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MAGNOLIA

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Joann Sfar
Cast:
Freda Mavor, Benjamin Biolay, Elio Germano, Stacy Martin
Writing Credits:
Gilles Marchand and Patrick Godeau

Synopsis:
The trials and tribulations of Dany Dorméus.

MPAA:
Rated NR

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio:
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 95 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 4/12/2016

Bonus:
• “Interview with Director Joann Sfar” Featurette
• “The Paintings of Director Joann Sfar” Featurette
• Previews and Trailer


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Lady In the Car With Glasses and a Gun [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (April 27, 2016)

My pick for 2015’s most self-explanatory title, The Lady in the Car With Glasses and a Gun introduces us to Dany Doremus (Freya Mavor), a secretary who goes to the house of her boss Michel Caravaille (Benjamin Biolay) to complete an assignment.

This reunites Dany with her old friend Anita (Stacy Martin) – now Michel’s wife – and also eventually sends Dany on an adventure. Michel asks her to use his car to drive him and Anita to the airport. Though he expects her to return the vehicle to his house after this, Dany “borrows” the car and takes a drive to the seaside.

Though Dany never visited this location previously, everyone she encounters knows her. Bizarre circumstances pile up from there – and when Dany finds a corpse in the car’s trunk, matters go ever farther off the rails.

If I’d not reviewed the documentary Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine, I doubt Lady would have been on my radar. However, a trailer for Lady appeared on the Jobs Blu-ray, and that stylish promo made the film look intriguing.

Alas, the trailer lied to me – to a moderate degree, at least. While not without the occasional provocative element, too much of Lady seems self-conscious and meandering.

Touted as a psychological thriller, Lady wears many of its conceits on its sleeve, and this creates a less than appealing narrative. The psychological side seems lackluster, and the thriller segment fails to become dynamic. Dany’s journey comes out in such a roundabout manner that it fails to appeal to the viewer.

Lady takes place in the 1970s, and that allows it to boast a decided 70s filmmaking vibe. Rather than add verisimilitude to the proceedings, these choices instead just seem gimmicky. Lady feels like an approximation of a 70s movie without the spirit of the real thing.

Probably the film’s biggest weakness comes from its failed attempts at a dreamlike experience. Clearly we can’t take all of what we see literally – too much weirdness occurs – but the film doesn’t pull off its more abstract side.

Instead, the movie just feels muddled and incoherent. I suspect the filmmakers know what they intended to convey, but their goals don’t make it to the screen. While this all might make sense to those involved, matters seem more muddled for viewers.

On the positive side, Mavor invests Dany with enough passion that she almost makes the tale come together. The actor can’t quite pull off that feat, but she does her best – and she sure is purty, too. Even when Lady bores me, I enjoy watching the lovely Mavor.

That’s a good thing, as Lady left me otherwise disenchanted much of the time. With all sorts of strangeness and intrigue, the film really should turn into something compelling, but instead, it simply wanders for 95 minutes before it comes to an unsatisfying conclusion.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus C-

The Lady In the Car With Glasses and a Gun appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered good but not great visuals.

Overall sharpness seemed fine, but occasional exceptions occurred and left us with a moderate soft impression. Though some of that stemmed from photographic choices, I thought the movie appeared a bit less defined than expected. I saw no moiré effects or jaggies, and edge haloes didn’t appear. Print flaws also never became a factor.

The film tended toward subdued hues that mixed teal and amber. These colors remained restrained and looked fine given stylistic choices. Blacks seemed dark and tight, and low-light shots brought us reasonable clarity. This became a satisfactory presentation.

Heavy on atmospherics, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 added a little kick to the proceedings. Seaside shots showed nice involvement, and a few other sequences opened up the mix well enough. The movie lacked standout auditory moments, but the soundfield created a decent sense of place.

No issues with audio quality emerged. Speech was natural and smooth, while music offered good range and dimensionality. Effects came across as accurate and tight. Again, the track lacked a lot to make it stand out, but it fit the story.

In addition to the original French audio, the Blu-ray provides an English dub. Out of curiosity, I gave it a listen – and found it to offer a terrible experience.

Honestly, the English version provided such bad vocal work that I wondered if the producers made it awful on purpose to “force” people to play the original mix. Even if you hate subtitles, the English track isn’t a viable option – it’s ridiculously amateurish.

A couple of extras fill out the disc, and we begin with an interview with director Joann Sfar. In this 26-minute, 44-second piece, Sfar discusses what brought him to the project, the novel and its adaptation. Cinematography and storyboards, visual choices, editing and music, cast and performances, influences, and other areas. Sfar delivers a lively and engaging chat that doesn’t avoid potentially controversial areas. I also appreciate that he admits he made a 90-minute music video.

The Paintings of Director Joann Sfar runs two minutes, 45 seconds. Sfar tells us about the artwork he creates during film shoots. Though brief, Sfar gives us some interesting insights.

The disc opens with ads for Synchronicity, The Wave, Headhunters and Kill Me Three Times. We also get the trailer for Lady.

When the most interesting aspect of a film stems from its title, that’s a problem. Unfortunately, The Lady In the Car With Glasses and a Gun expends its creativity on unusual moniker and leaves little for the actual film. The Blu-ray provides mostly good picture and audio but skimps on supplements. Despite a few positives, most of Lady disappoints.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main