BBC Natural History Collection (Planet Earth: Special Edition / Galapagos /

BBC Natural History Collection (Planet Earth: Special Edition / Galapagos / Ganges / Wild China) [Blu-ray]

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BBC Natural History Collection (Planet Earth: Special Edition / Galapagos / Ganges / Wild China) [Blu-ray]

Experience the best the Earth has to offer in stunningly clear high definition. Witness rare action, impossible locations and intimate moments with our planet’s best-loved creatures with the critically acclaimed, Emmy-winning Planet Earth Special Edition, now packed with over seven hours of extras; travel the length and breadth of China and discover the fabulous diversity of its natural wonders in Wild China; visit the home of the most astonishing creatures found anywhere on Earth with Galápa

BBC Natural History Collection (Planet Earth: Special Edition / Galapagos / Ganges / Wild China) [Blu-ray]

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Coriolanus [Blu-ray]

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Coriolanus [Blu-ray]

The classic legend of honor and betrayal has been astonishingly re-imagined in this exhilarating action thriller that wields a profound relevance for today. Caius Martius ‘Coriolanus’ (star and director Ralph Fiennes) is a feared and revered Roman General, suddenly pitted against his own city and fellow citizens. Rebelling against the power-hungry designs of his manipulative mother (Vanessa Redgrave) and rejected by his own people, Coriolanus incites a riot that expels him from Rome. The banishe

Coriolanus [Blu-ray]

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4 thoughts on “BBC Natural History Collection (Planet Earth: Special Edition / Galapagos /

  1. 33 of 39 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Brilliant retelling of Shakespeare’s tale, January 29, 2012
    By 
    Dr. James Gardner (California) –
      

      

    This review is from: Coriolanus (DVD)

    Ralph Fiennes’ “Coriolanus” is magnificently staged, well-acted, and retains the beauty of Shakespeare’s language even while it adeptly moves it into a modern setting and away from its origins as a play.

    The formidable task of both directing and acting in a Shakespeare play has attracted previous talents such as Orson Welles (“Macbeth”, “Othello”) and Kenneth Branagh (“Hamlet”, “Much Ado About Nothing”) and the results have not always been positive. But Fiennes rises to the task, giving us a powerful and unrepentant Coriolanus even as he gets great performances from his cast and keeps the action moving.

    Adapting Shakespeare to modern tastes is even more difficult that directing and acting in the play. The choice to place Ian McKellen’s “Richard III” (1995) into a 1930s fascist world was not entirely successful, nor was Tim Blake’s 2001 “O”. OTOH, “West Side Story” was certainly a crowd pleaser even if it didn’t stay true to the language, and Al Pacino’s 1996 semi-documentary “Looking for Richard” was surprisingly good.

    Coriolanus is one of the least popular of Shakespeare’s plays and one that is rarely performed. Despite the exquisiteness of the language and the skewering of the mob and politicians alike, the central problem of the play is the lack of a hero to cheer for. Even the dourest of Shakespeare’s histories and tragedies have someone to cheer for, but Coriolanus is distinctly lacking anyone worthy of sympathy among the first tier.

    Fiennes is not the first person you’d think of to play the warrior general. His Oscar nominated performances in “The English Patient” (1996) and “Schindler’s List” (1993) show none of the character traits Fiennes brings to bear in his powerful performance.

    Vanessa Redgrave stars opposite Fiennes as Coriolanus’ mother Volumnia, and she gives us yet another of her strong performances, something we’ve come to expect from the 6 times Oscar nominee and 2 times Emmy winner. For her role here she was nominated for awards in London, New York, and San Francisco film festivals.

    Brian Cox puts in a film stealing performance as Fiennes only political ally, Menenius. Cox won an Emmy for “Nuremberg” (2000) and a BAFTA for “The Escapist” (2008), but he’s probably best known for his work in the first two “Bourne” films. Quite frankly I’ve never seen him give a poor performance, and my favorites are “Braveheart” (1995) and “The Long Kiss Goodnight” (1996).

