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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Lionsgate - 2012
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 87 minutes
Genre: Comedy

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Charlie Sheen, Jason Schwartzman, Katheryn Winnick, Aubrey Plaza, Patricia Arquette, Bill Murray
Written & Directed by: Roman Coppola
Music by: Liam Hayes
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 14, 2013
"Handsome. Brilliant. Heartbroken"

Film Synopsis:

Set in a stylized Los Angeles, Charles (Sheen) is a successful graphic designer whose fame, money and charm have provided him with a seemingly perfect life. When his true love, a perplexing beauty named Ivana (Winnick), suddenly breaks off their relationship, Charles’ life falls apart and he swirls into a downward spiral of doubt, confusion and reflection. With the support of his loyal intimates – Kirby (Schwartzman), Saul (Murray) and his sister Izzy (Arquette) – he begins the hard road of self-evaluation to come to terms with a life without Ivana. Through it all, Charles seeks to answer the question: is it possible to love and hate someone at the same time?

My Take:

I am not really certain why writer/director Roman Coppola decided to build a film around his desire to pay homage to 1970’s pop art, specifically the work of real life illustrator/artist Charles White III. It’s easy to see his passion for the time period as the film’s aesthetic is steeped in the era although it isn’t integral to the story. Clearly built around an Indie film budget A glimpse inside the mind of Charles Swan III is an off beat and dark comedy about one man’s journey through a bad breakup and the awakening that awaits him on the other side. It’s a visual film that utilizes Charles Swan’s fantasies and flashbacks as a window into his psyche. His obsession with ex-girlfriend Ivana consumes his thoughts and actions which splashes over those close to him, including his standup comic best bud Kirby, his sister Izzy and his financial advisor Saul, played by Jason Schwartzman, Patricia Arquette and Bill Murray respectively.

The film is made up of a series of Charles’ misadventures with stop offs that only peer into the lives of those close to him leaving little to derive from those characters. With only Charles’ incessant pining and fantasizing over Ivana and what was and should be it’s tough to development any real attachment to the proceedings. This primarily leaves only the darkly infused humor which quite frankly isn’t particularly funny. I did appreciate the 1970’s themed clothing and surroundings which for me had a nostalgic value and while I didn’t find the characters to be all that appealing I liked the cast, even Charlie Sheen, who I don’t particularly find appealing. Unfortunately A glimpse inside the mind of Charles Swan III is far too whimsical to be effectively engaging and appealing to broad audiences. It’s a lover’s lament/artsy homage that is just too far left of center to be worth its 87 minute runtime.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for language and some nudity.

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: 86

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

  • Dynamics:

  • Low frequency extension:

  • Surround Sound presentation:

  • Clarity/Detail:

  • Dialogue Reproduction:

Video: 88

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

  • Resolution/Clarity:

  • Black level/Shadow detail:

  • Color reproduction:

  • Fleshtones:

  • Compression:

A glimpse inside the mind of Charles Swan III comes to Blu-ray disc from Lionsgate HE featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.3 Mbps.

This is a great looking high definition video presentation from Magnolia. Images are resolved with appreciable detail that reveals plenty of discernible texture during close up camera shots. The exterior pans of the Los Angeles cityscapes are clearly rendered while offering lucid long range visual acuity that allows the physical structure of buildings, streets and objects in backgrounds to be discernible. The film doesn’t utilize an extensive chromatic palette but tonal balance is on the money which leaves colors looking quite natural and pleasing. Fleshtones are on the warm side but appear lifelike in depiction. White and black levels are appropriately balanced which provides punchy whites and stable blacks. All in all, I found this to be a pleasing high definition video rendering.

For a dialogue driven film I think this lossless audio soundtrack sounds quite good. High level detail and extended dynamic range combine to invigorate the sounds/effects during several sequences. Much of this occurs during Charles’ fantasies which involve galloping horses, pursuing helicopters, tactical missiles musical accompaniment that fills the soundstage in an enveloping fashion. I noticed that on occasion music mixed to the rear channels was noticeably higher in volume however this appeared intentional. Dialogue is tonally descriptive and full bodied which adds depth and audible texture to voices. The subwoofer piped in low frequency effects to give weight to the music and low end rumble where appropriate. I have to admit to be surprised at just how active this surround mix is. It isn’t perfect but considering the source material I found it quite complimentary.

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) A glimpse behind the glimpse: Making of featurette – 25 minutes

  • (HD) A glimpse into the mind of Charles White III – 12 minute featurette on the illustrator/artist that inspired the film

Final Thoughts:

Directly from the heart and mind of writer/director Roman Coppola A glimpse inside the mind of Charles Swan III is an off beat and dark comedy about one man’s journey through a bad breakup and the awakening that awaits him on the other side. It features a decent cast and had conceptual promise but unfortunately proves far too whimsical to be effectively engaging and appealing to broad audiences. It comes to Blu-ray from Lionsgate Home Entertainment featuring gratifying high definition video, rewarding lossless surround sound and a sub par supplemental offering that consists of a pair of bland featurettes. For me A glimpse into the mind of Charles Swan III is a lover’s lament/artsy homage comedy that is simply too far left of center to be worth its 87 minute runtime.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

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Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen

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-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

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