Posts Tagged ‘Universal Studios’

Blu-ray Cover

Distributor: Universal Studios

Release Date: June 19, 2018

Region: Region A

Length: 01:38:11

Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC)

Main Audio: 5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Ratio: 1.56:1

Note: This release comes with a DVD copy of the film as well as an Ultraviolet version for those who insist on streaming movies.

Title

“I think this is the future… Anybody going to see this movie who has no idea of the backstory to the production will have no idea this was shot on the phone. That’s not part of the conceit… People forget, this is a 4k capture. I’ve seen it 40 feet tall. It looks like velvet. This is a game changer to me.” –Steven Soderbergh (indiewire.com)

Did anyone really believer Steven Soderbergh when he announced his retirement all those years ago? Side Effects (2013) was planned as his last film, but this was soon followed by a decent made-for-cable biopic about Liberace entitled Behind the Candelabra (2013) that same year. He then worked steadily in television while directing every episode of The Knick well into 2015 (when the show was canceled). Perhaps he merely meant that he would be retiring from film. Television is, after all, a different animal. The point is that it was hardly a surprise when he resurfaced with Logan Lucky (2017). One doubts if most people even noticed his absence since his television work kept him in the public consciousness (or at least the consciousness of anyone who cared).

I’m glad that he never made good on his threats to leave the cinema scene because he is one of the more interesting living filmmakers. Unfortunately, his filmography is decidedly uneven due to his tendency to make the occasional experimental feature. These films probably do wonders for his creative evolution but rarely do much for his audience. He calls them “palate cleansers,” but they are usually pretentious and barely watchable exercises that can only be described as masturbatory. Schizopolis (1996), Full Frontal (2002), Bubble (2005), and The Girlfriend Experience (2009) are all examples—although we admit that some of these are more watchable than others.

Schizopolis is a low-budget exercise in incoherent stupidity that stars Soderbergh in two different roles. It was shot on 35mm film with a budget of $250,000, an extremely small crew, and no script. Full Frontal was a Dogma 95-esque effort shot on mini-dv with the Canon XL-1S but featured an all-star cast (with the exception of some very brief “film-within-a-film scenes that were shot on 35mm with traditional lighting). The budget on this effort was 2 million, but it is likely that the majority of this was used up on the actor’s salaries. Bubble is a much more interesting work and was shot on high definition video for 1.6 million dollars in much the same manner he used for Full Frontal. However, this time unknowns were cast and the script was more interesting. The Girlfriend Experience (which starred Sasha Grey) took a similar approach but was shot with a Red One camera which rendered a more polished (but still very raw) image.

When it was revealed that the director had secretly filmed a horror film using only an iPhone 7 Plus and the FiLMiC Pro app, this indicated that we were in for another of these exercises. Luckily, this 1.5 million dollar effort was worth his time and the money that he used to make it. Unsane (2018) features Claire Foy, Joshua Leonard (The Blair Witch Project), Amy Irving (Carrie, Traffic), and Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting) and tells the story of a paranoid woman who has become the victim of an obsessed stalker. It is one of those films that puts the audience in the same frame of mind as a paranoid protagonist so that we are unable to determine what is real and what is delusion—but Soderbergh’s approach is always interesting and in the end quite effective. Mystery and tension is built and sustained throughout most of the duration, and this is really all that the viewer really wants from this sort of film. It may not be one of the director’s best efforts, but it is certainly his greatest “palate cleanser.”

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The Presentation:

3.5 of 5 Stars

Universal protects the Blu-ray and DVD discs in a standard 2-disc case with a sleeve featuring artwork taken from the film’s one-sheet (flipped here and cropped with text in the middle rather than at the top and bottom). We’re not sure why the marketing team found it necessary to make changes, but we can at least give them credit for not using completely different and less interesting artwork. The case is protected by a slipcover featuring the same artwork.

One Sheet

The film’s American One Sheet.

