Media

Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - August, 2010

ARTICLE INDEX

"Brooklyn's Finest" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by John Johnson

movie-august-2010-brooklyns-finest

Synopsis

In Brooklyn, New York, the lives of three policemen are far apart in their activities, but destiny will bring them together in a final and deadly clash.

Eddie Dugan (Gere) has one week left before retirement, but he is assigned to take a rookie as his new partner, and trying to just stay alive for that last week, while dealing with a young cop who is anxious to see action, causes him great forboding.

Sal (Hawke) is corrupt, on the take, and dealing drugs. His wife is pregnant, he wants to move into a better house, and breaking the law he has sworn to uphold is the only way out.

Tango (Cheadle) is an undercover policeman, who wonders if the danger to his life is worth the low salary he is being paid, while he watches his targets rake in the cash.

 

 

Specifications

  • Anchor Bay
  • 2010, Color, Rated R, 2 Hr 13 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Richard Gere, Wesley Snipes, Don Cheadle, Ethan Hawke
  • Directed by Antoine Fuqua
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Graphic
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

Policemen have a high suicide rate and divorce rate. Add to that the fact they take their lives in their hands every day on the job, and you have one hell of a profession.

Technical

The picture quality is superb. Surround sound is modest, but good.

Extras

These include Conflict & Chaos: Life as an Undercover Cop, The Boyz in the Real Hood, From the MTW to the WGA, Three Cops and a Dealer, Director's Commentary, and Deleted Scenes.


"Unthinkable" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by John Johnson

movie-august-2010-unthinkable

Synopsis

Steven Arthur Younger (Sheen) releases a video stating that three nuclear weapons have been set to go off in undisclosed cities, and unless his terms are met, he will allow them to be detonated.

FBI Agen Helen Brody (Moss) is brought to a warehouse where she finds other officers, and Younger is seated in a separate room, tied to a chair, with a one-way mirror that allows the officers to view what is going on.

Helen discovers, to her horror, that Younger is being tortured. She objects, but as time begins to run out, she becomes more accepting as to what must be done to save millions of lives.

The officers are unable to get Younger to break, so they bring in a specialist, Henry Humphries (Jackson), who is about to unleash his own techniques of breaking Younger.

The methods Henry uses are "Unthinkable", and there is as much screaming and yelling in the outer room where the officers are objecting, as there is in the room where Humphries proceeds to dissect Younger's fingers. But, now there are only hours before detonation. Does the Unthinkable become the Acceptable and the Necessary?

 

Specifications

  • Sony
  • 2010, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 37 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Carrie-Anne Moss, Michael Sheen
  • Directed by Gregor Jordan
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

The movie strikes at our own US policies and great conterversy as to what should be allowed in getting information from captured terrorists that could save innocent lives.

Technical

If you want to see blood and sweat in great detail, this disc has it. Not much use or need for surround sound.

Extras

These include Director's Commentary and an Extended Version with Alternate Ending.


"True Blood Season 2" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-august-2010-true-blood

Synopsis

True Blood follows the adventures of Louisiana waitress Sookie Stackhouse (Paquin), her brother Jason (Kwanten), her best friend Tara (Wesley) and her vampire boyfriend Bill Compton (Moyer).  In this world, vampires are commonplace now that a synthetic blood substitute has been found, True Blood.  Vampires are the new racial minority as their various issues are debated and they try to integrate with human society.  Sookie is no ordinary human as she can read people’s minds.  As the series progresses, we also learn of the existence of shape shifters, ancient demons and even werewolves.  It all takes place in the otherwise sleepy town of Bon Temps, Louisiana.

Season 2 of this successful series finds Bon Temps visited by the mysterious Maryann Forrester.  She has an unusual power over the people around her and as we get closer to the end, it becomes obvious she means to do harm on a Biblical scale.  Meanwhile, Jason Stackhouse joins the Fellowship of the Sun, a radical church that seeks to destroy all vampires and non-humans.  Sookie’s boyfriend Bill has troubles of his own as he tries to control a young girl he was forced to turn into a vampire.  When a vampire leader is kidnapped, Eric, the local vampire sheriff recruits Sookie and her telepathic powers to help rescue his 2000-year old friend.  The last few episodes cover Maryann’s diabolical activities and the finale has to be seen to be believed.  The season ends with a cliffhanger as Bill is taken by force from a restaurant just as he is about to ask Sookie to marry him.

 

Specifications

  • HBO/Warner Home Video
  • 2009, Color, Not Rated, 10 Hr 24 min (12 Episodes)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec:  AVC
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring:  Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

I got hooked on this show after watching just one episode from season 1.  I immediately bought all the Blu-rays since Netflix only rents TV shows on DVD.  I’ve always enjoyed stories about vampires and other mythical creatures.  I thought at first vampires being commonplace might be a bit boring - True Blood is anything but.  There are plenty of action scenes for the guys and a good amount of romance to please the ladies.  This show has something for everyone over the age of 18.  Being an HBO series, there is plenty of sex, nudity and language.  You’ll want to put the kids to bed before dropping this in the player.  Some of the love scenes are so over-the-top, I couldn’t help laughing.  My wife and I watched all the discs together and we ripped through season 2 in about a week.  All the principal actors are wonderful in their parts and the show has received many awards including two Golden Globe nominations and one win for Anna Paquin.  Production quality is as good or better than many feature films.  It’s more like watching a 12-hour movie than a TV show.  Highly recommended!

Technical

Picture quality is excellent but not quite reference level.  Frankly, I have yet to see a TV show on Blu-ray that competes with the best movies for ultimate image quality.  That being said, color is very natural and saturated with consistent and accurate tones throughout.  Detail is very good though again, a bit short of the very best.  Contrast is also broad and deep with excellent black levels and shadow detail.  There are many dark scenes as you’d expect from a show that takes place mostly at night!  CGI effects are done pretty well and integrate smoothly into the live action.

