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Mighty Aphrodite [Blu-ray]
(Woody Allen, 1995)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Sweetland Films
Region: FREE (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 23,581,608,292 bytes
Feature Size: 23,469,920,256 bytes
Video Bitrate: 18.10 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: May 11th, 2012
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Description: Released in 1995, Mighty Aphrodite was arguably Woody Allen's most successful film since Hannah and Her Sisters almost a decade earlier. The story follows Allen's neurotic New York sports writer Lenny, who becomes obsessed with tracking down his adopted son's birth mother, Linda. His odyssey is narrated and commented upon with coruscating wit by a Greek chorus led by F Murray Abraham. Despite their dire warnings at his rather ham-fisted attempts at hubris, there is nothing tragic in the ultimately uplifting tale. Lenny eventually locates Linda (an Oscar-winning performance from the enchanting Mira Sorvino) and discovers that she's caught up in just about every aspect of the sex trade. Without revealing his reasons, he sets about improving her life with hilarious results.
A dissatisfied Manhattan sportswriter finds more than he expected when he searches for the biological mother of his... adopted child in Woody Allen's comedy. Writer-director Allen also plays Lenny, a slightly more relaxed incarnation of his usual neurotic screen persona. Lenny is trapped in a bad marriage to high-strung art dealer Amanda (Helena Bonham Carter), but he finds solace in his relationship with his adopted young son. Indeed, he grows so fond of the boy that he decides to track down the boy's real mother, expecting to discover a brilliant professional. Instead, he finds Linda (Mira Sorvino), a ditzy prostitute and porno star who mingles casual vulgarity with disarming innocence. Despite his initial disillusionment, Lenny soon develops a fondness for Linda and decides to play matchmaker, setting her up with a handsome young boxer (Michael Rapaport) who is equally good-hearted and scatterbrained. While the contrast between the free-spirited Linda and the uptight Lenny provides the bulk of the laughs, hints of Allen's more literary humor are also present, particularly in the scenes involving a roaming Greek chorus commenting upon Lenny's fate. Sorvino received a supporting Oscar for her title role in a well-received movie that is nevertheless not at the level of Allen's best-known classics.
This is one of those circumstances in which I am at odds with most
critics regarding their lukewarm to scalding reaction to a film. When I
first saw "Mighty Aphrodite" years ago, I was uproariously delighted.
After getting a few opposing takes on the film I could not find any
support for my extremely highly lauded opinion. So I simply dismissed my
feelings (Hey, maybe I was just in a good mood that day!). So, I choose
it to show to friends the other night, recognizing its bawdy and
boisterously lewd, at times, content. I understood that we were all
adults. Well, I was even more appreciative of how evenly and
meticulously this film had been crafted. My opinion only rose to greater
heights. So, I watched it the following day again. This time with a
focused critical eye prepared to find fault at any misplaced juncture or
split infinitive. Once again, this film, its neo-classical hubris
juxtapositions, tuned (if over-ripe) performances and dramatically
ironic ending, won me over. I re-read some reviews of others and it
actually has made me quite angry. As Jacobin Mugatu (Will Ferrell) said
in 'Zoolander' - "I feel like I've taken Crazy Pills !" as no one seems
to use the superlatives that I will right now to describe this
unequivocally mature masterpiece.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Straight forward single-layered transfer of the Japanese Blu-ray of Woody Allen's Mighty Aphrodite. The image is in 1.78:1 and looks flawless without blemishes or manipulation. There is decent detail - some scenes show depth. Colors are tight and true - a lot of earthy browns for the Greek Chorus. No noise at all - not particularly glossy either. Not much more to add - this advances beyond the last DVD editions in every area and. hence, supplies a very strong Home Theater presentation. Zero complaints.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Solid linear PCM stereo track at 2304 kbps. Typical of a Woody Allen film we have some Cole Porter, Erroll Garner, Count Basie, Benny Goodman which all sounds marvelous via the uncompressed. As does the Dick Hyman Chorus. There are optional Japanese subtitles. There is also a Scandinavian Blu-ray of Mighty Aphrodite available but I have not seen it. I presume the transfer is similar although it may be Region 'B'-locked. This Japanese Blu-ray is Region FREE.
NOTE: The menus are in English.
Nothing - not even a trailer.
May 24th, 2012
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 5000 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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