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Finding Forrester [Blu-ray]
(Gus Van Sant, 2000)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Columbia Pictures Corporation
Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 48,597,554,712 bytes
Feature Size: 40,496,109,696 bytes
Video Bitrate: 30.30 Mbps
Case: Transparent Blu-ray case
Release date: February 27th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3832 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3832 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit
English (SDH), none
•HBO Making of featurette (15:03)
• Found: Rob Brown featurette (11:59)
• Deleted Scenes (7:43)
• Original theatrical trailer (2:30)
• DVD included
Description:From director Gus Van Sant (Good Will Hunting) comes Finding Forrester, the acclaimed and heart-warming film about the unique relationship between an eccentric reclusive novelist, William Forrester (Academy Award winner Sean Connery, The Untouchables, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) and a gifted athlete, Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown, Coach Carter, Treme) who has writing aspirations of his own.
As their friendship develops, Forrester takes the young man on as his protege, giving Jamal a fantastic opportunity to learn all he can from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist. But hes not the only person who has something to learn from the experience
With a star studded cast, including Academy Award Winners F. Murray Abraham (Amadeus, All The Presidents Men, The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Anna Paquin (The Piano, True Blood) as well as Michael Pitt (TVs Boardwalk Empire and Hannibal) and Busta Rhymes, Finding Forrester is a wonderfully life-affirming film, Eureka Entertainment presents the film for the first time on Blu-ray in the UK, in a special Dual-Format edition.
A movie about being a writer offers us an interesting perspective into the mind of its author. Finding Forrester, a film about a young man whose talent brings him in contact with an unlikely mentor in the most unlikely of places, is the first feature film screenplay written by Mike Rich, an Oregon radio news director who obviously has some literary aspirations of his own. It is directed by Gus Van Sant, who received a Best Director Oscar nomination for 1997's Good Will Hunting. Rich's text and Van Sant's direction mesh very well together, bringing the author's commentary about race relations and true creativity onto the screen with an important sense of integrity in a field known for empty glittering, featuring a nice turn by Sean Connery and a surprisingly natural performance by young newcomer Robert Brown.
In a story with some similarities to Hunting (including a surprise cameo by Matt Damon) but which bears an even stronger resemblance to Curtis Hanson's Wonder Boys, a 16-year-old Bronx school kid named Jamal Wallace (Brown), who happens to be known for his talent on the basketball court, is recruited by an exclusive private prep school after he receives exceptionally high scores on a standardized test. However, Jamal soon learns the school administration's true motive: after losing several players to graduation, they are looking to restock the basketball team. Although he is a voracious reader and shows great talent in his writing, Jamal is not taken very seriously by his arrogant professor, failed novelist Henry Crawford (F. Murray Abraham).
Playing William Forrester, a literary legend and fictional Scottish-American variant of J. D. Salinger, Mr. Connery is more of a stern, cranky boss than the empathetic mush pot Mr. Williams would have made him. The star's hawklike eyes glaring under Mephistophelean brows cast look so imperious they threaten to turn into lightning bolts. Had anyone else played the role, this dubious character would probably have come off as clinically insane. But such is Mr. Connery's skill at projecting manly authority that he fosters the illusion that Forrester is actually a repository of some truth and wisdom.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Finding Forrester looks solid on Blu-ray from Eureka out of the UK. Cinematographer Harris Savides' (Zodiac, Milk, Whatever Works) 2.35:1 framed visuals are exported well in 1080P finally showcasing some of the DoP's subtleties not picked-up in SD. The image quality is consistent and very clean. This is dual-layered with a high bitrate. It is neither glossy nor pristinely sharp but shows some depth and film-like heaviness. It looks excellent in-motion without noise or artifacts.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
The audio gives the option of a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround track or a linear PCM 2.0 channel. The film has few effects but there is minor depth and separations that you can notice. While there is no credited score there is music in Finding Forrester with a couple of pieces by Wayne Shorter, some Miles Davis, Bill Frisell, some may recognize Hanson and Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of Over The Rainbow/What A Wonderful World. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Nothing new but there are some vintage featurettes; a 1/4 hour HBO Making of piece and a dozen minutes of Found: Rob Brown with Van Sant discussing casting - calling Spike Lee, and other cast and crew talking about putting Robert Brown in the film's lead. We also get some deleted scenes, an original theatrical trailer and the package contains a second disc DVD.
February 26th, 2017
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 3500 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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