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Precious (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
attachment.php?attachmentid=168798&d=1267633165
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

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

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

84






Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2009
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 109 minutes
Genre: Drama

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, French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Starring: Mo'Nique, Paula Patton, Gabourey Sidibe, Sherri Shepard, Lenny Kravitz
Directed by: Lee Daniels
Music by: Mario Grigorov
Written by: Geoffrey Fletcher based upon the novel Push by Sapphire
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 9, 2010







"For precious girls everywhere"



Film Synopsis:

Precious Jones, an inner-city high school girl, is illiterate, overweight, and pregnant again. Naïve and abused, she responds to a glimmer of hope when a door is opened by an alternative-school teacher. She is faced with the choice to follow opportunity and test her own boundaries.



My Take:

attachment.php?attachmentid=168797&d=1267632998

Based on the novel Push by Sapphire and set in Harlem in 1987, Precious is the story of Claireece Precious Jones, a sixteen-year-old African-American girl born into a life no one would want. She's pregnant for the second time by her absent father; at home, she must wait hand and foot on her mother, a poisonously angry woman who abuses her emotionally and physically. School is a place of chaos, and Precious has reached the ninth grade with good marks and an awful secret: she can neither read nor write. Beneath her impassive expression is a watchful, curious young woman with an inchoate but unshakeable sense that other possibilities exist for her. Threatened with expulsion, Precious is offered the chance to transfer to an alternative school, Each One/Teach One. Precious doesn't know the meaning of alternative, but her instincts tell her this is the chance she has been waiting for. In the literacy workshop taught by the patient yet firm Ms. Rain, Precious begins a journey that will lead her from darkness, pain and powerlessness to light, love and self-determination.

Wow. This is a gripping and powerful film that exposes the underbelly of the life led by some inner city teen girls. In this case it focuses on parental abuse and hits the worst as Precious endures sexual, physical, and mental abuse. I think that for many of us we could never imagine or understand the cyclical lifestyle that befall people like this or the strength required to break it. The film depicts some of the problems inherent in urban ghetto environments, some urban city schools and the welfare system but it also conveys that there is hope and how one caring act can make a difference. I was blown away by the performances of Mo'Nique and new comer Gabourey Sidibe. Mo'nique's portrayal of Mary, Precious' mother was nothing short of amazing. I understand that she pulled from her own life experiences and I found the outcome to be riveting, passionate, and evocative. Gabourey Sidibe in the title role needed to sell this character in order to legitimize her plight. I thought that her performance nearly rivaled that of Mo'Nique as I believed every word, every emotion, and every gesture. These two actors enlivened these women by drawing us into the difficult, painful and seemingly inescapable world they inhabit with performances that resonate well after the credits have rolled. Once again all I can say is..Wow.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for scenes of child abuse including sexual assault, and 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: 80



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

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

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

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

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692




Video: 88


(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=109946&d=1210373699

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

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699
attachment.php?attachmentid=168795&d=1267632998

Precious comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 35 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4 mbps.

This is a high quality video presentation that boasts deep, stable blacks and bold dynamic contrast. Colors range from vividly saturated to intentionally reserved/muted. Fleshtones are lustrous with appreciable tonal delineation that highlights subtle variations in the complexions of the largely African American cast. Images are exquisitely detailed, three dimensional, and razor sharp regardless of the camera's perspective. Shadow detail is strong which provides an appreciable sense of depth during the low lit interior sequences. Grain is well preserved with variable texture that becomes prominent at times but never rises to objectionable levels. The DTS-HD MA soundtrack delivered dialogue that was crisp, tonally descriptive and well articulated. The front three channels delivered the bulk of the sound and did so with excellent clarity and imaging. The surround channels and sub saw occasional use and appropriately supported this dialogue driven presentation with ambient effects and the bass reproduction that matched those required by the film's elements.



