THE FIRST NUDIE MUSICAL blu-ray review

USA Region A blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 1.78:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio Mono

IMDB

 

MOVIE: 8

VIDEO QUALITY: 9

AUDIO QUALITY: 8

EXTRAS: 8

 

I was expecting The First Nudie Musical to be one of those “so bad, it’s good” films but actually it’s a pretty solid piece of entertainment and filmmaking. For a movie that was cobbled together for very cheap, it’s surprisingly very professionally made. As I watched this film, I couldn’t help thinking that this would make a great stage play (not sure if it has been transferred to the stage or not?) – this cult movie is the typical type of film that would have a stage play running for many years. A cross between The Producers and South Park, the film is about a struggling filmmaker that has two weeks to complete a film with financial backing, but it has to be a porno musical and it has to be directed by one of the investor’s nephew. The nephew, played by Bruce Kimmel, is actually really awkwardly funny and reminded me of Tom Hulce. The two main leads, played Stephen Nathan and Cindy Williams, have excellent chemistry with each other. Actually, the whole movie is full of positive energy and good chemistry. If the script was more polished, this could have been actually been a great movie. Once again, I see this film being re-written into a great stage play – with better dialogue and longer musical numbers. The story is simple but a really good one. Besides the cheesy dialogue (which really isn’t really that bad as people say), the main negative is that the musical numbers run too short. Every song is catchy and really good, but since it’s a movie within a movie, the songs get cut short most of the time because the movie is about making a porno musical rather than the movie being a porno musical.

The blu-ray is overall very good. I never saw the DVD version so I can’t compare to the blu-ray, but the video quality is a totally pleasing presentation. It has a nice fine layer of grain, but colors really stand out. The picture isn’t soft nor is it crisp – somewhere right in between, which reminds us of that type of film stock in 1970s films. The audio is okay. It definitely sounds like a mono track with just a tiny bit of power, but you will have to turn the volume up to really enjoy the soundtrack. Some of the dialogue sounds muffled at times, but from what I read about the film, I’m sure this blu-ray is as good or even better than how it played in the theaters. The only negative of the blu-ray is that there are no subtitles. It would have been great to play subtitles during the songs to really help remember the funny lyrics.

The blu-ray is pretty loaded with great extras as one would expect from a cult film. You won’t be disappointed in that respect.

The First Nudie Musical is a fun, charming musical that is just slightly dirty and much better than I expected!

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FORBIDDEN CITY COP blu-ray review

Hong Kong Region A blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 1.85:1

Cantonese: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (original)

Mandarin: Dolby Digital 5.1 (dub)

Subtitles: English

IMDB

 

MOVIE: 8.5

VIDEO QUALITY: 7

AUDIO QUALITY: 7.5

ENGLISH SUBTITLES: 7.5

EXTRAS: 2

 

There are only two really special actors with a soul in mainstream Hong Kong cinema, and they are Jackie Chan and Stephen Chow. I do love Jet Li and Donnie Yen, but they are both mainly glorified two-dimensional action heroes that don’t have any soul in their films. I normally can’t stand Hong Kong comedies, but it’s only Stephen Chow and Jackie Chan that can make great comedy movies that everyone can enjoy.

Stephen Chow’s Forbidden City Cop is a great, fast-paced entertaining flick! I felt like I was watching John Carpenter or Sam Raimi direct Stephen Chow as a cross between Inspector Gadget and James Bond during Ancient China times.

Stephen Chow plays an outcast royal guard of the emperor who spends his days as a doctor, inventor, loving husband, and dreams of joining the royal guard again. He does not have any kung-fu skills, but he’s got serious skills with his gadgets. The other emperor’s royal guards get killed by a cultish organization that want to take over China, so the emperor hires Stephen Chow to go undercover to stop this power-seeking cult. Chow uses his brains and gadgets to outsmart this cult.

This movie is not only extremely funny, but Stephen Chow has some serious chemistry with his wife, played by Carina Lau. So it’s not only a funny action movie, but the romance is excellent and a bit touching for a mainstream Hong Kong film.

The action, editing, and directing is creative and amazing. So if you are seeking a great Hong Kong film with a combination of action, comedy, and romance, Forbidden City Cop is one Hong Kong classic to watch.

Surprisingly for a 90s HK film, the soundtrack is great as well – even spoofing the James Bond theme song throughout the film.

