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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Solitary Man [Blu-ray]

 

(Brian Koppelman + David Levien, 2009)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Millennium Films

Video: Anchor Bay

 

Disc:

Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:30:01.562

Disc Size: 22,682,060,338 bytes

Feature Size: 20,235,141,120 bytes

Video Bitrate: 20.75 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 7th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: VC-1 Video

 

Audio:

LPCM Audio English 6912 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 6912 kbps / 24-bit
Dolby Digital Audio English 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary featuring Writer/Directors David Levien + Brian Koppelman and actor Douglas McGrath

Solitary Man: Alone in the Crowd (11:45 in SD!)

• Theatrical Trailer (2:30 in HD!)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Ben (Michael Douglas) once ruled a car-dealership empire vast enough to fuel a glossy Manhattan lifestyle and endow a library at an East Coast university. But by the time he arrives at the college with his girlfriend’s daughter, Allyson (Imogen Poots), who is a prospective student, his world has collapsed around his ears. A business scandal has cost him his income and his marriage to Nancy (Susan Sarandon). His ever-present lust for every passing attractive woman threatens to take what little Ben has left. Even his new relationship with Jordan (Mary-Louise Parker) oscillates with tension. When Ben takes Allyson to tour the school, his motives are more than mixed.

 

 

The Film:

The film is all about Ben Kalman, but one of the strengths of Michael Douglas' performance is that he isn't playing a character. He's playing a character who is playing a character. Ben's life has become performance art. You get the feeling he never goes offstage. He sees few women he doesn't try seducing. As a car dealer, he was also in the seduction trade. His business was selling himself. At a dealership, it's hard to move a lemon. What about in life when you need a recall?

What happens with Ben and the people in his life, especially the women, I should not hint at here. The movie depends on our fascination as we see what lengths this man will go to.

Reading in the gossip sheets that Douglas in years past was led astray by lust, we suspect that some of his performance is based on experience. Why is a man a serial seducer? To prove to himself that he can, which to a woman is not a compelling reason to be seduced.

This is a smart, effective film, a comedy in many ways even though it's bookended with reasons for Ben to see it as a potential tragedy. It's a serious comedy, perceptive, nuanced, with every supporting performance well-calibrated to demonstrate to Ben that he can run but he can no longer hide. One of the best is by DeVito, who has been standing behind his counter for years and is perfectly content. He doesn't have that hunger that gnaws at Ben.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

 


Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
 

Solitary Man is not particularly remarkable on VC-1 encoded Blu-ray from Anchor Bay. It certainly looks like HD - and has some nice surprises in the visual transfer but overall it is not abundantly crisp. There isn't a lot of depth or color vibrancy but the image quality is consistent and I suggest that the modestly budgeted film probably didn't look much different theatrically. It is not a film that has an overwhelming video appearance. There are some pleasing fall colors and reasonable looking close-ups but the less-then-stellar look certainly didn't detract from my enjoyment.

 

 

The rendering didn't produce any textured grain but noise wasn't prominent. This is only single-layered but this 2.35:1 Blu-ray gave me a decent enough presentation to thoroughly enjoy the film - just don't expect that this would present demonstration material to show-off your system. It's not really that type of film anyway.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

We get a standard Dolby 5.1 and an overly deep, lossless, linear PCM 5.1 track at 6912 kbps. Trouble with the latter is it has nothing demonstrative to export in the exclusively dialogue driven film. This is probably a very direct representation of the original audio - meaning not a lot of separation although I noted a few subtleties and very even and consistent dialogue. Michael Penn's original score is very good as is Johnny Cash's version of Solitary Man. You can't really ask for more. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

 

 

Extras :

For those keen enough there is a decent commentary featuring Writer/Directors David Levien + Brian Koppelman and actor Douglas McGrath who played Dean Edward Gitleson. These guys are very relaxed and sound quite confident and appear to be enjoying the conversation. We also get a more-or-less standard making of... ; Solitary Man: Alone in the Crowd running a dozen minutes and has input from Douglas about the Ben Kalmen character. Again, worth the indulgence if you liked the film. Beyond that is an HD theatrical trailer and some Anchor Bay previews.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I liked this film enough to review the Blu-ray. I think Solitary Man can tell a lot about the typical male response of being un-accepting of your mortality with some mid-life crisis angst thrown in. Ben is fascinating character played perfectly by Michael Douglas. This, justifiably, has some real acclaim and positive critical response. Perhaps not as directly comparative but I liked it even more than Up in the Air - which I also enjoyed very much. The Blu-ray obviously doesn't represent 'reference' a/v but the film is certainly worthy of a spin and we absolutely recommend seeing it. 

Gary Tooze

August 29th, 2010

 

 

 


 

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 HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze

 

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