The Ides Of March (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
Official AVS Blu-ray Disc Reviews > The Ides Of March (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review
Lee Weber's Avatar Lee Weber 07:06 PM 01-19-2012
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The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373697

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373697

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

92






Studio and Year: Columbia Pictures 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 101 minutes
Genre: Drama


Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: George Clooney, Paul Giamatti, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Marisa Tomei, Evan Rachel Wood, Jeffrey Wright
Directed by: George Clooney
Music by: Alexandre Desplat
Written By: George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Beau Willimon
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 17, 2011







"Is This Man Our Next President?"



Film Synopsis:

An idealistic staffer for a newbie presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail.




My Take:

Beware the endless circle of corruption that is politics. No matter how idealistic, how pure and true the intentions, you eventually get tainted by the crowd you hang with. In The Ides of March, we follow Stephen Meyers, played with precision by Ryan Gosling (Drive), as he works the campaign of Democratic Presidential hopeful, Governor Mike Morris (Clooney). The young Meyers has quite the reputation as a great advisor, so much so that he is courted by the opposing candidate's campaign manager Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti). When word gets out he took the meeting with Duffy, he is confronted by Morris' campaign manager and his boss Paul Zara played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. This sets forth events that will test this young mans resolve and push him to realize that even the so-called "ethical" politicians he looks up to get their hands dirty.

The film was pushed as a thriller/drama, and I must report it was a gritty political melodrama, not a thriller at all. This didn't disappoint me as I was fully engaged in the well fleshed-out characters that were brilliantly brought to life by a superb cast. The mental battle of the campaign managers Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman) Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti) and their banter was great. George Clooney was pitch-perfect as Governor Mike Morris who was torn between what he believes and what he has to do.

Clooney proves he is a very competent director, methodically pacing the film, creating an uncomfortable off kilter feeling as we await the next move in the game of political chess. Cinematographer Phedon Papamichael (The Descendants, W.) created some beautiful images that are not only striking, but serve the story incredibly well. This is an all around great film on the political layers within the world of politics.






Parental Guide:

Rated R for pervasive language.





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: 90



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373694

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373698

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373697

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373697

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373697


Video: 94



  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373697

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373698

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373698

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=121037369
The Ides of March campaigns on Blu-ray Disc from Sony Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 36.6 mbps and DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Sound that has an average bitrate of 3.0 mbps.

What a gorgeous looking transfer from Sony. Black levels are as good as it gets, with no crush or loss of shadow detail. The contrast of mixed content like a dark bar and a door to a bright outside is outstanding, and one look at the Charlie Rose scene confirms this is a reference quality and filmic presentation. Film grain mingles with crisp high definition images adding a level of depth, while vibrant colors and natural flesh tones add beauty to the image. I cant boast as much on the DTS-HD MA audio track but that is because this is primarily a talkie. Dialogue sure is crisp and articulate, always in front of the mix. Surrounds play with the requisite amount of ambiance and low frequencies are strong when their limit use rears it head. Alexandre Desplat's score sounds amazing here, adding tension to every scene. A fine track indeed, but a system show-off it is not.


Bonus Features:



  • (HD) Audio Commentary with George Clooney and Grant Heslov

  • (HD) Developing the Campaign: The Origin of The Ides of March

  • (HD) What Does a Political Consultant Do?

  • (HD) Believe: George Clooney

  • (HD) On The Campaign: The Cast of The Ides Of March

  • (HD) Trailers: Drive, Moneyball, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Anonymos, The Rum Diary

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy

  • BD Live enabled





Final Thoughts:

The Ides of March is a film I am glad to have in my collection. Clooney has taken a big step forward as a director here, and he and the rest of the cast are all superb. Sony nails this transfer as it easily gets reference marks with this awesome High Definition release. The extra features are a bit lacking with only a short 7 featurettes. However, a commentary and a digital copy are included. This release comes highly recommended. Enjoy.






attachment.php?attachmentid=157497&d=1257542613







Lee Weber
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews




Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS45 3D 1080p 3D High Definition Front Projector
Screen Innovations Solar HD 1.3 120" 2.40:1 CinemaScope Screen
Denon AVR 4311 Pre/Pro
Sunfire Theater Grand 7201 Amplifier
Sony PS3 Slim Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
MK Sound S-150MKII LCR
MK Sound S-150T Tripole Surrounds
MK Sound MX-350MKII Subwoofer

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Ralph Potts's Avatar Ralph Potts 07:36 PM 01-19-2012
Greetings,

Thanks Lee.

