Paperboy, The (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 28-Jun-2013

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Trailer-Start-up trailers
More…-Digital Copy
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 106:48
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Lee Daniels
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Zac Efron
Matthew McConaughey
Nicole Kidman
John Cusack
David Oyelowo
Scott Glenn
Macy Gray
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Mario Grigorov


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     The Paperboy has the making of a cult film because it is so unique, even if it is a bit of a mess, story-wise. Directed by Lee Daniels (Precious), the film is derived from the 1995 novel of the same name by Pete Dexter. Dexter and Daniels co-wrote the screenplay, and it seems to me that they've only included the most grotesque bits from the original story, leaving the elements that tie the story together on the 'cutting-room floor', so-to-speak. The plot of The Paperboy could've used some more (okay, maybe a lot more!) revision, but the performances here of the cast will still leave you engrossed, especially Nicole Kidman's.

     The setting of the novel and film are the swamplands of southern Florida, 1969. Hillary Van Wetter (John Cusack), is a prison inmate on death row for the murder of the reviled Sheriff Call in 1965. Sheriff Call had stomped to death Van Wetter's cousin prior to his murder. Ward Jansen (Matthew McConaughey) and Yardley Acheman (David Oyelowo) are journalists who believe that Van Wetter has not had a fair hearing, even if he is a redneck. Ward is idealistic and believes in what he is doing, whereas Yardley wants to use the situation to claim the Pulitzer Prize. Charlotte Bless (Nicole Kidman) is a middle-aged blonde bombshell who is convinced that Van Wetter will be freed and they will marry soon after. Ward’s younger brother, Jack (Zac Efron), is a college dropout and former competitive swimmer who falls in love with Charlotte. The whole story is told in flashback by the Ward family maid, Anita (Macy Gray).

     There are obvious racial tensions throughout. All the characters are affronted by Ward (a white man) and Yardley (a black man) working together. Jack and Ward’s father, W.W. James, (Scott Glenn) a local newspaper publisher notes that Yardley is awfully confident “for a coloured man” and doesn't realise that Anita has kids, even though she has worked for him as his maid for years.

     Nicole Kidman has received deserved recognition for her portrayal of the worldly Charlotte. At 45 years old, she simply oozes sex appeal in this role. Zac Efron, as Jack, is about as far away from his breakout role in High School Musical as you can get. John Cusack, who plays Hillary, is scary-crazy here, in the mould of Robert De Niro's Max Cady in Cape Fear. His first encounter with Charlotte leaves them with a sexual experience, with both orgasming, and not touching. McConaughey and Oyelowo's characters both have secrets that you will not see coming until they are revealed.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The Paperboy was shot on Super 16mm so the image is far grainier than contemporary films released on Blu-ray. This was intended to mimic the period of the film.

     The Paperboy is presented in an aspect ratio of 2:40:1 in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code. The theatrical aspect ratio was 2:35:1.

     As this was shot on Super 16mm film, the image transfer looks soft.

     Colours are subdued, with contrast favouring a yellow hue overall. Warm colours have been pushed into the background to emphasise this yellow contrast onto the look of the film.

     Film grain is evident, but this is intentional.

     Subtitles are available in English, with the subtitles coloured to match different characters’ dialogue.

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

Audio

     The audio transfer is average, without unnecessary embellishment. This is a film where the action lies in the deeds of the main characters.

     The main audio track is a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio English 5.1 track. A secondary audio track is available in English in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. A Descriptive Audio track is available in English for the hard of hearing in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. Both these tracks are encoded at 256 kbps.

     The dialogue is clear from the centre channel and the audio is synchronised.

     Mario Grigorov has provided an effective piano-themed score, contemporary to the late sixties/early seventies.

     Surround channel usage is mainly limited to the front three channels, although there are some ambient, yet quiet, effects in the rears at times, especially in the swap scenes.

     The subwoofer is light and not often utilised.

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

Extras

Start-up Trailers

     Start-up trailers for Rapture Palooza (1:48), The Last Stand (2:02) and Side Effects (1:49) play sequentially before the opening menu.

Digital Copy

     Although not included with my review copy, the Blu-ray of The Paperboy includes a Digital Copy of the movie on a separate disc with a redeemable code to activate it for use with portable devices.

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 Blu-ray interestingly has a Dolby TrueHD soundtrack and extras including:

Summary

     The Paperboy should have been more faithful to the premise of the novel it was sourced from. In the novel, the main theme focuses on the unprincipled members of the journalism profession, with W.W. James' (re-named Jansen in the film) new wife (a character who is seriously underdeveloped in the film) seeking to take over his publishing business, and Yardley tagging along with Ward to publish a Pulitzer Prize-winning story that has cut corners and contains lies. The novel does not really focus that much on Jack, so making Zac Efron's character central to the story was, for me, a huge mistake. If Daniels and Dexter had stuck to the original theme of the 1995 novel, then the filmed adaptation of The Paperboy could've have been so much more.

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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