BRUNO (2009) (Blu-ray)
Following up Borat, Sacha Baron Cohen returned to shock and awe audiences with his outrageous character Brüno, an übergay Austrian fashionista. The film satirizes celebrity and homophobia as it documents Brüno's attempts to become famous and was previously reviewed.
Upon a second viewing, Brüno still offers plenty laughs, although certainly less are derived from being utterly stunned by what is taking place on screen. This allows the brain to get a better sense of what's going on and appreciate it; however, the satire still falls flat at times.
When the Blu-ray disc starts up, the first menu inquires if you want enhanced commentary, a PiP feature with Baron Cohen and director Larry Miller. They reveal making-of secrets, and at times, their discussions become so involved they pause the film to complete the stories, adding 26 minutes to the run time. It's a shame they don't record the film being made (or maybe they just keep it to themselves) because their stories are very compelling as they talk about evading the authorities to keep Baron Cohen from getting arrested and dealing with situations that could quickly turn violent.
Because of some of the guerrilla tactics involved, high definition doesn’t necessarily serve the consumer much better than DVD. The video is presented in 1080p in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, but the different source formats and uncontrollable light sources create quite a variance in quality, although it all works in the context of the film.
When in controlled setting, the video looks very good. The colors are vibrant, especially the primary ones. Flesh tones look accurate, although some viewers won't realize it as they cover their eyes or look away when there's too much flesh on the screen. The details and textures are clear and distinct, which help bring to life Brüno's outfits.
The audio is DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, which seems like a bit of overkill. Being a pseudo-documentary, the film is mainly dialogue, and it comes through loud and clear through the front speakers, particularly the center. The only time the rest of the surround system really comes into play is when music is playing. There is some slight ambiance from crowd sequences.
There are other features showing funny material that didn’t make the final cut:
Alternate scenes (5 min HD) - Pete Rose from the same scene as Paula Abdul sitting on the Mexicans. Politicos Tom Ridge, Gary Bauer, and John Bolton are interviewed and hang out with Brüno as Ron Paul did.
Deleted Scenes (41 min HD) - Including a six-minute Blu-ray exclusive scene of Brüno in the Middle East.
Extended Scenes (23 min HD) - Including a four-minute Blu-ray exclusive scene of Brüno with the U.S. National Guard.
There's also an interview with Brüno's agent Lloyd Robinson (6 min HD) recorded after movie came out. He has a great attitude and sense of humor about the whole thing.
There are BD-Live opportunities and also an annoying ticker that runs while the menu is engaged. Thankfully it can be turned off.
While definitely not for everyone, Brüno is a funny film for adults who like their comedy edgy with a good mix of intelligent and juvenile humor.