Art School Confidential (2006)

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Released 28-Mar-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Coming-Of-Age Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Sundance
Deleted Scenes
Additional Footage-Additional Scene
Outtakes-Blooper Reel
Trailer-The Da Vinci Code, Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles
Trailer-Facing the Giants, Freedomland, All The Kings Men, Blu-ray
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 98:10
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (60:48) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Terry Zwigoff
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Max Minghella
Sophia Myles
John Malkovich
Jim Broadbent
Matt Keeslar
Ethan Suplee
Joel Moore
Nick Swardson
Anjelica Huston
Adam Scott
Jack Ong
Scoot McNairy
Jeremy Guskin
Case ?
RPI ? Music David Kitay


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
French
Arabic
Italian
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    After years of being picked-on at high school for being the "art nerd", Jerome Platz (Max Minghella) heads to art school at the dubiously prestigious Strathmore College. There he shares a dorm room with Vince (Ethan Suplee), a prospective film-maker, and Matthew, who is studying fashion. His class is filled with "so many stereotypes it's tragic", as his lone friend in the class describes. His teacher (a picture-perfect John Malkovich) is a washed up never-was. His fellow students include angry lesbians, emotional wrecks and every other art cliché you could imagine. Worse still, there's a serial killer stalking the campus.

    Though his art may be getting better, Jerome has an uphill battle in getting anybody else in the class to notice. His peers seem pre-occupied with, and capable of, anything but classical art and his teacher is too busy with his own work (although busy is a rather subjective term). As his frustration with art grows, Jerome meets and falls in love with Audrey Baumgarten (Sophia Myles) only to find love an equally frustrating pursuit. Ultimately, he turns to a middle-aged failed artist, Jonah (Jim Broadbent) for solace. It seems that making it in the art world has little to do with being a good artist!

    Art School Confidential is a quirky and cynical coming of age story, cast in a very similar mould to director Terry Zwigoff and writer Daniel Clowes previous collaboration Ghost World. As such, it is hard not to compare it to their previous masterpiece. On the whole, it is nearly as good a film as Ghost World, but doesn't have quite the same air of originality about it. The film does seem a little as though Zwigoff and Clowes are resting on their laurels, but the film certainly proves that the Ghost World formula had at least one more movie in it.

    It is easy to sympathise with Jerome's plight, regardless of your knowledge of art, as the movie does an excellent job of presenting art on an accessible level. Anyone who has ever been frustrated by their passions will find something here.

    The film occasionally relies a little too heavily on the quirkiness of its characters to progress the story, but never feels as though it doesn't know where it is heading. Every one of the characters are certainly developed and acted well enough to wear this strain.

    Art School Confidential manages to ruthlessly lampoon "modern art" without reducing the impact of the dramatic side of the story. The cast and director deserve significant praise for pulling this off as well as they do.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in it's original aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is reasonably sharp for a low budget indie film, though not quite as razor sharp as you would expect of a high budget studio film. This is coupled by a modest, though not distracting degree of grain. Shadow detail is good. The colours are quite natural, although a little on the pale side.

    Occasional film artefacts are noticeable, such as at around 18:50 and 26:20, mostly in darker scenes. Minor edge enhancement is occasionally noticeable, but never distracting. There are no particularly noticeable MPEG related artefacts visible in the transfer

    English, French, Italian and Arabic subtitles are available. The subtitles are white with a black border and appear to be quite clear and well timed, based on the segment I sampled.

    This is an RSDL disc. The layer change occurs at 60:48 but was not noticeable on my equipment.

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

Audio

    There are three audio tracks provided for the feature; English, French and Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448 Kbps).

    The dialogue is quite clear and in good sync with the video. The film is very dialogue driven, so this is an important factor. There are no noticeable flaws or hard to hear parts.

    There is not a great deal of music used in the film, which captures the stark nature of the film very well. On the handful of occasions musical cues are used, they tend to be quite minimalist. The surround channels are used modestly for environmental effects, providing a rather intimate atmosphere for the film. There is little to no subwoofer usage, although there is never really a need for it. As basic as the sound design of the film is, making it any busier would detract from the film - it is a classic case of less is more.

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

Extras

    The disc opens with the anti-piracy trailer that legitimate DVD purchasers have long become sick of. At least it can be skipped using the next chapter key of your remote.

Featurette - Making of (8:28)

    A brief, but reasonably interesting look at the making of Art School Confidential. It mainly concentrates on the storytelling goals of the writer and director and features a section of how each character's art was developed to help build that character.

Sundance Featurette (7:06)

    A featurette about the film's premiere and reception at the Sundance Film Festival in 2006. Interviews with the cast and crew describe their experiences representing the film at the festival.

Deleted Scenes (11:03)

    12 deleted scenes, ranging the full gamut of extended scenes from the film to scenes that really don't fit in it at all. Though they are interesting, as far as deleted scenes go, the titles given to each scene are funnier than the scenes themselves - particularly those that don't bear repeating on this reasonably polite website!

Additional Scene: Testimonials (1:09)

    Another amusing deleted scene that doesn't really fit in the movie. It is hard to say why this one wasn't included with the other deleted scenes, perhaps a fear of the number 13?

Bloopers and Alternate Takes (4:45)

    A fairly forgettable set of alternate takes to some of the more improvised scenes of the film.

Trailers

    Trailers for The Da Vinci Code, Riding Alone For Thousands of Miles, Facing the Giants, Freedomland and All The Kings Men are featured, as well as a generic trailer for Blu-ray discs and Sony titles coming to Blu-ray.

R4 vs R1

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

    The only difference between the Region 4 and Region 1 editions of Art School Confidential is the language tracks and subtitles available. Both versions carry French and English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio tracks. The Region 4 version also features an Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 language track as well as Italian and Arabic subtitles. The Region 4 version features Dolby Digital 2.0 Portuguese and Spanish language tracks as well as Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish subtitles. This weigh-in is a draw.

Summary

    A quirky coming-of-age film set in the world of art. Though certainly a little offbeat, there is something here for everyone. Highly recommended.

    The selection of extras is good in both quantity and quality.

    The video transfer is good, but contains more film artefacts than usual for a recent film. The Audio transfer is very good.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDLG V8824W, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D512
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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