Blu-ray Review HTF Blu-Ray Review: I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS

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  1. Timothy E

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    I Love You Phillip Morris


    I LOVE YOU PHILLIP MORRIS Blu-ray


    Studio: Lionsgate

    Year: 2009

    Rated: R

    Film Length: 1 hour, 38 minutes

    Aspect Ratio: 1080p High Definition Widescreen (1.78:1)

    Audio: English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio

    Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish


    Release Date: April 5, 2011


    The Movie


    I Love You Phillip Morris is the strange but true story of con man Steven Russell(Jim Carrey) who repeatedly breaks out of prison (and into prison) for the love of Phillip Morris(Ewan McGregor). The film is directed by John Requa(Cats and Dogs) and Glenn Ficarra(Bad Santa) who also collaborated on the screenplay adapted from the book by Steven McVicker. The screenplay succeeds in playing Steven Russell as a larger than life character who is always a little too smart for his own good. There are a few good laughs in the film, and the screenplay strikes the right balance between humor and pathos. 


    Jim Carrey is well cast as Russell, and plays him appropriately as a manic personality who gets carried away with himself. Ewan McGregor plays Phillip Morris as passive and soft-spoken, which is consistent with accounts of the real Phillip Morris. Leslie Mann(The 40-Year-Old Virgin) gives a sympathetic performance as Debbie, Steven Russell’s long suffering ex-wife.


    The maxim that fact may be stranger than fiction is demonstrated well in this film. The methods used by Steven Russell to con his way out of prison are so implausible that they would strain credulity if they were not true and accurate. The producers would be justified in borrowing William Goldman’s preface from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid that "most of what follows is true." Although some dramatic license is applied, the more outrageous and unbelievable aspects of Russell’s escapades in the screenplay are actually verifiable facts. The upbeat original music by Nick Urata is notable and memorable in its establishment of mood in this unusual romantic comedy.


    I Love You Phillip Morris actually completed production in 2009 and was held up for North American release due to legal issues involving distribution rights in North America. It was released in other parts of the world in 2009, and a Region B Blu-ray was released in 2010. After limited runs in several film festivals, the film was finally released in theaters in North America in late 2010. This Region A Blu-ray marks the first time this film has been available for home viewing in North America.


    Video


    The movie is in 1080p high definition in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Film grain is apparent with minimal edge enhancement and DNR. Brightness and contrast are excellent. The color palette is vibrant. There are no compression artifacts apparent. This is an average or slightly better than average transfer to high definition.


    Audio


    The English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio tracks make excellent use of all speakers for an immersive experience. Dialogue intelligibility and fidelity are fine. The film score composed by Nick Urata makes particularly good use of all speakers and really lends itself well to the tone of the film.


    Special Features


    The special features include all of the following:


    Audio Commentary: The commentary is provided by writer/directors John Requa and Glenn Ficarra, producers Andrew Lazar and Far Shariat, chief lighting technician Max Pomerlau, and director of photography Xavier Perez Grobet. Since the film is based on a true story, this commentary is more engaging than most, since the creators of the film shed light on which portions of the film were fictionalized and the greater portions that were apparently accurate to real life.


    The Making of I Love You Philip Morris(11:52): Cast and crew are interviewed regarding making the movie along with some behind the scenes footage.


    Deleted Scenes(16:47): There are 7 different scenes that can be selected individually or with a "Play All" selection. The deleted scenes are window-boxed with timestamps.


    Red Band Internet Trailer(2:42): The internet trailer is racier than the green band trailer.


    Green Band Theatrical Trailer(2:27): This trailer was shown in theaters and is tamer than the red band trailer.


    Bookmarks: Allows viewers to select portions of the film for ease of reference.


    Also From Lionsgate: Trailers for Good Hair, My Best Friend’s Girl, Mystery Team, and The Winning Season. These trailers also show automatically at the beginning of the disc.


    Conclusion


    I Love You Phillip Morris is an irreverent but mostly accurate account of the escapades of con man Steven Russell. Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor are terrific in their respective roles. Films about con artists often fail in their execution but I Love You Phillip Morris finds the right balance of drama and humor in telling the story of this unusual criminal. Video and audio quality are better than average. The special features are interesting and recommended viewing, particularly the audio commentary which reveals how much of the film is actually based on true facts. If you enjoyed the story of real-life con man Frank Abagnale in Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can, then you will probably appreciate I Love You Phillip Morris.  

     

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