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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - May, 2011

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"De-Lovely" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Clements

movie-may-2011-de-lovely

Synopsis

This is the story of Cole Porter (Kevin Kline) viewed as a retrospective where Porter is an old man in a theater working with, Gabe (Jonathan Pryce), a producer who is audtioning talent for a production of Porter's life story.  Apparently, Porter is dead since the actors cannot see or hear him.  Different chapters in his life then trigger flashbacks that present the bulk of the  story line and character development.  It is an interesting perspective that puts the audience in a melancholy mood.  Porter's wife and public love interest is played by Linda Lee (Ashley Judd).  Although he marries Lee, you find out soon enough that Porter is bisexual and this aspect of his life is a major plot element in this biopic.  Lee knows of his infedelities but simply asks for his discretion.  He agrees at first but later consistently defies this commitment.  Another unique part of this production are the performances of many Cole Porter standards by several current artists: Natalie Cole, Elvis Costello, Sheryl Crow, Diana Krall, Alanis Morissette and Robbie Williams.

Specifications

  • MGM Studios
  • 2004, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 Hr 5 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p, AVC
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master, Spanish Dolby Surround and French 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • Starring: Kevin Kline, Ashley Judd, Jonathan Pryce
  • Directed by Irwin Winkler
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Mild
  • Sex: Suggestive
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

This movie surprised me with its progressive and unique narrative.  I remained interested in everything that was happening on screen throughout most of the film.  Porter is portrayed as a complete scoundrel and Kline does an excellent job filling the role with just the right amount of whimsy.  Linda Lee, as played by Ashley Judd, shows amazing restraint, love and patience.  Judd impressed me the way she embraced her role. 

I did not find the individual performances by the modern masters to be anywhere near as fulfilling as I had hoped.  They were presented in short clips and the performances were quite variable.  I did, on the other hand get goose bumps in the scene where Porter helps the singer with "Night and Day".  Later, the special effects were not very convincing in the scene where Porter gets thrown from a horse and ends up with a pair of severely broken legs that nearly crippled him for the rest of his life.  He endured a lot of pain in his recovery.  This movie takes you on an emotional journey with Porter and Lee travelling the globe and responding to a wide range of life experiences. 

Technical

This a modern production and the picture and sound quality reflect that fact over this Blu-Ray disc.  The video is properly mastered so most scenes really pop off the screen, even night and indoor scenes.  There is a ton of sumptuous detail in the picture with excellent film-like qualities (i.e., film grain and cadence).  The DTS HD Master audio is commensurate with the overall production as well.  The bass could be lean at times and the singers' voices were a little subdued in a few of the songs. 

Extras

This disc has two commentary tracks - one with Director Irwin Winkler and male lead Kevin Kline, the other one features Winkler and Writer Jay Cocks.  There are two short fearturettes - The Making of De-Lovely and The Music of De-Lovely.  It has two "Anatomy of a Scene" sketches - Be a Clown and Love for Sale.  Finally, there are deleted scenes, an alternate ending and the original theatrical trailer.