Disaster Artist, The (Blu-ray) (2017)

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Released 28-Mar-2018

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Drama Audio Commentary
Featurette-Making Of-Oh, Hi Mark: Making a Disaster
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Directing a Disaster
Featurette-Just a Guy Leaning on a Wall: Getting to Know Tommy
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2017
Running Time 103:31
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By James Franco
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring James Franco
Dave Franco
Seth Rogen
Alison Brie
Ari Graynor
Jacki Weaver
Paul Scheer
Zac Efron
Josh Hutcherson
June Diane Raphael
Megan Mullally
Jason Mantzoukas
Hannibal Buress
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Dave Porter


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
German Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
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
French
German
Italian
Portuguese
Spanish
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Norwegian
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Post-credits scene

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

Plot Synopsis

††† Not many bad films are as infamous or as iconic as 2003ís The Room, with its shockingly inept filmmaking and tuneless acting positioning the production as a cult oddity - the very definition of ďso bad itís good.Ē 2017ís The Disaster Artist seeks to chronicle the bizarre story behind The Roomís creation, examining the circumstances that led to its second life as a cult phenomenon. Written by Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber (500 Days of Summer, The Spectacular Now), the movie is based on the 2013 non-fiction book of the same name by one of The Roomís leading actors, Greg Sestero. Itís ideal fodder for a motion picture, reminiscent of Tim Burtonís 1994 comedy-drama Ed Wood. With James Franco both directing and starring, The Disaster Artist is an entertaining, funny and unexpectedly poignant comedic biopic, as well as an affectionate tribute to The Room that fans of the cult classic really ought to see.

††† Hoping to make it big as an actor, Greg (Dave Franco) is unable to swallow his inhibitions, but finds himself inspired by the utter fearlessness of fellow acting student Tommy Wiseau (James Franco). The pair strike up an unlikely bond based around movies and acting, though Tommy espouses an odd, indeterminate accent, and is very mysterious, refusing to answer any personal questions. With their friendship blossoming, Tommy offers Greg the opportunity to live in his apartment in Los Angeles, and both of them make the move, hoping to achieve their acting dreams. While Greg lands himself an agent (played by Sharon Stone) and is soon offered minor roles, Tommy is less successful, which frustrates him. On a whim, Tommy decides to write and self-finance his own passion project, The Room, for which he offers a major role to Greg. However, Tommy has no idea how to make a movie. Employing a small crew, The Room enters production, but itís a debacle from the start, and Gregís patience with Tommy begins to wear thin. As the shoot goes over-schedule, Greg can only hope that his career will survive.

††† Despite Francoís omnipresence in the marketing materials, the narrative is framed from Gregís perspective, which leaves Wiseau as an enigma. Tommy tells everyone heís from New Orleans (and denies having an accent), claims to be Gregís age, chastises people for talking about him, and deflects all questions about him, refusing to reveal how he appears to have unlimited funds. Franco thankfully does not fall victim to hero worship, showing how off-the-rails Tommy became during the shoot for The Room - he refuses to pay for air conditioning, mistreats co-star Juliette (Ari Graynor) while filming the (very uncomfortable) sex scene, and acts possessive when Greg is offered a small role in an episode of Malcolm in the Middle. The screenplay hews reasonably close to reality (in accordance with Gregís book), though certain events are altered, while other things are missing or truncated. For instance, in real life, The Room cast and crew members were constantly replaced, and there was more to the shooting of Wiseauís first scene as an actor. In addition, the movie sees Tommy quickly embracing The Roomís unintentional hilarity at the premiere, which is fictional. However, The Disaster Artist is a dramatisation first and foremost, and it definitely works well enough as a self-contained movie to excuse any minor inaccuracies.

