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Solitary Man [Blu-ray]
(Brian Koppelman + David Levien, 2009)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Millennium Films
Video: Anchor Bay
Region: 'A'-locked (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 22,682,060,338 bytes
Feature Size: 20,235,141,120 bytes
Video Bitrate: 20.75 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: September 7th, 2010
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: VC-1 Video
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
English (SDH), Spanish, none
• 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!)
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze