Media

Movie Renter's Guide Number 154 - January, 2008 - Part III

ARTICLE INDEX

"Monty Python's The Life of Brian" (Blu-ray)

movie-life-of-brian-bd.jpgSynopsis

The Gospel according to Monty Python: In Judea, a boy is born in a manger a short distance from and about the same time, as Jesus Christ. Three wise men from the East are for a time deceived by this proximity into believing that he is the promised Messiah, but it soon becomes apparent that he is, in fact, only a hapless peasant named Brian. However, the "Life of Brian" causes plenty of commotion for the Roman Empire and leaves him desperate to escape his burgeoning popularity.

Specifications

  • Paramount Pictures
    2007, Color, Rated R, 2 Hr 42 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • English DD+ 5.1
  • Directed by David Fincher
  • Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr, Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, Elias Koteas
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Mild
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

Monty Python’s hilarious religious epic has always been a good time though I still prefer their take on King Arthur a bit more. This new release features a new HD transfer and some great supplements. Any fan of the comedy troop will love this new release! I only wonder how a film like this would be received if it was released new in our present society. Seems like this kind of comedy isn’t as well received as it used to be.

Technical

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from a release like this. The Monty Python films have never looked that great and production wasn’t always high on the list. Sony has done a good job with this HD presentation but its far from spectacular. The quality of the print varies significantly from scene to scene. At times the image is quite clean and detailed with nice definition and depth. I would say this is the state of the presentation for the majority of the time. The rest of the time the image suffers from film wear, some variation in color balance and grain. Some light edge enhancement was noticed in some of the backgrounds at times and there even looks like there is some compression noise in some of the backgrounds early in the film.

The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. Despite the surround sound recording this film stays firmly stationed in the front soundstage with little to no use of the surrounds; most of the time it comes off as monaural. Dialogue is a bit on the bright side and has an edginess to it and the score isn’t much better. The soundtrack as a whole is recorded on the loud side and has a shrill quality to it that can be wince inducing at times. Again I wasn’t expecting much from the presentation but it seems like this soundtrack could have been balanced a lot better.

Extras

Lots of extras on this release though it isn’t the 2-disc set it was originally announced as. I don’t know what supplements, if any, that Sony cut out. There are two feature commentaries, a documentary on the film, a new illustrated take on the original screenplay (quite funny), deleted scenes, ads and some trailers. While not as complete as the Criterion release, there are still some great supplements here.



"White Noise" (HD DVD)

movie-white-noise-hd.jpgSynopsis

When architect Jonathan Rivers loses his wife in a tragic accident, he turns to the shadowy, unnerving world of Electronic Voice Phenomenon - communication from beyond the grave. But as he begins to penetrate the mysteries of EVP, Jonathan makes a shocking discovery: once a portal to the other world is opened, there's no telling what will come through it.

 

Specifications

  • Universal, 2004, Color, Rated PG-13, 1 Hr 38 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • English Dolby True HD 5.1
  • English/French DD 5.1
  • Directed by Geoffrey Sax
  • Starring Michael Keaton, Deborah Kara Unger, Chandra West, Ian McNeice
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Mild

Commentary

I avoided this one at the theaters as the trailers didn’t do much for me and it looked like a weak attempt to penetrate the ghost market that had been getting a lot of attention lately from Japanese horror remakes. I didn’t care for the first part of this film but the middle ground actually ended up being quite good. The film does a good job of keeping the creepiness up and tension high. Unfortunately things fall apart fast in the very last act and what could have been a pretty solid thriller ends on a pretty low note. It is too bad the production couldn’t have been tightened up on the bookends.

Technical

Universal has been quite hit or miss lately with catalog releases and I was hoping for the best on this one. Thankfully, they delivered. The image has a very consistent quality to it and detail is exceptional. There are no signs of edge enhancement or compression artifacts and the image retains a very dimensional quality from beginning to end. There were a few longer shots that were a tad on the flat side, but they were very few and far between. Blacks are solid and shadow detail is consistently good. One of the better catalog releases from Universal.

