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Butter (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

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

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109940&d=1210373637

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
85





Studio and Year: Anchor Bay - 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 91 minutes
Genre: Dramedy

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Jennifer Garner, Ty Burrell, Olivia Wilde, Rob Corddry, Ashley Greene, Alicia Silverstone, Hugh Jackman, Yara Shahidi
Directed by: Jim Field Smith
Music by: Mateo Messina
Written by: Jason Micallef
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 4, 2012







"High in cholesterol, low in moral values"


Film Synopsis:

In Iowa, butter carving is as cut-throat as a Presidential election, plagued with scandal, greed, blackmail, and sex—except with butter! When long-reigning champion butter sculptor, Bob Pickler (Ty Burrell), is forced to step down, his zealous wife, Laura (Jennifer Garner) enters the competition herself, to fight for their status as butter royalty. A win seems virtually guaranteed for the poised and studied candidate when a formidable contender emerges: the fresh-faced, effortlessly charismatic 10-year-old Destiny (Yara Shahidi), an African-American foster child of local couple, Jill and Ethan (Alicia Silverstone and Rob Corddry). Suddenly, it‘s anybody‘s game and Laura will do anything to win—even if it means resorting to sabotage and seducing her foolish ex-boyfriend Boyd (Hugh Jackman) as a co-conspirator.


My Take:

Butter is a quirky and at times oddly dark satire set in middle America that revolves around a small community and its annual butter carving event. Jason Micallef’s script delves into societal and familial/marital themes that are fueled by the overt ambitions of a snooty socialite named Laura Pickler. This is contrasted by the parallel story of a 10 year old girl that has bounced around the foster care system, recently landed in what appears to be a genuinely loving home and has discovered that she has a true talent for butter carving. After years as the butter carving champion, Laura’s husband Bob is politely asked to step aside by the local committee. Laura refuses to relinquish the status afforded in that regard and opts to step into the competition herself. Laura’s controlling nature and tenacious resolve has earned quite a reputation within the community which essentially leaves no one willing to go up against her in the annual event. That is until Destiny decides that she has something viable to contribute and enters.

Clearly nestled on comedic footings the storyline teeters back and forth between the sentimentality associated with Destiny’s need for a family and emotional expression through her carving, and the pervading effects of Laura’s sassy subversion on nearly everyone involved. The subtext can get a little preachy and Laura is drawn as a caricature of a republican trophy wife with many contemporary characterizations and formulaic situations coinciding with that. Fortunately there are moments of rewarding interaction and funny bone tickling levity that elevate Butter from a middling dramedy to an above average one. Much of this is owed to a subplot involving a snarky exotic dancer named Brooke and the presence of Destiny, who doesn’t seem to comfortably fit within the narrative’s construct, which is something that can be perceived as either the film’s strength or weakness.

Olivia Wilde as Brooke is not only sizzling hot but manages to steal nearly every scene she is in providing some of the film’s best lines and eyebrow raising moments. As a Jennifer Garner fan I am always happy to see her onscreen and she has no trouble handing Laura and like Olivia pulls it off with aplomb. The remaining cast, including a cameo by Hugh Jackman, is full of familiar faces most of whom do justice to their respective roles. In the end Butter proved to be an entertaining albeit thematically shifting film that didn’t feel like a time waster.


Parental Guide:

The rating is for language, sexual content and brief drug use.



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: 82

(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=109946&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373699

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

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



Video: 88

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


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

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

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

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

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


Butter comes to Blu-ray Disc from Anchor Bay featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 24 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.1 Mbps.

This is an excellent high definition video presentation that appears to render the film’s elements faithfully. Resolution is notable as images are firmly resolved, with defining sharpness and two dimensional depth. Colors are beautifully rendered with revealing delineation, tonal warmth and vibrant textures. Fleshtones appear descriptive with discernible complexional variety that brings out the finest gradations in the differing complexional types among the cast. Blacks are a solid shade of deep black with excellent dynamic range and discernible highlights. Contrast is well balanced which enriches both light and dark onscreen elements. There is a light veneer of grain that provides a mildly textured and film like essence.

