Notes on a Scandal (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 5 Old 05-28-2014, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

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

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
84





Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2006
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 92 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, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
Starring: Judi Dench, Cate Blanchette, Bill Nighy
Directed by: Richard Eyre
Music by: Philip Glass
Written by: Patrick Marber based on the novel by Zoe Heller
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 20, 2014







"One woman’s mistake is another woman’s opportunity"


Film Synopsis:

A veteran high school teacher befriends a younger art teacher, who is having an affair with one of her 15-year-old students. However, her intentions with this new "friend" also go well beyond platonic friendship.

My Take:

Schoolteacher Barbara Covett rules over her classroom with an iron fist yet leads a desperately solitary life outside of it until Sheba Hart, the new art teacher at St. George's, befriends her. But even as their relationship develops so too does another: Sheba has begun an illicit affair with an underage male student. Barbara likes to spend much of her free time chronicling her personal observations, feelings and thoughts in her diary. This includes her blossoming friendship with Sheba which at times strikes Sheba as peculiarly dense. When Barbara accidently discovers Sheba’s secret not only does it threaten Sheba’s family and career but it reshapes their friendship as Barbara sees an opportunity that benefits her in a way that Sheaba never suspected.

Notes on a scandal is based on the novel by Zoe Heller and is a dark tale of obsession as explored via a dual narrative that paints a portrait on loneliness and the two women who share a singularity within the context of the story. The film features solidly draw characters and a plot that is told using the perspectives of each as narrated by Barbara. There are few punches pulled in the film’s controversial dialogue as the twin stories unfold, overlap and eventually collide. I have to admit to feeling a bit uncomfortable at times but understood the explicitness which derived a richer connection to the proceedings. I loved the peeling of the layers especially with respect to the character of Barbara. I didn’t see this as being related to adding an air of mystery but more to speaking to her intentions and frame of mind. Sheba was less complex in design but this tended to compliment Barbara’s nature especially given the somewhat diabolical nature of her behavior.

I rather enjoyed Notes on a scandal not so much because it broke new ground but because of its inside perspective on two very difference women whose obsessions, for different reasons put them on a collision course that ultimately sends their lives spiraling out of control. I like the elements of drama, melodrama and psychological thrills that play out against the plot’s lurid landscape. Judi Dench and Cate Blanchett are masters of their craft and are simply marvelous both together and apart. I am a big Bill Nighy fan and he is terrific in his limited but integral role.

Notes on a scandal isn’t a wholly satisfying film in terms of context however it strikes a chord with its controversial subject matter, engrossing characters and rewarding performances. This is my first time seeing it and the experience was good enough to warrant a recommendation especially if you’re a fan of the genre.


Parental Guide:

The rating is for language and some aberrant sexual content.



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=109946&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency effects: 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

  • *Low frequency extension (non-rated element): NA


Video: 88

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


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

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

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

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

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


Notes on a scandal comes to Blu-ray Disc 20th Century Fox HE 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 4.1 Mbps.

The high definition video quality was on par with other catalog release films of its type and looked great. Colors were natural looking with a pleasing and reserved quality that capably handled the somewhat limited palette required by the settings and clothing featured in the film. Flesh tones varied a bit with some appearing well delineated and lifelike while others had a slightly pale appearance. Contrast was spot on which augmented the beautifully captured natural lighting of the exterior locations featured in the film. Images were detailed and crisp, with definable lines and appreciable dimension. While I noticed sporadic occasions where resolution fluctuated slightly this appeared innate to the photography and never called fidelity into question. Blacks were strong with discernable gradational quality while detail in dark areas and low lit sequences was estimable which enhanced depth. The video was rendered well and didn’t show any signs of compression related anomalies or video artifacts.

The DTS-HD MA soundtrack readily handled the elements contained in this dialogue driven film. The presentation retained a front loaded perspective with well defined and clearly articulated dialogue that extended well into the room. Sounds were reproduced with discerning clarity and delineation that brought forth plenty of subtle nuance and low level detail. Surround activity was limited to rear channel spatial cues and occasional directional sounds. This isn’t a dynamically demanding soundtrack however this lossless presentation was a perfect match with the source material and sounded fine.


Bonus Features:

  • Director audio commentary

  • Notes on a scandal: The story of two obsessions – 12 minute featurette

  • Notes on a scandal: Behind the scenes – 5 minute featurette

  • In character with Cate Blanchette – 2 minutes

  • 5 webisodes

  • Theatrical trailer




Final Thoughts:

Based on the novel by Zoe Heller Notes on a scandal is a character driven and dark tale of obsession that paints a vivid portrait of loneliness as seen through two very different women. It makes its debut on Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox HE featuring solid high definition audio/video quality and legacy supplemental material. I enjoyed Notes on a scandal and found it to be worthwhile viewing that deserves a place in your Blu-ray rental queue.



attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS4910 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
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
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS PC12-NSD
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
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post #2 of 5 Old 05-29-2014, 10:29 AM
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Thanks for the review and reminder, Ralph. This is one mighty fine movie. I watch a lot of movies and not too many register in my mind after viewing.

But this is a haunting tale and has excellent acting by two fine actresses. Will revisit it in BR for sure.
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post #3 of 5 Old 05-29-2014, 07:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darklord700 View Post

Thanks for the review and reminder, Ralph. This is one mighty fine movie. I watch a lot of movies and not too many register in my mind after viewing.

But this is a haunting tale and has excellent acting by two fine actresses. Will revisit it in BR for sure.
I remember seeing this when it in theaters. See this if you not had the chance.

"Espresso is like tequila, when in doubt apply more shots."
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post #4 of 5 Old 06-05-2014, 08:25 AM
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Thanks for the recommend, Ralph! cool.gif
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post #5 of 5 Old 06-05-2014, 01:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taranteacher View Post

Thanks for the recommend, Ralph! cool.gif

Greetings,

Sure thing Taranteacher! Be sure to post back once you have seen it.... smile.gif


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