Go to Home Page

Go to Index for All Movie Reviews.

 

Movie Renter's Guide
 

Number 152 - November, 2007

Part I

Staff

 


Now Playing
Divider

The Day After Tomorrow (Blu-ray) A Clockwork Orange (Blu-ray/HD DVD)
Hostel - Part II (Blu-ray) Twilight Zone - The Movie (Blu-ray/HD DVD)
Eyes Wide Shut (Blu-ray/HD DVD) Robocop (Blu-ray)
Inside Man (HD DVD) Scary Movie (Blu-ray)
Freedom - Vols. 1&2 (HD DVD) Mr. Brooks (Blu-ray)

Number 152 - November, 2007 - Part I

Number 152 - November, 2007 - Part II

Number 152 - November, 2007 - Part III

Movie Reviews Index

Divider

20th Century Fox

2004, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 Hr 4 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

1080p

 

English DTS-HD MA 5.1

French/Spanish DD 5.1

 

Directed by Roland Emmerich

 

Starring: Dennis Quaid, Jake Gyllenhaal, Ian Holm, Emmy Rossum, Sela Ward

 

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Yes

Sex

No

Language

Mild

"The Day After Tomorrow" (Blu-ray)

Synopsis

When global warming triggers the onset of a new ice age, tornadoes flatten Los Angeles, a tidal wave engulfs New York City, and the entire Northern Hemisphere begins to freeze solid.

Now, climatologist Jack Hall, his son Sam, and a small band of survivors must ride out the growing super storm and stay alive in the face of an enemy more powerful and relentless than any they've ever encountered: Mother Nature!

Commentary

This was one of those big summer popcorn spectacles that I missed in theaters but had a good time with on DVD, D-Theater, and now Blu-ray. It reminds me a lot of Emmerich's previous offerings (ID4) in scope and seriousness. There are plenty of cool special effects, action, and intense moments to never leave you bored, but like ID4, it can be a bit over the top at times, and a bit campy.

Technical

As I mentioned before, I've owned this on several different formats, but the only fair comparison would be the D-Theater version. This was one of the better D-Theater releases from Fox (probably because it was so new at the time), and it's a pretty solid Blu-ray release. Detail is quite good throughout, especially fine detail, and the image has a nice sense of depth to it. Contrast can be a bit lacking at times, and the blacks seem slightly elevated. This is only in the darker moments of the film, but it collapses the image a bit and makes it appear slightly flat. I also noticed a touch of banding in a few instances. Overall though, this is a good-looking HD release and just a bit short of a reference transfer.

Well, I have a processor in for decoding DTS-HD Master Audio, and I am just awaiting shipment of the Blu-ray player to go along with it. Until then I am still stuck with the core DTS mix, which isn't shabby at all. The low bass is almost another character on this release it's around so much. And I mean LOW bass. The kind that can hurt drywall. From the opening credits on there are some ominous infrasonics and a very active soundstage. Surrounds are used aggressively to put you in the moment, especially during the storm sequences. I love the sound design of this film, which has plenty of dynamics and nice balance.

Extras

Fox delivers some solid extras on this one. There are two feature commentaries, deleted scenes, a trivia track on global warming, the trailer, and an interactive game on global warming. The game wasn't that great, but it's nice to see Fox trying to take advantage of the Java capabilities of Blu-ray.

- Kris Deering -

Divider

Screen Gems

2007, Color, Unrated, 1 Hr 35 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

1080p

 

English Uncompressed PCM 5.1

English/French DD 5.1

 

Directed by Eli Roth


Starring Lauren German, Roger Bart, Heather Matarazzo, Bijou Phillips, Richard Burgi

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Extreme

Sex

Mild

Language

Strong

"Hostel - Part II" (HD DVD)

Synopsis

The second installment to this terrifying franchise centers around three young American women who are studying in Rome. A gorgeous, sophisticated European acquaintance invites the trio to join her for a weekend getaway at an exotic natural spa, assuring them they will be able to relax, rejuvenate, and bond. The girls find themselves in Slovakia and check into the ill-fated Hostel, where they are poised to become victims for auction, pawns in the fantasies of the sick and privileged from around the world who secretly travel there to savor more grisly pursuits.

Commentary

This film starts right where the last one left off, but it's almost a straight carbon copy of the first. You have friends who are lured to a Hostel and systematically kidnapped to become victims to a bunch of rich sickos.

