The second part of our monthly home video column by Blu-ray and DVD reviewsopens with Poker Face, a tense thriller directed by and starring Russell Crowe, in the role of a rich man who is very good at gambling. Following The Prince of Romeset in the nineteenth century with a Marco Giallini star performer, to then move on to Boiling Point – Disaster is servedanxiety-provoking drama set in a restaurant shot all in one take.
Change of gender and space two stories of emigration: the first, Tori e Locitais made by the Dardenne brothers and features two African boys in Belgium while in Orlando, it is an intense Michele Placido who takes on the role of an old farmer from central Italy who finds himself having to look after a niece he did not know he had in Brussels. Closing Ghost nighta tense and original noir all’italiana with a very inspired Edoardo Pesce.
Poker Face: the blu-ray review
THE FILM. Directed by and starring Russell Crowe, Poker Face stars a billionaire who made his fortune in the tech industry. When he discovers that he is suffering from an incurable disease, he decides to gather his old childhood friends in his villa to organize a very high-stakes poker game and put his plan into action. But at a certain point the villa is stormed by dangerous criminals who want to take possession of his precious works of art.
THE BLU-RAY. Poker Face has also arrived on home video in high definition thanks to the Plaion Pictures blu-ray, a technically excellent product even if it lacks extras, given that only the trailer is present. The video is of the highest quality, but also the audio in DTS HD 5.1 both in Italian and in English, is of those of impact, thanks to a rich background environment and a good energy given off by the speakers in the more animated scenes in the second part . The placement of the sound effects is perfect, the timbre of the dialogues is excellent, especially that of the protagonist, and the contribution of the bass in key moments is remarkable.
NOT TO BE MISSED. As we said, it is above all the video that amazes. It can be appreciated in the sunny and dazzling beginning with the protagonists as kids, in which the picture is compact and flawless despite the high luminosity. Then the images inside the villa are excellent, with a sharp and rich detail both on the close-ups and in the settings, and an excellent hold in the dark scenes or in the dark, with a solid framework where the details always emerge.
I VOTE. Video: 8.5 – Audio: 8 – Extra: 4
Poker Face, the review: A film that doesn’t “show” its cards until the end
The Prince of Rome: the blu-ray review
THE FILM. Comedy in costume set in Rome in 1829 and directed by Edoardo Maria Falcone, The Prince of Rome sees the absolute protagonist Marco Giallini in the role of Bartolomeo, a very rich man who however now wants at all costs to boast a noble title. To succeed, he aims to have the hand of the daughter of Prince Accoramboni (Sergio Rubini), but he will face a journey between past, present and future, with unpredictable repercussions. Also in the cast are Giulia Bevilacqua, Filippo Timi and Giuseppe Battiston.
THE BLU-RAY. The Prince of Rome has also arrived on home video in high definition with the Lucky Red blu-ray distributed by Plaion Pictures. A high quality product, starting with a sumptuous video, as we will see. Even the audio in DTS HD 5.1 still does its part, but the remarkable spatiality is given more by the soundtrack than by the actual environmental effects, a bit shy, even if present, as can be heard from the noises in the street or from a horse carriage. In the extras, the trailer and a 9-minute Behind the scenes with images from the set and interventions by the director and cast.
NOT TO BE MISSED. As mentioned, the video is truly enchanting and offers an always very high detail in all circumstances, starting from the many details on the costumes. The picture remains beautifully compact and flawless even in the darkest scenes or in those by candlelight or pervaded by a mist, where the details always emerge from the shadows. The chroma is lush, the black is deep and even in the most critical circumstances there is always a good depth too.
I VOTE. Video: 8.5 – Audio: 7.5 – Extra: 6
The Prince of Rome, the review: Roman Christmas Carol
Boiling Point – Disaster ensued: the DVD review
THE FILM. Shot in a single take and directed by Philip Barantini, Boiling Point – Disaster is served is a tense drama all set in a renowned London restaurant. Chef Andy (Stephen Graham), already grappling with several personal issues, finds himself dealing with a night of great pressure with the place packed for the Christmas festivities. Various contingencies also crop up, from a strict health inspector to the appearance of Andy’s mentor, accompanied by a food critic. The tension will gradually skyrocket.
IT DVD. Boiling Point – The disaster is served arrived on home video with the Mustang-I Wonder DVD, a technically satisfactory product but lacking in extras, given that only the trailer is present. The video suffers a bit from the cramped environment, the poor lighting and the convulsive rhythm of the sequence shot: the detail is rather soft, also due to the limitations of the format, and the feverish chroma, but it must be recognized that there are no particular smudges and the picture remains solid even in the darkest scenes.