It’s rare a TV show includes a lossless soundtrack but True Blood checks in with an excellent 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix.  Dynamic range is a bit short of the typical modern film but it’s a huge improvement over what you’ll get from your cable or satellite feed.  Dialog is always clean and clear with correct environmental cues.  You’ll always know whether a conversation is taking place in a parking lot versus a bar or a living room.  Effects like the vampire’s rapid movement are accentuated with deep bass which will get your sub going nicely.  Surrounds are also used well and often creating a seamless three-dimensional sound stage.  The music is written by Nathan Barr and includes some toe-tapping country funk-style tunes which you can enjoy during the show and the end credits of each episode.

Extras

Bonus features include a picture-in-picture feature that shows character trivia and other info in an on-screen window.  There are also featurettes covering character perspectives (2 hours’ worth!), the Fellowship of the Sun church and a 24-minute vampire news presentation.  Finally you can turn on audio commentary by various cast and crew members.


"Hot Tub Time Machine" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-august-2010-hot-tub

Synopsis

Three friends Lou (Corddry), Adam (Cusack) and Nick (Robinson) have grown apart as they age becoming wrapped up in their own problems and regrets.  When one tries to commit suicide, the other two along with Adam’s nephew Jacob (Duke) decide to apply a little therapy and plan a trip to Kodiak lodge, a local ski resort where they can reconnect and relive some memories of their youth.  When they arrive, they find the lodge to be a dump on the brink of bankruptcy.  The only bright spot is the hot tub outside their room.  Come evening, it fills itself with water and the guys jump in for a night of soaking and boozing.  In the morning they wake up and notice their surroundings have changed.  Yes, they’ve been transported back to 1986!  Big hair, leg warmers and brightly colored ski-wear are everywhere.  Just as they realize what’s happened, their mystical time-travel guide (Chase) appears and tells them not to change the past.  They go about repeating all the events of their 1986 trip in an attempt to preserve history.  Of course things go wrong and when the chance arrives to return, Lou decides to stay behind.  I won’t spoil the end but suffice it to say the butterfly is in full effect!

Specifications

  • Metro Goldwyn Mayer
  • 2010, Color, Theatrical Version Rated R, Also Includes Unrated Version, 1 Hr 39 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec:  AVC@ 33 Mbps
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring:  John Cusack, Rob Corddry, Craig Robinson, Clark Duke, Chevy Chase
  • Directed by Steve Pink
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Brief Scene of Gore
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

This movie is firmly in the frat-house comedy genre.  There are plenty of gross gags, slapstick laughs, topless women and foul language to please even the most ardent “man’s man.”  I enjoyed most of the funny moments but occasionally the plot meandered.  Overall, the film was entertaining but I was glad it only lasted 99 minutes.  The end is awesome and easily the best part of the movie.  The main characters are quite hilarious and portrayed well by the principal actors.  Rob Corddry as Lou is over the top as the chauvinistic gross guy.  He is rarely seen without a bottle in his hand and he drops F-bombs with punishing regularity.  I enjoyed Clark Duke as the geeky nephew.  John Cusack plays a great straight man and Craig Robinson as Nick was probably my favorite.  His comic timing was just superb.  If you like to collect sophomoric guy comedies, this film is a definite buy.  If you want intelligent comedy, look elsewhere.

Technical

The image is razor sharp and super detailed.  The only thing that knocked off a star was the color.  It was saturated to the point of looking unnatural.  The Eighties were depicted with bright vivid hues and cartoonish tones.  Faces sometimes took on a cyan or magenta cast but were mostly OK.  Contrast was good in bright scenes but darker material showed elevated black levels.  Night scenes were a bit washed out but retained good shadow detail.

The DTS-MA encode was very clear and present with a wide soundstage but upper dynamics sounded somewhat compressed.  Louder sounds didn’t seem loud enough compared to mid and low-level effects.  Dialog was always clear and properly placed on the screen.  Environmental cues were apparent with obvious sonic differences between indoor and outdoor shots.  I enjoyed the Eighties pop music that is sprinkled throughout the film.  Again though, it seemed a tad compressed.  The sub kicked in during the music scenes but at no other time.  Surrounds were barely used.

Extras

Bonus features consist only of deleted scenes, theatrical promos and a trailer. Finally you can turn on audio commentary by various cast and crew members.


"Jason and the Argonauts" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Milton

movie-august-2010-jason-and-argonauts

Synopsis

Fantastic special effects by Ray Harryhausen and an exciting mythological adventure make this a film that is fun for everyone. It's the story of Jason (Todd Armstrong), a fearless sailor and explorer, who returns to the kingdom of Thessaly after a 20-year voyage to make his rightful claim to the throne. But to do so, Jason must first find the magical Golden Fleece. He selects a crew (with Hercules, no less) and with the help of Hera, Queen of the Gods, sets sail in search of the Fleece which can be found at the "end of the world". Jason and his crew must overcome incredible obstacles including Talos, a 100-foot bronze giant, the venomous seven- headed Hydra, and a spectacular battle with an army of skeletons. Soundtrack is by the late, great Bernard Hermann.

