Super (Blu-ray) (2010)

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Released 5-Jan-2012

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer-Abduction (2:32) 2.35:1 / 1080p.
Theatrical Trailer-Warrior (2:32) 2.35:1 / 1080p.
Theatrical Trailer-The Inbetweeners Movie (1:55) 1.85:1 / 1080p.
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-(18:38) Super : Behind the Scenes / 1.85:1 /1080i
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 95:54
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By James Gunn
Studio
Distributor
Ambush Entertainment
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Rainn Wilson
Ellen Page
Liv Tyler
Kevin Bacon
Gregg Henry
Michael Rooker
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Tyler Bates


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes, In character.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Credits are four minutes into film.

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

Plot Synopsis

     It is so refreshing and encouraging to find a film that is actually different - and so very, very good. Such a film is Super, from the creative energy of writer / director James Gunn, who was responsible for the scary and imaginative Slither. Super is a difficult film to categorise, as it at first seems like a comedy, and its star, whose name may escape us, has a face we associate with comedy, such as the U.S. version of The Office. After this film there will be no doubt as to who Rainn Wilson is.

     Frank D'Arbo (Rainn Wilson) is a sad faced fry cook who has had "two perfect moments in (his) life". Number one was his marriage to Sarah (Liv Tyler) and number two was his assisting the police in catching a transgressor. These two moments offset a life otherwise filled with "pain, humiliation and rejection". Sarah has become involved with a drug dealer, Jacques, "Jock" to Frank, (Kevin Bacon), and is dependent upon her new boyfriend's stock in trade. Sarah abandons Frank for her new lover, leaving Frank to weep and wail to the heavens. Alone, and watching Christian TV, Frank is inspired by hefty superhero The Holy Avenger (Nathan Fillion), and sets out to find himself a suitable persona for his personal superhero transformation. Researching his project in a comic book store, Frank arouses the interest of kinky shop assistant Libbie (Ellen Page). His name chosen, Frank sews himself a costume , finds a weapon - a plumber's wrench - a name : The Crimson Bolt, and sits in alleys waiting for crime to come his way. Frank soon discovers that a hefty wrench, swung with force at a human head, reduces flesh, muscle and bone to a pulpy mess. (This film has an "R" rating for violence, and it does contain some of the most realistic bashings I have ever seen on screen.) Frank swings away with his wrench and soon the police are seeking this violent vigilante. Libby discovers Frank's secret identity and persuades him that he needs a sidekick - a female "Robin". The forceful young woman soon becomes Boltie, costumed for action and unleashing her own maniacally violent streak. The police are after the new urban crusaders, while the crusaders set their sights on Jacques and his cronies in order to liberate a "kidnapped" Sarah. The crusaders deliver gory violence to their opponents, and the police and Jacque's men all carry guns that shoot real bullets. Violence has consequences so where will all of this end for the hapless Frank?

     Gunn's script is terse, witty and dramatic all at once. There are some memorable lines - that's a rarity - with "what happens between the panels" one that will stick forever. Director Gunn combines the elements of comedy and violence with a completely sure hand. Everything is sadly funny until Frank bashes someone over the head with his wrench. Suddenly we have to take stock, shocked into the awareness that this film is much more than a comedy. It begins with the classically opposed elements of comedy and tragedy, but then carries them into another realm, with the consequences of an ordinarily "comic" act becoming violent and ugly. The comic book balloons, commenting on the violence with a "POW" or a "SPLAT", are most effective because they are used sparingly.

     Performances are excellent, from an astonishing cast for such a low budget feature. Rainn Wilson is movingly honest and soul bearing from beginning to end. The range of his emotions is truly on a Shakespearean scale. Ellen Page (Juno) is touching, and extremely funny, as well as stunningly lovely. Kevin Bacon, who can be excellent in drama (Mystic River) or comedy (Beauty Shop), is at his best in his bravura comedic turn. Liv Tyler (The Strangers) is also in top form, both in acting and appearance, with her heavy "druggy" eye make-up making her more beautiful than usual. As well we have one of Hollywood's most consistently busy actors, Gregg Henry (TV's Hung), as a compassionate detective, Michael Rooker (TV's The Walking Dead) and Sean Gunn (the director's brother) as a couple of Jacques' thugs, Andre Royo (TV's The Wire) as a line cook, Linda Cardellini (Brokeback Mountain) as a pet shop saleswoman, William Katt (The Greatest American Hero) as "Sgt Fitzgibbon", and finally the talented, handsome and hysterical Nathan Fillion (TV's Firefly and the new Castle ) as The Holy Avenger.

