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P. B. Koeb (Aljezur, Portugal)

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Wiseguy: Season 1 Pt 2 - Mel Profitt & Drug Ring [DVD] [1989] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Wiseguy: Season 1 Pt 2 - Mel Profitt & Drug Ring [DVD] [1989] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Un Flic Dans La Mafia......... (a cop in the mafia) part two., 23 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Once again, it has been some twenty eight years since i first saw this....... dubbed into French, straight after the TF1 lunchtime news. Seemed like a crazy time to be screening this series, given its dark and sometimes raunchy nature, but that is the liberal French attitude, i guess. This is the second story arc from the first season, with Vinnie Terranova's investigation of assassin Roger Lococo (excellent William Russ) in "Independent Operator" leading into dark, creepy dealings with Mel and Susan Profitt (brilliant Kevin Spacey and gorgeous Joan Severance). Just as with the Sonny Steelgrave storyline in the first half of the season, the storytelling is of a different class.

This original Studio Works product is far more attractively packaged than the Mill Creek reissue and a much better purchase, so long as the price is reasonable enough. The compression ratio is lower, with only four episodes per disc, and the box has more of a collector's edition about it. The fourth disc gives us various interviews, as special features, which add a lot of insight.

PS. I need to add some comments, as my Mill Creek product review has lumped the Studio Works sets one, three and four in with it. Bear in mind that the region 2 products are hopelessly incomplete and the Studio Works issue features only four of the six sets which WERE intended for release. (See set one's trailer, which gives glimpses of the great, lost Dead Dog Records story arc.) Each, however, is a five star product. Set one is the excellent Sonny Steelgrave arc. Set two the even better, i think, Mel Profitt arc. Set three is the first half of season two, with the White Supremacists and Garment Business arcs. Set four takes up in the aftermath of the Dead Dogs Records case, with the menacing Mafia Wars arc and Counterfeit Yen story. The four sets provide us with nearly fifty of the sixty-six Ken Wahl episodes. One slight negative, in that the linking episodes have been included in an incongruous, haphazard order across the four sets.

Whilst i can live without the Steven Bauer episodes, season two's Dead Dog Records and season three's Lynchboro/Seattle arcs are an utterly vital part of Vinnie Terranova's emotional journey. Both are missing from the Studio Works releases. If the Mill Creek Collector's Edition restores the latter, Dead Dog still does not live. (And just check out the price!) What a shame this forgotten, lost series will probably never get a complete release, leaving us with an unsatisfied feeling.

Wiseguy: Complete First Season [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]
Wiseguy: Complete First Season [DVD] [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC]

3.0 out of 5 stars "Un Flic Dans La Mafia".......... (a cop in the Mafia)., 23 Dec. 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
From half a lifetime ago....... at the time of writing...... comes my first viewing of this series in English. I used to watch this on the TF1 channel, on Sunday afternoons, straight after the lunchtime news. It was compulsive viewing, even in French, with its unusual story arc formatting. The writing and acting were quite superb, with Ken Wahl delivering a wonderful portrayal of conflicted undercover OCB agent Vinnie Terranova. The cast list, featuring many who would go on to bigger things, is absolutely extraordinary.

Ordinarily, the content would be deserving of five stars. It has aged somewhat, inevitably, but still packs a hefty punch. The rating is mainly for the cheapness of this Mill Creek reissue, which condenses the electrifying Sonny Steelgrave and creepy Mel Profitt arcs into one volume. The snapper case presentation, with discs in black envelopes, is unappealing. The disc menu likewise. Episodes have been crammed onto the discs, unlike the original Studio Works release, and the picture quality is deemed to be fuzzier.

However, the sad thing is that we do not have too many purchasing options for this forgotten series. It is a question of having to make the best compromise in product and price, in order to view what was a very good series. Okay, a little eighties in style. The cars and suits make it a little dated. Mike Post's title theme and score are not his best work. The writing and acting make this something different, however. Ray Sharkey inhabits the role of East Coast mobster Sonny Steelgrave to perfection. A Kevin Spacey at the start of his career gives, for me, one of television's best guest star performances as criminal mastermind Mel Profitt. Joan Severance, as Susan Profitt, makes what might just be one of the most eyepopping entrances in the history of television.

In conclusion, make an effort to catch up with this series. It is pretty much deserving of five stars. This cheap reissue has its advantages, but i think i definitely prefer my more attractively packaged Studio Works products.

