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Friday, August 10, 2012

Entourage: The Complete Eighth Season Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Sean Ferguson

Vince, Eric, Drama and Turtle have been through a lot over the years – chasing dreams, women and good times as if the party would never end – but alas, it has. Through the highs and lows, friendship has kept these guys together in the high-stakes world of Hollywood, but is it time for them to grow up? As season eight of the hit comedy series begins, Vince is back from rehab and ready for a new pet project, Ari Gold and Mrs. Ari have separated, Eric is running his own management company, Drama is shooting his animated series and Turtle has invested in a tequila line and is starting a new business venture. So there’s a lot more ups and downs in store for the boys from Queens.

 

Film (4 out of 5 stars) 

This season picks up three months after the events from the last season and Vince (Adrien Grenier) has just gotten out of rehab and has returned home happy and healthy and ready to get back to work.  Vince wants to help his friends any way possible and he starts to do just that.  He writes a script outline for a movie for his brother Johnny “Drama” (Kevin Dillon) but no one thinks it’s that good.  Eric “E” (Kevin Connolly) and Sloane (Emmanuelle Chriqui) have infuriated their friends with their on again and off again relationship, which at this point is going badly.  Vince’s agent Ari (Jeremy Piven) is also still having relationship issues with his wife (Perrey Reeves) and event though they are seeing a marriage therapist, she has told him that they are separated and he later learns that she is dating chef Bobby Flay (who plays himself).  Ari decides to resume his old relationship with studio head Dana Gordon (Constance Zimmer) even though he still loves his wife.
Turtle (Jerry Ferrara) starts the season with his career still on the upswing as the vodka business is picking up and he still enjoys it.  Good things never last though, as he is told by Avion’s owner Carlos (Miguel Sandoval) that it’s time to retire from the company and that his former girlfriend Alex has moved on.  Although he’s upset, Turtle decides that he will open a crab restaurant himself but he tells Vince that he doesn’t want his help this time as he wants to do it all himself.  Turtle decides to sell his shares in Avion and use the profits to invest into the new restaurant but he learns that it’s a lot harder to raise investment funds than he thought it would be, especially when he is forced to lease a larger restaurant than he planned.
Johnny Drama is also having a wild ride career-wise because on one hand the new cartoon he is working on called “Johnny’s Bananas” looks like it’s going to be a big hit based on early test audience responses, but it also stars Andrew Dice Clay (playing himself) who wants them to go on strike for more money.  Even though Dice needs a hit after being out of the limelight for a long time, he wants to capitalize on their show’s prospects which puts him at odds with “Johnny who has had enough ups and downs to realize that the show could be huge for him. The show’s producer Phil Yagoda (William Fichtner) tries to keep the show moving forward by hiring someone to replace Dice but Johnny hates the new guy and worries that the show is finished.
Vince has to deal with some complications of his own since he new-found outlook on life includes giving second chances to people that have screwed him over like Carl Ertz (Kim Coates) whose own drug issues brought Vince nothing but trouble earlier.  Vince wants to give Carl a second chance and agrees to meet with Carl to talk about his movie for Johnny but Carl takes advantage of their meeting to push his own movie called Taxman.  When he realizes how badly he’s screwed up by Vince and Turtle’s expressions, Carl runs to his bathroom to take drugs which leads to a lot more trouble for Vince when the police get involved.  Vince also is labeled “an insecure womanizer” by a Vanity Fair writer named Sofia (Alice Eve) after he spends the entire interview trying to ask her out.  Vince calls her again and sets up another interview and he agrees to a real interview where he will answer all of her questions.  He is mesmerized by Sofia and tells his friends that he’s fallen in love with her.
Every member in the entourage will have to make some life altering choices and the show ties up all of the loose ends nicely albeit in some case a little too quickly.  For a show about friendship, this season perfectly encapsulates that core value as each of them help each other where-ever possible, but this season Vince really goes all out.  For the past seven season, his friends have largely been there to help him, but this season Vince directly makes each one of his friends’ lives better.  By the end of this season a lot of big changes will happen which would change the dynamic of the show if it had continued.  There’s been a lot of rumors of a movie to follow so it would be interesting to see how that would continue their stories.  Now that the show has ended, it’s been satisfying to see the characters grow up and remain friends throughout all of their adventures.

Video (4 out of 5 stars) 

This show’s 1080p (1.78:1) transfer is a very nice looking transfer that captures the California atmosphere well.  The many colors of the show are well defined and pop off the screen.  Black levels are wonderfully inky and solid and contrast is top notch as well.  There’s a lot of detail present as well especially in close-ups where you can see the pores on the actor’s faces.  Other than some crush issues, this is a fine transfer that will make fans happy.

Audio (4 out of 5 stars) 

Entourage: The Complete Eighth Season’s DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix is also excellent as well.  Dialogue is always clear and crisp as delivered by the front channels no matter how much other things are going on around them.  The rear channels and the LFE channel aren’t as active as I would have expected, but when it’s warranted, they come to life and make their presence known.  The show’s music once again comes across well and a much louder level than the rest of the show.  Directional effects are fairly accurate but aren’t too flashy.  This is a fine lossless mix that works well for the show.

Extras (2 out of 5 stars) 

There’s only one extra on this set which is mystifying for the end of a series set, but it’s a pretty good one and it’s in high definition.
  • Hollywood Sunset: A Farewell to Entourage - This extra is a thirty minute retrospective that includes series creator Doug Ellin, writer/executive producer Ally Musika, and actors Adrian Grenier, Kevin Connolly, Kevin Dillon and Jerry Ferrara.  They talk about the rough start the show had and how it evolved.  Jeremy Piven and Rex Lee also join in and offer their perspectives on the show and their characters.  We also get to see some of the cast’s auditions and behind the scenes footage.  All of this is entertaining but I wish it had been longer especially since this is the only extra on this set.

Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars) 

I was glad to see Entourage end strong during it’s final season and this Blu-ray set is also great as far as the audio and visual quality goes, but the extras should have included a lot more than this.  If you enjoyed the previous seasons, then I highly recommend you complete the journey with these characters as their stories come to a close.
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