The soundtrack is presented in lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and is pretty much a major character of this film. The sound design is quite good here and I was really impressed with the dynamics and range of the soundtrack. The front soundstage is quite open and very effective at creating mood. Some nice discrete surround work adds a lot to the ambience as well. There are plenty of moments that will get your goose bumps going or even get you to jump a bit. While not the best horror soundtrack I’ve heard, this one is quite solid and a good time.

Extras

Universal has ported over the DVD supplements for this release including a feature commentary, deleted scenes, a look at E.V.P. with real “specialists” and a look at some “real” E.V.P. recordings.



"War" (Blu-ray)

movie-war-bd.jpgSynopsis

After his partner is brutally murdered by the infamous assassin Rogue, FBI agent Jack Crawford vows to find the elusive killer and personally avenge his partner's death. But Crawford's thirst for vengeance jeopardizes his professional judgment, and as the violence escalates, he finds himself in the middle of a conflict between two rival Asian gangs. Now nothing is quite what it seems, and he must be prepared for war.

 

Specifications

  • Lionsgate
    2007, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 43 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.49=0:1
  • 1080p
  • English DD EX 5.1
  • Directed by Philip G. Atwell
  • Starring Jet Li, Jason Statham, John Lone, Devon Aoki, Luis Guzman
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Nudity
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

Despite Jet Li’s announcement that he would no longer be doing martial arts films, he is back in the saddle again. This time he’s pitted against English star Jason Statham in a rather by the numbers action thriller. The film is rather predictable in plot and by the end I didn’t care enough about the characters or the plot to be surprised by the big twist. As far as action popcorn films go this one is about average. There is plenty of shoot em’ up action, but not enough intrigue to keep me coming back for more.

Technical

Lionsgate is really delivering some seriously solid presentations lately and this is no exception. The 1080p transfer is excellent with plenty of fine detail and lots of dimensionality. Contrast is solid and adds a lot to the depth of image and shadow detail is solid. Colors are slightly on the exaggerated side at times but it gives the image some pop. Fine object detail is excellent and near the quality that we saw with Lionsgate’s exceptional transfer of Crank. Overall a great video presentation.

Lionsgate continues to favor 7.1 discrete audio presentations. This one is delivered in PCM and overall does a great job with a formulamatic “action” soundtrack. The sound design doesn’t bring anything new to the table but is chocked full of dynamic shoot outs and roaring car engines. The track is immersive enough and I like the use of the rear soundstage. The soundtrack also adds some nice low end to the mix. While it doesn’t bring anything new or exciting to the table, it is effective for what it is.

Extras

War is Lionsgate’s first profile 1.1 (or “bonus view”) Blu-ray title. It includes a picture-in-picture commentary track and look behind the scenes of the film while it is playing. This is the third Blu-ray studio to take advantage of the new features that profile 1.1 Blu-ray players can take advantage of. Lots more supplements included as well. There are quite a few production features, a gag reel, deleted scenes, a trivia track and a game. This disc also supports bookmarking, a feature that I hope becomes more common with Blu-ray releases.



"Man on Fire" (Blu-ray)

movie-man-on-fire-bd.jpgSynopsis

What do you do when you discover everything you believe is a lie and your freedom an illusion? Entering forbidden territory, Takeru has uncovered Eden's most closely guarded secret -- and finds himself being hunted by the Guidance Council. Shattered and disillusioned, Takeru recklessly attempts to escape to the only place he can discover the truth -- and secure his freedom.

 

Specifications

  • Twentieth Century Fox
    2004, Color, Rated R, 2 Hr 26 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • 1080p
  • English DTS-Master HD 5.1
  • Spanish/French DD 5.1
  • Directed by Tony Scott
  • Starring Denzel Washington, Dakota Fanning, Christopher Walken, Radha Mitchell, Marc Anthony, Mickey Rourke
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras: 0.5
  • Violence: Strong
  • Sex: No
  • Language: Strong

Commentary

Easily one of my favorite films by Tony Scott,  Man on Fire is an intense ride that is tightly directed and delivers in every regard. Washington is in top form in a role that is quite a departure from his normal “good guy” role and shows a darker side of the actor. Despite the long running time this film’s intensity makes for a captivating ride that is both brutal and touching. I can’t recommend it more.

