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Strawberry Mansion - Blu-ray Review

Strawberry Mansion

“Chicken Shake?”

Welcome to the house where dreams dance and race alongside the speeding cars in Amarcord.  If you understand that reference to the small Italian coastal town of Federico Fellini’s 1973 comedy then this is DEFINITELY the movie for you.

James Preble (Kentucker Audley), a mild-mannered tax auditor, is having visions.  Every night, Buddy, his best friend, brings him fried chicken.  It saves him for the rather PINK existence he currently finds himself in.  Yes, pink . . . as in the walls, ceiling, and table which opens this delightfully wacky cinematic treat and these visions definitely set the stage for the chicken shake world this film projects.  

"Enter the satire and the surrealism of Strawberry Mansion and be prepared for anything!"


Strawberry Mansion, with its Federico Fellini feels and its Wes Anderson wonkiness, is destined to become a new cult classic.  The voice held within the film is both comedic and charmingly on point as is the vision the film celebrates with its captivating spell that it casts upon the viewer.  What seems impossible becomes possible in Strawberry Mansion and its vivid imagination.With its take on a colorfully voided future - where the government taxes our dreams and a fried chicken joint rules the drive-in with its chicken shake, made with real blended meat and gravy - this film is a true masterpiece of sound and vision.

To be clear, Strawberry Mansion is so incredibly layered that it feels like Writers/Directors Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney's film is the cornerstone in a refreshing indie auteurship.  Hang tight, kiddos, the surrealism of this movie is just getting started.  James is about to begin an audit on a kooky old broad who considers herself an atmosphere creator.

Both weird and endless in its vision of the future, Strawberry Mansion’s spin on 2035 feels as unique as the engaging sonics created by composer Dan Deacon.  Preble has no tax records for Bella Isadora (Penny Fuller), a lifelong dreamer who remains resolutely analog, circumventing the surveillance state with VHS tapes and homemade headgear.   To enter her home, he must - as he is invited by holding out the cone and her engaging smile - lick the ice cream cone.Strawberry Mansion

BOOM!  What follows this magical moment is an audit that Preble will not soon forget as her unconsciousness becomes his reality for tax purposes.  Suddenly, as he travels back in time reviewing the VHS tapes with Bella, he finds himself making her home his own and, as her bubbly and infectious personality catches even him off guard, finds himself falling in love with visions of her younger self (Grace Glowicki). 

But all is not well in dreamland as dangerous family secrets and a rogue’s gallery of blue demons and fried chicken pitchmen threaten to set the lovers’ paradise ablaze.  Can Preble and Bella escape from the modern, monetized dreamscape and find refuge in Strawberry Mansion?  Find out, thanks to cinematographer Tyler Davis, the production design from Becca Brooks Morin, and the team of Kentucker Audley and Albert Birney, in the marvelously envisioned Strawberry Mansion.

If the sax-blowing frog waiter won’t get you, then perhaps the VHS tape monster will! Dare to be amazed by the stop-motion caterpillar and the imposing Blue Demon as the fantastical comes to life right before your very eyes.  Enter the satire and the surrealism of Strawberry Mansion and be prepared for anything!

Enjoy the satireStrawberry Mansion will debut theatrically on February 18th, thanks to Music Box Films.

5/5 stars

 

Strawberry Mansion

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Music Box Films
Available on Blu-ray
- May 31, 2022
Screen Formats:
Subtitles
:
Audio:
5.1 DTS-HD
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set; DVD copy
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

In 2035, our dreams are no longer our own–they’re infused with product placement and auditors assess unpaid taxes on our most private reveries. Beleaguered taxman James Preble (Kentucker Audley) arrives at a run-down house in the countryside for a routine audit and encounters Bella Isadora (Penny Fuller), a lifelong dreamer who remains resolutely analog, circumventing the surveillance state with VHS tapes and homemade headgear. As Preble works his way through Bella’s archive of the unconscious, he begins to fall in love with visions of her younger self (Grace Glowicki). But all is not well in dreamland as dangerous family secrets and a rogue’s gallery of blue demons and fried chicken pitchmen threaten to set the lovers’ paradise ablaze. Can Preble and Bella escape from the modern, monetized dreamscape and find refuge in Strawberry Mansion?

Video:

Even though it was transferred to 16mm to get the right aesthetic for the filmmakers, Strawberry Mansion absolutely STUNS on blu-ray thanks to the artistry involved in bringing this film to life.  Crisp details abound in this modern-day cult classic!  Nothing falls flat, including the soundtrack.  Greens go deep and the colors are pure, highlights include the pink room and some of the overall flamboyance of the on-point production design.  Full of creatures of all shapes and sizes, this movie is bound to blow your mind with its stunning artistry.

Audio:

A sharp 5.1 DTS-HD audio track provides all the hallucinogens you are going to need once you lick Bella’s ice cream cone and enter her creative world.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • There is a great commentary from the film’s directors, Albert Birney and Kentucker Audley, which goes into details on how this film was finally realized for the silver screen.  Talk about passion and determination!

Special Features:

The extras include a making of featurette, deleted and extended scenes, a look at the film’s score by Dean Deacon, a music video, the short films of Albert Birney, and a watercolor and collage gallery.  Also included are 8  awesome trading cards, with bios about the character they highlight.

  • Strawberry Beginnings
  • Deleted & Extended Scenes
  • Test Footage & Animation
  • Dan Deacon Soundtrack
  • Music Video
  • Albert Birney Short Films
  • Watercolor & Collage Gallery

Blu-ray Rating

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

Composite Blu-ray Grade

4.5/5 stars

Film Details

Strawberry Mansion

MPAA Rating: Not rated.
Runtime:
91 mins
Director
: Kentucker Audley; Albert Birney
Writer:
Kentucker Audley; Albert Birney
Cast:
Kentucker Audley; Albert Birney; Ephraim Birney
Genre
: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Tagline:
A film by Albert Birney and Kentucker Audley.
Memorable Movie Quote:
Distributor:
Music Box Films
Official Site:
Release Date:
Select Theaters February 18, 2022
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
May 31, 2022
Synopsis: In 2035, our dreams are no longer our own--they’re infused with product placement and auditors assess unpaid taxes on our most private reveries. Beleaguered taxman James Preble (Kentucker Audley) arrives at a run-down house in the countryside for a routine audit and encounters Bella Isadora (Penny Fuller), a lifelong dreamer who remains resolutely analog, circumventing the surveillance state with VHS tapes and homemade headgear. As Preble works his way through Bella’s archive of the unconscious, he begins to fall in love with visions of her younger self (Grace Glowicki). But all is not well in dreamland as dangerous family secrets and a rogue’s gallery of blue demons and fried chicken pitchmen threaten to set the lovers’ paradise ablaze. Can Preble and Bella escape from the modern, monetized dreamscape and find refuge in Strawberry Mansion?

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Strawberry Mansion

 

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