A Few Words About A few words about...™ Winter's Bone -- in Blu-ray

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Robert Harris, Nov 5, 2010.

  1. Robert Harris

    Robert Harris Archivist
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    Filmmaker Debra Granik's Winter's Bone, which won the Grand Jury Prize at the most recent Sundance Film Festival, is no walk in the park. This is a drama / thriller that grabs you by the throat and never lets go.


    There is a large segment of our population that never really thinks about the millions people who do not live in a megalopolis, and have never visited New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Washington, DC., or any of the other major cities in the country.


    It isn't that they don't want to, but in many cases the thought never arises. The thought that rests firmly at the surface has little to do with whether digital processes may have damaged a Blu-ray, and more with how will their children survive the day. Where will food, education, health care and other necessities come from?


    This is the world of Winter's Bone. Jennifer Lawrence, in her first major role, plays the older sister to two young children. They live with their mother, who is virtually incommunicative, and are about to lose their home.


    Winter's Bone is a roller coaster ride with young Ree Dolly through the backwoods of Missouri, as she tries to find her missing father, with very little help from those who live around her, the majority of whom seem to share the same DNA.


    If you're seeking a fun film with which to spend 100 minutes, this isn't it. On the other hand, if you want to see a very serious film, created on an extremely limited budget, you can't go wrong with Winter's Bone on Blu-ray from Lionsgate.


    The film was shot in 4k with a Red. After watching the film, and noticing no real grain, I went back viewing certain scenes frame by frame, to see precisely how the Red captured the imagery. Footage found in a featurette on the production, gives an idea of what footage looks like closer to its raw state. The film was taken to a DI, before being finally down-rezzed for this Blu-ray.


    Winter's Bone may not be to everyone's taste, but those who are willing to take the ride are in for a treat, albeit a serious one.


    As a Blu-ray, the film comes off brilliantly. Coming from a Red, it should.


    Recommended.


    RAH
     
  2. Brett_M

    Brett_M Screenwriter

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    I totally agree. A great film that needs to be seen.
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Our tastes seem to be converging. First Hard Candy, now this.


    My HTF review.


    BTW, if you want to see another interesting piece of work by Jennifer Lawrence, I recommend The Burning Plain.
     
  4. urbo73

    urbo73 Stunt Coordinator

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    Will have to check this out. We can only hope to see more indie-style features (i.e. non-Holywood crapola) with the lower budgets that the Red camera /digital workflow allow. CHE is a great film, and Soderbergh talks about the Red and how he used it for the entire feature. Good stuff. Seems a lot of the more personal projects by famous directors are done this way, and they show. It can only be a good thing.
     
  5. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

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    I have to thank Michael for his original review otherwise this wouldn't have been on my radar.

    Got it from Netflix and watched it last night.

    Yes, I agree- absolutely well worth people's time.

    Not a pleasant film, but so evocative of it's (dreary) setting, with an excellent performance by Lawrence. The story also has a satisfying ending, which further elevates it upon reflection.


    While it wouldn't get a lot of replay, I wouldn't mind seeing this again at some point, and wouldn't have been disappointed if I had blind bought this.
     
  6. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    When I originally noticed it on the new release shelf at J&R, I did my typical spot checks for reviews on the net, including RottenTomatoes and Roger Ebert.


    Was debating about a blind-buy at the reasonable, new release price at J&R, but held off because I'm really not sure it's a movie I'd revisit often enough, if at all, (aside from any concerns about transfer/encode quality) much like what I thought when I was wondering about Hard Candy (to which Michael also referred above) when it was still a bargain priced exclusive at Best Buy. But unlike Hard Candy (and its particular subject matter, which would also make that much harder to share w/ anyone else -- as one criteria I consider for purchases), I suspect Winter's Bone just might make a pretty good blind-buy for me, especially after seeing all the additional info and praises lately, including both here in this thread and in Michael's review.


    Think I'll probably wait a bit more for a better price before jumping on it though since my plate is already waaaaay full w/ too many unwatched BDs (and even old DVDs) to catch up on...


    Some of this makes me think back a little bit to folks I came to know back in my college days upstate in central NY -- and of course, there are plenty of needy folks "hidden" away in all parts of society too, even right under our noses in the more wealthy parts of urban centers like the NYC metro area. But the somewhat side comment in that last sentence definitely makes me think back some. In one sense, it's quite amazing (for us city folks) to think there is still so much of that going on in "this great country of ours".


    Certainly, I was rather surprised to find out what I did back in my college days -- not quite so much that such things still existed anywhere at all (as I too had experienced, been involved in, or came in contact w/ various bad things in my then-still-quite-short-lifetime), but that they were actually probably much more common and widespread than we tended to assume/believe because a lot of such things went unsaid, untold, practically forgotten, etc. outside of the occasional, sensationalized movie or odd "news" item back then although more and more of this stuff are getting out because they've somehow become that much more "news-worthy", fascinating and what not to our "reality TV obsessed" society in this our so-called "information age"... for better and worse...


    And thanks, RAH (and Michael also), for another interesting review on this little-known indie "film"...