Regards,
gonzalc3's Avatar gonzalc3 07:57 PM 01-19-2012
Great review Lee!

I watched it last Tuesday and couldn't agree more with your ratings.. I really liked this movie...

Cheers,

C
Georgeb's Avatar Georgeb 10:33 AM 01-20-2012
Hey, Lee, you finally got a decent movie to review. This one is already in my collection.
spiritfox's Avatar spiritfox 10:44 AM 01-20-2012
Enjoyed the review, Lee. I watched this one last night and agree. Especially the part about the political melodrama. I was thinking this morning that it was billed as a political thriller and also wondered exactly what the thriller part was--melodrama is a perfect description. An enjoyable watch.
Djoel's Avatar Djoel 10:50 AM 01-20-2012
Thanks for the review Lee , looks like quite the movie..Will be looking for a rent.

Djoel
laugsbach's Avatar laugsbach 11:40 AM 01-20-2012
Thanks Lee...I enjoyed the movie and it was fun picking out all the places around my hometown.
JamE55's Avatar JamE55 02:38 PM 01-20-2012
Saw this in the theatre when it first came out and glad i did.

To say this movie had a powerful casts is an understatement. And mix them all together with a great script and bam!!

This somewhat reminded me of the movie The Firm because of it's twists and turns and certain scene which is exactly like The Firm.

Best scene for me in this movie was the interaction between Ryan and George in the kitchen. I thought the kitchen would explode. lol!

Definite collect for me and didn't see any downside at all.

Cheers
rob_j_l's Avatar rob_j_l 05:41 PM 01-20-2012
going to watch it now, looking forward to it
rdgrimes's Avatar rdgrimes 08:56 PM 01-20-2012
Excellent PQ on this title, although contrast is a bit high. (I suspect this was by design). I wish all releases looked as good. Very enjoyable story.
Summa's Avatar Summa 05:25 AM 01-22-2012
Unbelievable...I just wrote what I thought was one of the best reviews I've ever written, but the palm of my hand hit a button on my keyboard and *poof*, it all went bye-bye....AAARRRGH!!!

I will try to re-write it later on, cause I would really enjoy hearing some takes on my point of view of the film. I will tell you guys how I started it, however. What I said at first was that I looked forward to this film very much, and the film kept me entertained and interested throughout. But do I consider it a good film and worthy of the praise it's received? Absolutely not. It's completely unrealistic and absurd in its premise, and Ryan Gosling's character was the problem. I will try to revisit my thoughts on the film and share them with you later on after I've had some sleep....right now it's like 7am and I'm coming off an all-nighter lol.
Ralph Potts's Avatar Ralph Potts 05:39 AM 01-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa View Post

Unbelievable...I just wrote what I thought was one of the best reviews I've ever written, but the palm of my hand hit a button on my keyboard and *poof*, it all went bye-bye....AAARRRGH!!!

I will try to re-write it later on, cause I would really enjoy hearing some takes on my point of view of the film. I will tell you guys how I started it, however. What I said at first was that I looked forward to this film very much, and the film kept me entertained and interested throughout. But do I consider it a good film and worthy of the praise it's received? Absolutely not. It's completely unrealistic and absurd in its premise, and Ryan Gosling's character was the problem. I will try to revisit my thoughts on the film and share them with you later on after I've had some sleep....right now it's like 7am and I'm coming off an all-nighter lol.

Greetings,

Sounds good Summa. Get some sleep!

Regards,
Summa's Avatar Summa 05:53 AM 01-22-2012
Dang, right when I got into bed, I found that my head was racing lol....I need to get this out I guess....it won't be as articulate as what I first wrote, but I'll try to capture the gist of my take....spoiler tags are provided free of charge

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
So listen, here's the set-up for the film, as Lee mentions in his excellent review: "An idealistic staffer for a newbie presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail." So let's think about this. We're talking about a main character who is a 30 year old political strategist for one of the two top Democratic candidates for President of the United States. Political advisers at this level are not steeped in naivete, people. Quite the contrary. They are some of the most seasoned, intelligent, and AWARE people in their field. Phillip Seymour Hoffman's character actually gives an account of a situation early on in his political career that would have been a FAR better platform for a film about someone's idealism. He talks about a situation with an unknown politician and how what transpired early on in his career led to where he was at today. So that's my first main problem with the film considering it's Gosling's idealism that is the focus....it's just the wrong situation and setting.

