50/50 (2011)

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Released 12-Jul-2012

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Drama Audio Commentary
Deleted Scenes
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 95:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jonathan Levine
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt
Seth Rogen
Anna Kendrick
Bryce Dallas Howard
Anjelica Huston
Serge Houde
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Michael Giacchino


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     When comedy writer and producer Will Reiser endured a devastating battle with cancer he was fortunate to have good friends for support including funny man Seth Rogen and writer / producer Evan Goldberg. When the ordeal was over he turned his experiences into a semi-autobiographical script. 50/50 is the result.

     Not only was he able to get Seth Rogen to help produce the film, his best buddy also took a major role as the lead character, Adam's (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), knock-about, stoner friend Kyle. Adam produces nature documentaries at a Seattle based radio station. He lives a peaceful existence with his "soon to be moving in" girlfriend Rachael (Bryce Dallas-Howard), an aspiring artist. When Adam experiences continuing back pain and a general feeling of illness he trots off to the doctor only to be given the bad news. A cancerous tumour is on his spine. He needs chemotherapy and his survival chances are 50/50%

     Adam's support network is a little limited. Rachael is seemingly sympathetic and understanding but she can't deal with the "icky" side of the disease and the chemo whilst Kyle finds it difficult to shake off the stoner approach to all problems. Adam's mother (Anjelica Huston) is a smothering soul who also has to care for his father who is in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. Adam's only life line to normalcy is through his therapist Katherine (Anna Kendrick). Like Adam Katherine is equally new at this stuff - he is only her third patient. She has not yet worked out how to manage patients through the various stages of emotion.

     50/50 gained little acclaim as it swept through the cinemas. It earned a Golden Globe nomination for Gordon-Levitt and Best Picture but disappeared without Oscar nods. A pity as it is a surprisingly good drama with a liberal serve of comedy. The script by first time feature scriptwriter Reiser is sharp and witty which manages to go down some familiar paths whilst avoiding clichés. Rogen specialises in stoner dude characters. Here he is given a chance to really shine with a character who is funny and irreverent but also hearted.

     Joseph Gordon-Levitt is perfect as the placid Adam negotiating a range of emotions as his character is constantly surprised at the qualities, both good and bad, of his friendships. Anna Kendrick would have to be one of my favourite comedy/drama actresses as the lovable therapist struggling with feelings of inadequacy and a growing forbidden passion towards Adam. A special mention should also be given to Phillip Baker-Hall and former Max Headroom Matt Frewer as fellow cancer sufferers.

     Jonathan Levine who is always interested in characters directs this in the same new style brought to The Wackness. Viewers are always a little hesitant to know whether it is appropriate to make comedies about cancer. For my money 50/50 achieves the balance perfectly. The film never forgets the serious subject matter whilst providing genuine comedy.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     50/50 was shot on 35mm film and projected at a 1.85:1 aspect ratio. That ratio had been reserved for this DVD release. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a good looking film. The print is clean and clear and without artefacts or other visual defects. The flesh tones are accurate. The colours are bright and accurate with no evidence of a bleeding.

     There are no issues with compression.

     There are Descriptive Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     50/50 features three English language soundtracks.

     In fact, both prime tracks are adequate for this film, which features a lot of action in the centre channel and not all that much for the surround channels to do.

     The dialogue is clear and easy to understand throughout. The music score is by Michael Giacchino who won an Oscar for his score for Up. His score here is quite subtle and restrained.

     The film makes heavy use of songs drawn from a variety of indie bands as well as a few surprises. Indie bands Liars and Jacuzzi Boys get prominent treatment as well as the prominent use of Radiohead's High and Dry. The Bee Gees 1967 hit To Love Somebody is played to great effect during an important scene as Adam emerges from a chemo session.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     There are only two extras provided with this DVD.

Audio Commentary: Seth Rogan, Evan Goldberg, Will Reiser, Ben Carlin, and Jonathan Levine

     Depending on what you want from an audio commentary this is either a major success or a wash-out. Interested in themes, ideas, technical filmmaking comments? Go somewhere else. Want 90 minutes of jokes and general hilarity? Welcome in!

     Rogen is the alpha jokester here and the track is funny from start to finish. A lot of early time is spent talking about Reiser's battle with cancer and the remainder is really spot comments and jokes on the filming process. A real question as to whether it is informative but no question as to the humour!

Deleted Scenes

     The deleted scenes are accompanied by a voice over from Levine. That makes it useful in pointing out the reasons why the scenes were cut although it does make it a little difficult to actually judge the worth of the scenes.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The Region 2 DVD apparently has the following extras., brief but more detailed than our release:

     Also, apparently the Region 2 DVD has optional commentary on the deleted scenes. On our Region version it is forced.

Summary

     50/50 was a real surprise - and a pleasant one at that. A great script and engaging performances make it one of the better films, for me, of last year.

     The image and sound quality of the DVD is fine and the extras are worth a listen/view particularly the very funny commentary track.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Thursday, June 14, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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