    _Man_
     
  7. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    If you think the rust belt regions of upstate New York are desolate and bleak, they're nothing compared to the portrait of the Ozarks in this movie. I did a year of college in Rochester, and couldn't imagine a more downcast place, but the setting of this movie fits the bill. Rochester has that melancholy feeling of a once great place that success and enterprise have long since passed by. The places in this movie seem to be constructed from the scraps discarded by those places that success and enterprise have long since passed by. Even the poorest areas of New York have the state's relatively generous social safety net to fall back upon. This family is a hair's breath away from finding themselves homeless and alone in the cold winters of this mountainous region of Missouri. Self-reliance isn't a virtue here, it's a necessity -- even if virtually everyone for miles around is a close or distant relation. Ree Dolly's world is positively suffocating.
     
  8. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Oh, I don't doubt at all the film's setting/situation is more bleak (at least in a more literal sense). I was actually thinking more in terms of certain other aspects of RAH's comments that are apparently more common and real than a lot of us city folks tend to assume/believe (even w/in our own parts of the country). They're all very bad things that we tend to overlook or turn a blind-eye on even if we do come across them from time to time (but may not be directly impacted by them). For instance, another relatively recent, acclaimed, Lionsgate indie film Precious... depicts a different variation on such life struggles w/in our inner-cities -- and who knows how many "Precious" I've personally come across, but did not realize (and would probably have no real means to help other than offer up a bit of time and some prayers perhaps)...


    Well, I suppose this film won't be as "bleak" as The Road though, which I admired (on rental), but don't see myself revisiting more than once in the future perhaps...


    _Man_
     
  9. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Executive Producer

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    I haven't seen The Road, but I read Cormac McCarthy's novel and can assure you this film is less bleak than that. Truly one of the most dispiriting things I have ever read, almost a treatise on pointlessly soldiering on in the face of complete and total hopelessness. The world of the movie is bleak, but Ree Dolly is not bleak and her situation is not hopeless. Winter's Bone does not punish you for your emotional commitment the way The Road did.
     
  10. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    FWIW, I haven't read the novel at all, but IIRC, there's a featurette on the BD that briefly mentions what "hope" and "comfort" Mr. McCarthy believes he imbued into the novel, particularly as it relates to his own son to whom he dedicated the book. He apparently somehow feels that the nobility of the human spirit can and would carry on in some sort of remnant of the human race in such a bleak, downtrodden, dying world against all odds (as depicted via the father-son relationship in the face of the trials and adversities they must overcome). I suppose the notion of finding hope and comfort in such a thing is not entirely different from say what happened w/ the people of Israel (and their predecessors) in certain parts of the Old Testament as seen from different perspectives (of the Hebrews and Israelites of their respective bleak times vs those of later better times looking back -- and how each downtrodden remnant or prosperous group finds hope, comfort and/or faith's assurance of eventual triumph) although Mr. McCarthy's "hope" does not seem to come from any overtly "religious" faith (at least in the film adaptation anyway).


    There are other (cinematic and otherwise) examples that play on that theme (of the ultimate, but costly, triumph of the human spirit) in somewhat similar fashion, but yeah, they usually do not emphasize the seemingly bleak hopelessness nearly as much while usually putting on more of a "heroic" (and sometimes even comic) spin of sorts, eg. The Book of Eli, Zack Snyder's 300 (from the ancient perspective) as well as Watchmen (among other Alan Moore graphic novels), etc.


    _Man_
     
  11. Richard--W

    Richard--W Banned

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    I relate. NYC born and raised, transposed to Los Angeles, currently stuck in a rural area not unlike the one depicted in Winter's Bone and all I can say is: get me outta here!


    Good writing is the single most important thing and the hardest thing to achieve in a film. Winter's Bone is adapted from the 2007 novel by Daniel Woodrell. Woodrell writes crime-noirs that take place in the region he comes from. He writes about what he knows. He brings the Ozarks and Louisiana to real, desperate life. He tells the most austere stories about day-to-day survival among the rural poor in prose worthy of Raymond Chandler. He is best known as the author of Woe to Live On, which Ang Lee filmed as Ride With the Devil. That is his only period piece, but it is written in the same potent language as Winter's Bone. His other rural crime noirs include Give Us All A Kiss, The Death of Sweet Mister, and Tomato Red.


    Winter's Bone is Woodrell's first female-lead story and my personal favorite of his books. I was surprised to learn he gave the rights to an independent filmmaker with only one other credit. So I bought Debra Granik's previous low-budget indy, Down to the Bone, and then I understand why he did so. The similarity in title is coincidental and unimportant. It's a stunning real-life drama with a gut-wrenching performance by Vera Farmiga, who just might be the finest actress alive. After watching that, I knew Granik was the right director for this story. Winter's Bone is the perfect marriage between a writer and a director.


    If you appreciate intense real-life drama, don't miss this film.
     
  12. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I'm very happy to read so many positive reviews about this fine film. It might not be an enjoyable film, but it's well done with some terrific acting, directing and writing.







    Crawdaddy
     

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