Second, in order for one's idealism to be affected, there has to be an innate motivation or drive toward some sort of goal or desired outcome, and in this case it's entirely absent. There is not some ultimate goal that Gosling is scheming for, only to realize that he must abandon his ideals in order to achieve it, thus pulling a darth vader and turning to the machiavellian "dark side". In fact, the character is entirely absent of motivation for any greater attainment. He is simply caught up in events that he really had nothing to do with and the guy was put in the position of having to use the only leverage he had in order to keep a job, lol. The whole scene at the end where his expression in the chair is supposed to be symbolic of his turn from a content idealist to some hardened, emotionless "ends justify the means" person is just ridiculous! I mean, wow, what a shock it must have been for him to be hit with the hard reality that people in politics aren't all truthful, loyal, trustworthy, or ethical! I know that for me it was a real surprise to learn that politicians have affairs, or lie, or cover things up, or put a spin on a story before they hit the papers.....I mean seriously, come on. This film requires greater suspension of disbelief than a superhero flick, or one where someone that looks like Jack Black ends up getting the hot girl to fall for him in the end!

Politicians who reach this level of status in their field don't have halos hovering above their heads...they lie, cheat and steal in order to get ahead, and that shouldn't be a secret to anyone. The whole scenario here is just completely unrealistic, and when I realized that this film was about to end when it did, I was completely bummed. What I thought was just the set up for something more realistic and dramatic ended up being the actual story arc, and I'm sorry but it just didn't sell me on the idea in the slightest.


Thumbs way, way down for me guys.
Franin's Avatar Franin 07:45 AM 01-22-2012
Thanks for the review Ralph, I will definitley give this a go.
Lee Weber's Avatar Lee Weber 07:52 AM 01-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa View Post

Dang, right when I got into bed, I found that my head was racing lol....I need to get this out I guess....it won't be as articulate as what I first wrote, but I'll try to capture the gist of my take....spoiler tags are provided free of charge

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
So listen, here's the set-up for the film, as Lee mentions in his excellent review: "An idealistic staffer for a newbie presidential candidate gets a crash course on dirty politics during his stint on the campaign trail." So let's think about this. We're talking about a main character who is a 30 year old political strategist for one of the two top Democratic candidates for President of the United States. Political advisers at this level are not steeped in naivete, people. Quite the contrary. They are some of the most seasoned, intelligent, and AWARE people in their field. Phillip Seymour Hoffman's character actually gives an account of a situation early on in his political career that would have been a FAR better platform for a film about someone's idealism. He talks about a situation with an unknown politician and how what transpired early on in his career led to where he was at today. So that's my first main problem with the film considering it's Gosling's idealism that is the focus....it's just the wrong situation and setting.

Second, in order for one's idealism to be affected, there has to be an innate motivation or drive toward some sort of goal or desired outcome, and in this case it's entirely absent. There is not some ultimate goal that Gosling is scheming for, only to realize that he must abandon his ideals in order to achieve it, thus pulling a darth vader and turning to the machiavellian "dark side". In fact, the character is entirely absent of motivation for any greater attainment. He is simply caught up in events that he really had nothing to do with and the guy was put in the position of having to use the only leverage he had in order to keep a job, lol. The whole scene at the end where his expression in the chair is supposed to be symbolic of his turn from a content idealist to some hardened, emotionless "ends justify the means" person is just ridiculous! I mean, wow, what a shock it must have been for him to be hit with the hard reality that people in politics aren't all truthful, loyal, trustworthy, or ethical! I know that for me it was a real surprise to learn that politicians have affairs, or lie, or cover things up, or put a spin on a story before they hit the papers.....I mean seriously, come on. This film requires greater suspension of disbelief than a superhero flick, or one where someone that looks like Jack Black ends up getting the hot girl to fall for him in the end!

Politicians who reach this level of status in their field don't have halos hovering above their heads...they lie, cheat and steal in order to get ahead, and that shouldn't be a secret to anyone. The whole scenario here is just completely unrealistic, and when I realized that this film was about to end when it did, I was completely bummed. What I thought was just the set up for something more realistic and dramatic ended up being the actual story arc, and I'm sorry but it just didn't sell me on the idea in the slightest.


