S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
(Alejandro González Iñárritu, 2010)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Focus Features International
Video: Roadside Attractions
Region: A (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 32,500,010,507 bytes
Feature Size: 24,317,208,576 bytes
Video Bitrate: 18.10 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase
Release date: May 31st, 2011
Aspect ratio: 1.85 + 2.4:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 2124 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2124 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
English (SDH), English, French, Spanish, none
• Behind Biutiful: Director's Flip Notes (21:43)
•Biutiful Crew (4:02)
• Interview with Javier Bardem, Maricel Álvarez and Eduard Fernández (8:18 - SD)
• Theatrical Trailer (2:01)
Description: Academy Award® nominee Javier Bardem is Uxbal, a man on the wrong side of the law who struggles to provide for his children on the dangerous streets of Barcelona. As fate encircles him, Uxbal learns to accept the realities of life, whether bright, bad — or biutiful — in this unforgettable Academy Award®-nominated film from director Alejandro González Iñárritu (Amores Perros, 21 Grams and Babel).
Biutiful is a love story between a father and his children. This is the journey of Uxbal, a conflicted man who struggles... to reconcile fatherhood, love, spirituality, crime, guilt and mortality amidst the dangerous underworld of modern Barcelona. His livelihood is earned out of bounds, his sacrifices for his children know no bounds. Like life itself, this is a circular tale that ends where it begins. As fate encircles him and thresholds are crossed, a dim, redemptive road brightens, illuminating the inheritances bestowed from father to child, and the paternal guiding hand that navigates life's corridors, whether bright, bad - or biutiful.
Iñárritu is a filmmaker who favors the dark side. His Oscar-nominated "Babel"
in 2006 was a confluence of interconnected, border-crossing pain, while
the detritus of dog fights and human carnage encircled a love story in "Amores
his 2000 breakthrough. The Mexican-born director is also drawn to the
racial and ethnic complexities that color modern times, issues that find
a voice in all of his movies. "Biutiful" is the distillation of
that vision into one man's journey, so there's a lot of weight for
Bardem to carry and more pain that some moviegoers will want to bear.
Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu, “Biutiful” takes place
in grimy and crowded parts of Barcelona that are a world away from that
city’s tourist attractions. Mr. Bardem plays Uxbal, a midlevel
underworld figure whose main business is dealing with the black-market
labor of illegal immigrants. He checks in on Chinese sweatshop workers
and African vendors of counterfeit watches and bags, collecting and
dispensing money and running interference with police officers and
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Firstly, in regards to the fluctuating aspect ratio - between 1.85-2.4.0:1 - there is a discussion with the DoP Rodrigo Prieto HERE at the American Society of Cinematographers. Ex. "We made the aspect-ratio transition a few scenes later on a crane shot at the beach, using an angle of the ocean to open the edges of the screen to 2:40. I shot most of the movie with Panavision Ultra Speed [Z Series] MKIIs, and for most of the anamorphic work I used Panavision’s G-Series lenses. Whenever there was a source of light in frame, like a window, the MKIIs would cause a slight flare, and they gave the image a hard edge and contrasty feel that we liked. For certain moments, we enhanced the flare of bright sources with a Tiffen Smoque Filter on the camera."
Biutiful appears consistently thick and rich on Blu-ray from Roadside Attractions. Blue is dominant and the image has vibrancy. Most of the film (we now know 95%) is shot handheld so there is some have with the movement but detail is still present in the less kinetic scenes.This is dual-layered but as the film is lengthy - the bitrate is modest. Lighting seems more natural lending itself to a more verité feel. The 1080P image is not glossy and has some grain via the 35mm negative format. There is still some noise too - as there are a lot of darker scenes but it is never intrusive. This Blu-ray looks as though it is faithful to the theatrical - exceptionally clean but with a grittiness that belies the production roots and intent. No complaints whatsoever.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The original Spanish track is rendering in a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2124 kbps. There is some modest aggression and instances of separation but nothing is deft. There is an original soundtrack by Gustavo Santaolalla notable for his compositions in Into the Wild and Brokeback Mountain. It sounds crisp via the uncompressed track. Like the video this seems as though it is a good representation of the original film. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
There are some supplements. Behind Biutiful: Director's Flip Notes runs more than 20-minutes and consists of behind the scenes filming during production. It ism hence, less polished and, like the film - more verité. There is a brief 4-minutes with the Biutiful Crew introducing themselves and having fun. Lastly are three separate interviews (optional 'Play All' fashion) with Javier Bardem, Maricel Álvarez and Eduard Fernández. Some good info is here - in Spanish with English subtitles - but it lasts less than 10-minutes. Lastly, there is a theatrical trailer and the Blu-ray disc has a bookmark feature.
May 26th, 2011
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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