Monday, June 24, 2013

3D/Blu-ray/DVD debut: Juan Solanas' silly, but visually breathtaking, UPSIDE DOWN

Sometimes just watching a beauti-fully produced set of visuals -- unique, colorful, strange -- is enough to capture you. For awhile, at least. So it is with UPSIDE DOWN, just out tomorrow on Blu-ray, DVD and in 3D (for the few who now own 3D TVs). Given a limited release here in the USA this past March, the movie is quite lovely to look at and utterly nonsensical, even once you are told -- via a hunk of exposition at the film's beginning -- the story of the dual societies inhabiting the same universe that gives the film its understandable title and immediately brings to mind, of course, class, cultural and economic differences.

Writer/director Juan Solanas (shown at right) deserves a hunk of credit for coming up with a creation this visually enticing, but then should get maybe a sharp slap for filling his canvas with such a trite little love story. Fortunately, he has cast his film with some very appealing actors: Jim Sturgess and Kirsten Dunst in the lead roles and Timothy Spall shining in the good supporting cast. Sturgess, hugely likable as always, does a lot toward holding us on his side. That's he, below, defying gravity in the "other" world, in a scene that may have you fondly remembering John Carter (a fun film you really should see, despite its quite undeserved reputation).

Ms. Dunst, below, also acquits herself sweetly as the other half of the romantic equation. But not nearly enough thought has gone into the "story" -- how these two meet, are torn apart and then meet again -- to make the movie work as well as it ought.

You'll probably stick with it, however, due to those ace visuals (which look marvelous in Blu-ray, and maybe pretty nice in 3D, too), and to the story, dumb as it is, which at least sticks to its guns regarding its theme of not just Romeo & Juliet lovers but Romeo & Juliet societies, longing, without maybe realizing it, to be made whole. The ending hints at this possibility rather nicely, so despite my caveats, I was glad I stuck with Upside Down. Given the importance of interesting visuals, coupled to your own political philosophy, you might, too.

From Millennium Entertainment (and some others companies), the movie (plus 70 minutes of bonus material) hits the street Tuesday, June 25 in several formats: DVD, Blu-Ray, 3D/2D Blu-Ray, 3D/2D Blu-Ray + DVD, and even via VOD and/or DVD & Blu-Ray rentals. Consult your favorite movie outlet and pick your choice.

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