The film is inventive in its torture and gore, but unless you like to watch people get tortured or gutted in various ways, there isn't much here to see of interest. This uncut version is evidently even more gruesome than the theatrical version. Probably has something to do with the gunning down of children or castration.

Technical

While the content may not have much going for it, the transfer certainly does. This is a very contrasty image with deep, deep blacks and whites that can be slightly overdriven at times. The stylizing adds a lot to the image, and the dimensional quality is striking. Colors are also quite nice, with rich tones and detail. Even the blood looks REALLY good (as sick as that may sound). Fine film grain is resolved nicely, and I didn't see any signs of compression issues. Detail is superb, and the image is very sharp and very detailed throughout. A strong offering from Sony.

The soundtrack is presented in uncompressed PCM 5.1, and is full of atmosphere. The front soundstage is very wide and open, with great balance between the subtle details and the dialogue. The rear soundstage is constantly active and does a great job of conveying mood and adding to the sense of peril during the more intense sequences. Bass is a big factor in the ominous score and is deep and rich. Dynamic range is solid throughout. One of the better horror soundtracks I've heard lately.

Extras

Extras include deleted scenes, some production features, a gag reel that is pretty gross, interviews, and three separate commentaries.

- Kris Deering -

Divider

Warner Bros.

1999, Color, Unrated, 2 Hr 39 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

1080p

 

English Dolby TrueHD 5.1

English Uncompressed  5.1(BD)

English/French/Spanish/Japanese DD/DD+ 5.1

 

Directed by Stanley Kubrick


Starring Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Sydney Pollack

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Mild

Sex

Strong

Language

Yes

"Eyes Wide Shut" (Blu-ray/HD DVD)

Synopsis

Cruise plays Dr. William Hartford, who plunges into an erotic foray that threatens his marriage - and may even ensnare him in a lurid murder mystery - after his wife's admission of sexual longings. As the story sweeps from doubt and fear to self-discovery and reconciliation, Kubrick orchestrates it with masterful flourishes. Graceful tracking shots, controlled pacing, rich colors, startling images: bravura traits that make Kubrick a filmmaker for the ages are here to keep everyone's eyes wide open.

Commentary

I think this film always got a bad rap. For one, it's a thinking film that doesn't dumb itself down for the sake of the audience, and it's one of my favorite films about the doubt and jealousy that can plague relationships.

The journey takes its time, offering some titillating scenarios, but it also shows the downward spiral that some fantasies and escapades can lead to. A must-see in my opinion, and a welcome collection to the HD library.

This version contains the uncut version. The box says it contains both, but only the uncut version is accessible for some reason. The film isn't any longer. The CG characters are removed from the walk through later in the film at the house. It blows me away that someone actually thought the sexual images in this film were so bad that they warranted CG characters blocking the imagery yet no one has an issue with the extreme violence that I see repeatedly in horror and action films. I guess it would be the end of the world for our children to see the nature act of sex, but everything is hunky-dory when they see someone hack someone to pieces with an axe or worse. We live in ridiculous times.

Technical

I saw this film on opening day in theaters. I later had the chance to see it on DVD and on cable in HD. This is by far the best presentation I've seen so far, but don't expect gorgeous HD imagery. This has always been a very stylized movie with plenty of noise and filtering. The picture has always had a hazy quality to it that is exaggerated by the lighting used on the sets. Detail is better than I thought it would be here though, and the depth of the image is excellent. Despite the rather noisy image, compression never seems to be an issue. Contrast is also balanced well. Fans of this film won't be disappointed.

Warner decided to put an uncompressed PCM soundtrack on the Blu-ray release and a TrueHD soundtrack on the HD DVD release. Both sound the same, but the Blu-ray release is slightly louder at the same volume level. Despite the 5.1 mix, this is a very front heavy soundtrack. But the front soundstage can be quite open. Dialogue is clear and timbre is matched well across all main channels. I loved the dynamics of the film's musical selections and what they added to the otherwise dry soundtrack. The same can't be said for the score, which is somewhat muted and distant.

Extras

Extras include a great retrospective on Kubrick and this film, and A.I., the film eventually shot by Spielberg. It features some interesting interviews with the cast and other Hollywood heavyweights. There is also a feature on movies that Kubrick was gearing up to do. It really is a shame that this master filmmaker had to pass on. The supplements from the original DVD are also included, such as interviews and the trailer.

