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

Film:


Extras:


Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

84






Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2011
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 106 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/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan, Bobby Cannavale, Jeffrey Tambor, Melanie Lynsky, Alex Shaffer, David W. Thompson
Directed by: Tom McCarthy
Music by: Lyle Workman
Written by: Tom McCarthy
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 23, 2011







"In the game of life, you can't lose em all"



Film Synopsis:


Academy Award Nominee Paul Giamatti stars as a lovable yet long-suffering lawyer and high-school wrestling coach who takes us on a brilliantly heartfelt journey through the game of life...where you can't lose 'em all. When Mike Flaherty (Giamatti) comes across a teenage runaway who also happens to be a champion wrestler, Mike's luck turns around in spectacular fashion. But his win-win situation soon becomes more complicated than he ever imagined when the boy's family affairs come into play.



My Take:


Win Win's plot revolves around Mike Flaherty (Paul Giammatti), an attorney with an Elder Law practice who moonlights as a high school wrestling coach. He is an affable nebbish who is happily married and when not working, coaching or hanging with the family, enjoys spending time with best buddy and recent divorcee Terry (Bobby Cannavale). With business in a bit slump Mike is having problems with finances and makes an ethically questionable decision regarding the care of an elderly client. This leads to Mike inadvertently meeting the client's grandson, a troubled teenage runaway named Kyle, who he winds up taking in temporarily. Much to Mike's delight he discovers that Kyle is an outstanding wrestler who was a star athlete. Mike enrolls Kyle at the high school and gives him a spot on his fledgling wresting team where he excels. Mike see's the situation as a win win until Kyle's mother shows up fresh from rehab, flat broke, and threatening to derail everything including Mike's questionable financial arrangement.

I am a Paul Giammati fan and after seeing the trailer for Win Win thought it looked like a heartwarming dramedy that would play to his strengths, and it is. Tom McCarthy's script which is based on a story developed by him and long time friend Joe Tiboni is derived from real aspects from their childhood experiences as well as Tiboni's life today back in their hometown. This is an earthy story that has a humane essence built around fallible characters that aren't unlike people that we may all know. It's well written, quietly engaging, and genuinely refreshing as it avoids the melodramatic commonality we often see in full circle dramas. The cast, headed by Giamatti's authentic portrayal of an ordinary guy who strives for redemption after a misstep, is spot on. Win Win doesn't overshoot its mark and proves to be warmly genuine, endearingly funny and poignantly rewarding. Definitely a diamond in the rough, it lived up to my expectations and is time well spent.



Parental Guide:


The rating is for 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:

  • 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:

Win Win comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 29 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.1 Mbps.

This is a great looking video presentation that has a filmic/pleasing quality that is consistent with a newer release film coming to Blu-ray. Images onscreen exhibit plenty of fine rendering and crisp definition that on occasion rises to higher levels especially during close ups which can be very revealing. Long range shots appear resolute with good dimensional depth and notable object detail. Bright onscreen images are punchy with crisp dynamic whites and appreciable texture. Colors aren't overly engaging as many segments are intentionally imbued with a sepia toned cast that when coupled the limited palette and drab secondary hues don't offer much to catch the eye. Rendering is excellent though and the balance is kept in proper focus which mates well with the films overall visual perspective. Fleshtones are tonally divergent and appear lifelike in depiction. Blacks are respectable and shadow detail is quite good which reveals plenty of visible delineation in dark backgrounds and low lighting. I didn't detect any deleterious artifacts or other video related anomalies.

The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio mix handles this predominantly front oriented soundtrack with uncompromising competence. Vocal reproduction is crystalline with discernible intonation and descriptive character. The bulk of the audio is reproduced by the front three channels with the surrounds providing ambient extension. Clarity is excellent which reveals lots of subtle nuance and low level detail in the soundtrack's recording.



