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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Get Him to the Greek



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#1 of 1 Kevin EK

Kevin EK

    Screenwriter

  • 2,617 posts
  • Join Date: May 09 2003

Posted October 09 2010 - 12:03 PM

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GET HIM TO THE GREEK


Studio: Universal

Year: 2010

Length:  1 hr 50 mins (Theatrical Version)  1 hr 54 mins (Unrated Cut)

Genre: Raunchy Comedy/Rock & Roll Parody


Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1


BD Resolution: 1080p

BD Video Codec: AVC (@ an average 20 mbps)

Color/B&W: Color


Audio:

English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 4.0 mbps, up to 5 mbps in the musical performances)

Spanish DTS 5.1

French DTS 5.1

English DVS (Descriptive Visual Service) 2.0 (Theatrical Version Only)


Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish


Film Rating: R (Strong Sexual Content and Drug Use, Pervasive Language)

                   Unrated Cut (See Above Description)


Release Date: September 28, 2010


Starring:  Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Elisabeth Moss, Rose Byrne, Colm Meaney and Sean Combs

An Apatow Production

Written and Directed by: Nicholas Stoller


Film Rating:    2 ½/5


Get Him to the Greek is the kind of movie that could actually be an alternately hilarious and touching ride through three days of a has-been rock star’s life on the way to a major concert.  And yet, it simply can’t get out of its own way long enough to do much more than a lot of fairly crude drug and sex jokes, some of which are dragged out to excruciating lengths.  While Russell Brand is intermittently funny as Aldous Snow, the self-obsessed rocker first seen in the Apatow group’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Sean Combs turns in an eager performance as a record label exec, there’s not much else of interest here in terms of performances, save for perhaps Colm Meaney’s too-brief turn as Snow’s Vegas musician father.  Jonah Hill is particularly difficult to handle in a lead role, and the matter is badly compounded by the filmmaker’s inexplicable thought that having him repeatedly barf on camera would somehow be a laugh riot for the viewer.  (Note to the filmmakers:  for this viewer, it made several scenes of the film almost unwatchable.)  Add to this the extreme lack of chemistry between Hill and his on-screen girlfriend (played by Elisabeth Moss of Mad Men and The West Wing), and you have a decidedly underperforming comedy.  Now, I have to grant that the significant amount of location footage in this movie is by itself a lot of fun to watch.  Scenes set in London, Las Vegas, New York City, etc, all have a series of city-specific backdrops that make clear that the cast are really in the places depicted on screen.  A balcony scene at Snow’s flat in London has a stunning view of the Thames, Parliament, Big Ben and the various roadways in the area that I can attest from my visits there is absolutely the real thing.  This is not a CGI extension of a rooftop in Vancouver or anything like that.  So I have to give this movie at least a couple of points just for travelling to the real places and getting them on film.  And a couple of the musical numbers handed to Russell Brand actually have some fun and energy to them – a raucous performance of “The Clap” in front of a crowd at the Today Show, and an anthemic reading of “Going Up” almost plays like a real hit song.  It’s a shame that the film doesn’t spend more time on the underlying idea of the rock star as misfit in his own life and less time on Jonah Hill being sick, but unfortunately, that’s the choice (and mistake) of writer/director Nicholas Stoller and the guys around him.


Get Him to the Greek has been released on standard definition DVD and Blu-ray last Tuesday.   The Blu-ray edition is a 2-disc affair, with the first disc containing high-definition transfers of picture and sound of two versions of the film along with a raft of extras in high definition.  (Essentially, there’s the R-rated theatrical version, and then an unrated cut that runs another 4 minutes, with what I believe are additional bits of raunchiness, etc.  My review here is solely based on the longer version.)  The second disc is a standard-definition disc that includes another raft of extras and a digital copy of the movie.  Further Blu-ray functionality is also part of the Blu-ray disc, including pocket BLU, My Scenes, an online ticker and trailers, as well as uHear and a menu activator.  As a special bonus for buyers of the Blu-ray, you can log in to Universal’s BD-Live with the disc in your machine and stream one of three movies for free:  Uncle Buck, Dazed and Confused and Life.  A further four movies, including Knocked Up, The 40 Year Old Virgin, Role Models and Forgetting Sarah Marshall, are available for streaming on BD-Live for $2.99 each.

