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Andrea Arnold
Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley
David E. Kelley

The community continues to reel as the "Monterey Five" bond together to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives.

Not Rated

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1/16X9
English Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 338 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 1/7/19

• “Lies Revealed” Featurette


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer.


Big Little Lies: Season Two (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 5, 2020)

Based on a novel by Liane Moriarty, 2017’s Big Little Lies offered a “limited run” series from HBO. I thought those seven episodes would offer all we got from that narrative, but 2019’s Season Two proves me wrong.

The 2017 series wrapped up the content of Moriarty’s novel, so S2 branches out into new material. At the end of the initial year, a major character got killed, an event that shook up a swanky Northern California seaside community.

In particular, we followed a group of women connected because their kids went to the same school. S2’s seven episodes pick up in the aftermath of S1’s events and follow the same characters.

What Have They Done?: “Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) worries about Bonnie’s (Zoë Kravitz) state of mind. Jane (Shailene Woodley) learns that people in town are talking about the ‘Monterrey Five’”.

Inevitably, “Done” acts as a series reset/reintroduction. With a couple years between shows, we need to get acquainted with the roles and situations again.

“Done” works well in that regard. It doesn’t spoonfeed us rehashed plot points, but it jogs our memories and points toward new events.

Tell-Tale Hearts: “Renata (Laura Dern) faces an uncertain future. Madeline’s secrets threaten her marriage.”

Because S1 wrapped up its narrative arc succinctly, S2 threatens to feel like an extended epilogue. That doesn’t make it without value, and “Hearts” proves more than moderately engaging. However, I think S2 needs to find its own overriding plot before too long if it will bring the same impact as S1.

The End of the World: “Mary Louise (Meryl Streep) tries to get closer to Jane. Madeline is forced to confront her issues in therapy.”

Though most of the cast comes from the same actors found in S1, Streep becomes a major new participant. She mainly acts as a fly in various ointments so far, but hopefully she’ll evolve into something more eventually.

As for the rest, “World” continues the trend toward a focus on the aftermath of S1’s events. Though this continues to feel like a loose theme for an entire season, I do like the evolution of these notions so far, especially in the way “World” confronts messages conveyed to children.

She Knows: “Mary Louise grows increasingly concerned about Celeste’s (Nicole Kidman) parenting. Madeline tries to make things right with Ed (Adam Scott).”

Halfway through S2, I give up on any hopes that it’ll pursue a true plot – and I’m fine with that. Initially I felt a little disappointed that it seemed to act as a glorified epilogue, but as seen here, S2 manages enough involving character threads that it grows and satisfies.

Kill Me: “Renata deals with the fallout from Gordon’s (Jeffrey Nordling) legal troubles and attempts to help Celeste. Bonnie relives painful memories of her mother.”

Given the season’s general lack of specific drama, “Kill” ramps up the “action” to a substantial degree. It still emphasizes the orientation toward the impact of S1’s events, but this material plays out in a more aggressive manner, and these factors help push us toward the season finale.

The Bad Mother: “Celeste is blindsided by Mary Louise. Bonnie contemplates a solution to her ongoing guilt.”

As expected with the season’s penultimate episode, “Mother” acts to ramp up the drama before the final show. Though it occasionally threatens to go a little over the top, “Mother” largely works well in that regard and allows us to prepare for the finish.

I Want to Know: “Celeste questions Mary Louise about a tragic event from Perry’s (Alexander Skarsgård) childhood.”

S2 concludes on a pretty climactic note. Some of the choices threaten to go over the top, but the episode connects them in an emotional manner. All of this adds up to a compelling conclusion to a solid collection of episodes.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+

Big Little Lies appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on these single-sided, double-layered discs; the shows have been enhanced for 16X9 TVs. Given the limitations of SD-DVD, the episodes looked decent.

This meant adequate sharpness, as the shows offered reasonable delineation. They never offered great clarity, but they delivered decent accuracy. No prominent signs of jagged edges or shimmering appeared, and I saw no issues with edge haloes or source flaws.

The series opted for a palette with a definite teal tint – it tossed in an orange orientation at times, too. Within those parameters, the colors seemed fine.

Blacks were acceptably deep and tight, while shadows appeared positive, with only a little opacity on occasion. Overall, the shows provided visuals that felt fine for the format.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack suited the episodes but won't win any awards. The soundstage appeared nicely broad at the appropriate times and could be moderately engulfing on occasion. It's a talky little series, so the focus was mainly up front, but the audio expanded when necessary.

This occurred mostly via gentle environmental ambience, so the surrounds didn’t have a lot to do. Occasional beach scenes added the most pep and that was about it. That said, the imaging made sense for the series.

Sound quality seemed fine. Dialogue always appeared crisp and natural, and I had no trouble understanding it. The score was warm and distinctive.

Effects also seemed realistic and adequate for the tasks at hand. Lies won't be anyone's demo track, but the mix worked well for the series.

In terms of extras, we get Lies Revealed, a 36-minute, 57-second program. It offers a roundtable chat among actors Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Nicole Kidman, Zoë Kravitz and Shailene Woodley.

They discuss working together, characters and story, and various series-related thoughts. I love the fact “Lies” gathers all these actors, but they tend toward happy talk and don’t reveal as many insights as I’d hope.

As an exploration of the ramifications related to a major life event, Season Two of Big Little Lies satisfies. While it lacks the more obvious plot orientation of the prior package of shows, it manages strong character involvement and impact. The DVDs provide adequate picture and audio along with one mediocre bonus feature. Season Two gives us another powerful set of episodes.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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