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Nick & Norah’s INFINITE PLAYLIST (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

January 25, 2009 by  



“An enjoyable romantic comedy that definitely showcases today’s youth.  Wonderful performances by both Michael Cera and Kat Dennings!  The Blu-ray edition is loaded with special features, awesome picture and audio quality!  The Blu-ray release will make you fall even more in love with ‘Nick & Norah’s INFINITE PLAYLIST’ again!”

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TITLE: Nick & Norah’s INFINITE PLAYLIST

DURATION: 89 minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:85:1), English, French and Portuguese (Dolby TrueHD 5.1), Spanish 5.1, Subtitles: Arabic, Dutch, English (UK), English (US), French (Parisian), Portuguese (Brazil), Spanish (Latin Am)

COMPANY:  Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13

Release Date: February 18, 2009

Directed by Peter Sollet

Screenplay by: Lorene Scafaria

Based on a novel by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

Co-Produced by Nicole Brown, Kelli Konop

Executive Producers: Joe Drake, Nathan Kahane, Adam Brightman

Produced by Kerry Kohansky, Chris Weitz, Paul Weitz, Andrew Miano

Director of Photography: Tom Richmond

Costume Designer: Sandra Hernandez

Edited by Myron Kerstein

Music by Mark Mothersbaugh

Music Supervisor: Linda Cohen

Production Designer: David Doernberg

Cast:

Michael Cera as Nick

Kat Dennings as Norah

Aaron Yoo as Thom

Rafi Gavron as Dev

Ari Graynor as Caroline

Alexis Dziena as Tris

Jonathan B. Wright as Beefy Guy/Lethario

Zachary Booth as Gary

Jay Baruchel as Tal

After a chance encounter, Nick and Norah embark on a journey through New York’s indie rock scene on a quest to find the secret show of a legendary band, and wind up finding each other.

I actually dig this film a lot!  And the Blu-ray just made me love “Nick & Norah’s INFINITY PLAYLIST” even more!

The film stars Michael Cera (“Superbad”, “Juno”) as Nick.  He’s a quiet guy, drives a Yugo, a member of a band (which his friends/band members are gay) and a guy who recently was dumped by his girlfriend Tris (Alexis Dziena).  Needless to say that Nick has not been the same and he still thinks about her constantly.  And even has gone so far to make continuous mix CD’s for her.

Meanwhile at a Catholic School, we are introduced to Norah (Kat Dennings, “40-Year-Old Virgin”, “The House Bunny”) and Caroline (Ari Graynor), two best friends who plan to go to a concert.  Tris and Norah really don’t get along with each other but they try to be civil or tolerate each other since Tris and Caroline are friends.  Tris keeps throwing away Nick’s mix CD’s in the garbage can but Norah tends to pick them up and listen to the CD’s and has gotten to know Nick through the messages he leaves on the CD’s.

But it’s a big day as Nick and his band will be performing at a gig and all is good until he sees Tris with her new boyfriend.  While at the gig, Tris starts talking down to Norah and teasing her about not having a boyfriend.  Norah tells Tris that she has a boyfriend (which Tris doesn’t believe).  Norah then walks up to Nick and tells him to pretend that they are dating and they kiss.  Nick is surprised that this girl kisses her, Tris is surprised that she’s dating her ex and Nick’s friends are happy because maybe their friend can stop being bummed out all the time and be with a new girl.  As for Caroline, she’s pretty much drunk.

Everyone then tries to look for a performance of a band called Fluffy and clues have been given in different parts of the city of where they will be performing and so Nick’s friends try to figure out the clues.  Nick meanwhile needs to drive Norah and Caroline back home.  His friends knowing that this might be Nick’s moment to be with another girl decides to help by assisting to drive Caroline back to her home and Nick can spend time with Norah.  So, the guys put her in their van and Nick and Norah drive in the Yugo.

But Nick and Norah do not necessarily hit it off.  Nick keeps talking about Tris and Norah who can’t stand Tris is getting ticked that Nick keeps talking about her.  As for Tris, she can’t believe that Nick is with Norah and thus she and her boyfriend follow wherever they are driving.

As Nick and Norah have their arguments, while going to grab a late night munchies for hot dogs, Caroline who thinks she has been kidnapped (and still very drunk) leaves the van.

So, with Caroline now missing, everyone gets together and try to find Caroline all over the city.

