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Blu-ray Reviews

HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: Kalifornia



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#1 of 3 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted August 19 2010 - 05:39 PM

 

Kalifornia
Release Date: Available now
Studio: MGM
Packaging/Materials: Two-disc Blu-ray "ECO-BOX"
Year: 1993
Rating: R / Unrated
Running Time: 1:58:00
MSRP: $24.99

 

  THE FEATURE SPECIAL FEATURES
Video 1080p high definition 16x9 2.35:1 High and standard definition
Audio DTS-HD Master Audio: English 5.1 / Dolby Digital: French 5.1, German 5.1, Italian 5.1, Castellano 5.1, Portuguese 2.0, Spanish 2.0, Magyar 2.0, Greek 2.0, Turkish 2.0 Stereo
Subtitles English SDH, French, Portuguese, Danish, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Norwegian, Castellano, Swedish, Croatian, Magyar, Romanian, Greek, Slovak N/A

The Feature: 3.5/5
Struggling with the completion of a book about serial killers, Brian (David Duchovny) decides to take a road trip with his photographer girlfriend Carrie (Michelle Forbes) to the sites of some of the most notorious murders in America. To help defray the costs of the trip, they ride share with Early (Brad Pitt) and Adele (Juliette Lewis), two people from a radically different socio-economic bracket. Early is also a multiple murderer, unbeknownst to Brian and Carrie, but even more so the sweet and trusting Adele. Eventually though, Early's misdeeds come out, forcing his traveling companions to go against their nature in order to deal with his.

Though offering strong moments of psychological tension and menace (thanks in large part to Pitt's dominating presence), and making some interesting points about the seductive qualities of violence, Dominic Sena's "Kalifornia" suffers from predictability and over length. The final act in particular will have viewers anxious for the film's conclusion, the details of which are ultimately perfunctory and unsurprising. The length also wears out one's patience with the main characters - Carrie becomes too paranoid, Brian too naive, Adele too much in denial and Early too psychotic. With more economical storytelling we could have had a definite understanding of each person without the resulting overemphasis of their most obvious traits. As it is, the film is a great, "I'm not just a pretty face" vehicle for Pitt, but ultimately not much more of note.

 

The release includes the theatrical and unrated versions of the film, but the theatrical version is only found on the DVD. The Blu-ray only has the unrated version, which runs about a minute longer. From what I've read, the extra minute comes from slightly longer cuts of the more violent parts of the film.

Video Quality: 4/5

The film is accurately framed at 2.35:1 and presented in 1080p with the AVC codec. Blacks are consistently deep and stable and contrast displays the full range of values with no compression or clipping. Colors can seem a bit over-saturated at times, but are otherwise deep and rich. Overall sharpness and detail are very good - particularly in skin and hair texture - though edge haloing is usually evident in wide shots and higher contrast scenes. The film's grain structure appears largely uncompromised, however, occasional pattern fluctuations in background areas being the sole grain-related issue.
 

Audio Quality: 3.5/5
The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio mix is dominated by the front sound stage, with slight support from the rear surround channels for the occasional ambient and directional effects. Despite their infrequency, they are nicely balanced with the rest of the channels and provide good reinforcement in the more gripping scenes. LFE is absent, but the track has good dynamic range. Dialogue is consistently clear and intelligible, with satisfying vocal detail and texture.

Special Features: 1.5/5
The accompanying DVD appears to be the one released in 2000, repackaged. The sole extra on the Blu-ray disc is the theatrical trailer in high definition.

Trailer (2:16, SD and HD): In high definition on the Blu-ray and standard definition on the accompanying DVD.

Featurette (5:17, SD): Electronic press kit covers the basic plot (mostly through a rehash of the trailer) and includes soundbites from the cast and director.

DVD: Flipper disc includes two formats of the standard definition version of the feature. Enhanced-for-widescreen is on one side and full screen on the other.

Recap
The Feature: 3.5/5
Video Quality: 4/5
Audio Quality: 3.5/5
Special Features: 1.5/5
Overall Score (not an average): 3.5/5

MGM turns in a solid audio and video presentation for a thriller that has its moments but ultimately runs too long. The release's special features are meager, though the inclusion of the theatrical trailer in high definition is appreciated.



#2 of 3 OFFLINE   Stephen_J_H

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Posted August 21 2010 - 06:15 PM

Cameron,   Did you compare the rated and unrated versions for content, or is the Unrated version only on the DVD?
"My opinion is that (a) anyone who actually works in a video store and does not understand letterboxing has given up on life, and (b) any customer who prefers to have the sides of a movie hacked off should not be licensed to operate a video player."-- Roger Ebert

#3 of 3 OFFLINE   Cameron Yee

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Posted August 21 2010 - 07:14 PM

Good question. Something I had meant to address.   The packaging lists rated and unrated, but technically the theatrical version is only found on the DVD. The unrated version runs a minute longer and is the only option on the Blu-ray. From what I've read, the extra minute comes from slightly longer cuts of the more violent parts of the film.





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