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Blu-ray Review Boyhood Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Neil Middlemiss, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    XenForo Template Boyhood Blu-ray Review

    Director Richard Linklater’s celebrated film experiment, Boyhood, understands the antagonism of siblings and the uncertainties of youth, and though dramatically we watch a young boy deal with these uncertainties, what forms through the prism of imperfect parenting (is there any other kind?) is a view of love, loyalty, struggle and celebration. With the same actors reprising their roles from time to time over a 12 year period to bring about the unique experiences of growing up, the world we see around us as young boys and girls is openly explored and even fondly admired.


    Cover Art


    Studio: Anchor Bay

    Distributed By: N/A

    Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

    Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

    Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD

    Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

    Rating: R

    Run Time: 164 Min.

    Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, UltraViolet

    Standard Case with Sleeve

    Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

    Region: A

    Release Date: 01/06/2015

    MSRP: $39.99




    The Production Rating: 4.5/5

    “You know how everyone's always saying seize the moment? I don't know, I'm kind of thinking it's the other way around, you know, like the moment seizes us.”



    Mason (played by newcomer Ellar Coltrane) is for the most part a typical young boy. He lives with his mother and older sister, his Father visits from time to time, and he exists in and watches the world around him. We watch mason grow up, witnessing moments in his life over 12 years, adjusting to the eddies of life, moving from state to state, adjusting to his mother’s struggles with work, studying and men, getting to know his untethered father, and growing into, and through, the stages of boyhood.

    Boyhood isn’t a traditional narrative. It features moments over twelve years that a young man might remember of his childhood. Not the rote moments that romanticize childhood from the movies, but unpredictable, even unlikely moments that etch themselves indelibly in our memories. As such, Boyhood briskly moves through several periods in young Mason’s life and doesn’t outstay its welcome in any one period of experience. Moments such as an encounter in the boy’s restroom at school at the hands of two bullies is brief, and not revisited, or his mother meeting a man for the first time at a party are often left behind, narratively speaking, as we explore something several weeks, months or years later. What this skipping approach offers is something that in sum is entirely rewarding; the accumulation of those slices or life and memory punctuating the corners of remembered childhood experiences. Some elements become recurring or continuing threads, others slices exists as single stones that make a splash in the boy’s life but then sink out of sight. It’s a beautiful idea, naturally and simply realized. There isn’t a clever of heavy plot twist or thread at play here. Quite the opposite. And I hesitate to call it a tapestry of the life of a young boy because we see more than fragments that make up a whole. But Boyhood is elevated by this assembly of dashes of life.

    Aside from the novel approach of filming over 12 years, Boyhood embraces its simplicity, assembling a solid cast fully committed to their characters and the somewhat risky approach to capturing scenes over an extended period. It is clear Linklater pulls from real-life experiences from his cast to craft the moments in the film, and the invested cast bring a great deal of natural talent and welcome perspective to the proceedings. Patricia Arquette as the mum, overworked and underappreciated – by her children, ex-husband, and the love interests that come into, and out of her life – delivers a wonderful, honest performance and has rightly been recognized with awards, including the Golden Globe for Actress in a Supporting Role and an Academy Award nomination in the same category. Ethan Hawke’s growth over the 12-year span is fascinating to watch. Introduced as a distant, selfish father-figure, he embraces his role as the dad with relatively infrequent visitation, and through the course of 12 years is shown to impart enough advice and freedom to be a stabilizing figure in his children’s young lives. Director Richard Linklater cast his daughter, Lorelei, as Mason’s brother, Samantha. Her role in the film is to be a frequent spoil to Mason (the way that all boys likely see their older sister,) and she does fine here. Ellar Coltrane’s evolving performance as Mason is laid back, almost shy, and as such is somewhat unsung. We get the feeling that we’re not watching a young actor perform on camera, but rather a young boy experiencing life under the gaze of the lens. As the film closes and Mason he reflects upon life one more time for us, the departure from his boyhood is complete and adulthood has officially arrived. In that moment, Coltrane’s natural and humanly awkward (and not uncommon) portrayal is in full stride.

