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H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Mysterious Skin [Blu-ray]


(Gregg Araki, 2004)


NOTE This Blu-ray of Mysterious Skin is compared to the Tartan DVD and the Camera Obscura 2020 Blu-ray HERE



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Antidote Films

Video: Strand Releasing



Region: Region FREE (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:45:07.217

Disc Size: 45,013,144,300 bytes

Feature Size: 32,340,934,656 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.10 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 18th, 2014



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3986 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3986 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
Commentary: LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
Isolated SCore: DTS-HD Master Audio English 2525 kbps 2.1 / 48 kHz / 2525 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)



English (SDH), none



Commentary Track with Gregg Araki, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Brady Corbet

Isolated Score & Effects Track (DTS-HD)
Conversation between Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Brady Corbet at Sundance 2014 (23:13 HD)
Director Introduction (2:21 - HD)
Novelist Scott Heim Reflects 10 Years Later (8:26 HD)
Script/Sketches Gallery
Photo Gallery Featuring Never Before Seen Photos

Deleted Scenes (5:49)
Book Reading (54:42)
Actor Audition Tape (8:05)
International Trailer (2:03)





Description: Director Gregg Araki's MYSTERIOUS SKIN, adapted from Scott Heim's acclaimed novel, is an intensely powerful chronicle of childhood innocence lost. The film features starmaking turns from Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Don Jon, Inception) and Brady Corbet (Simon Killer, Martha Marcy May Marlene) alongside outstanding performance from co-stars Michelle Trachtenberg (Eurotrip, Ice Princess), Mary Lynn Rajskub (TV's 24) and Academy Award nominee Elizabeth Shue (Leaving Las Vegas).

At the age of eight, Kansas youngsters Neil and Brian played on the same little league baseball team. Now, ten years later, the two boys couldn't be more different. Neil is a charismatic but emotionally aloof male hustler while Brian is a nervous introvert obsessed with the idea that he has been abducted by a UFO. When the boys parallel lives inevitably intersect, the pair unearth dark, repressed secrets on a harrowing and unforgettable journey of self discovery.



The Film:

Two young men are haunted by similar events from their past, though the effects manifest themselves in very different ways, in this powerful drama from independent filmmaker Gregg Araki. In the summer of 1981, Brian (George Webster) and Neil (Chase Ellison) are both eight years old and playing on the same little league baseball team in a small Kansas town. One day, after a game, Brian blacks out after getting caught in a rainstorm, and five hours later he finds himself sitting in his basement with his nose bleeding and no memory of what happened to him. Over the years, the event -- particularly the missing five hours -- weigh heavily on his mind, and he becomes convinced that he was kidnapped by space aliens. Teenaged Brian (now played by Brady Corbet) becomes friends with Avalyn Friesen (Mary Lynn Rajskub), a woman who claims to have been abducted by aliens on several occasions, and she urges him to look to his dreams for patterns that might suggest what happened to him. Meanwhile, during the same summer, Neil developed a powerful crush on their little league coach (Bill Sage), who appeared to have also taken a shine to Neil.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE

Based on a 1995 novel by Scott Heim, “Mysterious Skin” reflects upon how one childhood event shape the lives of two boys. At the age of eight, Brian (Brady Corbett) passed out during a little league game and was out for five hours, which he contributes to alien abduction, while Neil (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) sought out an early sexual experience with his coach. Young adults, Brian is alienated and spends most of his time at the library reading and writing about alien abductions, while Neil has become a male prostitute.

When they finally unite, their suppressed memories and emotions come out, and they realize how different they have become by what once happened.

With almost lyrical simplicity, Gregg Araki has created one incredible powerful film about sexual trauma and how they shape our lives. Beautifully acted by Corbett and Gordon-Levitt, as well as great supporting roles by especially Elisabeth Shue, "Mysterious Skin" is a film first and foremost to experience, at the same time brutal and tender, toying with our perception of things, provokes and seduces. One of the best films of the year.

Henrik Sylow

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

Mysterious Skin arrives on Blu-ray from Strand looking advanced in the 1080P resolution over the, almost 10-year old, DVD (reviewed HERE). The image quality is clean and crisp showing some depth and a higher level of detail.  This is dual-layered with a supportive bitrate. The colors scheme of the SD is supported only the BD's palette  is tighter and richer - also brighter. Contrast is strong and there is some minor texture. Overall this just looks more like film - with the DVD, by comparison, appearing more like video. Daylight scenes are more impressive but nothing is overly dark and no unpleasant noise was present. This Blu-ray was transferred in 1.78 and opens up the 1.85:1 showing a shade more information in the top and bottom of the frame. I though the video rendering was quite crisp and pleasing.


NOTE This Blu-ray of Mysterious Skin is compared to the Tartan DVD and the Camera Obscura 2020 Blu-ray HERE




Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



  Tartan - Region 2 - PAL - TOP vs. Strand Releasing - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM



More Blu-ray Captures









Audio :

Strand utilize a powerful DTS-HD Master 5.1 at a whopping 3986 kbps. It easily handles what the film, at the modest end of effects, throws at it sounding tight and clean with some seething depth and notable separations. Composures by the less-active (in film scores) Robin Guthrie + Harold Budd help buoy the moods - along with modern music performed by the likes of Cocteau Twins + Slowdive, and some keen piano by Alex Lacamoire. It all sounds, mood-enhancing, dynamic and very appealing. There is also a lossless isolated score for those keen enough. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'FREE playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.


Extras :

We get the same, interesting, commentary track with director Gregg Araki, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Brady Corbet as found on the original DVD(s). It is informative and pleasing to listen to. As already discussed we now get a lossless isolated score & effects track plus a new (2014) conversation between Joseph Gordon-Levitt & Brady Corbet at Sundance 2014 running over 23-minutes. Nice to hear them reflect back on the project. The presentation has the option of a 2.5 minute director Introduction by Gregg Araki. Also new is novelist Scott Heim giving us 8-minutes reflecting on 10 years later. From the old SD release we get Galleries, deleted scenes, trailer and an actor audition tape, as we the, almost hour-long, 'Book Reading' segment.



Where the hell have I been? Mysterious Skin is an extremely well-made film... involving an uncomfortable topic. I was very impressed with this director's command of filmmaking process. Excellent - Henrik was correct! Gordon-Levitt, Shue - every one was great. It was one that slipped by my radar and I am appreciative to have been able to see it for the first time in this meaningful resolution. The Strand Releasing Blu-ray gave me a solid presentation with valuable extras of a great film experience - what more could you ask? This is strongly recommended!


NOTE This Blu-ray of Mysterious Skin is compared to the Tartan DVD and the Camera Obscura 2020 Blu-ray HERE


Gary Tooze

February 26th, 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.

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Gary W. Tooze






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