General Evans Above Archive for Aug 18, 2015

The Blacklist Season 2 Blu-ray review

Aug 18, 2015permalink

Fans of the always intriguing Raymond “Red” Reddington can now binge-watch more of his activities as Sony Pictures Home Entertainment releases a 5 disc Blu-ray of the second season of the hit NBC series The Blacklist.

To catch you up, James Spader plays Red, a criminal mastermind who turns himself into the FBI in exchange for immunity. He offers up a way to go after a list of the most dangerous and corrupt criminals, terrorists and politicians. All he asks in exchange is to work with a rookie FBI profiler, Elizabeth Keen (Megan Boone).

Critically-acclaimed and a bona fide hit for NBC, the second season began airing on September 22nd, 2014 and NBC even aired an episode in the coveted post-Super Bowl slot.

So is the video and audio presentation worthy of a touchdown? I’d say so. The video, which is in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, is transferred from material shot on Sony’s PMW-F55 4K cameras. The results are beautiful. The images are crisp, details like clothing and other materials are sharp, and the black levels are extremely satisfying. Some of the CGI effects look a bit off, but the viewer has to remember that this is being shot on a TV budget.

On the audio end, we have an English and dubbed French 5.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack as well as subtitles for English, English SDH, and French. The discs give us a good level of immersion, with good use of the rear tracks and low-frequency moments during explosions and gunshots. Dialogue is crisp and understandable.

Extras on the discs include deleted scenes, four featurettes interviewing James Spader and members of the production staff, and commentary from series creator Jon Bokenkamp and executive producer John Eisendrath on a couple of the episodes.

If your FBI profile says you’re a fan of The Blacklist, you’ll want to add this set to your home entertainment library.

Lambert & Stamp Blu-ray review

Aug 18, 2015permalink

Director James D. Cooper brings us the documentary Lambert & Stamp, which tells us the story of two fledgling filmmakers, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. They figured if they could find a band to make a doc about, it might lead to bigger film work. The band they found for their project became The Who, and Lambert and Stamp’s management was so instrumental in their success that Pete Townshend and Roger Daltrey often refer to them as the band’s fifth and sixth members. Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has just released a Blu-ray of this music documentary.

Cooper’s documentary shows how the two managers helped shape the band, teaching them the importance of stage presence that turned them into the larger-than-life band we know. As is the case with so many music stories, we see the rise of Lambert and Stamp from two guys with an idea, to heady success, and the destructive spiral of excess and personal politics that ended their affiliation with The Who.

Lambert & Stamp is presented in a 1080p 1.85:1 aspect ratio, though the archival footage often takes us below that ratio. Keith Moon died in 1978, Kit Lambert in 1981 and John Entwistle in 2002, so the most recent footage comes from Daltrey, Townsend and Stamp, who died in 2012. As we’re dealing with mostly old film footage, we are of course dealing with grain and scratches and other issues of transferring old, not necessarily pristine, footage to a high-def medium.

This is also an interview film, as opposed to a remaster of concert footage, so the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack is mostly there because, well, the technology’s there, but your surround system is not going to get a workout. The archival footage still has its pops and crackles. Subtitles are available in Czech, Hindi, Russian, Slovak, French, Polish, Estonian, Croatian, Korean, Slovene, Bulgarian, Hungarian, Mandarin Chinese, Indonesian, Romanian, Thai, English, Ukrainian, and Serbian.

None of that will stop me from recommending Lambert & Stamp, a great look at two of the figures responsible for one of the greatest bands in history. If you’re a fan of The Who, you’ll love Lambert & Stamp. If you’re not a fan, well, what’s wrong with you?