Quantcast

L.A. Story – 30th Anniversary (Blu-ray Review)

Sitting in Lionsgate’s catalog vault for many years has been a Steve Martin gem in that of the wacky and silly L.A. Story. Fortunately, it just turned 30 years old, has been given an HD master and released in other territories and makes for a nice easy Blu-ray release. This 30th Anniversary release comes with a nice load of features that are both old and new and make for very nice content. There’s also a new 5.1 mix for which to hear it by. If you’ve never seen it before and/or are familiar with the Los  Angeles lifestyle no matter the era, you should really consider checking it out. Lionsgate released the film to Blu-ray on November 9th and you can order it now. You can also do so by using the paid Amazon Associates link that follows the review.

.

.

Film

L.A. Story is legendary comedian-actor-author Steve Martin’s love letter to the City of Angels. Being in a magical city with predictably pleasant weather can make the life of a meteorologist seem monotonous. When TV weatherman Harris Telemacher (Martin) begins receiving secret messages from an electronic freeway sign, he leaves his longtime girlfriend (Marilu Henner) and embarks on a frivolous romance with a vapid, young model (Sarah Jessica Parker), which ultimately leads him to true love with the woman of his dreams (Victoria Tennant). Beloved by generations of movie fans, L.A. Story reminds us that anything is possible, and real love can be found — even in the city of make-believe.

While the film is certainly a time capsule of a certain moment in Los Angeles culture, L.A. Story has a lot of going for it that doesn’t feel dated at all. There are themes, attitudes, character types and more that still resonate in today’s lifestyle, they are just now update in styles and some of the issues and fads are different. However, the ideas and the approach to these topics and relationships is ultimately very similar. And in that regard, the film needs to be lauded for putting something together that captures a specific moment in the city’s history, yet resonates in a timeless fashion.

The first time I saw the film was when I did quality control for the original DVD release. I was living in Los Angeles and it was roughly 15 years after L.A. Story had come out. Yet, somehow, someway the film managed to play big with me and very relevant. Sure, some of the things in the film had long since past, and the city alters at a fast rate, but much of it felt like the city hadn’t changed much at all in those years aside from cosmetically. If you’re an enthusiast of Los Angeles as a city and its history, this movie works very well, too.

Even if you aren’t enamored with Los Angeles, the Steve Martin comedy/romantic comedy core of the film is enough to carry the film and win you over. There’s his on brand sense of humor and it shares great chemistry with the radiant and charming Victoria Tennant. Their adorable romance is a joy and features great people to bounce off of in the form of Richard E. Grant, Sarah Jessica Parker, Marilu Henner and more cameos that pop up all over this thing. L.A. Story probably fits under the cult movie territory nowadays, but its certainly an underseen one in recent years that should be rediscovered by newer audiences.

Video

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Layers: BD-50

Clarity/Detail: L.A. Story comes to Blu-ray in the US for the first time with what I can assume is the same transfer as the oversea release. Its definitely just an HD master and that’s fine. Improvements could be made, but this carries a nice layer of grain and some really nice color pop in a more vivid looking image. One of the most refreshing things, is that the film is displayed in its correct framing finally, rather than the 4×3 pan and scan which had been the choice of image when it was put on DVD.

Depth:  The frame has some decent, above average depth of field work on display. Its mostly impressive on interiors, the art museum being on of the highlights, giving off some good pushback dimensions. Movements are natural and filmic with no noticeable issues from motion distortions.

Black Levels: Blacks are deep and rich. There are some really nice looking nighttime sequences here and no real issues occur with information being swept away in the black.

Color Reproduction: Colors have a nice little pop to them in this more vivid picture. Primaries stick out well as do greens. Many of the natural things, whites, grays, browns and the like have a good well rounded an full appearance to them.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones are natural and consistent from start to finish of the film. Facial detail and texture is pretty discernible in close ups and most medium shots.

Noise/Artifacts: There’s some slight crushing in a few minimal areas I saw, but nothing dire or deal breaking.

Audio

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

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: L.A. Story comes with a pretty decent 5.1 track that gets the job done. Its not quite the full encompassing track one would expect from 5 channels, but it does enough to lighten the load from the front channels and loosing things up, feeling more spacious. Its well balanced with the vocals being the one in the spotlight for most of it, though the music in the film does fill in nice when it gets time in the spotlight.

Height: N/A

Low Frequency Extension: Not too much boom here, most of it in the score/music in the film and some engines, tire skreeching and some natural bumbling that happens in the film.

Surround Sound Presentation:  This one hangs out more toward the front end and has some nice travel back and forth across the three channels. Rear speakers do most of their work in building ambiance for each environment.

Dialogue Reproduction: Vocals are clear and crisp.

Extras

LA Story comes with a redeemable digital code for the film.

O2BINLA: Mick Jackson’s LA Stories (HD, 23:58) – The director sits and gives his experience on the film, coming into directing and paints a good picture and provides plenty of good anecdotes.

The Story of LA Story (HD, 12:34) – A vintage making of carried over from a previous release.

The LA of LA Story (HD, 15:33) – Another carryover featurette, this one going through locations.

Deleted Scenes And Outtakes (HD, 20:51)

1991 EPK (HD, 5:40)

Trailers

  • Teaser Trailer (HD, 1:48)
  • Theatrical Trailer (HD, 1:18)

TV Spots (HD, 4:14)

Summary

Even if you’re not super up and up on the Los Angeles lifestyle (of the late 80s/90s), there’s still plenty of top notch Steve Martin humor to carry you over on a core level in L.A. Story. Lionsgate puts together a rather fancy new release for the film. The presentation is pretty decent and it has a good swath of extras for which to continue the enjoyment after the film and to satisfy the fans of the film with good content. Definitely an easy pickup, especially at the very low Day 1 price its going for.

This is a paid Amazon Associates link

Share

Brandon is the host, producer, writer and editor of The Brandon Peters Show (thebrandonpetersshow.com) on the Creative Zombie Studios Network. At Why So Blu he is a Writer/Reviewer. Brandon is a 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. You can also find older essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

  1. No Comments