- Kris Deering -

Divider

Universal

2006, Color, Rated PG, 2 Hr 9 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

1080p

 

English Dolby TrueHD 5.1

English/French DD+ 5.1

 

Directed by Spike Lee


Starring Denzel Washington, Clive Owen, Jodie Foster, Christopher Plummer, Willem Dafoe, Terence Blanchard

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Mild

Sex

No

Language

Yes

"Inside Man" (HD DVD)

Synopsis

The perfect bank robbery quickly spirals into an unstable and deadly game of cat-and-mouse between a criminal mastermind, a determined detective, and a power broker with a hidden agenda. As the minutes tick by and the situation becomes increasingly tense, one wrong move could mean disaster for any one of them.

Commentary

I was really surprised when Universal didn't release this on HD DVD back when it premiered on DVD. This was one of their better releases from last year and a solid thriller from Spike Lee. The film has plenty of twists to the plot, and the acting is first rate. I've really been impressed with the last few movies from Spike Lee, who has been going away from his early style of filmmaking. If you haven't had the chance to see this one yet, it is definitely worth checking out.

Technical

This is a good looking transfer from Universal. The source is in very good shape, which is what I would expect from a newer film such as this. Detail is excellent all around, but the stylized nature of the photography keeps this one from being one of those ultra sharp standout HD transfer. Nothing wrong with that, just noting it.

Contrast is excellent, and I was particularly impressed with the level of shadow detail and the lack of noise in the darker sequences. Some of the interrogation footage has some clipped whites and minor noise, but this was also the case during its theatrical run. The image has a very dimensional quality, thanks in part to the contrast, but also the visual style. I don't think fans of the film will be disappointed.

Universal includes a nice Dolby TrueHD soundtrack for this one. This soundtrack is a nice balance of all elements. The dialogue is clean and devoid of any strain. Balance across the mains is exceptional, creating a very open front soundstage with nice panning from channel to channel. The surrounds do a nice job of creating a realistic soundscape and giving you the sensation of being in the room. Dynamics are good, but this isn't a big action movie, so don't expect too much here.

Extras

Extras are in line with the DVD release and include deleted scenes, a feature on the collaborative efforts of Denzel and Spike Lee, a feature commentary, and a production feature.

- Kris Deering -

Divider

Bandai Visual

2006, Color, Unrated, 25 min each

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1

1080p

 

Japanese DD+ 5.1

Japanese Linear PCM 2.0

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Mild

Sex

No

Language

No

"Freedom - Vols. 1&2" (HD DVD Hybrid)

Synopsis

Based on characters designed by Katsuhiro Otomo, three bike racing teenagers born on the Moon uncover a terrible secret about the fate of their original home world earth and seek to uncover the truth from Eden, the organization that governs the moon colony.

Commentary

Like most anime releases, Freedom is a series based release, with each episode coming out individually on twin format HD DVD discs. These are the first twin format discs I've used on the format so far. Essentially you have one layer of the dual layer disc in the HD DVD format (HD-15) and the other layer is a standard DVD (DVD-5). In the setup menu of all HD DVD players, there is an option for which layer you prefer to use. Obviously I chose the HD DVD layer. This series was released as part of a marketing campaign for Nissen noodles, the famous "Cup of Noodles" brand. You see the product quite a bit during the series, but it doesn't dictate anything. This reminds me of the BMW films.

I've only had the chance to watch the first two episodes, but so far this is a lot better than I was expecting. The story is interesting enough, and the animation is more than acceptable, and barely below the higher budget Anime films. If you are a fan of Anime in any way, this is a series worth a look.

Technical

Each disc has one episode on it, and each episode is just short of a half hour in length. The animation style is typical of most Anime series releases, with detailed backgrounds mixed with hand drawn characters and some CG elements. Detail is quite good in the characters and not bad in the backgrounds. Some of the wider shots are on the soft side though. I did notice some banding from time to time, but it's rare and usually in transitional shots. The biggest annoyance are the random jaggies and stair stepping you see in some of the animation from time to time. This is probably a limitation of the production, but it caught my eye quite a bit. While nowhere near as bad as most video games out there, it is annoying enough. Color rendition is excellent though, and the balance of contrast is exceptional. Even though this isn't CG animation, depth of image is surprisingly good at times, even during the hand drawn segments.

The audio is delivered in its original Japanese language and is encoded in DD+ 5.1. It is a very active soundtrack during the underground racing sequences and has some interesting sound design. While not nearly as intense as the pod race sequence from Episode 1, it has its moments with some nice panning effects and low end presence. Dialogue matches with the onscreen action well, and the balance across the main channels is quite good. Overall, the disc was more than I expected from a release like this.