The disc’s static menu features a portion of this artwork and is designed in the same manner as other Universal Blu-ray menus. They are reasonably attractive and easy to navigate but will not win any awards for creativity.

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Picture Quality:

4 of 5 Stars

The first thing that needs to be reiterated here is that Steven Soderbergh shot the entire movie on an iPhone 7 Plus with a Moment lens. The surprise is that this approach actually works quite well for this particular film, and the image is reasonably well defined in the film’s brighter scenes. Darker scenes are less detailed and not as attractive in the film’s darker moments, but never to a distracting degree. Colors aren’t quite as vivid as they might. Some of the night scenes were shot day for night with a blue filter while daytime interiors lean towards warm amber hues. Whatever the perceived weaknesses may be, it this transfer almost certainly represents the original image as well as it can be represented on the Blu-ray format. What more can anyone reasonably ask?

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Sound Quality:

4.5 of 5 Stars

The 5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio offers a reasonably dynamic experience that again represents the original source mix as it was intended to be heard. Ambient sounds are well separated and add a bit of depth to the mix as does the sparse musical scoring. Dialogue is consistently clear and well prioritized as well. There are some really interesting sonic collages used to put the viewer in the protagonist’s frame of mind—the most notable example would probably be the scene after she has been given the wrong medication and she freaks out as a result. More subtly nuanced sound designs are also utilized and are well served by this mix.

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Special Features:

0.5 of 5 Stars

Unsanity – (04:26)

What a terribly disappointing featurette. Actually, the word “featurette” is laughable. It is simply a collection of a few behind the scenes snippets that have been cut together with footage from the film without even the usual generic interview comments to add context. The clips aren’t long enough to gather much in the way of information as to how the film was shot (which would have been something worth exploring considering that the film was shot on an iPhone). We really needed a proper “Making of” documentary for this film. Whatever happened to real bonus content? This doesn’t count.

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Final Words:

Those who like Steven Soderbergh probably don’t need to be sold, but this movie also earns an easy recommendation for anyone who enjoys diverting psychological thrillers. Unsane probably doesn’t rate amongst the best in this genre, but it is superior to many of the more recent genre titles. It might not become a new favorite, but there are worse ways to spend a rainy afternoon.

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hitchcockmaster

Blu-ray Cover

Distributor: Universal Studios

Release Date: October 17, 2017

Region: Region A

Notes: These films are also available individually with standard Blu-ray packaging and as a part of The Masterpiece Collection.

Universal owns the rights to more Alfred Hitchcock titles than any other studio and they certainly milk these properties for every penny that they are able to squeeze out of his admirers. However, one really shouldn’t complain because this allows fans ample opportunity to own these films (and have plenty of choices as to how they want these discs packaged). Each of the films available in this collection have been available on Blu-ray for quite some time (both as individually packaged titles and as a part of other sets), and these image and sound transfers are the same ones utilized for those earlier releases. What’s more, these discs include the same supplemental material. Interested parties can read more detailed…

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Blu-ray Cover

Distributor: Universal Studios

Release Date: April 18, 2017

Region: Region Free

Length: 01:57:07

Video: 1080P (MPEG-4, AVC)

Main Audio: 5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio (48 kHz, 24-bit)

Alternate Audio:

5.1 Spanish DTS

5.1 French DTS

Dolby Digital DVS (Descriptive Video Service)

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, English SDH, French, Spanish

Ratio: 2.39:1

Bitrate: 34.89 Mbps

Note: This release includes a DVD, a digital, and an UltraViolet copy of the film.

