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Gia (Blu-ray Review)

Let’s be completely honest, I agreed and wanted review Gia because of Angelina Jolie.  Okay, let me clarify…because of the nudity associated and promised with this title.  Many Bothan spies died getting me this information, so I was hoping their deaths wouldn’t be in vain.  Thankfully for me, and the memories and valor of those brave soldiers, they weren’t.  Much like HBO’s biographic Norma Jean, I was not only pleasantly surprised, but also rewarded for trusting my beliefs and those of the former Bothan spies.  I’m going to start recruiting that species more often.

Film  

Gia, like I kind of mentioned above in a round about sort of way, is an HBO biographical film about the life of model Gia Marie Carangi.   It stars Angelina Jolie, Faye Dunaway, Merceds Ruehl, Elizabeth Mitchell and even a very young Mila Kunis as Angelina’s younger version.   Sounds interesting, huh?   Stop it!   Mila is just a kid in this.  Anyway, Gia was directed by Michael Cristofer, based on the screenplay written by him Jay McInerney.

Gia Carangi (Angelina Jolie) is a Philadelphia native who moves to New York and ultimately becomes the first Cindy Crawford of the modeling world.   In hindsight, it’s almost as she birthed all these crappy reality TV series.   Just kidding!  Faye Dunaway plays Gia’s agent who helps her rise to the highest ranks of the modeling industry, but it’s ultimately her death that sends Gia spiraling out of control.   After all, this movie is a drama, right?   It wouldn’t be entertaining if everything just went perfect for our protagonist, would it?  Soon, Gia starts experimenting with all sorts of mood-altering drugs and even ends up in a lesbian relationship with a make-up artist, played by Eliizabeth Mitchell, after they both pose nude together for a photo shoot.   See, I told you those Bothan spies were dead on.  However, not even a healthy relationship is adhesive enough for Gia as she goes on to choose drugs over her sex kitten.   It’s not long before she lands herself in even deeper trouble with the king of all drugs in Seattle, heroin.  And from there it just gets worse.   Even though she is eventually able to kick the habit, a much worse fate waits for this beautiful 26-year old.   What happens?   Well, you will just have to watch to find out, no?

So basically, since this is my review, it all comes down to what I think, right?  It was interesting.  I can’t say it was the dullest thing I ever watched, but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to throw the Devil’s Double in.  Unconventionally, Gia is told from an interview/documentary style approach.  Oddly enough, it works here, but save for the nudity and some hot lesbian action (LOL), there isn’t too much to keep me coming back here for more, hence little replay value.  However, I do need to chime in and take a quick moment to notice young Mila Kunis in this film.  I was shocked.  She was very convincing and almost dead on in this as a young Angelina Jolie.  My how the years have been nothing but kind to her.  Cheers!

In hindsight, I think the only thing remarkable here is a chance for the viewing audience or Angelina Jolie fans alike to catch a glimpse of their favorite star before her eventual and successful ascension in the entertainment industry.  This is the impressionable star as she began climbing up mountains and like in most films; her performance is nothing less than spectacular.  Say what you want about Angelina, but she always gives 110% into all her performances and I can always appreciate that.  Honestly, I think I would have preferred a straight-out biopic like Norma Jean was to this slick, but disconnected MTV-like approach.  That’s just my two cents.  Take it or leave it.  This one was scored purely on the entertainment/replay factor.

Video  

This one is a hard one to grade.  It’s like a big bag of mixed bolts.  You are desperately trying to find the right one, but every once in awhile you are fooled into thinking you found it.  This AVC MPEG-4 encode is framed in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio and perfectly fills your entire HDTV screen real estate, but notice I did not say the word beautifully as I so often do in my reviews.  That’s because despite the film’s beautiful subjects, the video isn’t always a gem.  That’s too bad.  For the most part, you have really good detail here, despite the muted colors.  You can almost always see every pore, mole and imperfection in the character’s skin, but it’s the grain, heavy at times, that can be distracting if you let it be.  I remember this one scene with a red wall.  I couldn’t tell if there were a thousand mosquitoes behind the receptionist or if it was just really heavy grain.  Of course, it was grain.  I’m over exaggerating, but you get the point.  Because of the interview like style, there are lots of different raw footage shots.  Some look splendid and some look downright ugly as to be expected from found footage-like material.  The colors, as I just mentioned, are dull and lackluster, but every once in awhile you will find a diamond in the rough with outside scenes and reds such as painted lips, cars and clothing.  I would suspect this transfer is leaps and bounds above its DVD counterpart, but for the most part it just lacks that spectacular Blu-ray pop we all come to know and love. However, I’m not going to be too hard on this since it’s a low budget film.  Just keep that in mind when you are selecting a reference disc to showcase your home theater off to your friends.  Deal?

Audio  

I’m less enthused in this department.  It sounds like I’m watching a made-for-TV movie on Lifetime or Oxygen.  It’s that bland.  The soundtrack is very low in depth and volume.  Although there are some atmospheric effects that buzz around from time-to-time in the rear speakers, this one is really nothing to write home about.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack exists, but that’s about all.  It never roars.  However, for a movie of this genre, would you really expect it to?  Come on people.  Much like in the video department, the audio is sufficient here and effective at times, but not worthy of a presentation to your amigos.  Got it?

Special Features  

N-O-N-E

Final Thoughts  

I hate giving this once such a low final score because I had my heart set on watching this classic HBO film and was very excited to see Angelina in her prime…assets that is, but in the end, I have to be fair, unbiased and decisive in my criticism.  I believe I was all of those in this review.  What do you think?  I would say give this one a rental if you are curious about the real Gia or you simply want to check out Angelina Jolie before she became the cover model for US Weekly every week.  Her performance is nothing short of stellar here, but ultimately it’s the weak narrative that drives this one down a couple of notches.  It has nice amounts of nudity and even lesbian sex, but even that’s not enough to save it at times.  That’s unfortunate.  Like Ashley Judd in Norma Jean, this is Angelina before she became an overnight sensation.  So take that for what’s it worth.  I’m outta here!

Gia struts the Blu-ray carpet on November 8th!

 

 

 

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Owner/Writer/Reviewer/Editor, Dreamer, Producer, Agent of Love, Film Lover, Writer of Screenplays and a Devoted Apostle to all things Ford Mustangs (the real ones with V8's!). Some of my favorite films include FIGHT CLUB, MOULIN ROUGE, THE DARK KNIGHT, STAR WARS alongside television shows such as SEINFELD, 24, SANFORD & SON and even the often loathed in the geek community BIG BANG THEORY. Outside of my three lives I live I also enjoy spending time with my girlfriend and our three girls (of the furry kind).

1 Response to “Gia (Blu-ray Review)”


  1. Matt Goodman

    I knew that’s the only reason you wanted to watch it 😉