Specifications

  • Sony Pictures
  • 1963, Color, Rated G, 1 Hr 44 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec:  AVC@ 28 Mbps
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring:  Todd Armstrong, Nancy Kovack, Gary Raymond, Laurence Naismith, Niall MacGinnis
  • Produced by Charles H. Schneer, Ray Harryhausen
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Mild
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

Schneer made several fantasy adventures with Harryhausen and this is perhaps their finest effort. The acting is a bit wooden, but the story holds up well and the pace moves right along. The movie is wonderfully restored, and the special effects will not defy belief but will allow you to suspend it. This is a great movie for you and the kids to view. Along the way they encounter a variety of mythical creatures, including the 100-foot bronze god Talos (rated by many movie goers as second only to King Kong in the ‘giant monster’ category), the bat-like Harpies, the seven-headed reptilian Hydra, and an army of skeletons wielding sword and shield. This last scene remains one of the finest that Harryhausen ever created, and it's still as exciting as CGI special effects from today. Harryhausen is the true "stop motion king of fantasy films", and his brilliant animation evokes a timeless sense of wonder. As a kid, this movie did not really scare me, but it did leave me with a sense of marvel and amazement. It is still enjoyable to this day.

Technical

Picture quality is generally very sharp and detailed. A few of the long shots appear soft and unfocused. Colors are rich and natural with good contrast. The special effect scenes can be a bit soft, but still hold up well for being over 50 years old. Very few scenes show spots or blemishes and I concede that this is the best I have ever seen this film look. Soundtrack gives clear dialog and robust music with clever scoring by Hermann (like the xylophones in the skeleton fight sequence). Surrounds come into play a few times as does the sub, but don’t expect too much else. Still, this is a big improvement over the original mono sound.

Extras

Audio commentary with Peter Jackson and Visual Effects Artist Randall William Cook, Interview with Harryhausen and John Landis, Audio commentary with Ray Harryhausen with film historian Tony Dalton, The Harryhausen Legacy, Ray Harryhausen Chronicles, Original Skeleton Fight Storyboards and 6 movie trailers. Finally you can turn on an audio commentary by various cast and crew members.


"Big Trouble in Little China" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Milton

movie-august-2010-big-trouble-little-china

Synopsis

Kurt Russell stars as Jack Burton, a tough-talking, wisecracking truck driver whose dull life on the road takes a sudden supernatural detour when his best friend's girl is kidnapped. Speeding to the rescue, Jack finds himself deep beneath San Francisco's Chinatown, in a murky, creature-filled world ruled by Lo Pan, a 2000-year-old magician who mercilessly presides over an empire of spirits. Dodging demons and facing baffling terrors, Jack battles his way through Lo Pan's dark domain in a full-throttle, action packed ride to rescue the girl. Co-starring Kim Cattrall (well before Sex and the City), this effects-filled sci-fi adventure speeds to an incredible, twist-taking finish. As Jack Burton would say, "It's all in the reflexes!"

Specifications

  • 20th Century Fox
  • 1986, Color, Rated PG, 1 Hr 39 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec:  MPEG 4
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Cantonese, etc.
  • Starring:  Kurt Russell, Kim Catrell, Dennis Dun, James Hong, Victor Wong
  • Directed by John Carpenter
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

Russell is comical as a drawling, John Wayne wanna-be hero who steps into the middle of a supernatural warzone in the middle of Chinatown. While kung fu warriors and otherworldly spirits battle over the fate of two women (Kim Cattrall and Suzee Pai), Russell's swaggering fool manages to knock himself out or totally underestimate the forces he's up against. The whole thing is campy, but it's supposed to be campy and Russell's straight performance brings an ironic edge. As Burton says, "I was born ready." And ready he is, as the action is pretty non-stop from the "get go" and this blu-ray release pumps up the entertainment factor with great sound and picture that easily surpasses the DVD version. Add in some nifty "spook effects" and the fact that Carpenter also wrote the music, and you have a recipe for fun and adventure.

Technical

Picture quality is generally very good with rich details, colors and contrasts. Dark shadows show no crushing and the fine film grain is the only thing that shows this movies age...that and the "funky synth" music track that screams 80's!. If you already own the DVD version, this is a worthy step up in picture and sound quality. Surrounds are used generously, as is the bass for the sub. Flesh tones are very natural and colors are well saturated. Picture is generally very sharp and clean with very few specks or blemishes.

Extras

Audio commentary,deleted scenes, alternate ending, trailers, isolated score track and a HD still gallery.


"Jimmy Hollywood" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Tyler Stripko

movie-august-2010-jimmy-hollywood

Synopsis

Jimmy Alto (Joe Pesci) is an actor who can’t get a break.  Despite his best efforts, he hasn’t landed a role in some time.  With so much time on his hands, Jimmy starts looking for alternative ways to make himself famous.  After having his car stereo stolen, Jimmy decides to take the law into his own hands and track down the thief.  With the help of his best friend William (Christian Slater), Jimmy forms the vigilante-justice group “SOS” and begins rounding up local hooligans and dropping them off at the Hollywood Police station, complete with video proof of their crimes.  Unfortunately, the Hollywood Police don’t take kindly to citizens taking the law into their own hands and Jimmy quickly finds that he’s a wanted man.

Specifications

  • Lionsgate
  • 1994, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 57 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring:  Joe Pesci and Christian Slater
  • Directed by Barry Levinson
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Mild
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Moderate

Commentary

I am a big fan of both Joe Pesci and Christian Slater.  However, this is definitely one of the worst movies that either of these two fine actors has made.  The plot is weak and the characters are not believable.  The acting is fair, but there is only so much that can be done with the poor script and inept dialogue.

Technical

For a movie released in 1994, the picture quality is not very good.  The image has decent contrast, but there is very little detail in the shots.  Longer shots and backgrounds are particularly fuzzy.  Colors are a bit muted as well.  The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack sounds more like a stereo mix, with only the front speakers seeing any activity.  I don’t recall hearing much of anything coming from the surrounds, and bass is virtually non-existent.   Dialogue is nice and clear though.

Extras

The only extras on this disc are a few trailers for other Lionsgate films.


"Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief" (DVD) - Reviewed by Tyler Stripko

movie-august-2010-percy-jackson

Synopsis

On the surface, Percy Jackson (Logan Lerman) appears to be a typical teenager, struggling with his home life and school.  During a class trip to a Greek art museum, Percy is attacked by a mythical flying creature called a Fury who accuses him of stealing the lightning bolt of Zeus, king of the gods.  After being saved by one of his teachers (Pierce Brosnan) and best friend (Brandon Jackson), Percy learns that he is in fact a demi-god, and Poseidon is his father.  Percy has only one week to return the stolen lightning bolt to Zeus, or a terrible war between the gods will wreak destruction upon the Earth.

Specifications

  • 20th Century Fox
  • 2010, Color, Rated PG, 1 Hr 58 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec:  Not Specified
  • English 5.1 Dolby Digital
  • Starring:  Logan Lerman, Brandon T. Jackson, Alexandra Daddario, Pierce Brosnan, Kevin McKidd, and Uma Thurman
  • Directed by Barry Levinson
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

The hallowed tales of Greek mythology provide a very fertile ground for storytelling and I am pleased to see that someone has finally put a modern spin on them.  Sadly, this film does not live up to the immense potential of the subject matter.   The plot had a lot of promise, but never really went anywhere.  The characters are different enough to keep a viewer interested, but the poor dialogue and script ruin what good have been some great interplay between the three young leads.  For a young adult oriented film, there is a surprising amount of violence but I think it is fitting given the Greek god backdrop.  The action scenes were pretty good, but I wasn’t entirely convinced by the CGI effects.  While no Harry Potter, I hope that the inevitable sequels build upon the solid foundation layed down by this film.

Technical

It has been a while since I’ve watched a new film on regular DVD.  Even with the excellent upscaling offered by my Oppo Blu-ray player, it was pretty obvious that I was watching standard-definition.   Most of the long shots are soft, and background details are blurry in the majority of scenes.  On the positive side, colors are well-saturated and shadow detail and black levels were fine.  The Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack was a big step up from the video, with incredible dynamics and extremely powerful bass.  Dialogue was clear and concise.  Surrounds were used to good effect as well.

Extras

The screener copy of the DVD I received included some deleted scenes (none of them worth watching), a quiz on “Discovering Your Powers,” a featurette on turning the book into a movie,  the theatrical trailer, and some previews for other upcoming movies.That’s it.


"Black Narcissus" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Milton

movie-august-2010-black-narcissus

Synopsis

Plagued by uncertainties and worldly desires, five Protestant missionary nuns, led by Deborah Kerr's Sister Clodagh, struggle to establish a school in the desolate Himalayas. All the elements of cinematic arts are perfectly fused in Powell and Pressburger's fascinating study of the age-old conflict between the spirit and the flesh, set against the grandeur of the snowcapped peaks of Kanchenjunga. Beautifully restored, it won Oscars for “Best Cinematography” and “Set Design” in 1947.

Specifications

  • Criterion Collection
  • 1947, Color, Rated PG, 1 Hr 40 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English Dolby Digital mono
  • Starring: Deborah Kerr, David Farrar, Flora Robson, Jean Simmons, Sabu
  • Directed by Emeric Pressburger, Michael Powell
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

Another gorgeously restored classic film from the Criterion Collection. This visually stunning picture has color and details that jump out at you. An interesting tale of nuns setting up a cloister in the Himalayas and finally falling under its spell of sexual suppression and desire. What’s more interesting is the fact that there is no sex portrayed in the movie. It’s more about the atmosphere and look of fervor on the nun’s faces. Nothing overt, but the tension is quite palpable. The very things the nuns have left in their pasts come back to haunt them. In one case, suppression will lead to madness. This is a very unusual film with an exciting and memorable conclusion. It will intoxicate the viewer with its mood, like the scent of the flower after which this film was named. A must see film.

Technical

Picture quality is stunningly cleaned up and full of rich colors and details. When the close up of Sister Ruth putting on the red lipstick was shown, I actually puckered! The contrasts and shadow deliniation are all spot on. Sabu's character dresses in opulent costumes with embroidery and jewels that just look fantastic. A stunning demo quality picture. Sound is mono, but quite clear. You'd never guess this movie was from 1947, not only for the picture quality, but the subject matter as well.

Extras

Video introduction by French filmmaker Bertrand Tavernier • Audio commentary featuring the late director Michael Powell and filmmaker Martin Scorsese • The Audacious Adventurer, a 2006 video piece in which Tavernier discusses Black Narcissus and Powell • Profile of “Black Narcissus” (2000), a twenty-five-minute documentary • Painting with Light, a twenty-seven-minute documentary about Jack Cardiff’s Oscar-winning cinematography on Black Narcissus • Original theatrical trailer • PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by film critic Kent Jones.


"The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Milton

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad

Synopsis

When the evil magician Sokurah (Torin Thatcher) shrinks Princess Parisa (Kathryn Grant) to roughly the size of a Barbie doll, only one thing can restore her: the egg shell of a Roc. The Roc, of course, is a gigantic bird that lives on the remote island of Colossa. Sinbad (Kerwin Mathews) hires a crew of mutiny-minded convicts and sets sail, Sokurah in tow, but runs afoul of a fire-breathing dragon, a very angry Cyclops, and an equally perturbed two-headed Roc. This swashbuckling adventure was the first installment of the Sinbad films, and decades later it still has the power to hold viewers spellbound. Did I mention that it is filmed in “Dynamation”?