As for the blu-ray, I’m going to state my usual disclaimer about Kam & Ronson HK blu-rays:

Lower your expectations. People say that these blu-rays from this Hong Kong company KAM & RONSON are just upconverted DVDs. Maybe so, but they still look and sound better than previous dvds. If you love any of the movies that KAM & RONSON are making blu-rays into, then buy them. Just expect them to be better than your previous dvds. Don’t expect them to be reference blu-ray examples.

The video quality is better than past Hong Kong DVDs, and the video is clear and crisp, but this company has no desire to clean up scratches and white specs off of the video. The video quality is at its best during any nicely lit day scenes. But night scenes aren’t that great.
The audio is actually very good. The Cantonese Dolby TruHD 7.1 sounds more like a 2.1 soundtrack (as on all Kam & Ronson blu-rays). The dialogue is clear and there is great subwoofer action.

The extras are only a 1080p non-subtitled trailer and a non-subtitled 10-minute making of the film.

The English subtitles are riddled with grammar and spelling mistakes, but not bad enough to ruin the movie-watching experience.

If you love Stephen Chow, you are going to love this film!

FLIGHT OF THE NAVIGATOR blu-ray review

Germany Region B blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 1.85:1

English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

German: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (dub)

Subtitles: German (removable)

IMDB

 

MOVIE: 8

VIDEO QUALITY: 9

AUDIO QUALITY: 8.5

EXTRAS: 1

 

I forgot how dark this film is. It’s actually a pretty creepy movie actually – sort of like a combination of a Twilight Zone episode and a typical live-action Disney film. The kid falls down, wakes up to realize that he’s been missing for 8 years and hasn’t aged, and then he’s taken away from his family that he just reunited with to be tested by the govt and NASA. All this creepy dark stuff happens before he starts his adventures in the spaceship. And there’s even some curse words in this film that wouldn’t be found today in a PG-rated live-action Disney film. Pretty damn good sci-fi film for kids and adults!

The German Region B blu-ray is excellent quality for a movie that came out in 1986. There are some spots and dirt that pop up, but the video quality is a huge upgrade from the DVD. I have the NTSC DVD as well and I did a side-by-side comparison and the blu-ray video quality really shows a dramatic difference. The DTS-HD 5.1 audio is pretty good as well. It’s pretty active and does a solid job but don’t expect an amazing audio remastering. No complaints at all!

Flight of the Navigator is an intelligent movie for kids and still pretty entertaining for adults. It’s certainly the most watchable Sarah Jessica Parker film i’ve seen!

FOREVER ENTHRALLED blu-ray review

China Region-free blu-ray

1080p Widescreen 2.35:1

Mandarin: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1, Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English, Mandarin

IMDB

MOVIE: 8

VIDEO QUALITY: 9.5

AUDIO QUALITY: 9.5

ENGLISH SUBTITLES: 8.5

EXTRAS: 2

 

Forever Enthralled is a biopic of the famous Chinese opera singer Mei Lanfang. This film follows a similar pattern to Milos Forman’s Amadeus – a lot of great Peking Opera scenes mixed with a strict jealous mentor who doesn’t let him live a life that he wants. Forever Enthralled is a very good film for a biopic – it’s long, but it covers pretty much his whole life – very epic. Kaige Chen is a great director and his film moves along at a very entertaining pace. The acting by everyone is excellent as well. The scenes with Leon Lai and Ziyi Zhang, as well as the scenes with the young Mei and old master, are really exciting – great chemistry from the whole cast.

The Chinese blu-ray is excellent. The video is clear, crisp, and colorful. Outdoor day scenes as well as indoor dark scenes are equally very good. The presentation really enhances the rich detailed fabrics of the costumes, make-up and scenery. Sharpness is very solid from the close-ups to the long-shots.

The DTS-HD 7.1 sounds great as it fills up the entire soundfield with excellent depth and clarity. Dialogue is also perfect and nicely balanced throughout. Surround use is used nicely. Discrete effects are common in just about every scene with audience chatter, applause, rain, street scenes. This audio is perfect for this type of epic biopic.

The only extras are a widescreen trailer (English subtitled) and a short featurette on the real Mei Lanfan (non-subtitled).

I was a bit worried that the English subtitles were going to be poor since this a mainland Chinese blu-ray, but fortunately the English subtitles were very good – better than a lot of the English subtitles on current HK blu-rays.

Forever Entralled is an entertaining, epic biopic with great Peking opera scenes – it feels like a long movie, but it’s never boring. Kaige Chen delivers another solid piece of filmmaking!