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MAGNOLIA

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Marina Zenovich
Cast:
Richard Pryor, Mel Brooks, Robin Williams, Dave Chappelle
Writing Credits:
PG Morgan, Chris A. Peterson and Marina Zenivoch

Synopsis:
Mike Epps, Richard Pryor Jr. and others recount the culture-defining influence of Richard Pryor one of America's most brilliant comic minds in this new documentary. Pryor remains an inspiration to many: a man who broke taboos, provoked change and propelled himself through life as a result of sheer force of personality.

MPAA:
Rated R

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 83 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 2/3/2015

Bonus:
• Additional Interviews
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; 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


Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic [Blu-Ray] (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 10, 2015)

Not even a decade after the comedian’s death, I wonder if Richard Pryor’s legacy threatens to become forgotten. While he was a major figure in movies, TV and standup during my childhood in the 1970s and 1980s, illness robbed him of much ability to work in the 1990s and he passed in 2005.

Because Pryor’s heyday occurred so long ago, he seems like less of a cultural presence than one might expect given his generally acknowledged greatness as a comedian. Entitled Omit the Logic, a 2013 documentary attempts to remind us of Pryor’s genius.

Logic uses the standard format of archival materials and modern interviews. In the latter category, we hear from former managers Sandy Gallin and Ron De Blasio, Improv founder Budd Friedman, collaborators David Banks and Paul Mooney, Becoming Richard Pryor author Scott Saul, screenwriter Cecil Brown, former girlfriends Kathy McKee and Patricia Von Heitman, writers Walter Mosley and Ishmael Reed, friend Reverend Jesse Jackson, road manager Alan Farley, former Universal Studios president Thom Mount, former lawyer Skip Brittenham, actors Stan Shaw, Lonette McKee, wife Jennifer Lee Pryor, TV producer Rocco Urbisci, TV director John Moffett, personal security Rashon Khan, son Richard Pryor Jr., friend Quincy Jones, Indigo Pictures story editor Sheila Frazier, burn specialist Dr. Richard Grossman, filmmakers Michael Schultz, Mel Brooks, and Paul Schrader, and comedians Dave Chappelle, Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin, Bob Newhart, David Steinberg, Mike Epps, and George Lopez.

Logic starts with a glimpse of Pryor’s scandalous 1979 self-injury related to the use of freebase cocaine before it flashes back to Pryor’s early years as a performer. We see Pryor’s 1963 TV debut and learn how he tamed his racy act for a general audience.

From there we trace Pryor’s rise to stardom and stumbles along the way, mainly due to Pryor’s desire to follow his true muse. Logic gets into Pryor’s subsequent return to fame as a stand-up and his shift to movies/TV as well as his personal issues.

Can a documentary cover a life as complicated as Pryor’s in 83 minutes? No, but Logic gives it a good shot, as it presents a pretty compelling overview of the important issues that came via Pryor’s biography.

Actually, Logic takes a while to get into gear. As the movie goes through the first half of the 1970s, it seems scattershot and somewhat vague. We get interesting tidbits – mostly via archival footage of Pryor on TV – but these portions of the film frustrate more than anything else. However, once Logic gets to 1977’s Richard Pryor Show and the problems that it encountered, the documentary becomes more dynamic. The complications connected to this aborted TV series deliver the first really in-depth discussions to be found here, and they allow Logic to break out of its too vague, too rushed semi-doldrums.

From there, Logic offers a pretty solid, few holds barred ride. The documentary certainly doesn’t avoid Pryor’s low points, though it doesn’t revel in them, either, which I regard as a positive. Logic easily could’ve turned into a simplistic, sensationalistic piece, but it maintains a better sense of reality than that. We learn about Pryor’s ups and downs without an overemphasis on either side.

Still, I can’t help but wish that it ran a lot longer than 83 stinking minutes, especially because I’d love to see more of those archival bits. We occasionally get glimpses of what made Pryor such a dynamic comedian, but with so little time at its disposal, Logic rushes through these sequences.

Maybe someday a longer, more detailed take on Richard Pryor’s life will emerge. Until then, Omit the Logic will have to do, and it offers a good compromise. Even with flaws, it delivers an involving portrait of a troubled comedic genius.


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

Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Overall, this was a solid image.

I didn’t factor the archival material not shot explicitly for Logic into my grade. Those elements demonstrated a mix of flaws, but it didn’t seem fair to criticize the disc for problems that seem inevitable with that kind of stuff.

As for the new shots, they presented good sharpness. These elements consistently looked crisp and detailed, and they betrayed few signs of softness. Those bits portrayed no problems with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge haloes remained absent. Outside of the archival materials, print flaws failed to mar the presentation.

Not surprisingly, the movie’s palette tended toward natural tones. The hues came across with positive clarity and definition, so they were more than adequate within their subdued goals. Blacks also seemed deep and firm, while the occasional low-light shots appeared well defined and clean. I felt this was a positive presentation.

Given the film’s focus, I expected little from the DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack of Logic, and it displayed the limited focus I anticipated. Dialogue remained the core, as the majority of the film’s information came from interviews or other conversational bits. Music spread to the sides pretty well but not much broadened the mix.

Audio quality seemed fine. Speech was consistently crisp and concise, with no issues connected to edginess or intelligibility. Music and effects remained background elements to a substantial degree, but they seemed well-reproduced and clear. Ultimately, the audio of Logic complimented the film, even if it lacked ambition.

Eight Additional Interviews appear. With a total running time of 34 minutes, 38 seconds, we hear from Mel Brooks (4:42), Whoopi Goldberg (5:39), Lily Tomlin (4:57), Jennifer Lee Pryor (4:54), Willie Nelson (2:07), Quincy Jones (4:11), David Banks (4:30) and David Steinberg (3:34). Across these, we find notes about Pryor’s work and life, with an emphasis on personal interactions.

Those stories become the best parts of the “Additional Interviews”. Inevitably, a lot of the remarks involve praise for Pryor, but we also find a fair number of interesting anecdotes. Enough of those show up to make this collection worthwhile.

The disc opens with ads for Life Itself and The Two Faces of January. No trailer for Logic shows up here.

With a running time of 83 minutes, Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic doesn’t allow for much depth. Nonetheless, it covers the comedian’s life in a dynamic, illuminating manner that allows it to succeed despite its lack of length. The Blu-ray provides good picture, acceptable audio and some decent supplements. If you want to know more about Richard Pryor, Logic acts as a nice starting point.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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