Title.jpg

“What’s really interesting about [Dissociative Identity] Disorder is that it’s controversial. Even in the field, they’re saying I’m not sure any of this is legit. A lot of people. I believe in it, 100%. It’s interesting—it’s almost like what you’re asking is what the field is asking themselves. How much of this is fact? How much of what you’re saying can be proved? … But everything was [taken] from documented cases. The person who was blind and then some of their identities could see. One identity has diabetes but none of the other identities have diabetes. One has high cholesterol, one doesn’t, one is allergic to bee stings, the rest aren’t. Your body chemistry is so affected by your mind. We know this. We just haven’t been faced with this. We know we can give ourselves an ulcer. We know we can raise our blood pressure. We know that we can give ourselves hives. If we can do those things, what other things can your mind do? We know the placebo effect exists. I so much wanted to make a movie about the placebo effect—were all just walking around, accepting the Placebo Effect? Everybody just knows that a certain percentage of us can cure our diseases because we think we have the cure—but it’s sugar? Your cells are cured! You change your cells.” –M. Night Shyamalan (Empire Online, January 24, 2017)

Despite some somewhat ridiculous negative publicity surrounding the film’s portrayal of Kevin’s Dissociative Identity Disorder (for alleged stigmatization of the mental illness), Split can safely be called an enormously successful thriller. It asks interesting questions while also delivering a well-balanced and suspenseful blend of dark comedy and horror. This film is M. Night Shyamalan’s strongest effort in well over a decade—topping even The Visit, which was considered a return to form for the director.

Much has been written about James McAvoy incredible performance in the film but Anya Taylor-Joy’s portrayal of Casey Cooke is just as noteworthy. Casey is an outsider dealing with an unknown troubled past. This sounds like yet another genre cliché, but Shyamalan uses this genre trope differently than we have seen it used in the past. He doesn’t use her backstory in order to give the superficial impression of a three-dimensional character. Her backstory is woven into the very fabric of his story and its various themes.

“The conversation was about the things that happen to us, that change us. Is that bad? Is it always true that being normal is the right place? That non-suffering is the way of life, you know? I think Casey’s character feels that as well: she feels detached from everyone because she feels so different. She’s had a different experience. These kind of healthy girls that she’s with, she can’t really relate to them. They’re not mean—they’re actually really nice. It’s the flip of a [conventional] horror movie—normally, they’re bad girls who are having sex and doing drugs, so they get killed. It’s a flip in this movie: you’re in a life—threatening situation because you’re good. I was explaining this to everyone; ‘These are the nice girls.’” –M. Night Shyamalan (Den of Geek, January 17, 2017)

One doesn’t want to be too specific (it would be a crime to give too much away before allowing readers to see the film)—but when one really considers some of the thematic concerns hiding beneath the surface of Split, it isn’t terribly surprising to learn that the roots of the project reach all the way back to Unbreakable.

“I wrote this character [Kevin] and a bunch of the scenes you saw in the movie for the Unbreakable script. He was the original antagonist and David Dunn was going to meet him in the original script. I couldn’t get it right. I couldn’t get the balance right. It just kept wanting to eat away at the other movie, [so] I pulled Kevin out. I wanted a really slow burn movie and Kevin’s not a slow burn. I said, ‘let me pull him out for a second and concentrate on these other two characters.’ I came up with the idea for Elijah [Mr. Glass]. He was always an advisor. The three of them were always in it but he went from benevolent advisor to the opposite of David Dunn! It became so obvious. Then I said I’d do this next as the next piece in this, but I guess I felt that the reaction at the time was weird and wonky to Unbreakable—especially in the United States. ‘What is this? A movie about comic books?’ The studio didn’t want to sell it as comic books because they felt comic books were not sellable… Ironically now, Disney, that’s all they do.” –M. Night Shyamalan (Empire Online, January 24, 2017)

Unbreakable

Bruce Willis as David Dunn in Unbreakable (2000)

It seems that early drafts of Unbreakable found David Dunn (Bruce Willis) bumping into one of Kevin’s alter egos instead of bumping into the man in the orange suit. He then went to save the girls.

