Easy A Mini Review (UK - BD)
Chris takes a look at the release of this comedy on the BD that almost wasn't...
Originally neglected on Blu-ray, Sony UK had a last-minute rethink and decided to bring us the adventures of Olive Penderghast in high-definition. Marcus has already covered the film in detail on DVD (linked below), so there’s really no need for another lengthy discussion of the plot, but I’ll echo his thoughts about Emma Stone. After her ‘breakout’ role in the comedy Superbad, Miss Stone has continued to impress in her subsequent appearances, including a movie-stealing performance in The House Bunny and a memorable turn in Zombieland. Of course this is what I’d call her first leading role, but she carries the film effortlessly and I think it is her best performance to date. She is an incredibly likeable screen presence and has fantastic comedic timing, and at only twenty two years of age she hopefully has a long and healthy career ahead of her. Anyway, with the Emma Stone love-fest over and done with, let’s get on to the Blu-ray review.
Sony’s release of Easy A arrives with a 1.85:1 (1080/24p AVC) transfer that generally looks very pleasing. The film was shot digitally using Panavision’s Genesis cameras, so film grain haters can sleep easy at night as there’s none of that on display. As you’d expect from a digitally shot feature the Blu-ray is very clean and artefact-free throughout, with a nicely detailed picture that brings out the best in the characters and locations. The colour palette is pushed towards the warmer end of the spectrum and rendered very well, and while contrast runs a little hot it is a deliberate choice on the part of the filmmakers. It’s been quite some time since I’ve had anything truly negative to say about a Sony title and that isn’t going to change with this release. It’s another great effort from what is, in my opinion, the most consistent Blu-ray studio around.
As we all know video is only one half of the high-definition equation. Ably supporting the visual elements is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack that does all that can realistically be asked of it given the nature of the feature. Easy A is a ‘talkie’ movie, so I’m happy to report that dialogue is crystal clear throughout. You won’t find any high-octane car chases, bone-crunching fights, or earth-shattering explosions here, but there are some nice aural touches here and there (including some neat pans). The general ambiance of the high school is handled well, while exterior locations offer subtle effects like chirping crickets and the like. The liveliest moments occur during a house party and a couple of basketball games, the latter of which includes the film’s one and only musical number. There’s not a tremendous amount of bass, but it is there to reinforce the music throughout. Speaking of music, the soundtrack is peppered with songs from hip bands I’ve never heard of, but they suit the tone of the film and expand to fill the soundstage nicely. Once again I don’t have anything particularly negative to say here, so I’ll wrap it up.
The disc includes a modest selection of bonus content, although none of it is likely to set the pulse racing. First up we have an audio commentary by director Will Gluck and star Emma Stone, which is at best sporadically interesting. The big problem is that there are too many periods of dead air, but the track also lacks focus. The participants are likable enough, particularly Stone, but I just didn’t enjoy the track as much as I expected. Other features carried over from the DVD version are a gag reel and Emma Stone’s audition footage, both of which are fine for what they are, even if they don’t cry out for repeat viewings. The Blu-ray exclusive stuff helps bolster the ranks somewhat, especially the making of, even if it is a little bit on the fluffy side. The ‘Vocabulary of Hilarity’ featurette discusses the film’s dialogue, specifically the sweary nature of said dialogue, while the ‘School of Pop Culture: Movies of the Eighties’ piece touches on the importance of seminal eighties teen classics like The Breakfast Club as they relate to the script and characters of Easy A. Things are rounded off by a pop-up trivia track and a selection of trailers for Blu-ray, Burlesque, Grown Ups, The Other Guys, The Green Hornet and The Social Network. Oh, there’s also a BD-Live option.
Although not as accomplished as the classic eighties movies it attempts to emulate, Easy A is a great little teen comedy featuring another fantastic performance from a young actress whose star is on the rise. I’m happy to report that the Blu-ray release improves upon the DVD in every key area, particularly the extras, which look a lot healthier than they do on the standard-definition disc. Although importing the US release wouldn’t have been impossible due to its ‘region free’ status, it should be much easier to get your hands on the feature now that Sony has decided to release it over here. I would definitely recommend that you take a look if you’re a fan of Emma Stone’s previous work, or indeed if you’re in the mood for an intelligent ‘R’ rated comedy in this world of dumbed-down ‘PG-13’ movies.
* Note: The images below are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page. Full-resolution captures are available by clicking individual images, but due to .jpg compression they are not necessarily representative of the quality of the transfer.
Review by Chris Gould
Suitable only for persons of 15 years and over
Release Date: 28th February 2011
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Spanish, Dolby Digital 5.1 Castilian, Dolby Digital 5.1 Spanish
Subtitles: English, English HoH, Hindi, Spanish
Extras: Audio Commentary, Gag Reel, Making of, Audition Footage, Featurettes, Trivia Track, BD-Live
Easter Egg: No
Director: Will Gluck
Cast: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Alyson Michalka, Amanda Bynes, Dan Byrd, Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow, Stanley Tucci, Patricia Clarkson, Cam Gigandet, Malcolm McDowell
Length: 92 minutes
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