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Still Alice [UK] Blu-ray Review

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The Film 

[Rating:3/5]

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Still Alice stars Julianne Moore as a brilliant linguistics professor and lecturer. She’s on top of her game at all times until she starts to forget words during several important meetings and lectures. What’s to come is the devastating diagnosis of Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease. Alice is only 50, but the disease comes strong, fast, and will take no prisoners. Alice’s plight does not go over too well with the family due to them not wanting to believe that someone as healthy and smart she is can be afflicted by such a tragic disease. Alice’s husband, John (Alec Baldwin), stand by her side at all times except during spots where she may seem a bit too far gone and Kristen Stewart plays one of two daughters who has aspirations of her own and can’t be bothered by her mother’s illness.

I think I’m overselling the film in that last line, but it’s nowhere near that mean. I didn’t really know too much about the film, in fact, I confused it with Cake that starred Jennifer Aniston until I was told that Julianne Moore won an Oscar for her performance. Hey, it’s about time, but Moore is already a great actress who had been denied many, many times before and can’t help to think the Academy just decided to say screw it and just gave her the award to placate. Who knows?

Now as far as the material goes, it’s a bit manipulative and it almost won for the “manipulation of the year” award late in the third act until it hit the brakes on what was going on. I can’t divulge due to it being a major spoiler, but my internal voice was shouting, “I cannot believe they are going with this cliché!” Yes, Still Alice is riddled with clichés, and I’d tear it apart if the cast and direction were not as strong as they were.

Personally, I don’t know anyone that has had the disease, so please don’t mistake my candor for being unsympathetic to the plight of Alice’s character, but the film, in its worst parts, played like a bad Discovery/Lifetime Channel film. The choppy editing also bugged me in that I had a really hard time figuring out the passage of time, because one minute something would happen and then the next scene would reference the event that just happened and say that it was one month ago. I was like, what? There were just way too many of those moments that bothered me. I will say that the direction by the directing team of Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland is tremendous and they do know how to frame a composition. I just wish that the film wasn’t as preachy or manipulative as it came off, but I’m giving it the benefit of the doubt that all parties involved wanted to make a good film. I’m sort of mixed on the whole thing but a 3-star for the film itself is more than fair for Still Alice. I hope Julianne Moore wins more Oscars in the future, because she’s above all this. I sort of think she was given the award because she cried a lot in the film, but I digress.

Editor’s Note: Our review for the U.S. version of Still Alice on Blu-ray can be read HERE. The summary of the film is the same, but everything else is all original content.

Video Quality

[Rating:3/5]

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Still Alice is still presented in 1.85:1. The image looks relatively the same as the previously released U.S. – whether it was sourced from that master I do not know. What I do know and from watching the film again I can see that looks more like a pastel painting than ever before and as much as I like pastel paintings it does not do the film justice in certain scenes. Certain close up shots of Julianne Moore look like her face is covered in a thick filter of sorts. Either the contrast has been boosted or the colors have been enhanced but there are a few close-ups where the details in her face, never mind the freckles, are completely gone. Yes, this version also keeps the softness and haze in play – I still believe that part of the transfer was kept this way for aesthetic reasons. If you’re looking to see which transfer is the best then you will be racking your brain for a long time.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

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Still Alice is equipped with a 2.0 stereo track and a full lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 track. No, it’s not going to knock down any walls. Dialogue levels are what shine on this release. I’m certain it’s the same track from the U.S. version. Ambience is barely there, so the surround sound channels relax for the majority of the film. The LFE is also taking a breather but that is to be expected. I would say that the front sound stage does 99% of the heavy lifting on this release.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

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The U.S. Blu-ray edition had a few featurettes, but this UK edition only has interviews — an hour’s worth of interviews with the cast and some of the crewmembers like the directors, producers, etc. The interviews are presented in high definition. A theatrical trailer is also included.

  • Cast & Crew Interviews (HD)
  • Trailer (HD)


The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:2.5/5]

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Well, after watching Still Alice for a second time, my opinion is still not swayed. The film still tugs at the heartstrings and Julianne Moore still cries a lot. Okay, fine. This UK Blu-ray release looks and sounds average. The special features are tweaked a bit in that we get about an hour’s worth of interviews with the cast and crew, with a trailer rounding out the Blu-ray package. Again, Still Alice may be an acquired taste, but I would recommend a rental if you’re at all curious. That, or you could just wait until it hits cable TV or your favorite online service.

Additional Screen Captures

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[amazon-product region=”uk” tracking_id=”bluraydefinit-21″]B00SJC9WV4[/amazon-product]

 

 

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