“Some of the Kevin Wendell Crumb scenes were already completely written all the way back then. One of the ‘Patricia’ scenes, the ‘Hedwig’ introduction scene—those were written over 15 years ago. I have them written by hand in my notebooks.” –M. Night Shyamalan (Entertainment Weekly)

This is quite a revelation. This reviewer has always felt that Unbreakable ties with The Sixth Sense as M. Night Shyamalan’s best film and it has legions of other fans who bombard the director with questions about a follow-up. After watching Split, the chances of this happening suddenly seem somewhat likely. We only hope that M. Night Shyamalan hires Eduardo Serra as a cinematographer to help him capture the film’s fluid camera style and James Newton Howard to write a follow-up to his original score… I am digressing but this digression is relevant—and those wondering why this is relevant will have to watch the film.

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The Presentation:

4 of 5 Stars

 Universal protects the discs in a standard Blu-ray case with a sleeve featuring better than average film-related artwork. The case itself is protected with a slipcover showcasing the same artwork.

Menu

The disc’s static menu features artwork from the film’s original one-sheet accompanied by music from the film. It is both attractive and easy to navigate.

SS02.jpg

Picture Quality:

5 of 5 Stars

Mike Gioulakis’ digital cinematography is perfectly represented here with excellent clarity. Noise is never an obvious issue (even if it is present in a few scenes). Fine detail is always impressive as fabrics, textures, pores, wrinkles and a vast array of minutia are easily visible throughout the duration of the film. Colors accurately reflect those seen in theaters and are mostly subdued with certain exceptions (like the yellow in Hedwig’s jacket). Contrast is accurate and black levels are deep without unintentional crushing. Universal’s maxed out bitrate keeps compression issues from marring the image. This is simply an outstanding transfer from Universal!

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Sound Quality:

5 of 5 Stars

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio offers exactly what genre fans desire and expect from a surround mix. It manages to be simultaneously subtle and dynamic while each of the elements including dialogue, effects, sonic ambiance, and music are well prioritized. This is an excellent representation of the film’s theatrical mix and has very much the same effect.

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Special Features:

3.5 of 5 Stars

Deleted Scenes – (14:37)

Scenes with optional Introductions by M. Night Shyamalan – (26:37)

This collection of scenes deleted from the final cut of the film (together with the Alternate Ending) is by far the most substantial supplement included here, and the fact that they include short contextual introductions by Shyamalan only sweetens the deal. Unfortunately, it seems that there is quite a bit of deleted footage that wasn’t included here. M. Night Shyamalan has revealed in various interviews that the original rough cut of the film was three-hour hours in length—and it is difficult not to feel short-changed by these fourteen and a half minutes of deleted material. Where are the other 45 minutes?

One of the absent deleted sequences is now legendary in fan circles and would have made Unbreakable fans very happy indeed:

“There was another version of the credit sequence which was [a] comic book, which was graphic images of The Beast and then David Dunn and then Elijah and then them all mixing together. When I saw it done I was like, ‘This is a fucking home run,’ and then when I put it on the movie it didn’t work… It’s one thing to say, ‘You saw an origin story,’ but to go into other characters… David Dunn is reacting to the news of The Horde. End of story. If you keep going it starts to undermine the movie you just saw.” –M. Night Shyamalan (We Got This Covered)

However, even though there is much missing from this collection, the nine scenes included on the disc are both entertaining and instructive:

Casey at Party – (01:14) or (02:52)

This scene originally opened the film and features an out of place Casey at a birthday party. The scene obviously would have led directly to the sequence that ended up beginning the film. It is really a pretty strong character moment.

Meeting Shaw – (02:07) or (04:03)

This scene is one of three deleted scenes to feature Shaw—a character deleted from the film’s final cut. Shaw is Dr. Karen Fletcher’s neighbor and a professor with knowledge of the human brain. Fletcher obviously has an inappropriate crush on Shaw and their scenes together highlight her loneliness. This and the other two scenes also deliver information about the power of the human brain to the audience.

Shaw Has a Party – (02:17) or (03:15)

This scene occurs at Shaw’s apartment during a get-together and finds Dr. Fletcher feeling slightly jealous of three other women while also feeding more information to the audience.