    Kudos to Paul Jesson and James Nesbitt as the sleazy politicians who bring about Coriolanus’ banishment and to Ashraf Bahom and Lubna Azabal as the leaders of the mob.

    In addition to Fiennes’ direction, the photography by Barry Ackroyd is stunning. The hand held close ups that frame many of the scenes may distract some viewers, but it’s part of the formula that moves this play into a full scale movie. Ackroyd is the Oscar nominated cinematographer from “The Hurt Locker” (2008) and he handles the war scenes in this film with comparable aplomb.

    Ray Beckett handles the sound and in a film like this, the sound is critical. Beckett won an Oscar for his work on “The Hurt Locker” (2008) and he is even more impressive here.

    The only disappointment is Gerald Butler, as Aufidius, the leader of Rome’s chief foe. Butler can be compelling in films like “300” (2006) and “Reign of Fire” (2002), but his thick Scottish accent is not suited to Shakespeare, and in his more heated speeches he is nearly unintelligible.

    The NY Times called Fiennes “thrilling” and he earned a BAFTA nomination for his directing efforts. The Hollywood Reporter said “Ralph Fiennes makes Shakespeare modern and bloody brilliant” and Peter Travers in The Rolling Stone said “the power of the piece is undeniable.”

    Bottom line – an excellent film.

    (Caution – if you’re not familiar with the play, or the history, you might want to do some homework before jumping in)

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  2. 39 of 43 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    His pride, his fall, February 4, 2012
    By 
    Edward (San Francisco) –

    This review is from: Coriolanus (DVD)

    Shakespere’s late military drama “Coriolanus” is rarely staged. Perhaps the most famous modern production was at Stratford-upon-Avon: during the run Olivier injured himself in his spectacular death scene and had to be replaced the next performance by a young Albert Finney, leaping into stardom. To my knowledge the new movie version is the first time the tragedy has been filmed, and a very impressive début it is. Ralph Fiennes, who seems to have made a career playing aloof patronising men (Eugene Onegin, et al), is making his own directorial début, guiding himself in a strong performance as the fatally disdainful patrician. He has placed the 5th Century BCE story in our own 21st Century with almost depressing relevance: the military invasion, the political back-stabbings, the bloody assassination are all alarmingly suitable. Most of the violence is presented in the opening sequence, as the Romans storm Carioli and Caius Marcius single-handedly defeats the citadel, earning himself the honorific title Coriolanus. Both Carioli and Rome seem to be suffering inner-city blight as filmed by cinematographer Barry Ackroyd, but, considering the bleakness of this story, his neorealistic vision is apt. The acting of Fiennes’s supporting cast is also realistic, no one attempting a “grand” style, yet remaining faithful to Shakespeare’s expression. Brian Cox is especially good as Menenius, and his scenes with the two conspirators played by James Nesbitt and Paul Jesson are some of the best in the picture. (By the way, during the crawl credits at the end, we learn that two of the Roman citizens have been christened Cassius and Tamora, dark characters from other tragedies.) Vanessa Redgrave is Volumnia and gives the part a great deal of stern dignity, never allowing her formidable character to become nasty. Volumnia is first and foremost a mother. (Interesting note: Miss Redgrave, who is the daughter of Sir Michael Redgrave, has yet to become Dame Vanessa. She is, of course, a political activist.) Gerard Butler, as Aufidius, is the only cast member who seems to be slightly out of sync, though his hunky presence makes him a believable warrior. The picture is only about two hours long, so needless to say a lot of Bard has been excised; but John Logan’s screenplay retains enough of the plot and poetry to make this a worthy Shakespearean production.

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  3. 69 of 77 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    Excellent film, December 21, 2011
    By 
    Adam

    This review is from: Coriolanus (DVD)

    This is a tight, well-crafted script by John Logan. Cutting Shakespeare can be difficult and he did an excellent job, along with Ralph Fiennes of getting us the information we need to follow the story while still keeping us interested.

    Fiennes is very, very good in this. His intensity blazes throughout, as a soldier’s soldier and a man with little to connect him to the people outside of his comfort zone–aka the battlefield.

