Super (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
Theatrical Trailer-Warrior
Theatrical Trailer-The Inbetweeners Movie
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 91:59
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (58:08) 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 $32.95 Music Tyler Bates


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
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 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 dependent upon his stock in trade. Sarah leaves 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 superhero transformation. Researching this 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 and soon the police are seeking this wrench wielding 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. That was certainly not funny, and we are suddenly aware 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 become violent and ugly. The comic book balloons, such as "POW" and "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), at times hand held and "realistic", but mostly solid, imaginative and traditional. The music is from Tyler Bates, last heard with the symphonic music for the new Conan the Barbarian. Here the gifted composer in more 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 special. Don't miss it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     This excellent film is given a fine standard DVD transfer. Although I did miss the added clarity of my Blu-ray experience with this remarkable film, the DVD is very good.

     Presented at the ratio of 1.85:1 and 16x9 enhanced, 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 pleasingly 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 startling and brilliantly 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. Although only one colour, white, is used for the titling, use is made of appropriate placement across the image.

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

Audio

     There are three English audio streams : Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 448 Kbps, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encoded at 256 Kbps and Audio Description : Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired : Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encoded at 192 Kbps.

     The Dolby Digital 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

     The extremely good featurette included on the Blu-ray release is sadly missing.

Start-Up Trailers

     On start-up we are served up three trailers of other Lionsgate movies : Abduction (2:32) : 2.35:1, Warrior (2:32) : 2.35:1, The Inbetweeners 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.

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 Region 1 release scores with this collection of extras that any admirer of the film will want to see and hear.

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 presents the vision and audio very well indeed, but is barren as far as extras are concerned.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Thursday, February 23, 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)

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