Technical

This was one of my favorite transfers on the short lived D-Theater format and Fox has exceeded even that presentation with this one. This is a gorgeous HD transfer. The new AVC encode is top notch in every regard. Fine object detail is breathtaking at times and close ups deliver the kind of detail we normally see from a film shot digitally. Fine film grain is also preserved perfectly lending to a picture that has a film quality without a hint of softness. This is a very stylized image with intense contrast and colors that are slightly exaggerated but it works wonders for the look and feel of the film. Depth of image is on par with the best transfers I’ve seen to date and the dimension of everything on screen gives you that feeling of looking through a window. A tremendous visual presentation.

This was one of the most intense D-Theater soundtracks I had and this new lossless DTS-HD Master Audio mix takes it up a notch. The soundstage is very rich in detail and depth with imaging that gets lost in the room. You really get the sense of being in the soundstage instead of just listening to it. Dynamics are superb, especially in the gun fights, with no sign of compression at all. The bass response of this soundtrack can be quite intense at times, especially from the musical selections. The clarity of some of the music rivals high quality CD reproductions and provides a glimpse of just how good music could sound if authored for these new formats. A thrilling 5.1 mix all around and one that I’m sure I’ll use for lots of demos in the future.

Extras

Unfortunately Fox did not see it fit to include any extras pertaining to the film on this one except the trailer. Shame; at these prices you’d expect a lot more. There are some trailers for a few other Fox releases though.

 



"Con Air" (Blu-ray)

movie-con-air-bd.jpgSynopsis

A prison parolee on his way to freedom faces impossible odds when the maximum security transport plane he's on is skyjacked by the most vicious criminals in the country ... led by the infamous murderer Cyrus "The Virus" Grissom.

 

Specifications

  • Touchstone
    1997, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 55 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • English PCM 5.1
  • English/French/Spanish DD 5.1
  • Directed by Simon West
  • Starring: Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, Ving Rhames
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Themes
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

Producer Jerry Bruckheimer delivers another over the top action spectacle that spares nothing in terms of big summer spectacle. Unfortunately the film feels like a director doing everything he can to make a big Michael Bay film, without Bay in the helm. The plot has some serious holes in it but the production value is high making it at least a fun, yet completely unbelievable ride. If you can get past some of the trailer worthy lines there is some fun to be had here.

Technical

Con Air makes its HD debut in fine form with a solid presentation without only a few gripes. The image has plenty of detail and I was impressed with the level of depth you can find throughout. Unfortunately edge enhancement is noticed on occasion and at times gives the image a bit too much edginess. Colors are slightly subdued and contrast is slightly lacking. I was surprised how clean the image looked though with only minor film grain popping in on some of the darker shots. I would say the image has been noise reduced but it doesn’t look like detail has taken a hit at all. Far better looking than the DVD presentation and a nice catalog release from Buena Vista.

The soundtrack is exactly what you’d expect from a summer action film; plenty of explosions, gun shots and loudness. I couldn’t help feel that dynamics were compressed though. While there is plenty of bass, action sequences tend to sound limited in separation between the upper and lower end condensing the sound stage a bit and the overall experience. This is easy to spot if you compare it to a film with good range. The track does make great use of the surround environment though with plenty of panning effects and discrete channel use. Dialogue is balanced well with the rest of the track and timbre is natural. While not a reference soundtrack by any means, it still gets the job done.

Extras

Not much in terms of extras here. You get two production features including a look at some of the special effects shots and the trailer.



"SOS! Tokyo Metro Explorers: The Next" (Blu-ray)

movie-tokyo-metro-bd.jpgSynopsis

In the summer of 2006, 5th grader Ryuhei Ozaki discovers a journal, "Tokyo Exploring Records," which was written by his father Shohei when he was young. Ryuhei forms his own exploration team with his online friends, Shun and Yoshio. One day during summer vacation, the three boys along with Ryuhei's brother, who happens to sneak along, go down a manhole into the sewers looking for a hidden treasure indicated on their father's map. Not imagining anyone would be down there, they make surprise encounters with many odd, yet friendly grown-ups living underground, including a man called Matakichi. Just as they begin to enjoy the adventure, the underground turns into a combat zone involving an old, self-proclaimed Japanese soldier and even Yoshio’s cousin Momoyo. Will the kids be able to discover the "Treasure of Japan" hidden underground?

