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David Lynch Collection(1977-1997)
No synopsis for David Lynch Collection.
For more about David Lynch Collection and the David Lynch Collection Blu-ray release, see the David Lynch Collection Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on June 17, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Laura Dern, Jürgen Prochnow, Nicolas Cage, Sheryl Lee
Director: David Lynch
This Blu-ray release includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:
David Lynch Collection Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, June 17, 2012
David Lynch's "Eraserhead" (1977), "Dune" (1984), "Blue Velvet" (1986), "Wild at Heart" (1990), "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me" (1992), and "Lost Highway" (1997) arrive on Blu-ray courtesy of Universal Studios-UK. The supplemental features offered with these films include original trailers; featurettes; short films directed by David Lynch; interviews; documentary film; outtakes; and a lot more. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles on selected films. Region-B "locked".
Eraserhead is David Lynchï¿½s debut feature film. It follows a young man, Henry (Jack Nance), who lives in an industrial desert together with his girlfriend (Charlotte Stewart) and their child, a strange and apparently very sick creature with a seriously ugly head. As Henryï¿½s relationship with his girlfriend slowly begins to deteriorate while he takes care of their child, his fantasies begin to reshape the world around him.
Eraserhead is a very dark and at times seriously disturbing film that is wide open for interpretation. Some of Henryï¿½s fears and illusions are clearly borrowed from Lynchï¿½s real world, but logically explaining everything that takes place in the film is virtually impossible.
Certain logic, however, is present in the film. Henryï¿½s dark dreams are essentially Lynchï¿½s fears about a variety of different subjects. As the film progresses, some are identified, but others are at best only suggested, creating some confusion and even inaccurate perceptions about the main protagonist and his intentions.
Lynch spends a great deal of time studying Henryï¿½s face and his surroundings. There are selected sequences where the dialog picks up, but overall the film is notably slow and moody, reflecting on ideas in unusual ways rather than promoting them.
The film boasts a remarkable soundtrack, arguably one of the most effective ever done for a project of this nature. It is an integral part of the industrial world Henry and his fears and illusions belong to. Lynch and sound designer Alan Splet recorded the soundtrack using various tape recorders, filters and effects devices.
David Lynchï¿½s Dune is a colorful film with a plot that would make complete sense only to viewers familiar with Frank Herbertï¿½s writings. This is hardly surprising considering the fact that just about all of Lynchï¿½s films leave some room for interpretation, but Dune is undoubtedly the worst offender.
The film's story is essentially broken into two parts. The first introduces the numerous characters whose actions will be followed, while the second focuses on the drama that ensues after the filmï¿½s hero, Paul Atreides (Kyle McLachlan), gets in the middle of a complicated game that, if played right, would give the evil Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV (Josï¿½ Ferrer) control over the galaxy. After endless twists and turns, the hero unites the people of the planet Dune and they confront the forces of evil.
Lynch has confessed that he considers Dune to be his only real failure ï¿½ and arguably for a good reason. There are so many complex subplots and so many underdeveloped relationships that more often than not it feels like the film lacks a basic structure. Admittedly, there are parts of it where this mishmash of subplots and relationships is tolerable because of the beautiful imagery, but elsewhere the poor editing is impossible to ignore.
The costumes and special effects, however, are mighty impressive. Production designer Anthony Masters (2001: A Space Odyssey), set decorator Giorgio Desideri (The Last Temptation of Christ), and especially costume designer Bob Ringwood (Batman, Batman Returns) deserve a lot of credit for their contribution to the film. The soundtrack by legendary rock band Toto is also excellent.
College student Jeffrey Beaumont (Kyle MacLachlan) discovers a human ear in a field. He contacts detective John Williams (George Dickerson), hoping that he would assist him in his search for the owner of the ear, but is quickly told to keep his mouth shut.
Together with the detectiveï¿½s daughter, Sandy (Laura Dern), Jeffrey launches his own investigation. Soon after, he meets the beautiful night club singer Dorothy Vallens (Isabella Rossellini), who often sees a drug-addicted loner (Dennis Hopper) who loves hurting people. Without realizing, Jeffrey quickly gets sucked up in a dangerous world where everyone has something to hide and life is cheap.
This film has it all ï¿½ style, substance, and an incredible cast that delivers big. It is dark and unsettling, but at the same time deliciously perverse and occasionally even funny. Lynch hits like a champion should, with impressive precision and where it matters the most.
The main characters are impossible to forget. All of them, without exception, have unique qualities that impress. Some of their relationships are strange, but not unbelievable, certainly not for a Lynch film. More importantly, they are complete, and in the grand scheme of things perhaps even logical.
Frederick Elmesï¿½ lensing is outstanding. Some of the long shots are amongst the most original seen in contemporary American films. There is also a beautiful music score by the great Angelo Badalamenti, who also collaborated with Lynch on such films as Wild at Heart, Twin Peaks, Lost Highway, and Mulholland Drive.
