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After a little white lie about losing her virginity gets out, a clean cut high school girl (Emma Stone) sees her life paralleling Hester Prynne's in "The Scarlet Letter," which she is currently studying in school—until she decides to use the rumor mill to advance her social and financial standing.
For more about Easy A and the Easy A Blu-ray release, see Easy A Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on December 16, 2010 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Emma Stone, Penn Badgley, Amanda Bynes, Dan Byrd, Thomas Haden Church, Patricia Clarkson
Director: Will Gluck
» See full cast & crew
Easy A Blu-ray Review
Does Sony's latest Blu-ray release make the grade?
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, December 16, 2010
The rumors of my promiscuity have been greatly exaggerated.
In The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne wrote, and at the very beginning of the book no less as if to set the tone for the rest of the story and share it's most important observation, "The founders of a new colony, whatever Utopia of human virtue and happiness they might originally project, have invariably recognised it among their earliest practical necessities to allot a portion of the virgin soil as a cemetery, and another portion as the site of a prison." Translation: bad things happen, no matter how good or innocent the intentions may be. Easy A is a fresh new Comedy that works in the themes and motifs of classic Hawthorne (don't forget the Cliffs Notes) by telling the story of Olive (Emma Stone, Zombieland), an ordinary high school girl who tells a lie to her best friend when she's pressured into doing so, resulting in a rumor -- and a life -- that quickly spirals out of control. The picture is one of laughs aplenty and a few life-critical lessons along the way, but Easy A is definitely more about the former. Director Will Gluck's (Fired Up!) film is an endearing glimpse at shame and humiliation in the 21st century, but also the story of one girl who decided to both milk it for all it's worth and say "no" to labels at the same time. The movie is easy to watch but also thematically layered, making it the perfect choice for mindless fun but also a picture well worth dissecting for more enterprising audiences.
Olive (Stone) really doesn't want to go camping with her chatterbox best friend Rhiannon (Alyson Michalka), so much so that she invents what she believes to be the perfect excuse: she has a date. Naturally, Rhiannon wants all the details when the two meet up again at school on the following Monday morning. Through a series of "context clues," Rhiannon comes to believe that Olive and her mystery boyfriend known only as "George" did the dirty at the cost of Olive's virginity. Hoping to escape her pestering friend, Olive confirms Rhiannon's suspicions, but the school's religious leader, Marianne (Amanda Bynes), overhears the gossip from the privacy of her bathroom stall. Before anyone can say "birth control," word has spread all over school that little Olive Penderghast has lost her virginity. With the rumor come hushed whispers and a shattered reputation, problems certainly compounded by the purely coincidental fact that her English class is in the middle of studying The Scarlet Letter. When Olive lashes out at a classmate for harping on the subject, she earns a trip to detention where she meets Brandon (Dan Byrd), a homosexual teenager who approaches Olive with a proposition: sleep with him and make him appear straight. Olive succumbs to his demands but only pretends to sleep with him, but the act proves convincing enough. Brandon is a hero, and Olive is further shamed around school. With the looks increasing and the whispers getting ouder, Olive -- rather than hide in shame -- embraces the label and wears revealing and provocative clothing to school always adorned with a makeshift scarlet "A" somewhere on her person. Will she forever embrace the role of school slut, or will she find a way to quash the rumors and restore her dignity?
"They" say a lot of things. They say that truth is stranger than fiction, and they say that "little white lies" never hurt anyone. "They" obviously haven't been to a California high school circa 2010. Truth, fiction, or something in between matters not in the hormonal minds and gossipy tongues of America's newest generation of sexting teens who go to school, it would seem if movies like Easy A are any indication of what's going on out there, not to read Nathaniel Hawthorne but to find out who's dating whom and to dig up the dirt on anyone who dares let slip a secret or make one up on the off-chance that being bad can actually make a fledgeling socialite suddenly really good. It's all about the drama, and whether it's real or make-believe doesn't really matter. If there's someone to point at, a back behind which to talk, or someone to bear the brunt of a joke, then so be it. Does it really matter if it's all the work of the rumor mill or if every last syllable is packed with the truth? Everything at Ojai North revolves around sex, and whether people are having sex or talking about sex or dreaming about sex or making up stories about sex isn't really the point. Easy A is all about the drama that is the life of a teenager, about the way an innocent comment made in the heat of the moment meant to end a discussion rather spark a firestorm can spiral out of control and forever alter an entire student body's perception of an otherwise clean-cut individual. Easy A is a fascinating, smart, funny, occasionally touching, and very well made movie that, if there's justice, should surpass pictures like American Pie as the de facto teenage sex Comedy of the past two decades. It's not so much about the act of sex as it is the consequences of sex -- real or imagined -- and people's perceptions of what sex really means.
