S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r
Natural Selection [Blu-ray]
(Robbie Pickering, 2011)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Best Medicine Productions / Cinema Guild
Video: Cinema Guild
Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 30,678,560,816 bytes
Feature Size: 22,437,457,920 bytes
Video Bitrate: 28.98 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: November 13th, 2012
Aspect ratio: 2.4:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2576 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2576 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
• Interviews (Rachel Harris - 3:37, Matt O'Leary - 3:48, Crew - 2:43)
•Theatrical Trailer (2:32)
• 10 Previews from Cinema Guild
Description: Winner of the Grand Jury and Audience Awards at SXSW and nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards, including Best Actress for Rachael Harris, NATURAL SELECTION is a wonderfully irreverent indie comedy about a devoted Texas housewife who’s carefully ordered world is turned upside down when she sets out to find her husband’s long lost son.
A woman eager to grant what could be her husband's last wish ends up on a road trip with an ill-mannered criminal in this comedy from writer and director Robbie Pickering. Linda White (Rachael Harris) has been married for more than 20 years to Abe (John Diehl), a Christian so devout that he refuses to have sex with his wife; when the couple had trouble conceiving early in their marriage, a doctor discovered that Linda was infertile, and believing that sex without producing offspring is a sin, Abe insisted their union be celibate. Linda, an obedient spouse and devout Christian, has obeyed Abe's edict, but when he suffers a stroke likely to claim his life, Linda makes a surprising discovery -- Abe has been making frequent deposits at a sperm bank, and wants to meet one of the children he's sired before he dies. Linda is able to track down one of the products of Abe's seed, but Raymond (Matt O'Leary) is hardly the sort of son most folks wish for -- he's a mean-spirited prison escapee with a taste for drugs who agrees to travel from Florida to Texas with her only to avoid the cops who are on his trail. At first, Linda and Raymond mix as well as oil and water, but after a few days on the road the two discover they have a bit more in common than they expected. Natural Selection won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Audience Award at the 2011 South by Southwest Film Festival.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
A dimly lighted film with washed-out color and a muffled soundtrack that
renders some of the dialogue unintelligible, it still won a passel of
awards at the 2011 South by Southwest festival. But its technical
limitations are serious impediments to appreciation. The storytelling
and editing are also choppy. And subsidiary characters that include
Linda’s callous sister, Sheila (Gayland Williams), and her lecherous
brother-in-law, Peter (Jon Gries), are cartoons.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Natural Selection is put to Blu-ray from Cinema Guild. This was shot with a Red One Camera (HD digital). It has benefits for filmmakers - one of which Pickering notes is continuous running - getting 18 takes in 45 minutes of continuous shooting. The visuals of the film are not as waxy as we have seen from other HD efforts, and the contrast flaring isn't an issue either. I wouldn't say that the visuals are particularly striking but the dual-layered transfer has a high bitrate and I suspect this is an accurate duplication of the original Indie theatrical presentation. It mostly looks like 'film'. Daylight scenes are more impressive but nothing is overly dark and there is no noise. I never got the impression of a lot of depth but the 1080P image quality is consistent and nothing interfered with appreciating the narrative.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio comes in the form of a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround track at 2576 kbps. At the mercy of the Indie roots - the sound naturally produces a verité feel with a scattered effect in some dialogue. A few separations exist but they are not particularly crisp, remarkable or integral to the film. This is probably in-line with the original production. There is some original music by iZLER and Curt Schneider that plays well beside the film. There are no subtitles offered and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.
Supplements have some brief interviews (Rachel Harris - 3:37, Matt O'Leary - 3:48, Crew - 2:43), a Theatrical Trailer and 10 Previews from Cinema Guild. Being his first feature, perhaps more director involvement in the extras would have been appropriate and bolstered appreciation. NOTE: FYI, there is an interesting interview with Pickering HERE.
February 27th, 2013
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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