)/23rd Century Giants: The Story Of Renaldo & The Loaf (2021/

Cosi (1996/Umbrella Region Free Import Blu-ray)/Dancing Pirate (1936/Film Detective Blu-ray)/Legend Of The Stardust Brothers (1985/SRS DVD*)/23rd Century Giants: The Story Of Renaldo & The Loaf (2021/Blu-ray/*both MVD)

Picture: B- (DVD: C) Sound: B- (DVD: C) Extras: C/B-/C/C+ Main Programs: C/C+/C+/C+

PLEASE NOTE: The Cosi Import Blu-ray is now only available from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment in Australia, can only play on all 4K and Blu-ray and can be ordered from the link below.

Now for a unique mix of new music releases....

Mark Joffe's Cosi (1996) has been issued on Blu-ray in a new edition by Umbrella Entertainment in Australia as a Region Free Import. We previously reviewed the film in their DVD import version at this link:


Still no fan of the film and it does not get better with age to me, despite its curio status, at least it is more tolerable by default on this better Blu-ray.

Extras have been added this time and include all new on-camera interviews with Richard Brennan and Louis Nowra, a Stills Gallery and excerpt on the film via an oral history with Brennan and fan Paul Harris.

Lloyd Corrigan's Dancing Pirate (1936) is a musical comedy about the title character (Charles Collins, who is not bad here, but needed a little better directing) who eventually gets shanghaied onto a pirates ship, only to find the love of his life as he is about to be executed in this then-expensive first full-color musical (in full Technicolor yet) that was trying to capitalize on the success of the massive hit Technicolor short La Cucaracha and huge surprise hit feature film Becky Sharpe (still one of the best Vanity Fair adaptation ever made) which also made a ton of money.

With one of the co-stars and some of the style of the short, you could see why the appropriately named Pioneer Pictures thought the similarities, previous successes and have one of the hottest genres of the time in full color versus productions that came close in older two-strip Technicolor (Douglas Fairbanks' non-musical The Black Pirate (1926) was in two-strip Technicolor, Broadway, Broadway Melody, Dance Of Life, Desert Song, Footlights and Fools, Gold Diggers Of Broadway, Hollywood Revue of 1929, On With The Show, Pointed Heels, Red Hot Rhythm, Peacock Alley, The Show Of Shows, It's A Great Life, Good News (all 1929, a few into 1930,) Bright Lights, Dixiana, Chasing Rainbows, The Floradora Girl, Hit The Deck, Hollywood Revue of 1930, Hold Everything, King Of Jazz, Leathernecking, Lord Byron Of Broadway, Melody Man, Life Of The Party, Puttin' On The Ritz, Lottery Bride, Paramount On Parade, The Rogue Song, Show Girl In Hollywood, They Learned About Women, Song Of The Flame, Song Of The West, Under A Texas Moon, No No Nannette (all 1930,) Kiss Me Again, 50 Million Frenchmen, Viennese Nights, and Manhattan Parade (all 1931, some only with two-strip sections) were among a huge group of the early color, sound films with music and most were outright musicals.

With all those often profitable releases, some of which did not have big stars or extraordinary tales, why should the producers of this film could have such high hopes, that the first musical film with such great color would be at least a modest hit if not an outright smash, but reviews were as mixed as the film itself with co-star Frank Morgan (best known as the actual Wizard Of Oz only three years later) stealing his scenes and outacting his co-stars, Pioneer had to fold (though David O. Selznick's new studio took over the color productions and the rest is history, starting with the remarkable 1937 A Star Is Born the next year) but I'm glad Film Detective got this key film out on Blu-ray as best they could because it is a film every serious film fan should see once.

Even Rita Hayworth is somewhere in the finale with her dancing sisters under her real last name, if you can find her. It has enough moments worth seeing and it has finally survived in its original form to enough of an extent that it is not lost anymore.

Extras include a nicely illustrated booklet on the film including informative text and an essay by Jennifer Churchill, who also offers a fine, feature length audio commentary track on the film, plus we get two featurettes: Glorious Pioneers: The Birth Of Technicolor and Ambushed by Mediocrity: Remembering The Dancing Pirate, both very well done.

