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Special Effects [Blu-ray]
(Larry Cohen, 1984)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Hemdale Film
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 24,409,991,406 bytes
Feature Size: 23,852,439,552 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.09 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: October 18th, 2016
Aspect ratio: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1947 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1947 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2091 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2091 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
• English, None
• Audio Commentary with director Larry Cohen and filmmaker Steve Mitchell
• Trailer (1:42)
From the writer & director of
It s Alive, Larry Cohen's Special Effects
casts a satirical eye on Hollywood, viewed through the prism
of the thriller film genre. When the fresh-faced Oklahoma
country boy Keefe (Brad Rijn, Smithereens) comes
looking for his wife Mary Jean (Zoe Lund,
Ms .45), a wannabe actress, he soon discovers the
seamy side of Tinsel Town when Mary Jean is found dead and
he's the prime suspect.
Unlike other films by this title, the subject matter of Larry Cohen's murder mystery is a dastardly film director whose last movie plummeted at the box office in spite of flashy special effects. He wants to climb back up from this failure, so when he murders an aspiring actress in a Soho apartment, in a twist of his already twisted mind, he throws himself into a scheme to film a re-creation of the murder. As the movie plot, which is the director's plot, becomes more and more convoluted, he gets the detective assigned to the case to take part in his scheme and even gets the dead actress' husband to act out her murder in front of the camera. Laced with black humor and unexpected turns in the action, this director keeps the movie going, thanks to real director Larry Cohen who actually keeps the movie going.Excerpt from Barnes and Noble located HERE
A ditzy blonde (Tamerlis) hits NYC hoping to make it in movies, but her first gig is a death scene - her own. A failing director secretly films himself and the actress in the sack, then murders her and sets about making a movie based on the killing, with the dead girl's husband as the likely murderer. This brass-necked approach includes inviting the investigating cop (O'Connor) to advise on procedure. Bogosian plays the director, Chris Neville, as a suave monster, avoiding any psychological or moral dimension (although we're told the reason he likes flowers is because they're so beautiful and they die so quickly). After a shaky start, the twists of the plot begin to take hold, and there's even a serious angle. This is the age of the non-entity, the glorification of the nobody, as long as they're victims, says Neville. Consider the virtually non-existent careers of a Dorothy Stratton or a Frances Farmer. What makes them worthy of a $10m eulogy on film? Murder, madness, suicide - that's what stars are made of today.Excerpt from TimeOurt located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Special Effects arrives on Blu-ray from Olive Films. Typical for them it is single-layered and has a reasonable bitrate. It's mid-80s so less-then-stellar film stock but it holds together looking thick and consistent with some film textures. Details advances over SD and there is depth. I saw few speckles and no damage or gloss and the image quality is adept if not stellar. The Blu-ray is no demo but provides a consistent presentation in 1.85:1 probably not far from its theatrical premiere.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio is transferred to a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1947 kbps (24-bit). Effects are not extensive but the score is by Michael Minard (The Mutilator, Losing Ground) and adds some drama in a heavy-handed fashion. It is fairly unremarkable but has some depth. There are no subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
There is an audio commentary with director Larry Cohen and filmmaker Steve Mitchell, director of King Cohen: The Wild World of Filmmaker Larry Cohen. Cohen complimentarily discusses ZoŽ Tamerlis (Lund) a bit - her slenderness, professionalism and oddities plus the Zapruder film and that he fancied himself as a thriller genre director. He discusses his creativity is utilizing available material for his films. It's not bad - his honesty is appreciated. There is also a trailer.
October 19th, 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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