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Blue Velvet - Movie Review

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Blue Velvet - Blu-ray movie review

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5 stars

Blue Velvet, now celebrating its 25th anniversary, remains an intoxicating look at supposed small-town tranquility in which innocence fears to tread.  Written and directed by David Lynch (Mulholland Drive, Twin Peaks) after suffering through the wreckage and critical beating from his poorly received adaptation of Dune, the movie also serves as a bit of a confessional for Lynch as he returns to the genuine weirdness that made his debut, Eraserhead, so memorable.

Dark thoughts, disturbing deeds and dangerously unpredictable characters are what the quiet town of Lumberton conceals beneath its pleasant Americana façade. Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan), home from Oak Lake College to visit his hospitalized father (Jack Harvey) after his suffering from a heart attack, cuts through a vacant field on his way home and discovers a severed ear hiding in the grass.  He quickly brings it to Police Detective John Williams (George Dickerson) and, together, the two men ponder and speculate how the ear could have come to be in a sleepy Pacific Northwest logging town.

Peaked by the attractiveness and sudden interest in the case of the severed ear by the detective's daughter, Sandy (Laura Dern), the young and naive Beaumont simply will not let the mystery go.  Together, he and Sandy, obviously attracted to each other though Sandy has a boyfriend, delve deeper into the incident and discover that a suspicious torch singer, Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), may be involved.  Soon enough, after a bizarre turn of events involving a bit of breaking-and-entering from Beaumont, matters turn disturbing as the violently dry-humping Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) and his bizarre sexual tendencies – involving a lip-synching Ben (Dean Stockwell) - drag Beaumont and Dorothy into the unsettling truth behind the picturesque Lumberton and its residents.

Turning the mood of Bobby Vinton's classic rendition of “Blue Velvet” completely on its ear (pardon the play on words), Lynch presents a mysterious opening of intrigue that keeps beckoning its characters to follow until it completely spirals into something deadlier and, with each twist and turn of the crackling narrative, more bizarre than the last.  It is also completely intoxicating.  Call it disturbing.  Call it neo-noir.  Call it anything you want; Blue Velvet is a masterpiece of many themes and moods and operates on a number of levels.

Lynch and long-time cinematographer Frederick Elmes (Eraserhead, Wild at Heart) articulate the seedy world that exists on the fringes of Lumberton through some pretty gritty and grimy exploration of the insect world.  Many shots allude to the insects that plague summer days and summer nights and reveal the swarming nest of human filth that uses Lumberton as its cloak.  And speaking of seedy, if the use of Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” doesn’t send shivers down your spine then very few moments in cinema history will.  That’s Lynch’s precise ability to reveal what hides below the surface of things.  From one extreme to the other, Lynch pulls back the red velvet curtains to – time and time again – bring us closer to what we fear the most: ourselves.

Hitchcock did it with Psycho.  Charles Laughton did it with The Night of the Hunter.  Martin Scorsese has Taxi Driver.  Add Lynch’s Blue Velvet to the list of directors who explore the psychotic subconscious with film and manage – soul, body, and mind - to strike a pop cultural nerve that resounds into the eternities.  With Blue Velvet, Lynch deconstructs the very folds and fabrics of suburbia and the life therein with a freakish finesse that is simply unmatched by his contemporaries.

Come visit, if you dare.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Blue Velvet - Blu-ray movie reviewMPAA Rating: R.
Director
: David Lynch
Writer
: David Lynch
Cast:
Dennis Hopper; Isabella Rossellini; Kyle MacLachlan; Laura Dern; Hope Lange
Genre: Crime | Mystery | Thriller
Tagline: It's a strange world.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Why are there people like Frank?"
Distributor:
Warner Home Video
Release Date:
September 19, 1996
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 8, 2011
Playback: Region-free

Synopsis: Jeffery Beaumont is a naive young man who becomes involved in murder, voyeurism, sado-masochism and a terrifying evil after he discovers a severed ear in a deserted field. He discovers and follows a nightclub singer, who is ensnared in a brutal relationship with the psychopathic Frank.

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Blue Velvet - Blu-ray movie review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
5 Stars

4 stars



Blu-ray Experience
4.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 11, 2011
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, Spanish
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD); BD-Live; Blu-ray 3D

This is a very bright transfer. It’s almost sports car red with intensity. The colors are pretty flashy with high orange operating at all levels throughout the film. I’m sure the difficulty in shooting underwater has its limitations. While this is a pretty strong 1080p transfer, those limitations make themselves known in the underwater scenes. There is banding throughout giving this transfer a “vintage” sort of flavor. Unintended, I’m sure but it does add to the overall flavor of this retro horror schlock. The female skin tones are perfectly tan and supple, so that’s a plus. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack bares its teeth as well as the monsters of this film and will severely tear into your stereo speakers with fierce chomping.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

There are 50 minutes of newly discovered footage; footage the MPA deemed too disturbing; footage Lynch himself found during the transferring of the blu-ray.  Is there any other reason to own this title?  The documentary, ‘Mysteries of Love’, is a unique look at the development of the film from idea to page and beyond.  The found footage is not for the tame as it is quite explicit in nature.  Watch for a very young Megan Mullally as Beaumont’s girlfriend.  The outtakes are full of some goofing around on the set. There are a lot of vignettes to round out the release, too.

Mysteries of Love (70 min)

Newly Discovered Lost Footage (52 min)

A Few Outtakes (2 min)

Siskel and Ebert 'At the Movies' (2 min)

I Like Coffee Shops Vignette (22 seconds)

The Chicken Walk Vignette (55 seconds)

The Robin Vignette (2 min)

Sita Vignette (45 seconds)

Theatrical Trailer

Two TV Spots

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