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Nip/Tuck: The Sixth and Final Season

DVD Reviewed by Frank J. Avella

WARNER HOME VIDEO

Nip/Tuck, love it or hate it was certainly provocative. The Ryan Murphy brainchild was filled with nudity, sex, violence, and perversion—all the things that make for good shock television. You could not take your eyes off the tube for fear of missing what Kimber (the perpetually fascinating Kelly Carlson) would do next or just how far Christian (Julian McMahon) would go in pursuit of pussy. And let’s not forget Famke Janssen’s tour de force portrayal in Season Two (the best season) or Vanessa Redgrave’s much welcomed scenes throughout the series—the airline crash episode stands in my mind as the best of the series.

As a matter of fact, the star-powered cameos kept Nip/Tuck interesting long after it’s lurid moments began to turn viewers off.

Nip/Tuck transfixed more than it repelled, but by the beginning of Season 6, the show had become more of a trainwreck than a curio. It was increasingly difficult to give a damn about Sean McNamara (Dylan Walsh). I actually began to despise his character and was hoping he would die in some heinous way in the final episode. And as far as Christian Troy, his vain, egocentric bit became tiresome although I will always appreciate Murphy’s staying true to who and what he is. McMahon is one of the most underrated actors on TV.

Nothing too exciting really happens in Season Six except for the unfortunate killing-off of a major character and the return of Janssen’s character. A major disappointment is the fact that the wonderful Joely Richardson had very little to do (which may have had everything to do with the horrific death of her sister Natasha early last year). Matt (Jon Hensley) becomes a homicidal mime, which provides some excitement but not enough to sustain a season.

It’s as if the writers had run out of shock. There is a wonderful episode (the 100th episode) that takes place in a therapist’s office but the very final episode is a crushing disappointment. It’s simply predictable and saccharine, something the series worked hard to never be. I hope there is a reunion show one day were they up the ante and really give us a finale worthy of the series.

The 19 episodes are presented on DVD in its original 1.78:1 aspect ratio, and these transfers look awesome. The 5.1 surround sound track is very effective.

There is only one extra: a flimsy plastic surgery piece that has little to do with the show titled, "Tell Me What You Don't Like About Yourself - The Psychology Behind Plastic Surgery." Perhaps WB are prepping a larger Series package. I sure hope so because the fans of this show deserve more special feature and a better end to a once astonishing, fearless and unpredictable show.



Tom Ford’s
A Single Man


DVD Reviewed by Frank J. Avella

SONY PICTURES

Based on the novel by Christopher Isherwood, A Single Man is startling in it’s presentation of a day in the life of a gay man in 1962 haunted by the death of his significant other. With the Cuban missile crisis in full terror-loom, George (Colin Firth), an English prof, has lost his life-partner Jim (Matthew Goode), some months earlier. George has decided he no longer wishes to remain alive without Jim so he goes about his day, saying goodbye to his life and the things he loves. These exquisite encounters and George and Jim’s romance, told in non-linear fashion, make up Tom Ford’s stunning directorial debut.

Along George’s journey he meets up with a deliciously gorgeous Hispanic hustler (Ford model Jon Kortajarena) and is pursued by one of his cute, young students, Kenny (About a Boy’s Nicholas Hoult, all grown up!).

Finally, George has quite a significant encounter with his best friend, Charley (the dazzling Julianne Moore) who in a few short moments and one fabulous scene, shows us the many facets of this rich and complex relationship. Moore embodies the 1960s everywoman who follows what she is told to do by society to a T, drowning in the quagmire of surface-living and getting through each day with cigarettes, alcohol and regret. Moore was robbed of an Oscar nomination.

Speaking of…

Colin Firth is given the role of his career and, had Jeff Bridges not been so long overdue, would have won the Oscar last year. He is quite simply subtle and brilliant. There is great supporting work by the aforementioned Moore as well as Matthew Goode and Nicholas Hoult, whose pretty features shouldn’t take away from the fact that he’s a really good actor.

I highly suggest seeing A Single Man a second time. I loved it the first time I saw it in a theatre but, knowing what I now know based on my first viewing, I fell in love with it the second time. It’s a rich and dense film that is simply breathtaking to watch.

On DVD the 2.40:1 anamorphic transfer of A Single Man is perfection. The sharp resolution and colors are preserved. The film is feast for the eyes and senses.

The English 5.1 audio mix is fantastic and Abel Korzienowski’s lush and inviting score enhances the viewing experience.

Extras include: a 16-minute Making of documentary that isn’t just the usual puff piece but has Ford and his magnificent cast actually discussing craft as well as themes in the film. It’s too short but worthwhile. There is also a fascinating audio commentary by Tom Ford that is a must-listen for fans.

A newcomer to directing, Ford fearlessly avoids the obvious and, instead, gives us a beautifully sublime and richly satisfying meditation on the devastating impact death can have on someone and how we should all savor what life has to offer us each day because it can end in a flash.

 

 


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