Macoto Tezka's The Legend Of The Stardust Brothers (1985) is part of a cycle of straight-to-video productions that were very popular in Japan at the time during the videotape era that I had heard a bit about, but never actually saw. More amusing and with more interesting moments than expected, this one is about the fake, manufactured title duo who becomes a hit on the music charts, but has shady handlers. It is an all-too familiar story, though segments of this one reminded me ironically of the late Michael Nesmith's groundbreaking long-form video Elephant Parts (reviewed elsewhere on this site) in a good way.

Too bad the overall 100 minutes is not as strong as its best parts, yet it is worth a look for those interested, especially if you (like most viewers in the states) have never seen one. The MTV and New Wave trappings, not to mention the dated technology of the era, are a plus.

Extras include trailers, a Making Of featurette, an on camera interview with the director and a few more little items we will not ruin for you.

Finally, we have Alex Wroten's 23rd Century Giants: The Story Of Renaldo & The Loaf (2021) is the true story about a music duo from the U.K. and managed to create four experimental music albums despite limited resources and not being able to afford the synthesizers that inspired them. With a touch of punk, they were avant garde and early New Wave in their works and the results were eventually underground success (including being at the same record label as the legendary band The Residents) and are ripe for rediscovery.

Remarkable for what they achieved in the late all-analog era, the music might not be for everyone, but it is odd and unique in a good, consistent way that is worth of DEVO, the odder progressive rock, Brian Eno and all the wilder novelty records we used to get al the time in the 1970s. It is also a testament to the indie spirit in music and will make the more creative people out there get some cheap analog equipment and magnetic tape to mix with whatever digital equipment they have. The happy accidents and special irreplaceable quality of tape loops helped the act exist and deserves as much of a comeback as they do.

We get plenty of interviews from those who were there with all the great film footage and stills, but I just wish the program were longer and there was a more serious and detailed use of the time to give us even more information and context.

Extras include 25 minutes of extended interviews and deleted scenes, a 1981 Ralph Records 'Songs for Swinging Larvae' promo film, remastered in HD from the original 16mm film source, Renaldo & The Loaf's 'Backwards Film Study #1' 8mm film (probably the Super 8 format, which is better) and Music Videos for 'A Convivial Ode' and 'Optimism'.

Now for playback performance. The 1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Cosi is an improvement over the DVD, including in its strengths as a PAL format release, but it can still look a little aged in parts and soft in others. Otherwise, this is the way to see the film now outside of a good film print and the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Stereo lossless mix has old Dolby Pro Logic surrounds being an analog A-type theatrical release and this is better than the DVD's lossy Dolby mix as well, yet also shows its age since the film is older and had a limited budget.

The 1080p 1.33 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Dancing Pirate can definitely show the age of the materials used because they are lucky to survive and quality can vary a bit, yet this is far superior a transfer to all previous releases of the film, including so many copies even on film which were actually in black and white! One of the first feature films ever issued in full three-strip, dye-transfer Technicolor, you can see at its best how great this film must have looked in its original release. Some may be harder on the transfer results here and maybe at some point, more money could be raised to fix the mostly correctable flaws here, but just having it this way is a big improvement for what was a visually groundbreaking film, especially for all color.

The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix is also going to show its age form whatever theatrical mono sources they had that survived, but especially for 1936, not bad at all.

The 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on the HD-shot Giants program has its share of motion blur and some softness, but the added still and old movie film footage (16mm and/or Super 8 color) look good and accurate. This is about as good as most indie music documentaries have been, in fairness. The PCM 2.0 Stereo is fine for all the audio and is always clear enough down to the eclectic music.

The 1.33 X 1 color image on Brothers was shot on old analog NTSC videotape and its shows with a variety of analog videotape flaws like video noise, video banding, telecine flicker, tape scratching, cross color, faded color and tape damage. Still, color is not bad, but it is a soft presentation and not likely the best NTSC taping available at the time. The lossy Japanese Dolby Digital 2.0 sound is barely stereo and also shows its age, so be careful of high volume playback and audio switching, which is typical of so many such productions (whether they were on VHS, Beta or even U-Matic tape) at the time.

To order the Cosi Umbrella import Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great web-exclusive releases at:


- Nicholas Sheffo


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