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For those who speak the lingo, (500) DAYS OF SUMMER ($40) is best described as a non-rom-com. For those who require a translation, let me quote the film’s narrator: "This is a story of boy meets girl, but you should know upfront, this is not a love story". So what exactly is (500) DAYS OF SUMMER? In essence, it is a relationship deconstruction… but also one of the most charming, light romantic dramas (with comic overtones), that I have ever had the great pleasure to view. Utilizing a non-linear narrative structure, (500) DAYS OF SUMMER zips back and forth to the various days that constitute the entire period of the central characters relationship. Through a series of vignettes, we witness the high points and low points of the relationship… and where it all begins to unravel.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars in (500) DAYS OF SUMMER as Tom Hansen, a would-be architect, whose career is sidelined into the greeting card business. Zooey Deschanel is Summer Finn, who has been newly hired by the greeting card company, and catches Tom’s eye. Although Summer tells Tom up front that she does not believe in love and does not want a boyfriend, the two begin seeing each other. Of course, Tom becomes more and more smitten with Summer, becoming convinced that she is "the one," but Summer remains non-committal and unwilling to put a label on the relationship. Eventually, it all fizzles and Tom has difficulty dealing with the breakup and is wondering what went wrong. Of course, with its non-linear narrative structure (500) DAYS OF SUMMER allows the audience to pick up on the relationship clues that Tom may have missed due to the fact he viewed his time with Summer through rose colored glasses. Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel both deliver fine performances, with Gordon-Levitt’s joy and heartbreak being the heart and soul of the movie. The supporting cast of (500) DAYS OF SUMMER features Geoffrey Arend, Chloe Moretz, Matthew Gray Gubler, Clark Gregg, Patricia Belcher, Rachel Boston, Minka Kelly and Ian Reed Kesler.

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment has made (500) DAYS OF SUMMER available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. (500) DAYS OF SUMMER boasts a strong 1080p presentation that accurately renders this small independent feature in high definition. The cinematography favors a slightly soft focus look that is well suited to the material, but prevents the image from having a hyper-realistic look. Despite the softer focus, the image does display very good definition, particularly in close-ups, with good levels of fine detail and texturing. Dimensionality is also quite respectable for the films exteriors. Color reproduction is nice, although the film favors a neutral and somewhat somber color palette. Flesh tones always appear true to life. Blacks appear accurate, as do the whites. Contrast is quite smooth, while shadow detail delivers all that is required. The elements from which (500) DAYS OF SUMMER has been mastered don’t demonstrate any flaws. Grain is noticeable, and adds a very film like flavor to the presentation.

(500) DAYS OF SUMMER is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. No surprises, this is a fairly typical talky dramedy mix that keeps the majority of the sonics front and center. As expected, ambience and fill are the primary elements going to surround channels, while the music is given a nice spread across the front. Fidelity is just fine; with the lossless encode enhancing the numerous cool tunes on the track. The bass channel adds some weight, but that’s about it. Dialogue is natural sounding and always easy to understand. French, Spanish and Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as is an English Descriptive track. Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese, Mandarin and Thai.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc’s interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the extras. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Marc Webb, writer Michael Weber, writer Scott Neustadter and actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Featurettes and other programs include the following: Not A Love Story: Making (500) Days Of Summer (twenty nine minutes), Summer At Sundance (fourteen minutes), Bank Dance Directed By Marc Webb (four minutes), Mean's Cinemash: "Sid And Nancy / (500) Days Of Summer" (three minutes) and Conversations With Zooey And Joseph (twelve minutes). Deleted and Extended Scenes, Filmmaking Specials, Audition Tapes, Summer Storyboards and Bonus Trailers close out the standard extras.  A Digital Copy of the film is also provided.

Charming, bittersweet and wonderful (500) DAYS OF SUMMER is a movie that shouldn’t be overlooked. The Blu-ray presentation is also a winner. Recommended.



(500) Days of Summer [Blu-ray] with Digital Copy (2009)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2010 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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