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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Ulee's Gold [Blu-ray]


(Victor Nunez, 1997)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Clinica Estetico

Video: Kino Classics



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

Runtime: 1:53:05.195

Disc Size: 28,390,011,024 bytes

Feature Size: 27,173,130,240 bytes

Video Bitrate: 28.77 Mbps

Chapters: 8

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 19th, 2016



Aspect ratio: 1.66:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1588 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1588 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)






• Peter Fonda Soundbites - 3:10
Patricia Richardson Soundbites - 2:55
Selected B-Rolls - 6:15
Trailer (1:56)





Description: Sometimes a man's true strength lies in his power to grow from the forces that sting the heart and cut deep into the soul. Peter Fonda (Futureworld, Fighting Mad), in the performance of his career, received a Best Actor Golden Globe and a Best Actor Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a man who escapes one war only to find himself at battle with an even greater enemy - his wounded spirit. Third-generation Florida beekeeper Ulee Jackson (Fonda) may have gotten out of Vietnam alive, but he left a part of himself behind. Now he methodically tends his bees, carefully provides for those who need him, and vigilantly keeps his emotions at bay. But when both his family and livelihood are threatened by a long-buried secret, Ulee must break through his emotional walls, find the strength to change, and begin life anew. Writer and Director Victor Nunez (Ruby in Paradise) directed this gut-wrenching drama with a fine cast that includes Patricia Richardson (TV's Home Improvement), Tom Wood (The Fugitive, U.S. Marshals) and Jessica Biel (Powder Blue, The Illusionist).



The Film:

Peter Fonda received a richly deserved Oscar nomination for his superb performance as Ulysses "Ulee" Jackson, a Florida beekeeper forced to put his splintered family back together. Ulee is a Vietnam veteran whose wife died several years ago, a blow he's still learning to live with. His son Jimmy (Tom Wood) is in prison, and his daughter-in-law Helen (Christine Dunford) ran away, leaving Ulee to raise their two daughters by himself. Ulee is a quiet man who has a hard time displaying warmth and does not always deal well with the rebellious children put in his care. But he possesses an intense inner strength and a firm sense of loyalty and responsibility. One day Ulee gets a call from Jimmy; he's received word that Helen has fallen in with a pair of drug dealers and is in sad shape. While he doesn't much care for the idea, Ulee heads out to rescue her, only to discover the men who have her were Jimmy's partners in the robbery that put him behind bars; they threaten Ulee by saying if they're not given the $100,000 Jimmy has stashed away, they'll come after his daughters. Meanwhile, Ulee is forced to deal with Helen's painful withdrawal from drugs; he gets some help from Connie (Patricia Richardson), a divorced nurse who has recently moved into the neighborhood and seems to understand Ulee's lonely stoicism. Written and directed with subtle intelligence by Victor Nunez.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE


The great surprise at this year's Sundance Film Festival was Peter Fonda's quietly astonishing performance in ''Ulee's Gold.'' It would be accurate but barely adequate to call this the finest work of Mr. Fonda's career. Lionized nearly 30 years ago as the epitome of hip complacency, then dormant for a long while, he emerges here as a figure of unexpected stature. This film calls for deep reserves of backbone from its terse hero, and Mr. Fonda supplies them with supreme dignity and grace.

''Ulee's Gold,'' which is also the best work of its director, Victor Nunez, is beautiful and heartfelt, an oasis of humanity in a season of furious hyperbole. Simple almost to a fault and yet effortlessly wrenching, it shows nothing more than the spiritual reawakening of a hard-bitten loner. Yet the star and filmmaker make this story resonate in moving, meaningful ways.

Excerpt from The NY Times located HERE

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

The Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Ulee's Gold sneaks into dual-layered territory. The almost 2-hour film has a reasonable bitrate but doesn't look very crisp in 1080P. Colors are dull-ish and contrast not dynamically defined. I don't doubt this 1.66:1 transfer is a decent replication of the source used, or the original appearance, but it doesn't look very impressive or tight. There isn't much depth nor appealing grain. Despite its accuracy to the film's original look this Blu-ray image won't be winning any visual awards. As a positive it is quite consistent.

















Audio :

Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1588 kbps (16-bit) in the original English language. There aren't many aggressive effects in the film - like the protagonist character - its a stoic, understated, expression where dialogue is not particularly audible - I fiddled with the volume button a few times in my viewing. Charles Engstrom's score sounds clean and subtle.

There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :

Supplements include some vintage 'Soundbite' clips with Peter Fonda and others with Patricia Richardson plus about 6-minutes of B-Rolls, behind the scenes, footage and a trailer.



I had never seen Ulee's Gold but knew of its reputation. I enjoyed it but wasn't overwhelmed expecting a bit more in terms of story movement. I liked Ulee Jackson and Fonda's portrayal reminded me a lot of his father. Perhaps I was expecting too much in terms of 'revenge' but it was interesting seeing future super-hottie Jessica Biel in this early child-role - she was convincing. The Kino Lorber
Blu-ray also has a poor cover, IMO. Further extras for such a highly regarded film would have really boosted this package's value. It's not a poor film but I wasn't as moved as I was expecting to be - and I may eventually re-watch but the best part of this package is that at the writing of this review it is 45% OFF at Amazon.

Gary Tooze

March 14th, 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.

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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