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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: It's Kind of a Funny Story



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#1 of 1 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

Kevin EK

    Screenwriter



  • 2,819 posts
  • Join Date: May 09 2003

Posted February 20 2011 - 01:45 PM

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IT’S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY


Studio: Universal/Focus Features

Year: 2010

Length:  1 hr 42 mins

Genre:  Drama/Comedy/Teen Angst/Mental Institution


Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1


BD Resolution: 1080p

BD Video Codec: VC-1 (@ an average 30 mbps)

Color/B&W: Color


Audio:

English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (@ an average 3.3 mbps – up to 5.9 mbps during the musical number)

French DTS 5.1

Spanish DTS 5.1



Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish


Film Rating: PG-13 (Mature Thematic Issues, Sexual Content, Drug Material and Language)


Release Date: February 8, 2011


Based on the novel by Ned Vizzini

Written for the Screen and Directed by: Ryan Fleck & Anna Boden

Starring:  Keir Gilchrist, Emma Roberts, Viola Davis, Lauren Graham, Jim Gaffigan, Zoe Kravitz, Jeremy Davies and Zach Galifianakis


Film Rating:    2 ½/5



It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a fairly appropriate title for this film.  In brief, the story here follows an unhappy teenager named Craig (Keir Gilchrist) who checks himself into a mental health clinic and encounters the usual selection of offbeat and damaged souls, including an attractive girl with cutting issues (Emma Roberts) and a mentor figure with much deeper issues (Zach Galifianakis).   Quick cameos are also provided by Lauren Graham as Craig’s mother, and Jeremy Davies as a sympathetic clinic worker.   There’s nothing shocking here, although there is a PG-13-safe gross-out bit early on to illustrate Craig’s anxiety issues.  If anything, the movie is a pretty safe affair, in which Craig gets an opportunity to learn about himself, and the audience goes along for the ride.  The problem, of course, is that we don’t learn anything of any depth, and the stakes are never very high.  I suppose it’s a relief that there are no gratuitous moments of tragedy or self-pity, but there are no major insights either.  The performances here are appropriately understated.  Even Zach Galifianakis keeps himself reined in.  Taken as a whole, the movie doesn’t offend, but it also doesn’t really register on any level past the surface.  That said, there is a fun rendition of “Under Pressure” to liven things up around the halfway point.


 It’s Kind of a Funny Story has been released on DVD and Blu-ray this month.  The Blu-ray includes a 1080p VC-1 transfer, a DTS-HD MA sound mix, and a few brief extras, including some deleted scenes, some outtakes, and two quick featurettes, all presented in high definition.  Aside from this, the Blu-ray includes the usual Blu-ray functionality, including  BD-Live, pocket BLU and the My Scenes bookmarking function. 

                                                       

VIDEO QUALITY   3/5

It’s Kind of a Funny Story is presented in a 1080p VC-1 1.85:1 transfer that, like the movie, is quite acceptable, if nothing to jump up and down about.   We should keep in mind that the movie was thankfully shot on film, but on a fairly limited budget in a limited time.  The results are nowhere near as harsh as, say, The Kids Are All Right, but there’s only so much the HD transfer can reveal.  As it is, there’s a limited amount of settings and environments on display, although there is a pleasing range of flesh tones, given the diverse cast.  The one time the picture seems to jump to life is the musical number, where the lighting takes on a much more dramatic tone.  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   3/5

It’s Kind of a Funny Story is presented in an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix, along with DTS mixes in French and Spanish.  Like the image quality, there isn’t a lot for the HD audio to augment.  Much of the film consists of quiet conversations in the front channels, while the music pops up in the surrounds.  When the big musical number breaks out, things get a bit more interesting.


SPECIAL FEATURES      2/5

The Blu-Ray presentation of It's Kind of a Funny Story comes with the usual BD-Live connectivity, pocket BLU and My Scenes functionality, along with a few quick special features, all presented in high definition.



Deleted Scenes (8:54 Total, 1080p) – Five deleted scenes are presented in high definition.  Most of this material consists of additional character moments – although the final scene is a more significant interaction between Craig and a family member.  The scenes are available on their own or via a “Play All” button.


Outtakes (11:28, 1080p) – Just over ten minutes of outtakes are presented here in high definition.  Most of the time, we’re watching Keir Gilchrist laughing during takes, usually at the antics of Zach Galifianakis.  One outtake features multiple improv options from an off-camera Galifianakis for a phone call that Craig overhears.


A Look Inside It’s Kind of a Funny Story (3:17, 1080i) – Here we have the usual combination of trailer clips and a few quick interview soundbites about how happy the filmmakers and cast are with this film.


It’s Kind of a Funny Story Premiere in New York City (2:32, 1080p) –  A few more interview soundbites are grabbed on the red carpet at the movie’s premiere in New York.


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– This phone-related functionality is available for viewers with the right cellular equipment.


The film and the special features are subtitled in English, French and Spanish.  The usual pop-up menu is present, along with a complete chapter menu. 



IN THE END...

It’s Kind of a Funny Story is a decent, if unmemorable, film that may appeal to teen and twenty-something viewers.  Fans of the Ned Vizzini book may also enjoy the film.  The Blu-ray presentation is decent enough, and the included outtakes are funny enough to justify a rental for the curious.


Kevin Koster

February 20, 2011.