NOT TO BE MISSED. While not striking, the Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, present both in Italian and in the original, manages to create a suggestive atmosphere inside the venue, with the widespread shouting of the customers, the agitated voices of the protagonists and some good environmental effect. Perhaps we would have expected a slightly more incisive rear axle, but listening is still pleasant.
I VOTE. Video 7 – Audio: 7.5 – Extra: 4
Boiling Point, the film review: Stephen Graham in the sequence shot of the year
Tori and Lokita: the blu-ray review
THE FILM. Tormented stories of immigration in the latest film by the Dardenne brothers. Tori e Locita is set in Belgium: a teenage girl and a boy have arrived from Africa, an indissoluble bond has been created between them, so much so that they present themselves as sister and brother to the others. They get by with a thousand gimmicks: they also work for a cook who organizes drug dealing and also asks the girl for sexual favors. She, in need of money to send to her mother, accepts a particularly risky job one day.
THE BLU-RAY. Tori and Lokita is also available on home video in high definition thanks to the Lucky Red blu-ray distributed by Plaion Pictures. The video is the best part of the product, but also the audio in DTS HD 5.1 both for Italian and the original, does its duty with clean dialogues and a satisfactory care for the environment. Especially in musical moments or inside the building where the girl is forced to work, there is also a significant spatiality. In the extras the trailer and an interview with the Dardenne brothers of 7 and a half minutes.
NOT TO BE MISSED. As mentioned, video is the most convincing sector. The detail is a little soft but perfectly fitting the Dardenne style and photography. The picture maintains a good compactness even in the darkest scenes and in narrow interior spaces, above all thanks to a deep black without smudges. The chroma is sober and natural, perfectly in line with the story.
I VOTE. Video: 7.5 – Audio: 7 – Extra: 6
Tori and Lokita, the review: alone against all to be able to be together
Orlando: The DVD Review
THE FILM. The meeting between two distant generations belonging to two different worlds is at the center of Orlando, the film by Daniele Vicari. A grumpy, stubborn and lonely farmer (Michele Placido), who lives in a small rural village in central Italy, receives a phone call from Brussels: his son, with whom he has broken off since the boy emigrated to Belgium, is ill. When he arrives, in the midst of a world and a language that he ignores, the tragedy has now taken place and he will discover not only that he is a grandfather, but also that he has to take care of his niece Lyse, a modern girl who grew up in a European metropolis.
IT DVD. Orlando has arrived on home video with the CG-Vision DVD, a technically discreet product but unfortunately completely lacking in special content. The video is little more than enough, because in the face of good detail in the close-ups and a lively chroma, it has to deal with many smudges in all medium and long shots, with various elements that appear grainy or with uncertain outlines. The nocturnal scenes are also a bit confused, even if here the picture maintains a satisfactory compactness.
NOT TO BE MISSED. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is much more convincing, which in addition to clean dialogues (even if some of the protagonist’s sentences in strict dialect are not very understandable) and an enveloping soundtrack, unleashes an atmosphere full of effects in the scenes on the streets of Brussels , on the skating rink and in the party in the square. In these situations the rear axle is also involved and a good spatiality is shown off.
I VOTI – Video: 6.5 – Audio: 7.5 – Extra: 2
Orlando, the review: discovering yourself as a grandfather to know the world
Ghost Night: The DVD Review
THE FILM. Intriguing and tense nocturnal thriller directed by the young Fulvio Risuleo, Ghost night lives on the duet to the sound of dialogues between Edoardo Pesce and the newcomer Yothin Clavenzani. The seventeen-year-old Tarek, before reaching a party is asked by his friends to take a few grams of smoke. But after the purchase, he is approached by a policeman in a car. The man arrests him, but behaves in a strange and ambiguous way, and ends up forcing the boy to spend the night with him in a car between fights and chases.
IT DVD. Ghost Night arrived on home video with the DVD CG-Vision, a technically good product both technically and in terms of extras. The video, considering that the film takes place entirely at night, gets along admirably given the limitations of the format: there is excellent detail on the close-ups and inside the car, the black is deep, there are shelling and aliasing on long shots, but all in all limited. Dolby digital 5.1 audio is also good, which manages to create a good environment when the scene requires it, both in the streets, both in the soundtrack and in an accident.
NOT TO BE MISSED. In the extras there is only a backstage, but it lasts 15 and a half minutes and is well done, with many moments of filming on the set, with curiosity to see crew, director and actors at work, and with an always particularly sparkling Edoardo Pesce. It is also interesting to see how some key scenes of the film were made.
I VOTI – Video: 7.5 – Audio: 7 – Extra: 7
Ghost Night, the review: an excellent and original night thriller
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