2/29/2012

The Movie Itself is written by Benoît Graffin, Pierre Salvadori and directed by Pierre Salvadori.


The Movie Itself is written by Benoît Graffin, Pierre Salvadori and directed by Pierre Salvadori. In my mind, there are few women that possess such unrivaled beauty and class — not to mention screen presence — than the lovely Audrey Tautou. Because of this genuine charm it’s no wonder she was the top pick for Salvadori’s romantic comedy, “Priceless.”
This might seem off base, but I actually hate the name for the genre: Romantic Comedy. I think that it sells many films short. It seems like there’s a more appropriate genre that has yet to be named, one that’s a better fit. Then again, there’s no doubting the components of this film. It contains both romance and comedy in equal parts, and is most definitely not dramatic, at least not in the traditional sense. Even still, there’s an ingredient that eludes me — something that I can’t readily identify. Perhaps it’s that the film is refreshing, different and so far removed from the Hollywood Rom-Com formula that it almost feels like new.
Whatever the reason, this film is a breath of fresh air amidst the Hollywood sappy-dreck that’s churned out every year. A lot of the strengths of the film are owed to its foreign roots. With this comes a a great foreign cast, a fresh perspective on love, and a pristine, unique script that doesn’t read as though it’s been script-doctored to all hell. The result is a surprisingly endearing and unexpected comedy that explores the world of “gold digging” and a budding romance between two unlikely candidates: a bartender and a gold digger.
Worth noting is the genuinely humorous comedic effort of the leading man, Gad Elmaleh. Equal parts slapstick and deadpan, Elmaleh continuously made me laugh and smile throughout the film. I can only imagine that his extremely expressive face, and comedic timing was cultivated over the years through interaction with his father, a mime. He was as perfectly cast to represent the hopeless romantic, Jean, as he was paired with the lovely Tautou.
If you fancy foreign films, Audrey Tautou, or just happen to love French films in general, this is definitely worth picking up. It may not reinvent the rom-com wheel, but it definitely has a fresh take on it.

Video Quality on this release is 1080p in VC-1 on a BD-25 (25 gigabyte Blu-ray Disc) and presented in the 2.35:1 aspect ratio.
I’d be lying if I said my expectations were met with this presentation. To be fair though, I was expecting the world. When I saw the film in theaters, I didn’t have the greatest experience. The projectionist left the film slightly blurry, and the film seemed to be a touch too bright, and washed out. Thankfully, at least one of those problems have been corrected here: the coloration. Where the theatrical experience was subdued and color palette, sublime, I found this film to be pleasantly vibrant. Black levels are rock solid for the most part and shadow delineation is also superb. I wish I could say the same of the overall image stability, but I can’t, which leads me to my next point.
There are scenes that boast incredible detail and depth, and then there are others that strike me as being extremely dull, grainy and flat. I’m at a loss to explain away these anomalous scenes, but if I had to take a swing at it, I would say it’s the fault of the focus puller, film stock, or lens. Regardless of fault, the image does suffer a bit from time to time, but it’s not enough to drag the overall video presentation down too far. After all, if it is largely a focal issue, there is absolutely nothing that can be done to remedy the problem.
The good news is that the presentation doesn’t appear to contain any edge enhancement artifacts, or really any artifacts for that matter. There were a couple occasions where I thought I noticed some conservative DNR usage, but if it is, it’s extremely minor and negligible.
All in all, I would very much like to see “Priceless” get the BD-50 treatment at someday, with a new optimized transfer/encode to match, just to be sure that we’re getting the absolute best presentation available, and that every lost drop has been squeezed out of the original negatives.
Overall “Priceless” scores a “3 1/2 Star Rating” for video quality on this release.

Audio Quality on this release is in French Dolby TrueHD 5.1.
Don’t be deceived by the box. While the included audio track is erroneously listed as “French 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround” it is indeed a “French 5.1 Dolby TrueHD” track. I confirmed this both on my player, and through my AVR’s decoding ability.
With that said, I greatly enjoyed the lossless audio track provided here. While it’s nowhere close to being demo material, it is quite good in its own right. Dialogue is of the utmost importance, and it is prioritized very well. The tonal quality of their voices sounds perfect, if not life-like. Rear effects are limited to atmosphere and the occasional discrete effect or musical track, but that’s to be expected considering the subject material.
Low frequency response is lackluster for the most part, but it’s not because its rendered poorly — there just isn’t much there too work with. Of course, there are a few select party scenes or other audio elements that stimulate the subwoofer, but nothing too exciting. Even still, the dynamics are both well presented and well preserved throughout this audio presentation.
In the end, I think you’d be hard pressed to want more from this audio presentation. It’s not representative of the best audio experiences out there, but it’s surely a good one. Therefore, it takes home a “3 1/2 Star Rating” for overall audio quality.

Bonus Materials are presented in Standard Definition only.
  • Deleted Scenes – (35 minutes) – I would have loved to understand these scenes, but alas, there is no subtitle option for them, and they are all in French — like the film. It’s a bummer that First Look didn’t include this here. Perhaps they’ll correct this on a future special edition?
  • Outtakes – (5 minutes) – Same story here. No subtitle options. However, you don’t really need them to get the gist of what’s happening on screen. They are goofs after all, right? Most of them are pretty funny, and the cast/crew seem to be quite friendly and amicable. Definitely worth a watch if you’re a fan of the film.
  • Previews

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