Blu-ray Review: Licorice Pizza

Licorice Pizza

United States: 2021
Original title : –
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson
Actors: Alana Haim, Cooper Hoffman, Bradley Cooper
Publisher: Universal Pictures
Duration: 2h13
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Cinema release date: January 5, 2022
DVD/BR release date: June 1, 2022

1973, in the Los Angeles area. Alana Kane and Gary Valentine get to know each other on the boy’s high school class picture day. Alana is no longer a high school student, but tries to find her way while working as the photographer’s assistant. Gary already has acting experience, which he hastens to tell the young girl to impress her. Amused and intrigued by his extraordinary self-assurance, she agrees to accompany him to New York for a television show. But nothing goes as planned…

The film


Small masterpiece of sensitivity, romance and humor, Licorice Pizza marks the great return to business of an absolutely essential screenwriter / director: Paul Thomas Anderson. Fascinating from first frame to last, the film is set in the San Fernando Valley in the early 1970s. Alana (Alana Haim) and Gary (Cooper Hoffman) are an unlikely couple at first glance – she is 25 years, he is 15 – and yet they have more in common than you might think. Throughout the story, the duo will embark on a series of strange and beautiful misadventures, which here allow the director to There will be Blood to sign a superb tale, as touching as it is funny, on the spellbinding power of love.

Licorice Pizza is carried, among other things, by the performance of the unknown Alana Haim, a musician who is part of the group haim with her two older sisters Este and Danielle, who also star in the film. The actress imbues her performance in the film with quite a personality, which helps to create a unique and fascinating character on screen. Unfairly overlooked at the Oscars, her performance should have earned her a Best Actress nomination. At his side, Cooper Hoffman, the son of the late Philip Seymour Hoffman, made his screen debut under the direction of the man who had already masterfully directed his father on several occasions, in Boogie Nights and in Magnolia notably. The young actor also gives us a surprisingly strong performance, and clearly keeps all the promises linked to his prestigious surname.

The supporting roles are not to be outdone: we will indeed also come across in Licorice Pizza a handful of amazing secondary characters. Bradley Cooper, Sean Penn or even Tom Waits come to have fun in front of the camera of Paul Thomas Anderson, their spirit and their communicative liveliness allow the filmmaker to give us a handful of scenes that stand out as real concentrates of pleasure. Otherwise, Licorice Pizza also benefits from an impressive artistic direction: the recreation of the 70s is literally magnificent and helps to give its letters of nobility to a film that did not meet with the success it deserved in theaters (365,000 admissions in France).

In short, if Licorice Pizza may not quite be Paul Thomas Anderson’s best film, it is nonetheless a huge moment in cinema, as much driven by the energy and enthusiasm of its actors as by the inspired direction. and the famous sequence shots that have become the filmmaker’s trademark. Original, creative, refreshing, joyful, melancholic, touching and often hilarious, Licorice Pizza nevertheless stands out as an instant classic, and one of the best films of the year.

The Blu-ray


With the release of Licorice Pizza on Blu-ray media, Universal Pictures once again demonstrates its technical know-how, and gives us a real demonstration cake, with excellent definition and sharpness, also offering literally explosive colors and neat contrasts. Shooting in 35MM obliges, the rendering is naturally very “analog”, but it is in total adequacy with the overall aesthetics of the film: sharpness, textures and colors are of an impressive richness. Even on night shots, it’s flawless, flawless, with deep blacks and exceptional depth of field. On the sound side, the original version offers a real firework of dynamism with a powerful mix DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. The original version mix honors the scale and ambition of Paul Thomas Anderson’s film. The atmospheres are restored in an impressive way, with a dynamism and a force that is simply stunning. The French version is not to be outdone, since it arrives in an impressive mix DTS 5.1but, honestly, this kind of film can only be enjoyed 100% in the original version, as the performance of the actors is so powerful.

In the supplements department, we will start with a series of “camera tests”, which are in reality as many deleted or alternate scenes (4 minutes), often joyful. Same for the “Scene from Monsieur La Paluche”which turns out to be a great deleted scene returning to one of the ellipses of the film (2 minutes). We will then continue with a fake ad for Fat Bernie’s (1 minute), which features several characters from the film around a waterbed. Finally, we will end with a short making-of (11 minutes), which will show us some set photos and other small moments stolen from the set.

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