Matilda 4K UHD Review: Tele4kinesis

I was a projectionist the summer Matilda came out. Then I got the Blu-ray when all the kids were grown up. Now it’s on 4K and it feels like rediscovering the whimsical fantasy all over again.

You can see the grain in the 1996 film. The colors are subtle but distinct, with pink and blue in the natal ward, the Edward Scissorhands-esque neighborhood and the gaudy, cluttered Wormwood house. The clash of colors makes their aesthetic with green placemats, a yellow ceiling, lavender curtains, flower patterned walls.

The night surrounding Matilda’s bed is pitch black, and the hall before she opens the door to let the light in. Also the moment when she blows the power out. Her hiding place at the grimy, overgrown Crunchem Hall and the cake eating scene employ stark darkness too.

Danny DeVito recorded a new commentary for the 4K UHD edition. He is scene specific and still having fun watching the movie in 2023. He explains some choices and reveals some of how they did it but gets a bit lethargic after 30 minutes. He still peppers the commentary with anecdotes.

There are no new extras with the cast but the thorough previous ones are still on Blu-ray. I didn’t notice any major sound effects despite the whirlwind film.

AFI Fest: I Asked Robert De Niro A Question!

The Comedian had it’s premiere at AFI Fest in Hollywood. I reviewed the film, after sitting in the audience with Robert De Niro, director Taylor Hackford, and stars of the film including Leslie Mann and Danny DeVito.

After the film, De Niro joined Hackford and his costars for a Q&A about playing a stand-up comedian in the film. When the audience got a chance to ask questions, I stood up so I could talk to Robert De Niro. I asked him:

The Comedian“Did you find that the act of standing on stage alone doing standup had a very different rhythm than the sort of performance you’re used to doing on film in dialogue with other actors?”

De Niro seemed very engaged to talk about a different kind of performance, so he answered me at length:

“Yeah, you need the interaction with the audience,” De Niro said. “When I was rehearsing a lot with Jessica Kirson and Lewis Friedman. We would do it without an audience and then sometimes some people would come in from The Comedy Cellar that were staff and so on. Taylor and some of the crew members would come in. Then with, I don’t want to call them real people, whatever. Even then, I got the reaction. You need that. You need some kind of response. The comic needs it just to feel good, things are working. Nothing can happen and you’re going to have to just deal with it. That’s called dying, I guess. Anyway, I worked my way through it all is what I’m saying and it was a very, very interesting and good experience. Not an easy one. I hope that answers your question.”

In The Comedian, De Niro plays fictional standup comic Jackie Burke, who once had a hit ‘80s sitcom, “Eddie’s Home.” These days, he’s struggling to get club gigs and everyone just wants him to do Eddie’s catch phrases again. The film shows Burke perform many times on stage, and other times to private audiences, so you have many opportunities to see De Niro do standup.

The Comedian opens December 21 in limited release and nationwide January 13, 2017.