Saturday, November 23, 2013

Animals (DVD Review) - Artsploitation Films

Directed By: Marcal Fores
Written By: Marcal Fores, Enric Pardo, Aintza Serra
Starring: Oriol Pla, Augustus Prew, Dimitri Leonidas
Color/94 Minutes/Not Rated
Region 1

 The Film
Pol is a high school student with a couple of very close friends, and his best friend a talking stuffed bear that he has had since childhood. His bear plays drums in his band and is his closest companion. Of course the bear can only be heard by Pol, who is struggling with the growing feelings of lust and love, for a couple of very different classmates, the monotony of daily school life and an older brother who thinks little of him. Pol's friend Laia is obviously in love with him but Pol's feelings stretch beyond her and perhaps beyond women in general. After a decision to sever the ties with his best friend, Pol's world and experiences hit new extremes which the adolescent finds difficult to deal with without his best friend.

ANIMALS is a coming-of-age film but it cannot be summed up that simply. It is far greater than the sum of its parts. This is the story of growing up, learning the gravity and consequences of every choice you make and learning to stay true to yourself while holding the people you love closer and not letting go. And that growing up doesn't mean you have to lose yourself This movie is smart, funny, insightful and features some beautiful images. There is a strong resemblance to the Marky Mark film Ted here, and it isn't too far away from that, just without he weed and fart jokes. Really though, ANIMALS transcends the high school age of its cast, who are simply fantastic in their roles from top to bottom, and will resonate with viewers of all ages as something that you can really latch on to and take something away from. This is a great film.

The Audio & Video
Artsploitation Films delivers the debut of ANIMALS  to DVD with a 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer that looks good. Daytime scenes are strong with good color reproduction, clean picture and allowing the photography to shine while night time and darker scenes suffer from a bit of blocking up and weaker black levels as previous releases from this label have. It isn't that big of a deal and the scenes in question still look decent. The Spanish (and partially English) 5.1 audio track sounds great and features English subtitles. There are no hiccups or annoyances to speak of. 

The Extras
-Audio Commentary with director Marcal Fores and Travis Crawford
-"Making Of" Featurette 
-The Bear Truth: A Short Film
-Animals: A Short Film
-Beautiful 12 page booklet featuring an interview with the director
-Official trailer for ANIMALS
-Other Artsploitation trailers
-Reversible cover art 

The Bottom Line 
Artsploitation Films has yet to release a film that I haven't liked. It is getting to the point where I can safely predict that I'll enjoy whatever they put out for me to watch. Their DVDs are always packed with interesting and cool special features and the reversible covers are a great touch. This is a top notch product from a company getting it right.

ANIMALS is available HERE

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