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Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season(TV) (2010)
No synopsis for Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season.
For more about Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season and the Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray release, see Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on July 7, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: Mark Mylod
Starring: Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon, Jeremy Piven, Jerry Ferrara, Perrey Reeves
» See full cast & crew
Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray Review
Not the series' finest hour...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, July 7, 2011
Before this week, the Entourage boys had never let me down. Even when Season Six was met with a less-than-enthusiastic response from fans and critics, I didn't flinch. It wasn't perfect -- not that any season has been -- but creator Doug Ellin still had a tight grip on the series reigns, and actors Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Jeremy Piven, Kevin Dillon and Jerry Ferrara still had a firm grasp on their characters. Others scoffed; I walked away without many complaints. But the series' seventh season? Much as I tried to hold the line, much as I wanted to keep the faith, I struggled to enjoy Entourage for the first time in seven years, and for more than one reason. Don't get me wrong, I laughed. I still felt invested in the story. And Ellin and his writers rarely telegraphed their punches. I even found myself anxiously moving from one episode to the next, awaiting that crystallizing moment when everything would come together and remind me why I had stuck with Vince and E as long as I had. Unfortunately, though, that moment never came. Season Seven is entertaining; I won't deny it. It just isn't nearly as entertaining as seasons past. It's funny and unpredictable; you won't hear any argument from me. It just isn't as funny or as unpredictable as it once was. Instead, it slows and idles; unsure of where it wants to go, what it wants to do or, really, what it wants to say.
Season Seven strikes a different tone from the outset. Vince (Adrian Grenier), reeling from a near-death experience on the set of a high-octane Nick Cassavetes action film, comes unhinged, much to the dismay of his close friends, all of whom are continuing to forge their own careers, sans Vince. Eric (Kevin Connolly) as a successful agent in a high-dollar firm, Drama (Kevin Dillon) as a talent on network retainer, and Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) as a budding entrepreneur who has Mark Cuban on speed dial. Vince isn't very good at being a loner, though, and desperately latches onto anything that might give him a cheap thrill: death-defying stuntwork, motorcycles, alcohol, fist fights, Vicodin, parties, cocaine and other Tinsel Town trappings. He even strikes up an ill-advised relationship with porn star Sasha Grey (Sasha Grey herself), only to unravel further when she refuses to give up her... ahem, day job. Eric, Drama and Turtle try to intervene, but by the time they realize the extent of Vince's decline, they're too late. Meanwhile, barbed-wire agent Ari Gold (Jeremy Piven) finally acquires everything he's ever worked for, only to watch it all come under fire when a firebrand employee (Autumn Reeser, the seventh season's scene-stealer) gains the upper hand and puts him on the defensive. His family, his career, his reputation and everything he's built is suddenly threatened. And so Season Seven goes. Vince slowly plummets from Hollywood grace, Ari fights a losing battle on all fronts, and E, Drama and Turtle do their best to survive the fallout.
Entourage has always thrived on conflict. But, then, Vince and Ari have always been scrappers; clawing their way to the tops of their respective heaps despite any and all odds. The problem with Season Seven is that Ellin tosses Vince and Ari on top from the get-go; the only direction they have to go is down, and it's a long, painful plummet to the bottom. Vince spirals out of control, presumably because he's no longer the center of his entourage's universe. Some might call that drama ripe for comedy pickings. I call it sad and pathetic; an ugly distraction that never really taps into the series' bread-n-butter. Elsewhere, Ari panics and scrambles, racing to put out fires and save his marriage and career. Some might call thatů yep, drama ripe for comedy pickings. I call it, again, sad and pathetic; a disheartening departure that flies in the face of everything that made previous seasons such acid-tongued blasts. Pride goeth before the fall, sure, but watching Vince and Ari succumb to their own devices, with little hope of salvation, doesn't exactly make for the most intoxicating season of Entourage. Up until now, Vince and Ari were systematically rewarded for their personal flaws, and no one seemed to mind. They were, after all, likable in spite of their lesser qualities. Ari always got the last word, Vince always got the next part, and neither one ever had to pay outright penance for the error of his ways. Season Seven is a sermon by comparison. Vince and his friends don't share much screentime, Ari is often tending to his own wounds in his own corner, and the spark that kept the Entourage fire burning bright seems to have gone out.
