Sideways (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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Old 02-13-2009, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109941&d=1210373637

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

77






Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2004
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 127 Minutes
Genre: Dramedy

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French/Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:English SDH, French, Korean, Mandarin, Portuguese, Cantonese
Starring: Thomas Haden Church, Paul Giamatti, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh
Directed by: Alexander Payne
Music by: Rolfe Kent
Written by: Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 3, 2009







"In search of wine, women and ultimately themselves"



Film Synopsis:

A wine tasting road trip to salute Jack’s (Church) final days as a bachelor careens woefully sideways as he and his friend Miles (Giamatti) hit the gas en route to mid-life crises. The comically mismatched pair, who share little more than their history and a heady blend of failed potential and fading youth, soon find themselves drowning in wine, women and laughter!



My Take:

attachment.php?attachmentid=133443&d=1234546410

The first time I heard about Sideways was during the Academy Awards the year that it was nominated. I didn’t see it theatrically although I am a fan of both Haden Church and Giamatti. Jack and Miles have been friends since college and share a friendship bond that is strong. In looking at them they appear to be two very different people and in some ways they are but in many ways they’re not. It’s obvious right away that they have a give and take relationship that seems to compliment their strengths and weaknesses. Jack is a moderately successful actor whose moment in the sun came when he played a doctor on a popular soap opera. Lately he has been doing voice over work in commercial ads which he thinks is demeaning. He and his fiancé Christine are getting married in a week and his best friend Miles has come up with the idea of them going away to wine country. Miles is unassuming in most regards but when it comes to wine he fancies himself an intellectual. He has been being divorced from his ex-wife Victoria for two years. He is still in love with her and has been struggling emotionally since. He wrote a novel but has had no luck getting it published.

Miles has the entire week of wine tasting, fine food and golfing planned for the two of them. Jack on the other hand is feeling a little trapped, insecure, and unsure of what married life has in store for him. He has one thing and one thing only on his mind. He wants to hook up with some women and do the thing one last time before getting married. Once they arrive in the Santa Ynez Valley they meet Stephanie (Oh) and Maya (Madsen). Maya works at a local restaurant and shares Miles’ enthusiasm for wine. She is recently divorced, bright, and not particularly looking for romance. Miles has known Maya from previous visits to the restaurant and has always been attracted to her. Stephanie is a single mother who works in a local winery and seems pretty open to having a good time. At Jack’s insistence they all go out. Jack and Stephanie hit it off which leaves Miles and Maya to figure out what, if anything, there could be between them. As things progress the web becomes pretty tangled for all of them which results in some rather embarrassing and hysterically funny situations.

Sideways is a buddy flick plain and simple. Here are two guys that perfectly compliment one another. Miles is emotionally stunted, depressed and hasn’t been with anyone since his divorce. Jack has a devil may care attitude, is very immature, and rarely thinks things through. Both men are insecure about their futures and are searching for something. I find this to be a film that I can watch over again that never seems to lose its luster. Miles and Jack are two sides of a coin. One doesn’t work without the other. These are two wonderfully drawn and interesting characters that are as human as they come. Thomas Haden Church and Paul Giamatti play them to perfection. I don’t think that either is the leading man type. Like Miles and Jack their performances complimented one another which is one reason why this film works so well. The other is the superb writing (co-written by Jim Taylor) and direction by Alexander Payne. The situations and dialogue are sprinkled with a great blend of humanity, drama, and humor (both in your face and subtle). It was great to see Jack come full circle and Miles to come to the realization that you can’t hold onto the past forever. The story evolved in a satisfying (and sometimes hilarious) way that allowed the audience to really look at these two men. They were very much like people in our own lives who are flawed but have redeeming quality that make lovable nonetheless. This is one of my favorite films and I am so glad to see it released in high definition on Blu-ray Disc.




Parental Guide:

The rating is for language, some strong sexual content and nudity.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 72



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692



Video: 82


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692
attachment.php?attachmentid=133442&d=1234546410

Sideways comes to Blu-ray Disc from Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 33 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 4 mbps.

By its nature this is not a film that is going to look razor sharp with eye popping definition and deep image penetration. It was shot using filtering that gives the video a noticeably soft, hazy cast that gives it a bit of a dull finish. During certain scenes this accentuates film grain which can make backgrounds appear noisy. Grain is preserved naturally and helps give it a textured and filmic quality. Images are resolved cleanly with no apparent signs of artificial enhancement. Primary colors stand out while secondary colors are a step below in saturation. The balance works well with the other aspects of the film’s appearance. Fleshtones are natural looking with appreciable delineation and warm tonality. Contrast runs a little hot but was rarely an issue. Black levels and shadow detail were respectable which provided dark segments with ample depth. This soundtrack is nearly entirely driven by dialogue and only occasionally uses the surround platform for the enhancement of spatial dimension. Every aspect of its audio presentation was delivered with definitive clarity and appropriate focus so that even minute details within the recording were discernible.




