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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

The Boost [Blu-ray]


(Harold Becker, 1988)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Hemdale Film

Video: Olive Films



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

Runtime: 1:34:58.359 

Disc Size: 24,483,330,497 bytes

Feature Size: 24,011,089,920 bytes

Video Bitrate: 30.00 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: March 22nd, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1992 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1992 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)






Trailer (2:07)





Description: James Woods (Vampires) and Sean Young (Blade Runner) star in the dramatic cautionary tale The Boost. Living the high life -- figuratively and literally -- married couple Lenny and Linda Brown (Woods and Young) will see their fast lane L.A. lifestyle come crashing down around them when the real estate market takes a sudden downturn.

Unemployed and in debt, Lenny and Linda s hedonistic lifestyle and casual drug use soon spiral out of control as they careen toward an abyss. The Boost, wrote film critic Roger Ebert, is one of the most convincing and horrifying portraits of drug addiction I've ever seen.

The Boost, directed by Harold Becker (The Onion Field) from a screenplay by Darryl Ponicsan (based on the Benjamin Stein book Ludes: A Ballad of the Drug and the Dream), features supporting performances by Steven Hill (TV's Law & Order), John Kapelos (The Breakfast Club), Amanda Blake (TV's Gunsmoke) and Grace Zabriskie (TV's Twin Peaks).



The Film:

A well-crafted, hard-hitting look at an ideal marriage torn apart by personal insecurity, material greed and designer drugs. After years of frustration, Woods meets a sympathetic Californian businessman (Hill), who soon has him selling tax-shelter real estate investments as if his life depended on it. The market is wiped out overnight. Woods is left with no job and a lot of bills. He still has his beautiful wife (Young), but his fragile self-respect is shattered. Offered a little 'boost' by a pal, Woods snorts coke for the first time, instantly dispelling despair but also tapping into an already dangerously addictive personality. The addiction scenario is standard stuff: stress and temptation followed by steep decline, short-lived clean up, and final tragic lapse. The real fascination, though, is the sense that Woods is a disaster waiting to happen, a hollow man constantly on the verge of implosion. The approach here is slightly too monotone and distanced, curiously at odds with Woods' compulsively energetic performance.

Excerpt from TimeOut located HERE

The Boost” is not simply about drugs. It is also about the hedonistic lifestyles of the 1980s, especially in go-go areas like the Los Angeles real estate market in which fortunes are won and squandered in a matter of months and there is unspeakable pressure to keep up appearances. The movie is a modern-day version of “Death of a Salesman,” with James Woods selling leveraged tax shelters. He’s out there on a smile, a shoeshine and a line of cocaine.

Woods is one of the most intense, unpredictable actors in the movies today. You watch his characters because they seem capable of exploding - not out of anger, but out of hurt, shame and low self-esteem. They’re wounded, but they fight back by being smarter than anyone else and using jokes and sarcasm to keep people at arm’s length.

That’s the case with Lenny, the guy he plays in this movie. He doesn’t care if you like him or not, just so long as you see that he has a big house, an expensive car and a wife so beautiful that - in his words - “How did she wind up with a runt like me?

Excerpt from Roger Ebert located HERE

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

The Boost arrives on Blu-ray from Olive Films. It is single-layered and exports some texture although never looking dynamically crisp. There are a very few speckles but it looks pretty consistent in 1080P. The 80s film stocks had some limitations and often look quite similar to this - softer contrast, not much depth but some appealing grain. There may be a smidgeon of noise in the original 1.85:1 aspect ratio and the image has no detrimental flaws. The Blu-ray is far from demo material but I suspect this is as good as The Boost will look on digital disc.


















Audio :

Olive's DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1992 kbps seems to do its job well. The score is by Stanley Myers who has Cimino's The Deer Hunter and Nicolas Roeg's amusing Insignificance on his resume as well as Pete Walker film's House of Mortal Sin and Frightmare, among others. It works with the fractured narrative and adds to the emotion of the story. There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Only a trailer which is the bare-bones route that Olive are going with the majority of their Blu-ray releases.




Well, I'm kinda of a fan of the film, but I find the over-the-top dialogue and ham-fisted performance from Woods a negative. The Boost is interesting. And it's a heartbreaking portrait but the obviousness makes it more like... a fable (as both leads seem fairly naive/innocent) - or as described a 'cautionary tale'. It works on a few levels, and I can see why Ebert was a fan, but is imperfect. The bare-bones Blu-ray appeal also lies in the pre-order price; 57% OFF at the writing of this review.  

Gary Tooze

March 17th, 2016

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.

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Gary W. Tooze






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