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Moonlight And Valentino (Blu-ray Review)

Moonlight and ValentinoMoonlight and Valentino, directed by David Anspaugh (Rudy) from a screenplay by Ellen Simon (based on her play), is a romantic drama featuring a cast that pays homage to the great “women’s pictures” of a bygone era.  Moonlight and Valentino features a roster of Academy Award winners and nominees including Whoopi Goldberg (Best Supporting Actress winner for Ghost), Kathleen Turner (Best Actress nominee for Peggy Sue Got Married) and Gwyneth Paltrow (Best Actress winner for Shakespeare in Love).

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Rebecca Trager Lott, a woman coping with the recent death of her husband. Grieving and unable to move forward, Rebecca’s life is further complicated by her closest friends Sylvie, Alberta and sister Lucy, whose sympathetic best intentions are overshadowed by their own personal issues. When least expected, a romantic distraction arrives in the form of a house painter.

I’ll start with something nice, Moonlight and Valentino is well acted even in its smallest of parts.  Strong turns by Elizabeth Perkins, Gwyneth Paltrow, Whoopi Goldberg and Jeremy Sisto all shine through.  Jon Bon Jovi isn’t half bad too.  I seem to remember the buzz on this movie was centered around him being in a movie.  Everybody does very well with the material given.

Unfortunately that’s not near enough.  This predictable “moving on” drama about female friends coping with their life’s changing romances and acquaintances just drags on and on.  No matter how hard I tried, this movie just would not let me in.  Jon Bon Jovi plays the role of a painter in this movie, so its only appropriate to compare it to watching his work dry.

I didn’t know if it was just me or if I had any company.  Luckily, I do!  Roger Ebert hated this one.  As a matter of fact, a lot of people did.  It sits with a prestigious 15% on the review aggregate Rotten Tomatoes.  Its been a while since I watched a film that I was just so detached from and had no connection with.  Its a dull experience, but I hope the film does do something for those who like it.

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Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail:  Moonlight And Valentino debuts on Blu-ray with a solid transfer.  The image sort of has the overall 90s indie look to it but manages to impress with some coloring and crispness at times.  There are times where it feels a little flat or too smooth, but for the the most part this is pretty good.

Depth:  Depth work is pretty average.  Movements are smooth and background imagery ranges with the focus.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich and slightly murky.  No crushing present and shadowing is done pretty well.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are natural and have a bit of a muted look to them.  

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones look natural and maintain a consistent appearance throughout the film’s duration.  Close-ups provide your best look at facial detail.  There is a bit of smoothness present.

Noise/Artifacts:  Some slight specs/dirt visible in a couple spots.

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics:  This very conversation-heavy movie provides a good dynamic track when it comes to vocals.  Sound effects and ambiance aren’t to be discounted as this mix has them set perfectly into the picture, feeling layered and well rounded.  This is a track that gets the job done and well too.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is loud, clear and distinct.

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Trailer (HD, 2:16)

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Well, this was a pretty big drag for me for a good part of two hours.  And I’m gonna put that on a predictable, tired and just nothing script.  Note also, that I’m probably not the target audience for this.  But, I did go back and read the critic reviews of the time and I’m not sure anyone was.  This Blu-ray comes with both good audio and video presentations and zero extras to entertain after the film.  I’d say this is for the hardcore Moonlight and Valentinos only.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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