Specifications

  • Sony Pictures
  • 1958, Color, Rated PG, 1 Hr 28 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English, Dolby-TrueHD 5.1, Color, Widescreen
  • Starring: Kerwin Mathews, Kathryn Grant, Richard Eyer, Torin Thatcher
  • Directed by Nathan Juran, Ray Harryhausen
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Mild
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

The art of cinematic special effects has taken quantum leaps since 1958, which makes it so amazing that his work still looks as fine as it does. Harryhausen creates a world of fantasy where dragons and grotesque Cyclops can battle to the death, one where it's very easy for adults to suspend their disbelief and watch the action with the wonder of a child. I am a big fan of Harryhausen, as there is something “organic” about his creations that CGI can not replicate. Thrills and chills without a lot of blood spills. Your youngsters will be enthralled with this adventure. The story and acting are not quite as good as “Jason and the Argonauts”, but the battle between the dragon and Cyclops make it a worthwhile viewing. Add this to your collection.

Technical

Unlike “Jason and the Argonauts”, the overall picture quality is not as sharp and many scenes suffer from graininess and soft focus. The musical score (Hermann) is well presented and sounds broad and clear. Surrounds come into play only on occasion, but dialog is well centered. The creatures in the film are some of Ray’s best work, in my opinion.

Extras

Extras are excellent, and include: a picture of the original poster; trailers from other Harryhausen features; two interview featurettes, each 12 minutes long; a 3-minute featurette about the Dynamation process; and a one-hour feature about Ray Harryhausen.


"Greenberg" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Milton

movie-august-2010-greenberg

Synopsis

Roger Greenberg (Stiller) is single, fortyish and deliberately doing nothing. In search of a place to restart his life, he agrees to housesit for his brother in LA and tries to reconnect with his former bandmate (Rhys Ifans) and successful ex-girlfriend (Jennifer Jason Leigh). But old friends aren't necessarily still best friends, and Greenberg soon finds himself forging a connection with his brother's personal assistant, Florence (Greta Gerwig). Despite his best attempts not to be drawn in, Greenberg comes to realize that he may at last have found a reason to be happy.

Specifications

  • Sony Pictures
  • 2010, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 47 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English DTS-MA, Color, Widescreen
  • Starring: Ben Stiller, Rhys Ifans, Greta Gerwig
  • Directed by Noah Baumbach
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: Yes & drug use
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

Though the acting was fine (Stiller takes a big step away from his typical role), I still found the movie as a whole to meander and never reach a conclusion. My biggest problem with the movie was it's presentation on many previews (check out the case cover) as a quick witted comedy. There is nothing quick or comedic about the movie. It plods along in a drama that observes the lives of quirky people who are flawed, narcissistic, neurotic and self-absorbed. This makes it very hard to warm up to the characters. They are mildly interesting, but I was constantly telling myself, "These are awful people! I don't care what happens to them." This was particularly true for Greenberg. He is a wretched human being who treats others with cold indifference. Let me reiterate: this is not a typical Stiller comedy with a “feel good” ending!

If this movie is portraying real life in L.A., then I am glad I live here on the east coast.

Technical

As much as I did not like the movie, the picture and sound quality are quite good. Rich natural colors and skin tones abound. I saw no artifacts or edge enhancements. Contrast was very good with nicely presented deep black shadows and pleasing outdoor shots. Audio was powerful and broad in the music department...enough music from the 70's and80's, in fact, that I am sure there must be a Greenberg soundtrack CD out there somewhere. Surrounds and sub really only come into play during the music.

Extras

Behind the scenes, a Baumbach interview and "Greenberg loves L.A.".


"The Breakfast Club (25th Anniversary Edition)" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Heinonen

movie-august-2010-breakfast-club

Synopsis

The Breakfast Club is the story of five high school students who are all stuck together for detention on a Saturday morning.  While they all might attend the same school, they all have very different backgrounds and lifestyles, and during the time that they have to spend together come to realize that they have more in common than they thought at the start of the day.

Specifications

  • Universal
  • 1985, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 32 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: VC-1
  • English DTS-MA, Color, Widescreen
  • Starring: Molly Ringwald, Judd Nelson, Emilio Estevez
  • Directed by John Hughes
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: Discussed
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

Directed by the late John Hughes, The Breakfast Club is one of the classic films from the 1980's that almost everyone has seen, if not multiple times.  I've seen it more times than I can count, and no matter what I say about it, people are going to love it and all the memories it brings back from that era.  Of course, watching it again I can't help but notice all the things I didn't really pay as much attention to before, like the idea that if you'd just put on some makeup and look pretty, the star athlete will want to date you (as opposed to dating you for who you are), and that the geek will do your work for you, and that you'll go date the bad boy to get back at your father.  I still enjoyed watching the film again, I just didn't enjoy some of the messages now that I was watching for them.

Technical

The transfer of The Breakfast Club is good, but not fantastic.  The opening credits aren't totally stable, which seems to indicate that the transfer from film wasn't as stable as it could have been, or that the original film wasn't perfect to begin with.  Detail and color are representative of film from the 1980's: A bit muted in the colors, pretty good detail but not fantastic.  The Breakfast Club wasn't a huge budget film when it was shot, and because of that you can only get so much detail out of the elements that you started with.  One of the most memorable things about the film is the soundtrack, and the Blu-ray does a very good job with that.  Vocals are also very clear, and it's the best that the film has probably ever sounded.

Extras

The Blu-ray contains a commentary track (Anthony Michael Hall and Judd Nelson), a 12-part documentary, a featurrette on the Brat Pack, and the trailer.


"Heroes Season 4" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

movie-august-2010-heroes-season-4

Synopsis

In the Heroes tradition, Season 4 picks up right where Season 3 left off.  This chapter is called Redemption and features a host of new foes for our heroes to battle.  As the story opens, Claire is trying to lead a normal life as a college student, Matt Parkman has returned to his wife and son, Hiro and Ando are trying to recruit others with abilities, and Angela is still desperately trying to hide the fact that Sylar is impersonating her dead son Nathan.  Meanwhile Peter is trying to use his abilities to become a super EMT in New York City.  Trouble soon arrives in the form of Samuel Sullivan and his mysterious carnival.  He is mourning the death of his brother and apparently gathering his forces for some unknown purpose.

