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post #1 of 14 Old 03-21-2013, 08:24 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
85





Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 98 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 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, Scarlett Johansson, Toni Collette, Danny Huston, Jessica Biel, Michael Stuhlbarg, James D’Arcy
Directed by: Sacha Gervasi
Music by: Danny Elfman
Written by: John J. McLaughlin based on the book “Alfred Hitchcock and the making of Psycho” by Stephen Rebello
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 12, 2013







"Behind every psycho is a great woman"


Film Synopsis:

Oscar® winners Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren* are spellbinding in this provocative story about the making of one of cinema’s most iconic films. Plagued by both a reckless ego and nagging self-doubt, Hollywood legend Alfred Hitchcock (Hopkins) becomes obsessed with a grisly murder story that the studios won’t back. Determined, he risks his reputation, his home and even the love of his wife Alma (Mirren), as he sets out to make the film. Ultimately, Hitch wins Alma over, and the two collaborate to create an enduring masterpiece – Psycho.


My Take:

Alfred Hitchcock, a name synonymous with masterful filmmaking is recognized the world over for some of the best movies to come out of Hollywood. He pioneered many techniques in the suspense and psychological thriller genres via a distinctive and recognizable directorial style developed over a career spanning more than 50 years. I am most decidedly a fan and was intrigued when I saw the trailer for Hitchcock. Based on the book “Alfred Hitchcock and the making of Psycho” by Stephen Rebello this autobiographical drama takes a snapshot of Hitch’s life later in his career while he was at the pinnacle of success having just finished “North by northwest”.

He is looking for a new project but is desirous of a new direction, something unlike his previous works. He comes across the book “Psycho” which is based on the crimes of the serial killer, Ed Gein. The film’s plot focuses on centers on the relationship between Hitchcock and his wife Alma during the development and making of Psycho. The depiction of their collaborative partnership as well as some of the intimate details regarding their marriage is a bit melodramatic but interestingly informative. Seeing the process that brought Psycho, a controversial horror thriller that became one of Hitchcock’s most acclaimed and influential works, to life proves to be the highlight. What I didn’t care for was the decision to include an odd interplay between Hitchcock and his conjured vision of serial killer Ed Gein. I found it unnecessary, a little silly and a distraction.

In reality Hitchcock is more or less a love story where the making of Psycho serves as the backdrop. It does a good job establishing the primary characters while effectively underpinning the tumultuous ins/outs associated with Hitchcock’s quest to reinvigorate the genre he helped make popular. In addition to Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren who are both equally good in their portrayals the cast is loaded with talent including the likes of Scarlett Johansson, Jessica Biel, Toni Collette, Michael Stuhbarg and James D’Arcy. If I am being honest Hitchcock wasn’t really what I was expecting. At first glance it would seem to be a biopic, and it is, however its focus is quite narrow and leaves so much about his life/works out. Be that as it may, it aptly supports its 98 minute runtime thanks to solid performances and the interest found in the subject matter.


Parental Guide:

The rating is for some violent images, sexual content and thematic material.



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.**


Audio: 80

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


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

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 90

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


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699


Hitchcock comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.

This is a high quality video presentation that seems a perfect match for the source material. Colors are deeply saturated with eye pleasing vitality and delineated depth. Images are resolute, with stable sharpness, crisp detail and appreciable subtle refinement. Certain scenes appeared better resolved than others although I suspect this is related to the photography and not the encoding. Contrast is dynamic without being overpowering and blacks are respectable in depth with discernible detail in low lighting and shadows. I didn’t see any signs of video related artifacts and thought that in general video quality was excellent.

The lossless soundtrack competently renders the elements present in the recording. Dialogue is well intonated with crystal clarity and discerning room penetration. The presentation delivers an open soundstage across the front with definitive channel separation and ample dynamic range. Surround use is limited to spatial cues and occasional panning effects that enhance dimension. There aren’t any sub bass frequencies contained in the mix however the subwoofer is used to provide low bass emphasis that extends the low range content associated with the soundtrack.


