Saturday, January 31, 2009

RocknRolla Blu-ray Review

RocknRolla Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys Johnson
Disc Size: 21.6 GB
Film Size: 18.9 GB
Film Rating: R

Video
RocknRolla comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. Right off the bat you will notice the film's unique visual style, included it's muted color palette. The film looks very nice in high-def despite the visual style, with the only thing lacking are the black levels. Detail varies, but was mostly impressive. It's very nice all things considered, and certainly an upgrade from DVD. 8/10.

Audio
What is thankfully becoming more and more common with Warner, is a 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track. RocknRolla is quite dialogue heavy, and during those times it remains front and center, but certainly clear. As action in the film begins, the surround speakers come to life, and bring what I consider to be an immersive presentation. The film's music and effects sound nice in the surround area, and I was very pleased overall. 8/10.

Extras
Commentary by Director Guy Richie and Actor Mark Strong
Blokes, Birds, and Backhanders: Inside RockNRolla (15:03) (HD)
Guy's Town (8:32) (HD)
Deleted Scene: Will You Put The Cigarette Out? (2:00) (SD)
Digital Copy (Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media Player)

Extras certainly felt lacking, although what was included is fairly decent. Also included is a digital copy of the film, that is fortunately compatible with both PC and Mac. 3.5/10.

Blu-news Summary
RockNRolla was certainly an interesting film.....one that I could live with out ever seeing again. That being said, it definitely wasn't bad. It was unique in style, and something one would come to expect from Ritchie films. The film has a nice share of action and humor, which kept things interesting and viewable from beginning to end. In the end though, the film was definitely forgettable, and really didn't do anything great enough to make me want to revisit the title.

The Blu-ray release is great when it comes to video and audio, but extras certainly feel lacking. The added digital copy is nice for fans of the film, but the commentary track was boring, and the deleted scene did nothing. The featurettes are something certainly worth checking out though. RocknRolla is something not everyone will enjoy. I would recommend that you 'Give It A Rent First.'

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Pride And Glory Blu-ray Review

Pride And Glory Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys Johnson
Disc Size: 22.5 GB
Film Size: 19.6 GB
Film Rating: R

Video

Pride And Glory comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. The transfer is a mixed bag, as the film does have quite a look to it. It has a gritty look to it, and filled with a subtle layer of film grain from start to finish. Colors vary depending on the lighting and settings, but range from dull to vibrant. The film is sharp for the most part, and detail can also be amazing when the scene allows. This won't be something you will pop in to show somebody Blu-ray, but all considered it looks quite good. 7.5/10.

Audio
A 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track is included, and sounds quite nice. The track wasn't amazing, but it made a good use of the surround speakers when it comes to creating the environment for the film. The busy city noises come to life and add to the experience. Dialogue was front and center, and stayed clear from beginning to end. I'm glad we are getting more and more high-def audio tracks from Warner, and I give them kudos for that. 8/10.

Extras
Source Of Pride: The Making Of Pride & Glory (1:07:06) (SD)
Digital Copy (Compatible with iTunes and Windows Media Player)

We get a nice making of (despite it being in standard definition), as well as a digital copy that works on both iTunes and Windows Media players. 3/10.


Blu-news Summary
Pride And Glory was certainly an entertaining film, but had a lot of faults that kept me from truly loving the film. The biggest fault of the film was how predictable it was, I mean it was always a bit obvious where the story was going. The acting was surprisingly good when it comes to Collin Farrell. Edward Norton brings a very nice performance as usual though, but the film didn't do anything that makes me want to watch it again.

The Blu-ray release is good, but certainly not amazing. The video is a mixed bag, as the source elements don't always translate well to high-def, but then it makes you question how bad the DVD is compared to the Blu-ray. I have a feeling the film looks a lot worse on DVD, than it does on Blu-ray due to the amount of detail that comes through in the Blu-ray presentation. The audio experience is nice, and created a nice environment for the film. Extras are certainly lacking, but everything from the DVD release is included. Pride And Glory is not a film I would recommend buying, but if you are interested I would 'Give It A Rent' first.

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Zack And Miri Blu-ray Review

Zack And Miri Make A Porno Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys Johnson
Disc Size: 43.3 GB
Film Size: 23.2 GB
Film Rating: R

Video
Zack And Miri comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The high-def presentation is nothing short of stunning. Detail is top notch, and colors are rich and vibrant. Detail was very nice, from pores to clothing, it all just pops. Black levels are also very nice, and rarely did a scene not look impressive. There are very small portions of the film that are filmed with a standard definition camera, to give a view from the cheap camera Zack and Miri used for the sex scenes. Other than that this presentation is sure to impress. 9/10.

Audio
The 5.1 Dolby TrueHD audio track included was very nice, and surpassed my expectations. yes the film is extremely dialogue heavy, like the majority of comedies. That doesn't stop it from providing a great high-def audio experience. The film's music is quite aggressive during specific scenes, and the film's small effects sounded quite nice as well. Dialogue was front and center at all times, and was always clear. It's not going to amaze, but it's certainly pleasing. 8/10.