Everything else is either hit or miss. What works? Cassavetes' self-effacing, Reeser's never-say-die edge, Connolly's entire performance, Dillon's ongoing tussles with Bob Saget and John Stamos, Saget and Stamos' utterly hilarious self-awaredness, Vince's troubles with the studios, Eric's feud with a rival agent (Scott Caan, who seems to make everything he touches go down a bit easier), Drama's network tantrums (actually, anything that features Drama), and virtually every scene centered around actress Perrey Reeves (as Mrs. Ari). Reeves doesn't just continue to impress as Ari's rock, she establishes herself as the bedrock of Ari's entire Season Seven storyline; no small feat considering how much attention is devoted to his attempts to bring an NFL franchise to LA, his war with Reeser and former hotheads, and his crumbling legacy. What doesn't work? Vince's sudden turn to the dark side (too abrupt, too substantial, too melodramatic), Turtle's entrepreneurial endeavors, Heroes' Dania Ramirez, Cuban's stiff delivery, Jerry Jones and the NFL, and Sasha Grey's... well, everything. Grey continues to thrust herself on Hollywood, insisting that she's a legitimate actress, but she doesn't even seem capable of making herself (or the skewed Entourage version of herself) very interesting. Shallow, two-dimensional and afforded far too much time in front of the camera, she's a smoky eyed femme fatale minus the femme and the fatale. And there are a number of episodes where Ellin practically gives her top billing.
When Entourage sizzles, it's business as usual; crass, brash, uproarious, satirical business as usual. When it stalls, though, the entire season flatlines. Grenier is forced to shoulder more weight than he can bear, Connolly is quarantined when he should be in the thick of every twist and turn, and Piven is neutered when he should be unleashed. And Ellin? Ellin seems content in setting the series adrift in murky waters. With HBO's upcoming eighth season being billed as Vince, Ari and E's last hurrah -- at least on television; rumors of a feature film continue to swirl -- Ellin has a lot of ground to cover and a lot of loose ends to tie up, and he only has eight Season Eight episodes with which to do so. The good news is that Season Seven still has plenty to offer unflinching fans and diligent diehards, even those who, like me, might come away disappointed. It isn't as tightly plotted or sharply penned as previous seasons, but it kept me hanging on. By a thin thread, yes. But by a thread, no less. I'm really looking forward to seeing how Ellin plans to draw it all to a close later this summer. Who knows? Maybe I'll come to appreciate Season Seven more once I see what he has in store.
Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray, Video Quality
Like its sixth season predecessor, the Blu-ray edition of Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season rolls into town with a true-to-its-source 1080p/AVC-encoded video presentation that, while more than a little noisy, should earn its share of oohs and aahs. Contrast is hot, but so is the LA sun; primaries are showy, but so is Hollywood; skintones are bronzed, but so... well, you get the point. Ellin's intentions have been preserved, as have his grainiest shots and most unforgiving shadows. Not that Entourage is a gritty, grimy affair. Far from it. So long as you're willing to accept the show at face value, little about its presentation will prove distracting. Better still, detail rarely takes a dive. Textures are precisely resolved and quite revealing on the whole, edges are sharp and refined (with only a hint of intermittent ringing) and delineation is more than adequate, all things considered. A few nighttime sequences are eyesores, a bit of banding haunts the proceedings and some crush takes a slight toll, but there really isn't much to criticize. HBO delivers the goods even when Ellin fails to do so, and Season Seven's BD release is all the better for it.
Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray, Audio Quality
HBO's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track doesn't disappoint either. Though primarily a front-heavy experience, the mix strikes a nice balance between each episode's hip-hop anthems and conversation-driven conflicts, leaving ample room for crisp, clear dialogue, chest-thumping bass beats and ambient chatter. Busy restaurants, crowded clubs, buzzing agencies and bustling streets are convincing, even if the rear speakers don't join the fracas as aggressively as it sometimes seems they should. All the while, LFE output is firm and commanding, directionality is decent and cross-channel pans are effortless. Likewise, the series' music is as effective and assertive as ever, and there's never any doubt as to when Ellin wants to make a point, be it by way of Taddy Porter's "King Louie," Sheer K's "Life," Dirty Money's "Last Night," Aqua's "Junebug" or Eminem's "Going Through Changes." It all comes together in spectacular, if not entirely immersive fashion in a lossless track sure to please Entourage junkies.
Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The 2-disc Blu-ray edition of Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season doesn't offer much in the way of special features, other than three semi-decent audio commentaries and two dispensable featurettes. And unless you're head over heels for the series, you probably won't even find much to enjoy in what it does offer.
Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Entourage: The Complete Seventh Season is even more divisive than the series' last outing, and I'm beginning to wonder if Ellin can end the show as confidently as he opened it. For me, as much as I enjoyed Season Six, Season Seven's ten-episode stretch never seemed as sure of itself as other seasons, and Ari, Vince, E and the boys all suffer as a result. The thrill, it seems, has gone, and the chemistry, consistency and camaraderie of the once-unshakable series are draining through the hole left in its place. At least HBO's Blu-ray release is more on point. While its supplemental package is bland and benign, its video transfer is excellent and its DTS-HD Master Audio track is impressive. Regardless of whether Season Seven draws you in or leaves you by the wayside, its AV presentation won't leave you with much to complain about.
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