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Blu-ray Review Mulholland Dr. Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Neil Middlemiss, Nov 2, 2015.

  1. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    XenForo Template Mulholland Dr. Blu-ray Review

    Featuring ideas coming from director David Lynch’s transcendental meditation, planned as a Twin Peaks spinoff, retooled to be a different TV pilot, rejected by ABC and retooled into a feature, Mulholland Dr.’s road to the big screen is as intriguing as the film itself. Featuring strong performances from the entire cast, with Naomi Watt’s range and power being of exquisite perfection, Mulholland Dr. is a near-flawless experience, emotionally rich, mysterious, captivating, dramatically tense, and bizarrely unusual in all the right doses. A rare film –unlike anything else – that stays with you.


    Cover Art


    Studio: Criterion

    Distributed By: N/A

    Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

    Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

    Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA

    Subtitles: English SDH

    Rating: R

    Run Time: 2 Hr. 27 Min.

    Package Includes: Blu-ray

    DigiPak

    Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

    Region: A

    Release Date: 10/27/2015

    MSRP: $39.95




    The Production Rating: 4.5/5

    “When you see the girl in the picture that was shown to you earlier today, you will say, "this is the girl". The rest of the cast can stay, that's up to you. But the choice for that lead girl is NOT up to you. Now... you will see me one more time, if you do good. You will see me... two more times, if you do bad. Good night.”

     

    Betty Elms (Naomi Watts) arrives in Hollywood fresh-faced and filled with hope and optimism. Staying at her aunts home while she’s in Canada shooting a movie, the wide-eyed hopeful discovers a strange women, the victim of a car accident and suffering amnesia, recovering in her Aunt’s apartment. Betty and the woman, calling herself Rita, try to piece together who the woman is, and descend into a mystery deeper than merely the identity of the beautiful woman. And the mysteries deepen with strange men in robed rooms, a polite cowboy, and a near-ruined, peevish film director under external pressures to pick a certain actress for the lead role, all conspiring to turn to nightmare the city of dreams.

     

    Written and filmed as a pilot for ABC, Lynch secured an additional $8MM and wrote additional scenes, fleshing out relationships and more when ABC chose not to move ahead with the TV pilot. That rejection turned out to be a blessing, freeing Lynch to deepen and darken his vision and result in absorbing cinema –one of Lynch’s finest films. And it is a quintessential David Lynch creation. A fevered, heightened dream of an experience, splashed with obscure ideas, odd and sinister characters, and a delirious thread of obsession running throughout the entire affair. Ostensibly a mystery in its core narrative, Mulholland Dr. is never quite what it seems and becomes a fascinating experience demanding to be watched more than once to savor the intelligence of its construction and to decipher what it all might mean.

     

    Naomi Watts stars as the wide-eyed actress in waiting, arriving in Hollywood with a sea of hopes and dreams laid out before her, and Laura Harring stars as the amnesiac (Rita/Camilla) with whom Betty forms a quick bond and tempestuous relationship. Watt’s is extraordinary in the role. A beautiful women, she shows a brilliant range of emotion and persona – and Lynch is demanding in his pursuit of pushing Watts as an actress, yielding mesmerizing results. Harring’s portrayal of the demure Rita is fascinating in its own right, and she moves from the bruised victim to the powerful alternate as the story evolves with accomplished weightlessness. Watts and Harring are two fine performers around which the film exists - and their breakout performances resonate long after the film as closed.

     

    Additional players include Justin Theroux as the petulant film director, Robert Forster and Brent Briscoe as detectives investigating the crash (that left Rita with amnesia), and Twin Peaks alumna Michael J. Anderson as the powerful man in the robed room.

     

    Watching Mulholland Dr. for the first time is a curious revelation. Seeing the assembly of dream and nightmare, mystery and clues, lavished upon the screen with an innovators eye and the complexities of Lynch’s storytelling is nothing short of intoxicating. Decoding and reassembling the pieces of the puzzle the director laid out during his unconventional narrative is as much of a joy as the film itself. Theories abound to what the truth of this film is, and personally I find the theory of dream, regret and death (triggered in a certain scene) to hold the most promise, but as with great art, whatever it means to the individual is all that ultimately matters (though there is reward in trying to determine what it mean to Lynch himself).