Extras

These discs are a standout in terms of special features, despite being short.

- Kris Deering -

Divider

Warner Bros.

1971, Color, Rated R, 2 Hr 17 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1

1080p

 

English Dolby TrueHD 5.1

English Uncompressed  5.1(BD)

English/French/Spanish/German/ Italian DD/DD+ 5.1

 

Directed by Stanley Kubrick


Starring Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Adrienne Corri, Miriam Karlin

 

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Yes

Sex

Yes

Language

Yes

"A Clockwork Orange" (Blu-ray/HD DVD)

Synopsis

Stomping, whomping, stealing, singing, tap-dancing, violating. Derby-topped teddy-boy hooligan Alex has his own way of having a good time. He has it at the tragic expense of others. Alex's journey from amoral punk to brainwashed proper citizen forms the dynamic arc of Stanley Kubrick's future-shock vision of Anthony Burgess' novel. Unforgettable images startling musical counterpoints, the fascinating language used by Alex and his pals - Kubrick shapes them into a shattering whole.

Commentary

Surprisingly, this is one of my least favorite Kubrick films. It is easy to see how many other films it has inspired (including a personal favorite of mine, Trainspotting), but the pacing and humor of the movie make it a bit to whimsical for my tastes and seem to distract from the point of the film.

It reminds me a bit of Natural Born Killers in this sense, where dark humor overshadows the rather disturbing aspect of the subject matter. I love the photography of the film though, and the acting is superb. Kubrick's films have always had a hit or miss quality with audiences, and I can see why so many are divided from film to film. This one left me wanting more.

Technical

The visual style of this film is interesting. It has a very 70's glam look going for production, which makes for a very colorful presentation. Lots of reds, greens, and blues. The image looks detailed enough in tighter shots but loses a bit in longer shots. The print is in excellent condition though making this a surprisingly clean and artifact free presentation.

There is a bit of a hazy quality to the image, and contrast is generally lacking, but depth of image doesn't suffer nearly as much as I would have expected given these attributes. Overall I would say it's is a very good presentation of this stylized film, but fans of crisp razor sharp imagery will most likely be disappointed.

Like most of Kubrick's films, this is a very front heavy mix. The film's score widens up the soundstage a bit, and lends some dynamic heft, but the surround soundstage is largely unused. I was impressed with the presence offered by the film's score, especially the classical music selections, but the dialogue was a bit disappointing. The voice work is on the shrill side and can be a bit fatiguing. There is even some hiss that accompanies the already bright dialogue. I don't know if this is a limitation of the production or the quality of the master, but it was distracting. The narration doesn't suffer the same fate, as McDowell's voice is lower.

Extras

Extras include a feature commentary with McDowell and a historian. You also get a feature on the film and its effect on Hollywood and cinema, as well as a production feature. The trailer is also included.

- Kris Deering -

Divider

Warner Bros.

1983, Color, Rated PG, 1 hr 41 mins

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

1080p

 

English Dolby TrueHD 5.1

English DD/DD+ 5.1

French/Spanish DD/DD+ 1.0

 

Directed by John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, George Miller


Starring Dan Aykroyd, Albert Brooks, Scatman Crothers, John Lithgow, Vic Morrow, Kathleen Quinlan

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Yes

Sex

No

Language

Mild

"Twilight Zone - The Movie" (Blu-ray/HD DVD)

Synopsis

1959. Friday nights. We time-traveled. Witnessed surprising twists. Entertained aliens. Experienced fear. And first journeyed to The Twilight Zone of Rod Serling's memorable TV series. And guided by four imaginative moviemakers, we traveled there again in 1983.

Directors John Landis, Steven Spielberg, Joe Dante, and George Miller fashion stories based on or inspired by classic episodes. Landis weaves the tale of a bigot who gets a walloping dose of his own hatred. Spielberg takes over with a fable of senior citizens offered a magical rejuvenation. Dante serves up a terror trip with a child who uses his cartoon-inspired power to enslave his family. Then fright goes aloft with Miller's finale about a neurotic passenger who sees a monster on a jetliner's wing. Or does he?

