While not as brilliant or bold as "CRIMES AND MISDEMEANORS" or "MATCH POINT," "VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA" is not far behind. The entire cast is perfect and although it's never the "comedy" that some have credited it with being, there are some funny moments, and Director/Writer Woody Allen offers a plot and characters that provide plenty of contemplative moments not only for the situations created, but for the audience to discuss afterwards as well.  Vicky and Cristina are two friends who've decided to enjoy their summer in Barcelona, with the extended family of Vicky. Not long after arriving they've caught the eye of a successful Bohemian-like artist, Juan Antonio(Javier Bardem), who invites them to accompany him to sight-see in the town of Oviedo, where he bluntly admits he'd attempt to seduce them. Cristina(Scarlett Johansson)is more game for the excitement than Vicky(Rebecca Hall)but they both decide to go along. Soon enough, Vicky becomes as intrigued with Juan Antonio as her friend does, and things get further awry when Marie Elena, the violent ex-wife of Juan Antonio resurfaces. Also adding complications, ...the arrival of Vicky's fiance, coinciding with her emerging interest in the mysterious, engaging Juan Antonio.

While Penelope Cruz does a good job in her role, it's hard to comprehend that enough viewers thought she did something so remarkable here to garner her an "Oscar nomination." Really??? What film did they see?  She's  not bad, but when did "not bad" qualify someone for a nomination??? Johanssen, Hall and pretty much everyone else in the cast stood out as well as Cruz, and none were nominated. Bardem getting a nomination, arguably, would make sense. He's at least "very" good, but Cruz, it's just insulting to many other fine and better performances in 2008 that weren't nominated.

"VICKY CRISTINA BARCELONA" does a fine job at captivating its audience, bringing them within its own, non-judgmental landscape, and offering a plot that unfolds with a relaxed, refreshing look at various relationships, and more importantly the initial excitement that brings them about, regardless of their futility. It's a trip worth taking.

WEINSTEIN COMPANY has provided the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio for this 1080p/VC-1 blu-ray.  Colors vary in vibrancy, but veer towards warmer orange and yellows, without ever reaching notably strong saturation. It consistently falls within the range of very good to excellent, and always feels natural. Detail is impressive, with a majority of scenes providing "jump-off-the-screen" depth.

WEINSTEIN COMPANY provides a PCM 3.0 Mix.  While Allen has always shown great concern for imagery(one of the first directors to demand proper letterboxing, even on VHS!)he's never been concerned with creating anything more than standard mono or stereo soundmixes. The 3.0 mix offered here, is perfectly fine, with the film being almost entirely dialogue-driven. Occasional Spanish-stylized guitar provides for some more impressive fidelity occurring over the front soundstage with great clarity.