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DVD Review: ESCAPE FROM THE NEWSROOM

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ESCAPE FROM THE NEWSROOM

DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 84 minutes

STUDIO: CBC Video/ Morningstar Entertainment/ Goldhil

RELEASE DATE: 8-15-2006

ESCAPE FROM THE NEWSROOM is a surreal trip into the mind of Ken Finkleman. It is like a preview of what was to come in season 2 and season 3 of THE NEWSROOM. THE NEWSROOM started as a satire, but ESCAPE FROM THE NEWSROOM started the direction into dark comedy. Welcome to the mind of mad genius Ken Finkleman.

Things turn really strange about an hour into it, the story switches to the people making the TV movie before ending with a dream sequence for George's character at the end of it. ESCAPE FROM THE NEWSROOM is an attack on the CBC as Ken and his alter-ego (George) make fun of the CBC. In a way, it is his way of saying he won't back down on the story he is telling and he had enough of that when he was working in Hollywood. he'll mix in current events and even change the format of the series from episode to episode.

It is sad that the ESCAPE FROM THE NEWSROOM TV movie has never been shown on PBS. So unless you're a diehard fan, you won't know about this TV movie at all and oddly enough it is the last DVD release even though it was made before season 2. The TV movie explains that Jim Walcott is OK despite the bullet still being lodged in his head. he basically blackmailed his way back into his news anchor job despite news director George Findlay (Ken Finkleman) not wanting Jim back. So George has to fire someone and it is weatherman Bruce. Bruce goes nuts and accidentally takes director Atom Egoyan hostage (because Brad Pitt hasn't arrived yet) who is filming part of his movie in the newsroom for a week.

ESCAPE FROM THE NEWSROOM even features the first appearance of a guy who would later play a producer in the later seasons. Also they mention an actor who later guest star in an episode of the show. If you want a show that makes total sense, THE NEWSROOM isn't for you. ESCAPE FROM THE NEWSROOM is a satire turned into dark nihilistic comedy. Ken isn't afraid to mention 9/11 or make fun of anthrax. He has changed with the times and it has made the show breath as strong as it was before.

VIDEO: 1.78:1 (Non-Anamorphic Widescreen/ Letterboxed)

The image quality is good, but the outside scenes are of lesser quality compared to the studio scenes. I wish the CBC would learn to present their 1.78:1 material in Anamorphic Widescreen.

AUDIO: English 2.0 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: None

Dialogue and audio comes in very clear. Even though the package says close captioning is included, I found no close captioning was encoded on the DVD. Another CBC mistake like they did with season 1 of THE NEWSROOM.

EXTRAS: None. If you want trailers for ESCAPE FROM THE NEWSROOM, you will have to own season 1 of THE NEWSROOM. I wish they recorded an audio commentary for this one. I just don't why they decided to call this a Special Edition DVD.

FINAL ANALYSIS: ESCAPE FROM THE NEWSROOM is another great work from Ken Finkleman. Too bad, the DVD lacks extras and was a poor effort.

Related DVD reviews:

http://enterline2.tripod.com/thenewsroom_season1.html

http://enterline2.tripod.com/thenewsroom_season2.html

http://enterline2.tripod.com/thenewsroom_season3.html

this review is (c)8-23-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com