Wild at Heart
Sailor Ripley (Nicolas Cage, The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call - New Orleans) and Lula Fortune (Laura Dern, Jurassic Park) are madly in love with each other - and Lula's mother, Marietta (Diane Ladd, Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore) a crazy aging Southern belle with a serious drinking problem, does not like it at all. In a desperate attempt to push Sailor away from her daughter, Marietta offers to have sex with him, and then hires an assassin to kill him. Unfortunately, he rejects her offer and beats the assassin's brains out. Sailor ends up in jail and Lula vows to wait for him.
A couple of years later, Sailor gets out of jail and offers Lula to take her to California. They would also stop in New Orleans - to try a few of those famous fried banana sandwiches and listen to some good old fashioned jazz. Lula immediately accepts.
On the way to California, Lula decides to send her mother a postcard to let her know that she is doing well. Marietta goes berserk and immediately asks two of her ex-lovers, Johnny Farragut (Harry Dean Stanton, Paris, Texas) and Marcelles Santos (J. E. Freeman, Miller's Crossing), a perverted goon who may or may not have something to do with her husband's death, to go after them and have Sailor killed. Johnny agrees, hoping that once the job is done he would get to have some fun with Marietta, just like the old days when they were young and in love, while Marcelles tells Marietta that he would help her if she finally lets him deal with Johnny.
After a short stop in New Orleans, Sailor and Lula end in Big Tuna, Texas. There, Lula gets sick and pukes in their hotel room, while Sailor befriends a crazy cowboy named Bobby Peru (Willem Dafoe, Antichrist), who has been paid to kill him. Shortly after, Bobby tries to seduce Lula, and then convinces Sailor to help him rob a local bank.
David Lynch's Wild at Heart premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1990, where it won the prestigious Palme d'Or award. A year later, the film was nominated for Oscar in the Best Actress in a Supporting Role category (Diane Ladd).
Like most Lynch films, Wild at Heart has fascinating characters with fascinating secrets. From afar they look like normal people, but they are not - they do things normal people don't and end up in places normal people wouldn't. Needless to say, these characters also get to experience things most normal people won't.
Like most Lynch films, Wild at Heart also has two very contrasting sides. One is dark and disturbing; the other is light and incredibly hilarious. Naturally, the abundance of explicit sex and graphic violence in the film is carefully countered with wacky humor. Example: we get to see a man blow his head off with a sawed-off shotgun but we also get to enjoy a group of seriously obese naked and slightly drunk ladies who have been shooting a "Texas Style" porn film dancing.
Wild at Heart is based on the original novel by Barry Gifford, who later on went on to write the screenplay for Lynch's Lost Highway, and contains a number of references to "The Wizard of Oz". The film is also complimented by a beautiful soundtrack featuring Elvis' classic "Love Me Tender" (performed by Nicholas Cage), Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's "Love Me" (also performed by Nicholas Cage), Chris Isaak's hugely popular "Wicked Game", original music by award-winning composer Angelo Badalamenti, etc.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
David Lynch's Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, the prequel to the famous TV series, is arguably the director's most vulnerable film. It is too serious, too dark, too complex, too much everything. With other words, it is absolutely overwhelming, and, frankly, quite difficult to endure.
FBI Bureau Chief Gordon Cole (David Lynch) sends two agents (Chris Isaak, Kiefer Sutherland, Flatliners) to Wind River, Washington to investigate the death of Teresa Banks (Pamela Gidley, Liebestraum). They begin sniffing around and quickly realize that the nearby town, Twin Peaks, has a dark secret. Eventually, both of them disappear.
Far and away from the scene, Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan, Showgirls) encounters Agent Jeffries (David Bowie, The Man Who Fell to Earth), who is supposedly dead. Agent Jeffries has an interesting message for Agent Cooper - which introduces him to the Red Room, the Man From Another Planet, and a whole bunch of other fascinating characters and things.
Meanwhile, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee, Notes from Underground), who lives in Twin Peaks, begins to lose her mind - perhaps because of the hard drugs she regularly takes, perhaps because of the constant sexual abuse courtesy of her father's (Ray Wise, Closing the Deal) alter ego, Bob (Frank Silva), which she is forced to endure. Her best friend, Donna (Moira Kelly, Little Odessa), tries to help her but fails.
Things get really bizarre when Laura's father accidentally discovers that she has been having sex with strangers to support her drug habit. Consumed by anger and a great dose of lust, he permanently becomes Bob, and all hell breaks loose.
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is a dark and exceptionally disturbing film populated with some of the most vicious characters Lynch's mind has produced during the years. It is true that some of the violence in it is borderline cartoonish, hence there are a few genuinely hilarious scenes, but the rest is downright ugly.