Easy A would have worked equally well as a slightly different movie and told from a slightly different angle. Given the title and a ten-second crash course on what the movie is about, one might reasonably assume that it could have instead focused on a girl who, perhaps as part of a school project, deliberately paints herself as a modern-day adulterer in an effort to compare notes with Hawthorne and differentiate the world of Hester Prynne and The Scarlet Letter with Ojai North in the 21st century. What would Hawthorne have made of a world where gossip spreads faster than the town harlett spreads, well, in a world where news spreads at the speed of who-knows-how-fast thanks to webcams and cell phones and all of the modern technologies that make spreading a rumor and altering it for the worse with every passed message a reality? Easy A is far from a disappointment -- it works wonderfully as it is -- but it would certainly be interesting to tackle the same premise from a different perspective. Still, Director Will Gluck's picture borders on the fantastic; it's witty and incredibly watchable, the picture effortlessly pulling in its audience with a great story and a superior cast. Emma Stone shines in the lead role, playing both the innocent victim and the pedal-to-the-metal would-be "slut" for all their worth. The picture is packed with a fantastic roster of secondary actors who hold the entire thing together; Thomas Haden Church, Lisa Kudrow, Malcolm McDowell, Patricia Clarkson, and Stanley Tucci form one of the better groupings of the year, all of them solidifying the movie with the necessary and varied adult perspectives on the suddenly hot life of Olive Penderghast, rounding the movie into form and giving it the balance it requires.
Easy A Blu-ray, Video Quality
Easy A's 1080p transfer is a dazzling achievement of high definition video. The natively digital movie looks wonderful on Blu-ray, the image offering up a steady barrage of excellent colors and great details in every scene. The color palette is undeniably warm, yielding slightly orange flesh tones but nevertheless featuring bright and vibrant hues, particularly the blues and yellows that are the school's primary colors. Detail is impressive, too; the transfer reveals every fine skin texture in close-up shots while also showcasing the ins-and-outs of clothes and various locations and objects around the school. The image is wonderfully sharp with backgrounds rarely losing out on the excellent detailing that defines every foreground element. Black levels are hit or miss but mostly strong throughout. Easy A also manages to capture a nice cinematic texture despite the native digital elements. The film is never at all flat or excessively glossy like so many others movies of this sort, and it suffers only from occasional banding that seems like an unavoidable problem with many HD video movies. Easy A is sure to please on Blu-ray as another top-flight release from Sony.
Easy A Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Easy A's DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack is everything one could reasonably demand from a movie such as this. It's dynamic and invigorating with an emphasis on popular music, and the track handles all the beats and every other element asked of it with the precision expected of a new release Blu-ray from Sony. Every song has a rich, stand-up-and-dance clarity and robustness to it, with the music spread out wonderfully to the sides and supported with a strong but balanced rear-channel presence. Even the Pocketful of Sunshine tune that plays from the greeting card sounds great; it's muddled and cramped and tinny, just as it should be given that its source is the ten-cent speaker inside the card. Guitar riffs power through the soundstage alongside some of the edgier tunes, but no matter the song, Easy A's soundtrack is definitely defined by its music, and Sony's lossless track plays every one of them with the same attention to detail that most listeners would only ever find in the recording studio. Atmospherics are excellent, too; like the music, they enjoy a solid back channel support element but nothing plays as overwhelming or unnatural; whether the general din of student chatter, rustling leaves, and blowing wind outside the school or other ambience both light and heavy, the track finds and maintains a wonderful balance throughout that does a great job of sonically transporting the listener to every environment. Rounded out by tiptop dialogue reproduction, Easy A winds up at the head of the class.
Easy A Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Easy A earns a passing grade for its good assortment of extra content. Work like this won't get the disc into Princeton, but a scholarship to a state school isn't out of the question.
Easy A Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Easy A makes the grade, Easy A earns high marks, straight A's for Easy A; the movie is too easy a target for generic critic blurbs, but in this case they do, for the most part, apply. Easy A is a funny and well-conceived picture about high school drama and the dangers of rumors and labels, all based around the premise of Nathaniel Hawthorne's classic novel The Scarlet Letter. Fortunately, viewers need not be intimately familiar with Hawthorne's verbose prose to enjoy Easy A; the picture works as a standalone entity that says all it needs to about the famous novel, and it redefines its classic themes by bringing them into the 21st century. Well acted and very well made, Easy A passes with flying colors (go ahead, groan). Sony's Blu-ray release of Easy A also aces the test, delivering a splendid technical presentation and an honest assortment of extras. Highly recommended.
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Easy A Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Easy A Blu-ray Announced - November 8, 2010
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has announced Easy A for Blu-ray release on December 21. This comedy, loosely inspired on The Scarlet Letter, stars Emma Stone as a perfect high-school student whose reputation is put on the line. It was well received by critics ...
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