PS. My Mill Creek reissue review has lumped the Studio Works releases of sets 1, 3 and 4 in with it. Those are much better products!!!
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 23, 2015 6:38 AM GMT

30 Rock - Season 7 [DVD]
30 Rock - Season 7 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Tina Fey
Price: £9.95

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect send-off., 17 Jan. 2015
This review is from: 30 Rock - Season 7 [DVD] (DVD)
And so, my friends, this endearing series comes to an end, with this twelve/thirteen episode season sensibly keeping things in focus. Following the wonderful seasons one through four, slightly patchier seasons five and six, season seven takes us back up where we belong.

Everybody "gets a little", as we say goodbye to all our favourite characters. Personal highlights would be Steve Buscemi (P.I. Len Wozniak) and Chris Parnell (Dr. Spaceman) in the very funny "Game Over", plus the lovely, underused Katrina Bowden (Cerie). She features in several episodes, without having a whole lot with which to work. Julianne Moore and Salma Hayek get brief cameos and Elaine Stritch's participation in "Florida" is really quite moving.

The main cast are all in fine form, as they deal with the daily "TGS" zaniness, and one suspects that they must have felt a certain sadness in bringing down the curtain on this excellent series. Rather like us. The double-parter "Hogcock!/Last Lunch" is an unquestionably perfect way to end this series, with its show-within-a-show storyline.

Batman: The Complete Television Series [DVD] [Import]
Batman: The Complete Television Series [DVD] [Import]
Offered by gameshop_fuerth
Price: £104.76

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Holy smokes!!!, 3 Jan. 2015
Finally!!! Really showing my age, on this one..... a belated release for this, um, iconic sixties classic. So cheesily tongue-in-cheek that it's simply great fun. This delightful box set has a bright, multicolour presentation. One hundred and twenty epiosdes, spread over three seasons and seventeen discs. Plus a bonus disc containing three hours of special features and a decent booklet as well. Available for less through an emporium of his master's voice. I took the plunge, following a brief price comparison, in case it suddenly gets pulled and reverts to being unavailable. This is going to be a HOOT!

Mission: Impossible Series 2 [DVD]
Mission: Impossible Series 2 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Greg Morris

5.0 out of 5 stars M: I 2 : The Deluxe Upgrade., 21 July 2014
Followng on from season one, which was often let down by an AWOL Dan Briggs (Steven Hill), we are blessed with the mother of all upgrades. Peter Graves takes the reins, as the IMF team leader, and makes the role of Jim Phelps all his own. Resembling a favourite uncle, or a Mr. Middle America, he also shows he isn't afraid to mix it with the baddies. Meanwhile, Martin Landau delivers another masterly range of performances. Always very watchable, whether as a mobster, hitman, feisty oldster, priest, crooked cop, card-shark or latino prison guard. The rest of the dream team are there, as well, as they venture to places like Santales, El Qabar, Ghalea, Vazeka, Novotshina and Vatzia, amongst others.

Enjoy the inventive camerawork and fast editing. Also Lalo Schifrin's wonderful scores. (Apart the first quarter of the season, where U.N.C.L.E. defectors Gerald Fried, Walter Scharf and Robert Drasnin do the honours.) There are the excellent fine details and that "Eastern Europeanspeak"..... (fumin net, belten atachin, extan imergiski and EMERZENCISKIJA).

My personal favourites? "Trek" with Dan O'Herlihy and Mark Lenard; "Sweet Charity" is wildly enjoyable as Fritz Weaver and Hazel Court scheme against each other, with Cinnamon delightfully austere in a wheelchair (a novel use of an inflatable platinum "mattress" will amuse); "The Council" is a decent two parter which was marketed as "Mission Impossible versus The Mob" for European cinema release (uses a Jerry Fielding score); "The Echo Of Yesterday" a good neo-Nazi tale with Hans Gudegast and Wilfrid Hyde-White; "The Spy" features a very good turn from scheming Kate Woodville; "The Emerald" is another cracker, as Rollin dusts down his card-shark skills; "The Town" is a great Cold War paranoia tale; "Trial By Fury" might have used the set from "Hogan's Heroes" and the season ending "Recovery" is very taut (great Lalo Schifrin score, here).

Viewers will notice many of the "M:I" regulars..... Joseph Ruskin, Pernell Roberts, Michael Strong (twice), Steve Ihnat, Anthony Zerbe, Joseph Campanella and Sid Haig (twice). Also, however, some unusuals..... people like Brock Peters, Darren McGavin, Will Geer, Paul Winfield and the cute Marianna Hill all feature. A very good season, even if some of the episodes are a little flatter than others. (Although i personally think season three gets even better.)

