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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Lars and the Real Girl



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#1 of 5 Cameron Yee

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Posted April 24 2011 - 10:34 AM

http://static.hometh...grepo//flags/LS


Lars and the Real Girl
Release Date: Available now
Studio: MGM Home Entertainment
Packaging/Materials: Single-disc Blu-ray "ECO-BOX"
Year: 2007
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1:46:46
MSRP: $19.99

  THE FEATURE SPECIAL FEATURES
Video 1080p high definition 1.85:1 Standard definition
Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: Spanish 5.1 / DTS: German 5.1 Stereo
Subtitles English SDH, Spanish, German Same

The Feature: 4/5

Lars Lindstrom (Ryan Gosling) has what you'd call "issues." It seems he's suffering from a social anxiety disorder, which manifests itself with everyone from his pretty co-worker Margo (Kelli Garner) to his brother and sister-in-law Gus and Karin (Paul Schneider and Emily Mortimer). But awkward interactions seem innocuous compared to what his problems ultimately breed - a full-blown delusion that involves his purchase of an anatomically correct, silicone sex doll that he introduces as his new girlfriend Bianca. On the advice of their family physician Dr. Berman (Patricia Clarkson), Gus and Karin - and eventually the entire community - go along with the delusion, in the hopes that whatever internal conflict Lars is trying to remedy will work itself out. Though at first the idea is met with some resistance, it doesn't take long for everyone to welcome Bianca with open arms. Their intention is to help Lars through his crisis, but such supportive steps might help them figure out a few things of their own as well.

Writer Nancy Oliver's story about a man's bout with a peculiar delusion - and the effect it has on those around him - stretches the bounds of believability at many points, but is ultimately held together by its sweetness and utter lack of guile. The greatest example of these qualities is found in Gosling's assured and sympathetic performance, which brings the viewer's attention back from such distractions as a sex doll being checked in to the hospital after being taken there by emergency response (my guess is even the best insurance wouldn't cover that one). Some will undoubtedly find such unrealistic moments in an otherwise realistic story hard to get past, but those able to forgive such problems will be touched by Lars's journey as he learns how to exist in the world, overcoming his fears and finding a real source of love and happiness.

Video Quality: 3/5

The film is accurately framed at 1.85:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. The picture has a noticeable, digitally processed look to it, mainly from the fine veneer of noise and mild to moderate levels of edge haloing. This affects apparent sharpness and detail, giving things an over-crisp and edgy quality. Black levels look solid, however, though contrast and color are often flat and muted. This seems somewhat intentional though, given the film's drab and frigid Wisconsin setting.

Audio Quality: 3/5
Dialogue in the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is consistently clear and intelligible. Surround activity is fairly subdued, providing some limited atmospheric effects and support for the score, but is well balanced with the rest of the array. LFE is non-existent, but the score has consistently good depth and fullness.


Special Features: 2/5
The extras are meager, but provide a few interesting glimpses behind the scenes. The nature of the Bianca doll begs for a more in-depth look at the filmmakers' work with the company that supplied it, but there's nothing like that included. The release appears to carry over whatever was included on previous DVD releases.


Deleted Scene - Bathtub (:54, SD) shows Lars joining Bianca in the bath. A title card with some director comments provides a bit of context.

The Real Story of Lars and the Real Girl (10:11, SD) provides background on the script, initial reaction to the story, casting, and some story and character analysis. The featurette hits all the major points but, given the length, is really meant for promotional purposes.

A Real Leading Lady (5:55, SD) offers a tongue-in-cheek profile on Bianca and her preparation for the role.


Theatrical Trailer (2:24, SD)


Recap

The Feature: 4/5
Video Quality: 3/5
Audio Quality: 3/5
Special Features: 2/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3.5/5


MGM Home Entertainment turns in a merely average technical presentation - plagued in large part by some noticeable digital processing - for a guileless film about a man grappling with a delusion disorder. The special features are limited in both depth and scope, which is disappointing but not entirely surprising. Those who own the DVD already shouldn't feel obligated to double-dip, though at the right price point it's a decent release for first time purchasers.


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#2 of 5 MBrousseau

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Posted April 24 2011 - 11:53 AM

This movie is awesome. It is really touching.


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#3 of 5 Adam Gregorich

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Posted April 24 2011 - 03:48 PM


The film is accurately framed at 1.85:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. The picture has a noticeable, digitally processed look to it, mainly from the fine veneer of noise and mild to moderate levels of edge haloing. This affects apparent sharpness and detail, giving things an over-crisp and edgy quality. Black levels look solid, however, though contrast and color are often flat and muted. This seems somewhat intentional though, given the film's drab and frigid Wisconsin setting.

I wonder if they are using some older transfers for some of the recent MGM releases.  I had heard of this film before, but not the plot.  It sounds like something my wife and I would enjoy.  I'll have to add it to my Amazon wishlist.  Thanks for the review Cameron!



#4 of 5 Stephen_J_H

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Posted April 24 2011 - 04:33 PM

Indeed. It sounds like they used a master that had been processed for DVD replication to create this disc.


"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#5 of 5 Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

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Posted April 24 2011 - 05:26 PM

Yes, the image is rather DVD-like.
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