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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Little Man Tate [Blu-ray]


(Jodie Foster, 1991)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Orion Pictures

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 1:39:28.8799

Disc Size: 22,574,360,812 bytes

Feature Size: 22,499,174,400 bytes

Video Bitrate: 26.98 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 28th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1606 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1606 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)






• None





Description: Jodie Foster made her directorial debut (with a script by Scott Frank) in this tale of a child prodigy's search for social acceptance. Fred Tate (Adam Hann-Byrd) is a precocious fourth grader who has no problem with the most complex mathematical problems or in banging out a Rachmaninoff concerto on the piano, but is totally inept at playing baseball or dealing with children his own age. His mother Dede (Jodie Foster) is a cocktail waitress who acts more like a child than Fred, but cares passionately about her son. Fred comes to the attention of child psychologist Jane Grierson (Dianne Wiest), who runs a summer camp for child prodigies called Odyssey of the Mind. She invites Fred to attend the summer session, creating a rift between Fred and Dede.



The Film:

Yet, as directed by Ms. Foster, the film has a kind of purity of purpose and control that is very rare in mass-market movies. It avoids a lot of sentimental nonsense. It is also sparely (and well-) written by Scott Frank, the man who wrote the screenplay for Kenneth Branagh's "Dead Again."

"Little Man Tate" has a good deal of fun at the expense of "The Odyssey of the Mind," a sort of cross-country "mental Olympics" in which Fred participates at Jane Grierson's request. These are a series of contests at which gifted children display their skills to the amazement of academe. At one point the kids are seen trying the case of Goldilocks, charged with breaking and entering.

The movie never explores the biological roots of such special gifts, though it understands that terrible prices may have to be paid by the children themselves. This awareness gives the film its tension. 

Excerpt from the NY Times located HERE


Fred Tate (Hann-Byrd) is a gifted child: by age seven, he can play the piano backwards, paint like a master, and solve complex maths problems. But at school he's bored in lessons, and left doodling Da Vinci-style while other pupils frolic in the playground. Single parent mother Dede (Foster) comes into conflict with child psychologist Jane Grierson (Wiest), who takes the boy under her wing: tough-talking Dede is ready with the hugs, while Jane serves up macrobiotics and disciplinary lectures. Foster's directorial debut is a worthy attempt to explore a little understood subject, but the film is bogged down by an approach to Wiest and Foster's characters which polarises intellect and emotion. Hann-Byrd has more to grapple with, and perfectly conveys Fred's jumbled motives and acute sensitivity.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE


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

Little Man Tate gets a single-layered Blu-ray transfer from Olive Films, but it looks quite competent in the 1080P resolution with reasonable detail, natural and well-separated colors and smooth, consistent visuals in-motion. I doubt that dual-layering would benefit the image quality extensively. It is clean, no noise and exhibits occasional depth. The Blu-ray certainly improved the presentation over an SD rendering and it gave me as good a video presentation as I was anticipating.
















Audio :

Olive use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1606 kbps. Effects are sparse but the score by Mark Isham (Crossing Over, In the Valley of Elah, A River Runs Through It) wonderfully supports Jodie Foster's film. There is also some excellent music including Ella Fitzgerald performing Cole Porter's I Get A Kick Out Of You in the opening credits, plus Burt Bacharach's What The World Needs Now Is Love and some classical; Mozart's String Quartet No 21 in D Major and his Piano Quartet In E Flat Major as well as Brahms' Liebesliederwalze - all sounding excellent and crisp.  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 their releases.



I tend to re-watch Little Man Tate every few years and I still enjoy it. The performances are wonderful (always likable Jodie, as well as, gthe serious but cute, Adam Hann-Byrd and always reliable Dianne Wiest) and it remains a very touching, human, film. Olive's bare-bones Blu-ray is the superior way to see it in your home theater and an easy film-experience to get immersed in. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

April 23rd, 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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