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Disconnect (Blu-ray) (2012)
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Details At A Glance
Interviews-Cast & Crew-(28:21) Five interviews w. four actors plus director 1080p.
Theatrical Trailer-(2:25) Excellent trailer of feature
Theatrical Trailer-(2:16) Upside Down : 2.40:1 / 1080p.
Theatrical Trailer-(2:12) The Company You Keep : 2.40:1 / 1080p.
Theatrical Trailer-(2:29) Your Sister's Sister : 1.85:1 / 1080p.
Theatrical Trailer-(2:13) Vehicle 19 : 1.85:1 / 1080p.
Reversible Cover-Large pic of Jason Bateman + covers of trailer titles
Year Of Production
||Cast & Crew
Norbert Leo Butz
NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.
Henry-Alex Rubin is famed and lauded for his numerous TV ad campaigns. He has also won praise for his work in film documentaries, most notably for 2005's Academy Award nominated Murderball. Madman, with yet another local release of an excellent independent title, have given us his first feature movie, Disconnect, which was shown at the 2012 festivals in Toronto and Venice. Interweaving three stories, the film explores the impact of modern communication technology on our lives, possibly with catastrophic results. The film manages to weave these three plot lines naturally, never seeming forced or contrived. The situations are real and relevant, and the performances impeccable.
Writer Andrew Stern gave us that most romantic of plots in one of my personal favourite "weepies", 2005's Return to Me. However, there is no sentimentality here. There are three plot lines each with its own set of characters. Eventually, however, we come to see the links between the characters and their stories. There is the story of Nina (Andrea Riseborough), an aggressive, ambitious reporter who makes contact with a young male prostitute, Kyle (Max Thieriot), who works from a "house" along with a group of other young sex workers. Secondly we have a study of cyberbullying, with two young boys impersonating a girl on Facebook and enticing a young classmate, Ben (Jonah Bobo), to send "her" a sexually explicit selfie over his phone, which they gleefully distribute to all their classmates. Then we have Cindy (Paula Patton) and Derek (Alexander Skarsgard), a young couple who have recently lost a child. Cindy, in search of compassion, makes a new internet "friend", and before long the couple are burgled. Cindy confesses her internet disloyalty to Derek and the pair confront the suspected confidant. However the web of the net is more intricate than they at first suspect.
If this sounds contrived, it does not play that way on screen. The situations are all real, and who of us can not see ourselves represented up there on the screen? The characters are real, the dialogue is potent and sparse, and the performances are superb. As the parents of the bullied Ben, Jason Bateman (TV's Arrested Development) and Hope Davis (American Splendor) are in peak form. Bateman has become a consummate actor - playing to perfection Everyman in all his guises, from high farce to profound drama. Paula Patton (Mission - Impossible : Ghost Protocol) and Alexander Skarsgard (TV's True Blood) match them, she being a very pleasant surprise, and he so different from the sexy beast he usually portrays. The young actors are also outstanding, with Jonah Bobo (Zathura) and Colin Ford ( We Bought a Zoo / TV's Under the Dome) giving the film some of its most telling moments. Older than he looks, as the happily provocative Kyle, Max Thieriot (House at the End of the Street) is excellent, and delivers a memorable moment of blinding truth in his final confrontation with Andea Riseborough (W.E.). Thieriot is also mighty impressive as Norman Bates' older half-brother in TV's Bates Motel. I think we will see much more of this fine young actor.
Photography is excellent, at times with documentary like reality. To me the film never becomes a hand-held nightmare of shaky camerawork, with the director and his cameraman, Ken Seng (Step Up 3D) never allowing technique to upstage the drama unfolding on the screen. True, there are contrivances distancing the characters at times from the camera, but none of these jarred with me. The string ensemble music from Max Richter (Lore) is sombre in tone and complements the mood of the film beautifully.
The subject matter and the performances totally gripped me as I watched this film. I found it compelling, rivetting and frighteningly accurate. If you enjoy good real life drama that has a social conscience, delivered with first rate performances , this is well worth your time. The extras are light on, and don't expect a knockout high-definition experience.
