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Good performances 3.5 Stars

Best Picture nominee Licorice Pizza comes to Blu-ray courtesy of Universal, distributing for MGM.

Licorice Pizza (2021)
Released: 25 Dec 2021
Rated: R
Runtime: 133 min
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson
Genre: Comedy, Drama, Romance
Cast: Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Sean Penn
Writer(s): Paul Thomas Anderson
Plot: The story of Alana Kane and Gary Valentine growing up, running around and going through the treacherous navigation of first love in the San Fernando Valley, 1973.
IMDB rating: 7.3
MetaScore: 90

Disc Information
Studio: MGM
Distributed By: Universal
Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
Aspect Ratio: 2.39.1
Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA, English DVS 2.0, French 5.1 DTS
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Rating: R
Run Time: 2 Hr. 14 Min.
Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy, Other
Case Type: 2-disc Blu-ray keepcase with slipcover
Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
Region: A
Release Date: 05/17/2022
MSRP: $34.98

The Production: 3/5

Ever come across a movie that your friends and critics rave about, and then when you finally sit down to watch it, two hours or so later, you just say to yourself, “eh?” For me, Paul Thomas Anderson’s Licorice Pizza is one of those movies. It’s a good movie, full of wonderful performances, but as a whole, I felt rather indifferent about it, and that is after screening it twice. Sorry, PTA fans.

The film opens in 1973 in the San Fernando Valley, as 15 year old child actor Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) is waiting in line at high school for his school photo. It is here that he first meets 25 year old photographer’s assistant Alana (Alana Haim). Gary is a bit of a smooth talker, and quickly strikes up a conversation with Alana, and while Gary develops a crush on her, Alana manages to keep him at bay as the two strike up a friendship that will lead to them being business partners, first in a fledgling waterbed business (which inexplicably leads them to a confrontation with celebrity hairstylist and future movie producer Jon Peters, played over the top by Bradley Cooper) and eventually a pinball arcade within days after they became legal again in California. It’s a coming of age story told in episodic form, starting with a press junket, to the waterbed story, to the pinball story and political campaign, with lots of 1970s pop references, such as the gasoline crisis from that time period. My biggest issue with the film was my inability to really connect or become fully engaged in the story, likely more my fault than the filmmaker’s.

Video: 4.5/5

3D Rating: NA

Licorice Pizza was shot on 35mm film stock with Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2 cameras, finished photochemically with an aspect ratio of 2.39:1. The DCP for the film, as well as the master used for this Blu-ray, were created from a 35mm interpositive, giving the film a more 1970s look to it. This results in a slightly soft image by design, and a warmer color palette as well. Compression artifacts and other anomalies were non-existent.

Audio: 4/5

The default DTS-HD MA 5.1 track is quite good, having a bit more active surrounds than most films of this genre, but still relatively front-heavy with good front stereo separation. LFE is used where needed, such as the motorcycle jump sequence. Dialogue is clear and understandable.

Special Features: 2/5

The video supplements are kind of just thrown together, with no real substance or actual behind the scenes documentaries. Granted, the movie was made during the height of the COVID pandemic, but still…

Camera Tests (1080p; 4:14): Mostly just rehearsal footage of actors.

The Handman Scene (1080p; 2:19): A deleted scene.

Fat Bernie’s Commercial (1080p; 0:58): The commercial in its entirety.

Behind the Scenes (1080p; 10:37): A montage of clips and photos from the production.

Limited Edition Poster: A foldout replica of the cover art.

DVD Copy

Digital Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a 4K digital copy on Apple TV/iTunes.

Overall: 3.5/5

The director’s fans will likely appreciate Licorice Pizza more than I did. The presentation on Blu-ray is quite good, but the extras are very ho-hum.

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Published by

Todd Erwin

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View thread (5 replies)

mskaye

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One of my favorites from 2021 and an excellent transfer. Great cast of basically unknown leads with familiar faces interspersed throughout.
Seriously enjoyed this unique movie. It really reminded me of Hal Ashby's SHAMPOO in form and style and in its loose observational style. Wonderful performances and as a SoCal person it really captured the feel of that era. Really gorgeous to view and always happy to see something new shot on 35mm.
 

noel aguirre

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Seriously enjoyed this unique movie. It really reminded me of Hal Ashby's SHAMPOO in form and style and in its loose observational style. Wonderful performances and as a SoCal person it really captured the feel of that era. Really gorgeous to view and always happy to see something new shot on 35mm.
Even as an Eastcoaster and a teenager of that time it totally covered the feel of that era. So many films made over the years recapturing that time may do a decent job w production design and clothes but this one totally nailed it in the mindset as realized in the script and by the acting. Loved it!
 
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Ryan Barrett

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@Todd Erwin - you're not the only one that failed to connect with Licorice Pizza. My anticipation was very high, but it left me cold (very similar to how I felt about Last Night in Soho). I described the film to others as "wandering" and "unfocused." I thought The Phantom Thread was an absolute masterpiece, and was left pretty disappointed by this.
 

Reggie W

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@Todd Erwin - you're not the only one that failed to connect with Licorice Pizza. My anticipation was very high, but it left me cold (very similar to how I felt about Last Night in Soho). I described the film to others as "wandering" and "unfocused." I thought The Phantom Thread was an absolute masterpiece, and was left pretty disappointed by this.

It is not so much a narrative as a series of events in the characters lives. It is a bunch of stories that Anderson wove together into a film. So, agree it is a different kind of picture than Phantom Thread. It's fun more than anything else. It could have used more Bradley Cooper or more Sean Penn and Tom Waits but I had a real good time with it.