                                                       

VIDEO QUALITY   4 ½/5

Get Him to the Greek is presented in a 1080p AVC 1.85:1 transfer that does a good job with a variety of textures, locations, flesh tones and some wild wardrobe choices.  A green velour jacket for Aldous Snow stands out, as do the “furry walls” of a plush Las Vegas interior.   I should note that I am watching the film on a 40” Sony XBR2 HDTV. If anyone is watching the film on a larger monitor and is having issues, please post them on this thread.



AUDIO QUALITY   3 ½/5

Get Him to the Greek is presented in a solid DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix in English, along with standard DTS 5.1 mixes in French and Spanish.  There is also an English Descriptive Visual Service track available, albeit only for the Theatrical version.   When Aldous Snow is performing onstage, the mix really jumps to life, running through all the channels like a real rock concert.  On the other hand, some dialogue scenes are dialed lower, so that the viewer is forced to crank the volume to hear what is going on.   To be specific, an early scene where a record company employee’s cell phone goes off during a meeting, I had to back up the movie and raise the volume twice just to hear what the interruption was.  And there are other places where the dialogue is unclear and the new uHear functionality becomes important – allowing you to back up the movie a few beats and activate the subtitles with one keystroke.


SPECIAL FEATURES      4/5

The Blu-Ray presentation of Get Him to the Greek comes fairly packed with extras.  There are two discs in the package – one Blu-ray and one standard definition disc with more extras.  The Blu-ray disc comes with the usual BD-Live connectivity and My Scenes functionality, as well as pocket BLU, and some new color-coded functionality.   The Blu-ray disc contains both versions of the film, with a scene-specific commentary available for either one, as well as some high definition featurettes, music videos and a karaoke function.  The Blu-ray disc also includes via BD-Live the option to stream a movie for free once you log in, or to stream some other films for $2.99.  I should also note that there’s a U-Control feature that allows the viewer to identify and then purchase the songs played onscreen via iTunes.  The second disc in the package includes two gag reels, the usual Line-O-Rama reel, an alternate opening and ending for the film, about 20 minutes of deleted scenes, about 36 minutes of extended and alternate versions of existing scenes, a collection of footage from the “Blind Medicine” Sarah Marshall show seen in the film, almost 20 minutes of mock interview footage from the film with Aldous Snow, and almost 20 minutes of audition footage with various actors for this film, as well as a Digital Copy of the film.  


Feature Commentary with Nicholas Stoller, Jonah Hill, Russell Brand, Rose Byrne, Elisabeth Moss (via speakerphone) and Rodney Rothman – This scene-specific commentary is accessible when watching either version of the film.  It’s a group commentary with everyone in the room together, aside from Russell Brand, who enters part of the way into the movie, and Elisabeth Moss, who calls in via speakerphone at a much later point.  I didn’t hear Rodney Rothman in the sections I listened to, but I believe he comes in and goes out at some point.   There’s a lot of crosstalk and laughing, which is to be expected with the group here, and occasionally the discussion gets into real production issues.


Getting to Get Him to the Greek – (32:07, 1080p, VC-1)  This is a standard making-of featurette, with all the cast and creative staff talking about what a great time they had making this movie.  Judd Apatow discusses the fact that the original concept had Russell Brand playing a DIFFERENT rock star, which made little sense given that Aldous Snow was so easily recognizable from Forgetting Sarah Marshall.  There’s a bit of joking about how while the earlier film was mostly people sitting and talking, this film is about Running and Screaming.   The featurette also serves as a travelogue of the various locations seen in the film.


