The first part of our monthly column with the DVD, Blu-ray and 4K UHD reviewsto bring out even those films that do not end up at the top of the home video sales charts but deserve to be discovered or re-watched, opens with the frenetic and entertaining The talent of Mr. Crocodilestarring Javier Bardem and a wild crocodile capable of singing, but becomes shy once on stage.
Following The good stars – Brokerfor which Song Kang ho won the Palme d’Or at Cannes for Best Actor, and then Rimini, twilight film directed by Ulrich Seidl in an unprecedented locality in Romagna, winter version. Another award-winning film is Spanish AlcarrasGolden Bear in Berlin, then to close Mona Lisa and the Blood Moonpop fairy tale presented in Venice, and the Italian drama For nothing in the world.
The Talented Mr. Crocodile: The Blu-ray Review
THE FILM. Frantic, fun, singing and lively: The talent of Mr. Crocodile, with an amazing Javier Bardem, has as its protagonist the sweet crocodile Lyle created in 1942 from the pen of Bernard Waber. When the Primm family moves to New York, young son Josh struggles to adapt but everything changes when he discovers a singing crocodile living in the attic, left there by show-man Hector P. Valenti, who thought he’d turn it into an attraction but was disappointed with Lyle’s stage block.
THE BLU-RAY. The Talented Mr. Crocodile is available on home video with Sony Blu-ray distributed by Eagle Pictures. A technically excellent product, starting from an impressively sharp video capable of offering a lively and colorful chroma, with superb detail also in describing the details of the crocodile. Close-ups and settings always combine solidity and quality of detail. The audio is no less, offered in DTS HD 5.1 both in Italian and in the original. Sparkling tracks that give their best during the enthralling and enthralling musical numbers, with great space and full use of bass. Quality rendering even in the most animated scenes, with perfect directionality of the effects and excellent general energy.
NOT TO BE MISSED. Except the nice ones stickers present in the package, the extras on the disc are numerous, even if they have a limited duration. We find the Karaoke (8′) with lyrics to the songs from the film, The ducks (2′), then Croc and Roll – Lyle sul set (2 and a half’), playful featurette with the cast talking about the crocodile in the filming. We find then Take a look at us now – Il cast (7 and a half’) with an overview of the actors, It’s time for a story with Shawn Mendes and Javier Bardem (9′) with cast and crew reading The House on 88th Street. Finally the music videos “Top of the World” (3′) and “Carried Away” (4′) by Shawn Mendes and a deleted scene (2′).
I VOTE. Video: 8.5 – Audio: 8.5 – Extra: 7
The Talented Mr. Crocodile, the review: an irresistible family movie, singing and very sweet
The good stars – Broker: the 4K UHD review
THE FILM. Palme d’Or at Cannes for the interpretation of Song Kang-ho, The good stars – Broker directed by the Japanese Hirokazu Koreeda begins with a woman who abandons a newborn baby in front of a “baby box”, protected places where desperate parents who don’t know how to take care of their children can leave them anonymously. But the two men who take it over are child traffickers. When she returns, she decides to travel with the two to look for the ideal parents to sell the baby to. On their trail two policewomen.
IT 4K UHD. Super deluxe edition the one released by Plaion Pictures for The good stars – Broker. In fact, for the Japanese film we have a two-disc edition with 4K and blu-ray versions. The audio is in DTS HD 5.1 for Italian and original and offers excellent involvement during the lively on the road of the protagonists. In the liveliest moments, the spatiality is very good and takes full advantage of the amplitude (starting from the initial rain), but the directionality is also precise in the positioning of the dialogues. In the extras, which are on the blu-ray disc, we find the trailer and a 9-minute interview with the director made in Italy for the presentation of the film.
NOT TO BE MISSED. The most convincing part of the edition is the 4K video, capable right from the darkest scenes under the flood of giving a very compact picture, with perfect contrast and deep black. The detail always emerges clear and precise in every circumstance, especially in the many exteriors offered by the journey of the protagonists. The chroma is lively but always very natural.
I VOTE. Video: 8.5 – Audio: 8 – Extra: 6
Broker, the review: the market of feelings
Rimini: the DVD review
THE FILM. Directed by Ulrich Seidl and set in the winter seaside resort of Romagna, even with snow, Rimini stars Richie Bravo, an Austrian singer (Michael Thomas) on the boulevard, once a star of traditional music. He lives alone in an old villa, while his father is in a retirement home. To get by, he sings his old classics in old hotels to an elderly audience and indulges sexually with some of his admirers. But one day a girl shows up at Bravo’s door who claims to be his daughter.
