Review with Myles Barlow (2008)

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Released 4-Dec-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Featurette-Behind The Scenes-(12.23)
Deleted Scenes-(16.23)
Featurette-Making Of-(4.47)
Outtakes-(6.11)
Alternative Version-The Plinth Reviews
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 201:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered
Dual Disc Set
Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Trent O'Donnell
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring None Given
Case Amaray-Transparent-Dual
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    While other critics waste time with trivial matters such as film, food or art, Myles dares to review all facets of life - our experiences, our emotions, our deepest, darkest desires - to rate them out of five stars.

Every so often a new TV show comes along that almost defies description. Review with Myles Barlow is one such beast. Debuting on ABC2 in October this year it is a fresh new idea in TV comedy that drew a cult audience and, with luck and re-runs, may well secure wide support ala Chris Lilley.

Myles Barlow (Phil Lloyd) is a critic. Instead of the mundanities of day to day existence he reviews the important facets of life's rich tapestry including murder, destitution, heroism, having a d***head mate and many more. These reviews are cut together into the roughly thirty minute format of the show. The style is mockumentary with Myles undergoing some horrendous times carrying out the life experience then commenting on it in the studio and giving the experience a rating out of five stars. The genesis of each of his forays is to be found in mock letters from readers although Myles frequently misinterprets the point of the letter - a young boy who writes in looking for advice on convincing his mother to buy a telescope is the basis for an examination of Voyeurism. Each of the 6 episodes so far contains longer segments (including the unravelling of Myles' marriage) interspersed with 30 second reviews.

The show is funny but also as dark as pitch - the dedication Myles displays often leads him to physical and mental collapse.

The writing , by Lloyd and director Trent O'Donnell is frequently inspired. Take, for example, the review of Stress. Myles buys a house he cannot afford so that he has to work more than one job to pay the mortgage. He starts driving a taxi. That's not hard enough so he takes a course in Russian literature and becomes a crisis counsellor for a middle aged lost soul. The sight of Myles diverting his taxi fare so that he can lodge his assignment whilst hunting for a train cake to prevent his new friend from committing suicide is both painful and exhilarating to watch. The show is shot close, uncomfortably so, such that we feel we are right there with Myles in his predicament. That includes his review of Paying for Sex! And the Inter-generational Romance segments had me hiding behind the sofa!

Lloyd is the constant in the show however there are a number of other Australian actors who chime in with good performances(including critic David Stratton who comes to blows with Myles). Fans of At the Movies will get some fun out of the letter received from David S. complaining about the shaky-cam style of the show! The quality of the acting is a definite strength and the show is played dead straight. Myles the critic is serious about his job even if it leads him to unbelievable degradation. His studio based critiques are funny just for the wordplay. Myles in the field is frequently lost for words, bumbling and nervous.

Review is a must-watch for anyone who likes their comedy a little dark.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    Review was shot on digital video for widescreen TV broadcast at a 1.78:1 aspect ratio.

That ratio is preserved for the DVD release. The show was shot "on the cheap" and viewers shouldn't expect a high definition sheen. That said, much of the show is shot on location and at all hours of the day and night so the slightly rough, hand-held look, is fitting for some of the life experiences Myles undergoes. In particular, the Paying for Sex and Betrayal segments looks fittingly noisy and lurid.

As you might expect of a recent TV show there are no major defects with the transfer. As said, there is a fair bit of digital noise throughout particularly in the night scenes. Aliasing, suprisingly, is a non-issue.

The show is subtitled for the hearing impaired. These give a good account of on-screen action.

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

Audio

    The sound for Review is Dolby Digital 2.0 running at 224Kb/s.

This is perfectly adequate for a show that consists of studio settings, where every word can be heard loud and clear, and outdoor scenes where the sound has the "rough and ready" feel of a documentary shot on the fly.

Lloyd and the other actors can be heard clearly wherever it matters.

The music for the show consists mainly of the opening theme (by Matt Blackman), which intentionally has a bombastic "Kitchen Stadium" sound to it all. Other than that there are numerous musical interludes throughout the series by a varitey of composers. The music well serves the material.

The dialogue is in good audio sync.

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

Extras

There are a number of extras on offer.

If I have a criticism it is that the DVD episodes are selectable but it is not possible to select actual segments.

There are a number of extras on offer.

Behind the Scenes (12.23)

The Behind the Scenes featurette is a genuine look behind the making of the show. Although fairly brief it does include sections on the genesis of the show, the production (including some funny moments in Vietnam) and a look at some of the guest stars including Anthony Hayes, Brendan Cowell, George Negus and David Stratton. Lloyd demonstrates his devotion to his craft by pointing out that he went to hospital three times during the making of the show due to various mishaps.

Deleted Scenes (16.23)

There are a wealth of deleted scenes on offer. These include some extensions to the Murder, Destitution (including a scary bit where Myles shoots up), Romance, Dickhead Mate and many others. The scenes are no better or worse than the included content and were presumably just cut for balance and time.

Outtakes (6.11)

The outtakes are a series of usual goofs and cock-ups. Predicatably it took quite a lot of work for the actors to keep straight faces during the Paying for Sex segment! A number of the goofs occur in the studio in front of a blue screen. Tongue twisters abound.

Featurette - Finding Dave (4.47)

Finding Dave chronicles the task of trying to find a person in Vietnam who was from Sydney and intended to return there in a couple of weeks so that they could film the end of the segment. Brimming with confidence at the beginning Lloyd and O'Donnell quickly realise the task isn't going to be so easy!

Alternate Version - The Plinth Reviews

The show was originally to begin with Myles coming out and making a comment on a random item sitting on (or in the case of the grand piano, near) a plinth. The concept proved too off-the-wall but we have 8 little "plinth" reviews to look at here. Some are funny, some are just plain weird.

R4 vs R1

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

    This DVD is not specifically available in any other Regions although it is marked All Regions.

Summary

    Review with Myles Barlow may not be for all tastes - it is a little bit dark for that. However, fans of black comedy will find the show a revelation.

The video and audio transfers are fine and reflective of the directorial intentions of the show.

The extras are a fine addition to the program.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer BDP-LX70A Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayPioneer PDP-5000EX. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR605
SpeakersJBL 5.1 Surround and Subwoofer

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