Blu-ray Review Comedy

Velvety Smooth Blu-ray Review: In a World...

January 26, 2014Ben MK

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A voice is not just a blessing, it's a choice

By Ben Mk

The golden age of Hollywood spanned from the late nineteen-twenties to the early nineteen-sixties. The golden age of Hollywood movie trailers, you could argue, began and ended with the vocal contributions of Don LaFontaine. The legendary voice-over artist was best known for his baritone voice and his delivery of the well-known, trailer-opening phrase, "In a world ..." — and it's those three simple words that are the genesis of writer/director Lake Bell's first feature film.

Bell plays Carol Solomon, a freelance vocal coach who's been living in her father's house — and in his shadow. Her father, Sam Soto (Fred Melamed), is a giant among men in the voice-over industry, as Carol finds herself constantly reminded of seemingly everywhere she turns. Sam appears to have it all: success, the adoration of his peers and even an attractive, much younger girlfriend. Carol, on the other hand, is constantly struggling just to make ends meet. Hungry for work, she jumps at the opportunity to help out her friend, Louis (Demetri Martin), at his re-recording studio — an opportunity that, to her surprise, leads to much more auspicious prospects in voice-over. Once merely a bystander on its periphery, she's suddenly on the verge of making a name for herself in the boys-only club. And with a new advertising campaign looking to resurrect the "In a world ..." catchphrase, she finds herself poised to finally make her mark. But while she may be ready for the voice-over industry, she discovers that the voice-over industry may not be ready for her, as she encounters opposition from both the most likely of places — voice-over It Boy, Gustav Warner (Ken Marino) — and the unlikeliest — her own father.

By virtue of having such a specific aspect of movie-making be so integral to its storytelling, In a World... has something in common with films like 1981's Blow Out and 2012's Nobody Walks. As a first-time feature director and writer, Bell uses the subject matter not just as a vehicle for delivering laughs, but also as a commentary on society's skewed perception of women — especially in the medium of film and television — and as a metaphor for the broader theme of finding one's place in life. As an actor, she lets the offbeat humor flow naturally from the awkward absurdity of the film's situations, aided by its quirky cast, which also includes such indie-friendly thespians as Nick Offerman, Michaela Watkins and Rob Corddry.

In a World... has a look that almost immediately identifies it as an indie comedy, with cinematography by Seamus Tierney, whose past work includes Liberal Arts and Happythankyoumoreplease. Colors are natural and the overall visual style is more or less unassuming; but nonetheless, the Blu-ray disc's transfer replicates the image with an eye-pleasing degree of clarity and sharpness. In terms of the aural aesthetic, dialog is always crisp and intelligible — as it should be for a film that places the importance of voice at the forefront — and the DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack bestows a nice uptick in robustness when dealing with the film's more musical and dramatic moments.

The special features on the Blu-ray version of the film are note-for-note identical to the separate DVD release, including a feature-length audio commentary with writer/director/star Lake Bell and about thirty minutes total in the form of deleted/alternate/extended scenes, a gag reel and promotional trailers for the film's Summer 2013 theatrical release. Although the main draw for those looking for insight into the film will definitely be the feature commentary, the rest of the extras will appeal to more casual viewers as well.

In a world where indie comedies are a dime a dozen, In a World... makes its voice heard thanks to the unique subject matter used to deliver its message. The Blu-ray release of the film features as pleasing an A/V presentation as one might expect from a recent film, while the special features should satisfy both casual viewers and more curious-minded viewers alike. Although it boasts the same amount of content as the DVD, the high definition presentation makes the Blu-ray worth the investment. In a word, In a World... on Blu-ray is recommended.

Disc Breakdown
The Film  —  ★★★½
Audio/Visual Fidelity  —  ★★★★
Special Features  —  ★★★

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