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Stigmata (Blu-ray)

StigmataA lost soul has just received the wounds of Christ… and a shocking message that will alter history. Featuring  performances from  Patricia Arquette (TV’sMedium, Boyhood) and Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects) with  a cutting -edge score by Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins and Elia Cmiral, the visceral thriller Stigmata will make its blu-ray debut courtesy of Scream Factory.  Stigmata comes loaded with bonus features, includingthe featurettes Incredible But True – Stigmata: Marked For Life and Divine Rights: The Story Of Stigmata, which have been previously unavailable in the US; as well as audio commentary with director Rupert Wainwright, deleted scenes  and more!

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Film 

Frankie Paige has absolutely no faith in God. All of that changes when she suddenly begins to suffer the stigmata — the living wounds of the crucified Christ. Frankie’s miraculous bleeding comes to the attention of the Vatican’s top investigator, Father Kiernan. But when Cardinal Houseman, discovers that Frankie is actually channeling an extraordinary and provocative message that could destroy the Church, he’s convinced that she —  and the force possessing her —  must be forever silenced. Determined to stop this deadly conspiracy, Kiernan risks his faith and his life to save her and the message that will change the destiny of mankind forever.

From the director of Blank Check and The Fog remake, we have Stigmata.  He also did an MC Hammer movie thing back in the day.  And speaking of music, I feel like he was audition for like eight different music videos with this movie.  Its shot, cut, filtered and paced like some bizarre music video and it all just falls flat on its face.  Things are choppy and just look kinda crappy they way they all come together.  Its like everything with the alternative music era just gone completely wrong and falling flat on its face.

Speaking of, we have a score by Billy Corgan.  Cool, right?  Nah, this score just isn’t very interesting and sounds like generic alternative scoring and in turn makes the movie less effective.  Funny enough, this film sported a song by a pop star everyone fell for the year before in Natalie Imbruglia.  She then became (from what I can recall) a one-hit wonder thanks to this movie’s soundtrack and the decision to take a gothic turn that people I guess didn’t really like.  I know she’s still around and making music, but can you tell me something other than Torn that was pretty huge?  She seemed to be launching off, but Stigmata crucified that.

The shame of the movie is that it has a really nice adult cast, but this movie is trying to hard to be fifteen years younger than them.  Patricia Arquette does the best she can with this script.  Gabriel Byrne and Jonathan Pryce class up the joint with their presence.  I found it fun that Enrico Colantoni showed up as I didn’t remember him in this.  And for fun, you get a 90s Portia de Rossi in alt-goth getup.

I may have liked Stigmata more back around its release, but I was never really a big fan of it.  Now, the film was just sort of obnoxious and pretty messy in its execution.  There is some cool imagery in the film, I’ll give it that.  And it has a good cast.  And really interesting subject matter to explore.  But its ultimately not enough to keep interest and appreciation for it.  Maybe a better director could have made this work.  Who knows?  What I do know is this just didn’t work for me and I struggled to find things I liked about it.

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Video 

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1o80p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (Listed on the box as 1.85:1)

Clarity/Detail:  Stigmata sports a disappointing a particularly ugly image.  At many times you could think this was a DVD upconvert.  It has its moments in close ups and relatively static shots.  It looks like some edge enhancement may have been used, providing not the sharpest of appearances.

Depth:  The image is rather flat.  Motion creates some blur and people and objects don’t always look necessarily loose and free as they should.

Black Levels:  Blacks are deep and kind of problematic.  Detail is hidden and there are many instance of crushing.

Color Reproduction:  This is a dingy, grimy film.  Whatever filter they use for whatever scene they are on have that particular color standing out.  Everything for the most part looks rather cool.

Flesh Tones:  Flesh tones are fitting of the lighting and aesthetic of any given scene.  In close up shots, skin detail shows off some wrinkles and blemishes.  Medium and far shots however, don’t sport the greatest detail, though a few moments do look pretty nice.

Noise/Artifacts:  There is some grain and dirt in the print that show up.  There is also some compression issues, crushing and aliasing present in the transfer.

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Audio 

Audio Format(s): English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: English

Dynamics:  Stigmata sports a rather average audio track.  The 5.1 is “okay”, finding itself a little jumbled overall with some distortions appearing at the opening and around the end.  The blend of effects, vocals and score is decent, but at a few points they sound a little flat and on top of one another.  Overall its an Ok experience, but I think this one works better overall by choosing the 2.0 track.

Low Frequency Extension:  Not a lot of weight pulled from the subwoofer.  There are some jump moments and it helps the score out here and there, but its never a really involved player.

Surround Sound Presentation:  Rear speakers have some spooky ambiance, but overall aren’t too big a factor.  The front speakers have their moments, mainly during the action bits where it excels, but overall is like the rest and merely ok.

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is solid.  Clear and audible.

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Extras 

Stigmata’s cover insert features an alternate poster design on the reverse side in case you don’t like the one provided.

Audio Commentary

  • With Director Rupert Wainwright

Deleted Scenes (HD, 12:54) – These are clearly SD, just popped on the AVC encoding.

Theatrical Trailer (HD, 2:26)

Divine Rites Featurette (HD, 25:36) – A featurette on the actual phenomenon of Stigmata with interviews of historians and Gabriel Byrne.  Features clips from the movie.

Incredible But True Featurette (HD, 44:05) – Full episode of the History Channel series show that focuses on the Stigmata phenomenon.

Natalie Imbruglia Music Video (HD, 4:16) 

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Summary 

Well, here we are many years later and Stigmata still kinda sorta stinks.  This disc however does have two featurettes on the reported cases and history of the actual thing which are quite interesting and worth the time.  The presentation here is pretty subpar, with the video looking kinda ugly.  I’m sure its much better than the DVD version of the film, but by how much I don’t know really know.  I thought most of the bonus features faired better.  Fans of the movie (If you exist) will want to pick it up, others probably should proceed with caution.

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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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