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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Blue Sky [Blu-ray]


(Tony Richardson, 1994)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Orion Pictures

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 1:41:09.063 

Disc Size: 23,148,468,883 bytes

Feature Size: 23,099,947,008 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.99 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 21st, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1865 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1865 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)






• None





Description: Blue Sky was the last film directed by Tony Richardson (Tom Jones) before his death in 1991 and one of the last releases from once-thriving Orion Films, whose bankruptcy kept the picture on the shelf for several years. It also features two career-high performances by Tommy Lee Jones and Jessica Lange, who won the Best Actress Oscar for this role, as Hank and Carly Marshall, a military couple whose marriage unravels under the pressure of his job and her mental instability. Hank is an Army captain at odds with his superiors over the wisdom of nuclear testing. Carly is a free spirit spiralling into a dangerous depression after the family's move from Hawaii to a nowhere base in Alabama alarms the couple's older daughter (Amy Locane) and sends Carly into an affair with the base commander (Powers Boothe)



The Film:

Set in the early 60s and based on co-scripter Rama Laurie Stagner's childhood experiences, it's a messy but satisfying examination of a mysterious love. Carly (Jessica Lange), an effusive Southern belle, and her husband Hank (Tommy Lee Jones), an Army scientist working on nuclear testing, move from one military base to another with their daughters (Amy Locane and Anna Klemp).

Hank is a methodical and sensible man; he has to be, because Carly is a bit nuts. There's a suggestion of abuse in her past, and the rootlessness and conformity of being a military wife also play substantial roles in unhinging her. Carly doesn't mean to hurt Hank, but she just can't help acting up and embarrassing him.

Excerpt from Rob Gonsalves at eCritic located HERE

Hank (Jones) is besotted with his sexy, manic-depressive wife Carly (Oscar-winner Lange) to the extent that their daughters (Locane and Klemp) more or less raise themselves. He's an Army scientist researching levels of radiation after '60s nuclear tests in the desert, and official pressure on him to massage his readings gets heavier after a pair of cowboys stray into the fall-out. But the real drama here is his marriage, neatly delineated by Carly sashaying about like Marilyn on Jones Beach, half-naked under a gauze scarf, and later breaking down in public as she sees their sordid quarters on camp. She's infantile, a fantasist dreaming of Hollywood, and easy prey for the horny commanding officer (Boothe). In this portrait of a complex, painful, dependent relationship, the two leads deliver their blazing best, helped by an intelligent, unsparing script.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE


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

Blue Sky has a, predictably, modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. It is single-layered with a fairly high bitrate for the 1 3/4 hour film. It a shade think in the opening but settles to be quite stable with pleasing visuals. Colors are strong and there is decent detail in close-ups. I also see some textures. In short - it is almost exactly what you might expect. Solid but nothing is exceptional. It's probably the best way you are going to see this film, digitally, in your home theater.



















Audio :

Lossless stereo - DTS-HD Master at 1865 kbps. Only minor aggression outside of Lange's temper-tantrums. The score by Jack Nitzsche (The Crossing Guard, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Personal Best, 9 1/2 Weeks) can sound oddly deep at times but benefits from the uncompressed transfer. Etta James' Something's Got A Hold On Me sounds fabulous. There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.



Extras :

No supplements - not even a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with most of their releases.



Interesting film and strong performance from Jessica Lange. I enjoyed the link between Lange's volatile character, the couple's desperate relationship and the nuclear exposure cover-up and I think it's a good film with a very dark edge. The Blu-ray is typical from Olive - bare-bones but well-transferred without negative digitization issues. I was thankful to see Blue Sky - and suspect others might be as appreciative. 

Gary Tooze

April 9th, 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.

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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