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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Alice [Blu-ray]


(Woody Allen, 1990)


Arrow Academy's Woody Allen: Seven Films - 1986-1991 Blu-rays




Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Orion Pictures / A Jack Rollins and Charles H. Joffe Production

Video: Arrow Academy



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

Runtime: 1:46:20.957   

Disc Size: 33,591,095,563 bytes

Feature Size: 33,249,026,496 bytes

Video Bitrate: 37.47 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Transparent Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 3rd, 2017



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit



English (SDH), none



Trailer (0:46)





Description: A delightful return to the romantic-comedy territory that Woody Allen last explored in such classics as Annie Hall and Manhattan, Alice was also Oscar-nominated for Best Original Screenplay, but departs from the earlier films in its embrace of out-and-out fantasy to the point where it becomes a contemporary fairytale.

Alice Tate (Mia Farrow) is trapped in a loveless marriage to Doug (William Hurt), to the point where a chance encounter with handsome jazz musician Joe (Joe Mantegna) leaves her hopelessly conflicted. Seeking treatment for backache from a Chinese acupuncturist (Keye Luke), she confesses her feelings under hypnosis and comes away with some ancient herbs that possess mysterious and even supernatural powers. But will they solve Alice s dilemmas, or merely make them even more complicated? And can she really throw away all Doug s material wealth purely for love?

Gliding effortlessly from reality to daydream and from memory to magic, while exploring the intricate and unfathomable unity of human bonds, Alice was described by the New York Times as hilarious and romantic, serious and exuberantly satiric.



The Film:

The playfulness kicks in when Farrow meets an eccentric doctor-cum-hedonist (a comedically graceful turn by the late Keye Luke -- Charlie Chan's "Number One Son"), who encourages her to follow her desires. He gives her a potent mixture that allows her temporary invisibility. When she spies on Hurt, she finds out some shocking truths. It also makes for some amusing situations when her invisibility wears off without warning.

A perfectly likable performer, Farrow is to Allen's movies what Mark Rypien is to the Redskins. She gets incrementally better each time but it hardly seems worth the affirmative action. She may have her moments, but she never rises majestically to the occasion.

Excerpt from TheWashingtonPost located HERE


It is also his apotheosis of Miss Farrow, who has never looked more beautiful (she has bones to rival Katharine Hepburn's) and has never been more surprisingly funny and affecting. In this, their 11th collaboration, Miss Farrow gives a performance that sums up and then tops all of the performances that have preceded it.

The role is packed with associations. Alice is a closet-feminist version of the sort of character Mr. Allen usually plays. She is fearful but stubbornly sane, starry-eyed but ever on the lookout for banana peels. In spite of the worldliness around her, she remains hopelessly naive, weeping bucketfuls while watching a movie about Mother Teresa.

Every member of the virtually all-star cast is super: Mr. Luke, Mr. Mantegna, Mr. Hurt, Mr. Baldwin, Blythe Danner (Alice's older sister), Cybill Shepherd (an officious television executive), Miss Davis, Gwen Verdon (Alice's mother), Robin Bartlett (Alice's best friend), even the small, squirmy, beloved children who are forever being picked up, dropped off or sent to bed.

Excerpt from the NYTimes located HERE


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

Arrow's Alice gets another impressive, max'ed out bitrate, dual-layered transfer to Blu-ray. The 1080P exports the colors more vibrantly than we have seen in some of the other releases in this Seven Films boxset. Lush grain is again apparent in the original 1.85:1 frame.  No noise, speckles or damage of any sort. This Blu-ray looks very film-like in-motion and we have no complaints with the video quality.



















Audio :

Arrow utilize a linear PCM mono track at 2304 kbps (24-bit). No effects of note, but Alice has Woody selections of note including Limehouse Blues, Breezin' Along with the Breeze, and Moonlight Becomes You performed by Jackie Gleason, Moonglow by Artie Shaw and His Orchestra, Duke Ellington's Caravan, The Way You Look Tonight  - it breathes New York rhythms and sounds exemplary in the lossless definitely augmenting the film experience. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.


Extras :

Again, like the other individual releases, only a trailer - although I presume the Seven Films package will, again, include a booklet.



Alice isn't as big a departure for Allen as it is filled with satire, some fantasy and his understanding of women in readily apparent. The Arrow Blu-ray does its job well with an adept, satisfying 1080P image, mood-establishing music in uncompressed and a film that is a welcome distraction if you haven't seen it for a while. Another great cast - another strong film. Further reasons to indulge in the Seven Films boxset! 

Gary Tooze

January 27th, 2017

Arrow Academy's Woody Allen: Seven Films - 1986-1991 Blu-rays



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.

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Gary W. Tooze






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