The lossless audio presentation is quite good and delivers the source elements with high level detail and punchy dynamics. Dialogue is appropriately prioritized and is reproduced with excellent tonal variation and clarity through the center channel. The surrounds are active at times and used to good effect for venue replicating atmospherics and reproducing musical ambience. The mix isn’t aggressive but does create an enjoyable surround sound experience that perfectly matched the tone of the film.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) Gag reel – 5 minutes

  • (HD) 6 Deleted/Extended scenes

  • Bonus DVD




Final Thoughts:

Butter is a quirky and at times oddly dark satire that in spite of a somewhat problematic script proves to be an entertaining way to spend 90 minutes when you’re in the mood for an offbeat comedy. It comes to Blu-ray from Anchor Bay Home Entertainment featuring solid high definition audio/video quality but a disappointing supplemental offering. It’s easily worth the price of a rental so toss it in your queue and take it for a spin.





attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





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JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal 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
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
post #2 of 8
I agree completely, but I think I liked it a wee bit more than you.
Olivia Wilde just gets hotter in every flick...
post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Weber View Post

I agree completely, but I think I liked it a wee bit more than you.
Olivia Wilde just gets hotter in every flick...

Agree 100%...looking forward to seeing her latest (DEADFALL) on HDNet Movies...tonight!
post #4 of 8
I was looking forward to watching this thanks to the stellar cast, despite alot of mixed reviews it's gotten over at RT.

So I tried watching this last night, but gave up after the first half hour or so. The jokes and premise were just way too predictable. And the whole time I was watching it I kept thinking what a horrible actress Jennifer Garner is. I don't remember her being this bad but I haven't seen her in anything in years though. I think maybe she was just put in the wrong part for her. Alot of it also just came off as being kind of awkward also.
post #5 of 8
Fun read, Ralph, thanks! Looking forward to renting this. Add one more "Wilde" Olivia fan! biggrin.gif
post #6 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Weber View Post

I agree completely, but I think I liked it a wee bit more than you.
Olivia Wilde just gets hotter in every flick...

Especially, when she's on top of another woman. wink.gif

Good movie but my local Blockbuster only carried the DVD.
post #7 of 8
I really wanted to love this film, but only found it entertaining as a rental. Such a stellar cast...which after reading some background on the film were drawn to it due to the screenplay. So I'm struggle with the problem being the directing or an example of a screenplay's humor not transfering to the big screen?

Did anyone else find it odd that (if memory serves) Destiny’s foster familie's home was nestled in a middle of a block of homes, when they would show establishing shots of the house...but when Destiny was riding her bike to the house, it was always along a gravel road between corn fields (with fields as far as the eye could see). I grew up in Iowa...and I think anyone that grew up in a farm/rual community knows there aren't "blocks of homes" nestled in a corn field...theres "town" and "farms". I can esp. speak to Johnson County (Iowa City) where the film was set...since I grew up near that area.

I'm sure for a small segement of us in the Flyover states found some of the "settings" did not ring true.
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by yadfgp View Post

I was looking forward to watching this thanks to the stellar cast, despite alot of mixed reviews it's gotten over at RT.
So I tried watching this last night, but gave up after the first half hour or so. The jokes and premise were just way too predictable. And the whole time I was watching it I kept thinking what a horrible actress Jennifer Garner is. I don't remember her being this bad but I haven't seen her in anything in years though. I think maybe she was just put in the wrong part for her. Alot of it also just came off as being kind of awkward also.
Yeah, I wish I'd stopped after half an hour. I wanted to like it, but it just kept on taking too many random turns for me. I was expecting something more like Bernie, which was a much better comedy about oddballs inhabiting small town america.
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