Silver Linings Playbook (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 5-Jun-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Drama Trailer-Start-up trailers
Featurette-Making Of-The Movie that became a Movement (28:37)
Deleted Scenes-Deleted Scenes (22:29)
Alternate Ending-Alternate Ending (4:13)
Interviews-Cast & Crew-Q&A Highlights (27:00)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Dance Rehearsal (1:24)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Learn To Dance Like Pat And Tiffany (11:45)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 122:08
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David O. Russell
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Bradley Cooper
Jennifer Lawrence
Robert De Niro
Jacki Weaver
Chris Tucker
Julia Stiles
Anupam Kher
Shea Whigham
John Ortiz
Paul Herman
Dash Mihok
Brea Bee
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Danny Elfman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (3254Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     There is a well-known saying that art imitates life and, with Silver Linings Playbook, both in the book by Matthew Quick and film by David O. Russell, this statement rings true. This simple story of Pat Solitano Jr., a casual high-school History teacher who battles to overcome his frustrations in his relationships with those close to him, can be reflected in David O. Russell's filmmaking career.

     It was all going so well, especially after the huge critical success Russell scored in the 1999 film, Three Kings, starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg. So what went wrong? Well, 2004 saw I Heart Huckabees, a philosophical film with experienced actors Dustin Hoffman, Isabelle Huppert and Lily Tomlin achieve mixed success. Rumours of problems on the set surfaced in two clips uploaded to YouTube in 2007 showing Tomlin and Russell arguing during scenes. Russell's next project in 2008, Nailed, starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Jessica Biel, was shut down due to financial problems. Despite the film only needing one more crucial scene shot to complete, the production was shut down and claimed as a loss, unlikely to be ever completed.

     You may think that after two such harrowing filmmaking experiences spread over five years that Russell would be disheartened, but he was able to find success again in his 2009 film, The Fighter. The Fighter received seven Academy Award nominations including Best Picture and Director, two Oscar wins for supporting cast members, and highly positive critical reviews, which has carried over with Russell's latest film, Silver Linings Playbook. Silver Linings Playbook has been adapted by Russell from the 2008 debut novel of Matthew Quick. It tells the story of ordinary people who battle mental illness, strained relationships and have a passion for the NFL team, the Philadelphia Eagles (obviously, the film is set in Philadelphia).

     Pat Solitano, Jr. (Bradley Cooper) has spent eight months in a Baltimore psychiatric facility after finding his wife at home with another man. His subsequent physical assault of this fellow teacher from his school sees him sent to Baltimore as part of his sentencing. Pat's mother Dolores (Australian actress, Jacki Weaver) comes, against expert advice, to take Pat back to his Philadelphia home to live with her and Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro), her obsessive-compulsive (notice the attention to detail that Pat Sr. pays to his remote controls and envelopes in the film!) and one-eyed Philadelphia Eagles fan husband who is banned from Philadelphia home games for assaulting other fans. Pat Sr. has also recently lost his job, so he is now relying on a home bookmaking business to make ends meet.

     Pat Jr. is determined to prove that he can get his life back in order to win back his estranged wife Nikki. He loses weight (hence the reason for the running scenes and wearing of garbage bags by Pat to induce sweat during exercise), starts reading the syllabus books of Nikki's high school English students and adopts the word 'Excelsior' as his catchphrase, which is an attempt by Pat to try and view the positive aspects of life situations which have the potential to lead to 'silver linings'. At the same time, he has been diagnosed as bipolar with mood swings and, typical of patients in his situation, he resists taking medication and schemes as to how he can contact Nikki without violating the restraining order against him.

     Pat meets Tiffany Maxwell (Jennifer Lawrence), a young widow struggling with her own personal demons from her past during a dinner invitation (please note, Jennifer Lawrence doesn't appear in the film until 24 minutes in!). Tiffany volunteers to pass on a letter to Nikki in exchange for Pat Jr. being her partner in an upcoming dance competition, an offer he reluctantly agrees to only after convincing himself that this course of action will be proof to Nikki that he is getting his life in order.

