Cyndi Lauper-Now See Hear (Twelve Deadly Cyns... and Then Some DVD/CD) (1994) (NTSC)

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Released 7-Jul-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Music Interviews-Cast-"Cyndi At Coney Island"
Biographies-Cast
Discography
CD-Twelve Deadly Cyns...And Then Some
Booklet
Rating Rated G
Year Of Production 1994
Running Time 76:02 (Case: 80)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Kevin Dornan
Studio
Distributor

Sony Music
Starring Cyndi Lauper
Case Amaray-Transparent-S/C-Dual
RPI $24.95 Music Cyndi Lauper


Video (NTSC) Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Full Frame English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio None
16x9 Enhancement No
Video Format 480i (NTSC)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.33:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

 Philosophy: "You always have to remember - no matter what you're told - that God loves all the flowers,
 even the wild ones that grow on the side of the highway."

    Cyndi Lauper burst onto an unsuspecting pop scene around 20  years ago. Originally dismissed as another variant of the punk mould, her debut album 'She's So Unusual' soon established her as a performer, musician and poetess of note, characterised by zany styling, a frenzied on-stage performance and technicolour hairstyles sufficiently out of the ordinary to provoke envious glances from a couple of Pommie punks on the Change of Heart video. This combined DVD/CD release of the 1994 feature Twelve Deadly Cyns ...And Then Some features Cyndi in reflective mood looking back over her music and promotional videos of the previous 11 years. Filmed in the Coney Island amusement park, with latter-day Sopranos star Aida Turturro, we are treated to 14 of the songs with accompanying promotional video. All of the videos are interesting and feature quirky humour and Cyndi's slant on life and loves, some of them deserving a place in the Hall of Fame as classic examples of 80's pop art such as That's What I Think or the futuristic She Bop (if you don't know what the latter is about, let me give you a clue - it sends you blind in the end!). There's a couple of film-grabs of interest for movie historians - check out The Garden Of Allah in Time After Time and the macabre Lon Chaney in Hunchback of Notre Dame ....

Lyrics:  "If you're lost, you can look and you will find me - time after time,
If you fall, I will catch you, I will be waiting - time after time

    An amazing variety of styles are featured on this song collection covering the 10 years since her solo debut. Apart from the frantic Girls Just Want To ... (revisited as a disco reggae version on the last track) there's the delicate acoustic True Colours, a soul rendition of Who Let In The Rain, the funky Change of Heart and an ethnic rendering of That's What I Think. Anyone who doubts her talent should note that Cyndi Lauper has a voice that covers 4 octaves and a wide variety of musical styles. Although sometimes her vocal inflections are reminiscent of grating chalk, she can also deliver complex melodies as in The World Is Stone or roof-lifting power as in I'm Gonna Be Strong. Reflecting her observations on life and love, songs range from the hauntingly beautiful Time After Time, the sultry rendition of Dietrich in the impassioned I Drove All Night and softer folk ballads such as Sally's Pigeons. Naturally, the exuberant side of the dualistic  Gemini nature lets rip at times such as in Girls Just Want To Have Fun or Money Changes Everything (recorded live in Houston).

Driving: "Hi - Just don't get in my way, I'll have to kill you. Left my little blinker on there, must have given that guy behind me a little start, 
make him a little confused as to which way I was gonna go - But it's good to keep them guessing!"

    Probably another under-recognised talent, she did top the US charts with Time after Time and reached the Top 10 with 3 other singles. A few stabs at acting haven't really furthered her career (although she did meet her husband David Thornton on the set of Off and Running in 1991) and for the past 6 years she's been busy playing mom. Her last album Merry Christmas - Have A Nice Life ... was released in 1998 and she sang "I Want a Mom That Will Last Forever" from the soundtrack to Rugrats in Paris! Last seen performance-wise she supported Cher in her 2002 "Living Proof: Farewell Tour". I guess having reached the milestone of her 1st half-century we might not see too much of her in the future - but then again who knows?

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Track Listing

1. Girls Just Want To Have Fun
2. Time After Time
3. She Bop
4. Money Changes Everything
5. Change Of Heart
6. True Colors
7. What's Going On
8. I Drove All Night
9. The World Is Stone
10. I'm Gonna Be Strong
11. Who Let In The Rain
12. That's What I Think
13. Sally's Pigeons
14. Hey Now(Girls Just Want To Have Fun

Transfer Quality

Video

   Well, this isn't pristine reference quality video - but then again it really doesn't matter - the music's the main feature and the video is adequate for the job.

