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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Flawless [Blu-ray]


(Joel Schumacher, 1999)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Tribeca Productions

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 1:50:48.642 

Disc Size: 24,226,384,804 bytes

Feature Size: 23,572,187,136 bytes

Video Bitrate: 22.99 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: May 19th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3868 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3868 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)






Trailer (2:29)





Description: Can a homophobic former rent-a-cop find happiness learning to sing with a man in a dress? That's the big question in this comedy-drama. A retired security guard Robert De Niro, deeply conservative and set in his ways, falls victim to a debilitating stroke. His doctors prescribe an extensive program of physical therapy once he's released from the hospital, including singing lessons to help him regain his full powers of speech. As it turns out, there's a vocal instructor living next door to the guard, so he signs up only to discover that his new teacher is a flamboyant drag queen awaiting a sex-change operation Philip Seymour Hoffman. Written and directed by Joel Schumacher, Flawless also stars Wilson Jermaine Heredia and Daphne Rubin-Vega, both of whom first gained notice in the Broadway musical Rent, as well as Rory Cochran and Barry Miller.



The Film:

Robert De Niro plays Walt Koontz, a homophobic guy who ends up with paralyzed vocal cords because of an unfortunate stroke. His therapy includes receiving singing lessons from a neighbor (played by Phillip S. Hoffman) who is not only openly flamboyant but also a pre-op transgenderist. Both of them are equally prejudiced; De Niro against homosexuals and the neighbor against close-minded straight people. 

Excerpt from TCM located HERE


For what it's worth, this could be Schumacher's best film. There's no stylised-to-oblivion cartoon sensationalism, none of the knee-jerk politics of Falling Down; just two lonely men in a big bad city (New York, natch), and a couple of involved performances from De Niro and Hoffman, one bearing a speech impediment, the other wearing a dress. The story's an opposites-repel number, a chaste male love story charting the reluctant meeting of minds of homophobic cop Walt and ballsy drag diva Rusty, tenement-block neighbours who spend their spare time squabbling across the courtyard that separates them. An uninvolving mob-loot plot, which mostly keeps itself in the background, intercedes to leave the policeman crippled by a stroke. Too ashamed to seek help from his friends, he grudgingly shuffles upstairs and supplicates Rusty for singing lessons by way of therapy. A palatably mainstream critique of pride, prejudice and identity barriers, it's unexceptional material; indeed, it might seem drab were it not for the leads. De Niro pulls out a couple of stops, and Hoffman has a ball.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE


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

Flawless has a, typical, modest Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films. This is only single-layered with a decent bitrate. It looks fine but doesn't scale the lofty heights of the new format. Colors are bright and detail pleasing in the film's few close-ups. I think the film's visuals lean to the less remarkable and the 1080P doesn't have a lot to impress with. They are plenty of very dark scnes but no noise that I could discern. The Blu-ray improved the presentation over an SD rendering but it is not something that will blow you away with the video presentation but I would also say it had no flaws - yes 'flawless' (no pun intended.)


















Audio :

Olive add a very robust audio transfer - a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a whopping 3868 kbps. The effects are less noticeable than the rich depth of the musical numbers; a score by Bruce Roberts and performances of Lady Marmalade, Nashom Benjamin singing Half Breed, Ashley's Song and Tasha's Song written by Joel Schumacher, Bruce Roberts & Rory Cochrane and you can hear Taylor Dayne performing Planet Love. All sounding surprisingly strong in the lossless rendering.  There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.



Extras :

No supplements aside from a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with most of their releases.



I was totally unaware to this film's existence. My obliviousness compounded by the fact that I love Philip Seymour Hoffman and De Niro! It flew well below my radar and I really enjoyed Flawless. If nothing else it is a curiosity that is worth viewing just for the performances. The Olive Blu-ray (weak cover) does the predictable; a solid 1080P presentation with no extras and, hence, limitation in the value. If you haven't seen this then I think it is worth picking up. I can see myself revisiting it in the future or showing to friends who may be similarly unaware of its existence. 

Gary Tooze

May 14th, 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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