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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Still Alice [Blu-ray]

 

(Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland, 2014)

 

Also  available in the UK:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Lutzus-Brown

Video: Sony

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 1:41:15.069

Disc Size: 32,103,813,341 bytes

Feature Size: 24,721,428,480 bytes

Video Bitrate: 24.93 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside cardboard slipcase

Release date: May 12th, 2015

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 2824 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2824 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Descriptive Audio:

Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
DUB:

DTS-HD Master Audio French 2098 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2098 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), English , French, none

 

Extras:

Directing Alice (8:40)

Finding Alice (9:20)

Interview with composer Ilan Eshkeri (6:29)

3 Deleted Scenes (6:08)

Theatrical Trailer (2:18)

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Alice Howland, happily married with three grown children, is a renowned linguistics professor who starts to forget words. When she receives a diagnosis of Early-Onset Alzheimer's Disease, Alice and her family find their bonds thoroughly tested. Her struggle to stay connected to who she once was is frightening, heartbreaking, and inspiring.

 

 

The Film:

The accomplished Julianne Moore stars as respected academic Alice Howland, shocked by her diagnosis of early onset Alzheimer's disease, and the actress' work as someone coping with the ravages of the unthinkable deserves all the plaudits it's going to get.

But if it wasn't for costar Kristen Stewart, who plays Alice's daughter Lydia, "Still Alice" wouldn't be nearly as emotionally effective as it is. Moore and Stewart have been off-screen friends for more than a decade, and that bond only enhances the work they do here.

As scripted by the writer-director team of Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland from a novel by Lisa Genova, "Still Alice" does have obstacles to overcome. Elements of its plot have the standard quality of a Hallmark production, and the work of some of the film's costars is a bit too on the nose. But, with Moore and Stewart on the case, we feel the presence of something real here, something that can't be shrugged off or ignored.

Excerpt from LA Times located HERE

 

Co-writer/directors Wash Westmoreland and Richard Glatzer, the British duo behind 2006 Sundance award-winner Quinceañera, adapt Lisa Genova’s first-person novel with sensitivity and scalpel-sharp precision: there isn’t a single false note in the film, and only one redundant scene (Stewart doing an am-dram Chekhov play). It even has a few advantages over the book, cleverly representing Alice’s deteriorating brain functions cinematographically, by means of blurred images, and a camera that whirls about Alice as she stands at the epicentre of a confused maelstrom. At the film’s own centre is Moore’s sympathetic, heartfelt performance, which tracks Alice’s journey from momentary forgetfulness to muddled haze without it ever looking like acting.

Excerpt from Empire Online located HERE

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

Still Alice looks pretty solid on Blu-ray from Sony. It appears to have been shot on digital and looks exceptionally clean with tight detail in both close-ups and medium shots. Denis Lenoir's cinematography adds some impressive, and subtle, touches to the visuals. The 1080P is on a dual-layered disc with a supportive bitrate. I see no digital manipulation and there is no noise nor artifacts. It has an inherent soft-focus look at time - definitely relating to the protagonists plight. This Blu-ray has a consistent appearance providing a pleasing video presentation.

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Sony transfer using a DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2824 kbps. There aren't an abundance of separations, but a few that accentuate the surround's capabilities. Aside from the wonderful score by Ilan Eshkeri (Closure, Black Sea), there area mixture of other pieces from Lyle Lovett to J.S. Bach (Cello Suite No. 1 in G Major) sounding pristine via the lossless. It's a fairly passive soundtrack with few effects. There are optional subtitles on the Region 'A' Blu-ray disc.

 

Extras :

Supplements include some video pieces dealing directly with the production; Directing Alice runs just shy of 9-minutes with director Wash Westmoreland giving discussion. Finding Alice focuses a bit more on the diseases and has similar input from the principals. We also get a short-ish interview with composer Ilan Eshkeri, 3 Deleted Scenes and a theatrical trailer.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
An important topic, impressively examined - Still Alice - showcases one story of a disease that may be reaching epidemic proportions in the future. I recently finished reading Dr. David Perlmutter's Grain Brain: The Surprising Truth about Wheat, Carbs, and Sugar--Your Brain's Silent Killers - strongly relating to Alzheimer's. This needs further awareness but aside from the topic - it is a touching story, brilliantly performed. Moore continues to impress as one of the very best of her generation. This is a sad story but well worth viewing and the Sony Blu-ray presentation supports the film adeptly in HD and while I would have appreciated a commentary, it still has more than enough value to strongly endorse. 

Gary Tooze

May 8th, 2015

Also  available in the UK:

 

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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