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sex, lies and videotape [Blu-ray]
(Steven Soderbergh, 1989)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Outlaw Productions
Video: Sony Pictures
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 33,201,395,680 bytes
Feature Size: 29,131,259,904 bytes
Video Bitrate: 27.73 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: November 17th, 2009
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
Dolby TrueHD Audio English 5120 kbps 5.1 / 96 kHz / 5120 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
DUB: Dolby TrueHD Audio French 1288 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1288 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
English (SDH), English, French, none
• Commentary with Soderbergh and Neil LaBute
•20 Years Reunion at the Sundance Film Festival (3:30 in HD!)
• Deleted Scene (3:21 in SD 4:3 widescreen) with optional commentary by Soderbergh
• Soderbergh on the trailers
• Soderbergh on sex, lies and videotape (8:11 in SD)
• Trailer (4:3 SD 1:36)
Description: With smoldering sensuality and biting humor, the surprising relationship between the three title subjects is revealed in sex, lies, and videotape, the most-talked about erotic comedy of the decade. James Spader (Stargate) ran away with the Best Actor prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his brilliantly understated and seductive performance as Graham, a long-lost college friend who drifts back into town and into the lives of John, a self-involved philanderer, his angelic wife, Ann, and her saucy sister, Cynthia. One by one, each is drawn into the very personal project Graham is working on, leaving the relationships between them forever transformed. A monumental debut effort from first-time feature director Steven Soderbergh, this comic original includes riveting performances by Peter Gallagher (The Player), Andie MacDowell (Michael) and Laura San Giacomo (TV's "Just Shoot Me").
As its lowercase title suggests, sex, lies, and videotape is an example
of lowercase filmmaking: lean, economical, relatively unpretentious (or
at least pretentiously unpretentious), and purposefully small-scale. Its
having walked off with the Cannes film festival’s Palme d’Or–making
first-time writer-director Steven Soderbergh at 26 the youngest
filmmaker ever to win that prize–saddles it with more of a reputation
than it can comfortably live up to. In a time of relative drought, it’s
certainly a small oasis, but the attention it’s been getting befits
something closer to a breakthrough geyser.
The image of sex, lies and videotape in 1080P can look very noisy. Grain is there but can be quite thick and clumpy and it also appears more like noise with some artifacts. I'm sure this is an authentic appearance and this is similar to the DVD renditions in keeping with the film's production authenticity. This is Soderbergh's first feature film and belies, from a production stance, a very stark, flat look. I'd much prefer this than to have had it pushed through the DNR ringer to remove the textures. There is no gloss and the appearance is consistent to the film's intent. sex, lies and videotape looks more like this Blu-ray transfer than any other digital edition - going all the way back to the Criterion laserdisc - but individuals expecting a pristine, smooth image - will undoubtedly be surprised. I'm very happy that Sony haven't tried to homogenize the visuals to 'appear' like a modern Hollywood film. This is definitely not that animal... in many ways. We have a dual-layered rendering with as strong bitrate. Colors have a tendency to be dullish and the indoor sequences can be dark at times with the shadows being crushed and fragmented representing more of the film's thick, honest, textures.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The only English option - a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track at a whopping 5120 kbps can easily handle anything this dialogue-driven film dishes out. The opening music is the biggest beneficiary of the separation with it filtered very crisply and loudly to the rear speakers. It sounds just great. Otherwise there are minimal effect noises for the mix to contend with and there is not a lot going on besides the fronts. There are English or French subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
We get the same very frank commentary with Soderbergh and Neil LaBute - it was a pleasure to re-listen to that after such a long time. I really enjoyed the discussion of the actors, camera angles, bad script writing etc. Before you 'Play' you get the option of the movieIQ feature - powered by 'Gracenote' it offers viewers access to a real-time movie database. With a movieIQ-enabled Blu-rayand an internet-connected Blu-ray player, fans can immediately access continuously-updated information on cast and crew and explore relevant trivia such as production facts, music and soundtrack information all tied to scenes within the movie. There are other supplements that I believe are new - but they are sparse. 20 Years Reunion at the Sundance Film Festival runs about 3.5 minutes, from this year, and has brief sound-byte input from Soderbergh, Peter Gallagher, Laura San Giacomo and others. There is a 3.5 minute deleted scene (SD 4:3 widescreen) with optional commentary by Soderbergh. It has Andie MacDowell's character, Ann, being manipulated by Ron Vawter playing her therapist. There are brief vintage excerpts of Soderbergh on the trailers and 8-minutes of a youngish Soderbergh on sex, lies and videotape sitting on a park bench. We get two trailers and the disc is BD-LIVE enabled.
November 10th, 2009
About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.
Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who
focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I
find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be
it, but film will always be my first love and I list my
favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze