Feb 252017

Perhaps one of the best, and somewhat innovative, trilogies ever made (okay, a step below the original Star Wars trilogy), The Before Trilogy is absolutely wonderful featuring two amazing performances by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as we get to see the advancement of each of their characters’ lives evolve.



The Before Trilogy
— Before Sunrise/Before Sunset/Before Midnight —


Genre(s): Drama, Romance
Criterion Collection | R – 290 min. – $99.95 | February 28, 2017

Date Published: 02/25/2017 | Author: The Movieman


Directed by:
Richard Linklater
Writer(s): Richard Linklater & Kim Krizan (characters/story/written by), Richard Linklater & Julie Delpy & Ethan Hawke (screenplay)
Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
Commentary, Featurettes
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 3
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 2.0) (Before Sunrise), English (DTS-HD MA 5.1) (Before Sunset, Before Midnight)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: None
Disc Sizes: 45.3 GB (Sunrise), 45.5 GB (Sunset), 40.9 GB (Midnight)
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A


THE MOVIES — 4.5/5

Before Sunset (1995) — 4.5/5
After they hit it off on a train bound for Vienna, the Paris university student Celine (JULIE DELPY) and the scrappy American tourist Jesse (ETHAN HAWKE) impulsively decide to spend a day together before he returns to the U.S. the next morning. As the pair roam the streets of the stately city, Richard Linklater’s tenderly observant gaze captures the uncertainty and intoxication of young love, from the first awkward stirrings of attraction to the hopeful promise that Celine and Jesse make upon their inevitable parting.

Before Sunrise (2004) — 4.25/5
Celine tracks down Jesse, now an author, at the tail end of his book tour in Paris, with only a few hours left before he is to board a flight back home to the States. Meeting almost a decade after their short-lived romance in Vienna, the pair find their chemistry rekindled by increasingly candid exchanges about professional setbacks, marital disappointments, and the compromises of adulthood.

Before Midnight (2013) — 4.25/5
The conclusion of The Before Trilogy finds Celine and Jesse several years into a relationship and in the midst of a sun-dappled Greek retreat with their twin daughters and a group of friends. The couple soon find their vacation upended, however, by long-simmering problems that come to a boil. Marked by the emotional depth, piercing wit, and conversational exuberance that Linklater and his actors honed over two decades of abiding with these characters, Before Midnight grapples with the complexities of long-term intimacy, and asks what becomes of love when it has no recourse to its past illusions.

Quick Hit Review:
Now watching The Before Trilogy over the course of three days (although I had already seen Sunrise before), I really enjoyed the journey I as a view went through following the romance, rekindling and “marriage” (albeit they weren’t technically married) of Jesse and Celine and at the same time, the maturation of the talents of Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. Where Sunset and Sunrise were kind of the idyllic romanticism of a couple, Midnight has a little of that (walking the streets pontification of life and such), the real world rips in as their peaceful life is anything but and each of their insecurities come to the forefront: the weight of raising two kids, work, etc for Celine; trying to be a long-distance father to his son for Jesse. Although Midnight wasn’t my favorite of the three (it’s probably close third), it is the most mature and “real” of the trilogy.



This 3-disc set each come in a cardboard digipak that side-slides into a sturdy outer case. Tucked in the fold-out is a 32-page booklet containing an essay and behind-the-scenes photos.

Before Sunrise — 4.0/5
The Space Inbetween (43:49; HD)
– Moderated by critic Kent Jones, and made exclusively for The Criterion Collection, this features writer/director Richard Linklater and Writer/Actor Ethan Hawke reflecting back on the trilogy. Delpy is included with some interview footage.

3×2: A Conversation (39:48; HD) – Writers Dave Johnson and Rob Stone explore the writer-director themes in The Before Trilogy and beyond.

Behind the Scenes (5:57; HD) is some footage recorded while filming Before Sunrise.

Before Sunset — 4.0/5
Richard Linklater: Dream is Destiny (1:29:52; HD)
– This is a documentary made for the PBS series American Masters looking at Linklater’s early filmmaking career and includes interviews with Jack Black, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Matthew McConaughey and others.

Linklater // On Cinema & Time (8:28; HD) is a video essay played against footage from his films.

Behind the Scenes (9:44; HD) is footage on location for Sunset.

Before Midnight — 3.5/5
Audio Commentary
– Co-Writer/Director Richard Linklaker and Co-Writers/Actors Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke sit down and discuss making Before Midnight.

After Before (30:41; HD) – This is a documentary shot by Athina Rachel Tsangari (co-producer/actor) includes footage while making Before Midnight.

“Love Darkens and Deepens” (39:37; HD) – Is an interview from 2013 that aired on the radio program “Fresh Air” with Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke.


VIDEO – 4.25/5

The Criterion Collection releases The Before Trilogy onto Blu-ray, each presented in their original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and given a new 1080p high-definition transfer culled from newly restored 2K resolution and 2K digital master for Before Midnight (probably the same transfer as the Blu-ray release) and in the first two, instances of specs and dirt were removed. In any case, all three films does look pretty darn good with bright colors and natural skin tones that really shows off the exotic locales. Detail is fine though not entirely sharp when it comes to Sunrise, yet still looks pretty good. Not having compared these to their DVD counterparts, I’d imagine it is a solid upgrade…

AUDIO – 4.0/5

Before Sunrise comes with a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 while Sunset and Midnight have 5.1 channels. In all three cases, these aren’t anything profound as generally these are 99.9% talk with an added element of music so even with the 5.1 tracks, each channel isn’t exactly fully utilized. Still, the dialogue coming through the center channel does generally sound crisp, clear and clean so these are adequate lossless tracks.

OVERALL – 4.5/5

Overall, perhaps one of the best, and somewhat innovative, trilogies ever made (okay, a step below the original Star Wars trilogy), The Before Trilogy is absolutely wonderful featuring two amazing performances by Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as we get to see the advancement of each of their characters’ lives from blooming romance, reconnection and the difficulties of matrimony. Sure, each is basically a talk-fest but for those who enjoy character-driven films, these are three of the best.

This Blu-ray set released through The Criterion Collection offers up a nice selection of bonus features as well as very good/great video and audio transfers making this a worthwhile purchase and solid upgrade over their DVD counterparts (at least the first two).





Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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