   The transfer is likely to have been ported direct from the master for the 1994 video release and as most TVs were sort of square-shaped in those days we, not surprisingly, have an aspect ratio presentation of 1.33:1 in the original NTSC format.

    Video technology has come a long way in the past 5 years and 80's and 90's video lacks the sharpness of its present day descendents. The focus is pretty soft throughout the feature, shadow detail is limited but adequate and  low level noise is absent.

    Colours were also on the soft side and a little washed out - but hey, yellow hair is obvious enough on the screen without it fluorescing in vibrant Technicolor. The more recent videos of Hey Now or Sally's Pigeons are noticeably richer in colour and detail.

    Gentle pixelization is endemic throughout the transfer, no doubt largely due to the economy of fitting the feature into the limited space of a single layered DVD-5 disc. There's very little posterization but edge enhancement is noticeable in some of the higher contrast clips. Aliasing pops up occasionally - notably in the louvres of the houses in Sally's Pigeons. I guess some of the clips were filmed in 16mm as there are noticeable film artefacts, white and black flecks and the occasional scratch visible.

    Subtitles, in English, were featured and reasonably accurate to the lyrics.

    The disc is single layered and hence has no RSDL transition point.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    Now this is real value for money - being part of Sony's new now see hear series, not only do you get the feature DVD but also a bonus CD, with all the DVD songs and an extra 2 (Come on Home and All Through The Night). Why are Sony being so generous? Well, you have to look to the high resolution formats for part of the answer. As champions of the SACD format, Sony has used the compatibility of hybrid SACD in portable and car CD players as a marketing edge against the rival DVD-A format. To preserve such an advantage with their DVD-V releases I guess they feel duty-bound to include a CD so you can hum-along-to-Cyndi whilst you're jogging or driving to work!

    Aside from the CD, we have two audio tracks on the DVD - 5.1 Dolby Digital surround and stereo 48kHz/16 bit LPCM. I listened to both and also compared the CD with the stereo SACD of  She's So Unusual. All three formats were of excellent quality - the stereo LPCM of the DVD was particularly rich in soundscape and quality and I preferred it to the thinner sound of the compressed Dolby Digital surround offering. The CD was also excellent and compared favourably with my SACD recording but just lost out to the fuller, more vibrant and natural sound of the high-res format.

   Even allowing for the Brooklyn brogue, lyrics were clear and I could see no real problems with sync, although some of the dubbed videos were a little out of order.

    Many of the songs were written by Cyndi Lauper including the classic Time After Time. Other authors included Marvin Gaye's What's Going On and Essra Mohawk who wrote Change of Heart.

    The surround mix was put together by Mike Fisher - the style was creative rather than re-creative with an interesting circle effect on the synthesiser in 'Girls ...'  and frequent keyboard effects from the right rear - it didn't really do it for me and I preferred the more realistic imaging and richer sound of the 2 channel track.

    The subwoofer discretely kicked away for the bass drum and hummed some of the lower bass lines but I didn't miss it on the stereo track

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    Not a whole lot on offer here - 5 pages of biographical notes and a couple of pages of discography and that's yer bloomin lot!

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The R1 and R4 versions are identical - even down to the NTSC video format!

Summary

    OK - time to come clean - this is the second time this DVD has been reviewed on the site, as (unbeknown to me!) Dean M reviewed the first release of this 2 years ago - the inclusion of the CD justified its 2nd plug into the review machine. Anyway, for those detail pickers out there, you might be interested in comparison of the two reviews as an indicator of the objectivity (or otherwise) of the review process.

    The video is fascinating and entertaining in content but not a pristine example of the filmmaker's art.

    The audio is of good quality - the 2 channel LPCM track is superb and compares nicely to the SACD release. The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround is nicely done but lacks the richness of the other versions. The CD is also a good quality recording and makes this package excellent value for money.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Lancaster (read my bio)
Saturday, October 11, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDEAD 8000 Pro, using Component output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE300E Projector onto 250cm screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTheta Digital Intrepid
SpeakersMartin Logan - Aeon Fronts/Script rears/Theatre centre/ - REL Strata III SW

Other Reviews NONE
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We all need a little Cyn every now and then... -