A period drama about the Prohibition era, starring Steve ‘Mr. Pink’ Buscemi and with a pilot directed by Martin Scorsese – sound like heaven? We’re gonna find out, as we review the new series "Boardwalk Empire – The Complete First Season" out on Blu-ray Jan. 10 from HBO Home Entertainment.
Title: "Boardwalk Empire – The Complete First Season"
Cast: Steve Buscemi, Michael Pitt, Michael Shannon
Director: Martin Scorsese, Various
Runtime: 732 minutes
Release Company: HBO Home Entertainment
The Flick: Having heard SO much about this series from everyone who has seen it, I may have come in with higher expectations then needed. On paper "Boardwalk Empire" should be the makings of five-star stuff; it’s written by Terence Winter of "The Sopranos," has famed directors with style and features a cast that would make Stanley Kubrick drool with envy. But I personally felt under whelmed by the weak prowess of Empire, even to the point of anticipating it’s end upon hitting the final disc. (There's five here folks!) The story is dry (even the cleverly filtering in of iconic characters like Al Capone and Lucky Luciano doesn’t help!), the direction lackluster (Scorsese hasn’t hit old school gangster gusto since Goodfellas!) and the acting from the amazing cast is just…okay. (Michael Shannon, whom I adore, comes off as trying way too hard to be odd here!) I salute use the underrated actor Steve Buscemi as the slick lead Enoch 'Nucky' Thompson, but there’s just not enough bright lights to make walking down this boardwalk worth the continued journey for yours truly.
Best Feature: With a separate 'Making and Creating' featurette, along with tons of various 'Commentaries,' I think true fans will get the best bang for their buck with the 'Enhanced Viewing Mode' featuring picture in picture that houses all of the above.
Best Hidden Gem: The only standout performance in this series – Michael “A Serious Man” Stuhlbarg as the ever-grinning Arnold Rothstein.
Worth the Moola: Fans will go gaga over this release with all the extra trimmings, but for me the bored in walk was not just a play on words.