While the plot threads seem unrelated, they intertwine as the season progresses.  There are many new characters with abilities like Emma who is deaf but can see sound and focus it into energy.  The Sullivan carnival is also loaded with interesting people like Lydia who can predict the future through her animated tattoos.  And we have old favorites like Eric the puppet-master and of course Sylar.  The twists and turns are many and the chapter comes to a satisfying close with a fairly big cliffhanger.

Specifications

  • NBC/Universal
  • 2009-2010, Color, Not Rated, 13 hrs 32 min (18 episodes)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English, 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring:  Jack Coleman, Hayden Panettierre, Milo Ventimiglia, Masi Oka, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Zachary Quinto, Greg Grunberg, Cristine Rose
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence:  Yes, of the TV variety
  • Sex:  No
  • Language:  No

Commentary

It is most unfortunate NBC chose to cancel this show because Season 4 marked a real return for Heroes.  Season 3 meandered a bit from the original premise and viewers were left confused as to who was good and who was evil.  Some of the main characters flipped on a weekly basis.  Still, as an ardent fan, I stuck it out and was rewarded with an excellent final season.  I rated it four stars only because it didn’t quite match the standard set by Seasons 1 and 2.  The major bummer is at the time of the final episode’s airing, the show’s future was undecided so the series ended with a major cliffhanger that will likely go unresolved.  Perhaps Universal would deliver a feature-length movie to tie up the plot and end the series in proper fashion.

Production quality is still at the feature-film level with superb special effects and quality performance from all actors.  Hayden Panettierre is quite impressive.  At the tender age of 20, she displays the skill of a much more experienced actor.  Jack Coleman as Noah Bennet is the honored elder of the cast and provides a moral compass for all the goings on.  He loves his daughter Claire dearly but must sometimes go against her to help preserve the bigger picture.  And of course Zachary Quinto as Sylar is one of the best villains in the history of television.  He is an actor you can’t help wanting to watch and there are few with his level of talent.

If you’ve been a fan or are still a fan of Heroes, Season 4 is aptly named Redemption as it is a return to what made the show great in the first place.  I consider it a worthy addition to any collection.

Technical

Video quality runs the gamut from very good to poor.  The picture is mostly sharp and detailed with punchy colors but suffers from a cold cast that ranges from blue to magenta.  Several dark scenes showed extreme graininess; the kind that is not only textural but and noisy.  Occasionally the color is very natural and looks like it ought to.  It’s as if post production were handled by different colorists working independently.  At least detail and saturation are always excellent.  The flaws are not overly distracting just confusing.  I noticed these same elements in the previous three seasons’ Blu-rays so I speculate the same people are working on this content.  Still it’s a huge improvement over the broadcast HD I watched originally.  The cinematography is as good as any feature film and this show is fun to watch both on TV and in a theater environment.

The DTS-MA encode is of high quality.  The sound is very dynamic with good use of the sub and surrounds.  There were several times when the LFE level dipped to below 25Hz.  Dialog is very crisp with good placement on the screen.  Environmental cues are present most of the time but sometimes the sound seems processed.  It’s evident when actors looped their lines in post-production and when they were recorded on set.  This was the only thing preventing a five-star rating for audio.

Extras

Bonus features include the high-def featurettes Deconstructing Sylar, Heroes Revolution, Milo Speaks, Sullivan Brothers Design Gallery and Genetics of a Scene.  Additionally there are deleted scenes, extended scenes and graphics showing the connections between the hero characters.  Interactive features include PIP commentary and character bios which popup while the show plays.

I don’t usually comment on the packaging but this one is unique.  The discs are not held in by the usual snaps through the center hole.  Rather, there are little fingers that grip the edges in four spots.  The discs are a little difficult to remove and I feel the design is a bit fiddly.  Also, there is the potential for discs to loosen during shipping.  I had one rogue disc in the box I received.  Fortunately it wasn’t scratched.  My advice – check your discs when you buy this set.

The Blu-ray contains a commentary track (Anthony Michael Hall and Judd Nelson), a 12-part documentary, a featurrette on the Brat Pack, and the trailer.


"Henson's Place" (DVD) - Reviewed by Jim Milton

movie-august-2010-hensons-place

Synopsis

This film is the original documentary about Jim Henson, the creative visionary that brought us the enchantment of “The Muppet Show,” Labyrinth and more. From honing his skills as a puppeteer in college to creating some of the world’s most beloved characters in the last 30 years, see the imaginative genius like never before. Enjoy interviews with Henson, his wife Jane, long-time puppeteer partner Frank Oz and others, as they share memories of the legendary “Muppet Show,” “Sesame Street,” and “Fraggle Rock,” with a behind-the-scenes look inside the revolutionary Henson Workshop. Experience Henson’s desire to celebrate the child inside all of us.

Specifications

  • Jim Henson Company
  • 2010, Color, Not Rated, 53 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English, Dolby Digital Stereo
  • Starring: Jim Henson, Frank Oz, Jane Henson and others
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

Since the film was made in the mid-80s, it covers his work with Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, and Fraggle Rock - plus, a little bit of the early muppet movies and Dark Crystal. The development of Kermit and Big Bird are quite interesting. Keep in mind that the documentary is not quite an hour long, so it doesn't go into a lot of depth or detail. The thing that I think makes this such a great documentary are the personal interviews with Jim Henson, Jane Henson, Frank Oz and Lord Grade. If you are a Jim Henson fan and don't already have this in your collection you will probably want a copy.