    Boyhood is a film unlike just about everything else out there. It isn’t a film with a middle, beginning and end, it isn’t the story of a young boy in the key moments of his life. It’s a peek into the life of a young boy over twelve years, touching on moments in his life, many unremarkable to the outside world, but important in some way to the boy – almost as if they are the flashes of memory one might have looking back over who we were growing up. That quality, slices and chunks of boyhood, makes Linklater’s film remarkable – and of such surprising weight that it will sit with you long after you’ve stepped away from it.



    Video Rating: 4.5/5  3D Rating: NA

    Shot on 35mm, presented in HD with a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, Linklater’s Boyhood shines on Blu-ray. Featuring an excellent detail level, with frequently warm and natural colors (greens tend to be striking, particularly in the drier locations,) and with natural flesh tones unbiased by shielding make-up techniques, the Blu-ray captures the experience. Everything about Boyhood feels natural, independent, decidedly lifelike, and for those here in America, like it was taking place nearby – this high definition presentation provides just that.



    Audio Rating: 4.5/5

    Though it is provided an English DTS-HD Master Audio track, Boyhood shines in the center channel and fronts, with crisp dialogue perfectly leveled and balanced. The sounds of nature – the outdoors – as the children ride bikes, walk down the streets, or in one scene, where Mason swims in a rock-pool with his father, make up a good portion of the subtle ambient sounds and in each moment does so without flaw. Not much is asked of the full capabilities of the audio, but what is presented faithfully produces what the film demands.



    Special Features Rating: 2.5/5

    A light dose of extras highlighted by a near hour-long Q&A session with the principal players covering almost every element of creating and bringing to life the film over the long stretch. A commentary track would have been a particularly fascinating listen, something we can perhaps expect from a future deluxe or special edition should one ever come to be.

    The 12 Year Project

    Q&A With Richard Linklater and the Cast

    DVD copy of the Film (Disc Two)

    Digital HD (UV) Copy of the Film



    Overall Rating: 4.5/5

    Boyhood is a film that helps you remember yourself growing up. The specific situations may be different, but who we are at various times in life is very familiar as we see things we don’t understand, fight against things we don’t like, and struggle to hold on to things we love but must let go. Seeing the world through a young boy’s eyes in a film that casually and naturally ponders broad, deeper questions, is surprisingly something of a revelation. We’ve explored these topics before in movies that examine life growing up, but following a family, with divorced parents, making their way through life’s moments over a brisk 12 years, following the same actors as they age and mature in their own lives and participate in the unremarkable fictional narrative (unremarkable as a compliment, with a story not driven by hitting familiar movie moments in life,) is simply a wonderful accomplishment.

    There’s a drifting quality to Boyhood, easing through the years, touching on small but important moments in a young boys life, created, filmed, and produced with a beautiful, natural honesty.


    Reviewed By: Neil Middlemiss


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  2. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    Sensitive appraisal of a wonderful film. This one, I believe, will stand the test of time. You touched on every single point that makes this film so remarkable in its simplicity.

    Just change the spelling of "principle" to "principal" in front of the word "players," and you have a perfect review.

    Thanks for selling this film so well to other members of the HTF. It begs to be seen and appreciated.
     
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  3. jauritt

    jauritt Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, just changing the spelling of "principal" isn't quite enough to produce a perfect review. It's also necessary to give an audio rating and explanation that isn't EXACTLY like the video rating (which would be ok) and explanation (which, obviously, isn't ok).
     
  4. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    I had my nit-picking session and you had yours. Thanks for picking on the fact that Neil repeated the same paragraph for both the audio and video ratings. He can come back and edit.

    Bottom line, the film is excellent. And so is the review (up to a point).
     
  5. jauritt

    jauritt Stunt Coordinator

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    Happy to be of service, as always
     
  6. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    Most reviewers write in Word, then simply paste our write-ups into the appropriate section of the review template. On the rarest occasions, I allow my near-perfect reviews to show off more flaws than normal (I jest, of course.)


    I've pasted in the correct piece of my review into the audio section. At least I know people are reading what I write which is always a nice thing!
     
  7. jauritt

    jauritt Stunt Coordinator

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    Well, at least only a few people up to the point of correction probably even saw it (everybody watching the Grammy Awards red carpet show or something), or else you'd most likely have had many more sarcastic comments, like mine.
     
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