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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - January, 2010

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"10 Things I Hate About You" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Chris Eberle

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Synopsis

New kid in school Cameron (Gordon-Levitt) falls hard for the local beauty queen on his first day.  Unfortunately she isn’t allowed to date until her sister does.  Kat (Stiles) is a rebel through and through with no love for anyone and no interest in dating.  Cameron and his nerd-buddy Michael hatch a plan where school tough-guy Patrick will date Kat, for a fee of course, thereby clearing the way for Cameron to take Bianca (Oleynik) to the prom.  Many unexpected things happen along the way of course, as things turn from hormone-driven hijinks to budding romance.

 

Specifications

  • Touchstone Pictures
  • 1999, Color, Rated PG-13, 1 Hr 37 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec:  Not specified
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring:  Julia Stiles, Heath Ledger, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Larisa Oleynik
  • Directed by Gil Junger
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence:  No
  • Sex:  Innuendo and crude references
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

I was expecting more of a teenage sex and party fest when I received this film.  Instead it turned out to be a cute romantic comedy wrapped in gland-driven chaos.  It was also a mini-parade of future stars.  Julia Stiles (Mona Lisa Smile) plays the rebellious counter-culture teen to perfection.  Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight) gets to speak with his native Australian accent as the misunderstood tough-guy.  His performance is quite funny and enjoyable.  David Krumholtz (Numb3rs) was my favorite though.  His portrayal of school nerd Michael was simply brilliant.  I can see why he was cast as Charlie Eppes after seeing him in this movie.  That’s really what saved this from becoming just another chick-flick.  The acting was simply superb.  There were no weak members in the cast.  Even the lesser-known actors did an excellent job.  The various situations the characters create, or fall into, made me laugh throughout.  Even the tender intimate moments were never boring or sappy.  Pacing was just right and at 97 minutes, the movie was an ideal length.

Technical

The film appears to have been shot on Super 16mm as grain is quite noticeable.  It was distracting at times but not the worst I’ve seen.  Some transfers apply excessive noise reduction to combat this but this Blu-ray went in the opposite direction.  I believe the telecine process preserved the original accurately.  Color was very saturated and pleasing with just a hint of extra redness in the flesh tones.  It looked a bit better when shown with a SMPTE-C color gamut.  It may have been mastered on a Rec 601 monitor.  Detail was as good as could be expected given the grain level.  Dimensionality was also about as good as it could be.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack was first-rate.  The film’s score is mostly 80s and 90s-era rock and it was reproduced with a high degree of clarity.  The musical soundstage was among the widest I’ve heard in any film.  Dialog was balanced perfectly with the music and extremely clear and detailed.  Surrounds weren’t used much but is that necessary given the material?  It didn’t bother me a bit.  This kind of quality is what lossless audio is for.

Extras

Bonus features include a documentary with cast interviews, a look back with the director and screenwriters, writers and cast audio commentary and deleted scenes.