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EASY A

EASY A ($35) is a smart and funny teen comedy that is fortunately free of contrived or painfully annoying elements that tend to plague many other films intended for a younger demographic. Also, EASY A is definitely a breakout film for Emma Stone, who shows she has the chops to be a star and carry a film. The premise of EASY A plays with truth versus perception, and willingness of people believe gossip and rumor… and how it can make or break a person’s reputation in the microcosm of high school. Olive Penderghast (Stone) is a smart, attractive, but otherwise invisible, high school student in Ojai, California. To get out of a camping trip with her best friend Rhiannon (Aly Michalka), Olive tells a little white lie about having a date with a college freshman. Rhiannon then assumes that Olive has lost her virginity to her (non-existent) college freshman, in a conversation that is overheard by Marianne (Amanda Bynes), a holier than thou teen, who heads up an on campus Christian group.

Gossip about Olive losing her virginity spreads like wildfire, which results on her no longer being just another one of the school’s invisibles. A crass retort to a snide comment made about Olive during her English class (which is ironically reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter) leads to Olive serving detention with Brandon (Dan Byrd), a gay student who is constantly being bullied. During detention, Olive admits the truth to Brandon about her sullied reputation being built upon a lie. Brandon recognizing that his reputation can also be built on a lie gets Olive to pretend to sleep with him, so the other students will think he is straight and the bullies will leave him alone. Wearing more provocative clothes with a scarlet letter "A" emblazoned on them, Olive begins using her bad reputation to her own benefit, as well as bolstering the reputations of a number of less popular boys… by providing them with same pretend service as Brandon, in return for pre-paid gift cards. Despite her reputation as being easy, no one actually asks Olive out on a date, and things ultimately spin out of control, when Olive beings getting the blame for the indiscretions of others. Look for Patricia Clarkson, Stanley Tucci and Thomas Haden Church to lend superior support to the proceedings. The cast of EASY A also features Penn Badgley, Cam Gigandet, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell, Juliette Goglia, Jake Sandvig and Braeden Lemasters.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made EASY A available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. Shot with the Panavision Genesis cameras, EASY A is another all digital production that features a near demo quality 1080p presentation. Image sharpness and dimensionality are generally quite impressive, as is texturing, as well as fine details like individual hairs and imperfections in the actor’s skin. Colors appear warm and very vibrant, while flesh tones are highly attractive. Blacks are usually quite deep, while the whites appear clean. Contrast is very smooth. This being teen comedy, the material never makes too demands for shadow detail reproduction. An all-digital production, the elements from which EASY A have been mastered are free from imperfections. There is no actual grain, but there is a bit of noise in some of the darker scenes.

EASY A is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. No surprises here, EASY A comes with a fairly standard comedy mix. While most of the sound localized front and center, the outlying channels do occasionally engage for active sound effect placement, but there isn’t much beyond ambience and musical fill coming from the rears. There are nice channel separations across the front, which give an open spacious quality to the music on the pop heavy track. Thanks to the lossless encode, the musical component gets a nice boost in fidelity and the sound effects come across as realistic. As for the bass channel, it has little to do, other than enhance music. Voices have a warm, natural quality, plus the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable. French and Portuguese 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtracks are also encoded onto the disc, as is a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track and an English descriptive track.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the supplements. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Will Gluck and actress Emma Stone. Next we have Extra Credit: Pop-Up Trivia Track with useless, but fun, facts (requires a Profile 1.1 player). Featurettes and other programs include: The Making Of Easy A (fifteen minutes), Vocabulary Of Hilarity (five minutes), The School Of Pop Culture: Movies Of The Eighties (five minutes) and Emma Stone Audition Footage (nineteen minutes). A Gag Reel and Bonus Trailers close out the standard extras. EASY A is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player). Sony’s MovieIQ feature is available through BD-Live, which provides the viewer access to a continuously updated database of additional information about the film, its cast, crew and soundtrack, as well as other trivia.

Smart, funny and featuring a terrific performance from Emma Stone, EASY A is a real winner. The Blu-ray presentation also gets excellent grades! Definitely recommended.

 
EASY A 


Easy A [Blu-ray] (2010)

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DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright 2011 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.


 

 

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