Bonus Features:


  • Audio commentary by director Lee Daniels

  • (HD) From Push to Precious - 15 minute featurette with author Sapphire

  • (HD) A Precious ensemble - 18 minute featurette on the cast/casting of the film

  • (HD) Oprah & Tyler: A project of passion - 9 minute featurette

  • (HD) A conversation with author Sapphire and director Lee Daniels - 8 minutes

  • (HD) Audition: Gabourey Sidibe - 2 minute screen test footage

  • (HD) Deleted scene: The incest survivor meeting

  • (HD) Reflections on Precious - featuring Lee Daniels, Paul Patton and Gabourey Sidibe

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer
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Final Thoughts:

Precious is a powerful, evocative and poignant dramatic film that tackles difficult subject matter. Based upon the novel Push by American author Sapphire, it examines the life of an inner city teen girl as she struggles against a system that offers little hope and copes with a mother raised in that system who fails her on every level imaginable. While her life is fraught with unhappiness she learns through the kindness of a few that a glimmer of hope is sometimes all that is needed to realize that we are all good at something. The Oscar nominated performances by Mo'Nique and newcomer Gabourey Sidibe are riveting and solidify the films Academy Award nomination for best picture. Precious comes to Blu-ray Disc from Lionsgate featuring a strong audio/video presentation and a decent compliment of bonus supplements. Some may find Precious to be difficult due to the nature of its subject matter and visceral telling. Those who decide to give it a spin are in for a rewarding film experience bolstered by two incredible performances built around a poignant story of survival under deplorable circumstances. Recommended!









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Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


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Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen
Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
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Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
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Philips TSU9400 Pro Series Touch Panel Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
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APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
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Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 15
Sound like a rental. Don't usually buy serious movies.
post #3 of 15
Wait i'm confused. How is this movie already out on BR already? Thought it normally takes anywhere from 3-5 months before the movie comes out on BR. Interesting.

Nonetheless i think this is a great movie. Didn't get a chance to see it so i will definitely have to check this one out.

Cheers
post #4 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamE55 View Post

Wait i'm confused. How is this movie already out on BR already? Thought it normally takes anywhere from 3-5 months before the movie comes out on BR. Interesting.

Nonetheless i think this is a great movie. Didn't get a chance to see it so i will definitely have to check this one out.

Cheers

It's out already because it was nominated for 6 Oscars. This is common practice at awards season.

Art
post #5 of 15
They are releasing them sooner than ever, which is fine for me as I never go out to a movie;

http://www.ibtimes.com/contents/2010...e-releases.htm
post #6 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by momswgn View Post

Sound like a rental. Don't usually buy serious movies.

Yeah, who would want to own a terrific serious film with so much brainless action crap to buy.
post #7 of 15
Thanks King Potts !
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Monahan View Post

Yeah, who would want to own a terrific serious film with so much brainless action crap to buy.

In the OP's defense, I believe he was talking about re-watchability, not the quality of the film. Popcorn flicks usually get watched more often. Life can be such a downer at times it's nice to be able to escape reality for a few hours.

Art
post #9 of 15
Excellent movie. Powerful and raw.
post #10 of 15
That's right ADpayne. Growing up in the inner city I saw this everyday. Now 33 living a mid class life. These kind of movies being back home. Reality is B sometimes. I will watch it but I know I will never watch it twice.
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by hksvr4 View Post

excellent movie. Powerful and raw.

+1.
post #12 of 15
Thanks for your excellent and thoughtful review Ralph. I scored this one a little higher than you for the actual film, and a tad lower for PQ and SQ.

I thought Gabourey Sidibe could have easily won an Oscar for her performance as well. Especially when you watch the extras, and hear her speak when she's not in character. She was able to make Precious incredibly real. Bravo.

Monique deserved her Oscar as well, but I feel her roll was easier than Gaboureys, to be honest. It's easy to show anger, and the only time she gets out of that mode is one scene later in the movie, which she did an excellent job with.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The scene I'm referring to is when she's meeting with the welfare agent and describing the experiences of Precious as a toddler, and what she allowed to happen to her.