 

Specifications

  • Bandai Visual
    2006, Color, Unrated, 40 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • 1080p
  • Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1
  • Japanese PCM 2.0
  • Directed by Shinji Takagi
  • Starring Voices of Various People
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Mild
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

I’m not familiar with this production much and I have the feeling it is part of series that I haven’t seen before. Some of the older characters seem like they have something going on that you should be aware of, but if you only see this you’re left a bit in the dark. The story reminds me a bit of something out of a Hardy Boys type story like I read when I was young. It is simple in nature and fitting for an episode of an adventure series for kids. The only problem is you don’t have much background on who the characters are unless there are more episodes that I’m not aware of. Overall I still found the show interesting, but I felt a bit lost at times.

Technical

So far I’ve been quite impressed with Bandai’s HD offerings and this is no exception. The anime style looks great in HD and you really get a sense of just how detailed the hand drawn environments are. The 3-D character design integrates well with the environment but can look a bit simple in comparison at times. Colors are clean and quite good looking, without the need for oversaturation or vibrant hues. I did see some slight line twitter on occasion with some of the CG details, but nothing too distracting. The animation was devoid of banding, which is always a plus. Overall these Bandai presentations have given me really high hopes for more feature length CG offerings in HD.

The soundtrack is presented in Dolby TrueHD. Fans may be pleased to find the HD Dolby trailer for TrueHD included on the disc as well. For what is essentially a short cartoon, the sound design is quite impressive. There is a nice sense of atmosphere when the kids go underground with exceptional use of the surround channels to create an echoing effect. The little bit of action that takes place sounds pretty good with some decent range in the low end and nice envelopment. Dialogue is still a bit on the higher level compared to the main track, an issue I seem to notice with most anime offerings. Considering what this production is though, this is a nice soundtrack
So far I’ve been quite impressed with Bandai’s HD offerings and this is no exception. The anime style looks great in HD and you really get a sense of just how detailed the hand drawn environments are. The 3-D character design integrates well with the environment but can look a bit simple in comparison at times. Colors are clean and quite good looking, without the need for oversaturation or vibrant hues. I did see some slight line twitter on occasion with some of the CG details, but nothing too distracting. The animation was devoid of banding, which is always a plus. Overall these Bandai presentations have given me really high hopes for more feature length CG offerings in HD.

The soundtrack is presented in Dolby TrueHD. Fans may be pleased to find the HD Dolby trailer for TrueHD included on the disc as well. For what is essentially a short cartoon, the sound design is quite impressive. There is a nice sense of atmosphere when the kids go underground with exceptional use of the surround channels to create an echoing effect. The little bit of action that takes place sounds pretty good with some decent range in the low end and nice envelopment. Dialogue is still a bit on the higher level compared to the main track, an issue I seem to notice with most anime offerings. Considering what this production is though, this is a nice soundtrack.

Extras

Extras include a production feature that goes over the animation style, interviews, a feature commentary and the trailer.



"Timecop" (HD DVD)

movie-timecop-bd.jpgSynopsis

In the year 2004, time travel is not only a reality, but an opportunity to alter the past for power and profit.

 

Specifications

  • Universal
    1994, Color, Rated R, 1 hr 38 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • English/French DD 5.1
  • Directed by Peter Hyams
  • Starring Jean-Claude Van Damme, Ron Silver, Mia Sara
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras: 0
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

One of the last big budget films for action star Van Damme, Timecop was actually one of his better films. By today’s standards it doesn’t hold up that well, but I thought it was entertaining back when it was first released. The film centers on a cop who patrols different times to prevent criminals from going into the past for criminal purposes that could alter time as we know it. He finds that the head of the program, and president hopeful, is his principal advisory and is going back to secure funds for his campaign. The special effects, while decent for its time, are a bit laughable now. The action is tame compared to the films of today and most of the production design is almost laughably bad. While I’m sure this did well in the mid-nineties, I don’t think it will find many audiences today.