Il Grido [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1957]
Il Grido [Masters of Cinema] [DVD] [1957]
Dvd ~ Steve Cochran
Offered by bestmediagroup
Price: £7.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating formative work., 8 July 2014
A 1957 Antonioni film which was completely new to me. (I had literally never heard of it.) The title translates as "The Cry", which IMDB describes as a "rare, early film" from the master director. Far more of a neorealist work, given the subject matter, although the Antonioni style is very, very much in evidence. It is the story of the jilted Aldo (Steve Cochran), as he drifts around the Po valley with his daughter. (Born out of wedlock with Irma, his partner of seven years.)

It is an extremely atmospheric film, which plays out against the most barren of landscapes. Leafless trees and foggy skies are used in a very symbolic way, as the film's characters suffer with their bleak, hopeless situations. On the one hand, it plays like a snapshot of fifties life in rural Italy....... the Emilio Romagna region, in fact. (Much like "Blow Out" shows us London in the swinging sixties and "Zabriskie Point" crystallises a hippy era Los Angeles.) On the other hand, this film manages to feel amazingly relevant, in its depiction of people being left behind by a changing world.

Au Nom De La Loi - Integrale - 24 Dvd
Au Nom De La Loi - Integrale - 24 Dvd

5.0 out of 5 stars All hail the King of Cool., 30 May 2014
In spite of its elevated price, this 2006 Studio Canal repackaging remains the best purchase option for a region two product. All ninety-four espisodes, spread over three seasons and eight volumes. (Plus numerous bonus features, which are often very worthwhile.) Packed in one mega-box. Mine was secured for the equivalent of only sixty GBP monetary units, during a recent visit to Geneva. A ripping bargain, at that price.

The outer package is a bit cheap, but the individual volumes have a deluxe presentation. Each comes with a little booklet, outlining plotlines and cast lists. (In French, however.) The episodes have an English/French audio option, but the former comes with French subtitles. The picture quality is extraordinarily good, given the series' age. Whilst very much of its time, this remains a very enjoyable series. And Steve McQueen's performance is never less than totally enthralling.

Season one (thirty-six episodes) is a bit clunky, whilst the series reaches its cruising speed. Season two (thirty-two episodes) possibly the most consistent, until Josh Randall's rather unnecessary pairing with an "apprentice" bounty hunter. The end title sequence is given a stirring score. Season three (twenty-six episodes) is uneven, with an inferior opening title sequence. It mixes some of the very best episodes, like "The Looters", "The Last Rentreat" (sic) and "Bounty On Josh", with a few duffers (notably "Baa Baa" and "The Cure").

Original Album Classics
Original Album Classics
Price: £27.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Unquestionably good, but is it "great"?, 23 May 2014
This review is from: Original Album Classics (Audio CD)
Bought for the equivalent of a "Charles Darwin", on a recent visit to Geneva. In spite of me having "School Days" and "Modern Man" somewhere, in the standard plastic box format. The main attraction was to discover "Stanley Clarke" and "Journey To Love", which i have never owned. (Either as a CD or LP.) The value is great, once again, in spite of us being served up with the distinctly underwhelming "Clarke/Duke Project". Why didn't they include the unheralded "Rocks, Pebbles and Sand"? That would have made this a perfect, five-star package.

With Stanley's albums, purchasers get virtuoso bass playing. He seems to be better as a team player, rather than as a solo artist, as his compositions can sometimes be a bit patchy. Hence the individual albums tend to be "good" rather than "great". He also recycles some of his ideas, if you listen carefully, though he isn't alone in that respect.

This package includes the decent "Stanley Clarke", with a reworked "Vulcan Princess" from the days of Return To Forever. "Lopsy Lu" and the long "Life Suite" make this a good listen. Better, it seems safe to say, are the "Journey To Love" and "School Days" albums which followed. "Modern Man" goes down a rather AOR/FM radio route, in a possible attempt to shift product, but remains very enjoyable. It is worth securing, if only for the monolithic "Rock & Roll Jelly" and its pyrotechnic soloing by Jeff Back and Stanley. (I dread to think how much air-guitar and air-bass that has provoked!)