Shaw’s Date – (02:16) or (03:49)

The final scene finds Dr. Fletcher calling on Shaw when he is about to go on a date. His date argues with her about Dissociative Identity Disorder and this leads to an awkward moment between Fletcher and Shaw. All three of the “Shaw” scenes are interesting, but it is easy to see why they were deleted from the film.

Girls Talk – (00:52) or (02:02)

Some of this short scene features in the film’s theatrical trailer (which is inexplicably left off of the disc) and is a short dialogue between the three kidnapped girls about their kidnapper’s intentions.

Patricia Talks Meat – (01:56) or (03:24)

This is an extended scene with new content—including creepy dialogue about the feeding habits of animals and the number of teeth in a tiger’s mouth—but it is essentially about Casey trying to persuade Patricia to let them eat their meal in the kitchen area (so that she can leave the room).

Casey Tells Her Dad – (01:13) or (02:30)

This is a deleted flashback that finds a younger Casey telling her Dad that she doesn’t want her Uncle to go with them on hunting trips.

Hide and Seek with Hedwig – (01:48) or (02:35)

This is an extension of a scene in the film where Hedwig plays “hide and seek” with Casey before leading her to his room.

Maybe We Are Crazy – (01:03) or (02:14)

Dennis questions their plan after attacking Dr. Fletcher.

Alternate Ending – (00:32)

 Scene with optional Introduction by M. Night Shyamalan – (01:37)

The Horde looks down at school children from the top of a building lamenting about “all those unbroken souls.” It is a much darker ending in some ways but it is also a much weaker image than what is in the final film. It is very interesting to see what was originally envisioned.

The Making of Split – (09:50)

This isn’t the comprehensive look behind the making of Split that fans will be anticipating. It is really more of a catch-all general discussion about the film put together from the usual navel-gazing EPK material. One feels that this release really deserves a bit more than a ten-minute discussion that reveals about a minutes worth of worthwhile information.

The Filmmaker’s Eye: M. Night Shyamalan – (03:40)

The Filmmaker’s Eye is a standard EPK promo camouflaged to look like a discussion about M. Night Shyamalan’s working methods—it utilizes some of the same interview clips found in the “making of” featurette and the information could’ve been included as part of the “making of” piece.

The Many Faces of James McAvoy – (05:38)

The Many Faces of James McAvoy is yet another short EPK that repeats a few clips from the other segments and never really delves any deeper than “James McAvoy was perfect casting and gave an excellent performance.” It’s nice to have it here but—like the piece on Shyamalan—this could’ve been included as part of the “making of” featurette.

Someday, we hope that Blu-ray producers will learn that quality trumps quantity. They aren’t fooling anyone.

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Final Words:

Split is a fun thriller that solidifies M. Night Shyamalan’s return to form and Universal’s Blu-ray release contains excellent image and sound transfers of the film!

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Review by: Devon Powell

hitchcockmaster

PSYCHO - POPART

Distributor: Universal

Release Date: July 12, 2016

The 50th Anniversary Edition of Psycho (1960) was one of the first reviews posted on this site. This exact same transfer is being released with the same supplemental features in this new Pop Art edition of the film.

For more a detailed reviewof this disc:

Blu-ray Review: Psycho – 50th Anniversary Edition

THE BIRDS - POPART

Distributor: Universal

Release Date: July 12, 2016

The Birds (1963) is also being honored with a new Pop Art edition of the film that includes the same transfer with the same supplemental features available on Universal’s previous release of the film.

For more a detailed reviewof this disc:

Blu-ray Review: The Birds

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Blu-ray Cover.jpg

Distributor: Universal Studios

Release Date: May 10, 2016

Region: Region A

Length: 98 min

Video: 1080P (MPEG-4 AVC)

Main Audio: 5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Ratio: 2:40:1

Notes: This release includes an Ultraviolet copy of the film. A DVD edition of this title is also available.

