Julie & Julia Blu-ray Review
'Julie & Julia' cooks up a storm with a delicious looking 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, framed at 1.85:1.
I couldn't take my eyes off the screen due to the sheer beauty of the shots and what's more they transfer superbly on to Blu-ray. The colours really tickle your taste buds, particularly on the French exteriors such as when Julia & Paul arrive in France. The wood on their station wagon looks comfortably warm as it arrives in Rouen and the quality of the French light is accurately communicated. As they walk in a park, the word is 'verdant', the fine detail of the leaves on the trees is amazing and the costume design is stylish too. The fine colour rendering and level of detail remains for the duration of the film. The skin tones look nice and healthy, while taking on a welcome warm hue on interior shots such as in Julie Powell's apartment above the Pizzeria.
Blacks are satisfyingly deep in the occasional night shots and contrast is excellent throughout. A very fine hint of grain reminds us that it was shot on film and the image is all the better for it. There's also a great sense of depth to the scenes that makes this one of the best transfers I've seen to date. Give your eyes a treat.
The audio on 'Julie & Julia' comes in a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround flavour. While it's not the kind of soundtrack to give your surround sound set up a great work out, it gently teases your ears with tantalising tastes of Parisienne city life with surround effects to help place you there. The dialogue is crisp and clear, locked to the centre channel and we get to enjoy Julia Child's matronly speech patterns. Alexandre Desplat's wonderfully relaxing score is handled with care by the main stereo pair and his theme lands you in Paris without being corny. There's no pounding base to nudge your subwoofer into action and what a pleasant change it is not to be kicked in the head, but to be soothed instead.
This film sounds nice - and I make no apology for using the word 'nice'. That is exactly what it is. Very pleasing listening.
- Audio Commentary
Writer/Director Nora Ephron flies solo here and she sounds a bit like someone narrating her holiday movies. But interestingly, she discusses the importance of making the recipes from Julia's book look delicious on-screen. She covers the contrast between Julia's post-war Paris and Julie's modern day Queens incorporating a look at set design as well as the problems associated with including two books and two stories into the same film. The track does descend into silence at several points, but it only gives you more time to take in the visual delights. Nice to hear the thoughts of someone so creative, yet down to Earth.
- Secret Ingredients: Creating 'Julie & Julia' (HD, 28 mins)
This is a fairly chunky featurette that takes a look at the inspirations for the film. It also investigates what makes the stories memorable and worthwhile and we hear of the great strengths of the cast and crew. The Actors' performances are covered and how they relate to their real-life counterparts. There's a history of the real-life characters and we also hear about the temptation of eating on-set as well as the food preparation and presentation.
A fine insight into the production.
- Family & Friends Remember Julia Child (HD, 48 mins)
Here we have a collection of interviews with friends and colleagues of the American cooking legend, fleshed out with a wide selection of photographs.
- Julia's Kitchen (HD, 23 mins)
This short looks at Julia Child's kitchen as seen at the Smithsonian Museum and the work that went into rebuilding it on the site. We are also given a comprehensive tour of the kitchen. This could spark a wave of kitchen make overs.
- Cooking Lessons (HD, 20 mins total)
Here we get to see the real Julia Child and others showing us how to cook various items as seen in the film. They cover Poached Eggs, Hollandaise Sauce, Scrambled Eggs, Braised Beef Short Ribs as well as Butter Poached Maine Lobster.
Not good if you're struggling with a diet.
- Movie IQ
This function provides us with live, up-to-date details about every scene, including cast and crew filmographies and biographies, soundtrack listings, and much more.
A useful feature is the extra that allows budding chefs to collect the Julia Child recipes as seen in the movie. If you enter a valid e-mail address, you can press the "green" button on the remote control when the "recipe" icon appears during the film to have the recipe sent to you via e-mail. Very nice. This week, I shall be mostly eating ...
'Julie & Julia' cooks up a storm as it arrives on Region free Blu-ray with a truly edible 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 transfer, presented lovingly in the 1.85:1 ratio.
We are treated to wonderfully rendered colours, amazing detail, stunning depth and sheer eye candy throughout.
Thankfully, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio is not of the blockbuster variety. Instead, it gently eases us into the environments by the subtle use of surround effects, while dialogue is clear throughout and the main stereo pair tinkles with the delicate score.
The extras contain a couple of interesting featurettes and you can also learn to cook like Julia Child thanks to some cookery demos as well as a novel link to her recipes.
Meryl Streep turns in an impressive performance as American cookery guru Julia Child, backed formidably by Stanley Tucci as her husband, Paul. Amy Adams reveals her acting skills as Julie Powell whose book the film is based upon. Director Nora Ophron intertwines the two stories seamlessly with great skill, making this beautiful film one not to be missed.
If you're not hungry after watching it, you're not human.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £22.99
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- Audio Commentary