August: Osage County appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The picture looked fine.
Sharpness was almost always strong. A few wide shots showed a smidgen of softness, but those were minor instances. The majority of the movie looked accurate and concise. I noticed no jaggies or moiré effects, and edge enhancement never manifested itself. In addition, the film failed to display any print defects.
The film’s palette emphasized an arid, yellow look to fit the sweltering plains setting. Within those constraints, the colors seemed fine; they showed appropriate range. Blacks were dark and full, and shadows showed good range. This was a consistently solid presentation.
I thought the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Osage offered a decent but not great auditory experience. Sound quality was always good, at least. Music worked the best, as the score and songs demonstrated nice range and depth. Effects didn’t play a major role, but they seemed acceptably clear and accurate, while speech was distinctive and natural.
The soundscape lacked much to impress. Music showed reasonable stereo presence, though the score remained pretty restrained. Effects had little to do, as they focused the realm of general environment. Some road scenes broadened horizons a little but the soundfield remained low-key. Still, it did what it needed to do for a film of this sort.
Among the set’s extras, we find an audio commentary with director John Wells and cinematographer Adriano Goldman. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific look at sets and locations, issues related to cinematography, cast and performances, production design and visual effects, music, and other domains.
At the start, the track seems a bit dry and technical. However, it improves as it progresses and becomes a more dynamic, inclusive discussion. Ultimately it turns into a fairly valuable look at the production.
Two featurettes ensue. The Making of August: Osage County goes for 19 minutes, 45 seconds and presents comments from Wells, playwright/screenwriter Tracy Letts, composers Kings of Leon and actors Meryl Streep, Margo Martindale, Julia Roberts, Ewan McGregor, Chris Cooper, Julianne Nicholson, Juliette Lewis, Dermot Mulroney, and Abigail Breslin. They discuss story/character areas, cast and performances, and the film’s setting. A smattering of mildly interesting notes emerge, but usually we simply hear praise for all involved. That tone makes it a fluffy and lackluster program.
On Writing with Tracy Letts fills seven minutes, 39 seconds and gives us notes from Letts, Roberts, Wells, Streep, Martindale, and McGregor. We learn about the background to the story and aspects of Letts’ work. “Writing” tells us little of substance and acts as an extension of “Making”; it becomes another promo piece.
Five Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 10 minutes, 47 seconds. These offer more character moments – and more bickering. On their own, they seem reasonably interesting, but they probably wouldn’t have worked in the final cut, mainly because a) they tell us little new and b) they would’ve made a long movie even longer.
We can view the deleted scenes with or without commentary from Wells and Goldman. They tell us about the segments and let us know why they cut them. The notes offer useful information.
The disc launches with ads for One Chance, The Butler and Philomena. No trailer for Osage shows up here.
Packed with top-notch actors and based on an acclaimed play, August: Osage County should’ve achieved greatness. Unfortunately, it becomes bogged down in its soap opera elements and feels too phony to fly. The Blu-ray gives us solid picture along with decent audio and an erratic set of supplements. Osage might be worth a look just to see so many fine performers in one place, but I think the end result disappoints.