XenForo Template JFK Director's Cut Release Date: November 11, 2008 Studio: Warner Home Video Packaging/Materials: Single-disc "Digibook" case Year: 1991 Rating: R Running Time: 3h25m MSRP: $34.99 MAIN FEATURESPECIAL FEATURESVideo1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1May be in standard definitionAudioDolby TrueHD: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: English 5.1, French 5.1Audio standards my varySubtitlesEnglish and FrenchNone Note: Portions of this review include material from Herb Kane's 2003 review of the two-disc special edition DVD and are in italics. The entirety of Kane's write-up can be read here. The Feature: 4/5 New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) embarks on an audacious crusade - bring to trial those responsible for the murder of President John F. Kennedy, despite the definitive findings by the Warren Commmission that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. It's not that Garrison wants the publicity or the frustration that comes from such an endeavor, but the findings and evidence don't add up and the more he looks into the facts, the more he's convinced the Commission got it wrong. But it's not just a matter of poor investigation and specious conclusions. There seems to be a serious conspiracy at work, the revelation of which could bring to light the true powers-that-be in American society. But if they had the wherewithal to kill the president of the most powerful nation in the world, what chance does a city district attorney have? Forty-five years after President Kennedy's assassination, who was involved and whether a conspiracy was in play remain hotly debated topics, though diminished somewhat now that 17 years have passed since Oliver Stone's controversial and debate-inducing "JFK." I was a freshman in college when the film hit theaters and I still have fond memories of my classmate waxing ecstatic over the theories presented in the movie. No one around us was spared from his enthusiasm and it wasn't long before he was known as the "JFK Guy." At the time I was largely disinterested in the topic and (believe it or not) movies in general; it wasn't until after college that I finally saw the film that had ignited such a passion in my friend and many others like him. Though much of the public furor had waned by then, the film still served as a thought-provoking examination of a grievous event in our national history as well as a curious artifact of modern film history for it's inciting of such strong opinion and reaction. Revisiting the film over 10 years later, my impression remains the same - it's a thought-provoking piece of work, certainly a well-told and artistically constructed piece of cinema, but something to take with a large grain of salt. Whether one embraces the truth presented, there's no doubt one will be entertained if not gripped by its implications. Video Quality: 4.5/5 The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and encoded with the VC-1 codec. Using a variety of lighting and exposure techniques and film formats, the picture is quite variable in tone and appearance. Nevertheless, black levels are consistently solid and satisfyingly deep. Contrast varies depending on the cinematic flourishes, but there's never the sense that we've deviated from filmmaker intent. Colors also vary, usually according to time period (1963 has a highly desaturated quality) but sometimes according to mood and tone as well. Much of the film also has a diffused, filtered glow to it, which the three-dimensionality of the high resolution format presents impeccably well. Fine object detail is equally excellent, skin and clothing and various surfaces all standing out in their clarity. Grain structure and type varies depending on the film format used, but on the whole appears neither reduced nor unduly manipulated. Overall, the Academy Award winning cinematography gets excellent treatment and presentation. Audio Quality: 4/5 The Dolby TrueHD audio mix has dialogue as its primary element and its presentation is consistently clear and intelligibile. However, supporting the Academy Award winning editing are some equally atmospheric and emotion-stirring surround effects. Perhaps the most compelling is the opening sequence, which starts with simple narration and score, builds to a heart-stirring crescendo of military snare and bass drums, and ends with the crisp crack of gunfire. And the lossless track shows off the mix with excellent clarity and detail. Though the use of surround effects and LFE is more measured in the rest of the film, their impact for punctuation, atmospherics or dramatic emphasis is no less effective. The 640 kbps Dolby Digital 5.1 audio sounds more constrained and less detailed by comparison, but most would be hard-pressed to differentiate the two tracks without aggressive A-B switching. Those with lossless playback will obviously choose the former, but those without shouldn't feel short-changed. Special Features: 4/5 With the exception of the DVD-ROM materials, the extras from the special edition DVD have been ported over to this Blu-Ray release. The awards and cast and crew information can now be found, in slightly different form, in the attached booklet. Commentary by Director Oliver Stone: While it’s obvious that Stone is passionate about his film (as he should be), listening to him for three-and-a-half hours would be a rather arduous task. He does offer up some interesting information relating to the original parties involved, as well discussion of the integration process where actual actors were blended into old footage. This is thorough and interesting…and dry. If you can get through it all you’re a better man than I. "Beyond JFK: The Question of Conspiracy" (1h30m): This is an excellent documentary featuring interviews with numerous witnesses to the actual event and actors from the film. Theories demonstrated in the film are also discussed. Additional Footage (54m45s): Twelve deleted or extended scenes with optional commentary by Stone include: Jack Ruby injected with cancer Jim Garrison and Dean Andrews – extended Jim Garrison and Liz Garrison at home Jim Garrison and Colorado businessman Beverly Oliver Interview – extended Jean Hill Interview – extended Jim Garrison in the book depository Antoine’s restaurant: Oswald information – extended Clay Shaw trial 1: Oswald information – extended Clay Shaw trial 2: Oswald information – extended Fantasy Sequence – Oswald from the grave Alternate Ending"Assassination Update - The New Documents" Multimedia Essay (29m40s): This documentary discusses the formation of The Assassination Records Review Board and records that surfaced after the investigation. "Meet Mr. X: The Personality and Thoughts of Fletcher Prouty" Multimedia Essay (11m01s): A rather interesting interview with the real military man himself. He seems very credible and obviously has information that seems to back up the theory. Theatrical Trailer (2m21s) Collectible Booklet: Housed in the "digibook" case, the nicely printed booklet has a brief production history, cast filmographies and a short essay. Recap The Feature: 4/5 Video Quality: 4.5/5 Audio Quality: 4/5 Special Features: 4/5 Overall Score (not an average): 4/5 A controversial but finely crafted examination of the Kennedy assassination gets excellent audio and video treatment and a special features package that carries over the majority of items from the previous DVD release. Recommended.