Hong Kong | China | France 2007
After most of its decidedly mixed Cannes audience pegged it as a misfire, it's heartening to discover that My Blueberry Nights, the first American feature from preeminent Hong Kong stylist Wong Kar-Wai, is less an overt misstep than a sidestep into shallower waters. The first moment a line of awkward dialogue is spoken, it’s easy to see how any absurdly heightened expectations at the Festival were crushed, but the film works well on its own terms. The first act’s extended meet cute between a British diner owner (Jude Law) and one of his customers (Norah Jones) immediately clues the audience in that Wong isn’t trying to conquer the world this time out, but to discount the film's obvious pleasures because of this would be foolish. From the start, it’s abundantly clear that Wong hasn’t made an art film, but there's plenty of artistry on display here nonetheless.
Theatrical Release: May 16th, 2007 - Cannes Film Festival
DVD Review: Weinstein - Region 1 - NTSC
|DVD Box Cover||
CLICK to order from:
|Distribution||Weinstein Company - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 7.36 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 5.1)|
|Subtitles||English (CC), Spanish, None|
Making My Blueberry Nights (15:52)
The transfer from Weinstein is progressive and anamorphic (original 2.35:1 aspect ratio) housed on a dual-layered disc coded for region 1 in the NTSC standard. The film has a lot of dark scenes that seem to translate well to the digital presentation. I didn't see this theatrically and can't pass judgment comparing the two but I strongly suspect this looks about as faithful as one could expect from a standard-definition DVD. I don't see any fiddling with the color scheme or digital boosting of any sort. It is expectantly super clean and basically I'd have to say this image is without any prominent flaws. Detail and contrast are both above average. I, obviously, haven't seen a 1080P transfer of this (one is already out in France and another coming in the UK) but at this stage I don't know that the film's visuals could extensively support the worthiness of a bump in that area. Anyway, I was very satisfied with this Weinstein disc presentation.
The audio track is a 5.1 but the buoyancy is obviously limited by the amount of suffusion inherent in the track. Wong is one to add subtle touches and there were some present with some definite use, if minor, of the rear channels. The dialogue is supported with optional English (CC) or Spanish subtitles in a white font with black borders (see sample below).
Supplements include a decent 15 minute 'Making of..' featurette with sit-down input from Wong, Jones and others. As an overview it adequately does the job with a few tidbits worth knowing. More interesting though was an almost 20 minute Q+A with the director. It's a pleasure to follow the path of his vision and some of the questions had a probing edge. Fans of Wong will certainly desire to view this although you most may wish to was much longer. Concluding the extras is a 2 minute trailer and two different Stills Galleries (Location Scout Photos and Production/Publicity Photos).
Solid - competent DVD release - the film is all Wong Kar-Wai's and nice to see him expanding his repertoire even further. Fans of his immensely popular In The Mood For Love may feel nostalgic to that work but this is hardly weaker - simply artistically different. Ravi Shankar's daughter (Norah Jones) seems to have the camera magnetism of a star and many will be keen to judge her themselves. My opinion is that this is very much worth seeing as long as you don't get your expectations too skewed to something 'previous' in the director's ouvre.