Bonus Features:

  • (HD) Deleted scene

  • (HD) Becoming the master: From Hopkins to Hitchcock – 12 minute featurette

  • (HD) Obsessed with Hitchcock – 29 minute featurette

  • Sacha Gervasi’s behind the scenes cell phone footage – 13 minutes

  • (HD) Hitchcock cell phone PSA

  • (HD) The story – 4 minute production featurette

  • (HD) The cast – 4 minute production featurette

  • (HD) Danny Elfman maestro – 2 minutes

  • (HD) Hitch and Alma – 3 minute production featurette

  • (HD) Remembering Hitchcock – 4 minutes

  • Audio commentary with director Sacha Gervasi and author Stephen Rebello

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer

  • Bonus DVD

  • Digital Copy




Final Thoughts:

Based on the book “Alfred Hitchcock and the making of Psycho” by Stephen Rebello this autobiographical drama takes a snapshot of Hitch’s life chronicling aspects of his marriage to Alma as well as detailing the making of arguably his most acclaimed and influential work, Psycho. Hitchcock isn’t a perfect film however director Sacha Gervasi’s passion for the subject coupled with solid casting/strong performances from leads Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren more than make up for its shortcomings resulting in a decent drama/love story. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring rewarding high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound and a complimentary supplemental offering. This is well worth a rental for Hitchcock fans.





attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 14 Old 03-21-2013, 10:18 AM
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It's Fox. Damn. That means no extras except at retail. *sigh*

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post #3 of 14 Old 03-21-2013, 12:47 PM
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I picked this up blind on a visit to Costco last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see this review as this film was pretty much under the radar. Thanks Ralph!

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post #4 of 14 Old 03-21-2013, 03:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve S View Post

I picked this up blind on a visit to Costco last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see this review as this film was pretty much under the radar. Thanks Ralph!

For me, this will be an interesting companion piece to THE GIRL (making THE BIRDS and MARNIE) with Toby Jones as Hitch. Always enjoy seeing two different actors giving their own interpretation of the same character. (I'm guessing that Hopkins is more "loveable" but we'll see.)

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post #5 of 14 Old 03-22-2013, 02:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve S View Post

I picked this up blind on a visit to Costco last week and thoroughly enjoyed it. I was actually pleasantly surprised to see this review as this film was pretty much under the radar. Thanks Ralph!

Greetings,

Sure thing Steve. smile.gif


Cinema13, I look forward to hearing your take once you have seen it..


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post #6 of 14 Old 03-22-2013, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cinema13 View Post

For me, this will be an interesting companion piece to THE GIRL (making THE BIRDS and MARNIE) with Toby Jones as Hitch. Always enjoy seeing two different actors giving their own interpretation of the same character. (I'm guess that Hopkins is more "loveable" but we'll see.)

That was one of the reasons I bought Hitchcock. Hitchcock does address the same issue brought up in The Girl, in some ways downright creepily, but it's not the main subject matter of the film, more of a disturbing side-note.

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post #7 of 14 Old 03-22-2013, 12:46 PM
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Damn these studio delays...won't be available to rent anywhere for another 2 weeks...only to get a bare-bones, stripped-down version for the trouble. So I put in for a rental at 3D-BluRay. (God, how I miss real, walk-in video stores...it's so difficult to be able to rent a movie these days...hell, even the only area Redbox has been out-of-order for over a week. )

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post #8 of 14 Old 03-22-2013, 12:51 PM
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Ralph, I was planning to buy this title until I read in another review that they didn't have permission to re-create any of the scenes used in 'Psycho'. Since the story uses the backdrop of that film, how were they able to effectively handle that?

'Psycho' was so far ahead of its time, I was hoping they would go into greater detail on how it was produced. Also, after seeing 'The Girl', I'm not real keen on seeing a mostly fictional character study of Hitchcock's marriage.

Thanks!
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post #9 of 14 Old 03-22-2013, 01:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adpayne View Post

Ralph, I was planning to buy this title until I read in another review that they didn't have permission to re-create any of the scenes used in 'Psycho'. Since the story uses the backdrop of that film, how were they able to effectively handle that?

'Psycho' was so far ahead of its time, I was hoping they would go into greater detail on how it was produced. Also, after seeing 'The Girl', I'm not real keen on seeing a mostly fictional character study of Hitchcock's marriage.

Thanks!

Greetings,

I am not sure what they mean by "re-create" but there are several scenes from Psycho that are referenced (meaning showing them being shot) in this film.


