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Directed by Noah Baumbach
USA 2005

 

  Noah Baumbach's ink-stained memoir is a heartbreaking and hilarious comedy of humiliation...
 

The literary craze for tell-all family memoir gets a unique twist in Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale, a film clef that satirically dramatizes the disintegration of his parents' marriage.  Tender, cruel, and very funny, Baumbach's fourth feature turns family history into a sort of urban myth. Although the Berkmans of mid-1980s Park Slope lack the quirky grandeur of the Glass family or the Royal Tenenbaums, they wander even more myopically in the land of literary metaphor. Tennis functions as a metonym for relationships; the search for a parking space is a free-floating trope. As the eldest Berkman son poignantly brags, both his parents have Ph.D.'s in literature.

Excerpt by J. Hoberman's review at the Village Voice located HERE

***

With excruciating honesty, The Squid and the Whale chronicles the experiences of two young brothers growing up in 1980s Park Slope, Brooklyn, as they navigate the jagged contours of the divorce of their parents, both writers. The acclaimed third feature by Noah Baumbach marked a critical development for the filmmaker as he turned toward an increasingly personal style—a move that garnered him an Academy Award nomination for best original screenplay. Shot in Super 16 mm and featuring a quartet of nuanced, understated performances from Jeff Daniels, Laura Linney, Jesse Eisenberg, and Owen Kline, this comic and poignant drama, peppered with autobiographical elements, deftly captures the heartache and confusion of a fracturing family.

Posters

Theatrical Release: January 2005 - Sundance Film Festival

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Comparison:

Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Criterion - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT

Criterion Region 'A' + 'B' - Blu-ray RIGHT

 

Box Covers

  

  

  

Also available from Criterion on Blu-ray in the UK two weeks later:

Distribution Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 845 - Region 'A' + 'B' - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:21:03  1:21:25.922
Video 1.82:1 Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.45 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 40,856,754,908 bytes

Feature: 24,767,152,128 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.65 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Bitrate: Blu-ray

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1), DUB: French (Dolby Digital 5.1)  DTS-HD Master Audio English 3842 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3842 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles English, French, None English (SDH), none
Features

Release Information:
Studio: Sony Pictures

Aspect Ratio:
Original Aspect Ratio 1.82:1

Edition Details:

• Director Noah Baumbach audio comments on specific areas (51:44)
• Behind-the-scenes featurette (9:55)
• A conversation with director Noah Baumbach and film critic Philip Lopate (37:30)
• Previews

12-page liner notes essay with review from the L.A. Times and essay by David Denby

DVD Release Date: March 21st, 2006

Keep Case
Chapters: 12

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion

 

1080P / 23.976 fps Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 40,856,754,908 bytes

Feature: 24,767,152,128 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.65 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video


Edition Details:

New interviews with Baumbach (27:40) and actors Jeff Daniels (7:57), Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, and Laura Linney (20:14)
New conversation about the score and other music in the film between Baumbach and composers Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips (13:49)
Behind “The Squid and the Whale,” a 2005 documentary featuring on-set footage and cast interviews (9:57)
Audition footage (Walter and Frank - 3:10, Do You Like Franz Kafka - 3:17, Not an Intellectual - 3:59, Don't Be Difficult - 2:42, I Know It's Over - 7:31) 
Trailers (4:07)
PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by critic Kent Jones and a 2005 interview of Baumbach by novelist Jonathan Lethem

Blu-ray Release Date:
November 22nd + December 5th, 2016
Transparent Blu-ray Case

Chapters 11

 

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Criterion Region 'A' - Blu-ray - October 2016: Criterion's 1080P is cited as a "New, restored 4K digital transfer, supervised by cinematographer Robert Yeoman and director Noah Baumbach". It's not the most visually arresting film (shot on Super 16 then a 35 mm blow-up as the printed format) but it is interesting to see the color shifts from SD to 1080P. Colors are bolder and some alter from grey to blue or brown to mauve (pale purple). The visuals still retain their thickness but there are instances of depth and it just looks more textured and film-like. It is on a dual-layered disc with a max'ed out bitrate.

Criterion use a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at 3842 kbps (24-bit) in the original English. There are few aggressive effects - and the lossless easily handles everything the film dishes out with little separation (some tennis ball hits). The score by Britta Phillips (Nadia in Frances Ha) and Dean Wareham (Spencer in Frances Ha). You may also hear snippets of Bryan Adams, Lou Reed, Luba, The Cars, Pink Floyd, some Brahms - all sounding decent in the uncompressed. There are optional English subtitles on the Region 'A' Blu-ray disc - but this is being released in region 'B' Blu-ray two weeks later.

Criterion add new supplements from the 2006 DVD release. There is a new 1/2 hour interview with Baumbach from August 2016. he discuss his writing process and main some interesting comments about the evolution of the project. There is a new 20-minute documentary entitled 'Revisiting The Squid and The Whale. and has Jesse Eisenberg, Owen Kline, and Laura Linney discussing their participation in the film. There is also a separate interview with an animated Jeff Daniels for just under 8-mintutes. Some may enjoy the 14-minute conversation about the score and other music in the film between Baumbach and composers Dean Wareham and Britta Phillips. Behind “The Squid and the Whale,” is a 10-minute, 2005, documentary featuring on-set footage and cast interviews. I was interested to see some of the audition footage (Walter and Frank - 3:10, Do You Like Franz Kafka? - 3:17, Not an Intellectual - 3:59, Don't Be Difficult - 2:42, I Know It's Over - 7:31) and lastly on the digital front are a few trailers. The package contains a liner notes booklet featuring an essay by critic Kent Jones and a 2005 interview of Baumbach by novelist Jonathan Lethem.

After I saw the DVD, I jokingly, lent it to a friend saying it reminded me of his family (they were tennis players and have two young boys.) Needless to say he understood my joke as the obviousness of this dysfunctional Berkman family was pretty amusing. It's a good film and I'm glad I revisited it but it's no masterpiece now that I have seen it again (I loved it the first time I saw it) - but still very worthwhile viewing and well written. It's short length seemed just right. I always enjoy Linney who is comfortable in multiple genres. Criterion produce another great Blu-ray package. Recommended!

***

ON THE DVD: For a new film this is kind of an unremarkable transfer with poor bitrate. It is very dark, which I understand is how it appeared theatrically but it does exhibit some glossiness that I can't put my finger on. It's very flat. Subtitles are ghastly yellow and the advertised 'commentary' runs less than an hour to still images of the film - so it is not a commentary in the sense that you might expect. The 40 minute conversation with Baumbach is very good and the film itself is enjoyable - recommended.

Gary W. Tooze


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More Blu-ray Captures


Box Covers

  

  

  

Also available from Criterion on Blu-ray in the UK two weeks later:

Distribution Sony Pictures - Region 1 - NTSC Criterion Collection - Spine # 845 - Region 'A' + 'B' - Blu-ray




 

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