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Yesterday (2019) - Blu-ray Review

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Yesterday (2019) - Movie Review

A good movie always begins with a killer premise. And Yesterday, the new film from director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Richard Curtis has a great one. It takes on the idea of what our world would be like today if The Beatles never existed.

For myself, with what little musical talent I possess, a Beatles-less world would find me wrestling to remember even a single complete chorus of a Beatles song. But for struggling singer-songwriter Jack Malick (relative newcomer, Himesh Patel), it would present an opportunity to pass off the Fab Four’s catalog as his own and rise to stellar heights in the music world.

"there’s nothing here to dislike. You just have to remember to let it into your heart."


But first, let’s back up a bit. Jack’s ruse begins when, one night following a world-wide blackout and a bump on the noggin, he discovers that his injury has caused him to awaken in an alternate universe in which he is the only person who has ever heard of The Beatles. A Google search turns up nothing on the band and none of his friends have ever heard of John, Paul, George, and Ringo, much less their music that changed the world.

It’s not long before Jack realizes the power of the gift he has been given and begins to scrawl down the lyrics of as many Beatles songs as he can remember. As he begins incorporating the songs into the gigs arranged by his manager, childhood friend, and fellow school teacher Ellie (a wonderful Lily James, Baby Driver), his popularity and the attendance at his shows shoot through the roof.

There’s a particularly hilarious bit that has Jack trying to perform “Let it Be” on the piano for his parents (Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar) in the family’s living room. Ringing cell phones, incessant banter, and beer runs cause constant interruptions forcing him to start over several times as his mother tells everyone to be quiet as Jack is going to perform “Leave it Be.

It’s not long before Jack’s performances begin to draw the attention of musical performer Ed Sheeran (himself) and talent agent/promoter Debra (Kate McKinnon) who soon turn Jack Malick into one of the world’s biggest stars. But the guilt of what he is trying to pull off begins to get the best of him and he’s never able to enjoy his own success.

Written by successful rom-com scribe Richard Curtis (best known for Love Actually and Four Weddings and Funeral), Yesterday is first and foremost a love story. And the film’s romantic parts work the best as we see that Jack has managed to overlook the affections of his manager and best friend Ellie. But via the emotional truth and the undeniable relevance of Beatles songs, Curtis and Boyle take Jack on a journey of sorts that allows the singer to realize the things that are most important in life. And don’t look now, but you and I just might stumble upon that same realization.

Most Americans will be unfamiliar with Patel’s work on the BBC One series EastEnders, but that won’t last for long as his extraordinary acting and singing talents are on display in Yesterday. He sings the songs we’ve become so familiar with while adding a bit of his own flair to the arrangements. Patel’s goofy charm and extreme talents makes him so undeniably likable.Yesterday (2019) - Movie Review

Additionally, many will be glad to see SNL’s Kate McKinnon finally being put to good use in the supporting role of Jack’s self-absorbed, money-grubbing talent agent who represents everything wrong with Hollywood and the music industry. Though she failed to find success in last year’s The Spy Who Dumped Me, make no mistake, in Yesterday, her over-the-top hamminess very nearly steals the show.

The film’s second half fails to capture much of the magic that mesmerized us early on, but an unseen twist pleasantly catches us off guard and sends the story in a totally different direction than we expected.

Yesterday, at times, feels a bit like a brilliant premise just looking for a cheap way to tip our emotions in one direction or another. At others, it is an unabashedly gratuitous romp through the fabulousness of the Beatles catalog. But everyone and everything – from Boyle to Patel to James to McKinnon, and even the music – is so darn perfect, there’s nothing here to dislike. You just have to remember to let it into your heart.

3/5 stars

Yesterday (2019) - Movie Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Blu-ray + DVD + Digital HD

Home Video Distributor: Universal
Available on Blu-ray
- September 24, 2019
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio:
English: Dolby Atmos; English: Dolby TrueHD 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); Spanish: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1; French: Dolby Digital Plus 7.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Universal releases the 1080p hi-def presentation of Yesterday in a nice little Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Code edition that comes with a feature-length audio commentary by director Danny Boyle and writer/producer Richard Curtis, an alternate ending, several featurettes, deleted scenes, and interviews. All-in-all a great little package that Beatles fans and fans of the film will be proud to add to their private collection.

Video

The 1080p 2.39:1 presentation is adequately brilliant, crisp and clean with only a few errors that pop up from time to time. Outdoor scenes – of which there are many – hold resolution with crisp edges and bright colors, however during some dimly-lit interior scenes, we notice an occasional digital crush in the darker areas. Nothing too blatant and certainly not something that takes anything away from the visual experience.

Audio

Here is where Yesterday really sings. First, audio is crisp and always remains clean and audible, even beneath the musical numbers with dialogue remaining appropriately front and center. But fast forward to the rooftop concert scene at the 1:26:00 minute mark to let the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 track come to life with room-rocking surround from the band and the ear-piercing roars of the crowd. This is a film with music at its heart and it is handled superbly here.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Richard Curtis sit for feature-length discussion about what went into the film, from the script to the visuals. Particularly interesting are the little tidbits of trivia we come away with. Things like: there were 6,428 extras in the crowd to shoot the final beach scene, the the largest cast crew call of any film ever shot in Britain; they obtained rights to 18 Beatles songs in the film - don't have to pay if you speak the lyrics, so Nowhere Man is spoken; the actors playing Jack's parents, Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal, are an actual couple; some interior shots in the hotel in Great Yarmouth were done in a dressing room where The Beatles had been back in 1964.

Special Features:

The blu-ray + DVD + Digital code edition of Yesterday comes with a fascinating audio commentary and plenty of bonus material to keep you occupied for hours. No fewer than six featurettes are included as well as an alternate opening, numerous deleted scenes, a gag reel, and a conversation with screenwriter Richard Curtis and artist Ed Sheeran. This is a true fan's delight.

 

  • Alternate Ending (03:10)
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Live at Abbey Road Studios (09:50) - Himesh Patel in Abbey Road Studios performing beautiful renditions of Yesterday, I Want to Hold Your Hand, and Let It Be. Intercut with scenes from the film.
  • Alternate Opening (04:47)
  • Gag Reel (02:04)
  • A Talented Duo (03:25) - Appreciation piece for filmmaking legends Boyle and Curtis
  • Playing For Real (05:35) - Casting Himesh Patel
  • Soul Mates (04:47) - A look at the film relationship between Ellie and Jack.
  • Ed Sheehan: From Studio to Screen (03:09) - How Ed Sheeran was cast in his first role for the film
  • Agent of Comedy: Kat McKinnon (03:17) - A look at Kate McKinnon's role as manager DeBra Hammer
  • A Conversation with Richard and Ed (03:22) - Both are From Suffolk, England

Blu-ray Rating:

  Movie 4/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 4/5 stars
  Extras 5/5 stars

Overall Blu-ray Experience

4/5 stars

Yesterday (2019) - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for suggestive content and language.
Runtime:
116 mins
Director
: Danny Boyle
Writer:
Richard Curtis
Cast:
Himesh Patel, Lily James, Sophia Di Martino
Genre
: Comedy | Romance | Musical
Tagline:
Everyone in the World Has Forgotten the Beatles. Everyone Except Jack.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Well, it's not Cold Play. It's not Fix You."
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Pictures
Official Site: https://www.yesterdaymovie.com/
Release Date:
June 28, 2019
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 24, 2019.
Synopsis: A struggling musician realizes he's the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed.

Yesterday (2019) - Movie Review

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