     

    Part of the brilliance of Mulholland Dr. is its ability to be so many things at once. A dark tale of human obsession, a fascinating (perhaps even ordinary) mystery elevated by the full suite of visual and character ingredients, and an indictment of Hollywood’s self-loathing, all while never quite being what it seems. It’s genius really. What is clear is Lynch’s continuing fascination with obsession and the darker impulses of human nature and human fallibility, and his ability to carve out corners within our world and fill them with memorable and often mesmeric characters.



    Video Rating: 5/5  3D Rating: NA

    Criterion presents Mulholland Dr. in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Supervised by David Lynch and the director of photography Peter Deming. The new digital transfer was created in 4K resolution from the original camera negative and the results are excellent.

     

    Excellent detail, clarity in even the darkest of scenes (the snaking, driving opening sequence is notable for its detail despite its lack of external lighting) and the warmth and vibrancy of colors (especially in the warm tones of Betty’s Aunt’s apartment and on the in-film film set) are especially rewarding. Where there is an apparent softness it is by design and you’ll notice strong detail despite the soft glow of those moments. This is a finely calibrated transfer, perfectly managed to eliminate any dust or damage without trace of unwanted digital management intrusion.

     

    Mulholland Dr. contains no chapter stops at the request of director David Lynch.



    Audio Rating: 4.5/5

    The 5.1 surround DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is wonderful and perhaps the greatest beneficiary of the audio is Angelo Badalamenti’s score (and dark, emotional theme). The soundtrack lends to the dreamlike state in key scenes, and the brooding, deep resonating ominous sounds (including the Cowboy scene) simmer perfectly in the low-end. Dialogue is crisp and there is an overall warmth to much of the audio that suits the film.



    Special Features Rating: 4/5

    A rewarding collection of special features with very good interviews featuring key players in front of and behind the camera discussing the film, how they came to be a part of the creation, cut with footage from the film. In a recently recorded interview, Lynch, sitting with Naomi Watts, discusses his process for testing talent (for their fit for the film) and shares some of the backstory. In the discussion between Watts and Lynch, Watt’s shares her struggles with a difficult, personal, sexual scene. Honest and fascinating.

     

    Another highlight is the new interview with the charismatic composer, Angelo Badalamenti recounting his arrival in the world of film scoring and his creative union with David Lynch. Badalamenti shares some wonderfully interesting stories.

     

    New interviews
    - David Lynch and Naomi Watts
    - Laura Harring, Johanna Ray (Casting director), Justin Theroux and Naomi Watts
    - Composer Angelo Badalamenti
    - Peter Deming and Jack Fisk

     

    Deleted Scene (2:16)

     

    On-Set Footage – Footage shot on set, beginning with the later diner scene

     

    Trailer

     

    Booklet featuring an interview with Lynch from filmmaker and writer Chris Rodley’s 2005 edition of the book Lynch on Lynch.



    Overall Rating: 4.5/5

    Mulholland Dr. is an exemplary neo-noir, but an even more piercing love story. Lynch invites viewers to cast off traditional narrative expectations and to trust him and his story, to see the pieces of the puzzle that he has laid out - that assembled will clarify the story - but how you pull those pieces together will inform what it means for you. Everyone has the chance to assemble it somewhat differently – and still be right in the meaning found.

     

    Regardless of what your theory is, somehow you are always watching Mulholland Dr. for the first time – and with the excellence of the presentation, Criterion has made that feeling of watching it for the first time ever-more real.


    Reviewed By: Neil Middlemiss


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  2. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    Neil,

    Reconsider your overall rating. I know you didn't mean a 1/5 on such a great review of a great film.
     
