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Vicky Cristina Barcelona (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
attachment.php?attachmentid=128588&d=1231191294
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

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

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109939&d=1210373637

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

78






Studio and Year: The Weinstein Company - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 97 Minutes
Genre: Drama/Romance

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: VC-1
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English 3.0 PCM
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall, Patricia Clarkson, Chris Messina
Written & Directed by: Woody Allen
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 27, 2009







"Life is the ultimate work of art"



Film Synopsis:

Oscar winner Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men), Oscar nominee Penelope Cruz (Volver) and Golden Globe nominee Scarlett Johansson (The Nanny Diaries) light up the stunning city of Barcelona in this sexy romantic comedy. Vicky and Cristina are two young Americans spending a summer in Spain, who meet a charming "Casanova" and his beautiful but volatile ex-wife. When they all become romantically entangled, the smoldering sparks begin to fly in hilarious fashion.




My Take:

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is considered a romantic comedy but its comedic side is more abstract than direct which is one of its strengths. The story revolves around two young women who decide to vacation in Barcelona Spain for two months in July and August. The two are good friends but are quite different. Vicky (Hall) is engaged to be married and is the reserved type who thinks things through. Cristina (Johansson) is outgoing, open, artistic, and impulsive. While at an art gallery Cristina sees a Spanish artist, Juan Antonio (Bardem) who she is attracted to but decides not to meet him. Later while the two are dining at a local restaurant they see him again. He approaches them and in a rather forward and confident way invites them both to travel with him to Oviedo for the weekend. He describes them as two beautiful women and is direct about his desire to sleep with them both. Vicky’s response was that she didn’t appreciate his candor and that he assumed too much. Cristina on the other hand found him charming and expressed interest in going. Long story short they end up going with Vicky stating emphatically that she is there only to keep an eye on Cristina. As the three of them spend time together they learn that Juan is a free spirit who loves women and is currently separated from his estranged wife Maria Elena (Cruz). He speaks of her with reverence while admitting that their relationship is a volatile one which is why they are better off apart. Things get complicated when the three of them become romantically involved. This leads to conflicting feelings for Vicky and the re-emergence of Maria Elena makes for a rather interesting turn of events for Cristina.

I found this to be an entertaining film that was both depressing and enlightening. What an interesting character study someone like Juan Antonio would make. When he said that he and Maria Elena had a volatile relationship he wasn’t kidding. This is a sexy, romantic drama about how life can throw you a curve ball just when you thought you had everything you wanted. The twists and turns experienced by the principal’s are at the heart of the story and Allen’s direction is solid. The cast did a great job and the film’s locations in Spain were beautifully shot. While this may not have the classic status of Woody Allen’s best work it is well done and appealing on its own.








Parental Guide:

The rating is for mature thematic material involving sexuality, and smoking.






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: 70



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

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

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109943&d=1210373647

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699



Video: 86


(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=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

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

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Vicky Cristina Barcelona comes to Blu-ray Disc from The Weinstein Company featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 26 mbps and 3 channel PCM audio that has a constant bitrate of 3.1 mbps.

I found this to be a solid high definition video presentation that offered beautiful long range visuals and breath taking vista views of the Spanish locations featured in the film. Colors were rich in saturation and depth with lustrous primaries and vivid secondary colors. At times images had a nearly infinite feeling of visual perspective that enhanced the perception of fine texture in the stone structures, streets and landscapes in Barcelona and Oviedo. Blacks were fairly deep with discernible gradational quality. Low light and shadowy backgrounds revealed plenty of detail which made them more dimensionally acute. The only nit that I have to pick is that for some reason certain shots appeared noticeably out of focus. I am pretty sure that this is not related to the encoding but I couldn’t imagine why it would be intentional. This only occurred in a few instances and was brief in duration. The 3 channel PCM audio offered little in the way of atmospheric effects as the presentation was delivered over the front three channels. This is a dialogue driven film that utilized a light music soundtrack that consisted mostly of acoustic guitar. Sound quality was excellent with a one dimensional perspective and strong center channel emphasis. Dialogue was crystal clear and well intonated with average room penetration that was never a problem due to the quiet nature of the source. While I would like to have seen (or heard) a more diverse use of surround sound to replicate the various sounds of the venues portrayed in the film I thought that for the source material it was adequate and sounded fine.



