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HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Whiteout

Blu-ray Reviews

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#1 of 10 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted January 17 2010 - 03:52 PM

Posted Imagehttp://static.hometh...00px-LL-a.gif">

Whiteout

Release Date: January 19, 2010
Studio: Warner Brothers
Packaging/Materials: Two-disc Blu-ray case with slipcover
Year: 2009
Rating: R
Running Time: 1:41:00
MSRP: $35.99

Video
1080p high definition 16x9 2.40:1 High definition and standard definition
Audio Dolby TrueHD: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: English 5.1, French 5.1 (dubbed in Quebec), Spanish 5.1 Stereo
Subtitles English SDH, French, Spanish Subtitles may vary.

The Feature: 3.5/5

Work just got very complicated for Carrie Stetko (Kate Beckinsale). As Antarctica's lone U.S. Marshal, her job is both routine and mundane; if there's a crime at all, it's going to be a misdemeanor. So when a body turns up in the frozen wasteland and it looks like foul play, Stetko has to use skills that have been dormant for almost two years. With winter approaching and the U.S. research station where she's assigned preparing for a six-month lock down, it doesn't give her much time to adjust. Fortunately there's only one way off the continent and the killer will have to cross paths with Stetko eventually. With the help of a visiting U.N. envoy (Gabriel Macht) and the South Pole's best pilot (Columbus Short), she might just manage to solve the crime before the elements have their way.

Though it didn't reach theaters for almost two years (I actually attended the film's Comic-Con panel in 2007) and it performed poorly once there, "Whiteout" is a decently entertaining thriller - if you're willing to just go along for the ride. It's primary fault (and I understand if it's a dealbreaker for some) is the easily determined antagonist. However the pacing, action, and character interaction all pass muster, making up for most of the script's predictability (which could also be characteristic of the graphic novel from which the screenplay is adapted). Though movie viewing time is precious during awards season, "Whiteout" is worth at least a rental once that period has ended.

Video Quality: 4/5

The film is accurately framed at 2.40:1 and presented in 1080p with the VC-1 codec. Black levels are solid and deep, and contrast, in general, displays the full range of values (a handful of scenes exhibit some mild black crush and there's some flatness associated with some of the day-for-night shots). Though the palette is practically monochromatic, existing colors exhibit good depth and fidelity. Edge haloing is visible in many of the exterior scenes, but it isn't entirely surprising given the high contrast environment. Fine object detail is generally very good, revealed in hair, skin and fabric textures, with only a few instances of visible noise in fine pattern areas.

Audio Quality: 4/5

The Dolby TrueHD audio track offers some engaging and immersive experiences, in particular during the climactic (and climatic!) blizzard fight sequence. While the majority of the film's environmental effects seem to be wind and various storm noises, there's consistently good balance and expansiveness to the mix. Occasional airplane flyovers and gunfire also exhibit convincing directionality and dimensionality. LFE is appropriately balanced, providing some impressive depth to things like crashes, gunfire, and wind. Dialogue is also effectively integrated, being consistently clear and intelligible even during the height of the storm.

Special Features: 2/5

Extras are noticeably meager and primarily promotional in nature.

The Coldest Thriller Ever (12:02, HD): Electronic press kit style featurette provides a look at production in Lake Manitoba, Canada and the various challenges of filming in the cold.

From Page to Screen (12:05, HD): Writer Greg Rucka and artist Steve Lieber discuss the history of the "Whiteout" graphic novel and seeing their work adapted into a live action film.

Deleted Scenes (4:14, SD): Two scenes, the first showing Stetko's typical day and the second Stetko's arrival at Vostok Station.

Digital Copy: Compatible with Mac and Windows. Offer expires January 12, 2011.

Recap

The Feature: 3.5/5
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 4/5
Special Features: 2/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3/5
An icebound thriller that's predictable but sufficiently entertaining, gets a very good technical presentation and a meager set of extras.

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#2 of 10 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted January 18 2010 - 04:16 AM

Movie Haiku

Marshal Stetko fights
Zero visibility
For South Pole murder

#3 of 10 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted January 18 2010 - 12:03 PM

I'm surprised anyone would enjoy this movie.
Was a total bore.

After the intitial airplane sequence nothing happens.
Large portions of the scenes that are supposed to be dramatic are only people sliding up and down a rope and slipping clips on and off the rope.

also who is who, large very puffy jackets are all you can see on the people fighting.
Then the apparent climax happens and then I see there is still nearly a half hour left.

zzzzzzzzzz.

Picture was awful. a murky mess throughout most of it.
black crush in a movie that takes place in a movie were everything is covered in snow.

one HALF star for me.

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#4 of 10 OFFLINE   Robert Crawford

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Posted January 18 2010 - 09:17 PM

After reading several film reviews on this title, I was wondering when somebody was going to crap on your relatively high rating for the film.






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#5 of 10 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted January 19 2010 - 06:10 AM

Perhaps my expectations were lowered by the choice of pull-quote on the press release:

"Jam-packed." -- Entertainment Weekly



The blizzard fight was confusing, at first. One could argue that was the intent as it becomes clear who is who by the time it matters.

I liked the measured pacing. It helped establish the characters and their relationships (though they are admittedly predictable and cliched). Though the movie was marketed as a fast-paced thriller and, I think, even a horror film, that's not really what it is.



#6 of 10 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted January 20 2010 - 02:35 AM

Thanks for the review Cameron. As I mentioned to you, this was a blind buy for me because, for some reason, I am a sucker for movies set in snowy settings (heck, I even liked 30 Days of Night for that reason). I enjoyed it for what it was. I didn't have any trouble with telling who was who in the outside fights, maybe because I was paying closer attention given the comments here. I noticed that Stuart Baird was listed as Supervising Editor - I wonder if he was brought on to clean things up, or if he was hired from in the onset in that capacity.

Thanks again for another fine review!
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#7 of 10 OFFLINE   MattFini

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Posted January 20 2010 - 06:36 AM

I'll be honest ... I don't usually do this, but this was a blind buy for me for one reason:  Kate Beckinsale.

I haven't watched the movie yet, but I'll be checking it out this weekend.
Universal, please release Streets of Fire on Blu-ray.

#8 of 10 OFFLINE   Yumbo

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Posted January 20 2010 - 01:38 PM

 Is the Digital Copy disc an actual DVD version as well?

Warner has been doing this on a few titles now.


#9 of 10 OFFLINE   Neil Middlemiss

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Posted January 20 2010 - 02:05 PM

No - for use in PC and MACs for a digital version of the film only.

Originally Posted by Yumbo 

 Is the Digital Copy disc an actual DVD version as well?

Warner has been doing this on a few titles now.
 


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#10 of 10 OFFLINE   Ron-P

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Posted January 21 2010 - 02:06 AM

The best part of Whiteout was Kate in the tightie-whities. Other then that, don't waste your money. Very average, almost boring at times thriller. The disc had good A/V but nothing fantastic.

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