††† In spite of a scant $10 million budget, The Disaster Artist is competent from top to bottom; the cinematography by the brilliant Brandon Trost (The Interview, This is the End) is striking, and the spot-on recreation of the late í90s and early 2000s is ostensibly effortless. A considerable portion of The Disaster Artist is dedicated to The Roomís production, exploring as many peculiar moments from the shoot as possible without losing sight of pacing. Since Tommy is the boss, the increasingly disgruntled crew are compelled to cater to his ridiculous whims - for instance, the movie is simultaneously shot on digital video and on 35mm, the shoot goes way beyond the forty-day schedule, and Tommy insists on laughing in response to a serious story about domestic violence. Members of the crew are both nervous and unsure about what they have gotten themselves into, while Tommy genuinely believes that he has written a powerful American story of betrayal. Nevertheless, despite the movieís many humorous moments, The Disaster Artist is not an outright mockery; Franco explores Tommyís feelings of inadequacy and alienation, and he is genuinely hurt when he hears his crew making fun of him or putting him down.

††† Wiseau has publicly stated that only Johnny Depp or Franco could play him in a movie, and itís no surprise that Francoís Golden Globe-winning performance is a knockout. Although Francoís mimicry of Wiseauís bizarre Eastern European accent is not exactly spot-on, the transformation from a physical and vocal standpoint is still outstanding, and he truly embodies the man, fully committing to the material. Alongside him, Francoís brother Dave makes for a terrific straight man to Wiseauís eccentricities. The leading pair are so focused that itís easy to get involved in the story and forget that theyíre brothers. Itís no wonder they share such palpable and effective chemistry. An amicable collection of actors fill out the ensemble, with the likes of Seth Rogen, Paul Scheer, Jacki Weaver, Zac Efron and Josh Hutcherson portraying The Roomís cast and crew members, while Bob Odenkirk, Sharon Stone, Jason Mantzoukas, Hannibal Buress and many others also make appearances. Cameos are plentiful throughout The Disaster Artist, from Bryan Cranston playing himself, to Zoey Deutch (Francoís Why Him? co-star) and Randall Park (Kim Jong-un in The Interview) as acting students, and even producer Judd Apatow playing a Hollywood big shot. Wiseau himself even has a scene, though thatís saved for after the end credits.

††† In the tradition of movies like Ed Wood and Bowfinger, The Disaster Artist is an engaging and edifying true-life chronicle, as well as a dramatically satisfying and entertaining motion picture in its own right. However, with the film clocking in at a lean 95 minutes excluding credits, it does feel a bit on the short side; there could have been more scenes on the set of The Room, and the editing process is not explored. Still, anything more might risk feeling like self-indulgence, and Greg was not involved in The Roomís post-production. Devout fans of Wiseauís ďmasterpieceĒ will get the most out of The Disaster Artist, but even the uninitiated will be able to appreciate and laugh at this compelling dramedy. As a bonus, the ending is tagged with clips from The Room compared side-by-side with re-enactments by the cast of The Disaster Artist, which is a treat. Also, be sure to stick around for the post-credits scene featuring the real Wiseau himself.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† According to IMDb, The Disaster Artist was shot digitally at 6K resolution with Red Weapon Dragon cameras and completed natively at 4K. It looked gorgeous on the big screen during its theatrical run, and it's genuinely disheartening that the movie did not receive a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray release anywhere in the world. For those interested, the movie is actually available to stream in 4K with Dolby Vision High Dynamic Range on iTunes, and it looks enormously impressive despite being a compressed stream. Roadshow's AVC-encoded, 1080p high definition presentation may not be in 4K, but it is a great transfer on its own merits, and looked excellent when upscaled on my 4K television. Roadshow make use of a dual-layered BD-50 to accommodate the movie and the extras, mastering the movie with a pleasing average bitrate of 27.5 Mbps. Indeed, even though this is a Roadshow/Warner Bros. title, it doesn't fall victim to unnecessarily overzealous compression - even though there is a fair chunk of unused space left on the disc.