    Vanessa Redgrave is, as always, compelling as Volumnia. She will definitely be up for some awards for this performance.

    Just to comment on the first post made–

    This movie is nothing at all like Luhrmann’s Romeo and Juliet. Luhrmann’s film was Shakespeare on acid [i very much liked that film as well]. This is something completely different. Simply labeling it ‘a grown up R&J’ does a disservice to Coriolanus. Just because it’s modernized doesn’t make it similar, at all.

    It is Shakespeare, so for the first few minutes while you’re getting used to the language it will throw you off. But the actors are so skilled in this film they make sense of the text for you, so you can understand and enjoy the use of Shakespeare’s language. There are some wonderful soliloquies in the movie as well. If you don’t like Shakespeare or you don’t want to pay attention, don’t see it, simple as that.

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  4. 37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    REPRINT / RE-RELEASE Planet Earth (PE) Special Edition 2012 alert. Here’s what’s new., February 12, 2012
    By 
    Dennis Yenn “Dennis Yenn” (Hollywood, CA USA) –
      

    Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
    This review is from: BBC Natural History Collection (Planet Earth: Special Edition / Galapagos / Ganges / Wild China) [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)

    This is a review of the “Planet Earth 6-disc edition” portion of the reprint/re-release (March 2012) boxed set of BBC Natural History Collection 1, taken from my review posted on Planet Earth (Six-Disc Special Edition) [Blu-ray]

    So here’s the 411 scoop of accompaniments NEW to this 6-disc 2012 BD set that’s NOT on the 2007 4-disc BD set, listed in the order of importance:

    1) Diaries (bonus in disc 1-4), the 10-min making of clip following each of the 11 main features. Total of ~107 min. Worthy to note, unlike the DVD version and other BBC nature diaries, which auto-plays the diaries immediately following the credits, here you do need to navigate back to the main menu to select these bonuses.

    2) 3 new bonus documentaries (disc 6), in HD except Maya in SD; total 150 min’s:
    a) Snow Leopards: Beyond the Myth 50 min
    b) Secrets of Maya Underworld 50 min
    c) Elephant Nomads of the Namib Desert 50 min
    -Note: the UK version contains Natural World – Desert Lions 50 min. Not sure why US version left this out. But lucky for US version, UK left out Maya Underworld and Elephants Nomads.

    3) The Future (disc 5), 3 episodes in HD; total 3 hours:
    a) Saving Species 60 min
    b) Into the Wilderness 60 min
    c) Living Together 60 min

    4) Great PE moments (disc 4) 46 min in HD, narrated by Sir David the Great Attenborough himself.

    5) Audio commentaries by producers, but only for 5 of the 11 main episodes: Pole to Pole, Mountains, Caves, Great Plains, Shallow Seas.

    6) Music only viewing audio. This feature is a bust. Why is the world would you ever watch a documentary without a narrator? BTW, it’s not really music only. The sound effects (water falling, animal sounds, etc.) are still tracked in. I guess they couldn’t get rid of that. In my opinion any upgrade to the audio portion should have been to include the Sigourney Weaver narration.

    7) Sneak Peak at Frozen Planet (disc 6) 13 min’s. Oh great, more advertising :(. But this IS BBC’s next big release following the Life and Human Planet series.

    Technical issue: the transfer is 1080i. From my research regarding the ad nauseam debate of PE being i or p, the original cameras used to film this series were no better than 1080i, so that’s the limiting step. Though some earlier 2007 BD packages states 1080p, and the signal to your TV indicates p, later releases of the 2007 version corrected this to say 1080i on the package. Considering this series was filmed over the course of the early 2000’s, you really can’t notch about this (it was the best they had then). The picture is still reference quality by 2012 standards.

    Good luck PE fans. Hope this helps. Note: this updated PE review is written on 01/21/12. Also maybe of interest to you, The BBC High-Definition Natural History Collection 2 (Life / Nature’s Most Amazing Events / South Pacific / Yellowstone) [Blu-ray]. For Galapagos [Blu-ray] (also 5 star), do read my review there.

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