Extras
Popcorn Porn: The Making Of Zack And Miri (1:14:48) (SD)
Deleted Scenes (1:35:02) (HD)
Money Shots: A Series Of Webisodes (Introduction by Kevin Smith & Seth Rogen) (47:44) (SD)
Comic-Con 2008 (23:09) (SD)
Gang Bang: Outtakes, At-Libs And Bloopers (13:00) (SD)
Seth vs. Justin: Battle For Improvisational Supremacy - Part 1 (7:24) (SD)
BD-Live (Feature not available yet)

We get quite a few extras, and they are all actually very entertaining. The Making of talks about casting, what the cast thought about each other, Kevin Smith's thoughts and much more. Deleted scenes are all in high-definition, and funny too. Money Shots is a hilarious series of Webisodes featuring the cast, I really enjoyed this extra.
Comic-Con 2008 features footage from the event, featuring questions from the audience to Kevin Smith, as well as the cast. Gang Bang Outtakes is a collection of bloopers, prepare to laugh. Seth vs. Justin is also a nice little extra, BD-Live has yet to go live, but expect there to be a list of Weinstein Blu-ray titles (current and upcoming) as well as a survey option. 7/10.

Blu-news Summary
Zack And Miri is a very funny film, with quite a bit of replay value. The humor is nothing unique, although I did find it very entertaining. Elizabeth Banks does an awesome job as Miri, and Seth Rogen manages to be the same character he always is. There are even small appearances from Justin Long, as well as Brandon Routh. The film is quite adult in nature and content, so if nudity or sexual conversation isn't something you want to see in a film, I would avoid this one, although it probably is no big deal if you are reading this review.

The Blu-ray release is fantastic, and top notch in every category. We have an impressive video presentation, a surprising audio experience, as well as quite the amount of extra content. Zack And Miri is certainly not for everyone, but to those interested It's certainly 'Recommended.'

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Street Fighter Blu-ray Review

Street Fighter: Extreme Edition Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys JohnsonDisc Size: 22.4 GB
Film Size: 19.2 GB
Film Rating: PG-13

Video
Street Fighter comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p VC-1 video presentation. The transfer caught me by surprise, as it was definitely better than I expected. The film has a ton of grain at times, but it still manages to be a nice high-def presentation all things considered. It definitely is in need of a remaster, but I don't see that ever happening. Colors vary from dull to vibrant, but a lot has to do with the lighting during the scenes when they are dull. Detail is quite impressive, particularly any close-ups. Black levels were also solid for the majority of the film. This isn't going to be any new reference material, but it looks very nice considering the film's age as well as look. 7/10.

Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included, and sounds very nice. The film is quite front heavy, but expands when the scenes are more necessary for surround use. Dialogue stays in the front, and is very clear. The film's action travels throughout the front and surround speakers, and sounds quite neat during any scenes involving guns. The music in the film varies from aggressive in the front to full surround use, and was quite nice as well. I really liked how everything sounded so clear together, and not as dull as I anticipated. Everything was brought to life and shines. 8/10.

Extras
My Scenes
Street Fighter IV Game Trailer (3:07) (HD)
Street Fighter IV Game Teaser Trailer (:36) (HD)
Street Fighter IV Anime Trailer (3:12) (HD)
The Making Of Street Fighter (5:55) (SD)
Outtakes (3:08) (SD)
Deleted Scene #1 (:56) (SD)
Deleted Scene #2 (1:12) (SD)
Storyboard Sequences (SD)
Video Game Sequences (:32) (:46) (SD)
Cyberwalk
Publicity Stills
Arcade Movie Game Trailer (:50) (SD)
Concept Drawings by Nikita Knatz
On The Street Fighter Set Gallery
Ad Campaigns Gallery
Trading Cards Gallery
Toys and Tie-Ins Gallery
Feature Commentary with Director Steven E. de Souza
BD-Live

The extras were alright, there actually is not much to them. The HD extras happen to be promotional material for the upcoming game, Street Fighter IV. There are more galleries than anything, and they are small pictures featured around a big border, press skip to move to the next image. BD-Live will be available come release date, and will include My Scenes sharing as well as sneak peeks of upcoming Universal Studios films.

Blu-news Summary
Street Fighter was quite stupid, and very cheesy, and pretty much bad. But I still found something to love about it, the feel of the film is surprisingly fun and funny. Maybe not everything was intentionally funny, but I got a bunch of laughs out of it. It may hold special meaning to some who grew up with this film, as I find stupid films that I grew up with to be some of my favorites. It's certainly hard to recommend this, but if possible give it a rent.

The Blu-ray release definitely looks good, and sounds better. The transfer doesn't always impress, but this is pretty much about as good as it gets for this film. Sound is nice, and even clearer than I had anticipated. Extras are alright, short and to the point, but there's really not as much there as it looks. Street Fighter on Blu-ray is 'Recommended For Fans,' but to others I would suggest giving it a rent if you are indeed interested.

