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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Barbet Schroeder
Cast:
Bridget Fonda, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Steven Weber
Writing Credits:
Don Roos

Synopsis:
A woman advertising for a new roommate finds that something very strange is going on with the tenant who decides to move in.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$10,212,401 on 1744 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$48,017,402.

MPAA:
Rated R.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 107 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 11/13/2018

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Barbet Schroeder, Editor Lee Percy and Associate Producer Susan Hoffman
• Interview with Director Barbet Schroeder
• Interview with Actor Peter Friedman
• Interview with Actor Steven Weber
• Interview with Screenwriter Don Roos
• Trailer


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RELATED REVIEWS


Single White Female [Blu-Ray] (1992)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 8, 2018)

After 1990’s Reversal of Fortune nabbed him his first – and only – Oscar nomination, director Barbet Schroeder followed up with something more genre-specific: 1992’s thriller Single White Female. A classic in the “psycho female” field, Allie Jones (Bridget Fonda) seeks a roommate for her Manhattan apartment.

Into the picture steps Hedy Carlson (Jennifer Jason Leigh), a single woman who initially seems like a perfect fit for Allie, as the pair become fast friends. However, Hedy soon develops an unhealthy fascination with Allie that blossoms into terror.

I could swear I watched and reviewed a prior release of Female, but since the site bears no evidence of this, I guess I imagined it – or I confused Female for another entry in the genre. While we’ve not gotten scads of “psycho female” films, it’s a dense enough field that I may have viewed another movie and misremembered.

Or maybe Female offered such a memorable experience that it stayed with me over the last 25 years and created an impression I’d seen it much more recently. With some early 1990s movies, it really feels like I’ve not watched them in an eternity, but for some reason, I still maintain the impression I’d checked out Female since 1992.

Now that I’ve seen it again, I can’t figure out why the movie would stick with me to such a degree. While Female offers a decent thriller, I wouldn’t call it anything top-notch.

Though its cast gives it some class. Both Fonda and especially Leigh flesh out their characters well, and Leigh largely resists the urge to go Full Psycho.

Granted, Female tries to push her in that direction, and it probably does so earlier than I’d like. I understand the desire to cut to chase quickly – audiences expect a movie about a psycho, so they won’t want to wait forever to see Hedy “turn”.

Still, I wish Female kept her nuttiness under wraps a bit longer than it does. While I can’t claim it totally telegraphs her insanity, it still tips off the viewer in less than subtle ways pretty early in the proceedings.

Even though Female leaves Hedy as a cartoon character, Leigh does manage to produce a fair amount of depth with her performance. She overcomes the one-note nature of the role with an unnerving, rich take.

Otherwise, Female tends to deliver a fairly average thriller. Though I can’t claim it comes with an excessive running time, 107 minutes feels a bit too long for the tale on display, and it might fare a bit better at 90 minutes or so.

I also don’t know how much room for true intrigue we get. Once we know that Hedy’s a nutbag, the movie comes down to a long series of horror moments. The violence escalates without a lot of true impact because we can see so much of it in advance.

None of these factors make Female a bad movie, but it also fails to turn into a truly compelling thriller. It comes with a mix of plusses and minuses that leave it as a watchable effort and not much more.


The Disc Grades: Picture B/ Audio B-/ Bonus B

Single White Female appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Though it remained a product of its era, this was a largely appealing presentation.

Sharpness worked fine. Interiors tended to seem a little soft, but in general, delineation seemed adequate, with good accuracy most of the time. I saw no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and both edge haloes and print flaws remained absent.

In terms of palette, the film favored some chilly blues and earthy reds. The colors tended to feel a little heavy – not unusual for the era – but they were more than acceptable.

Blacks seemed deep and dark, and shadows displayed nice smoothness and detail, even though we did get some softness in those low-light shots. Though the movie showed its age, it offered a reasonably positive image.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 2.0 soundtrack, it worked okay for its vintage. Given the movie’s ambitions, the mix didn’t shoot for much, but it added a little zest to the proceedings.

Music showed good stereo presence, and the various channels contributed reasonable engagement to the side and rear. Nothing excelled, but the soundscape gave us a bit of breadth.

Audio quality also seemed fine. Speech was reasonably natural and concise, while music showed acceptable pep and clarity.

Effects brought us accurate enough material. This was never a memorable track, but it suited the story.

We get a decent mix of extras, and these start with an audio commentary from director Barbet Schroeder, editor Lee Percy and associate producer Susan Hoffman. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at sets and locations, cast and performances, story/characters, music, editing and related topics.

While not a terrible chat, the commentary becomes a disappointment. The participants often focus on fairly tangential subjects and they don’t give us a ton of insight. We learn enough about the movie to make the track worth a listen, but it fails to deliver a lot of substance and it becomes less involving as it goes.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find four interviews. The first comes from director Barbet Schroeder and delivers a 27-minute, 20-second look at what led him to the project, story and themes, the source novel and its adaptation, cast and performances, sets and photography, editing, and the film’s release.

Inevitably, some of the information from the commentary repeats here. Nonetheless, Barbet offers a lot of good notes, and he makes this a frank, enjoyable piece, one that I think brings much better material than the mediocre commentary.

Next comes an interview with screenwriter Don Roos. In his 25-minute, 41-second piece, he discusses aspects of his career and how he got this film, adapting the source, aspects of the script and various storytelling techniques, cast, characters and performances, working with Schroeder, and other elements of his experience.

Again, we find a valuable chat. Roos seems honest and expansive as he goes over his time on the film.

The final two interviews come from performers, so we hear from actor Peter Friedman (7:17) and actor Steven Weber (19:41). Across these, they go over how they got onto the film and their characters/performances as well as aspects of their time on the shoot.

Given its extra running time, it comes as no surprise that Weber’s chat offers the highest level of information. Both pieces work pretty well, though, and give us useful notes from the actors’ perspectives.

One of the best-known “psycho woman” thrillers, Single White Female turns into a decent effort but not better than that. While its cast adds class, the movie seems too rote to turn into anything really impactful. The Blu-ray comes with mostly positive picture and audio as well as a useful collection of supplements. Female keeps us with it but doesn’t rise to a level of greatness.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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