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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)
Disc Size: 28,390,011,024 bytes
Feature Size: 27,173,130,240 bytes
Video Bitrate: 28.77 Mbps
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
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).
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.
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
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.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
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.
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.
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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