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HBO

MOVIE INFO

Creator:
Jonathan Ames
Cast:
Zach Galifianakis, Jason Schwartzman, Ted Danson
Writing Credits:
Various

Tagline:
A noir-rotic comedy.

Synopsis:
When we last dropped in on Jonathan Ames – New York writer, romantic, unlicensed private detective – he was taking a pounding in the boxing ring while still licking his (more painful) breakup wounds. Now that his second novel has been completed (and rejected), Jonathan is augmenting his income by moonlighting as a creative-writing teacher, while taking on some new, desperate clients, ranging from a kinky policeman to the publishing rival of his sexagenarian pal, George Christopher. How he solves anything is a mystery.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Spanish DTS 2.0
Castillian DTS 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Castillian
Brazilian Portuguese
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Castillian
Brazilian Portuguese

Runtime: 203 min.
Price: $49.98
Release Date: 10/4/11

Bonus:
• Audio Commentaries for Four Episodes
• “Inside the Episodes” Featurettes
• Outtakes
• Deleted Scenes


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Bored To Death: Season Two [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 29, 2011)

Quirky detective series Bored to Death returns for a second season via this package. The series’ second year encompasses eight episodes, which I’ll check out in broadcast order. The plot synopses come straight from the Blu-ray’s packaging.

Also from the back cover, we get a recap to bring us up to date: “When we last dropped in on Jonathan Ames - New York writer, romantic, unlicensed private detective – he was taking a pounding in the boxing ring while still licking his (more painful) breakup wounds. Now that his second novel has been completed (and rejected), Jonathan is augmenting his income by moonlighting as a creative writing teacher, while taking on some new, desperate clients, ranging from a kinky policeman to the publishing rival of his sexagenarian pal, George Christopher.” We also follow Jonathan’s comic book writer/artist pal Ray Hueston and his life along with the adventures of Jonathan and George.

Escape from the Dungeon!: “Jonathan (Jason Schwartzman) is hired by a cop with an S&M fetish. George (Ted Danson) is told to make do with less. Ray (Zach Galifianakis) fails a yoga test.”

I thought Season One of Bored was hit or miss, so I’m happy that Season Two launches on a positive note. It borders on becoming too wacky-wacky at tines – such as during Jonathan’s trip to the bondage dungeon – but it still manages a nice balance between silly comedy and more subtle material. “Escape” opens the year in a fun way.

Make It Quick, Fitzgerald!: “Jonathan gets a job working for George’s rival. Ray vows to win back Leah (Heather Burns).”

After a good first episode, “Quick” seems a little lackluster. Not that it’s a bad show, but it lacks the energy and spark of “Escape”. Still, it has more than a few good moments – such as the odd three-way into which Jonathan finds himself stuck – so it moves along Season Two in a decent manner.

The Gowanus Canal Has Gonorrhea!: “George gets sobering news. Jonathan is kidnapped.”

“Canal” starts on a dark note, as George learns he has prostate cancer. Don’t expect a Very Special Epsiode, though, as the show immediately undercuts any potential melodrama and aims for the wacky side of the street. It threatens to become a little too nutty, especially as it gets involved with paramilitary attempts to save Jonathan from perverted kidnappers, but somehow, it all comes together for a good program.

I’ve Been Living Like a Demented God!: “Jonathan is hired by a junkie professor. George tries to cheat a drug test. Ray profits from his superhero comic creator.”

So far S2 seems to be on an even-odd pattern, with good odd-numbered episodes and mediocre even-numbered ones. “God” offers some decent moments – mostly from John Hodgman’s return as Jonathan’s smarmy rival – but it doesn’t quite come together to be anything memorable.

Forty-Two Down!: “Jonathan’s good intentions involving a poet/limo driver backfire. Ray meets with Kevin Bacon.”

S2 rebounds with a fun episode. Bacon’s appearance works well, and the poet/driver scenario proves to be surprisingly engaging. Nothing here dazzles, but the program delivers.

The Case of the Grievous Clerical Error!: “Leah hires Jonathan to find ‘Little Ray’. George faces an uncertain future as he heads to surgery.”