The alternative is to invest in a copy of "The Bass-ic Collection", which is a single disc compilation of most of this set's highlights. The downside is that it doesn't include many of the long compositions with which Stanley's albums typically ended.
Comment Comments (3) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 11, 2014 5:25 PM GMT

Criminal Minds - Season 1-8 Complete Box Set [DVD]
Criminal Minds - Season 1-8 Complete Box Set [DVD]

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally compelling., 14 April 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A series i first encountered on Slovak television...... in Slovakian! Whilst unable to understand a word of what was going on, i still found this series extremely interesting. (It was the brilliant, chilling "Open Season" episode from late season two.) I subsequently watched the odd episode, upon my return to Portugal. This eight season box set is the perfect catch-up product, given the fabulous value-for-money which it offers. EIGHT seasons, or some 180 plus episodes, and many bonuses. (Also some episodes with a commentary track.) Once again...... do the math!

To date, i've got through to the end of the Mandy Patinkin years. These episodes were, invariably, of the highest quality. (I hope the Joe Mantegna years will be as worthwhile.) It certainly isn't easy viewing...... partly because of the gory crime scenes, but mainly because the stories have such a very dark backdrop. I would honestly advise against watching more than one episode at a sitting, for those of an impressionable disposition. They're simply too heavy.

Excellent stories, writing and acting, as the Behavioural Analysis Unit tackles a variety of cases which touch upon different aspects of human depravity and dysfunction. Mandy Patinkin (seasons one and two), as profiler Jason Gideon, and Thomas Gibson as team leader Aaron Hotchner, supply all the gravitas. Meanwhile, cute A. J. Cook and spiky Paget Brewster (replacing sexy Lola Glaudini) are pleasing cast members. Shemar Moore supplies the muscle and Matthew Gray Gubler the genius. Kirsten Vangsness, as kooky tech support Penelope Garcia, occasionally annoys me. But she is there to give some light relief to the impossibly dark events which unfold.

Dexter - Complete Season 1-8 [DVD]
Dexter - Complete Season 1-8 [DVD]
Dvd ~ Michael C. Hall
Offered by movielovers786
Price: £57.23

31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a megabargain!, 13 Feb. 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
(At this moment in time......... ) Bought as a fabulous, no-brainer of a bargain. All EIGHT seasons...... do the math! Having just finished season six on my local RTP2 channel, i simply couldn't stand the idea of waiting nearly a year for season seven and even longer for season eight. (Running the risk of discovering more and more spoilers.) Rather than opt for a quick purchase of season seven....... let alone season eight.... i took the complete box set route. This attractive, sturdy set cost only a little more than i shelled out for seasons one through four. AAAAARRRRGH!!!

What of the seasons? There are already more reviews than one can poke a stick at, and readers will see that the "post-Trinity" seasons don't generally appear to satisfy as much. As for my personal ratings: season one (Ice Truck Killer) is simply superb; season two (Bay Harbor Butcher) ditto, although i always found the denouement a little too easy; season three (Miguel Prado) sees things taking a bit of a breather; season four (Trinity Killer) is possibly one of the greatest of all seasons of anything...... John Lithgow illuminates with a truly breathtaking guest star performance; season five (Barrel Girls) is a solid season and rather underrated; season six (Doomsday Killer) is the only real disappointer..... very flat. Colin Hanks is the weakest of all the guest stars and Edward James Olmos not that interesting; season seven (Koshka Brotherhood/Hannah McKay) with Ray Stevenson giving a very menacing performance and lovely Yvonne Strahovski simply radiant. I found this quite excellent; season eight (The Brain Surgeon) ...... i feared the worst, on the basis of people's typical reviews, but found it to be very worthwhile.

The surprising thing is that so many seem to have found seasons seven and, particularly, eight so much of a letdown. Perhaps viewers didn't go for the "what would we do out of love?" exploration. I came to the end of the journey yesterday, in tears during the final episode. Maybe it depends on the old business about whether or not one believes in the journey of the characters. I found myself quite desperately wanting things to work out happily, in spite of the numerous leaps of faith which have been required of us. What we get is one of the most moving, haunting, bitter-sweet conclusions i know in any tv series. I'll inevitably come back to a full rerun of "Dexter" in a couple of years. In the meantime, this deluxe set will take pride of place on a shelf.

PS. Now available in a more compact, cost-optimised version. The slip case has gone, but it still looks good.
PPS. The rerun confirms the terrible stodginess of season six. Also a bit less favourable, regarding season eight, but running concurrently with "Breaking Bad" definitely didn't help.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 19, 2014 2:47 PM GMT

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