††† Framed at the movie's original aspect ratio of 2.40:1, the presentation easily impresses when it comes to highlights, textures and fine detail. Do not let the disc menu's questionable video quality worry you - the movie itself looks terrific. Of course, shots from the perspective of Tommy's videographer are deliberately rough, emulating shots that would be taken by a standard definition camera, but these shots look precisely as intended. The primary film footage, however, is excellent. Even in medium and long shots, there is plenty of detail to make out on clothing and skin, particularly in well-lit scenes. And with the image looking razor-sharp to boot, you can count the hairs on beards and even eyebrows. I have pointed out that Red cameras habitually produce overly smooth-looking video devoid of source noise, which can result in Blu-ray presentations lacking in texture. However, The Disaster Artist exhibited source noise in the cinema, and Roadshow's capable Blu-ray encode is thankfully able to resolve a fine layer of noise here, which almost looks like film grain. Said noise is rarely distracting, and only serves to enhance the video's textures. It's worth pointing out that the interview footage which opens the movie is devoid of video noise, but looks excellent all the same, with a high level of detailing. It doesn't look too smooth, or in any way smeary. The encode has been capably performed.

††† Colours are accurate to how it looked in the cinema. Admittedly, blacks aren't always as deep as they were on the big screen, but that is mostly attributable to the limitations of 1080p Blu-ray. Despite this, skin tones look pleasing and accurate, without any over-the-top saturation, and the palette is realistic. Even when audience members sit in shadows during the opening sequence at the theatre, colours on clothing and skin still stand out. I am not often impressed by Standard Dynamic Range presentations anymore, but The Disaster Artist fares extremely well - though the Dolby Vision grade of the iTunes stream boosts the video.

††† In terms of the transfer's shortcomings, it doesn't carry the same definitive "pop" it possessed at the cinema, and contrast is not always spot-on. Certain shots, particularly under lower light, look a tad smooth and could stand to have stronger fine detail. The iTunes 4K presentation is also able to resolve more noticeable textures in certain scenes, thanks to its added resolution, while the HDR is effective as well. Ultimately, I'm just left wishing there was a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, but I'll still take this stable, eminently watchable 1080p Blu-ray despite its shortcomings. Both casual viewers and videophiles should be satisfied.

††† Multiple subtitle options are available. I had no issues with the well-formatted English track.

Video Ratings Summary
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Shadow Detail
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Audio

††† Although The Disaster Artist was reportedly mixed at 7.1, Roadshow's Blu-ray release only carries a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which is thankfully 24-bit and 48hz. Despite the loss of channels, the resulting Blu-ray audio track is satisfying nevertheless, with mostly pleasing prioritisation and exceptional encoding. Since this is a lossless track, it's pristine and crisp from start to end - nothing sounds even slightly muffled or underwhelming. Since the movie is predominantly comprised of dialogue, this is a front-centric track for the most part, and the chatter is always easy to hear and comprehend. Admittedly, during quieter moments - such as Tommy and Greg on the couch drinking Red Bull - the dialogue is a bit softer, but that's appropriate to the scene. What matters is that, with the volume up load, the dialogue is still crystal clear. The music doesn't drown anything out; even during a club scene during which Greg first meets Amber, you can still hear the dialogue despite the loud music.

††† Subwoofer is mostly reserved, due to the nature of the production. Still, when Tommy throws things around on the street at the 58-minute mark, there's adequate impact to the sound effects. The surround channels are often only engaged for music, with little evidence of panning or placement effects. Luckily, the track never falls victim to any encoding anomalies like drop-outs, sync issues, pops or clicks - it's smooth sailing across the board. This is not the best audio mix I've ever heard, but it is effective considering the source, and I cannot imagine the 7.1 mix being considerably better.

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

††† A somewhat disappointing selection of extras. I was hoping for oodles of deleted scenes, but we only have three brief featurettes and a commentary. Still, what's included is of good value, and the disc menu is more impressive than usual.