Commentary

This was one of my favorite TV series growing up as a child. Sure, a lot of these stories are a bit intense for a young one, but that didn't stop me from watching them. I find it unbelievable that this is the first time Warner has released this gem on DVD. Thankfully, they released it on HD as well. All four short films are excellent in their own right. My particular favorites are Spielberg's and Miller's. Spielberg's has a majestic feel to it and as I've grown older I can appreciate the magic and the message more and more. Miller's is a classic case of terror and fright. Even to this day it's a scary ride. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone who has problems with flying! A must have for film and horror fans alike.

Technical

I really didn't know what to expect from this one. It's been awhile since I've seen it, and I think the last few times I did it was on TV. The source element seems to be in pretty good shape. There is some film grain and some occasional print noise, but otherwise it is cleaner than I would have expected.

Detail wavers a bit from scene to scene. Close-ups look good, but longer shots can be on the softer side. Contrast is the biggest weakness. Black is not something you'll see on the screen with this one. Instead, you get more of a gray, lending to the rather flat look in darker moments. Film grain is also heavier during these times. Colors have that 80's look to them, a bit washed out. It definitely looks the way I remember it, but it's a far cry from some of the better looking HD transfers from older films.

The soundtrack has been retooled for 5.1, and both versions get a TrueHD soundtrack to boot. There are some rather hokey panning effects at times, which some people may or may not like. The soundstage is a bit on the front heavy side, but you can tell they did what they could to get some use out of the surrounds. Dynamics are limited, and the sound design definitely shows its age. The bottom end is there when it needs to be, but it sounds a bit on the forced side. Dialogue sounds good for the most part, with only some slight strain. While the mix does show its age, it was better than I was expecting.

Extras

Surprisingly, the only extra is the theatrical trailer. I was expecting to see something along the lines of a retrospective, given the talent that went into this production.

- Kris Deering -

Divider

MGM

1987, Color, Unrated, 1 Hr 43 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

1080p

 

English DTS-HD MA 5.1

English DD 4.0

French/Spanish DD 5.1

 

Directed by Paul Verhoeven


Starring Peter Weller, Nancy Allen, Daniel O'Herlihy, Ronny Cox, Kurtwood Smith

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Strong

Sex

Mild

Language

Strong

"Robocop" (Blu-ray)

Synopsis

In the near future, Detroit slowly becomes the spawn-ground for crime. Private companies eventually seize control of local law enforcement to ensure a secure urban pacification program. Just assigned to the Metro West Precinct, Officer Alex Murphy is beaten by a gang. At the same time, a young visionary executive, Bob Morton, seizes the chance to create the perfect cop. The near death Murphy is used as the subject.

With his memories erased, he is resurrected as Robocop, the future of law enforcement. As he sweeps away with crime, case by case, he eventually becomes involved with the gang that killed him and his ex-partner. All of this triggers dormant memories of his past life as he searches for who he really is, and uncovers a conspiracy going deep into the company that created him.

Commentary

Watching this film now, it is unbelievable that my parents let me see this when I was in junior high school. I saw it during its theatrical run and LOVED it. But I was an action junkie like the rest of the boys my age. The film still stands up after all these years, though it's another film with an interesting look on what our "future" may bring.

This Blu-ray release features the uncut version of the film, which is quite a bit more violent than the already ultra violent theatrical cut. Personally, I didn't see the need for the extra gore and thought the theatrical cut was about as far as it needed to go. You still get the point, and it doesn't overshadow the action or story as much.

Technical

I don't think I've ever seen this movie look "good". It's always looked a bit on the soft side, and the special effects don't help much. The HD presentation gets rid of a lot of the noise we saw with the DVD releases, but detail is only slightly improved. The image still has a hazy quality to it, and film noise and grain are still quite evident. I think it would take a lot to make this film look really good, and I don't think we'll see it anytime soon. This is better looking than the Criterion release I owned before, but it doesn't hold up as well against the other HD releases on the market.

The soundtrack is delivered in DTS-HD Master Audio, and again I was a bit underwhelmed. The sound design is quite aggressive, but the constraints of the dynamic range and age of the production hold it back. There is still plenty of action to liven things up, but the bass isn't what I remembered it to be. The soundstage is still pretty active, with nice use of the surround environment, and dialogue isn't annoyingly bright or edgy. While not a total disappointment, there is definitely room for improvement.

Extras

No extras on this one, but there are some trailers.