     Gunn is given excellent cinematography courtesy of Steve Gainer (Mysterious Skin), his camera at times hand held and "realistic", but mostly solid, imaginative and traditional. The music is from Tyler Bates, last heard with the symphonic score for the new Conan the Barbarian. Here the gifted composer is in his Californication mode, with a much more modern and minimal sound. Made with limited money and time, this film is fuelled by imagination and intelligence in every facet of its production. Even the credits, which are four minutes into the film, are brilliant.

     If you are prepared for a film that is different, honest, intelligent, funny and confrontingly violent, then you should give Super a go. That is exactly what it is: super and very special. Don't miss it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     This excellent film is given a very good Blu-ray transfer, though not a knock your sox off disc.

     Presented at the ratio of 1.85:1 in a 1080p transfer, the image is clear, sharp and detailed. There are scenes which are intentionally overexposed or slightly fuzzy, but this is obviously intentional. Basically we have a razor sharp image with very good detail, whether the screen is bright or shadowed. The general palette is rich and strong with exceptional skin tones. Glorious, high detailed close-ups of the glowingly intense Ellen Page are a treat. The animated credits are startlingly vivid, while the animated overlays within the live action are brilliant in both colour and detail. This tremendous little film is delivered in a transfer that perfectly complements the content on screen.

     There are English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired which were sampled and found to be excellent. Two colours are used to differentiate between speakers, with appropriate placement across the image. A third colour is used for sound effects.

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

Audio

     There are two English audio streams : DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encoded

     The DTS-HD 5.1 track delivered a perfectly satisfying aural experience. This film is dialogue heavy, and dialogue was generally front and centre, crisp and clear with no sync problems. Directionality was limited, but when called upon there was activity in the sides and rears with appropriate ambience throughout. Sometimes a "little" film has a knockout soundtrack, which leads me to believe that this is not a difficult or expensive feature to have in a film. This film is just not the kind of film for that experience, although the sound is appropriate and totally effective. Popular music is used extensively, with an original score from Tyler Bates who is responsible for the scores for Watchmen, , 2008's The Day the Earth Stood Still, the new Conan and TV's Californication.This versatile and talented youngish composer here gives us modern, hip sounds which are very effectively delivered through all channels.

     The Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired was sampled and found to be excellent, delivered by a sedate, mature male voice.

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

Extras

     There is sadly only one "extra" with the local release, but it is a good one. The U.S. release is more generous (see below).

Start-Up Trailers

     On start-up we are served up three high-definition trailers of other Lionsgate movies :

Abduction (2:32) : 2.35:1

Warrior (2:32) : 2.35:1

The Inbetweners Movie (1:55) 1.78:1

Main Menu

     The menu is presented at the foot of a colourful and clever graphic. There is a brilliantly coloured depiction of The Crimson Bolt and Boltie. The background is a dozen or so black and white comic book like panels of scenes from the film. There is also a splattered balloon containing a montage of full colour live-action scenes from the film, combined with an audio montage, not matching the visuals. Music from the film is behind it all.

Super : Behind the Scenes (18:38)

     This behind-the-scenes featurette is presented in 1080i high definition of quality similar to the film itself. We are given the director , producer and many of the stars in interview / comment mode on making the film. Though standard in the scope of the material, what sets this above most other behind-the-scenes glimpses is the apparent honesty, humility and intelligence of all the participants. There obviously was a general tone and attitude of commitment that set this project apart from others. This is an interesting and entertaining look at the making of a fascinating, small project.

Censorship

    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 :

* Trailer

* TV Spot

* Deleted Scene (1 min.)

* Making of Title Sequence (4:51)

* "How to Fight Crime" Featurette (3:59)

* Audio Commentary : Feature length by James Gunn and Rainn Wilson.

Summary

     Super is a decidedly different film which will not be to everyone's taste - and that is their loss. This is excellent filmmaking. James Gunn has written a tight, funny, sensitive script and translated it brilliantly to film. It is inventive and creative, without ever being "smart". The top notch cast is flawless, with Rainn Wilson a knockout revelation. Be warned that the violence is extreme. The local release has one sole extra, which is a good one, but we miss out on a handful that the U.S. did get. The Blu-ray vision and audio are very good indeed.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Friday, January 20, 2012
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung 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 DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
I think we must have seen different Supers - Anonymous
Fantastic flick! - Anonymous