Unlike the TV series, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me feels rather chaotic - there isn't enough time to get to know all of the key characters and the all-important symbolic scenes that reveal so much about them are simply not as effective; they look and feel awkward, creating more confusion rather than bringing clarity.
The TV series had a strong cyclic structure - the various scattered pieces in it were put together in well conceived large cycles, which among other things gave meaning to the strong sex and violence. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is too short to sustain a similar cyclic structure, which is why it resembles an intense set of hallucinations that have common characters but not a common message.
Still, there is no other director that knows how to mix the beautiful with the ugly and present it to us with style as well as Lynch does. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me is a genuinely unsettling but fascinating film to behold, and a litmus test of sorts for those who like their films raw and uncompromising.
Fred Madison (Bill Pullman, Liebestraum, Brokedown Palace) is a professional saxophone player who suspects that his wife, Renee (Patricia Arquette, Goodbye Lover), is having an affair. But he can't prove it - which may or may not be the reason why he is having some serious nightmares.
Someone leaves a large brown envelope with a videotape on their steps. There is footage on the tape showing the inside of their house, then Fred and Renee sleeping. More videotapes arrive, showing more. Concerned about their safety, Fred and Renee contact the police.
During a chic party, Fred meets a man (Robert Blake, In Cold Blood) who tries to convince him that they've met before. In Fred's house. Unsure what to make of the man and his strange claim, Fred walks away. Soon after, Renee is killed, and Fred thrown in prison.
While waiting in his cell for a trial date to be set, Fred becomes seriously ill - and then suddenly transforms into a different man, Pete Dayton (Balthazar Getty, Where the Day Takes You). Unable to make any sense of the event, the prison authorities free Pete and he goes back home. The cops immediately begin monitoring him and his family.
On the following day, Pete gets his old job, fixing cars in a rundown garage. He is soon visited by a wild wacky gangster (Robert Loggia, Scarface, Prizzi's Honor) and his toy, (Patricia Arquette again), a blonde bombshell with beautiful green eyes. Pete fixes the gangster's car and falls in love with his girl.
Pete and the girl begin seeing each other. The gangster starts sniffing around and heads begin rolling. Then Fred and his nightmares return, followed quickly by the man from the party, who calls Pete to let him know that they've also met before. Then all hell breaks loose.
David Lynch's Lost Highway is a certified mindbender that is more about moods and feelings and less about plot. It is a wicked game that is easy to get sucked into and next to impossible to exit. The best thing about it is not being able to figure out its secret but the effort it demands to stay in it, the process of speculating with various 'what ifs'.
The core of Lost Highway is comprised of surrealistic scenes that point to a tragedy. Some show key events from before the tragedy, others show key events from later on, after it had occurred. The rest of the film is clever baiting - various characters and relationships are introduced but not all of them are as important as they seem.
From start to finish, the atmosphere in Lost Highway is dark and unsettling. Evil is almost certainly in the air. There is plenty of sex. Angry bits from industrial gurus Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, and Rammstein occasionally pop up here and there.
Note: Lost Highway was adapted into an opera by acclaimed Austrian composer Olga Neuwirth. In 2003, the opera premiered in her home town of Graz. In 2007, the opera made its U.S. premiere at the Miller Theater in New York City.
David Lynch Collection Blu-ray, Video Quality
All six films in the collection are encoded with MPEG-4. Eraserhead, Dune, Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart have 1080p transfers, while Fire Walk With Me and Lost Highway have 1080/50i transfers.
The screencaptures included with our review appear in the following order:
1. Eraserhead: 1-7.
2. Dune: 8-13.
3. Blue Velvet: 14-20.
4. Wild at Heart: 21-27.
5. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
6. Lost Highway: 35-40.
Eraserhead - the back cover of this box set notes that the film has been newly remastered by David Lynch himself, and I personally think that the film looks quite good in high-definition. This isn't to say that there is no room for improvement, but the basic aspects of the presentation that we typically address in these reviews appear to be fairly strong. Close-ups convey pleasing depth, while most of the darker sequences boast pleasing clarity. There are no macroblocking patterns and traces of serious sharpening corrections. Some light denoising has been applied throughout the entire film, but it does not affect the integrity of the film. Most of the obvious limitations have to do with the manner in which the actual film was shot. Lastly, there are no serious stability issues, damage marks or large debris to report in this review. All in all, this is pleasing but far from impressive presentation of David Lynch's feature debut.
