Magic City: The Complete First Season Blu-ray delivers great video and audio in this fan-pleasing Blu-ray release
No synopsis for Magic City: The Complete First Season.
For more about Magic City: The Complete First Season and the Magic City: The Complete First Season Blu-ray release, see Magic City: The Complete First Season Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on September 28, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Late 1950s Miami is the backdrop for the new Starz original series Magic City, a flashy but rather empty program that follows the lavish and
sexy beachside hotel business and the darker underbelly and shady characters that keep it running behind the scenes. That sounds like a rather juicy
premise for a series -- and it is -- but Magic City never finds its stride through season one, getting the glitz and glamour just right but offering
a rather empty-headed wannabe dark and complex family narrative and business drama. Series creator Mitch Glazer sources the program from both
fiction and historical fact. The series admirably builds up a convincing exterior that effortlessly lures audiences into the sex and flash of the place and
period, but the rest of the program never gels, working through bland plot arcs and uninteresting stock-like characters who fail to give the series the
sort of teeth it really needs to ascend to the top of the television heap where equally lavish programs like Spartacus and more dramatically satisfying fare like Breaking Bad reside.
Ike soaks up the atmosphere.
Ike Evans (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is married to the beautiful Vera (Olga Kurylenko) and owns the prestigious Miramar Playa hotel in Miami, Florida, an
empire built on sand, a lavish retreat for A-list guests with money to burn and prominence to display. It's bustling with attractive women but it's not
so sexy underneath. It's New Year's Eve, 1958. Frank Sinatra is performing, the event promises to be packed, and it would seem that Ike
has it made. Unfortunately, all is not well. Ike's employees are striking and he's forced to turn to the sly and slick Mikey (Leland Orser) to call off the
strike, but he's determined to play hardball. Ike has no other choice but to turn to local mob figurehead Ben Diamond (Danny Huston) to strike a
deal with the proverbial devil and get the hotel back to 100% operation, complicating a previous business arrangement and creating the opening Ben
has been waiting for, hoping to seize further control of the hotel from Ike. Meanwhile, Ike's playboy son Stevie (Steven Strait) begins an illicit sexual
relationship with Diamond's much younger wife, Lily (Jessica Marais). His other son, Danny (Christian Cooke), is a law student with his eye on an old
maid Mercedes (Dominik Garcia-Lorido), daughter of the hotel's General Manager Victor Lazaro (Yul Vazquez). Ike's daughter, Lauren (Taylor
Blackwell), is preparing for her Bat
Mitzvah, and she would like nothing more than for her grandfather Arthur (Alex Rocco) to set aside his religious cynicism and
attend her event.
Magic City plays like a tale of two programs, one a beautifully lavish spectacle, a near perfect recreation of the late 1950s that at worst
the eyeball test and at best -- which is pretty much every scene -- sucks the audience into both the era and the Miramar Playa's atmosphere
the sex appeal of the people who inhabit and run it. It's the perfect setting for a modern retro-themed television program, the 1950s representing
last great era of classy automobiles,
cutting edge design, sexy but not necessarily revealing clothes, and a time of calm before the height of the Cold War, the Kennedy assassination,
Vietnam, the 60s revolution, and all that would come in the decades to follow. Magic City is, in that way, pure magic, a veritable time
of period nostalgia and painstaking recreation. Underneath, the show efforts to create a seedy second world that's only skin-deep in the feel-good
of Frank Sinatra, bikinis, sex, and lots and lots of money. It's here where the show feels rather hollow, venturing through unimaginative twists and
turns and exploits seen countless times before in films and shows that cross the business world and the mafia underworld. It's trite and best and
banal at worst,
snazzy and slick to be sure but not particularly moody and never finding much of an original angle to support the superficial.
Likewise, the series' character roster fails to elicit much of a response. The actors look great in costume and blend right into the painstakingly
recreated environment, but their characters fall victim to the hollow pursuits of stock players maneuvering through all of the expected twists of love
and lust and longing for money, power, and sex. Jeffrey Dean Morgan's Ike Evans seems pulled straight out of Mad Men, a series that hangs over Magic City with an almost
inescapable presence. Longtime Mad Men fans will note several distinct similarities and probably leave them pining for AMC's vastly superior
drama offering. The side characters don't find much more originality. There's a disappointing staleness that lingers throughout the entire roster,
the good son/bad son dynamic, the foreign wife who longs to be more than eye candy and an arm trophy, the dangerous mob boss, and the risqué
mobster's wife. The series absolutely sinks with its characters, failing to shape them in any sort of meaningful way beyond the superficial or any
more than the series requires to get from episode one to episode eight. Here's hoping season two brings more dynamic interaction and development
rather than the stale crumbs that shape the characters in season one.
Magic City: The Complete First Season rolls onto Blu-ray with a polished and pleasant 1080p transfer. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray presentation
handles the golden-tinged series nicely, displaying colors with brilliance and exacting precision. Whether lavish poolside scenes that offer brilliant blue
water and a multitude of bright clothing shades or darker, moodier interiors that hang on to that golden tint, the transfer displays the series' color
palette with commendable ease and efficiency. Detail is often striking; facial lines, fine clothing seams, and the pinpoint textures in and around the hotel
dazzle with their complexity and natural appearance. The HD video production does go somewhat glossy and flat at times, but fine detail is rarely
lacking. Lower light scenes can reveal some troublesome color gradations across faces, but shadow detail is otherwise strong and skin tones are largely
natural and reflective of various lighting conditions. Minimal banding and light noise are the only other negative aspects of note. Altogether, this is a
very strong, balanced, and attractive transfer that suits the series very well.
Magic City: The Complete First Season features a high quality Dolby TrueHD 5.1 lossless soundtrack. The presentation offers a clear, clean,
sometimes robust, and consistently pleasant and natural sound presentation. Music drifts nicely off to the sides, and listeners are greeted with a rich,
accurate sound presentation from the beginning. Music is smooth and nicely detailed through the entire range. The surrounds don't carry too much
musical information, but the spacing and clarity up front are superb. The track offers plenty of light but mood-critical ambience. Whether beachside
waves, general sounds within the hotel lobby, or rolling thunder and light rains, Anchor Bay's presentation does well to gently envelop the listener in the
various Miami environments and situations. For the most part, dialogue is clear and accurate as it flows from the center. There are a few minor
instances when it sounds a little harsh and detached, but such are certainly outliers in what is, overall, a very nice presentation.
It's a shame that Magic City cannot find a more dynamic plot and superior characters in light of the first-rate work that shapes the series'
superficial qualities. Magic City might be the most glamorous program on television, unsurpassed in its production design and unequaled in its
ability to effortlessly draw its audience into a fabulously recreated era of power, sex, and prestige. Unfortunately, the series flubs both its characters and
its story, making the former stock and the latter pulled from the Book of Unimaginative Scriptwriting. Fans deserve more than what often feels like
Mad Men meets The Sopranos but without the great characters and alluring plot arcs to set
Magic City: The Complete First Season features strong video and audio but only a handful of low-effort supplements. The relatively low asking
price makes this worthy of a purchase should fans be so inclined, but the curious viewer would be smart to rent before committing to a purchase.
Magic City: Other Seasons
Season 2 3-disc set $14.99
Blu-ray bundles with Magic City: The Complete First Season (1 bundle)
Blu-ray.com and Anchor Bay Entertainment are offering three members an opportunity to win a copy of Magic City: The Complete First Season, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Danny Huston and Olga Kurylenko. The first season of the new Starz original series comes to ...
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