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A view on Blu-ray and DVD video by Leonard Norwitz

Nick & Nora’s Infinite Playlist [Blu-ray]

 

(Peter Stollett, 2008)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Review by Leonard Norwitz

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Depth of Field

Blu-ray: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:29:33.409

Disc Size: 32,918,615,623 bytes

Feature Size: 26,979,993,600 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.37 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case w/ 2 discs

Release date: February 3rd, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

 

Audio:

Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1560 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1560 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby TrueHD Audio French 1564 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1564 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby TrueHD Audio Portuguese 1687 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1687 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English, Arabic, Dutch, French, Portuguese, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Audio Commentary with the Director, Screenwriter, and Authors of the Novel

• Telestrator Commentary with Sollett, Kat, Michael & Ari

• Nick and Norah’s Interactive Playlist (Trivia Track)

• Music Video by Bishop Allen

• Video Diary by Ari Graynor

• A Nick & Nora Puppet Show

• Faux Interview with Kat & Michael

• Peter Sollett's Photo Album

• Storyboard Animations with Optional Commentary

• Outtakes

• Deleted & Alternate Scenes

• Digital Copy Disc

• BD-Live

 

 

The Film:

Every so often, when you're young, and particularly when you're a teenager, there comes a night when everyone is out, and everyone seems to be doing something amazing. The weather is great. Time slows down. Music never sounded better. Romance suddenly presents itself. And you feel wonderfully understood, invincible and loved. That's a great night, and movies that replicate even a share of that feeling will always have their place.


"Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist" doesn't quite grab a share of that emotion, but it does get a half share. Michael Cera is a lovesick senior who spends his time making playlist CDs, in honor of the awful superficial girl who dumped him months ago. Cera's comic skill is way beyond his 20 years. He has timing and delivery. He can act, and he has that extra something, the gift of being likable, of inciting empathy in the audience.


He is nicely matched by Kat Dennings, a relative newcomer with lots of charm and intelligence, who plays a time-honored character in teen movies - the beautiful girl who nobody notices is beautiful, who doesn't think of herself as pretty, but rather as some kind of awkward, ungainly egghead. The two leads are special, and that's half the ballgame. But Cera and Dennings are all "Nick & Norah" has. – Mick LaSalle

Excerpt of review from SF Gate located HERE

Image: 7/8   NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

No doubt the Blu-ray image is entirely faithful to the processed negative, lending the movie a spontaneous, carefree feel. (Lord knows, this movie needs all the help it can get in that area.) That said, this is one of the grainier images I've seen – I would expect this sort of thing in a slasher movie, but this is just a teen romance. Not only is it grainy and noisy, but it is unevenly grainy and noisy by amounts significant enough to be distracting. But, we must add, N&NIP is not just a teen romance – it is a teens-out-clubbing romance. And clubs have that weird and wonderful light that can be artificially recreated or else you have no depth of field, so directors and DPs love to play with the lighting possibilities. But you know what they say: Too much play makes Nick & Nora and everyone else weird or wonderful or grainy, or all three at once and by turns. On the other hand, there really isn't anything troubling about the transfer itself. It handles the infinite-plus contrast range well enough and reproduces skin tones as intended. But through no fault of its own, it simply isn't much fun to look at – and the bigger your display, the less fun it is.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music:6/7
There's not a whole lot to the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix here, but much of it works well and in subtle ways. It's mostly front heavy with wisps of ambiance. The club scenes are more active but don't feel as live as other Blu-rays of light or raunchy comedy. That said, regardless of the scene and how crowded the crowd – and there are a number of them – the dialogue is always crisp and reasonably natural. But this is part of the problem: the voices sound right, but whatever is going on in the "background" is incorrectly balanced with them. It's as if these guys are the only people in the club, and the music and everyone else is in another room on another floor. Given the volume of the dialogue, when a band starts playing they ought to blow the doors off the room, but they aren't really all that much louder than the actors, who have conveniently stopped talking or exited the room. The dialogue is rarely matched to the space we see them in: car, club, street, studio. – it's all much the same. Having said all that, none of this may be the fault of the transfer, but just the way it was mixed in the first place. It bugged me no end. Your experience might be different.

 

 

Operations:3
A most peculiar and cluttered menu design, except when you actually want to know something: Let's start with the chapter search: If you're in the Main Menu, all is well, but if you want to access a chapter from the middle of the movie, you are presented with only one large thumbnail at a time. That's it. The thumbnails are large enough, but they are neither numbered nor titled. So there is no way to know where you are in relation to the rest of the movie unless you know every scene by heart. The Special Features menu is not a whole lot better, showing only two titles per click.

 

Extras:6
We can't fault the Bonus package for lack of imagination: there's actually a lot going on here, even if mostly in standard definition, which, besides the appropriately titled deleted scenes and outtakes, and the unimaginative video diary, are its major drawbacks. My favorite: the faux interview. There are two commentaries, but one of them, the Telestrator Commentary with Sollett, Kat, Michael & Ari is available only with an on-line connection.

 

 

Bottom line: 5
A pleasant, contemporary – at times intelligent, at times juvenile date movie with unrealized potential and a soft, grainy image and a clear but unnatural sound mix. Rent it.

Leonard Norwitz
April 6th, 2010

 

 

 

 

 


 

About the Reviewer: I first noticed that some movies were actually "films" back around 1960 when I saw Seven Samurai (in the then popular truncated version), La Strada and The Third Man for the first time. American classics were a later and happy discovery.

My earliest teacher in Aesthetics was Alexander Sesonske, who encouraged the comparison of unlike objects. He opened my mind to the study of art in a broader sense, rather than of technique or the gratification of instantaneous events. My take on video, or audio for that matter – about which I feel more competent – is not particularly technical. Rather it is aesthetic, perceptual, psychological and strongly influenced by temporal considerations in much the same way as music. I hope you will find my musings entertaining and informative, fun, interactive and very much a work in progress.


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