Dune - the high-definition transfer does not appear to have a lot in common with the one used for the French release of the film, and even less with the one used for the U.S. release. Contrast and brightness levels are toned down and large portions of the film look much darker. Unsurprisingly, the difference between the French and UK release is particularly striking during daylight sequences. Color reproduction is not identical either. The browns, greens, and blacks are far better saturated, with many skin tones looking drastically different, especially during the second half of the film. Again, there are traces of light filtering, though here its effects are far easier to recognize than in Eraserhead. Serious banding and aliasing issues, however, do not plague the high-definition transfer. All in all, this is a stable and mostly effective presentation of Dune, but the color discrepancies leave plenty of room for speculation as to which release replicates the director's intent best. All things considered, I think that the definitive version of this film is yet to be released.
Blue Velvet - Blue Velvet has the strongest high-definition transfer in the entire collection. I did a few quick tests with my U.S. release and the basics - grain stability, color reproduction, clarity and contrast stability - appear to be similar. What is most encouraging here is the fact that there are no traces of problematic sharpening corrections. Unsurprisingly, the film has a crisp organic look. My preference still goes to the U.S. release as compression appears to be slightly better there and because the high-definition transfer is marginally stronger, but overall I don't think that anyone could be terribly disappointed by the UK release.
Wild at Heart - the high-definition transfer appears to be practically identical to the one used for Universal's 2010 release. Excluding some small color nuances, the same contrast and clarity fluctuations are present here. Some compression artifacts also pop up here and there. Generally speaking, there are no serious stability issues, but tiny flecks and scratches are noticeable. Colors are stable and natural. Finally, edge-enhancement does not affect the integrity of the presentation, but there are selected scenes where it almost creeps in (see screencapture # 27).
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me - the last two high-definition transfers are the weakest ones, as they are both interlaced (1080/50i). However, I've done some extensive comparisons with my French release of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and think that excluding the interlacing the UK release is actually fairly similar to it. The same traces of mild edge-enhancement are easy to spot as well as virtually the same noise corrections. However, because of the interlacing the UK release has a tendency to look softer and the weaknesses that are retained from the dated master the transfer was struck from are far more prominent. The French release also isn't perfect, but its progressive transfer does not exacerbate the above mentioned weaknesses. To sum it all up, for the time being the least problematic release of this film remains in France.
Lost Highway - unfortunately, the high-definition transfer for this film is also interlaced. However, I must speculate that it was sourced from a master that came from MK2 in France as there are a number of key similarities with the high-definition transfer the French release uses. Shadow detail and color reproduction (with the same inconsistent blacks) in particular are very similar. Overall, the image is softer when compared to the French release, or even the German release, but when one projects the film the difference is indeed minimal at best. All in all, currently the least problematic release of Lost Highway remains in France, with a good alternative also available in Germany.
Note: All six discs in this collection are Region-B "locked". Therefore, you must have a native Region-B or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access their content.
Addendum: A member of Blu-ray.com has informed me that the recent Australian releases of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and Lost Highway are exact replicas of the French releases produced by MK2.
David Lynch Collection Blu-ray, Audio Quality
1. Eraserhead: English LPCM 2.0, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
2. Dune: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, without optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
3. Blue Velvet: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, without optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
4. Wild at Heart: English LPCM 2.0, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
5. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me: English LPCM 2.0, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
6. Lost Highway: English LPCM 2.0, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature.
The English LPCM 2.0 track on Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me has multiple pitch bumps/stutter. For example, the three that I was able to confirm with my disc appear at 54:35, 1:46:01 and 2:06:44. There are reports that other people are also experiencing these issues elsewhere, but I have not been able to reproduce them on my disc. Also, please note that the French Blu-ray release of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me has an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track.
Furthermore, I have not been able to confirm any audio issues on Lost Highway. Once again, however, the French release by MK2 has an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, while here what we have is only an English LPCM 2.0 track. I've compared both releases and predictably there is a very obvious gap in quality.
Eraserhead comes with an English LPCM 2.0 track, which I found to be very convincing. The sound is rich and well rounded and, more importantly, there are no audio glitches to report in this review.
Dune comes with a solid DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, which I thought was as aggressive as the one found on the U.S. release.
Universal's Pan-European release of Wild at Heart had an English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track, but here there is only an English LPCM 2.0 track. There isn't any overly impressive surround activity on the old release, but it should have been included as an option on this release.
Blue Velvet arrives with a standard English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track that opens up the film in all the right places quite well.
David Lynch Collection Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
David Lynch Collection Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
UPDATE: Universal Studios has pressed new discs and the technical issues noted in this review are no longer present on them.
It is clear to me that this box set of David Lynch films was meant to be a special release. There is plenty of supplemental material and even some collectible cards included with it. Unfortunately, there are audio issues with the Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me disc. Additionally, both Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and Lost Highway come with interlaced transfers (while the French releases of the two films by MK2 come with progressive transfers). Some audio options have also been downgraded. Now, the films in the box set also have individual releases, so read our reviews and compare previous releases to determine which ones are worth owning. In the meantime, my advice to you is to wait and see if there will be some sort of a replacement program for the defective discs. (The overall score for this release is temporary).
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