Star Leaf (Blu-ray) (2015)
|Category||Horror/Sci-Fi||Trailer-x 6 for other releases|
|Year Of Production||2015|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Richard Cranor|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 5.1
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||None||Smoking||Yes, marihuana in copious amounts|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
Afghanistan war veterans James (Julian Gavilanes), who is suffering from PTSD, and Tim (Tyler Trerise) are on a road trip with Tim’s girlfriend Martha (Shelby Truax) through Washington State when Tim announces a detour. He knows where they can get a map to the location of the legendary Star Leaf marihuana grove, a leaf that is “out of this world”. In the woods they stop at the cabin of Seth (Russell Hodgkinson) who provides the map and outlines the rules: at the marihuana location they can smoke all they want but they must not take any pictures, they cannot take any of the leaf away and they must destroy the map. James is dismissive but goes along with his friends as Tim leads them into the Olympic Mountains.
They find the grove without a problem, camp and are soon experiencing some very special highs. Suddenly Ranger Dave (Richard Cranor) appears at their camp and tells them some strange tales about aliens and abnormal animal behaviour before leaving as suddenly as he had arrived. Next morning weird things start to happen; it seems that both Tim and Martha have disobeyed the rules but are the sightings of extra-terrestrial beings, Afghan Taliban fighters and a primitive woman dressed in animal skins real or the delusions of their drugged minds. Is this grove a portal to another world or is the forest fighting back?
Star Leaf is the work of Richard Cranor who functions as co-writer, director, cinematographer, editor, digital effects coordinator as well as one of the five principal cast members. I am often wary of writer / directors who give themselves parts in their films but in this case Cranor is great fun and so very droll. In fact most of the performances are pretty good: Julian Gavilanes and Shelby Truax are believable and speak their dialogue naturally, although Tyler Trerise’s performance is rather one-note. The forest locations of Star Leaf also look fabulous, with some of the most glorious natural colours I have seen in a low budget digital film for some time, and there is no obvious manipulation which adds to the natural feel of the film.
Star Leaf is a strange and unusual film. It is part horror, part mystery, part sci-fi, part thriller, but these genres are blended well by Cranor to provide an entertaining experience because the film has a great strand of deadpan humour, is believably acted, it wastes not a second of its short 75 minute running time and we are never quite sure what is real and what is illusion. Indeed, the final act, not to mention the extra scene at the end of the closing credits, overturns our perceptions of what happened, then overturns them again. If you are looking for something different, and a little weird, this is just the thing.
Star Leaf is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, in 1080p using the MPEG-4 AVC code. The IMDb does not give the original ratio; I guess this is close to the original ratio for while in some scenes faces are partly out of the frame this is could be the result of the handheld, moving camerawork.
As noted in the review the colours in Star Leaf are natural and beautiful, with the greens and browns of the forest, the grey of the mist and the blue of the sky vibrant. Detail is also very good, whether close-up or long shot, blacks solid and shadow detail fine, the print managing the flickering campfire and black night without a problem. Skin tones are natural, contrast and brightness consistent.
There was occasionally slight motion blur against trees but otherwise I did not notice any marks or artefacts.
No subtitles are provided although smallish white subtitles automatically translated the non-English dialogue.
The audio is a choice of English DTS-HD MA 5.1 or English Dolby Digital 5.1.
The audio is very good. Dialogue was clear, centred and easy to hear. The surrounds and rears provided music and ambience, including creatures in the bushes, and came to life in the stoned segment with fireworks and the eerie alien effects. The score by Erik Lundmark was also suitably atmospheric and well represented in the mix. The sub-woofer added bass to the music, fireworks and alien effects.
There are no lip synchronisation issues.
|Surround Channel Use|
Trailers for Wrong Cops (2:21), Maladies (2:32), Montana (1:46), Loitering with Intent (2:29), The Harvest (2:08) and Awful Nice (2:07) can be selected from the main menu.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
There is a Region 1 US DVD release of Star Leaf listed on Amazon.com but no Blu-ray seems to be available in other regions at this time.
Everyone in Star Leaf is into the marihuana, but this film is hardly one Cheech and Chong would endorse or appreciate, as the weird things that happen may be horrifyingly real! Star Leaf is unusual, different, and far more complex than it first appears with an ending, or endings, that will keep you thinking.
The video is excellent, the audio is very good. Trailers for other films are the only extras.
|DVD||Sony BDP-S580, using HDMI output|
|Display||LG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.|
|Audio Decoder||NAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.|
|Speakers||Studio Acoustics 5.1|