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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "Sydney" or "Last Exit Reno")

 

Directed by Paul Thomas Anderson
USA 1996

 

On the audio commentary, Paul Thomas Anderson explains, that all you need, to get a film started, is coffee and cigarettes. What few know is, that this perhaps is one of the most important statements from a director in the last 35 years, as Godard's rule ("All you need is a girl and a gun") had been overused: With this simple statement, Paul Thomas Anderson, not only is honest in giving away his secret to how he gets the ideas spinning, but also steps out of the shadow of the past. Paul Thomas Anderson may fake it, as he did go to filmschool, but he still thinks that you can't learn people to make film by putting them into a classroom for four years: As he says on the audio commentary of "Boogie Nights": "I learned more from listening to the audio commentary of the Criterion Laserdisc of "Bad Day at Black Rock", than I did in four years of filmschool."

Paul Thomas Anderson wrote "Hard Eight", or "Sydney" as it probably should be called, especially for Phillip Baker Hall. It is the tale of a retired bigshot, who for some unknown reason helps a down and out loser, to perfection played by, according to Paul Thomas Anderson the best actor alive, John C Reilly. Sometimes feeling more like a play, as it was written for actors, the film introduces us to the world of gamblers and hustlers, where their rules are law and they are above everything else. That Paul Thomas Anderson is a talent beyond his age and experience is crystal clear. The film is directed with so much care and precision - The mise-en-scene is so controlled and elaborate set up. This is a film, by a guy, who not only knows film, but who can think and talk film - "Hard Eight" would be a masterpiece for some, but for Paul Thomas Anderson, it was just the beginning.
out of

Henrik Sylow

***

Before his commercial breakthrough with Boogie Nights (1997), writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson made this low-key drama. John (John C. Reilly), a half-bright loser stranded in Reno, is down to his last few bucks when Sydney (Phillip Baker Hall), taking pity on him, buys him breakfast and offers him a few tips on making money in the casinos. Two years later, John has become Sydney’s partner, but his lack of common sense goes from problematic to dangerous when he falls in love with Clementine (Gwyneth Paltrow), a cocktail waitress who isn’t above turning a few tricks when she needs to make money — and isn’t any brighter than John.

Posters

Theatrical Release: January 20, 1996, (Sundance Film Festival)

Reviews                                                                                                       More Reviews                                                                                       DVD Reviews

 

Comparison:

Columbia/Tristar - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray

Box Cover

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Columbia/Tristar Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray
Runtime 1:41:27        1:41:50.854 
Video

2.35:1 & 4:3 Super 35mm

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 4.29 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s
 

2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 33,298,909,841 bytes

Feature: 29,715,173,376 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.29 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 (4:3):

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio English (Dolby Digital2.0)

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

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

Subtitles English, Spanish, None English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Columbia/Tri-star

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2.35:1 & 4:3 Super 35mm

Edition Details:
Audio commentaries:
• Paul Thomas Anderson & Phillip Baker Hall
• Paul Thomas Anderson, Phillip Baker Hall & John C Reiley
• Deleted scene: The Kiss
• Sundance Institute Filmmaker Lab scenes
• Both 2.35:1 and 1.33:1 format

DVD Release Date: October 5, 1999
Keep Case

Chapters 28  

Release Information:
Studio:
Imprint

 

2.35:1 1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 33,298,909,841 bytes

Feature: 29,715,173,376 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.29 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:

Audio commentary by director Paul Thomas Anderson and actor Philip Baker Hall
Audio commentary by director Paul Thomas Anderson, actor Philip Baker Hall, Michelle Satter (Sundance Film) and various crew members
Deleted scene: “The Kiss”(3:31)
Sundance Institute Filmmaker Lab scenes (10:30)
Theatrical Trailer (2:00)
Limited Edition slipcase on the first 1500 copies


Blu-ray Release Date:
November 6th, 2020
Transparent
Blu-ray Case inside Limited Edition slipcase

Chapters 11

 

 

Comments:

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

ADDITION: Imprint Blu-ray (November 2020): Imprint have transferred Paul Thomas Anderson's incredibly impressive Neo-noir Hard Eight  to Blu-ray. The image quality towers over the 21 year-old 'flipper' DVD (now waaaay out-of-print) with a puny bitrate. Imprint have transferred this to a dual-layered disc with a very high bitrate (7X the DVD.) Colors, detail, contrast all shine definitively and the image quality is excellent. Just the type of upgrade fans will appreciate.

NOTE: We have added 62 more large resolution Blu-ray captures (in lossless PNG format) for DVDBeaver Patrons HERE

On their Blu-ray, Imprint use a linear PCM stereo track (24-bit) in the original English language. It is another advancement in the film's audio and score credited to Jon Brion (Magnolia, Punch-Drunk Love) and Michael Penn (Boogie Nights, Sunshine Cleaning), with some Casino 'muzak' evident in the background. It all sounds much deeper with more consistent dialogue. Imprint offer optional English subtitles on their Region FREE Blu-ray.

The Imprint Blu-ray have all the invaluable extras of the DVD - the two essential commentaries with PTA et all, the deleted scene, the three scenes from Sundance Workshop, where PTA directs Phillip Baker Hall and John C. Reilly. Imprint throw in a trailer and the package is a limited edition slipcase.  

Paul Thomas Anderson's Hard Eight remains brilliant and continues to improve with repeat viewings - foreshadowing of great thing on his filmmaking horizon. Even if you didn't miss the DVD back in 1999, this easily a double-dip (look at that last image comparison of Sydney with the gun!) This is a huge Blu-ray release and definitely elevates Imprint in my eyes. I'm anxious from more from them. We suggest getting this NOW rather than waiting for it to become unavailable - likely it's destiny. It's one of my favorite Blu-ray releases this year. Don't miss it. 

Gary Tooze

ON THE DVD (1999): The DVD is a flipper, in that way, that Side A is the OAR (16x9) version and Side B is the Full Screen version. Both sides are otherwise completely similar. Notable is, that, typical for Super35, the Full Screen has more picture top/bottom, while it cuts in the sides, and that the 2.35:1 picture cuts top/bottom and has more picture in the sides. This is not Pan/Scan: It's Super35. You can watch the differences on the subtitles grabs.

This DVD is a must have for anyone seriously interested in making film, or anyone else who loves film, as all the additional material is build around the process of making the film. There are two audio commentaries: The first is with PTA and Phillip Baker Hall where they discuss the character, the film and things connected to it. The second is with PTA, Phillip Baker Hall and John C. Reilly, where they talk about the making of the film, the direction and just general stuff related to the film. Then there are three scenes from Sundance Workshop, where PTA directs Phillip Baker Hall and John C. Reilly, and we get a glimpse of how the scene was constructed and directed: Holding this back to back with the actual scenes teaches you a lot of both framing a conversation, editing it and writing / directing it.

 - Henrik Sylow

 


Columbia/Tristar - Region 1 - NTSC

 

Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray


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

 

1) Columbia (4:3) - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Columbia (2.35:1) - Region 1 - NTSC  MIDDLE

3) Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Columbia/Tristar - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Columbia/Tristar - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 


1) Columbia/Tristar - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Columbia/Tristar - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 


1) Columbia/Tristar - Region 1 - NTSC  TOP

2) Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray BOTTOM

 

 

More full resolution (1920 X 1080) Blu-ray Captures for DVDBeaver Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

 
Box Cover

  

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Columbia/Tristar Home Video - Region 1 - NTSC Imprint - Region FREE - Blu-ray


 


 

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