Technical

Most of the footage is soft and grainy, typical of archival stock from the 80’s. Sound is in stereo, but dialog is clear.

Extras

The only extra is a 30 minute feature on the 1985/86 "Amphibian", a year book that was produced highlighting all the people and departments of the Henson companies around the world.


"Repo Men" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Stephen Hornbrook

movie-august-2010-repo-men

Synopsis

In the year 2025, technology has advanced to the point where artificial organs of any kind can be created. A company called The Union has taken full advantage of such technology, providing the people with a simple, yet expensive, way to extend their lives. The catch? When you fall behind in those hefty monthly payments, the repo men are dispatched to reclaim the company's property.  During the sales pitch, it is explained that the artificial organs will be removed from the client's body in a harmonious manor and that this hardly ever happens.  Most look past this and sign immediately to receive their fresh new liver, lungs, or heart. What choice do they have? Sign, or suffer from a dying organ.

The story focuses on Remy (Jude Law), a successful repo man for The Union.  His job comes easily for him, slicing and dicing helpless souls just to get paid and support his family.  His wife hates what he does for a living and for years has been asking him to quit for the sake of her and their son.  Remy wants to give it up, move on to sales in the company, but it just seems everything is against him.  He tells himself, "just this one last job" - a high paying gig, retrieving several organs from a musician.  All does not go as planned when he gets shocked by his defibrillator, knocking him out cold.  Remy wakes up to discover he now has his own piece of Union gear.. an artificial heart.  This is his moment of awakening where he finally looks at himself and his view of the world, seeing it through new eyes.

The rest of the movie deals with Remy going from the hunter to the hunted, as he fails to make payments on his new heart, the Union comes to collect.

Specifications

  • Universal
  • 2010, Color, R / Unrated, 2 Hr
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
  • Starring: Jude Law, Forest Whitaker, Liev Schreiber
  • Directed by Miguel Sapochnik
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Nudity
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

Repo Men was not received very well by both the critics and the movie-goers.  I would not have had any interest in watching it if it weren't for a recommendation from a friend.  Well I quite enjoyed Repo Men from start to finish. The cast is great, with Leiv once again playing a skeezy scum bag so very well.  If you enjoyed movies like Crank, The Transporter, or any other over-the-top action flic, then you owe it to yourself to at least rent Repo Men. It's the kind of guilty pleasure you will find yourself watching more than once.

Technical

Overall, the picture quality was good, but there were scenes where contrast was weak or the color was off.  For me though, the soundtrack more than made up for it.  I found this enveloping DTS-HD track to be one of the most entertaining I've heard in some time.  Excellent dynamics and front soundstage along with engaging surround effects make this a demo-quality disc.

Extras

U-Control Picture-in-Picture, Audio Commentary from the film makers, Deleted Scenes, The Union Commercials, A short 6 minute look at the visual FX.


"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Milton

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Synopsis

A discredited journalist and a mysterious computer hacker discover that even the wealthiest families have skeletons in their closets while working to solve the mystery of a 40-year-old murder. Inspired by late author Stieg Larsson's successful trilogy of books, the film gets under way as Mikael Blomkvist and Lisbeth Salander are briefed in the disappearance of Harriet Vanger, whose uncle suspects she may have been killed by a member of their own family. The deeper Mikael and Lisbeth dig for the truth, however, the greater the risk of being put in danger by members of the family who will go to great lengths to keep their secrets tightly sealed.

Specifications

  • Music Box Films
  • 2010, Color, R , 2 Hr 32 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC MPEG 4
  • English DD Audio 5.1, Swedish DD 5.1 with subtitles
  • Starring: Michael Nyqvist, Noomi Rapace
  • Directed by Niels Arden Oplev
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

This is a terrific movie that develops a complex story in an economical way. The screenwriter has done an excellent job at paring away excess in the book and really focused on the main storyline without losing detail. The actors are very good and totally believable. They may be unknown to an American audience, but that just makes them more “real”. The Swedish countryside is gorgeous and reminds me of Maine. As a warning, the movie depicts a brutal rape scene that may make viewers very uncomfortable. Lisbeth is misused by men, but she gets back at her abusers in a novel way. This is the first of a trilogy of movies. The next two are “The Girl Who Played with Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest” and they will be released shortly. See these before Hollywood messes them up!

Technical

Picture and sound quality are very good. The outdoor scenes are bright and clear which contrasts wonderfully with the darker interior scenes. Flesh tones are very good and shadows are deep and three dimensional. I saw no artifacts or aliasing. Colors were well saturated and rendered naturally. The sound is DD and not in any HD format, but you will not notice it during the movie. Surrounds and sub are used extensively throughout. Dialog (even the English dub) is clear and well centered.

Extras

An interview with Noomi Rapace, a family tree graphic and movie trailers.


"Battlestar Galactica: Season 3" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Tyler Stripko

movie-august-2010-battlestar-galactica

Synopsis

The beginning of the third season of this award-winning show finds the Cylons firmly in control of the recently established human colony on New Caprica.  However, a resistance group led by Chief Tyrol,  Sam Anders, and Colonel Tigh is doing all it can to keep the Cylons distracted while the colony awaits a rescue attempt from Admiral Adama and the remains of the Colonial fleet.  After daringly retrieving the survivors from New Caprica, the fleet continues on its search for Earth. However, there is much resentment directed towards those who collaborated with the Cylons during their captivity and the people of the fleet must decide how they will deal with the collaborators.   This all comes to a head when ex-President Gaius Baltar is returned to the fleet and a public trial ensues.