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post #10 of 14 Old 04-03-2013, 07:31 AM
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I enjoyed the film, but obviously much more fictional than THE GIRL..although much less salacious. I would have preferred to see more of D'Arcy's Tony Perkins and Macchio's Joe Stefano...they basically had one defining scene each...and the film instead was more concerned about Alms's flirtation with a writer. For those who miss Hannibal Lecter, during a scene directing Janet Leight. it's as if Lecter is speaking to Jodie Foster. Fun to see. An entertaining flick, even with the many liberties taken.

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post #11 of 14 Old 04-10-2013, 08:45 PM
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Will look more into this tomorrow when I’ve got downtime to read up. While I was watching this I was super impressed by not only the color palette of the movie that seemed to offer a terrific variety of colors without seeming like it was trying too hard to do so (even if it actually wasn’t), but just how good it looked for digital to my eyes.

I’ve been reading my HDVideoPro magazines again; and it probably lent to me questioning while watching if it had anything to do with refinements in post processing. I don’t know if it had a thing to do with my impression of the quality, but Hitchcock sure enough employed the Lightiron post processing featured in a recent issue:

http://www.fxguide.com/featured/hitchcock/

http://www.hdvideopro.com/post-production/workflow/set-etiquette.html

I’m sure my impression of it being an improvement in post is debatable, but that is just too funny to me to be reading these articles and seeing the results coming out commercially like this. Much less to see what kind of quality it can produce and it being so strikingly good!
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post #12 of 14 Old 04-11-2013, 05:37 AM
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Watched this yesterday. Hopkins is astonishing as Hitch. I think it helps if you grew up with Hitchcock, seeing him on TV every week and going to see the movies. But if you're not a huge Hitch fan, this film won't do much for you.
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post #13 of 14 Old 04-11-2013, 08:38 AM
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http://www.fxguide.com/featured/hitchcock/

Quoting that page:
Quote:
Ian Vertovec graded the film at Light Iron, this team have worked with Jeff Cronenweth on two other feature films. “So our relationship with Jeff is fairly significant. What we proposed on this film was not to have a DIT…or a lab, but to do everything on the Outpost cart with a single operator,” Cioni says, pointing out that not only was the process different but the various film’s that Cronenweth have shot and then graded with Light Iron have all been very different. “This film is a period piece…it is not desaturated – it looks period, with a sort of technicolor look, but it is modern, it is not a low saturated, sepia tone, ‘period look’. It has a classic feel but it has been modernized. This is very different – we wanted it to look modern – but with flavors of the past, – and that is what is cool about Hitchcock that does that blend very very nicely.”

“What you are seeing is the Epic, and very soft controlled lighting, and good color correction – good smooth, even nothing too heavy in the grading, nothing too contrasty. It has a lot of scenes that are warm and fuzzy, but a lot of this is Jeff just being a genius – he is out of control – he is good at this stuff,” Cioini states.

The movie initially was going to be shot on film, the director had actually planned to shoot on film, given the period nature of the material, after all the film Psycho was itself shot in black and white. Much of the production team came to Hitchcock from Oscar winner The Artist – which was also shot on film and in black and white. Cioni argues that film would be ‘obvious choice’, (even before the fat suit issues of being able to hide more in terms of prosthetics seams was factored in). It started at film but after “seeing heaps and heaps of tests the production chose Epic,” he says. “It just looked just as good as film, but it was even better in some ways – and also that it was faster….this was about what it meant to be able to direct an actor in a huge fat suit like this”, shooting quickly was key.

Oh, man, while I was watching this I was thinking the same thing – this was a movie that would have been a perfect candidate for being shot on film; true to the period, but the digital on this looks so good! I was questioning if it was possible this was one that was shot on film and the grain was removed with noise reduction, but the clarity of the high resolution digital source seemed too overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Not to dismiss the quality of other movies that choose a different stylistic approach with their digital films, but this movie struck a chord of being exceptionally well done. It might not have that deep, rich tone of film in the colors, but I was super impressed by the effort. They certainly seem to be making strides in perfecting the art of it. Granted, I’ve really just been tuned in to observing this since getting a new set at home with a consistent setup to judge by.
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post #14 of 14 Old 04-21-2013, 10:58 PM
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This was much more enjoyable than I thought it would be..a pleasant surprise. Anthony Hopkins...what can you say..my all time favorite actor!
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