     Silver Linings Playbook is about flawed characters who battle with challenging life situations, in the hope of redeeming themselves, in achieving their personal goals. The film handles the tricky subject of mental illness very well, neither excusing it nor dismissing it, rather Pat and Tiffany are portrayed as likable people who the audience will sympathise with in their struggles, despite their obvious personality problems. Silver Linings Playbook is neither an emotionally-wrought drama nor a romantic comedy film, it's played as 'straight' as possible. The characters in this film represent people you would all know and can relate to.

     Pat Jr. wants to get Nikki back, even if everyone around him thinks it's hopeless. Tiffany want to succeed at the upcoming dance competition, even using the payout from her husband's death whilst working as a police officer to convert her parents' garage into a small private dance studio. Pat Sr. just wants to see the Eagles win, even if that means that everyone around him has to buy in to his superstitious tendencies.

     Just like the story it is telling, Silver Linings Playbook benefits mainly from its attention-to-detail in regards to seemingly minor matters, from the habits of an Italian-American family who religiously watch NFL on Sundays, to the character development of the court-appointed counsellor, Dr. Cliff Patel (played by Bollywood actor, Anupam Kher), to the positioning of the portraits of the Solitano sons at the beginning and end of the film on the wall near the Solitano household stairs (blink and you will miss this subtle moment!). I thought the performance of Chris Tucker as Danny McDaniels was another subtle touch that added to the feel-good nature of the film. (This was Tucker's first appearance in a major feature film, outside of the three Rush Hour films, since 1997.) And finally, the ending of the film manages things just right, as the audience is spared an over-the-top happy ending so common with other Hollywood movies.

     Silver Linings Playbook received eight Oscar nominations at the 2013 Academy Awards, but won only one for Jennifer Lawrence for Best Actress. It was only the 14th film in Oscar history to be nominated for all four Acting categories, and the first since Reds in 1981 (other films in this list include classics such as My Man Godfrey, Sunset Boulevard, A Streetcar Named Desire, From Here to Eternity, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Bonnie and Clyde, Guess Who's Coming to Dinner and Network), and was a box-office hit, grossing $US236 million against its $US21 million budget.

     The film's success and acclaim has solidified Russell's reputation as an elite filmmaker. His next film, American Hustle, has an all-star cast in Silver Linings Playbook's Cooper, Lawrence and De Niro working with The Fighter's Christian Bale and Amy Adams and is timed to be released in December, 2013, just in time for the 2014 Academy Awards. Russell's next project is Legacy of Secrecy, based on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and rumoured to star Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Director David O. Russell and cinematographer Masanobu Takayanagi have utilised handheld cameras to capture a 'natural warmth' and a realistic feel to the film.

     Silver Linings Playbook is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.40:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC codec.

     Sharpness, shadow and fine detail is abundant in the image transfer. The average bitrate of the movie is 25.02 m/b per sec, which is above average for a Blu-ray presentation.

     Colours are saturated overall, in line with the realistic and naturalistic look of the film. Blacks and contrast is absolutely spot-on, supporting the image without detracting or drawing attention to itself.

     There are no major film artefacts present, however, there is some slight film grain evident in some scenes due to shooting with 35mm film.

     Subtitles are provided in English for the Hard of Hearing.

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

Audio

     Like the video transfer, the soundtrack for Silver Linings Playbook is not reference quality, rather it is aimed at supporting the film without detracting the audience away from the main story.

     The main audio track is a DTS-HD Master Audio English 5.1 track encoded at 3370 kbps. A Descriptive Audio track is available in English for the hard of hearing in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, encoded at 256 kbps.

     Dialogue is clear and synchronised, even with overlapping conversation among the characters used often.

     Danny Elfman's music score is understated mostly but it does feature some memorable moments such as Jessie J's Silver Lining (Crazy 'Bout You), Stevie Wonder's My Cherie Amour and Don't You Worry 'Bout a Thing, Rare Earth's Hey Big Brother and The White Stripes' Fell In Love With a Girl.

     The surround channel mix is mainly employed for subtle effects, but it also comes to life, and is discrete, with crowd scenes at Lincoln Financial Field (the home of the Philadelphia Eagles), the dance practice and competition scenes and some Solitano household scenes that contain ensemble cast performances during Sunday NFL games.

