The origins of Marvel’s Avengers and Next Avengers are told in this 3-movie Blu-ray set, a re-release of previously available feature-length animated films.
L’Incoronazione di Poppea, a Monteverdi classic, is presented in an updated version by the Norwegian National Opera. A noble effort is undermined by the choices of color palette, staging, and sound recording.
An outstanding survey of Chopin’s two piano concertos is rendered by international star soloist Garrick Ohlsson and the Warsaw Philharmonic, ably led by Antoni Wit.
Yoshihiro Nishimura’s latest absurdist horror film, Helldriver, is just a plain bad zombie flick. Its nonsensical plot, lack of humor and scares make it not worth bothering with, and the lackluster MPEG-2 high definition transfer is like something out of 2006.
Daniel Barenboim and his West Eastern Divan Orchestra present a masterful concert of varied works at the 2007 Salzburg Festival. These young musicians from Israel, Palestine and other parts of the Arab world sound world class under maestro Barenboim’s expert direction.
Joaquin Achucarro, the reigning dean of Spanish pianists, presents two programs of mostly Spanish keyboard music, Nights in the Gardens of Spain, supported by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra led by Sir Simon Rattle, and a solo recital of impressionist Spanish and French pieces. The pianism is consistently at a high level with the visual and audio recording being much better in the recital section than the orchestral one.
This all-Beethoven program from the Paris Art Deco Theatre of the Champs-Elysees features period instruments and reduced forces. While maestro Vladimir Jurowski tries to stir up enthusiasm for this approach, most Beethoven-lovers will find these performances, sonically undernourished.
The classic Rocky film is reissued in a deluxe Blu-ray Book package with new production stills, film trivia, and more, but lacks any on-disc extras and uses the same MPEG-2 transfer from the previous edition.
The Usual Suspects is a tasty bit of pulpy film noir, but it arrives in a reissue from MGM that is nothing more than a fancier package with a higher price tag and the same middling MPEG-2 transfer.
The classic sci-fi film is reissued yet again by MGM in spiffy new packaging with the same old underwhelming MPEG-2 transfer from the format’s early days.