Commentary

†† This packed commentary track features James Franco, Dave Franco, Scott Neustadter, Michael H. Weber and Tommy Wiseau, while Greg Sestero joins by phone. James instantly takes charge of the track, basically interviewing everybody while Dave asks follow-up questions. Honestly, screenwriters Neustadter and Weber have very little to say, as Wiseau and Sestero are the focus (a separate writers commentary track would have been prudent). The track features production anecdotes (both amusing and insightful), and furthers the enigma that is Tommy Wiseau - they talk about the billboard that he rented for five years (he refuses to reveal the cost), he's asked about the robot crab (which was real), and he explains that The Room is based on "real-life." Other topics include the actors (Sharon Stone gets a story) and directing Judd Apatow in his cameo, while they also discuss what's true. Tommy does seem reluctant to answer certain questions, and instead deflects. James and Dave aren't shy about asking Tommy about acting uncomfortable questions, including being somewhat mean on-set, spying on his crew via the behind-the-scenes videographer, or the reason behind two "Wiseau Films" logos. There's virtually no dead space throughout, as the guys have so much to discuss, making this one of the most entertaining commentaries in recent memory. For fans of The Room and/or The Disaster Artist, this is an essential listen.

Oh, Hi Mark: Making a Disaster (HD; 13:07)

††† In this good-natured and informative featurette, several members of the cast and crew go over the origins of the production and discuss their experiences with The Room. The massive cast is covered in satisfying detail, from Cranston to Weaver, and there's a hilarious discussion of Efron's performance that had me in stitches. Once the focus shifts to The Disaster Artist, there is plenty of on-set footage to devour, including valuable snippets of Wiseau interacting with James Franco, and Sestero with Dave Franco. Additional moments not in the final movie are seen as well, which just made me want to see all the deleted scenes. I wish this was longer, but this is a good extra nevertheless.

Directing a Disaster (HD; 7:07)

††† The focus of this featurette, logically, shifts more specifically to James Franco. The cast and crew all have hilarious tidbits about working with James as directed the movie (always in the Wiseau voice and wearing prosthetics on his face) whilst starring as Tommy and Johnny. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg were brought on-board as producers, and it's apparent that they helped direct the picture, providing notes and feedback, particularly if James is acting in a scene. It's eminently clear that everybody had a fun time making The Disaster Artist.

Just a Guy Leaning on a Wall: Getting to Know Tommy (HD; 7:12)

††† Say whatever you will about Tommy Wiseau as an actor (or about his quirkiness), but it's clear in this featurette that he's also very friendly, and was accommodating throughout the making of The Disaster Artist. There are many interviews with members of the cast and crew, as well as the likes of Kevin Smith and Kristen Bell. There's a fair bit of footage from the shooting of Tommy's scene in the movie, and James Franco enjoys chatting to him on-camera. As ever, Tommy will not reveal anything about himself, and even claims that he no longer has an accent. You cannot help but like the guy.

R4 vs R1

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

† † Compared to the Region A-locked Lionsgate release, the Roadshow disc misses out on:

††† The gag reel and the trailer can be viewed on YouTube at the present, but the Lionsgate release is still the winner. Be sure that you have a compatible player if you choose to import, however. It's worth pointing out that Roadshow's release appears to be a direct port of the U.K. disc from Warner Bros - complete with a Warner Bros. introduction when you load up the disc.

Summary

††† One of my favourite movies of 2017, The Disaster Artist is a fascinating story about a notoriously bad movie, as well as an entertaining dramedy that's frequently hilarious without diminishing the dramatics of the story.

††† Roadshow's Blu-ray looks and sounds fantastic. It's hard to imagine the picture quality looking any better short of a 4K Ultra HD release. There is a nice selection of extras to boot, making this a great disc that's well worth owning. Highly recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Tuesday, May 01, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDLG UP970 4K UHD HDR Blu-ray Player, using HDMI output
DisplayLG OLED65E6T. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 2160p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationSamsung Series 7 HT-J7750W
SpeakersSamsung Tall Boy speakers, 7.1 set-up

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