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The Post (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

They may have different years of released attached to them, but Steven Spielberg had two big releases in three months. He’s no stranger to multiple films in a calendar year, as a quick peruse of his filmography will show many double features. Three months before Ready Player One, Spielberg had an Oscar caliber film in The Post (Which wide released in 2018, so you could argue its the same year for most people). Starring Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, the political thriller based on the attempt of the Washington Post to publish The Pentagon Papers may have been on of the most overlooked and taken for granted candidates for Best Picture. Scoring only a Best Actress nomination for Streep, in a crowded year of great films, Spielberg’s period piece could have easily argued for a lot more consideration. Heck, on another given year, it might’ve been a shue in for more gold. The film is already available on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray, so if you haven’t already, you can pick yourself up a copy and see for yourself.

Film 

Katharine Graham is the first female publisher of a major American newspaper — The Washington Post. With help from editor Ben Bradlee, Graham races to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spans three decades and four U.S. presidents. Together, they must overcome their differences as they risk their careers — and very freedom — to help bring long-buried truths to light.

Steven Spielberg is nothing short of incredible. He certainly lives up to being our greatest living director. The Post was a film he just sort of fit into his schedule last minute. Not one he had the longest time to prep for or shoot. And he winds up turning a top notch political thriller that winds up nominated for Best Picture. This film feels anything but that. Based on a strong script, with the mastery of Spielberg, this film feels like the ultimate companion piece to All The President’s Men you never knew you wanted (It even sorta connects itself to it, too).

The biggest joy of The Post comes in the form of its cast. Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep are of course, top notch and fun to watch share scenes with one another. But, I’m actually referring to the supporting cast of the film. The casting director of this film obviously has some great taste in television as this turns into an all-star roster of people from cool shows. Even though he had no idea, its awesome to see Bob Odenkirk and David Cross here sharing the screen in this political drama. Modern favorite Carrie Coon is another fun face to see. Anytime you cast Allison Brie, I give you plus points as she has some scene. I was also excited to see the underused Pat Healy show up. There are so many people in this, and everyone share and taking turns to deliver gold. And I’ve just scratched the casting surface. Just this fact alone gives the film a strong recommend, let alone the dynamite story and thrills they reenact.

Here’s a weird left turn I’m going to make here, but its stuck with me both times I’ve seen the film. And I’m not sure I can really collect my thoughts here for it. The way Spielberg shoots the neighborhood streets and the action of driving or crossing one has fascinated me. The angles, the camera movement and the structure of the frame is incredibly intriguing and gives me a feel that I’m not sure is new or familiar. If there’s a reference to another film with this, I’m not getting it or having a mental breakdown. The angles are really low, revealing no sky, the cars come off as very big (They were in that era anyway, but this really embellishes it) and the movement brings a sense of dread. He also plays with expectations on things that happen from scene to scene which is fun. This is a film I already feel has a bunch of rewatachability and I’m more than eager to revisit that this is going to be something I study and focus on more.

In another year, The Post might have been more of an Oscar front-runner. While I mentioned it would pair nicely with All The President’s Men, it also feels like it could pair well with Argo in a more populist sense. Spielberg delivers terrific thrills with an incredibly fun cast that I think will be one of his more well remembered films for years to come. I may have even enjoyed it more this second time around, even. And to think he did this and went right to Ready Player One. Crazy to think about, but when you realize its Spielberg at the helm (And we know its clearly a pattern in things he does), I guess it makes all the sense.

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p) HDR10

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: The Post arrives on 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray in its natural form from a 4K digital intermediate. This presentation is an uptick in quality from the the standard Blu-ray counterpart. Details are much more rampant here as seen on the clothing, papers and overall surfaces like wallpaper and such. Due to the intended stylized look of the film, its not going to jump out immediately as a better picture, but at a closer inspection, you can see the lift in things you can see or see much clearer.

Depth: Features solid depth work here with good spacing, especially during some dolly shots through the newsroom. Character movements are natural and cinematic.

Black Levels: Blacks are natural and well saturated. Details are well maintained on clothes, surfaces and darkness. No crushing witnessed.

Color Reproduction: Colors are rather muted here. Blues are pretty strong. Everything does have a full and bold look with good saturation. HDR only really comes into play on some car lights.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are slightly colder and consistent from start to finish. Facial features are visible at any given distance, showcases stubble, make-up, lip texture, wrinkles, moles and more.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean, there is some little noticeable grain at times, but nothing really distracting at all.

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 7.1 DTS-HD MA, French 5.1 Dolby Digital, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Dynamics: The post has a nice really fun and involving mix. From secret hotel rooms to the office of the Washington Post, you get every little detail of the action going on. Sound effects come with great depth and accuracy. John Williams score also gets to shine here in a balanced mix that gives vocals and effects their equal time in the spotlight as well.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Music, things slamming on tables, engines, door knocks and other natural sounds produce a nice kick from the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: All the speakers carry unique information to help drive every scene. A typewriter my ding from the side or from the back corner of the room. Travel and placement is incredibly accurate.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are the crux of this track and they sound very clear and crisp.

Extras 

The Post comes with the Blu-ray edition and a digital copy of the film. All bonus features are found on the standard Blu-ray disc.

Layout: Katharine Graham, Ben Bradlee and The Washington Post (HD, 21:51) – Spielberg, cast & crew as well as people close to/knowledgeable of the events give us a rundown on what happened, how it was handled and the importance of the rise of and great leadership of Katharine Graham.

Editorial: The Cast and Characters of The Post (HD, 15:56) – Cast and crew discuss the characters and performers that play them in the film and where they dress inspirations and “essences”.  They claim they were able to get everyone they wanted for every part. Leaning more on television actors was a focus as well. Funny enough, Spielberg had no idea about David Cross & Bob Odenkirk or Mr Show until close til the end of shooting and separately cast them. This features Allison Brie, so…that’s a plus!

The Style Section: Recreating an Era (HD, 17:02) – This featurette covers the building of the sets and focusing building within a real location. It touches on costuming and props as well.

Stop the Presses: Filming The Post (HD, 25:34) – Spielberg talks of the script landing on him when he was waiting to begin Ready Player One and not being able to turn it down. It goes through the production and its own story and drama.

Arts and Entertainment: Music for The Post (HD, 6:45) – John Williams and the film’s score are covered here.

Summary 

The Post is an engaging political thriller that surrounds itself with a bubbly cast that keeps it fun and colorful at every turn. Steven Spielberg’s latest 4K Ultra-HD Blu-ray has a great presentation in both the video and audio departments. We are also given a nice set of extras that both cover the film and the historical events its based on. They also don’t make you sit around for countless hour to indulge in all of them. Its a rock solid release and a great film to make sure you have in your collection.

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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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