The story may seem a bit simple but there is something about the film that is quite special and I’m not even sure I can pinpoint it.  But what makes things work are the performances by the cast.  Michael Cera’s characters are always quite interesting to watch on film and in “Nick & Norah’s INFINITE PLAYLIST”, Nick is quite humorous to watch because of the way he says things.  As for Norah, she’s that girl that doesn’t put up with any crap but yet, there is something charming about her.  Kat Dennings does such an amazing job with that character.

And the you have Nick’s buddies Thom (Aaron Yoo), Dev (Rafi Gavron) and Jonathan B. Wright (Beefy Guy) who are just fun to watch.  What is very cool is that these guys are gay but yet, they are not stereotypical gay guys.  They managed to help fix Nick’s Yugo when he’s having car problems, they are in a rock band, they just have fun and are cool friends.

Ari Graynor plays Caroline, who is mostly drunk in the film but she plays the part so hilariously and there is just a moment where her character gets in a major “EWWW” moment that will probably make you think twice of sharing gum with anyone (you shouldn’t be doing that in the first place).

The film also features a bunch of cameos from Saturday Night Live’s Seth Myers and Adam Samberg, Eddie Kaye Thomas (American Pie) and John Cho (Harold & Kumar films and American Pie) and awesome Indie music that plays throughout the film.

But also remarkable and fun was to see how much of New York was captured in the film.  The crew are constantly driving around New York City and visiting a variety of areas and really, this was pretty fun to watch.

There are just many memorable moments, cool characters, cool music and everything just works.  Back when I was in college, the love story that featured cool music, cool characters and was so different was “Say Anything” but to this new generation, I can see how “Nick & Norah’s INFINITY PLAYLIST” has become such a fan favorite.  It’s a young, modern love story that is not mature like most romantic films.  It’s a love story that people today or even in the past can relate to.  A modern “American Graffiti” I guess I can liken it to.

And what was a very enjoyable film, for me, was made even more enjoyable because of what is jammed in the Blu-ray disc.  Read on…

VIDEO & AUDIO:

The film is presented in 1080p high definition (1:85:1).  The picture quality was great!  A lot of the film is shot outdoors during the night but everything looked very good, no low light noise or fragmenting.   In fact, I didn’t really pickup on much noise at all, considering a lot of the footage was shot outdoors.  There are really cool uses of color throughout the film and the colors were definitely vibrant.   You get a lot of nice blues and ambers, in certain scenes.

As for audio, audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and the film is dialogue-driven and music-driven.  Dialogue was very clear and understandable but the music plays a significant part of this film and the music definitely comes alive on film.  Because music plays a prevalent role in the film, your front speaker channels definitely comes alive with the Dolby True HD soundtrack.

Both video and audio on Blu-ray for “Nick & Norah’s INFINITE PLAYLIST” was fantastic!

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Nick & Norah’s INFINITE PLAYLIST” is fully loaded when it comes to features.  I was very impressed of how much was crammed into one disc and definitely stoked!  It’s one thing to really enjoy the film but to enjoy it even more because of the special features.   Included are:

  • CineChat – If one has BD Live (the able to connect your Blu-ray player to the Internet), you can send onscreen instant messages to your friends around the world while watching the film at the same time.
  • Interactive Playlist – Also, you can create and share a playlist of your favorite songs from the film via the Interactive Playlist.  Also, with the Interactive Playlist, you can see the song being played ala a music player one one side and then tidbits on the film on the other.   The sharing of songs requires BD Live but the player and info. segment of the film will load on normal profile 1.1 Blu-ray players.
  • Telestrator Commentary with Director and Cast – The commentary with director Peter Sollett, Michael Cera, Kat Dennings and Ari Graynor was probably one of the wildest commentary I have ever listened to.  Also, you can watch the director and cast draw and point to items.  The group really wanted to keep the commentary fun and enjoyable and really discussed interesting tidbits about the film and things that happened afterwards, reshooting, etc.  Especially knowing that a lot of those outdoor scenes, despite looking as if it was during the fall, in reality, it was freezing and the talent were freezing as well.  The sense of humor of everyone was just surprisingly fun!    And this is one commentary you won’t be disappointed in.
  • Director and Writers Commentary – This commentary featured Peter Sollett with novel writers Rachel Cohn, David Levithan and producer Kerry Kohansky.  This was an interesting commentary because both Peter Sollett and Kerry Kohansky would ask the writers about things they were curious about the book and vice versa in terms of its translation from the book on the screen.  Another fun commentary track.
  • Deleted & Alternate ScenesThere were a good number of scenes that were cut in the film for pacing.  But all of them are presented on film.  One example that is discussed heavily on the commentary track is the janitor who discovers Caroline near the toilet (in the infamous scene).  This would have been a cool scene to have in the film but nevertheless, glad they included it in this portion of the special features.
  • Outtakes – Quite a bit of bloopers during the filming.  Always entertaining to watch!
  • A Nick & Norah Puppet Show by Kat Dennings – This featured drawn, colored paper puppets of each character and Kat Dennings just having fun with them and improvising her own storyline with the characters using parts of the story from the film but then adding a killer bear into the mix.   Imaginative mind but yet a fun featurette.
  • Ari Graynor’s Video Diary: A Look Behind-the-Scenes – This was pretty fun to watch.  Pretty much Ari Graynor with her video camera filming everyone on the set and everyone having fun.  A good showcase of the chemistry among the cast.  They all gel’d.
  • Storyboard Animations with optional commentary – This is a segment which filmmakers will enjoy.  The film was shot back in Fall/Winter 2007 but because there were so many questions during screening, the crew reshot certain scenes to answer those questions and thus the storyboard animations proved to be quite helpful to Peter Sollett.  A very informative segment with optional commentary.
  • Faux Interview with Michael Cera and Kat Dennings by Eddie Kaye Thomas – This segment was quite interesting.  Actor Eddie Kaye Thomas pretends to be interviewing Michael Cera and Kat Dennings.  His character only has a few minutes to ask questions so he tries to get them to talk but cuts them off when he doesn’t like the actor and seems to put most of his attention towards Cera.
  • Peter Sollett’s Photo Album – Cool photography by Peter Sollett of the cast and during the filming.
  • Music Video: “Middle Management” by Bishop Allen
  • The Blu-ray also comes with a second disc which includes a digital copy of the disc.

