LICORICE PIZZA on Blu Ray Review – Big Dreams In The Valley

LICORICE PIZZA was one of the very best movies I saw in 2021, and it’s wonderful to see the movie find a solid and devoted audience. It’s loose, free-wheeling and one of filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson’s (BOOGIE NIGHTS, MAGNOLIA, PHANTOM THREAD) finest modern movies. 

Watching this coming-of-age story once again, I am reminded of the instant charm of Alana Haim, who is also the youngest band member of the incredible musical act of her last name. She is matched here with Gary (Cooper Hoffman, son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman) as two people of different ages who meet and connect yet spiral in and out of each other’s lives as both try for something better in their lives all in the San Fernando Valley in California. The movie is loosely based on the real life of Gary Goetzman, who went on as an adult into the real film business hustle as a major movie producer. As for the title, it’s in reference to a small chain of record stores in Southern California that is not even featured in the movie and yet a place I am dying to visit on my next California trip.

Read my review from December 2021 here!

About the Blu Ray: 

Universal sent me the US Blu Ray version of this release and while I wish this got the 4k HDR disc treatment that it deserves, this is still a very lovely Blu Ray with a solid HD transfer. Common for PT Anderson, LICORICE PIZZA was shot entirely on 35mm film stock and it really shows here with a lived-in, 70s anamorphic look in the 2.39:1 aspect ratio. PT really uses the frame well throughout as he did with his earlier movies like BOOGIE NIGHTS and MAGNOLIA, and is back to the scope format after his last few movies were in the tighter (but still cinematic) 1.85:1 aspect ratio. 

I was also a bit surprised by the strong sound mix here, which is presented in DTS Master Audio 5.1 for some pretty well placed music sequences that make good use of the surround channels, and a mid-motorcycle scene with Sean Penn also had a pretty good response on my sound system. Overall it’s a pretty standard track but it does have a few standout moments and both picture and sound faithfully represent the theatrical experience.

The bonus features are pretty slight which is standard for PT’s movies where he wants the movie to speak for itself. Included are just a few on set videos and photos, in particular camera tests where the look and design of the movie comes across. There is also a really cool double-sided mini poster also included here which is not in the Canadian version, nor is the included Apple TV Digital Copy which is only redeemable in the United States (oh how I wish Universal would bring Apple TV codes back). The Canadian disc is Blu Ray and DVD only and appears to be the same on the features. 

Jason Whyte | Get Reel Movies

Again, I hope there is a 4k disc available down the pipeline, and if so I’ll update this review. For now, LICORICE PIZZA is now available on Blu Ray from Universal, and our thanks to Universal PR for sending along a copy for review.