Technical

This is a hard one to rate. The video presentation is very hit or miss. Things start off well and for the most part remain decent but a lot of the effects work makes this film look pretty bad. This includes a lot of softening effects and rampant grain. Thankfully there wasn’t any edge enhancement though. Colors are on the muted side but in line with most films of this decade. Contrast is decent but nowhere near exceptional. Depth of image remains pretty strong throughout the film but at times dimensionality suffers a bit. Overall an average transfer mainly due to production limitations.

The audio is presented in Dolby Digital Plus 5.1, which is odd considering Universal’s strong use of Dolby TrueHD soundtracks recently. Sound design is in line with the genre and consists of some action dynamics that are alright but not near reference quality. The soundtrack has edginess to it and comes off a bit thin most of the time. Bass can be impressive in certain moments but the rest of the track doesn’t impress much. Dialogue does sound strained at times and some of the ADR is noticeably bad.  On the bright side the 5.1 mix does extend quite a bit into the surround soundstage with some nice discrete use. Imaging overall is good but the track doesn’t have the spatial quality of some of the better 5.1 mixes out there.

Extras

Universal has delivered this one as a bare bones release.

 



"The Omega Man" (Blu-ray/HD DVD

movie-omega-man-bd.jpgSynopsis

 

Welcome to the future. Biological war has decimated life on Earth. Los Angeles is a windswept ghost town where Robert Neville tools his convertible through sunlit streets foraging for supplies. And makes damn sure he gets undercover before sundown, when other "inhabitants" emerge. Charlton Heston is Neville, fending off attacks by “The Family”, sinister neo-people spawned by the plague. He also becomes a man with a mission after meeting Lisa, another uninfected survivor - and guardian of some healthy children representing our species' hope.

Specifications

  • Warner Bros.
    1971, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 38 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
  • 1080p
  • English/French/Spanish/German/Italian Dolby Digital 1.0 (Blu-ray)
  • English/French/Spanish/German/Italian Dolby Digital Plus 1.0 (HD DVD)
  • Directed by Boris Sagal
  • Starring Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Nudity
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

With Will Smith’s recent blockbuster adaptation of Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend hitting screens it is no coincidence that Warner has decided to release this earlier adaptation of the famed horror novel to HD. I read the original novel quite some time ago and frankly I’ve been a bit disappointed with both adaptations though I felt the more recent one was a far more entertaining film. The Omega Man is more faithful to the book at times in the small details but goes a completely different direction with the protagonists in the film. The 70’s production value is almost laughable at times and hurts the film ultimately by robbing the production of any tension or true sense of horror given the events. Even the music is horrendous. Fans of the book should probably stick with the newer, but still flawed, release and skip this one.

Technical

This HD transfer is one of the better catalog titles I’ve seen in quite some time. The picture quality is spectacular in tighter close ups and daytime shots. Detail is outstanding and color definition is gorgeous. Some of the longer shots don’t fare as well though with heavy grain and obvious loss of resolution. Depth of image is exceptional most of the time and dimension is as good as most of the newest titles we’ve been seeing in HD lately. At times this clarity hurts the production though revealing how bad it can be at times in terms of props, makeup and locales. Still, it is always great to see just how good these older films can look in HD.

The soundtrack is presented in Dolby Digital mono but applying the right DSP methods can result in a decent front soundstage. I was surprised how bad the noise floor could be at times. You hear it kick in quite a bit with dialogue only to cut right out again when they stop talking. ADR is also horrible with bad synching and obvious dubbing through most of the film. The 70’s soundtrack does nothing for the atmosphere of the movie and instead comes off like something you’d hear from an older adult film or even a daytime TV show. Didn’t these people know that upbeat funk music isn’t going to lend to what amounts to a horror theme?

Extras

Warner has included an introduction to the film, a production feature and the trailer. There is also a ticket for one to the new adaptations of I Am Legend that is still in theaters now.



"Good Luck Chuck" (Blu-ray)

movie-good-luck-chuck-bd.jpgSynopsis

 

Meet Charlie Logan, he's a good luck charm and women are guaranteed to find true love after they sleep with him. But what seems like a blessing feels like a curse when he meets Cam, the girl of his dreams. Chuck will do anything - and anyone - to break the curse and get the girl in this raunchy, outrageous story.