Bonus Features:

This is a bare bones Blu-ray Disc that offers no bonus content and utilizes a very basic menu system.





Final Thoughts:

Vicky Cristina Barcelona is a well written, directed and acted film from Woody Allen. It doesn’t quite live up to his best films but it has a charm of its own. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from The Weinstein Company in a rather sparse package that offers 3 channel audio, basic style menus and no bonus content. On a positive note its high definition video presentation is quite good and along with the film elevates this disc to being worthy of a rental.








attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 25
You're killing me Ralph!

Already have this on a pre-order for a long time now. Are you sure about your score?

Thought this movie was great when i saw it in the theater.
post #3 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamE55 View Post

You're killing me Ralph!

Already have this on a pre-order for a long time now. Are you sure about your score?

Thought this movie was great when i saw it in the theater.

Greetings,

I am not sure which score you are referring to James but I am sure. If you saw it theatrically then you know what to expect from the film and the video quality is very good.

Cheers,
post #4 of 25
When I watched this in the theater I thought some of the scenes were rather dull not as vibrant and found it strange they went with this kind of style for the film.( I'm not an expert) Especially the location they where in, the beautiful views and shots could have use a bit more livelier colors.
I love the story, and walked out chuckling with my girlfriend who also enjoyed it very much. Ms. Johansson, and Hall happend to be super hot, at two different side of the spectrum...the fine gorgeous spectrum that is, any way I like this movie allot.


Djoel
post #5 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

I am not sure which score you are referring to James but I am sure. If you saw it theatrically then you know what to expect from the film and the video quality is very good.

Cheers,

Hey Ralph,

Was referring to your score of 78. Thought i'd be a little higher than that. But nonetheless this is an awsome movie. Should be on par if not better than Elegy.

Cheers,
James
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamE55 View Post

Hey Ralph,

Was referring to your score of 78. Thought i'd be a little higher than that. But nonetheless this is an awsome movie. Should be on par if not better than Elegy.

Cheers,
James

Greetings,

James, the score is an average of the audio and video. The audio score is what brought down the overall. The video scored pretty well..


Regards,
post #7 of 25
Smoking? It's rated PG-13 because of smoking? When did this become a Thing Which Children Should Not See?
post #8 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

James, the score is an average of the audio and video. The audio score is what brought down the overall. The video scored pretty well..


Regards,

Ah! That makes more sense now. I've always wondered how you rate the movies. If it's the storyline/plot or audio/video. Apparently it's obvious in this case that it's the A/V. Thanks again Ralph!

Warm regards,
James
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamE55 View Post

Ah! That makes more sense now. I've always wondered how you rate the movies. If it's the storyline/plot or audio/video. Apparently it's obvious in this case that it's the A/V. Thanks again Ralph!

Warm regards,
James

Greetings,

James, actually I rate both, but separately. The film rating is in this case is 3 out of 5. The audio/video quality is rated separately but averaged together for an overall rating.

You can refer to this post for more information:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1028875


Cheers,
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Semper Why View Post

Smoking? It's rated PG-13 because of smoking? When did this become a Thing Which Children Should Not See?

Greetings,

No idea. That is the reason given for the rating...


Regards,
post #11 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

James, actually I rate both, but separately. The film rating is in this case is 3 out of 5. The audio/video quality is rated separately but averaged together for an overall rating.

You can refer to this post for more information:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1028875


Cheers,

Awsome! Thanks for clearing that up Ralph. Look forward to more of your reviews.

Warm regards,
James
post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamE55 View Post

Awsome! Thanks for clearing that up Ralph. Look forward to more of your reviews.

Warm regards,
James




Cheers,
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Semper Why View Post

Smoking? It's rated PG-13 because of smoking? When did this become a Thing Which Children Should Not See?


Last I had heard, there was a push to get the act of smoking to lead to an automatic "R" rating in the US - if it hasn't happened already.

Makes little sense if you can push on screen violence to it's PG-13 max, just as long as no characters in the film have a cancer stick hanging from their mouth or utter certain expletives. The fudged out F bombs & lack of Bruce Willis smoking cigarettes helped LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD nab it's theatrical PG-13.

