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HBO

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Various
Cast:
Danny McBride, Katy Mixon, John Hawkes, Andrew Daly, Ben Best, Jennifer Irwin, Steve Little, Ethan Alexander McGee
Writing Credits:
Various

Synopsis:
Kenny Powers was once on top of the world. Now, spurned by the big leagues and humiliated in his own hometown, he’s heading south of the border to lick his wounds and live the outlaw lifestyle. Danny McBride is Kenny Powers in an all-new season of the HBO hit comedy series Eastbound & Down.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Norwegian
Swedish
Danish
Finnish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 210 min.
Price: $39.98
Release Date: 8/2/11

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary for Five Episodes
• “Invitation to the Set” Featurette
• “Big Red Cockfighting” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Outtakes


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


Eastbound & Down: The Complete Second Season [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 25, 2011)

Although I went into Season One of Eastbound and Down with skepticism, the show ended up offering pretty good entertainment. It took a couple of years, but we finally can now take a look at the series’ second season.

I’ll look at the seven episodes of Season Two in the order broadcast. The plot synopses come straight disc’s menus.

Chapter Seven: “After settling a score with the baseball executive who screwed him out of a big-league comeback, Kenny Powers (Danny McBride) heads to Mexico to lick his wounds and start a new, more anonymous life. In Jalisco under an alias – Stevie Janowksi (Steve Little), the fawning music teacher whose credit card he’s using – Kenny’s nascent career in cockfighting ends when his ‘Big Red’ bird goes down, and his two local sidekicks, Aaron (Deep Roy) and Hector (Joaquin Cosio), take off with his assets. Befriended by a neighboring Mexican family and a sultry bar singer named Vida (Ana de la Reguera), Kenny emerges from ‘the darkest hole I’ve ever been in’ by announcing he’ll make a baseball comeback with the hapless local team, the Charros.”

On one hand, I admire the series’ attempts to do something different with Season 2. Rather than just plop Kenny down with the same characters and situations as S1, we get a different experience here.

But is it a particularly successful experience? Not really – not yet, at least. Hopefully the season will improve as it progresses, but Chapter Seven delivers a lackluster launch to the year. Ana de la Reguera is super-hot, and it’s fun to see Deep Roy, but the overall impact left by C7 isn’t great.

Chapter Eight: “Charros owner Sebastian Cisneros (Michael Peña) agrees to throw out all the stops in promoting Kenny’s return to organized baseball, but Kenny loses motivation after learning a secret about April (Katy Mixon) from an old friend.”

S2 starts to rebound a bit here, though it still seems a bit adrift. I like Pena’s spot – he delivers a fun turn on his role – and it’s good to see Kenny back on the field. Still, it feels like something’s missing; maybe outside of his goofy family circumstance, Kenny just isn’t all that interesting. Well, we have five more episodes to decide.

Chapter Nine: “Puzzled by the Mexican fans’ lukewarm reception, Kenny starts a grassroots PR campaign to burnish his image. But it takes a vintage Powers flare-up to bring the fans to their feet. Kenny makes inroads with Vida by inviting her to Sebastian’s yacht party.”

S2 takes a big leap up in quality here. I’m still not wild about the Mexican theme, but the plot does thicken, and Kenny’s typical crudeness starts to hit the mark more often. The episode delivers more episodes than the first pair combined and shows signs of life.

Chapter Ten: “Though Charros fans respond to Kenny, he is warned by Roger (Marco Rodriguez) about the perils of showboating. Kenny finds he has serious competition in his courtship of Vida. Stevie finds short-lived romance.”

With “Chapter Ten”, the series starts to revert to mediocre form. Granted, it shows more of a narrative arc, as relationship topics come to the fore, but the show’s just not especially entertaining. Maybe it doesn’t really want to be particularly amusing – it might hope for drama/pathos more than anything else – but it’s still not one that creates a path I like a whole lot.

Chapter Eleven: “Kenny considers a new full-time life working in Mexico."

“Chapter Eleven” gets a bit of a boost from a fun guest turn by Don Johnson as Kenny’s dad (!), but otherwise, it doesn’t do a lot to redeem the year. Again, the problem here might just be mine. As I mentioned earlier, I respect the fact that Season Two didn’t just remake S1, but I’m not sure that its narrative path works. It comes with too much soap opera and too little funny, I think. “C11” has its moments but it’s another mediocre show overall.

Chapter Twelve: “Kenny settles his debt with Sebastian; later, he settles a score with Aaron and Hector, and bids adios to Vida. Kenny passes a final test with the Charros team.”