- Kris Deering -

Divider

Dimension Films

2000, Color, Rated R, 1 hour 28 mins

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

1080p

 

English Uncompressed PCM 5.1

English/French DD 5.1

Spanish DD 2.0

 

Directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans


Starring Jon Abrahams, Carmen Electra, Shannon Elizabeth, Anna Faris, Kurt Fuller, Regina Hall, Marlon Wayans, Shawn Wayans

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Comic

Sex

Yes

Language

Yes

"Scary Movie" (Blu-ray)

Synopsis

A familiar-looking group of teenagers find themselves being stalked by a more-than-vaguely recognizable masked killer! As the victims begin to pile up and the laughs pile on, none of your favorite scary movies escape the razor-sharp satire of this outrageously funny parody!

Commentary

I was never a big fan of this film. It is essentially a parody of Scream, but it takes jabs at other popular horror films and pop culture novelties as well. The second film was better in my opinion, and then it went REALLY downhill from there. I am not one who likes this type of comedy, and I've never been much on parodies.

Technical

I guess this release is tailored around Halloween, but I'm not positive on that. The video presentation is decent, but has some glaring issues at times. For one, it's obviously gone through some noise reduction filtering. A lot of detail looks pasty at times, and close-ups seem to suffer the worse. Whites are overdriven on occasion and this hurts detail even more.

Consistency isn't this transfers strong point. Colors are good for the most part, but contrast is on the weaker side. While it is a step up from its DVD counterpart, it pales in comparison to the HD presentation of the fourth installment.

A 5.1 PCM soundtrack is included, and for the most part it's fun. There isn't anything that stands out in general, but there isn't really anything bad about it either. Dialogue always sounds clean, with no obvious distortion, and it's balanced with the main channels well. Surrounds are used mainly to enhance the score, but there are some occasional discrete effects. Since this is a comedy release, I wasn't expecting too much on the soundtrack side, and that is exactly what I got.

Extras

Extras include a production feature, deleted scenes, and the trailer.

- Kris Deering -

Divider

MGM

2007, Color, Rated R, 2 hours

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

1080p

 

English DTS-HD MA 5.1

Spanish DD 5.1

 

Directed by Bruce Evans


Starring Kevin Costner, William Hurt, Dane Cook, Demi Moore, Danielle Panabaker

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

Violence

Strong

Sex

Yes

Language

Yes

"Mr. Brooks" (Blu-ray)

Synopsis

Consider Mr. Brooks a successful businessman. A generous philanthropist. A loving father and devoted husband. Seemingly, he's perfect. But Mr. Brooks has a secret: he is also the notorious Thumbprint Killer, and no one has ever suspected it . . . until now.

Commentary

I was lucky enough to see this one in theaters this summer and enjoyed it immensely. It got a lukewarm reception at the box office, and frankly I'm surprised. Solid thrillers are hard to come by these days, and this one had far more right than wrong.

Costner turns in one of his best performances in years (which is saying a lot considering he is still one of the most underrated actors out there) and Hurt is also brilliant as his split personality.

There is some weakness in the side plots, but the dynamic of the split personality, the pacing, and the twists more than make up for it. One of the best thrillers in recent times.

Technical

MGM hasn't been releasing much lately, aside from some uncompelling catalog releases. This new day and date release features one of their best A/V presentations to date. This film just barely missed a reference score. I saw a few hints of blocking in some very short segments that just knocked it down a pinch. Otherwise, this is a gorgeous HD presentation with some of the best detail I've seen to date.

I think there will be some naysayers who will complain about the darker look of the image. The blacks are slightly elevated but more realistic to what the photography would reveal in low light. Shadow detail is still exceptional though, as is depth. Colors are bold without being blown out. Again, the level of detail you see in the transfer is nothing short of jaw dropping. Bravo to MGM on this one.

This film gets the typical MGM/Fox DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Overall, I liked it quite a bit, but there are times when the dynamics are a bit much. Normally that isn't an issue, but some of the brief action scenes in this film are recorded and presented FAR louder than the rest of the film. While this does wonders for the "jump" effect of the thrills, it is a great example of being mixed a bit too loud in comparison to the rest of the track. Ambience is superb throughout though, and I loved the subtle use of the surrounds to lend to the atmosphere. Bass is tight and heavy when needed. The film's soundtrack also lends a lot to the mood and thrills of the show. A very solid audio presentation.

Extras

Extras include a feature commentary, deleted scenes, some production features, a trivia track, and the theatrical trailer.

- Kris Deering -

Divider

 
Copyright 2007 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

Go to Table of Contents for this Issue.

Go to Home Page.

 

About Secrets

Register

Terms and Conditions of Use