It all rings of the "Blame Canada" plotline of the South Park movie - gratuitous violence on TV or movies is just fine for the kiddies, as long as there's no potty language (or tobacco use, it seems).

Yet, I'd think the possibility or hint of a 3 way involving Scarlett J would garner an R (at least it does in my imagination - haven't seen the movie itself yet).
post #14 of 25
Ralph,

great review, but I believe the official release is for the 27th, not the 13th. the announcement mentioned a date change for both 'Vicky' and 'Superhero Movie'.

'Vicky' releases on the 13th on SD DVD only.

just giving ya a friendly head's up. and again, great review.
post #15 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eNoize View Post

Ralph,

great review, but I believe the official release is for the 27th, not the 13th. the announcement mentioned a date change for both 'Vicky' and 'Superhero Movie'.

'Vicky' releases on the 13th on SD DVD only.

just giving ya a friendly head's up. and again, great review.

Greetings,

Arrgghh! I misread the press kit as it included both this and Superhero movie. I have made the correction and thanks for catching it.

Regards,
post #16 of 25
no problem. I received the same kit and thought the same thing at first.

looks great now, lol.
post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by eNoize View Post

no problem. I received the same kit and thought the same thing at first.

looks great now, lol.

Greetings,

Thanks Nate..

Cheers,
post #18 of 25
One of the funniest films I've seen a in long time. Cruz is fantastic as the psychotic ex-wife and I love the witty dialog.
post #19 of 25
Just picked this one up, curious to see how this one plays out.

thanks for the review Ralph.
post #20 of 25
Hi,

Ralph, I didn't see you mention anything negative about the video quality or colour. However, I noticed this movie had a definite yellow tint throughout. It's something I've experienced a couple of times before with certain Blu-rays on my Panasonic BD-35, but it's very rare. My TV is properly calibrated, and the fact that I have not noticed it on other films suggests it's not a calibration problem. The yellow tint affected the other colours in the movie, which I thought COULD have been much better, if not for the yellow tint.

Any thoughts on this?
post #21 of 25
The gold tint was quite intentional, the cinematographer,Javier Aguirresarobe, did a great job in capturing the great cities of Barcelona and Oviedo.
post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by moematthews View Post

Hi,

Ralph, I didn't see you mention anything negative about the video quality or colour. However, I noticed this movie had a definite yellow tint throughout. It's something I've experienced a couple of times before with certain Blu-rays on my Panasonic BD-35, but it's very rare. My TV is properly calibrated, and the fact that I have not noticed it on other films suggests it's not a calibration problem. The yellow tint affected the other colours in the movie, which I thought COULD have been much better, if not for the yellow tint.

Any thoughts on this?


Greetings,

moe, Icehouse is correct. The film's visual design intentionally gave it a bit of a golden hue. No need to check your equipment...


Cheers,
post #23 of 25
Thanks, Icehouse and Ralph. I thought that was the case. I find myself agreeing with Djoel above in wondering why the decision was made to shoot the movie in this way, especially with the physical beauty and vibrant colours of the locations in which they were shooting. It had the effect of muting the colours and softening the overall look. I feel the movie could have looked so much better without this artificial "enhancement".

But I guess that's why I'm not a director or cinematographer
post #24 of 25
When you see a film that appears soft and the colors are wrong, it's hard for me to say that the cinematographer did a good job.

The story as acted is the focal point of any movie. When you introduce a visual style that is other than reality, it takes the audience out of the experience of the story.

I found that in this film some scenes had perfect color, others had an over emphasis on the yellows. That is either art (which didn't seem to add anything to the story) or just plan bad photography.

I think the cinematorgaphy had a beautiful location and people to work with. Both could have looked great. Too bad they made the choices (artistically, or Woody's hriing) they did.
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Semper Why View Post

Smoking? It's rated PG-13 because of smoking? When did this become a Thing Which Children Should Not See?

I think there is a law/regulation that smoking can't be in movies/shows intended for children under a certain age.

That would be my guess. [IMG]http://z09a0222gshv273.imageshacknow.info/img/3044************************[/IMG]
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