by Jason Whyte
YPF on DVD and Blu Ray
Although “Young People Fucking” had a recent release in the United States, the film is already in release on video store shelves and enjoyed a successful theatrical run in nearly every major city in the Canada. And for good reason, as this sex comedy delivers all the pleasures of a night out at the movies. In no way is the title meant to suggest anything explicit, although this IS a hard-R rated movie with a good amount of nudity, frank sexual talk and even a strap on thrown in for good measure.
The film follows the goings on of five different couples as they go through one night in their humble abodes. From foreplay to sex to orgasm to afterglow, the film is wisely divided into chapters as each couple go through the process of intercourse. There is stellar acting from the likes of Sonja Bennett (who I saw at this year’s VIFF but was too shy to meet her), Carly Pope, Diora Baird, Callum Blue, Josh David and writer Aaron Abrams.
I rode this film through the festival wave, catching it twice at the 2007 Vancouver International Film Festival. I reviewed the film on efilmcritic.com around the time the film was in general release, which was also right around the time of the controversial Bill C-10 legislation (a bill that would allow the government to deny tax credits to those films they found “offensive”). Fortunately, nothing became of that lousy piece of law; the film did well, and here’s hoping the DVD release will do even better.
The Picture: How does it look?
YPF was shot in 35mm in the spherical 1.85:1 ratio (in a day and age where most Canadian indies are shot in digital video), and this has been ably transferred to both DVD and Blu Ray disc in 16x9 widescreen at what I can tell is dead on at 1.85. The kind folks at Maple home video were able to send me both a standard and BD disc for review, so let’s dare to compare!
Seriously though, there is not too much to distinguish between the two formats. The 1.85:1 DVD looks great in all of its 16x9 glory. This is a film shot mostly interiors, and on film the particular lighting has a reddish, romantic quality to it. The different rooms exhibit different lighting schemes, and the transfer handles all of it just fine. This is a perfectly good transfer of the film to DVD with only the slightest bit of edge enhancement and aliasing in darker scenes.
The Blu Ray, 1080p transfer stands out, naturally, as it has a much higher resolution. I believe this disc is a single layer, 25gb disc, however the movie takes up most of that space anyway as there are not very many special features (more on that shortly). On the exact same monitor, it showed a deeper range of color and sharper contrast than the DVD, which seemed a bit limited and where noise stuck out more.
And of course, Gero knows how to light his leading ladies, and they look amazing on Blu Ray.
So it goes without saying that the Blu Ray disc is the superior choice, although if you do not own a Playstation 3 or Blu Ray player the DVD is a perfectly good transfer in its own right and it will satisfy. This is not the movie to show off your new 1080p system with, but this is as close as you are going to get to the clarity and color of the 35mm prints.
Audio: How does it all sound?
Sadly, I am not at that point where I can review high-def sound, as the Blu Ray disc contains a lossless, DTS 5.1 master audio track, which will pretty much mirror what was heard on the mixing stage. I am, however, able to review the Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks, which is also on the Blu Ray as well as obviously the standard DVD. Both the Blu Ray and DVD also feature a French 5.1 track, while only the DVD also includes a 2.0 Dolby Stereo track.
As YPF is a talker, the movie is dialogue heavy, and thankfully it comes across naturally in the centre channel and sounds natural to the indoor environment. The only time I noticed surround usage was in an early scene where a character talks from another room which triggered the split surround channels. Foley effects are also pretty much limited to the centre channel and I didn’t really notice any separation. Music, when it does appear, bounces mostly in the front channels with slight surround. All in all, it’s an accurate representation of the theatrical Dolby Digital soundtrack and really isn’t demo material.
Watch out for your audio settings however, as the opening title card comes complete with a rip roaring R&B tune that is significantly louder and aggressive than everything that came before it. This is obviously the point by Gero and the sound designers, and boy was it a great moment at last year’s VIFF screening, but do take note especially if you have neighbors.
Extras: Give me the goods!
Believe it or not, I am not terribly high on special features so this portion of the review will be brief.
Complementing the film is an audio commentary track by director Gero and writer/star Aaron Abrahms, who immediately start out by saying that their voices are similar. I don’t completely agree as I could tell them apart quite easily, and this is something that can be rectified by either placing one filmmaker in the left channel and the other in the right, or providing subtitle support. This isn’t a perfect commentary (among other things, they commit the common sin done by commentary tracks where a participant remarks that no one listens to these tracks, which is insulting to anyone who listens), but it is an entertaining 90 minutes especially if you were curious about the making of this particular type of film. I was also surprised to learn that Sonja Bennett had a “digital ass” added as she got out of the bed with panties on in one scene.
The added featurettes are a bit too short and forgettable. I was excited to see a “behind the scenes” listed and was sad to discover it was only about five minutes of B-Roll. Exclusive to the Blu Ray disc is a featurette on wearing the “cod pieces” for the sex scenes, to make actors appear to have a larger “package” than they really would. Some cast auditions follow, along with two trailers for YPF: one in English and one in French.
The menus on the standard DVD and Blu Ray discs are similar, with the Blu Ray having the pop up option at any point during the film or special features. The feature film has about twenty chapter stops. Surprisingly, there are absolutely no subtitles or closed captioning on either the DVD or Blu Ray!
YPF is one of the funniest Canadian films in years, and it is nice to see Maple put a solid effort into the home video release. I sincerely hope that this release will be a rental and purchase staple for years to come, as the title alone will have many viewers curious. Available from Maple Pictures in Canada and from Thinkfilm in the US.
This is my second video review for efilmcritic.com. I used to review DVD’s for other outlets in the past and it is a project that I am slowly coming back to as I am very much enjoying my Playstation 3 and its Blu Ray capabilities. I hope to bring you more reviews of discs down the line. – Jason Whyte, efilmcritic.com
link directly to this feature at http://www.efilmcritic.com/feature.php?feature=2621
originally posted: 11/21/08 05:14:24
last updated: 11/21/08 05:17:21