Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Is Anybody There? Blu-ray Review

Disc Size: 21.2 GB
Film Size: 18.8 GB
Film Rating: PG-13
Region: A
Is Anybody There? comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. The film has a rather murky subdued look to it, something that lends itself mostly to stylistic choices and time setting for the film. Colors for the film are very muted and the high-def release presents them nicely.

The film is actually fairly dark, with many lower lit scenes than a regular film. There were some scenes that were not appealing at all in high-definition, but I would definitely blame the actual source over the transfer in this situation. The transfer did not feature any technical issues during the presentation, and film grain is always present.

This release won't really impress most high-def fans, rather than please, but it's definitely more to do with the actual style of the movie. It's quite bland looking when compared to most films, but there is still upgrade in overall sharpness and detail to be had by this high-def effort. 7/10.

Magnolia Home Entertainment has included a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track. Like the film the audio mix is quite quiet but surround use is terrific. I have to admit, I was not expecting it to be very immersive at all.

Surround use definitely adds to the experience of the film, it may be light but it's still immersive. We get a sense of the home, the many people throughout the home and everything going on in the home.

Take a moment and turn down your music, television, etc and try to listen to another family member in the room next to you. Those little noises, some very random and some very distinct add to our environment. The mix also does this very well and we get a sense of a fairly active home with many people rather than bland lifeless scenes.

While the audio isn't exactly the type of demo material most would use for their friends, particularly since it's of a light and quiet nature, it's still very pleasing and much better than I expected considering the type of film that it is. 8.5/10.


Deleted Scenes (7:07) (SD)
Five deleted scenes are included and presented in standard definition.

Also From Magnolia Home Entertainment Blu-ray (7:13) (HD)
Includes trailers for:
The Answer Man
Food, Inc.
World's Greatest Dad

A place where all your bookmarks from the film are placed, making it easy to return to where you left off in the film.

Currently unavailable.

There are not many extras at all, with deleted scenes the only actual bonus feature I consider an actual extra. The trailers are nice for those who are interested in other Magnolia releases, but they also play prior to the menu. Bookmarks have become a pretty common and basic feature for Blu-ray releases, while BD-Live is unavailable at time of writing. 2/10.

Blu-news Summary
The film stars the fantastic Michael Caine and while I didn't love the movie I did enjoy it. The film is about a ten-year-old boy named Edward whose home also happens to be a retirement home run by his parents.

The poor kid lives quite the dull life, there's not too much excitement to come from this retirement home, but he does make a friend with a retired man named Clarence. The movie is mostly about their friendship, but also tries to add a bit more depth with a few more characters and issues on the side.

The film also involves issues with Edward's parents, with his mother and their struggles with the business and his father and his mid-life crisis. Other senior citizens in the home are also given very distinct personalities but ultimately add nothing to the film besides running time.

The film can get a bit cheesy and unrealistic at times, but I suppose it does add to it's charm. Not everything can be nor should be believable, just smile and accept it for what it is. The film has very sad moments as there is much struggle the characters face and have had to face, but ultimately the film is a pleasant experience. 7/10.

The Blu-ray release is about as good as it gets considering certain stylistic choices. Video is fairly average among high-def releases due to it's very strict palette and style. Audio is actually very surprising and immersive, while extras are disappointing.

Overall this release is 'Worth A Look,' although whether it be a purchase or a rental is ultimately up to you.

Additional Screenshots:

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