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Disconnect is a bit of a disappointment in its on screen presentation.
The film is presented at the aspect ratio of 1.85:1, its original theatrical ratio.
Although there are some brilliantly sharp close-ups, much of the film lacks razor sharp clarity. The colour is also inconsistent, with lapses - or were they intentional - into a general bluish tinge or a bad case of the orange complexion issue. Basically the colours are a little washed out, and the blacks are also inconsistent. Perhaps some of this was supposed to add to the documentaery like "realism" of the project. Balancing these disappointments, the camerawork is excellent.
There are no subtitles.
Video Ratings Summary
There is one audio stream : English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Encoded at 48 kHz.
This is basically a dialogue driven film, and that is delivered without any flaws. Basically front centred, there is not one lost syllable and there are no sync problems. The audio manages to be "realistic", and deliver every scene with clear, dramatic impact. With the exception of the nicely produced music, the surrounds are used sparely. There are the odd scenes, such as the school lunchroom and the rare exterior, where ambience and environmental sounds are featured, but generally there is little surround, or subwoofer, involvement.
Audio Ratings Summary
|Surround Channel Use|
Menu The simple menu screen has a montage of scenes from the film, with a featured song as the soundtrack.
The options offered are :
Scenes : Selection gives a single strip overlay of twelve thumbnailed chapters.
Extras : Interviews with Cast and Crew : Jason Bateman (6:12)
Alexander Skarsgard (7:41)
Paula Patton (7:27)
Max Thierot (5:32)
Henry-Alex Rubin (1:29)
Theatrical Trailer (2:25)
Madman Propaganda (9:46) : Four theatrical trailers.
Apart from the promotional trailers of other Madman releases, all the extras we get are a set of interviews. All are presented in high definition, with the interviewee torso high in front of a simple background. The interviewer is unseen, and the quesions almost all unheard.
Interview : Jason Bateman (6:12) :
The extremely versatile actor discusses what attracted him to the project, the significance of the title and our addiction to technology.
Interview : Alexander Skarsgard (7:41) :
We learn of his early meeting with the director, as well as the obvious thematic issues of the film.
Interview : Paula Patton (7:27) :
The actress impresses as being a compassionate person as she discusses this "cautionary tale".
Interview : Max Thierot (5:32) :
The talented young actor discusses how we live our lives and the outcomes from our actions.
Interview : Henry-Alex Rubin (1:29) :
The director is seen briefly as he answers questions, obviously on a red carpet somewhere.
Theatrical Trailer (2:25) :
This is something that you see very rarely these days : a really excellent trailer. Presented in quality equal to that of the feature we are given a very good idea of what the film is about, with well edited snippets that arouse interest without giving anything away. Great sound in the trailer also.
Madman Propaganda : Theatrical Trailers (9:46) :
Copyright Warning (0:36)
Upside Down : 1080p and 2.40:1 (2:16)
The Company You Keep : 1080p and 2.40:1 (2:12)
Your Sister's Sister : 1080p and 1.78:1 (2:29)
Vehicle 19 : 1080p and 1.78:1 (2:13).
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
R4 vs R1
NOTE: To view
non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually
also NTSC compatible.
The local release misses out on :
* English and Spanish Subtitles
* Feature Length Commentary by the Director
* Making Of : Making the Connection (27:18) : Featurette with two of the producers, the writer and the director plus some of the actors.
This probably includes the footage we have in the separate cast interviews.
* Recording Session : Recording "The Nature of Daylight" for Disconnect (4:16) : The composer rehearses the orchestra and then records the theme, with comments from the director.
The theme of this film is one that really resonates with me, and maybe that unduly influences my judgement. I was gripped from being to end, fascinated to have the links unfold between the diffent stories. The documentary like techniques did not bother me, and the performances were beyond criticism. This is a standout film for me, sadly given a transfer that is on the disappointing side, although it may be true to the filmaker's intent. The interview extras are skimpy, but interesting.
© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Saturday, March 08, 2014
|DVD||SONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD.
Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player.
Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
|Speakers||VAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)|