Bonus Features:

  • (HD) 2 Deleted scenes

  • (HD) Tom McCarthy & Joe Tiboni discuss Win Win - 6 minutes

  • (HD) David W. Thompson at Sundance 2011 - 2 minutes

  • (HD) In conversation with Tom McCarthy and Paul Giamatti at Sundance 2011 - 2 minutes

  • (HD) Family - Behind the scenes look at Win Win - 2 minutes

  • (HD) Think you can wait music video by The National

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer





Final Thoughts:


Writer/director Tom McCarthy's Win Win is a well written, quietly engaging, and genuinely refreshing film that avoids the melodramatic commonality we often see in full circle dramas. I was drawn in by its earthy story and humane essence that revolves around fallible characters that are deftly portrayed by the members of the cast. Its high definition presentation from Fox on Blu-ray looks and sounds great although I found the bonus content to offer little in the way of meaningful extras. Win win is time well spent and comes highly recommended.















Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews





Reference Review System:



JVC DLA-RS50 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector

Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100 16x9 Screen

Anthem AVM50v THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor

Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier

Oppo BDP-93 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 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

Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator

Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Better Cables, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling

Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package
 

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Thanks Ralph for the review. I was hoping for a solid transfer. This is my favorite movie of this past year. I liked it so much, I saw it three times in the theater...one you want to share with others. In fact, we are having a father/son movie night Sunday for some of the dads and sons from my son's school. For those who might be hesitant in showing an R rated film to your kids...there are some F bombs and other PG-13 language in the movie...but other than that...it's a family film first and foremost.


Ron
 

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I plan on watching this one this weekend. Thanks for the great review Ralph!
 

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It might interest some people to know that the young actor, Alex Shaffer, who plays the kid that Paul Giamatti's character takes in, was a real wrestler in high school. According to Wikipedia:


"He was a sophomore at Hunterdon Central High School when he was cast as a young wrestler in the movie Win Win after a classmate tipped him off about the auditions to the film that required an athlete-wrestler. Shaffer had been himself a very successful high school wrestler, winning the 2010 New Jersey State Wrestling Championship at 119 lb. as a sophomore. But his wrestling career ended when broke his L-5 vertebrae."


I think that adds a lot of credibility to the wrestling part of the performance, and credit must be given to a young actor in one of his first roles.
 

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Watched it last night and think it was one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. I agree with everything you said Ralph. Plan on watching again with my parents when I see them.
 

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Awesome movie...one of my favorites of the year!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn /forum/post/20873975


Awesome movie...one of my favorites of the year!

Greetings,


Glad you enjoyed it Dave!



Regards,
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by rboehl /forum/post/20882764


This is a very good movie. I had never heard of it and I am glad that Ralph reviewed it.

Thanks Ralph !!

Greetings,


My pleasure rboehl..



Regards,
 

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We had a father/son movie night this past Sunday. I was really pleased with the transfer, which just added to my continued enjoyment of this movie. It was a hit amoung both fathers and sons (7th graders/13 yo).


Now they are up for a big loud action movie...so it looks like the Father/Son movie club has been established.


I just hope this film get remembered at Oscar time...it's that good IMHO.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by rboster /forum/post/20884313


We had a father/son movie night this past Sunday. I was really pleased with the transfer, which just added to my continued enjoyment of this movie. It was a hit amoung both fathers and sons (7th graders/13 yo).


Now they are up for a big loud action movie...so it looks like the Father/Son movie club has been established.


I just hope this film get remembered at Oscar time...it's that good IMHO.

Greetings,


Glad to hear it Ron! Thanks for sharing and good luck with the movie club.



Regards,
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rboster /forum/post/20884313



I just hope this film get remembered at Oscar time...it's that good IMHO.

Agree 100%. Finally a comedy that isn't laden with sexual references or gross-out moments in order to garner a laugh.
 

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I really wanted to see this, so I decided to rent it via Amazon streaming...well, whenever I've done this in the past, it was like $4 for a 48 hr rental. Well, I started getting really sleepy about half way through, so I went to bed with the intent of finishing it the following evening. Sure enough, this just HAD to be one of the films that was only a 24 hr rental...needless to say, I was NOT pleased!! I really want to see the end of this!
 
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