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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Boyhood [Blu-ray]

 

(Richard Linklater, 2014)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: IFC Productions

Video: Criterion Collection Spine #839

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: 2:45:27.959 

Disc Size: 47,954,469,576 bytes

Feature Size: 47,479,590,912 bytes

Video Bitrate: 32.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Transparent Blu-ray case

Release date: October 11th, 2016

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

DTS-HD Master Audio English 3059 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3059 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), none

 

Extras:
New audio commentary featuring Linklater and nine members of the film’s cast and crew

Second Blu-ray
Twelve Years - a new documentary chronicling the film’s production, featuring footage shot over the course of its twelve years (49:28)
Memories of the Present - a new discussion featuring Linklater and actors Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane, moderated by producer John Pierson (57:35)
Always Now - a new conversation between Coltrane and actor Ethan Hawke (30:10)
Time of Your Life - a new video essay by critic Michael Koresky about time in Linklater’s films, narrated by Coltrane (12:29)
Through the Years - Collection of portraits of the cast and crew by photographer Matt Lankes, narrated with personal thoughts from Linklater, Arquette, Hawke, Coltrane, and producer Cathleen Sutherland (23:59)
 

PLUS: An essay by novelist Jonathan Lethem

 

Bitrate:

 

 

 

Description: There has never been another movie like Boyhood, from director Richard Linklater. An event film of the utmost modesty, it was shot over the course of twelve years in the director’s native Texas and charts the physical and emotional changes experienced by a child named Mason (Ellar Coltrane), his divorced parents (Patricia Arquette, who won an Oscar for her performance, and Ethan Hawke), and his older sister (Lorelei Linklater). Alighting not on milestones but on the small, in-between moments that make up lives, Linklater fashions a flawlessly acted, often funny portrait that flows effortlessly from one year to the next. Allowing us to watch people age on film with documentary realism while gripping us in a fictional narrative of exquisite everydayness, Boyhood has a power that only the art of cinema could harness.

 

 

The Film:

Richard Linklater’s Boyhood, both a fictional drama about growing up and a wonder-rousing cinema experiment, deserves all the accolades it has been receiving since its appearances at the Sundance and Berlin film festivals earlier this year. Presented in 143 scenes shot in 39 days over a dozen years with the same cast, the film explores that permeable border between drama and documentary in a way that evokes recognition, melancholy and joy, while sticking to the mundane experiences of one boy’s life.

The subject of Boyhood is played by Texas actor Ellar Coltrane, and we see him travel from the age of six to 18, from a cherubic child, to a pudgy, uncertain adolescent, to a bony, deep-voiced man. His head and body pop and lengthen over the years along with the length and complexity of his sentences. It’s like a time-lapse photo of an expanding consciousness.

Excerpt from the GlobeandMail located HERE

Back in 2001, having most recently released the 86-minute real-time camcorder drama Tape, Richard Linklater conceived an “impractical idea” that would, in contrast, sporadically absorb him for the next 12 to 13 years: “the story of a parent-child relationship that follows a boy from the first through the 12th grade and ends with him going off to college”. Unique in scope and potential pitfalls — would he find actors who could commit for so many years? What if his lead child evolved into a sub-par performer? Would he be able to fashion a coherent narrative around such a nebulous notion? — Linklater’s gamble, revisited for a few scenes each year and becoming, in his words, like a “summer camp art project”, is in fact an absolute gem, possibly the director’s masterpiece to date.

Casting long-time collaborator Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as his young protagonist’s divorced parents, and his own daughter, Lorelei, as older sister Samantha, the hunt was on for the child who would play Mason from age six to 18, a pretty immense undertaking. Linklater would eventually select first-time actor Ellar Coltrane and, happily, as Mason grows from reserved, whimsical youngster into very much his own man, Coltrane emerges as a true talent, uncannily convincing as Hawke’s son and, by the film’s end, a performer of such languid charisma that he could be Hollywood’s next heartthrob, should that be where his ambitions lie.

Excerpt from EmpireOnline located HERE

 

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

Boyhood looks excellent on Blu-ray from Criterion and is cited as a "New 2K digital transfer, supervised by director Richard Linklater".  This dual-layered Blu-ray, with max'ed out bitrate, reproduced with as flawless a 1080P presentation as you might anticipate from a modern film. Boyhood was shot on 35mm using a Moviecam Compact or the Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2 in the 1.85:1 aspect ratio. The image quality is representative of the film's realism in colors with tight detail and frequent depth. I see no weaknesses in the HD presentation  it is, predictably pristinely clean and impressive looking.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Criterion use a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround track - 3059 kbps - 24-bit. Everyday sounds have some separation but does not dominate the soundstage. There is no score, per-se, but instances of recognizable music throughout including Coldplay's Yellow, Sheryl Crow's Soak Up the Sun, Wilco's Hate It Here, Lady Gaga's Lovegame, Foo Fighters' Let It Die, Bob Dylan's Beyond the Horizon, George Harrison's What Is Life and much more. It all sounds excellent via the lossless. There are optional English subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A' disc.

 

Extras :

Criterion stack this release with many new extras including a new audio commentary, recorded in Austin, Texas, in December 2015 featuring Linklater, producer Cathleen Sutherland, editor Sandra Adair, co-producer and first assistant director Vince Plamo Jr., production designer Rodney Becker, costume designer Kari Perkins, casting director Beth Sepko-Lindsey, and actors Marco Perella, Libby Villari and Andrew Villarreal. The film is long at almost 3 hours but the commentary fills the time with relevant production remembrances and details. There is a second Blu-ray disc housing the other supplements including Twelve Years - a new, 50-minute, documentary chronicling the film’s production, featuring footage shot over the course of its twelve years, Memories of the Present - a new, hour-long, discussion featuring Linklater and actors Patricia Arquette and Ellar Coltrane, moderated by producer John Pierson. It was also recorded in Austin, Texas, in December 2015. Always Now is a new 1/2 hour conversation between Coltrane and actor Ethan Hawke. Time of Your Life is an excellent new video essay by critic Michael Koresky about time in Linklater’s films, narrated by Coltrane and running 12.5 minutes. Through the Years is a 24-minute collection of portraits of the cast and crew by photographer Matt Lankes, narrated with personal thoughts from Linklater, Arquette, Hawke, Coltrane, and producer Cathleen Sutherland. The book "Boyhood": Twelve Years of Film features some of these on-set photographs taken by Matt Lankes. It also has writings by Lankes, writer-director Richard Linklater, producer Cathleen Sutherland, and actors Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette, and Ellar Coltrane. The package is rounded out with a liner notes booklet with an essay by novelist Jonathan Lethem.

 

 

Blu-ray disc 2

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
Boyhood is unique and, although I had seen it last year - the Criterion a/v transfer and extensive supplements added further appreciation for the breadth of the production and value of this impressive piece, deeply moving, of cinema. This is one Blu-ray package I am proud to ad to my collection and it should have some mention in our year-end poll. Our highest recommendation!

Gary Tooze

September 21st, 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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