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To Rome With Love - Blu-ray Review

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To Rome With Love - Blu-ray Review

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3 stars

Bursting with the same joy captured inside Domenico Modugno’s recording of Volare, To Rome with Love continues Woody Allen’s successful European vacation.  The comedy is just shy of the usual laughter and a definite step down from his most successful film – Midnight in Paris – but is as insightful as the prior release and features yet another stellar cast.  History has shown us that mediocre Allen is still the cream of another director’s crop.

Written by and directed by Allen, To Rome with Love is a collection of stories featuring esoteric romantic entanglements that are sure to turn heads.  Hayley (Alison Pill) is an American tourist who is spending her summer in Rome. One day she asks for directions from Michelangelo (Flavio Parenti) and before long they become engaged.  Hayley's parents, eager to meet her love, fly in to Rome.  Her father Jerry (Woody Allen), a retired music producer, thinks Michelangelo's father, Giancarlo (Fabio Armiliato), has a glorious operatic singing voice.  The thing is that he can only sing like that in the shower.

Antonio (Allesandro Tiberi) and Milly (Allesandro Mastronardi), a recently married couple, arrive in Rome by train. Milly heads out to find a salon where she can get her hair done. While she is away, Anna (Penélope Cruz), a prostitute, knocks on Antonio's hotel room. She believes she has been hired to fulfill Antonio’s wildest fantasies.  Instead she has to pose as his wife and meet his parents while expanding his vocabulary and his horizons.

In another story Jack (Jerry Eisenberg) meets John (Alec Baldwin), a successful and well-known architect who once lived in the same Roman neighborhood as Jack.  John knows Jack.  It’s uncanny there similarities.  While it never says, audiences are led to believe that John is the older version of Jack.  Jack’s girlfriend, Sally (Greta Gerwig) announces that her friend Monica (Ellen Page, a virtual scene stealer in this film) is coming to Rome for a visit.  John knows Jack is in trouble with temptation and warns him of such but it is no good.

And, finally, there’s Leopoldo (Roberto Benigni), an average man who suddenly finds he is a celebrity and hounded by reporters, paparazzi and women both day and night.  Morning media outlets are fascinated by his shaving rituals and with what his underwear preferences are.  This is obviously satire concerning our media and these reality-based instant stars that dog us as a culture.

Acting wise, everyone has brought their A-game to the proceedings but it is Cruz and Page who steal the show with their rich material.  Their delivery is impeccable and the energy they bring to the screen is infectious.  Baldwin should have had more to do than to just whisper in the ear of Eisenberg from time to time and seems a bit out of place from his usual comic escapades.  Of special note is Allen himself, who – in the last few films – has shied away from being in front of the camera, but – acting here again - brings a less neurotic energy than usual to his role as Pill’s father.

To Rome with Love is Allen’s ode to the stunning Italian films from directors Roberto Rossellini, Federico Fellini, and Michelangelo Antonioni.  It’s a beautiful postcard of a film and, once again, features the gorgeous cinematography of Darius Khondji (Midnight in Paris).  There’s no reason the film can’t be enjoyed with someone you’d like to snuggle up with for Valentine’s Day or as a light distraction during the summer months.  After all, to be as successfully uneven as Woody Allen has been in his prolific career is indeed a compliment.

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To Rome With Love - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: R for some sexual references.
Runtime:
112 mins.
Director
: Woody Allen
Writer
: Woody Allen
Cast:
Woody Allen; Alec Baldwin; Jesse Eisenberg; Carol Alt
Genre
: Comedy | Romance
Tagline:
To Rome With Love
Memorable Movie Quote: "I am here to fulfill your dreams."
Distributor:
Sony Pictures Classics
Official Site:
sonyclassics.com/toromewithlove
Release Date: July 6, 2012
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 15, 2013

Synopsis: To Rome with Love is a story about a number of people in Italy, some American, some Italian, some residents, some visitors, and the romances and adventures and predicaments they get into.

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To Rome With Love - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
4 stars

3 stars



Blu-ray Experience
3.5 Stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 15, 2013
Screen Formats: 1.85:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Hindi
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc (1 BD)
Region Encoding: A, B

Sony seals it with a kiss in the 1.78:1 1080p transfer that graces this release.  Similar to the look of Midnight in Paris, the well-saturated image is warm and colorful with stunning depth and nice contrast in most every frame.  Colors are pleasantly warm and faithful to the city with an atmosphere of rich texture.  There’s a level of film grain that adds to the location heavy feel of the film.  You’re in Rome, why not use it and Allen – hitting up all the famous locations – has indeed used the city to his and its benefit.  The lossless DTS-HD MA uses surround sound phonics sparingly but, overall, compliments the picture just fine.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

At long last!!!!  Sony has found a way to include supplemental material in their release without including Allen, who is not fond of talking at great lengths about his films.  The 9-minute featurette focuses on how Woody Allen works with his actors. Simply put, he hires them and then gets out of their way.

  • Con Amore: A Passion for Rome (9 min)

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