Thumbs way, way down for me guys.


All you points are well thought out and valid. Where my impressions of the film differed was that he knows they all lie and cheat, but he finally found a guy he believes in. There is a scene where he even says how his feelings for the Senator differ from the norm and why.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Hoffman's character (not Golsing's) was the main advisor for a reason, he was seasoned and would never cave-in to the belief system the younger advisor did. Almost everything that happens in the film is because of the 2 opposing lead advisors (Hoffman and Giamatti) moves. From the "secret" meeting to the firing...

Now as you said,
Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa View Post

"Politicians who reach this level of status in their field don't have halos hovering above their heads...they lie, cheat and steal".

The character of Governor Mike Morris did in fact try his best to not be corrupt. He knows what the other do, talks about it and tries not to cave in. His big mistake was with the girl, not the politics. Gosling and Clooney turn to "the darkside" at similar times. The point was as hard as some guys might try to do the right thing--"George Clooney was pitch-perfect as Governor Mike Morris who was torn between what he believes and what he has to do." -- they end up playing the game to get ahead otherwise the support will go to the guy who does.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa View Post

"The whole scenario here is just completely unrealistic, and when I realized that this film was about to end when it did, I was completely bummed. What I thought was just the set up for something more realistic and dramatic ended up being the actual story arc, and I'm sorry but it just didn't sell me on the idea in the slightest."

--I bet that story arch is a reality in Politics very very often; just most the time on a lower level of playing (like you said)


Thanks for sharing your thoughts Summa!
Ralph Potts's Avatar Ralph Potts 09:36 AM 01-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Franin View Post

Thanks for the review Ralph, I will definitley give this a go.

Greetings,

You're welcome Frank but the credit goes to Lee!

Regards,
Lee Weber's Avatar Lee Weber 10:37 AM 01-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

You're welcome Frank but the credit goes to Lee!

Regards,

Lee who???
Summa's Avatar Summa 03:01 PM 01-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Weber View Post

Lee who???

LOL...I think it's still weird for some of us when Lee reviews a non-crap film (i.e. Ralph's table scraps), but you have to give Lee credit for allowing us to have a sense of humor about it!

I definitely agree with you about Clooney's acting...he played the Morris character very well.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
I think I was ready to really dig my teeth into a gritty, dark political drama, but that's not what I felt I got. Based on my feelings about the film and what you wrote in response, maybe what they should have done was flesh-out the idealistic bond that Morris and Gosling's character shared, which can be done even without them having to interact on the screen. This was a relatively short running time, and I think developing the relationships a bit more may have made a difference, at least for me. I felt that I had a better far better feel for Giamatt's character than just about anyone else, and he had the least amt of screen time among the main characters.
I'm clearly in the minority here, and your review is very much in line with the majority of other reviewers it seems....I guess I just had a bit of a disconnect here due to my expectations.
Summa's Avatar Summa 03:02 PM 01-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Weber View Post


--I bet that story arch is a reality in Politics very very often; just most the time on a lower level of playing (like you said)

Definitely agree
Franin's Avatar Franin 10:16 PM 01-22-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

You're welcome Frank but the credit goes to Lee!

Regards,

lol sorry Lee.
Ralph Potts's Avatar Ralph Potts 03:22 AM 01-23-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Weber View Post

Lee who???

Greetings,



C'mon now partner. Your contribution is surely appreciated by the masses. They tease you but it's all good.

Regarding the crap films I have gotten and continue to review my fair share. The primary difference is in the number of reviews I post versus Lee who doesn't get as many.

We are working on trying to get him deeper coverage hence more opportunity for "non crap" films.

Speaking for both of us we deeply appreciate those who read our reviews and look forward to bringing you more in 2012.

Best regards,
Summa's Avatar Summa 04:40 AM 01-23-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,



C'mon now partner. Your contribution is surely appreciated by the masses. They tease you but it's all good.

Regarding the crap films I have gotten and continue to review my fair share. The primary difference is in the number of reviews I post versus Lee who doesn't get as many.

We are working on trying to get him deeper coverage hence more opportunity for "non crap" films.

Speaking for both of us we deeply appreciate those who read our reviews and look forward to bringing you more in 2012.

