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Easy A - Blu-ray Movie Review

4 stars


Easy A - Movie Review

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There’s a moment in time, when film transcends the limitations of the screen and becomes iconic; something the pop culture can really sink its teeth into.  For Easy A, that moment arrives the minute Emma Stone so brazenly adorns the scarlet letter on her shirt and strolls down the high school halls, proudly embracing the rumors swirling about her after school activities.  For the audience, it’s a proclamation of sorts.  Move over, boys!  There’s new attitude in town - full of sugar and spice and some great comedic timing.  The name?  Emma Stone.  Wild, witty, and ridiculously charming, Stone is a force – strike that – she’s easily a tornado that not even the mythic figure of Pecos Bill could lasso or tame.  Yes, Stone shines in one of the sharpest performances and comedies to come along in some time, Will Gluck’s Easy A.

When straight-edged high schooler Olive Penderghast (Stone) starts to hear rumors about the loss of her own virginity, she decides to help her gay friend Brandon (Dan Byrd) earn some popularity points by pretending to de-flower him at a party.  The rumors continue to fly, courtesy of a very strict Christian classmate, Marianne (Amanda Bynes).  Soon, other young men – once they discover the secret behind her “sex” – begin to pay for her services, all hoping for the same results.  Guess what?  This business of fake one-night stands becomes pretty lucrative for Penderghast.

Yet, Marianne will not be outmanned by Penderghast’s business of rescuing the popularity of her clients.  She ups the ante, dead-set in getting Penderghast kicked out of the school for her bedroom activities.  And so, inspired by Hester Prynne from Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, Penderghast embraces the rumors by sewing a letter “A” onto her outfits and parading around the school.  With a cast that includes Malcolm McDowell, Lisa Kudrow (in a wonderful performance), Stanley Tucci, Thomas Hayden Church, and Patricia Clarkson, Easy A just might be the surprise hit of the autumn, beating out The Town this weekend.

Written by Bert V. Royal, Easy A is easily a companion piece, both in tone and message, to Mean Girls, Clueless, and the grossly overlooked Saved!.  Consistently witty with a Game On! attitude, Easy A only fumbles a few passes in its second half, but still manages to anchor the win with a game-changing performance from Stone.  Seriously, this film – this role – should make her a HUGE star.  She’s a remarkable fresh breeze of comedy; well-timed, well-skilled, and perfectly natural with the satirical material.  She’s not playing to the lowest of brows, nor is she aiming for the moon with a total teenage farce.  Her performance is neither raunchy nor heavenly; it’s remarkably honest and verbally – in that husky voice of hers - precise.

Even when Gluck (Fired Up!) turns the camp factor up to levels that are obnoxiously high, Easy A manages to side step some downright Glee-ful trappings and remain an engaging achievement in spite of its closing musical number.  Sure, there are some cheap shots – aimed to be received by the non-analytical members of the audience – but stay tuned, for every harmless “gimme” there are two sharp jabs of wit on the way.  Easy A wants to be remembered as an ode to John Hughes and maybe it is, but it easily could exist as a farce to Hawthorne’s symbolic work of moody art.

Provocatively sardonic and full of rapid energy, Easy A will, to quote The Staple Singers, take you there…if you dare to wander the halls of high school again, ducking rumor after rumor with every step.


Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

5 Stars



Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - December 21, 2010
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); Bonus View (PiP); BD-Live; movieIQ

Looking better than it ever did in theatres, Easy A's 1080p transfer is an HD masterpiece. The warm palette is a feast for detail enthusiasts. Nearly everything is finite and specified with this classy transfer.  The colors are solid and well-defined with absolutely no banning, drop-outs, or any discoloring issues whatsoever. The sound is presented in a lossless DTS-HD MA 5.1 track that is, of course, top-notch from Sony. The rear channels are in full effect with ambiance and other effects. The lows are pure and the surround is perfectly natural. Good stuff.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Director Will Gluck and Actress Emma Stone provide the humorous commentary, providing a good amount of detail about the making of the movie with some personal anecdotes from both.  While there are stretches of silence, the commentary is interesting enough.

Special Features:

It’s obvious this release is in love with Stone and, quite possibly, so is the world. She’s all over the supplemental material on this disc – which includes her audition tape for this much desired and much sought after role from the female elite of Hollywood. There are a lot of extra features, including a Trivia track that is hilarious and informative.

The special features are as follows:

  • The Making of 'Easy A' (14 min)
  • Vocabulary of Hilarity (5 min)
  • The School of Pop Culture: Movies of the Eighties (5 min)
  • Gag Reel (5 min)
  • Emma Stone Audition Footage (20 min)
  • Extra Credit: Pop-Up Trivia Track
  • Movie IQ
  • BD-Live

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