This movie did not shy away from stereotypes and the truly brutal reality of what can occur in inner city life, and as a result the movie felt incredibly realistic, like a true view of how horrible things can get. Even though the film was difficult to watch at times due to the content, it still kept me fully engaged and wanting to find out how it was all going to play out. Highly recommended.

PQ: 4 out of 5, SQ 3.5 out of 5, Film 4.5 out of 5

Dan
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stereomandan View Post

Thanks for your excellent and thoughtful review Ralph. I scored this one a little higher than you for the actual film, and a tad lower for PQ and SQ.

I thought Gabourey Sidibe could have easily won an Oscar for her performance as well. Especially when you watch the extras, and hear her speak when she's not in character. She was able to make Precious incredibly real. Bravo.

Monique deserved her Oscar as well, but I feel her roll was easier than Gaboureys, to be honest. It's easy to show anger, and the only time she gets out of that mode is one scene later in the movie, which she did an excellent job with.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
The scene I'm referring to is when she's meeting with the welfare agent and describing the experiences of Precious as a toddler, and what she allowed to happen to her.


This movie did not shy away from stereotypes and the truly brutal reality of what can occur in inner city life, and as a result the movie felt incredibly realistic, like a true view of how horrible things can get. Even though the film was difficult to watch at times due to the content, it still kept me fully engaged and wanting to find out how it was all going to play out. Highly recommended.

PQ: 4 out of 5, SQ 3.5 out of 5, Film 4.5 out of 5

Dan

Greetings,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts Dan. Good stuff indeed...


Regards,
post #14 of 15
As a white male, I might not have been the "exact focus audience" for this movie, (not that it had one) but the better the movie, the wider its reach.

I may have what seems like silly criteria to others (or maybe some of you agree) but I don't care either way, it's still my criteria for my opinions about movies, and lots of art forms, for that matter.

If I feel uncomfortable watching something because of its harshness and because the harshness seems (or is) so real (could be true in real life AND extremely and realistically depicted) then I feel the movie was well made.

Black Hawk Down and Schindler's List, as does Precious, all meet this criteria. I watched Black Hawk Down once, and fought my way through it a second time. Schindler's List, to this day, I've watched only once. I think they're incredible movies, and would strongly recommend them to anyone, but I couldn't watch them often. At some point in the future, I will watch them again. For BOTH the reasons of not forgetting their respective subject matter and stories, and for their artistic merit.

Precious falls squarely into this "brilliantly-made-acted-written-directed-everything...but tough to watch" category. And I would recommend it whole-heartedly to anyone.


Another criteria of mine is the "unexpected factor." Who would have thought
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Mariah Carey, of all people, would let herself be portrayed as so plain and have such a mundane, un-sung, unglamorous (yet admirable) profession? Who would have thought Mo'nique, who's made such a successful career out of light-hearted comedy would take on such a task as playing such a vicious, evil, and downright vile person? Who would have thought that she could make Joan Crawford look like "mother of the year" in comparison? And that she and Mariah Carey would play their roles so adeptly? Who would have thought that the way the story ended that the success of the main character still found a way to shine through what you're lead to believe will be an unhappy ending later on in an untold future? Precious may very well become very sick and die in the future, after the end credits role, yet I felt so happy and proud of her for breaking away from her rotten mother, getting an education, and having the nurturing strength to be sure her children aren't exposed to that kind of life.


Bravo. I was hoping to see some more good movies after what seemed like a lifetime of pure garbage last year and the beginning of this year. This one was great.

I'm debating watching it again before I send it back to Netflix. Maybe I'm just a wuss, not wanting to see that brutality again, but the movie-lover in me may just muster up the courage.
post #15 of 15
Watch this movie last week. I thought it was well done overall, very good but not excellent. Gabourey Sidibe should have won an Oscar. She was flat out excellent. I feel Mo'Nique's role was overacted. She is generally a good actress. So, after seeing this movie, I thought someone else should have won the Oscar for her category, but that's political Holywood for you. JMO
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