Specifications

  • Universal Studios
  • 2008, Color, Not Rated , 15 Hrs 53 Minutes
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: VC1
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring: Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Jamie Bamber, James Callis, Tricia Helfer, Katee Sackhoff
  • Directed by: Various
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence:  Yes
  • Sex: Suggestive
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

I’ll go out on a limb and state that this is probably one of the greatest television shows of all time and one of the few shows that I made sure to watch every week.  Having said that, Season 1 and 2 were a bit more entertaining.   Not that season 3 is bad by any means, but some of the episodes (particularly in the second half of the season) did feel a bit like “fluff” to me and didn’t really add much to the plot line.  However, the first half of the season was very strong, with some excellent moral dilemmas for the humans and Cylons alike.  The closing episodes showcasing Gaius Baltar’s trial were extremely well done and help set up the final season of the show.  As with the first two seasons, the acting is generally excellent and production values remain high.  Despite not being quite as good as the preceding seasons, I still highly recommend watching season 3.  Even if you are not a science fiction fan, you might find the cleverly integrated themes of religion, morality, and politics hard to pass up.

Technical

When this show originally aired on the Sci-Fi network, I was forced to watch in standard definition.  While I later saw a few episodes re-broadcast in high-def, there is no doubt that the Blu-ray releases are far superior.  While the look of Battlestar Galactica is highly stylized (Ron Moore gives a brief intro on this when you start the show), the Blu-rays give you a much better look at what the producers and cinematographers intended.   Picture quality varies from razor-sharp in outdoor scenes or close-ups to grainy and rough-looking in many of the shots aboard Galactica.  Colors vary throughout the shows as well.  Sometimes they are muted and dull while other times they are slightly oversaturated.  This is all intentional and helps set the tone for many of the episodes.   Overall, the level of detail is excellent.  For example, check out some of the close-ups of James Olmos’s face.   You can see every little (and not so little) line and defect in his skin.

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack is fantastic for a television series.  Dialogue remains clean and clear throughout every episode.  Bass is very deep when called for and there is good use of the surround fields.  The dynamic range is wide, which makes for some very exciting moments and also works well with the haunting score.

Extras

This set is packed with extras.  There is an extended (25 minutes longer) version of “Unfinished Business,” lots of deleted scenes, Ronald Moore’s complete series of Podcasts, audio commentaries, “The Resistance” webisodes, David Eick’s video blogs, “The Oracle” and “Battlestar Blips” U-Control content, and some BD-Live enabled trivia and card games.


"Kick-Ass" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Stephen Hornbrook

movie-august-2010-kick-ass

Synopsis

Aaron Johnson plays Dave Lizewski, a totally average, to the point of being invisible, teenager. He's not a jock, a cool kid, a nerd, or a theater geek. Just a nobody. While hanging out with his friends, he asks them why no one has tried to be come a superhero. They surround us in comics, tv, and movies right? So why hasn't anyone tried it themselves? He points out that Batman didn't have any super powers, yet he is a superhero.  Dave gets home and dreams about it some more until he comes across a superhero-like suit on the internet.  Why not, right? So Dave orders it.  Things don't go quite as planned on his first encounter with a couple of hoodlums.  Dave ends up beaten and stabbed then hit by a car.  The doctors tell him some of his nerve endings were damaged, affecting his ability to feel pain. Also, metal plates and screws had to be places throughout his body.

Dave doesn't give up and continues to patrol the streets for crime.  One night, he comes upon a man getting beat up by a gang and decides to step in. The fight gets recorded on a cellphone by a kid nearby and later uploaded to YouTube where it becomes an internet sensation.  Kick-Ass sets up his own MySpace account to accept people's requests for help. 

Dave's crush, Katie, asks him to help fend off a drug dealer that keeps harassing her.  Wanting to win over Katie's interest, Dave agrees to confront the drug dealer.  Things don't go well for him, but right before he is about to get killed, he is rescued by an ass-kicking young girl named Hit Girl.  She leaves with her father, known as Big Daddy (Nick Cage) who is later revealed as Damon Macready. Damon, a former cop who was framed by a local crime boss, trained his daughter to fight crime along side him. His ultimate goal: vengeance against Frank D'Amico, the crime boss that framed him.

Specifications

  • Lionsgate
  • 2010, Color, R, 1 Hr 58 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: AVC
  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
  • Starring: Aaron Johnson, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloe Grace Moretz, Nicholas Cage
  • Directed by: Matthew Vaughn
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

Kick-Ass received mixed reviews and I can understand that. It isn't a movie for everyone. Personally, I had zero expectations, but was happily surprised with how much I enjoyed it. Some people might not care for a 12 year old girl brutally killing people, but it was so well done. I'd reckon, some of the best fight scenes in a comic book movie. At the start of the film I was not a big fan of the main character, Dave Lizewski (Aaron Johnson), or Kick-Ass, but as the movie progressed I found myself rooting for him. I really enjoyed the reality of him getting beat up and that there was never a music montage where he suddenly became a master of physical combat. Kick-Ass is a thoroughly entertaining movie and well worth a purchase if you enjoy these types of movies, or a rental otherwise.

Technical

I was a little disappointed in the image quality, but only because I was hoping for a reference quality transfer. The picture suffers from what looks to be over processing. The colors really pop off the screen, a bit TOO much. No doubt this was the intended look but I think the movie could have benefited from a slightly more natural image.  Don't worry too much though, it's not full of edge enhancement and DNR ;)

The DTS-HD 7.1 (only 5.1 for me) is like a big plate of country fried chicken, mashed potatoes with tasso ham gravy, and some rich mac and cheese, for your ears. Dialog is strong and clear while the surrounds fill your home theater with great ambiance and action effects. Between this and the Repo Men audio, I am feeling sonically spoiled.

Extras

Kick-Ass is full of all the usual extras like audio commentary, but also has several great featurettes including the 113 minute "Making of Kick-Ass" feature. Excellent content for fans.