Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist (UK - BD)
Marcus follows these two love birds around town and steals their mix tapes
Nick (Michael Cera) is having trouble getting over his ex girlfriend Tris (Alexis Dziena) and his friends/band mates, Thom (Aaron Yoo) and Dev (Rafi Gavron) convince him to come out for the evening. There he meets Norah (Kat Dennings) and their relationship starts with a kiss.
Seeing this as a good opportunity to cheer their friend up, Thom and Dev decide to step in and help this potential romance along by taking Norah’s drunk friend Caroline (Ari Graynor) home and letting Nick and Norah spend some quality time together as they talk about their shared tastes in music, past relationships and track down the secret gig of infamous band of the moment “Where’s Fluffy?”
Okay, I’m gonna put it out there straight away, I dig Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist in a big bad way. I put it in the pile with a batch of movies that I could watch a lot or just have on in the background and be happy. Movies like, American Graffiti, the fantastic Lost in Translation, and the great Empire Records; movies that have great soundtracks and basically keep me on board for the duration because hanging out with the characters is a blast.
Nick and Norah has a great little cast. I’ve been a fan of Michael Cera since Bluth Days in Arrested Development, but he just keeps getting better and better. He somehow makes dialogue sound fresh and made up on the spot and his little throw away comments are on top form here. His sense of timing is astonishing and the little things about his car or comments on situations raise a chuckle every time. "You don't have to yell, it’s not a train station. We're in a tiny car!” All this coupled with his underlying vulnerability and awkwardness just make Nick a thoroughly enjoyable character to hang out with. Countering him is Kat Dennings as Norah and she’s one cool chick. I really like how their relationship blossoms and how we slowly learn about her character's little hang-ups. Again her vulnerability really makes the character shine and when she does finally reveal all to Nick, there’s a real sense of intimacy that you can tell this character has been looking for.
In regards to the supporting cast, Norah’s drunk friend Caroline is a riot and she delivers one of the grimmest public toilet moments in movie history. Nick's gay friends in their van are just great as they struggle for a new band name and give Nick's little nuggets of wisdom along his night out and Alexis Dziena plays it with just the right amount of bitch to be thoroughly enjoyable. However the best support in the movie is the soundtrack. This collection of songs has been a permanent fixture on my MP3 player since I saw the movie at the start of the year and watching the movie again with more of a knowledge of the tracks really upped the experience a couple of notches for me this time out. I was already a fan of Vampire Weekend and Band of Horses as well as a few others on the track listing, but getting into many of the other acts as well was an added bonus and something I really enjoy about a good soundtrack. However saying that, my enjoyment of the song 'Negative' by 'Project Jenny, Project Jan' may be a bordering on obsession—though I promise you, I’m not dancing to it like the guy in the movie (what a dude).
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is just a blast. I like how it looks, I like how it feels, I really like Peter Sollett's laidback approach to his direction and think he does a great job at making you feel something for this blossoming romance. Nick and Norah’s Infinate Playlist is a pretty realistic modern love story that manages to capture (prepare yourself, I’m about to sound very old) the excitement of youth (see). It grabs that feeling of fun and the love of music you may have had when all you did was knock about with friends and spend hours just going from place to place without caring how late it was, listening to music and of course falling in love.
Nick and Norah has a fairly pleasing transfer, but it has to be said that grain levels can have moments of being a little too distracting, especially when sitting inside Nick’s yellow Yugo. Besides the presence of grain, colours are bright and the warm lights of the city and various clubs really glow off of the screen. Contrast levels can vary between natural and slightly washed out and the same can be said for detail. The image is generally sharp but different lighting can present varying results. Overall I wouldn’t say that this was an impressive transfer but it’s an adequate one and one that fits the style of the movie pretty well—if only grain levels could be cut down a little.
Pretty much the entire TrueHD track for Nick and Norah resides in the front speakers with only the odd musical track using the rears to any real effect. Dialogue is fine but it has to be said that only the soundtrack shows off the great elements of the track. Whether played as background music in the car or loud and proud as part of the movie, every track sounds great and is used expertly to create the mood to the scenes. Once again, there’s nothing exceptional here but it really is all the movie really needs.
Coming loaded with ‘Cinechat‘, the all new text chat system to let you watch/chat along with your friends as well as ‘Nick and Norah’s Interactive Playlist’, which not only gives you a fact track but lets you send playlists to your friends. This is a disc that’s trying to get its target audience to interact. It’s a shame this, like BD-Live, takes that minute or two too long to actually load up every time and I personally don’t get the appeal. Maybe one day a movie will come along with this feature and I’ll get it, but at the moment it’s lost on me.
Moving on, we get two commentaries; one is a telestator kind with Michael Cera, Kat Dennings, Ari Gaynor and director Peter Sullett. It’s fun, playful and the added scribbles on the screen add a few laughs along the way. The second, which includes Peter Sollett again, authors of the book Rachael Cohn and David Levithan as well as screenwriter Lorne Scarfaria, is a little more serious and as you’d expect it highlights how the movie compares to the book.
The nine deleted scenes offer up a few additions like the ongoing handing of demo CDs to Norah but really are only extensions of scenes. The ‘outtakes’ (04:12) are a little bit of fun.
‘A Nick & Norah Puppet Show by Kat Dennings’ (SD 5:12) is pretty sweet with its little coloured in paper cut outs and ‘Ari Garynor’s Video Diary: A Look Behind-the-Scenes’ (03:56 SD) is kinda short but gives a nice look at the mood on set.
Storyboard Animations, of which there are two, come with optional commentary by Peter Sollett and editor Myron Kerstein and prove to be quite interesting considering they are re-shoots and we get a nice explanation of how they came about and what they tried to achieve with them.
‘Faux Interview with Michael Cera, Kat Dennings and Eddie Kaye Thomas' (0 2:50 SD) is a good little spoof with Eddie Kaye Thomas playing the two leads off of one another and ‘Peter Sollett’s Photo Album’ is a nice collection of photos showing off his cast.
Rounding up with the ‘Music Video: Middle Management by Bishop Allen’ (02:53 SD) and trailers for House Bunny, Rachel Getting Married, Seven Pounds and Blu-ray is High Definition, it has to be said there’s not an awful lot on the disc time wise but just enough to have a bit of fun with.
Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a movie I can see myself returning to quite a bit. I love a great movie that’s easy to watch, has a great little soundtrack and with a cast that’s this much fun to follow around on their night out. I love how the movie wears its passions on its sleeve, from the multitude of band flyers and posters littered around the scenes as well as the many conversations about love and life and more importantly I think the coming together of its two lead characters is genuine enough to go along with on multiple viewings.
Disc wise, it’s pretty standard with nothing standing out in audio, video or extras departments but even so, I think there’s enough to enjoy here and for anyone who wants a laid back modern love story with a great bit of music, this is the place to come.
* Note: The above images are taken from the Blu-ray release and resized for the page.
Review by Marcus Doidge
Suitable only for persons of 12 years and over
Release Date: 22nd June 2009
Disc Type: Blu-ray Disc
Audio: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Catalan, Dolby TrueHD 5.1 English, Audio Description 5.1 English
Subtitles: Danish, English, English HoH, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish
Extras: Cinechat, Commentaries, Playlist, Deleted scenes, Outakaes, Puppet Show, Behind the Scnes, Storyboard Animations, Faux Interview, Photo's , Music Video, Trailers
Easter Egg: No
Director: Peter Sollett
Cast: Michael Cera, Kat Dennings
Genre: Comedy and Drama
Length: 89 minutes
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