“I think we hope that children are inherently good, and if anything, that bad luck can lead them wrong. But to know that this is an 8-year-old boy that he can do harm to all these adults, or really manipulate all these adults, is really scary. I think dolls themselves are scary. I think that dolls are a little bit unnatural.” –Lauren Cohan (Bust)

Greta (Lauren Cohan) is a young American woman who takes a job as a nanny in a remote English village. She soon discovers that the family’s 8-year-old is a life-sized doll that they care for just like a real boy, as a way to cope with the death of their son 20 years prior. After violating a list of strict rules, a series of disturbing and inexplicable events bring Greta’s worst nightmare to life, leading her to believe that the doll is actually alive.

The film is another take on the “possessed doll” premise, which has long been a staple of the horror film, but Stacey Menear’s script does attempt to take the material in a new direction. It is probably stretching things to say that he is successful in this endeavor, as his script is full of the clichés one expects to find in contemporary horror films. There are certainly flaws here, and William Brent Bell’s direction could hardly be described as inspired.

Having said this, the film was a modest at the box office, and overall audience opinion seems to be rather positive. It isn’t particularly surprising. The Boy is quite the fun ride when taken on its own terms. It isn’t a classic of the genre, but it is certainly on par with other recent genre films. There is a pretty simple test that one can take in order to find out whether or not they will enjoy this film: If you read the film’s synopsis and think that it sounds silly or stupid, you probably won’t want to waste your time watching it. If it sounded interesting or like a fun concept for a movie, you will likely find things to enjoy in the film.

The Boy - One Sheet.jpg

The Presentation:

3.5 of 5 Stars

The disc is protected in a standard Blu-ray case with film related artwork that originated on one of the film’s foreign one sheets (this artwork has been altered slightly), and the case is protected by a special slip cover with the same artwork. The artwork earns points for not attempting to add Lauren Cohan’ likeness to the cover in a pathetic effort to reach a larger audience, but it must be said that the film’s domestic one sheet was in every way superior to what we have here. It is too bad that this artwork wasn’t utilized.

 The menu utilizes different film related artwork and is accompanied by the film’s score. The cover art or domestic one sheet art would have been preferable, but the image used is certainly atmospheric.

Picture Quality:

4.5 of 5 Stars

Universal’s High Definition transfer of the digital source material is a pristine presentation with few flaws to address. While some of the darker scenes might have some noise issues that keep this from being a perfect transfer, this is the only real criticism that can be made (and this is an issue that would have been present in the source). Detail is remarkable as it registers the finest textures present within every frame. Blacks are rich with perfect shadow detail that is marred only by the aforementioned noise (which is never distracting). Color seems to be accurately represented with health flesh tones evident throughout. Compression and other digital anomalies are never evident. This seems to be a perfect rendering of the source cinematography. The one flaw is inherent in the source, so it really isn’t even a real issue.

 Sound Quality:

5 of 5 Stars

Horror films rely heavily on their sound design, and this film is no exception. Universal’s 5.1 sound mix is at once dynamic and sophisticated. It is truly an immersive experience. The subtlest effects register with the listener as the soundtrack wraps around the viewer bringing them into the film’s universe. Dialogue is always clear and well prioritized while the music and effects are well spaces and dynamic. There are absolutely no issues here.

Special Features:

0 of 5 Stars

The disc doesn’t include any supplemental material.

Final Words:

Fans of the possessed doll genre will likely find a lot to enjoy while watching The Boy. This Blu-ray release is currently the best way to watch the film at home, so turn out the lights and give it a spin.

Spotlight cover.jpg

Distributor: Universal Studios

Release Date: February 23, 2016

Region: Region A

Length: 129 min

Video: 1080P (MPEG-4 AVC)

Main Audio: 5.1 English DTS-HD Master Audio

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Ratio: 1.85:1

Notes: This release comes with a DVD and Ultraviolet copy of the film. A single disc DVD edition of this film is also available.