“Chapter Twelve” benefits from two factors. For one, it moves along the narrative to finally get Kenny out of Mexico. No offense to our neighbors in the south, but the series just doesn’t work for me when set in that location. It seems like I had to sit through more than just a handful of episodes there, so it’s a relief that the series is finally heading back to the States.

In addition, the program boasts some good cameos. Those aren’t delightful for the surprise factor; they’re fun because the actors in question deliver the goods. These elements help make “Chapter Twelve” a nice rebound before S2 ends.

Chapter Thirteen: “Kenny confronts his future.”

Now that Kenny has come back to North Carolina, we can see the life the series has been missing all year. The episode mixes comedy and drama in a better way than its predecessors, and it just feels right in a way the rest of the season rarely did. It’s a positive finish to the season that gives me hope Season Three will bring us good material.


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

Eastbound & Down appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on these Blu-ray Discs. The series’ visuals never dazzled, but they looked fine.

Overall definition seemed good. Occasional wide shots looked a little soft, but those were the exception, not the rule. Most of the series provided nice clarity and definition. I noticed no jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. No source flaws appeared; the episodes were a bit grainy but that wasn’t a problem.

Colors looked nice. The series went with a slightly dusty palette in Mexico, but that wasn’t a heavy overlay; most of the shows opted for clear, full tones. Blacks were dark and tight, but shadows seemed less consistent; low-light shots could seem somewhat opaque. The mix of soft shots and shadow issues made this a “B-“, but I still thought it was satisfying.

Though I didn’t think much of the audio found with Season One, Season Two’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtracks were surprisingly good. The episodes featured nice stereo music and opened up the soundscape in a positive manner. Elements like ball games and other outdoor sequences delivered a fair amount of activity and life that used the side and surround speakers in a pretty involving way.

I felt audio quality was usually good. Some edginess occasionally interfered with speech, but not to a terrible degree; most of the lines were natural and concise. Music seemed vivid and full, while effects appeared accurate and tight. I felt pretty happy with the audio here.

When we head to the extras, we start with audio commentaries for five episodes:

Chapter 7: writer/actor Danny McBride and writer/director Jody Hill.

Chapter 10: McBride, Hill and actor Steve Little.

Chapter 11: director David Gordon Green and production sound mixer Chris Gebert.

Chapter 12: Green and Gebert.

Chapter 13: McBride, Hill and Little.

Though all the chats offer good information, I’d say that the ones with Hill and McBride work best. Those dig into a nice variety of show-oriented elements and keep us entertained. With or without Little, we get some funny bits along with solid notes related to the series.

I don’t think the Green/Gebert tracks are quite as good, partially because they sag a bit more; we don’t find a lot of dead air, but they suffer from more gaps. Nonetheless, they still add useful material and deserve a listen. I liked the commentaries for the series’ first season, and these continue to work well.

Two featurettes appear. Invitation to the Set runs eight minutes, 29 seconds as it offers notes from McBride, Hill, Green, Little, executive producer Chris Henchy, writer Shawn Harwell, producer Stephanie Laing, and actors Deep Roy, Ana de la Reguera, Don Johnson, Matthew McConaughey, Andrew Daly, Katy Mixon, Marco Rodriguez, Efren Ramirez, Adam Scott and Michael Peña. This is a general series promo that discusses aspect of the season. We get a few decent facts, but “Set” exists mostly to tout the series, so don’t expect much from it.

Big Red Cockfighting lasts four minutes, 17 seconds and offers notes from Hill, McBride, Henchy, Harwell, stand-by painter Wilhelm Perez, and cock wrangler Eric Colon. We get some notes about shooting the series’ cockfighting scenes. A handful of good comments emerge, but mostly the featurette likes to throw out puns related to “cock”.

12 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 16 minutes. Of the supporting characters, Sebastian gets the biggest boost, as we see a fair amount more from him. Otherwise, we find more nuttiness with Kenny; a couple of other minor bits emerge, but nothing major. The pieces are often amusing, though, so they’re worth a look.

We also find a collection of Outtakes. These occupy 11 minutes, 38 seconds as they show the standard roster of goofs and giggles. I hoped for a bunch of alternate lines, as they would’ve made the reel more interesting; almost 12 minutes of bloopers gets tiresome.

Although I liked the series’ first season quite a lot, Season Two of Eastbound and Down seems less exciting. It’s still generally entertaining, but it’s not as fun and interesting as the initial year. The Blu-ray provides decent to good picture and audio along with a smattering of reasonably useful supplements. Season Two of Eastbound has its moments and leaves me interested in the next set of shows, but it’s still a bit of a disappointment.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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