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  3. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    I'm just keeping the mystery alive (did he like the film? did he hate it?) :)
     
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  4. ShellOilJunior

    ShellOilJunior Stunt Coordinator

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    I don't classify the film as a neo-noir (Mainly because I don't believe in splintering off genres from film-noir).

    Very much agreed. MD always seem so fresh even after repeat viewings. It's a quality not all great films posses. Very pleased with this blu-ray.
     
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  5. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I watched my copy of the Criterion Mulholland Dr. last night.


    Having not seen it in several years, it engaged me immensely. And I think I may re-watch it much, much sooner in order to place things better in my mind.


    Can anyone settle a little problem I'm having with myself? The actor who plays the Cowboy. He is listed in the credits as Lafayette Montgomery. It turns out this was just about his only acting role (according to IMDB)...yet he seems so very familiar to me. Am I mistaking him for some other actor? I must be. Anyone have any guesses?


    Beautiful disc.
     
  6. noel aguirre

    noel aguirre Supporting Actor
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    Watching tonight. I haven't seen it since release and had mixed feeling towards it. Let's see what a re-viewing brings- hopefully a lot more per this review.
     
  7. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member

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    Mike, I think I've re-looked him up every time I've watched the film because what you say holds true to me, too: he seemed at first, and continues to seem, so very familiar.


    Since Montgomery supposedly doesn't appear in anything else, is there a character in another Lynch film, or any film, that has some similarity to his role in this one?
     
  8. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member

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    He is so wonderfully Lynchian, and -- well, I love all the characters in this film, but he's one of my favorites! :)
     
  9. Mike Frezon

    Mike Frezon Moderator
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    I'm beginning to get the feeling that this may be the fella with whom I am confusing the actor who plays the cowboy.


    The Cowboy:


    [​IMG]



    [​IMG] And this guy: [​IMG]


    His Name is Cord McCoy. Of all things, he has been a contestant on two seasons of The Amazing Race! :D


    [​IMG] [​IMG]


    There are obvious physical similarities (right down to the white cowboy hat!). But the Cowboy from Mulholland Dr. also has a particular way of speaking that seems so familiar...
     
  10. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    The whole thing makes sense this time around in my viewing of this excellent Criterion release. I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing (that my mind was somehow in sync with David Lynch), but it was most enjoyable, and possibly one of the best horror films about 'Hollywood' every made - and I do mean horror. Delusions run deep, and denial sometimes even deeper (only to be found in that blue box).
     
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  11. noel aguirre

    noel aguirre Supporting Actor
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    I found it to be a heterosexual male interpretation of a lesbian love affair (deranged) bordering on homophobic-seen through the eyes of the rejected lesbian. I remember this came out during the whole Anne Heche /Ellen twisted affair. I'm not going to give away the ending- but really?
    Highly stylized like Dressed To Kill which today would probably be considered Transphobic. It's a different world today thankfully. However it t really worked for me in its creepiness and the acting is superb.
     
  12. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    I watched this disc a few days ago and I have to say that it's a great presentation of what is arguably the best movie of this century (so far).
     
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  13. JoelA

    JoelA Producer

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    Excellent review Neil. This is a film I've always wanted to see and bought the Criterion Blu-ray based upon all the rave reviews.To say I was not disappointed is an understatement.

    I put it in last night to spot check and possibly watch a half hour and ended up watching the whole thing. This pulls you in from the beginning and doesn't let go. Brilliant filmmaking! David Lynch, his team and the actors are all at the top of their games. Amazing film which requires the use of some brain cells for a change. Looking forward to revisiting this one soon to try to unravel more of the rich visual layering and storytelling. Highly recommended!

    Oh, and loved Ann Miller as Coco.
     
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  14. Jeff Cooper

    Jeff Cooper Cinematographer

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    From pure memory, I was convinced that he was William Sadler (the bad guy from Die Hard 2) until I re-watched the Blu recently. Perhaps that is who you were thinking of?
     

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