Getting in Tune with the Greek – Behind the Scenes of the Music of Infant Sorrow – (13:47, 1080p, VC-1)  This featurette covers the creation of the various songs used in the movie, both for Aldous Snow and for Rose Byrne’s raunchy “Jackie Q” character.  At one point, Jason Segel openly admits that the songs are all intended to be parodies of rock songs, and that even the more innocent sounding ones are still pretty much sexual innuendos disguised as songs.  Even the near-anthem “Going Up” is intended as a parody of typical Coldplay stylings.  The music really appears to be the main contribution of Jason Segel to this project, which is actually pretty considerable, given that the movie is loaded with songs, many of which were written by Segel.


The Making of African Child – (6:26, 1080p, AVC)  This is actually a  mock featurette, supposedly covering the production of Aldous Snow’s terrible music video for his “African Child” song.  Essentially, you have a series of interview snippets, some of which are actually used in the feature itself, and some mock B-roll of the crew working at Blue Cloud Ranch near Los Angeles.


Music Videos – Here we have a series of high definition music videos and performances by Aldous Snow and/or Jackie Q, separated into specific areas:


The Videos (13:52 Total, 1080p, VC-1) – A series of five mock music videos are presented here, including Infant Sorrow doing “African Child”, “I Am Jesus” and “Just Say Yes”, along with Jackie Q’s racy videos for “Supertight” and “Ring Round”.


Greek Concert 1999 (6:35 Total, 1080p, VC-1) – Two performances from the supposed 1999 Greek Concert performance by Infant Sorrow are included here – “Gang of Lust” and a bouncier version of “Going Up” than the one heard later in the film.  This footage is primarily used in the film on video screens in Sean Combs’ office, as an example of the original concert that motivates the characters to do the new concert for this film.


The Greek Concert 2009 (11:36, 1080p, VC-1) – Three performances from the climactic concert at the Greek in the film are included here in their entirety, including angles not used in the theatrical film for moments shared between them.  The songs are “Bangers, Beans and Mash”, “Gang of Lust” and “Going Up”.


The Today Show:  The Clap (3:04, 1080p, VC-1) – The complete performance of “The Clap” from the film is included here, whereas the song in the film is abbreviated.


VH1 Storytellers: Furry Walls (3:22, 1080p, VC-1) – The closing performance of “Furry Walls” is included in its entirety here.


World Tour:  Riding Daphne (3:48, 1080p, VC-1) – Another complete performance of a song only seen on video screens in the film is included here in its entirety.


London O2 Concert (11:00 Total, 1080p, AVC) – Three performances from what look like 2 different London concerts are included here.  The first two appear to be a mock concert with Infant Sorrow doing “I Am Jesus” and his song from Forgetting Sarah Marshall, “Inside of You.”  The third song is a performance from Russell Brand’s Scandalous tour, where Jason Segel and Jack Black come out to sing “Dracula’s Lament” from the earlier film.  (And it’s still really funny)


Karaoke (1080p) – What we have here are all the same songs you just saw in the Music Videos section, only now there’s a karaoke subtitle function working, so you can sing along with them.  I do not recommend doing this late at night…


U-Control– While watching the film, there is also a U-Control option available, which features the songs performed and heard over the course of the film.  If you activate this function, a pop-up screen will appear for each song, identifying its basic information and opening a window for you to purchase the song via iTunes.


BD-Live - The more general BD-Live screen is accessible via the menu, which makes various online materials available, including tickers, trailers and special events. 


My Scenes - The usual bookmarking feature is included here.


pocket BLU– The latest Blu-ray features of phone apps and social networking are included here for viewers with the right iPhones, Blackberries and other current hardware.


