HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Bill Cosby: Far From Finished
HTS Overall Score:80
Everyone knows the name “Bill Cosby”. He’s been around since the beginning and rivals some of the greats like, Richard Pryor and inspired the works of Eddie Murphy and countless other comedians in the industry today. The man with the rubber face and the speech patterns of William Shatner on “Star Trek”, Cosby has been known for his hilarious stand up shows of old and probably his most famous role as Dr. Huxtable in “The Cosby Show”, one of the best and longest running sitcoms of its time. After a 30 year hiatus from the stand up scene, he’s back with a stand up special that I don’t think anyone saw coming. I honestly wasn’t sure what to think when I heard that Cosby was coming to do a Comedy Central special. Most comedians tend to lose their funny side as they get older, the jokes wear thin, and they have to stretch to find jokes anymore. Cosby has always been able to put a smile on my face ever since I was a child, so I decided to give this one a go.
Cosby has changed a bit since his days of yesteryear. Back in the day he was a very active man, moving around on stage a lot, very vibrant and famous for his extremely loud voice. It was strange to see him in a much calmer state of being for this show. Confined to a chair for the entire special, most of his animations were done through his famed rubber face and some arm movements. As much as I would have liked to see him bounce around the stage again, one can hardly blame a 76 year old man for wanting to take a seat (especially considering his failing health issues). Bill touches on everything from Marriage, to chocolate cookies, to marriage, to kids, to marriage, to car issues (see a pattern here?). Weaving a tale of relationships that will keep you at arms distance from your spouse so she can’t whack you upside the head for laughing, while still keeping it his trademark clean humor (which he actually pokes fun at, being a clean comedian and actually appearing on a comedy central show). The first half an hour actually starts to drag just a little bit, as he stretches some of the marriage jokes a bit past their sell by date and it’s not until the second act that he really picks up steam, the light is bright behind the eyes and he gets into the flow. During that first half an hour I noticed just a bit of “old man rambling” which tended to keep the flow a bit choppy, but once he picked up steam he started talking faster and faster, coming up to his old trademark lightning fast humor. By the third act I was laughing a lot more and really getting into the show.
I’ve always loved Bill and was hoping for a great show, and while I would have been satisfied with a decent show I’m glad we at least got a very good show. Some of the jokes fell a bit flat, and he’s slowed down a bit from age, but he can still put a smile on my face and give me quite a few belly laughs. For a man who’s been out of the standup scene for over 30 years he did an incredibly good job at reminding us why we always loved the man who gave us Dr. Huxtable, Jell-O commercials and explained to us the joys of parenthood in ways that made our sides split. What really makes Bill special is the fact that he's survived, nay THRIVED in an industry that revels in the adult, the crude and lewd, while still maintaining a family friendly act. You know you're good when you can buck the flow and STILL make it, and my goodness, Bill Cosby is one of the best.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=13736[/img]Being that this is a Comedy Central release we can be assured that we’re dealing with a purely digital video recording and it definitely shows. Crystal clear, for the most part, the video shines as much as it can for spending the majority of the time inside of a dimly lit theater stage. Cosby is enthroned in light up on stage with the lights turned down low for the audience. I noticed a bit of black crush around the edges of the stage, but nothing major considering that it’s filled with black velvet curtains. The detail is exceptional with every pore and freckly on the aging comedian’s face perfectly visible and leaving little to the imagination. Colors are a bright and cheerful with only a hint of being washed out in certain instances due to the spotlighting. Facial tones are spot on and contrasts are nice and balanced. The focus is great, with only the slight moments where the camera man zooms in and slight blurring occurs to mar the near pristine video source. No digital artifacts are to be seen and for a comedy special, it’s one of the sharpest I’ve seen in a while. Excellent job Paramount.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=13737[/img]We have a choice of a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track or a Dolby Digital 2.0 track for our listening pleasure tonight. Switching between the two of them it’s obvious that even though this is a front heavy track, the Dolby TrueHD edges out the 2.0 track by a solid margin. There are subtle differences with the surrounds being that the audience members reactions are mainly conveyed via those surround channels, plus the clarity is a good bit better as well. Vocals are centered right in the center channel with some mild usage of the left and right channels with musical cues and audience reactions. As you can guess the majority of the sounds are in the front sound stage, and the track is very very front loaded, but there’s nothing to complain about here. While the LFE is nonexistent for the most part, except for a few instances of musical cues, that is to be expected and is no fault of the track itself.
• Interview With Bill Cosby
• Gangbusters #1
• Behind the Scenes
Cosby is a living legend in the comedy train and it’s clear that he still hasn’t lost his touch. While this special is not as funny as some of his earliest works, the guy is spry as all getout for a 76 year old man and dominates as one of the original “rubber face” comedians. After 30 years the man still has it and is surprisingly funny in this modern age. With great video and solid audio I can’t help but recommend the film for a good night of laughing along (although if you’re male you might want to sit at arms distance from the wife on this one ).
Starring: Bill Cosby
Directed by: Robert Townsend
Written by: Bill Cosby
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 AVC
Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English DD 2.0
Rated: Not Rated
Blu-Ray Release Date: Nov 26th, 2013
Buy Bill Cosby: Far From Finished Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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