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Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Drumline Blu-ray Review

Drumline: Special Edition Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys JohnsonDisc Size: 39.2 GB
FIlm Rating: PG-13

Video
Drumline comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation, and includes both the extended and theatrical versions via seamless branching. Colors are quite vibrant, and black levels were very deep. Detail ranges from decent to stunning, but stays above average for a catalog release. The transfer isn't perfect, a few scenes do look a bit more dull and soft compared to the overall presentation, but certainly not too bad. Fox has created a top notch presentation for Drumline, and manages to look very nice. 8.5/10.

Audio
A 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is included, and it sounds fantastic. All the performances managed to impress, making a nice use of the surround speakers. The instruments all sounded extremely clear, and really brings the experience to your living room. Dialogue was nice and clear at all times, staying front and center. I was also pleased with how well the environments sounded, just the small little touches of effects to bring a more immersive feel. As a catalog title, it blows many new releases out of the water when it comes to audio, and will certainly impress. 9/10.

Extras
Commentary by Director Charles Stone III (Theatrical version only)
Half-Time Heroes (14:02) (SD)
The Real Battle Of The Bands (9:00) (SD)
Anatomy Of A Drumline (9:28) (SD)
4 Deleted Scenes (Available with optional commentary) (1:51) (1:58) (1:02) (1:21) (SD)
Theatrical Trailer (2:08) (HD)

Blu-news Summary
I've never been a fan of Nick Cannon and his film career, or his music career, but he's fantastic as a band-geek. Honestly, he fit the part very well, and gave the film a lot of heart as well. The film in general may sound quite dumb, but I dug it. Just like sports flicks, Drumline has a lot of heart and the characters have so much passion and determination in what they do, and it translates well to a film.

The Blu-ray release is very nice, and I can say it was a pleasant surprise. We get another great catalog release from Fox, featuring top notch video and audio presentations. Also included are all the extras from the DVD release, and both cuts of the film. What more can fans of the film ask for? Drumline isn't for everyone, but it's certainly 'Worth A Look,' because there's a lot to love about it on Blu-ray.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Pretty Woman Blu-ray Review

Pretty Woman Blu-ray Review
Written by Loys JohnsonDisc Size: 38.1 GB
Film Size: 33.8 GB
Film Rating: R

Video
Pretty Woman comes to Blu-ray with a 1080p AVC/MPEG-4 video presentation. The film looks good, especially when considering the age of the film. I wasn't wowed at all, but everything was solid about it. Colors were vibrant, detail was nice, and black levels stayed quite solid, everything was just sharper in general. Grain haters may not enjoy the transfer as much though, as there is quite a bit of grain during the majority of the film. I never found it overly intrusive, and I'm glad it's there rather than DNR being applied to the transfer. The film definitely looks aged, but I can't see it looking much better. 7.5/10.

Audio
A 5.1 Uncompressed PCM audio track is included, and is just as I had imagined. The dialogue in the film is very heavy, and sounds about as clear as it could get. The film's music manages to make a decent use of the surround speakers, with certain selections more impressive and aggressive than others. The track is nice, and certainly an upgrade from the previous DVD release. 7/10.

Extras
Blooper Reel (2:36) (SD)
Live From The Wrap Party (4:07) (SD)
LA: The Pretty Woman Tour (9:11) (SD)
Audio Commentary
1990 Production Featurette (3:47) (SD)
Natalie Cole - "Wild Women Do" Music Video (4:13) (SD)
Theatrical Trailer (2:41) (SD)

We get all the extras from the previous DVD release, and they look terrible. Not only are the extras in standard definition (which is understandable), but they seem to be off a VHS-tape. The theatrical trailer was hideous, and I can't even describe how bad some of these extras look. A quick comparison to the DVD features the same issues. Also included is a $10 mail-in rebate for owners of the previous DVD release (Sin City being the other eligible title for Blu-ray upgrade. Expires May 31st, 2009)

Blu-news Summary
Pretty Woman's Blu-ray debut comes in the theatrical version, which I have noticed more people tend to enjoy over the Director's cut. Pretty Woman is a classic when it comes to chick flicks, featuring the fantastic Julia Roberts, and the acceptable Richard Gere. It may not be perfect, but there's a lot to love about it.

The Blu-ray release looks really good when it comes to upgrade, as the film has never looked good on previous releases, but overall it just doesn't compare to average Blu-ray releases. That being said though, any fans of the film should upgrade with out hesitation, as the Blu-ray is truly definitive as far as presentation goes, it's never looked better, and I can't see it looking or sounding any better than this Blu-ray presentation. Extras are all ported from the DVD release, and are entertaining if you can get past the quality. Pretty Woman on Blu-ray is 'Worth A Look', and 'Recommended' for fans.

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