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Quadrophenia (Blu-ray)





(OUT OF 10)

I'm a huge fan of the Who, and the album on which this movie is based is my favorite of their many great pieces of work.

But as much as I love the album, I've never really been a fan of the film, mostly because I thought the Who's music got pushed into the background.

As it turns out, VHS murdered this movie and its soundtrack. The music we were hearing was muddy because filmmakers used third-generation tapes to create the soundtrack. The music was forced into the background because it simply sounded drowned out and terrible.

With this Blu-ray, the viewing and listening experience has completely changed. The Who's music is now one of the film's stars, rather than a drowned-out afterthought, thanks to a remastering using composer Pete Townshend's original tapes. The results are breathtaking.

The story of Jimmy (played by Phil Daniels) also looks a lot better thanks to a digital restoration that injects life into the visuals. The story of mods and rockers clashing in 1965 London becomes more intriguing simply because the picture doesn't look all that murky.

I still wish something a little different had been done with the storyline; the music is still merely on the soundtrack rather than being part of the story. I've always wanted to see a Quadrophenia musical, but I guess I'll have to settle for the Who's '97 tour, when they played it in its entirety onstage.

Incidentally, the Who are still chugging, and they just happen to have a new tour of Quadrophenia in the works. It's scheduled to make a stop at the Jobing.Com Arena in Glendale on Feb. 6, 2013.

SPECIAL FEATURES: Who manager Bill Curbishley sits down for a new interview about the history of the film, and audio engineer Bob Pridden hosts a revealing segment about the remastering of the soundtrack, effectively comparing the old soundtrack to the awesome new remix. You also get a director's commentary, Townshend's original liner notes for the album, some old interviews, and footage of actual mods and rockers.

Parks and Recreation: Season Four





(OUT OF 10)

NBC is doing a pretty good job with its comedies. 30 Rock is going strong entering its final season, and Community remains one of the better shows on TV. (Chevy Chase has risen again!) The Office, also entering its final season, survived the loss of Steve Carell and can still bring the funny.

Then there's this one, quietly entering its fifth season. Amy Poehler found herself a nice gig after her epic Saturday Night Live run, as Leslie Knope, director of the Parks and Recreation Department in a fake town named Pawnee. She's joined by a killer cast that includes Rashida Jones, Aubrey Plaza, Adam Scott, Nick Offerman, Aziz Ansari and Rob Lowe.

Season 4 offered a funny storyline, with Knope running for office (she runs into controversy regarding her birthplace) and Ansari's strange attempts to start his own marketing firm.

The show owes a lot to The Office when it comes to format. As things stand, I prefer it to The Office, if only because Ansari makes me laugh every time he speaks.

Season 5 starts Thursday, Sept. 20.

SPECIAL FEATURES: There are a few "extended" episodes and deleted scenes, a gag reel and some webisodes.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits (Blu-ray)





(OUT OF 10)

I have to disagree with fellow Tucson Weekly critic Colin Boyd on this one. In his review earlier this year, he said this wasn't up to snuff with other works from Aardman Animations, the folks who brought us Wallace and Gromit and Chicken Run.

I think it is one of the year's best animated films. It excels in a brand of weird, random comedy that had me laughing out loud and often. It's not so much a pirate movie as it is a fictional goof about what a jerk Charles Darwin could've been in his younger days, and it has a lot of laughs that come out of nowhere and make no sense. That's something I love very much when done right.

Hugh Grant most entertainingly voices the Pirate Captain, trying his best to win the coveted Pirate of the Year Award, which usually goes to Black Bellamy (Jeremy Piven). Determined to score a lot of booty and increase his chances for victory, he sets out to pillage a bunch of ships and gather the gold. He happens upon Darwin, who points out that his trusted parrot is, in fact, an extinct bird.

The film is crazy-funny (Queen Victoria is the villain!) and just the ticket for parents looking to be entertained by a kids' movie. The stop-motion animation is top-notch; it's a great time for kids and their adults.

SPECIAL FEATURES: You get a couple of short films, a filmmaker's commentary and some making-of featurettes.

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