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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Bellflower [Blu-ray]

 

(Evan Glodell, 2011)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Coatwolf Productions

Video: Oscilloscope Laboratories

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:46:27.881

Disc Size: 44,190,809,724 bytes

Feature Size: 31,100,510,208 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.00 Mbps

Chapters: 18

Case: Custom eco-friendly digipak in cardboard sleeve

Release date: November 15th, 2011

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3200 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3200 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:

• Behind the Scenes of Bellflower (23:42 in 720P)

Medusa Rundown (10:11 in 720P)

• Outtakes (7:58 - in 1080P)

Original Theatrical Trailer (2:03 in 1080i)

DVD of Feature with extras included

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Best friends Woodrow and Aiden spend all of their free time building MAD MAX-inspired flamethrowers and muscle cars in preparation for a global apocalypse. But when Woodrow meets a charismatic young woman and falls hard in love, he and Aiden quickly integrate into a new group of friends, setting off on a journey of love and hate, betrayal, infidelity, and extreme violence more devastating and fiery than any of their apocalyptic fantasies.

 

 

The Film:

"Bellflower" is a scrappy indie movie that comes out of nowhere and blows up stuff real good. It also possibly represents the debut of a one-of-a-kind filmmaker, a natural driven by wild energy, like Tarantino. I know what the budget was, but if I told you, you'd arrive at all the wrong conclusions. Let's say Evan Glodell had all the money he needed to make this particular movie and more might have changed it for the worse.

Here is a movie about two buddies who aimlessly hang around in their workshop, designing, oh, you know, things like apocalyptic flame throwers. When they suspend a fuel tank in mid-air and fire at it with a shotgun just to see what might happen, I had the odd notion that they might have filmed the shot only once and found out at the same time we did. A movie this size, how many standby fuel tanks are you gonna buy?

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

Nonetheless, you've got to admire their ingenuity, imagination, and energy. In addition to the flamethrower, they've also rigged up a whiskey-dispensing car dashboard, and as a piece de resistance have created the Road Warrior–inspired "Medusa," a 1972 Buick Skylark souped up to breathe fire. They're all set for the wasteland to come, but what about the one that lies within?

Glodell's moviemaking similarly impresses. He designed and built Medusa himself, and it really shoots flames (see below). He also devised a special camera and with it he achieves a kind of cinema vérité, skewed yet fluid, and bathed in a sickly yellow light. With these assets he seeks to transform his sordid, rambling story into myth, or into an existential parable of identity, and at the same time strip down and reconstruct the elements and conventions of a typical indie film.

Excerpt from Peter Keough at the Boston Pheonic located HERE

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

The image quality of the Blu-ray of Bellflower seems to be a solid representation of the film. The production was neither glossy nor pristine but the grit of the indie limitations hold up well with some diverse angles and styles. There are some ellipsis with, what appears to be different stock, to represent the time function.  This is dual-layered with a high bitrate and contrast and colors are reasonably tight. The image is clean and any improprieties (you see a smudged lens in one scene) are not the fault of Oscilloscope's competent transfer. There are no glaring warts. This Blu-ray has a nice realistic feel - representational of the film and it provided me with an excellent presentation.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Audio is as well-done as the video with an excellent DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3200 kbps. There are some separations and the crisp ones are the exception but the frequently scattered dialogue add to the vérité feel. Depth is there for the 'Medusa'. There is also a linear PCM stereo track as an option. Optional English subtitles are available. My Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Supplements offer a 24-minute Behind the Scenes of Bellflower - featuring interviews with cast and crew, and some on-set footage, a 10-minute 'Medusa Rundown' - an in-depth look at the very cool hand-built car - plus about 8-minutes of Outtakes and a theatrical trailer in HD. Oscilloscope have also included a copy of the DVD version in their eco-friendly package. A filmmaker commentary might have been appropriate but I can live without it. There is some decent stuff here.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I agree with Ebert in that a lot of Bellflower's charms are rooted in its meager budget and Indie milieu. I think its gets a little overly ambitious plot-wise but there is still a lot here to like. It had a kind-of True Romance appeal without the hefty budget. The Blu-ray offers a decent and entertaining night in the home theater - as long as you keep your production expectations modest. Yes, I recommend Bellflower to the more-adventurous cinema viewers - who, I suspect, will be pleasantly rewarded. 

Gary Tooze

November 1st, 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.

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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