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Maps to the Stars [Blu-ray]
(David Cronenberg, 2014)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Prospero Pictures
Video: Entertainment One
Region: 'B' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 40,965,531,849 bytes
Feature Size: 31,000,510,464 bytes
Video Bitrate: 29.56 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February 2nd, 2015
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3248 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3248 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2059 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2059 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), none
•Audio commentary with screenwriter Bruce Wagner
Interviews with Cast and Crew:
Julianne Moore (3:48)
• Bruce Wagner (screenwriter) (4:12)
• Martin Katz (producer) (3:30)
• Additional Cast and Crew Interviews (1:39)
• On the Red Carpet (2:13)
Description: The Weiss family are an archetypical Hollywood
dynasty - Dr Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) is a
psychotherapist whose self-help books have made him a
fortune. His wife Cristina (Olivia Williams) is the
overbearing mom-ager of their thirteen-year old son, Benjie,
a prodigious child star fresh out of drug rehab, and their
estranged daughter Agatha (Mia Wasikowska) has recently been
released from a psychiatric hospital.
A Hollywood family with some explosive secrets finds their perfect world unraveling in this satire from director David Cronenberg and writer Bruce Wagner. His wildly popular "Hour of Personal Power" TV program having earned him loyal following among the Hollywood elite, self-help guru Stafford Weiss (John Cusack) caters to his high-powered clientele as his wife Cristina (Olivia Williams) manages the career of their 13-year-old son Benjie (Evan Bird), a former child-star who's just returned home following a stint in rehab. Meanwhile, determined to start over after being released from a psychiatric hospital, burn-scarred Agatha Weiss (Mia Wasikowska) arrives in L.A. and strikes up a friendship with a local limo driver (Robert Pattinson) before landing a job as personal assistant to Havana Segrand (Julianne Moore), an aging Hollywood starlet whose career seems to be on the downturn. As a major motion picture about her celebrated mother Clarice (Sarah Gadon) goes into production, Havana comes undone by the realization that she may never emerge from her mother's formidable shadow. Subsequently adrift in a world of excess and artifice, Agatha seeks the one thing that could still give her life true meaning - redemption. Little does Agatha realize, in this town any attempt at achieving real substance leaves you dangerously exposed to the circling sharks who value self-preservation above all else.Excerpt from MRQE located HERE
The creepiest haunted Hollywood movie since
Mulholland Drive, David Cronenberg’s Maps to the Stars is
working an even deeper graveyard groove than David Lynch did. Where
Lynch’s 2001 Tinseltown takedown was a nasty noir bathed in shadows and
evil portent, Cronenberg’s vision is as bright as a sunlamp, sterile as
an operating theatre and still as a morgue. Everyone there seems already
dead or well on their way, which means those who actually do die in the
movie might be the lucky ones. Anything beats “living” here.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Maps to the Stars gets an impressive transfer to Blu-ray from Entertainment One out of the UK. It's dual-layered with a strong bitrate for, almost 2-hour, feature. Colors are tight and truer than SD could relate and contrast exhibiting healthy, rich black levels. There is some depth in the 1.85:1 frame. It's pristinely clean showcasing some hi-def detail and there is no noise or any distractions to the 1080P crispness. This Blu-ray probably looks like exactly the theatrical version of the film Maps to the Stars. It seems devoid of imperfections of any kind.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
EOne add a very competent DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a healthy 3248 kbps. The film does not have much defining separation but what is there is handled easily by the transfer. The score is by Howard Shore (Cronenberg's Scanners and Dead Ringers, Tim Burton's Ed Wood, Fincher's The Game and Se7en) and sounds subtle but supportive. There are optional English subtitles (see sample above) and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Plenty of relevant extras starting with a fabulous audio commentary with screenwriter Bruce Wagner who discusses so much about the film's themes, its specific scenes, the performers, how it changed from when he wrote is 20-years hence - and how he does not see it as a satire but rather an 'operatic fever-dream' and 'chamber-piece' as he adds in discussion of the melodramatic qualities of Douglas Sirk's films. He is great to listen to - one of the better commentaries I have heard so far this year. There are also short interviews with cast and crew including Julianne Moore, Mia Wasikowska, Olivia Williams, Evan Bird, John Cusack, Robert Pattinson, director David Cronenberg, screenwriter Bruce Wagner and producer Martin Katz. Each giving a bit on their invitation to the project and how it evolved. There is a shade more (different) with Cronenberg and Cusack plus some footage of the Red Carpet premiere. Obviously the highlight of the supplements is the commentary.
March 3rd, 2015
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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