Bonus Features:


  • Commentary by Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church

  • 8 Deleted scenes

  • Making of featurette (6 minutes)
attachment.php?attachmentid=133444&d=1234546410



Final Thoughts:

Sideways is a well written, directed and acted film that examines a brief moment in the lives of two men that provides an intimate look at who they are and how the events that occur in that moment gives them an opportunity to examine themselves. The film, as in life portrays them in a way that we can all relate to on some level. It is funny, shocking, and charming all at the same time. Audio/video quality isn’t the type that will be used to show off you’re A/V system but I am sure that this Blu-ray Disc from Fox gets viewers closer to its theatrical presentation than ever. Bonus features are the same as those from the 2005 DVD release and don’t offer much. Regardless this is film worth adding to your collection.








attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:33 PM
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One of the funnier movies i've seen.
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Old 02-13-2009, 01:53 PM
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Yes, I pre-ordered this blu-ray and am quite pleased with it. I think some people expect too much from these smaller budget films. No, it will not set records for being technically dazzling, but it more than makes up for that by being an excellent movie.
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Old 02-13-2009, 07:18 PM
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I believe that this either is the best or at least one of the best movies that came out that year. It remains as one of my favorite movies and will stay in that list for a long time.
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Old 02-14-2009, 02:52 AM
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good review, since I already had dvd version that did not show the good PQ ana SQ much,So I will pass this BD.This film is very fun and about friendships and wine.Thanks.
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Old 02-16-2009, 10:01 PM
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Ralph, you gained a lot of credibility in my eyes by giving it a 5/5...not that you were LACKING in credibility of course, it's just that I'm now going to pay even more attention to your reviews than I did before This is one of my favorite films ever, and everyone I know loved it. I have seen it several times and it holds up very well with each viewing. I tend to put this film in the same category as something like "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang"...different genre, but just screaming with rich, well-developed characters and very well-rounded overall. Both films can have you busting a gut one minute, and then have you feeling an entirely different emotion the next. Excellent acting, superb direction, and both leave you feeling very satisfied as a movie-goer.

Great film, and great job!
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Old 02-17-2009, 02:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

By its nature this is not a film that is going to look razor sharp with eye popping definition and deep image penetration. It was shot using filtering that gives the video a noticeably soft, hazy cast that gives it a bit of a dull finish

funny you mention this aspect- "hazy cast". I think it lends itself well to creating the "sunny California" look and feel. This was one of the things that I (sub-consiously) picked-up on when I first watched this movie. I was very surprised how well the director captured certain physical aspects of the California environment. This movie is one of my all time favorites, seriously. I can watch it multiple times and get the same enjoyment each time.........
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Old 02-18-2009, 07:50 AM
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I can watch it multiple times and get the same enjoyment each time.........

damn right!
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Old 03-02-2009, 12:38 PM
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damn right!

Huge 2nd!
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:55 PM
 
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Oh! I love this movie.

Sandra Oh is awesome!
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Old 05-05-2012, 08:14 PM
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Oh! I love this movie.

Sandra Oh is awesome!

Sandra Oh is a treasure -- and since buying and watching "Sideways" last week, I've been buying DVDs of films with her in them. Another that is excellent (don't let the topic -- strippers -- fool you) is "Dancing at the Blue Iguana".

And another, in which I firs saw her -- though the greater delight in it is the 12-year-old -- is "Long Life, Happiness and Prosperity".

Even in films not so good she is a standout. Even when only in a supporting role ("Under the Tuscan Sun" -- which is a better-than-good film).
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Old 05-31-2012, 12:55 PM
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I saw this twice in the cinema. Don't know if I'll buy the Blu-Ray given that.
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Old 06-12-2012, 10:04 AM
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I've never seen this one but based on Ralph's review I think a blind buy is in order. I do like the cast and it looks like the kind of movie my wife and I would enjoy.

Thanks, Ralph! cool.gif

oz
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ozar View Post

I've never seen this one but based on Ralph's review I think a blind buy is in order. I do like the cast and it looks like the kind of movie my wife and I would enjoy.
Thanks, Ralph! cool.gif

Greetings,

My pleasure ozar. Be sure to post back with your impressions once you have seen it!

Regards,

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