IT DVD. Rimini is available in home video with the CG-Wanted DVD, a technically discrete product and poor in extras, given that there is only the trailer. The video actually suffers a lot on medium and long shots, with outlines of the figures often grainy and phenomena of aliasing. However, the performance of the picture in the dark scenes with compact backdrops is good, and the chroma is decidedly suggestive in describing Rimini in winter with precision.
NOT TO BE MISSED. The audio in Dolby Digital 5.1 is good: when the wind, rain and bad weather take place on the beach of Iminese, the speakers describe the situation with a wealth of effects and details with some bass intervention as well. The rendering of the various songs that the protagonist sings during the film is excellent and valid for spatiality.
I VOTE. Video: 6 – Audio: 7.5 – Extra: 4
Rimini, the review: sing to me, o (former) star…
Alcarràs: the DVD review
THE FILM. Golden Bear in Berlin and Spanish candidate for the Oscars, Alcarras is a drama directed by Carla Simón. In a small village in Catalonia that gives the film its title, the Solé family lives by working in the fields, on land that is not theirs. At a certain point the owner of the land decides that the orchard must make way for photovoltaic panels, and this causes disorientation but also a deep rift within the large family, which for the first time is facing an uncertain future.
IT DVD. Alcarràs has arrived on home video with the Mustang-I Wonder DVD. With a film largely set in fields rich in vegetation, the video unfortunately suffers from the limitations of the format with grainy outlines of figures and plants and very uncertain backdrops in the panoramic views. It’s definitely better in interiors and on close-ups, which have good detail, while dark scenes are a bit mushy. The audio is excellent while in the extras, in addition to the trailer, we find a 17-minute backstage with moments of work on the set between filming and preparation for the scenes.
NOT TO BE MISSED. Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is very effective. There are rather exuberant moments, such as the village festival and crowd demonstrations, as well as one in a club full of music: in all these circumstances the speakers all work at a good pace with energy and precision creating an excellent sense of involvement enhanced by a fair amount of bass. Excellent for cleaning and timbre dialogues.
I VOTE. Video: 6 – Audio: 7.5 – Extras: 6.5
Alcarràs, the review: hard family life in the countryside
Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon: la recensione del blu-ray
THE FILM. presented in Venice, Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon is a pop fairy tale directed by Ana Lily Amirpour. After escaping from a mental asylum in New Orleans, a girl with extraordinary and dangerous powers discovers that she can incredibly manipulate the thinking of the people she stands in front of her. But while a boy takes her to heart and helps her escape, police officer Harold is on her trail, who after having known her powers at her expense, wants to bring her back into the psychiatric institution.
THE BLU-RAY. Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon has also arrived on home video in high definition, thanks to the Blu-ray by Plaion for the Midnight Factory series. In the usual edited edition slipcase, there’s also the booklet, while the only other extra is the trailer. The video reflects the colorful and very pop visual style, with a sparkling chroma and high quality detail on all the elements of the piano. A slight noise should be recorded in dark scenes, but generally the holding of night sequences with the moon is very good.
NOT TO BE MISSED. The effectiveness of the Italian and original tracks in DTS HD 5.1 is remarkable. In fact, the audio offers great spatiality in the many animated scenes of the film, with well-placed effects along the speakers and a good impact also from the sub. The involvement given by the soundtrack is excellent, which enhances the editing to the rhythm of techno and heavy metal music.
I VOTE. Video: 8 – Audio: 8.5 – Extra: 6
Mona Lisa and the Blood Moon, the review: being on the edge in the moonlight
For Nothing in the World: The DVD Review
THE FILM. The tragic consequences of a mistrial are the focus of For nothing in the world, a film directed by Ciro D’Emilio with Guido Caprino starring as Bernardo, a successful chef and a charming man. But fate plays a trick on him and in an instant he finds his life turned upside down, also knowing the harsh prison reality: once the situation is resolved, however, he will be determined to get back everything that life has taken from him.
IT DVD. Not for anything in the world is available on home video thanks to the CG-Vision DVD. The video is good and suffers only from a little noise in the panoramic shots (apart from some graininess in a scene in the finale) and in some interiors, but otherwise the compactness is satisfactory, the chroma sober and the detail sometimes even excellent. Good also the estate of the dark scenes. In the extras we find a 10-minute backstage with moments on the set and interventions by the director and cast, then a featurette on the music (2′) and another on the costumes (1 and a half’).
NOT TO BE MISSED. The best part of the edition is certainly the audio, a very lively and sparkling 5.1 Dolby digital, capable of striking for breadth and power of the bass from the first scene in the disco, but also energetic in the rest of the film, especially in the numbers of the racing cars or other busy scenes. It also specifies the location of the various effects between the speakers.
I VOTI: Video 7 – Audio: 8 – Extra: 6.5
For nothing in the world, the review: The price of justice
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