In The Afternoon
(1958/Allied Artists/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Moonlight
(2016/A24/Lionsgate Blu-ray w/DVD)
C+/B/B Sound: C+/C+/B Extras: C-/C-/B Films: C+/B-/B
In The Afternoon
Blu-ray is now only available from Warner Bros. through their Warner
Archive series and can be ordered from the link below.
we bring together three love stories that may seem unusual at first
to those expecting conformist, cliched relationships. That is, until
you start to think of love itself...
(2016) is a tale of an old friendship that cold be about something
more if the principals were not preoccupied in other ways. John
(Chris McNally) has money, business success and is bedding as many
men as possible, while Jack (Kent S. Leung) is an excellent chef now
working at a restaurant John happens to own. However, John not only
likes Jack, he may be in love with him and sleeps with all these
other men (including some Asian men who have some similar looks and
body-types) as a road to denial. Expect nudity and some explicit
R-rated sex with comedy.
seen this before in the gay titles we've covered over the years, but
what is a surprise is that despite the cliches and some formula, the
attitude of the film and script is progressive in that it is not an
insular 'gay' world or catering to a safe 'gay' viewership, but takes
everything that happens as mainstream as anything in the heterosexual
world and that is a sort of breakthrough that ought to catch on.
This still is uneven, but it is not stuck in what one could consider
a post-1990s, post-Gay New Wave rollback mentality and that is its
trailer is the only extra.
In The Afternoon
seem cliched in the older man/younger woman mode of what can be
considered sexist, except that so many of Audrey Hepburn's films were
just that and not just because it was sexism. Though it could still
be considered that on some level, the truth is both Hollywood and her
audience saw her as the last true female superstar lead of the
Classical Hollywood era that was coming to a close by the 1960s.
With TV to compete with, the studio system (no matter their problems)
were not going to miss any opportunities to make such films,
especially since most with her were hits and the older stars still
had significant respect and audiences themselves. With Wilder still
at the peak of his powers, how was a smaller studio like Allied
Artists going to pass this up.
lands up falling for Gary Cooper this time, though Maurice Chevalier
is also here playing against his usual supporting comic effect role
in conflict with Cooper, still conjuring Paris (Hepburn's second
cinematic home) and as counterpoint to the comedy and drama and yes,
this takes place in Paris. Cooper is a rich man still with a thing
for the ladies when he comes across cellist Hepburn, who he becomes
more interested in that even he expects. A comedy of errors also
follows, but the film is a little uneven as well. I could suspend
disbelief at the relationship just enough, but we get one down time
too many that gets in the way of this really paying off.
other issue is that Wilder and co-writer I.A.L. Diamond are trying to
make a comedy in the mode of Ernst Lubitsch (Ninotchka
among others) and that is not easy. If so, they succeed to some
extent, but Lubitsch was so particular and specific that they just
cannot finish what they start. Still, it is worth a look and nice to
see on Blu-ray.
trailer is the only extra.
we have Barry Jenkins' Moonlight
(2016), suddenly the Best Picture Academy Award Winner it more than
earned being. Covering the life story of a young man named Chiron
(brilliantly portrayed by no less that three actors we need to see
much more of) who has to face some very ugly things. He lives in a
tough part of Miami, the real Miami we rarely see, in poverty and
hopelessness with no friends, no father and a mother (Naomi Campbell,
the beautiful, great Miss Moneypenny of the Daniel Craig/James Bond
films, in a stunning turn and amazing performance) who is slowly
becoming a drug addict... a condition she is likely never to return
may also be gay, made worse by a community that want to pretend no
such men come from their community, so he has to face many awful
things. One man (Academy Award Best Supporting Actor Mahershala Ali,
so amazing here too) reaches out to him, which will help change his
life, whose character is confirmed by a positive-thinking girlfriend
(yet more amazing work, this time by the dynamic singer/dancer
Janelle Monea, whose acting career is only beginning) and that sets
the stage for Chiron.
on top of all those amazing performances, the amazing screenplay,
non-stop on-the-money directing and powerful story of those unheard,
Jenkins is working on an even higher level (more on some of that in
the tech section below) that makes the journey as powerful,
existential and unbelievable as any film in the past year. It not
only offers so many firsts, but it is the return of the repressed in
all kinds of ways, as well as a melding of the gay new Wave and Black
New Wave that happened at about the same time finally synthesizing
into a pure cinematic experience. Sure, there's a few things we've
seen here before, but so much we have not and in a few years, we will
look back at this as a truly groundbreaking film building on the
legacy of several other classics while still having its own total
identity. And if Jenkins stays on this course, he will become one of
the most important filmmakers around. See it!!!
include Digital HD Ultraviolet Copy for PC, PC portable and other
cyber iTunes capable devices, while the Blu-ray adds three Making Of
collaboration on the music and Cruel
Beauty: Filming In Miami)
and a feature length audio commentary by Director Jenkins.
anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on
(miscredited to its disadvantage as merely letterboxed on the back of
the case) is a digital shoot and is pretty smooth for the most part,
with some nice shots, consistently good shooting overall and in all
manages to avoid looking generic. This is one of the better-looking
gay-themed titles we've seen (of the few we've seen of late) and is
pretty professional, more so than digital shoots with many more
millions at its disposal.
1080p 1.85 X 1 black & white digital High Definition image
transfer on Love
rarely shows the age of the materials used, with a new transfer off
of the original 35mm camera negative materials that is far superior a
transfer to all previous releases of the film on home video and up
there with the best film prints ever issued of it. Monochrome film
stocks were starting to become more light sensitive and that keeps
the film looking more modern than you might think. Also expect some
nice shots with depth, detail and Audrey throughout.
but absolutely not least is the 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High
Definition image transfer on Moonlight
that is one of the best digital HD shoots in the history of
independent cinema to date and one of the bets overall we've seen in
any cinema at any price. Color use is superior, depth and detail get
outright Kubrickian and there is a real heart and soul to the look
throughout. I also very much like the editing.
for sound, the
lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Jack
is not bad for the format, but it is well recorded and I expect would
sound better in a lossless version, while the DTS-HD MA (Master
Audio) 2.0 Mono lossless mix on Love
is off of the original optical sound materials, but it is just an
older recording not up to its image fidelity.
the DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on Moonlight
is the sonic winner here, an exceptionally smart use of silence,
sound, then multi-layered sound, new music and classic songs you have
not heard in a long time if ever. One of the most thought-out mixes
of the year, it boosts the power of its narrative, has a fine
soundfield, is very well recorded, has a sense of warmth and
impresses in even subtle ways throughout.
order the Love
In The Afternoon
Warner Archive Blu-ray, go to this link for it and many more great
web-exclusive releases at: