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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Pride and Glory



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#1 of 2 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

Cameron Yee

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Posted January 24 2009 - 07:39 AM

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MAIN FEATURESPECIAL FEATURESVideo1080p high definition 16x9 1.85:1480p standard definitionAudioDolby TrueHD: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: English 5.1StereoSubtitlesEnglish and Spanish (movie and select bonus material)

The Feature: 3.5/5
When four NYPD officers are killed in a drug raid gone awry, Chief of Detectives Frank Tierney (Jon Voight) assigns the investigation to his detective son Ray (Edward Norton). A past scandal had relegated him to obscurity in the Missing Persons Division, but the elder Tierney figures two years has been long enough for his son to atone.

Once on the job, it doesn't take long for Ray to identify a suspect, a well known Washington Heights drug dealer, but learning that the police may have tipped the guy off introduces a whole other set of problems. Not the least of which is his brother-in-law Jimmy (Colin Farrell) is involved and his brother Frank Jr. (Noah Emmerich) is the police captain overseeing him. With a possible scandal hitting so close to home, there's now more at stake than the reputation of the NYPD, there's also the integrity of the Tierney Clan.

There's nothing particularly bad about "Pride and Glory," there's just nothing novel about either the story or the way it's told. If you've seen TV shows like "NYPD Blue," "The Shield" or any other "gritty cop drama," the film will feel very familiar, from its story to its visual style. The only difference is you have big stars like Norton, Farrell and Voight occupying the major roles. The multi-generational element is perhaps the most uncharted of territories, though it's ultimately not emphasized enough to elevate it above numerous, similar fare.


Video Quality: 4/5
Though labeled as 1.85:1 the blemish-free image fills the entirety of my 16x9 display. Black levels are generally deep and inky, but contrast tends to be rather flat in the many dim, interior scenes. Healthy film grain is present throughout and appears untampered with, though mild to moderate edge halos are consistently visible and give wide shots a noticeably edgy quality. Colors are slightly oversaturated and have a strong blue cast, though it is clearly part of the film's "urban," visual aesthetic.


Audio Quality: 3.5/5
The Dolby TrueHD audio mix has some nice moments with immersive ambient and directional effects, but their presence can be inconsistent. For example, scenes in the city are filled with sounds from the various tenements (e.g. music and domestic chatter) but later scenes on the harbor and in a car during a rain storm lack similar, detailed treatment. Dialogue is generally clear and intelligible, however, though there are times when characters speaking in hushed tones or whispers will require engaging the subtitles. Still, the overall depth and dynamic range of the track is good, though there isn't much in the mix that puts it to the test.

The 640 kbps 5.1 Dolby Digital track sounds a little edgy and constricted in comparison, but I expect most would only tell with aggressive A-B switching between tracks.


Special Features: 2.5/5

"Source of Pride: The Making of Pride and Glory" (1h07m): The extensive documentary begins seven weeks before production and follows the cast and crew through major phases of the project.

The pre-production segment (about half of the documentary) places particular emphasis on the efforts for authenticity - the actors' training in police tactics, their group preparation sessions, and the casting of actual police officers, residents and former gang members from Washington Heights. Director/Writer Gavin O'Connor is quite candid in most of his interviews, expressing his nervousness and concerns about being behind schedule on casting and working from an unfinished script.

From the 60-plus days of production the piece highlights the recasting of Francis, Sr. after original actor Nick Nolte had to pull out for knee surgery, and the sometimes frustrating experience of working with Edward Norton, who tended to deviate from the scripted dialogue. We also get a glimpse at the general frustration and stress from a still-incomplete script and the diminishing number of days left to shoot.

The conclusion of the documentary is a little disappointing in the way everything gets wrapped up so neatly - ultimately they all respect one another and had a rewarding experience. Though it may be true, it feels like standard press junket material compared to what came before. And though most of the cast offer up interviews for the piece, Colin Farrell is conspicuously absent, suggesting there's something being withheld. Still, it's an interesting look behind the scenes of a studio production and provides a better sense of what filmmaking can involve compared to the usual topical featurettes made for disc supplements.

Digital Copy: Download a digital copy for playback on computer or portable video device. Compatible with both Mac and Windows.


Recap

The Feature: 3.5/5
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 2.5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3.5/5

A familiar and largely unremarkable cop drama gets decent audio and video treatment; the slim special features package includes a making-of documentary that is interesting if a bit incomplete.
One thing leads to another at cameronyee.com

#2 of 2 OFFLINE   David Willow

David Willow

    Screenwriter

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Posted January 29 2009 - 04:23 AM

I finally got to watch this film. I thought the overall story was decent, but it seemed to drag out much longer than it needed to. There should have been a bit more character development.

I found use of surrounds at the beginning football game to be WAY overdone. It sounded like I was at Giants Stadium. After this scene, the use of surrounds vanished.

What really stood out was the unexpected low bass near the end of the movie. The scene with the train overhead really had an impact. It is not something I heard, but rather felt. I was completely surprised given the lack of bass, and effects in general, in this movie.

This was not the worst film I watched this month (Max Payne), but it not up there with my favorites, either. It deserves a rental.