Two new ideas are also included as part of the Blu-ray functionality here:  The first is uHear, which is an auto-reverse function that backs up the movie and turn on the subtitles if you hit the yellow button on your remote after not understanding a line of dialogue.  I believe this will merely save you a step from the usual need to press rewind and hit the “subtitle” button…  The second idea is an extension of the usual promotional ticker on the Main Menu.  With the new idea, if you see a blue box on the ticker, you can hit the blue button on your remote, and you’ll be taken to a BD-Live screen explaining the item being offered.  This color-coding works on my current remote since I’m watching the movie via a PS3, but I believe this will also work on all other Blu-ray player remotes.


Bonus Movies on BD-Live– When you access the BD-Live menu screen on the Blu-ray, you have an option to log in to Universal’s BD-Live site and stream one of three movies for no charge– Dazed and Confused, Uncle Buck or Life.  You also have an option to stream one of four other movies, any of which can be purchased online for $2.99 – Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Knocked Up, Role Models and The 40 Year-Old Virgin.  The streaming offer will expire on March 31, 2011.


Disc 2:


Moving on to the standard definition disc included in the package, we find the following special features, all of which are included in 480p Anamorphic picture and 2.0 sound.


Gag Reels (10:18 total) – Two gag reels are presented here, containing the usual line flubs and mess-ups.


Line-O-Rama (9:12) – The usual Apatow feature of alternate line improvisations and readings is included here.


Alternate Intro:  The Castle (5:53) – The original opening for the film is presented here, including footage of Aldous Snow riding around the castle halls in a little car.  (This footage appears in the film’s trailer but not in the actual movie.


Alternate Ending:  Riding Daphne (3:17) – The original ending for the film, with just Russell Brand and Jonah Hill on an excursion, is included here.  It’s probably a more realistic ending than the one seen in the film, but it’s not as much fun, to be honest.


Deleted Scenes (18:20 Total) – A series of deleted scenes are included here, which can be accessed individually or via a “Play All” function.


Extended/Alternate Scene s(35:47) – A series of extended versions or alternate versions of scenes used in the movie are included here.  Again, these can be accessed individually or via a “Play All” function.


Blind Medicine (2:31) – Like Forgetting Sarah Marshall, this film also includes a brief glimpse of footage of the title character from that film on a new TV series.  Where the original film had her in a mock-CSI show with William Baldwin, the new film has Kristen Bell in a parody of “Grey’s Anatomy” with Ricky Schroeder.  The twist here, of course, is that her character is blind, which one would think would make operations quite complicated.   This appears to be the complete collection of the footage shot with Bell and Schroeder on the hospital set.


Interviews (18:02 Total) – In the earlier minutes of the film, snippets are shown from various interviews with Aldous Snow and/or Jackie Q on real programs.  Here we have the complete footage from all the interviews, including “The One”, an MTV interview with Kurt Loder that goes off the rails, “The View”, and of course the interview on “The Today Show” that presages the performance of “The Clap”.


Auditions (17:47 Total) – Video of the auditions of five actors are included here, mostly consisting of improvisations and riffs that landed the actors their roles.   Footage is shown of Rose Byrne, Elisabeth Moss, Nick Kroll, Aziz Ansari and T.J. Miller.


Digital Copy – A digital copy of the film is included on the standard definition disc.


The film and special features are subtitled in English, French and Spanish.  The usual pop-up menu is present, along with a complete chapter menu.  Further, when you first put the Blu-ray in the player, you’ll get a reminder about the BD-Live movies now available to you via streaming.


IN THE END...

Get Him to the Greek is a movie that occasionally made me laugh and sometimes made me feel a little for Russell Brand’s oblivious Aldous Snow.  But much of the time I was simply enduring rounds of gross-out humor with Jonah Hill, which tends to make a moviegoing experience a bit less rewarding.  The Blu-ray release of this title is certainly well stocked with extras, and it has a fine high definition picture.   Fans of the Apatow group’s films will certainly want to take a look, at least as a rental.  Fans of Jonah Hill and Russell Brand will no doubt have already made the purchase.


Kevin Koster

October 9, 2010. 







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