“At the end of the day we wanted to make an entertaining movie, and we hoped that in doing so we might make a film that might be more accessible — if not palatable — to an audience. There’s a bit more of a safe distance when you’re making a narrative movie, a bit more perspective. Audiences can separate themselves from the harsh reality of the facts a little bit more and think: “Okay, how do I consider this?” I think particularly the way we approached this subject matter, not only through the eyes of the journalists but through the eyes of survivors as men and women who have lived with this for decades and continue to struggle with it. With docs, there’s often a very direct communication between the filmmaker and the audience. With narrative movies, we leave it a little bit more open.” –Tom McCarthy (Rolling Stone, November 06, 2015) 

Spotlight is one of the most important and critically acclaimed films of the year. It was nominated for six Academy Awards (including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Editing, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress) and won in both the Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay categories. Each of these nominations were well earned. The film tells the riveting true story of a dedicated investigative team that blew the lid off a monumental cover up involving one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions. Delving into allegations of child abuse within the local Catholic Archdiocese, a tenacious team of Boston Globe reporters exposes a decades-long cover-up that reaches the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishments.

The Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation was apparently perfect subject matter for an Academy Award-winning film. It is surprising to think that this film was directed by the same man who gave us the Adam Sandler stinker, The Cobbler! Of course, it has been argued that the film isn’t much more than a series of talking heads. However, it would be difficult to imagine the film any other way. Spotlight is certainly driven by the dialogue and some very nice performances, but this is more than enough to keep most people riveted. The story is simply that powerful.

One Sheet

Theatrical One Sheet

The Presentation:

3.5 of 5 Stars

The disc is protected in a standard Blu-ray case with film related artwork, and the case is protected by a special slip cover with the same artwork.

 The menus utilize a slight alteration of the original poster art and are accompanied by an excerpt from the film’s score.

Picture Quality:

4.5 of 5 Stars

Universal’s 1080p transfer is an absolutely fabulous rendering of one of the year’s better films. The detail displayed is razor sharp as one can easily see the textures of the actor’s skin and clothing. While colors are often rather subdued, they can also be quite rich in certain scenes. The transfer renders them accurately without any hint of digital manipulation or compression artifacts. Blacks are deep without crushing any of the film’s fine detail. It would be difficult for viewers to find any cause for complaint.

Sound Quality:

5 of 5 Stars

The disc’s sound mix is every bit as impressive as the image. This is a largely dialogue driven film, and the actor’s voices are clearly rendered while at the same time giving the music and sound effects room to breathe. The track never calls attention to itself and allows audiences to lose themselves in the film.

Special Features:

2 of 5 Stars

Uncovering the Truth: A Spotlight Team Roundtable – (1080P) – (6:33)

Fourteen years after their journalistic detective work made headlines and rocked the Catholic Church, the real-life Boston Globe Spotlight team reunites for a roundtable discussion about the challenges they faced, and how the shocking story they uncovered continues to impact the world. This could have been an amazing feature, but the conversation is cut into pieces and padded with an excess of flips from the film. I really wish that they had simply allowed these journalists to tell their story. This is an interesting feature, but it plays more like a promo for something much better than this.

Spotlight: A Look Inside – (1080P) – (2:30)

This is basically an EPK fluff piece that consists of small clips of key cast and crew discussing the films story and a wealth of rapidly edited footage from Spotlight.

The State of Journalism – (1080P) – (3:14)

This EPK fluff piece barely distinguishes itself from the previous promo. Quick editing wins the day as footage from the film is played along with interview sound bites discussing journalism. If there is anything insightful said here, it would be difficult to notice. Everything moves very fast.

Review Poster

Final Words:

Spotlight is a fascinating film that earns an easy recommendation as does Universal’s Blu-ray release.

 Review by: Devon Powell

Blu-ray Review: Family Plot.