    There is a certain cool and adventurous atmosphere about “Nick & Norah’s INFINITE PLAYLIST” that I really enjoyed.  The film is more or less about finding something.  Finding Caroline who is missing.  Finding where Fluffy will be having its live performance.  Finding oneself and finding the person that may be right for you.

    The characters are not overly Hollywood, they are not perfect, they are young adults with flaws and even when listening to the commentary, you start to realize that some of the characters are very much akin to the talents behind those roles.  Michael Cera has become one of those rising stars that defines a new generation of youth where in the 80’s and even the 90’s, many characters in romantic comedy focusing on youths were defined by characters such as the cool preppy, the nerd, the jock, the stoner, etc.  But this film, Cera as Nick is just a normal guy.   He’s just a guy who plays bass guitar in a band (does not fit the image of a rock star), his delivery of Nick’s lines are just delivered perfectly and believable, that I don’t really see many young actors who would have been so convincing portraying the role of Nick.  A wonderful job and you can see why he’s becoming such a popular actor of late.

    Kat Dennings as Norah is the same.  She was fantastic in this role and really suited her perfectly.  And watching both Cera and Dennings together, they obviously do have good chemistry onscreen.   Typical young adults with their own personal flaws and insecurities that anyone can relate to.  The supporting characters in the film also lend to the believability of the film. Everything just works.

    And you also have to give credit to director Peter Sollett and his crew.  The film was his maor directorial debut since his success with the Indie film “Raising Victor Vargas”.

    From originally completing the film in the Fall/Winter 2007, then a test screening it, receiving the feedback, reshooting the newer scenes in the Spring of 2008, Sollet and his crew had to make sure that they sync everything from the newer footage and the older footage of the movie and coming up with the final cut.  That whole opening scene before the band starts performing is all the newer footage that would help establish both the characters of Nick & Norah which definitely made a difference.   Without that whole opening segment, the film could have really sucked.  So, what could have been disastrous was averted.   So, they crew did a great job!

    “Nick & Norah’s INFINITE PLAYLIST” is a pretty fun and enjoyable film.  For a romantic comedy featuring youth love, from the various cool locations of New York featured in the film, the adventurous but yet enjoyable romantic storyline, the musical playlist of the whole film, having the main character driving a Yugo, everyone having late night or early morning munchies for hot dogs, a piece of gum that is shared from who knows where it came from, various musical gigs and of course, the mix CD’s…  You never realize how much is incorporated into the film.  Again, everything works.

    I really enjoyed this film and enjoyed it even more on Blu-ray because the disc was fully loaded with special features and also showcasing really good picture and audio quality.  For the release of “Nick & Norah’s INFINITE PLAYLIST”, they really went all out to give the fans of the film a lot.  And really happy with the final Blu-ray release.

    It’s a no brainer, if you enjoyed this film, then you’re going to have a great time with this Blu-ray edition and probably, like myself, have an even greater appreciation when you learn how much was put into making it.  Highly recommended!






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