Does this season’s even-odd trend continue with “Grievous”? Yeah, pretty much, partially due to its lousy conclusion to the saga of George’s cancer. Other aspects of the episode work better, but it’s still not a great one.

Escape from the Castle!: “A dermatologist embroils Jonathan in a ‘Romeo and Juliet’ scenario at an Asian health spa.”

If nothing else, “Escape” prevents the even-odd scenario from continuing, largely because it’s not very good. On the positive side, Jonathan spends some time incognito in a ladies’ locker room, so expect some very nice visuals. Otherwise, the episode’s a little too madcap and silly to succeed.

Super Ray Is Mortal!: “Ray is imperiled by a mad stalker. George makes a stand at work. Jonathan has another battle with his nemesis, Louis Green (John Hodgman).

Season Two ends on a decent note. A couple of story lines come to a close, while others open to lead us to Season Three. This isn’t a great episode, but it delivers a fairly satisfying finish to the year.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

Bored to Death appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The series came to high-def in fine fashion.

Across the board, sharpness looked solid. The shows always demonstrated nice definition, with nary a soft spot on display. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge haloes appeared absent. Print flaws weren’t a factor either, as the shows looked clean and fresh.

Bored went with a fairly natural palette that came across well. The shows displayed warm, clear tones at all times, and these looked nice. There was a somewhat golden tint to things, and this seemed appealing. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows seemed fine. No issues with opacity or excessive dimness affected the programs. The shows demonstrated consistently positive visuals.

Though not memorable, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Bored seemed appropriate for the series. Nothing particularly dynamic appeared here, as the soundscapes usually stayed focused on ambience. A few more active sequences emerged – such as one that involved gunfire – but most were pretty low-key and atmospheric. That was fine for the episodes, as they didn’t need much in terms of auditory fireworks.

Sound quality was fine. Speech remained natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music seemed rich and full, while effects came across as clear and accurate. Nothing here impressed, but the tracks were more than acceptable.

When we shift to extras, we find audio commentaries for a few episodes. These chats accompany four programs:

“Make It Quick, Fitzgerald!”: writer/series creator Jonathan Ames, actor Jason Schwartzman and director/consulting producer Alan Taylor.

“The Gowanus Canal Has Gonorrhea!”: Ames, Schwartzman, actor Ted Danson and director Michael Lehmann.

“I’ve Been Living Like a Demented God!”: Schwartzman, Ames, Danson and Lehmann.

“The Case of the Grievous Clerical Error!”: Schwartzman, Danson and Ames.

“Super Ray Is Mortal!”: Schwartzman and Ames.

The commentaries look at basics like sets, locations, cast and performances, story elements and inspirations. The first one goes pretty well, as it delivers a fair amount of useful information. However, after that the tracks become more tedious. They concentrate on praise and happy talk, so they don’t delve into the shows as well as I’d like. We still learn a moderate amount, but the commentaries are spotty.

All eight programs feature Inside the Episode featurettes; all together, these fill 21 minutes, 13 seconds. Subtitled “inside the mind of Jonathan Ames”, we hear from the series creator across these. The shows discuss inspirations for some episode elements, cast, characters and performances, the penis emphasis of “Make It Quick” and his nude cameo, and some additional show specifics. These add a lot of interesting details related to the series, so they’re enjoyable and informative.

Seven Outtakes fill a total of five minutes, 22 seconds. These let us see alternate versions of existing scenes. I could live without the additional shots of Ames’ penis – I doubt even he wants to look at that thing – but much of the material’s fun.

Three Deleted Scenes finish the set. We get two for “Forty-Two Down!” (0:58 and 2:34, respectively) and one for “Super Ray Is Mortal!” (0:16). All of these offer minor extensions to existing sequences, so don’t expect much from them.

I enjoyed Season One of Bored to Death, and Season Two also worked pretty well. The episodes can be hit or miss, but they deliver enough irreverent humor to be worthwhile. The Blu-ray delivers excellent visuals along with generally good picture and supplements. We find a high-quality release for an enjoyable series.

Viewer Film Ratings: 5 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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