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Show Me A Hero (Blu-ray Review)

Can Oscar Isaac Show Me a Hero that doesn't wear a cape? (Blu-ray Review)This true story takes place during the late 80’s in Yonkers, New York.  The newly elected 28 year old Mayor Nick Wasicsko has a major housing crisis to deal with.  The courts have ruled that the city of Yonkers must build new low income housing witch would integrate and diversify traditionally white neighborhoods.  Needless to say, this doesn’t go over so well.  Even though it’s 1987 there are still plenty of people who believe that keeping to your own race is the best way to maintain peace and civility.  There are also those who say that it’s not a matter of race, but economics.  That the value of their homes will be brought down if low income housing comes in.  Now granted, that is a valid argument.  But the problem is, and they do touch on this, is that people of color have been systematically segregated into neighborhoods away from white people.

Can Oscar Isaac Show Me a Hero that doesn't wear a cape? (Blu-ray Review)

Series
There have only been a handful of times where I saw a poster or some form of marketing for a film and somehow I instantly got the impression that it was gonna be great.  That’s exactly what I felt when I first heard about this miniseries.  Oscar Isaac is an acting force to be reckoned with.  It’s easy to make comparisons to him and a young Al Pacino, but where Pacino always seemed to be simmering with a quiet rage, Isaac seems like the kinda guy that everyone wishes was their best friend.  The initial views of his character, Nick Wasicsko, are in complete opposition to what I believe to be right.  And yet, Isaac is able to make his character so relatable that you’re able to overcome any feelings you might have about his beliefs.  In these historical dramas about “right and wrong” the protagonist is usually in favor of a more “liberal” point of view.  But that’s not the case here.  Which means that Isaac, as an actor, has a major hurdle to overcome in order keep the audience from just changing the channel or throwing away their Blu-ray.  It would be easy to portray Wasicsko as the bad guy that we’re all hoping fails at the end.  Luckily we’re treated with a whole different approach to this genre of filmmaking.  And I say filmmaking because this is more than just a TV show; it’s a major motion picture split up into six parts.  THAT’S how great it is!

It’s quite apparent that everyone from the star of this picture, all the way down to the guy who buys the coffee for the cast, is one hundred percent committed to making something that not only stands out, but will also stand the test of time.  You might assume that a film that includes such acting giants as Alfred Molina, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Catherine Keener, Jon Bernthal, and Bob Balaban would be just another attempt at an “Oscar” grab; but that’s just not the case.  It’s hard to explain, but I just get the feeling that this story really meant something to all those involved.  They knew that in order to make something that would hold peoples attentions in this digital age, that they would have to approach the content in a way that draws people into the lives of each and every character.  This can’t just be another story about black folks fighting for their rights.  It also has to make you empathize with the people in this film that you disagree with.  In a way, it’s kinda refreshing to hear an opposing point of view that isn’t someone just yelling random sound bites in order to scare you into getting on their side, *cough*Fox News*cough*.  When you hear the citizens of Yonkers talk about why they don’t want low income housing brought into their neighborhoods, you’re actually able to sympathize with them to a certain degree, rather than vilifying them as ignorant racists.

Interspersed among the scenes of courtrooms and council meetings that sit at the brink of violence, we get glimpses into the lives of hard working people struggling to survive in areas that most would consider ghettos, but they still can’t quite afford them.  A single mother tries to shield her children from the crack deals that go down right in the hallways of her building.  A 47 year old nurse clings to her independence as her eyes begin to fail her as her diabetes worsens.  And these aren’t just black stories, but Latinos as well.  It’s presented in such an elegant way that you understand that they’re not trying to pander to any one side, but instead they’re trying to convey that it’s more than just a cut and dry matter that would be easily solved if the “Evil White Man” was thrown out on a rail.

I’m hoping that this series starts a new trend when it comes to stories of civil rights.  That filmmakers begin to understand that there are so many more aspects and perspectives to what actually occurred during that time.  When you explain a story such as this in a way that includes, and at least somewhat validates the opposing point of view, it allows those who would normally brush this off as liberal propaganda the opportunity to broaden their understanding of how other people live.  The root of prejudice most often lies in a lack of knowledge and the assumption of things that we don’t fully understand.  For example, if someone were to approach me about a particular topic that I strongly oppose, regardless as to whether my views are misguided, I’m much more likely to hear them out if I don’t feel like I’m being shamed for what I THINK to be true.

Can Oscar Isaac Show Me a Hero that doesn't wear a cape? (Blu-ray Review)

Episodes

Disc 1:

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Disc 2:

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Can Oscar Isaac Show Me a Hero that doesn't wear a cape? (Blu-ray Review)

Video
Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC
Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Original Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Clarity/Detail: Crisp and very clear. They use some filtering to give it an aged look but it’s expertly done and only enhances the overall feel.
Depth:  Great depth.  There are scenes where the camera is shooting aerial shots of the projects and details are easily visible.  The city council meetings are also packed full of people and at no time does anyone in the background turn into a hazy blur.
Black Levels:  Rich and accurate.  The black tones of the hair are particularly crisp and vibrant.
Color Reproduction:  Excellent and vibrant colors.
Flesh Tones:  Clear and accurate.  Like I said they try to stylize the image a bit but it’s at no cost to the quality of the picture.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean No problems here to speak of.

Can Oscar Isaac Show Me a Hero that doesn't wear a cape? (Blu-ray Review)

Audio

Audio Format(s): English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics:  Excellent dynamics.  There’s a scene where an angry mob is banging on the outside of a car while someone is trying to drive through and it feels like your inside with them!

Low Frequency Extension:  Not really any opportunities to put this to use aside from a couple gun shot scenes.

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A.

Dialogue Reproduction: Excellent.  The city council meetings are full of angry people yelling at the top of their lungs the entire time.  And yet, I was still able to here and understand the council members while they were speaking through the PA.

Can Oscar Isaac Show Me a Hero that doesn't wear a cape? (Blu-ray Review)

Extras
“Making Show Me a Hero”: An extended look at the series’ production, featuring behind the scenes footage and interviews with the creators, director, cast and real-life people involved in the making of the show, as they discuss the bitter housing debate that deeply divided the city of Yonkers for decades.
 
Can Oscar Isaac Show Me a Hero that doesn't wear a cape? (Blu-ray Review)
Summary
I honestly cannot recommend this series enough, and the timing of it being released in February, Black History month, I’m sure is no coincidence.  People love to think that racism and prejudice died as soon as Obama was elected.  That every person that hated someone because they were different just changed their minds as soon as he was sworn in!  Luckily films like Show Me a Hero remind us that it really wasn’t that long ago that people would send actual death threats to those who would try to put an end to segregation.
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“Show Me a Hero” is available on Blu-ray and DVD February 2nd.
Can Oscar Isaac Show Me a Hero that doesn't wear a cape? (Blu-ray Review)
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Writer, Musician, Composer, Singer and Dancer. To sum up: I like to get jiggy with it!

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