Specifications

  • Lionsgate
    2007, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 41 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • 1080p
  • English PCM 7.1
  • English DD EX 5.1
  • Directed by Mark Helerich
  • Starring Dane Cook, Jessica Alba, Dan Fogler
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: Yes
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

Good Luck Chuck continues the trend of outrageous dating comedies with over the top frankness and lude laughs. Those looking for a cuddle up romantic comedy may want to steer clear but those looking for a rather frank sex comedy might be in for a good time. I’m of mixed opinion on this film. There are definitely some funny moments in it but some of the crude humor takes me out of it emotionally. At times the humor is so crude that it detracts from the value (see the penguin excrement for an example). The dating side is thin and there is NO chemistry between the leads, but the perverse side of the film does make it passable entertainment for those that aren’t too sensitive. In the end this reminds me a lot of the older sex comedies of the 80’s that were chocked full of useless nudity and gave the young teens a reason to watch Cinemax late at night.

Technical

Lionsgate delivers a solid HD presentation with only a few minor gripes. Color rendition is excellent with great hues and saturation and a complete lack of artifacts and noise. The outdoor shots are gorgeous in terms of color definition and depth of image. Longer shots are where the transfer comes a bit short. Detail is smeared a bit and focus uniformity drifts. I was actually a bit surprised by this. It affects the transfer regardless of the lighting too. Fine object detail is quite good in close ups and dimensionality is above average.

The 7.1 PCM mix is about what I would expect from a comedy and not the kind of soundtrack that really needs the rear channels. Surrounds are used for effective ambience and environmental cues, but don’t add to much to soundstage as a whole. Dynamics are on the weaker side but this is a dialogue driven soundtrack. Some of the musical selections liven things up a bit but only enough to broaden the soundstage a bit. Given the genre though, Lionsgate delivers a solid presentation of a cut and dry sound design.

Extras

Some funny extras on this one. You get a feature commentary, lots of production themed features, deleted scenes, some goofs and alternate scenes and a music montage.



"Mr. Woodcock" (Blu-ray)

movie-mr-woodcock-bd.jpgSynopsis

 

Scott stars as John Farley, a self-help author who returns to his hometown only to discover that his mother has fallen in love with his old high school nemesis, Mr. Woodcock - the gruff, no-nonsense gym teacher who had put him through years of mental and physical humiliation.

Specifications

  • New Line
    2007, Color, Rated PG-13, 1 Hr 28 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1
  • Directed by Craig Gillespie
  • Starring Billy Bob Thornton, Sean William Scott, Susan Sarandon, Ethan Suplee
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Mild
  • Language: Bad

Commentary

I had low expectations going into this one. The trailers didn’t do much for me but I knew there would probably be some laughs. The story overall is pretty predictable and at times you’ll almost feel guilty for laughing with some of Thornton’s antics, but in the end it ended up being an entertaining hour and a half. While I wouldn’t recommend a purchase, it wouldn’t be a waste of a rent.

Technical

The HD presentation is quite solid and near reference for this genre. Color rendition is solid and I was impressed with the saturation and deep hues throughout. Most of the outdoor scenes look spectacular. Fine detail is impressive but I couldn’t help feel like some of the image was slightly veiled giving some parts a rather glowing look. Contrast is strong and helps with dimension a lot and depth of image is outstanding. I didn’t see anything in terms of compression issues.

New Line looks to be continuing their working relationship with Mi Casa Multimedia as evident through their strong use of DTS-HD Master Audio and 7.1 soundtracks. Mi Casa seems to be a fan of 7.1 mixes. Honestly, this track really didn’t need it, but I guess it doesn’t hurt in the long run. Like most comedies this track relies heavily on dialogue and the soundtrack selections. Both work well with nice balance and timbre. Dynamics are fine, but this isn’t an aggressive track by any means. The 7.1 mix does add to the spatial quality of the ambience, but I didn’t hear too much from the rear soundstage.

Extras

Some deleted scenes, a production feature, some funny P.E. stories, and the trailer are included.