Smashed (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 1 Old 03-01-2013, 06:38 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 )

Studio and Year: Sony Classic Pictures - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 81 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English/French/German DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English, English SDH, German, Arabic, French, Turkish
Starring: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally, Octavia Spencer
Directed by: James Ponsoldt
Music by: Eric D. Johnson & Andy Cabic
Written by: James Ponsoldt & Susan Burke
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 12, 2013


Film Synopsis:

Kate and Charlie have been together since high school and share of love of many things including letting loose nearly everyday by consuming large amounts of alcohol. With her life seemingly spiraling out of control Kate decides to sober up. What she discovers in sobriety is that too much of her life revolved around her daily binges. Now she must take a hard look at her relationships beginning with her marriage.

My Take:

Kate (Mary Elizabeth Winstead) and Charlie (Aaron Paul) are a young married couple whose bond is built on a mutual love of music, laughter and drinking...especially the drinking. When Kate’s drinking leads her to dangerous places and her job as a school teacher is put into jeopardy, she decides to join AA and get sober. With the help of her new friend and sponsor Jenny (Octavia Spencer), and the vice principal at her school, the awkward, but well intentioned, Mr. Davies, Kate takes steps toward improving her health and life. Sobriety isn't as easy as Kate had anticipated. Her new lifestyle brings to the surface a troubling relationship with her mother (Mary Kay Place), and calls into question whether or not her relationship with Charlie is built on love or just an alcohol infused diversion from adulthood.

Smashed is an interesting take on the coming of age theme as it explores the ramifications of alcohol abuse as seen through the eyes of a young woman that has known little else since meeting and marrying her husband. Their life is built on a foundation of binging, hangovers and wild times. It’s when she wakes up to the realization that she needs to stop followed by sobriety that she comes to question the validity of her relationship with Charlie who continues to drink. This allows her to step back and examine her life which includes to dysfunctional home she grew up in with her mother who also drinks.

Smashed feels a bit like a play as its scope is narrow with only a few sets and limited supporting roles. It’s not an apologetic or preachy but simply has a story to tell. Clearly an Independent film I think that director/co-writer James Ponsoldt and writer Susan Burke aptly portray the essence of their theme and the fallibility of their characters while allowing us to connect with them in a way that comes across as less perfunctory and more earthy. Mary Elizabeth Winstead is the featured performer and does a great. Aaron Paul portrayal of Charlie is exactly what you would expect especially if you have seen him on “Breaking Bad”. The smaller roles played by Nick Offerman, Octavia Spencer and Megan Mullally aren’t especially noteworthy in support (although Nick Offerman does have one very memorable moment) but are fine. At 81 minutes things move right along but all of the ingredients necessary for an intelligent and gratifying drama ensure its time well spent.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for alcohol abuse, language, some 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: 78

(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=109944&d=1210373692

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

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

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

Video: 84

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

  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

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

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

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

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

Smashed comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.1 Mbps.

By design this film doesn’t boast vibrant colors are eye popping visuals but the encoding appears solid. Colors have a muted level of saturation and those used are rarely bright which give the perception of a limited palette. Overall they are naturally rendered and appear to fall within the visual range intended. Fleshtones have appreciable complexional distinction but the lighting used can sometimes leave them appearing flat and lacking in texture. Blacks are respectable with above average delineation. Shadow detail is quite good which enhances visual perception during the scenes shot in limited lighting. Resolution is adequate so that varying degrees of detail can be seen in close ups but the video isn’t razor sharp or dimensionally strong. It isn’t a bright film which when coupled along with the reserved chromatic scheme gives it a dull finish. This seems to coincide with the creative decisions of the filmmakers and results in stable imagery that lacks the eye popping definition that some may expect from a newer film.

The DTS-HD Master Audio sound quality is solid and offers a one dimensional, frontal oriented perspective that is highlighted by the film’s music. Dialogue is centrally focused and lucid with distinguishable intonation and requisite clarity. Surround activity is limited to subtle ambience that occasionally offered some spatial dimension that extended the depth of the sound field.

Bonus Features:

  • Audio commentary with director James Ponsoldt & Mary Elizabeth Winstead

  • (HD) Making Smashed – 12 minute documentary

  • (HD) Toronto Film Festival Red Carpet and cast/filmmaker Q&A – 14 minutes

  • (HD) 6 deleted scenes

  • (HD) Theatrical Trailer

Final Thoughts:

Smashed is an interesting take on the coming of age theme as it explores the ramifications of alcohol abuse from the perspective of a young woman struggling to overcome addiction and facing her life through sober eyes. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring satisfactory high definition audio/video and a worthwhile supplemental package that includes a look behind the scenes/insights from the cast/crew. Smashed is a worthwhile rental for genre fans that appreciate good indie filmmaking.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
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

Ralph C. Potts
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