Best regards,

Agreed on all counts!

This has been my number one destination for bluray reviews for the past couple of years now...and that won't change anytime soon

All of the effort that you and Lee (and Marissa too!) put into these reviews is appreciated more than you know! As I've mentioned before, the only other reviewer I ever read that so closely approximated my own take was Harry Knowles, and he's a distant second. I can honestly only think of two or three times over the past couple years where I felt significantly differently about a film than you did.

The fact that the opposite is typically the case with Lee is part of what makes this forum so great, though! It's good to have variation, and I'm sure that others find themselves consistently agreeing with Lee's reviews just as I do with yours. It's definitely a lot of fun to give him a hard time here and there, and the humor that we can all share in as a result is another aspect that makes this a really great forum.

2012 is gonna be another great year in here!!
Chewbacco's Avatar Chewbacco 07:21 AM 01-23-2012
For the record, political "thrillers" are real low on my list of favorite movies, but I read Lee's review and decided to give it a shot, and I really enjoyed the movie...not enough to buy it ..but it was done really well.
That said, if it wasn't for Ralph and Lee, I would have missed a lot of good movies, or seen many more bad ones.
Guys, I look forward to your reviews, no matter if they're blockbusters or really bad "B" movies.
Many thanks for your efforts!.
Rach's Avatar Rach 09:24 AM 01-23-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chewbacco View Post

For the record, political "thrillers" are real low on my list of favorite movies, but I read Lee's review and decided to give it a shot, and I really enjoyed the movie...not enough to buy it ..but it was done really well.
That said, if it wasn't for Ralph and Lee, I would have missed a lot of good movies, or seen many more bad ones.
Guys, I look forward to your reviews, no matter if they're blockbusters or really bad "B" movies.
Many thanks for your efforts!.

I agree with this...good enough to watch once but not to buy.
Franin's Avatar Franin 11:39 PM 07-02-2012
Finally will get a chance to watch this tomorrow night. Looking forward to it too
FieldingMelish's Avatar FieldingMelish 04:07 AM 07-03-2012
Lee, I don't get "Rated R for pervasive language." Perverse, I can understand. Dirty language, bad words, etc, yes. But pervasive?

Thesaurus states synonyms: prevalent, pervading, permeating, extensive, ubiquitous, omnipresent, universal, rife, widespread, general. David Mamet's work features pervasive language. smile.gif
Lee Weber's Avatar Lee Weber 10:47 AM 07-03-2012
Quote:
Originally Posted by FieldingMelish View Post

Lee, I don't get "Rated R for pervasive language." Perverse, I can understand. Dirty language, bad words, etc, yes. But pervasive?
Thesaurus states synonyms: prevalent, pervading, permeating, extensive, ubiquitous, omnipresent, universal, rife, widespread, general. David Mamet's work features pervasive language. smile.gif

Mr Melish, it is quite Bananas that the MPAA would make such a blunder. Let's go get em'!!
FieldingMelish's Avatar FieldingMelish 08:48 AM 07-09-2012
lol, lemme at 'em! ... coming out swingin' smile.gif

We'll also throw some pervasive language around. eek.gif
Franin's Avatar Franin 10:32 AM 07-26-2012
fantastic film kept me entertained right to end. Great cast as well.c
Fastfwd's Avatar Fastfwd 10:14 AM 03-18-2013
Caught this over the weekend from Redbox; as noted there were some eye pleasing scenes captured on ‘film’ that transferred well to Blu-ray imho. Speaking of, Evan Rachel Wood charmed me in this like I have not seen her before – although I haven’t followed her really closely. Caught The Wrestler, 13, etc. and sort of took note of her relationship with Marilyn Manson. Suppose it caught my attention that she was into older guys in her personal life. She’s quite attractive and it plays well into the story.

Boy, do I ever wish I didn’t feel like I could relate to this one in terms of the story btw. Wow! I’m not sure how entirely believable it is that this young gun would rise to the level that he was at before he got burned in an entanglement with politics, but maybe that is my personally cynical viewpoint on the topic. I might hope that my impression of politics is particularly negative and this is a more believable scenario than what I might believe.

Anyway, it does take some twists and turns that make a pretty entertaining ride nonetheless. The look on Ryan Gosling’s face at the end conveyed an appreciable emotion and struck me as pretty impressive for him as an actor to be able to pull it off so well.
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