     The subwoofer uses a nice dynamic range when required for the soundtrack.

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

Extras

     Silver Linings Playbook comes with an Ultraviolet redemption code. The extras included on the disc are:

Start-up trailers

     Start-up trailers for Safe Haven, Beautiful Creatures and Playing for Keeps play sequentially before the opening menu.

The Movie that became a Movement (28:37)

     This behind-the-scenes featurette contains thoughts from author Matthew Quick, Dr. Mehmet Oz, former Rhode Island representative and bipolar disorder advocate Patrick Kennedy (son of the late Ted Kennedy) on the film's presentation of mental health issues. This documentary discusses the five year journey in making the film when the late Sydney Pollack was attached to it and includes cast interviews and commentary on the dance content. Be warned however, the audio is slightly out-of-sync in places!

Deleted Scenes (22:29)

     Deleted scenes are usually nothing but 'filler' in respect to the quality of Blu-ray/DVD extras usually, but I found most of the sixteen cut scenes here were entertaining, insightful and humorous. These deletes scenes (E-A-G-L-E-S, DeSean Jackson Jersey, "Young at Heart", New Owners, Walk Like A Man, Ronnie's & Veronica's Kitchen, Apologies, I Hate Football & Danny's Out, Stretching Exercises, "Let's Dance", Sitting in the Craziness, Don't Spike the Ball at the One-Yard-Line, Trying to Nail the Big Move, Pat Jr. & Pat Sr. in the Car, Ganesh and It looked Just Like Nikki) play sequentially.

Alternate Ending (4:13)

     This alternate ending is included as part of the Deleted Scenes on the Region A United States Blu-ray, but I quite like the fact that the Region B Australian Blu-ray release has included this extra by itself. This ending plays as a metaphor to the achievements of the main characters in the film who achieve their goals, despite their personal obstacles, with the NFC Wild Card victory over the Minnesota Vikings by the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2008 NFL season.

Q&A Highlights (27:00)

     David O. Russell, producer Bruce Cohen, editor Jay Cassidy, composer Danny Elfman and actors Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper and Paul Herman answer questions from various Q & A sessions. De Niro shares how he became involved with the film; Russell talks about casting his son and working with him (Russell's son has diagnosed anxiety issues) and Cooper reflects on his fears prior to shooting.

Dance Rehearsal (1:24)

     Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence rehearse and practise their dance moves.

Learn To Dance Like Pat And Tiffany (11:45)

     (American version) So You Think You Can Dance? choreographer Mandy Moore shows how the final dance scene moves were developed and choreographed so that fans can practise these dance moves at home! Clips of the actual dance are interspersed throughout this featurette.

R4 vs R1

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

     The Region A United States Blu-ray has one short extra (less than a minute), Going Steadicam with Bradley Cooper, which is in standard definition and is really a goof, as it shows Cooper jokingly operating a Steadicam camera around Jennifer Lawrence. Otherwise, The Region B Australian release and Region A United States release is identical in regards to additional features.

     The Region A United States Blu-ray includes an additional DVD and Digital Copy, a French Dolby Digital 5.1 Dub track and subtitling in Spanish. The United Kingdom Region B Blu-ray only has Cast Interviews for extras, while the German Region B Blu-ray has German and English lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks but does not include the 27-minute Q&A Highlights extra.

Summary

     Silver Linings Playbook has been expertly adapted from Matthew Quick's source novel by David O. Russell. There are so many subtle details going on in the story that the audience is bound to miss the first time. I myself took three or four goes until I realised the link to De Sean Jackson's missed debut rookie touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys (this is referred to as Jackson's spike on the one-year line a few times in the movie), a game which the Eagles lost to the Cowboys 41-37, was finally redeemed in the last game of the season when the Eagles defeated the Cowboys 44-6. Likewise, Pat and Tiffany's circumstances mirror the fate of the Eagles.

     This well-written and directed film surely deserved more than one solitary Oscar! It successfully strikes a balance at addressing potentially awkward social issues, yet remains thoroughly entertaining throughout. With quality acting from the leads and support actors, good extras and a story that is universally appealing, this film will surely please and it represents a quality purchase for the avid movie collector.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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