DoBlu’s February 2010 Review Round-Up

Think you missed something in February? Let this easy to use, organized list be your guide to the entirety of DoBlu’s reviews last month. The list is sorted from the newest to the oldest, and separated by catalog titles and new releases. Clips are taken from the movie, video, and audio review sections, in that order.

New Releases

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Wrong Side of Town:  “Wrong Side of Town was created solely to take advantage of an audience willing to soak up anything with rappers (Ja Rule stars here as well), busty porn stars, and pro wrestlers.”

“Artifacting is atrocious, first noted inside the club near the 12-minute mark.”

“There is little to this sound design, even in the crowded club.”

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Cirqu du Freak – Vampire’s Assistant: “Unfortunately, with a dim box office, Vampire’s Assistant will likely never realize its full potential.”

“Nightime scenes, which much of the film is made up of, deliver gorgeous, deep blacks with no noticeable crush.”

“The hefty low end is the highlight, capturing every thud, punch, elbow, and head butt with a clean shot of bass.”

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The Box: “The Box does not have many rules, yet the build-up to the eventual reveals are eerie because anything seems possible.”

“Warner’s VC-1 encode immediately appears digital, with flat faces, minimal depth, and weak blacks.”

“Mild ambiance is generally this DTS-HD effort’s mantra.”

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The Informant!: “It takes some time to realize what Whitacre is doing is genuinely funny.”

“To be frank, there is no fine detail. Faces appear digital, smooth, and entirely unnatural.”

“The Marvin Hamlish score is everything the word “odd” stands for, and this presentation delivers it cleanly.”

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Sorority Row: “Aside from the interesting premise, that of a sorority prank gone wrong leading to the murder of Theta Pi sister Megan, Sorority Row is terribly confused.”

“With all of its color timing changes, film stock decisions, and lighting conditions, this AVC encode from Summit does what it can to keep up.”

“Most of the kills, or at least those scene-building pre-kill sequences, rely on subtlety.”

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Family Guy: Something, Something Darkside: “Not everything works as intended, including the AT-AT wearing Crocs which is a total misfire along with the Juicy Fruit commercial, but Darkside knows its limits.”

“The flat, solid colors provide little room for error.”

“Surround tracking is exceptional, keeping Tie Fighters moving front to back effectively.”

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Black Dynamite: “How anyone could recite the story of the little Vietnamese boy as told here with a straight face is well beyond the average humans level of composure.”

“The rest of the disc, between the orange and yellow-tinted color schemes and severe black crush, are all intentional stylized choices or the result of the chosen film stock.”

“The stereo channels are the most effective in this mix, capturing an incredible array of positional audio.”

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Halo Legends: “Halo Legends is best digested in pieces, not as a two-hour whole.”

“Colors, where allowed to show through, can carry a jaw-dropping level of vibrancy.”

“Sadly, O’Donnell’s awesome score never comes alive as it should, feeling restrained without proper room to breathe.”

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Law Abiding Citizen: “Despite the development of these characters, how Clyde pulled off this final act, especially with the city on complete and total lockdown because of him, ruins it all.”

“If Anchor Bay’s AVC encode does anything, it is show off the skyline of Philadelphia flawlessly.”

Law Abiding Citizen focuses on immersion, creating that hard-to-deliver dimensional audio effect in each scene.”

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Dante’s Inferno – An Animated Epic: “This inept, ridiculous dialogue permeates Dante’s Inferno, and it doesn’t help that the acting is delivered like a free digital comic that belongs in the bonus features.”

“Many shots carry an intentional haze or blooming, robbing the picture of depth and sharpness.”

“The only lacking aspect is the bass, which is not only wildly inconsistent, but rarely deep when it is utilized.”

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Couples Retreat: “Despite the blatant, groan-inducing repetition at times, Couples Retreat does build some momentum from the start.”

“The encode pushes some jaw-dropping visuals, from the blistering blues of the water, to the lush green foliage.”

“A thunderstorm on the water, despite a rather weak but clean low end (which is the case throughout), offers plenty of enveloping rain and thunder claps.”

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The Time Traveler’s Wife: “Besides, if you (Clare) were dumb enough to marry the creepy naked 40-year old man who met you in a field when you were six, you probably should have saw some of these problems coming.”

“Sharpness rarely wavers, delivering a crisp image, although one that fails to fully resolve the finest of details at all times.”

“Near the end, a fireworks display provides ample opportunity for bass and surround use, which it does wonderfully.”

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Stepfather: It grows old fast, especially with the negligent overuse of genre favorites such as the, “cat jumps from nowhere” or the personal favorite, “killer waiting outside the door to deliver a creepy glance.”

“This Blu-ray effort excels with environmental detail, especially around the main house set where thick foliage is clearly defined even in distance shots.”

“The finale, with a loud, forceful thunderstorm, allows this DTS-HD effort to finally breathe.”

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Love Happens: “After utilizing countless romantic comedy clichés, including the casting of Jennifer Aniston, there is nowhere left for this sap-filled mess to go.”

“When the camera moves out to first introduce the city, a reference quality shot occurs, with razor sharp lines even into the gray skyline.”

“A scene where Eckhart takes his help group into the city features some wonderful ambiance, slightly elevated for purposes of the story.”

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Zombieland: “Zombieland has its share of great, even classic, undead elimination techniques.”

“From the texture of the pebble-ridden road to a car off in the distance, everything is fully resolved, sharp, and remarkably crisp.”

“Surprisingly, much of the film is subdued, leaving the notable audio to a heavy-handed soundtrack that bleeds nicely, while providing a slight low-end push.”

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Catalog

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High Anxiety: “Instead of completely letting loose, this is one of the most reserved Mel Brooks films in his library.”

“The only notable complaint about the encode is the use of edge enhancement, visible throughout the film on any high contrast edge.”

“Not a single note, cue, or sound effect occurs outside of the middle.”

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Silent Movie: “This is a hard movie to hate, mostly because it feels authentic, at least beyond the slapstick and gags.”

“This one carries a sharp look, but one that comes at the price of glaring edge enhancement…”

“the uncompressed effort presents the lively, upbeat John Morris score beautifully.”

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Spaceballs: “Spaceballs does not live up Brooks’ other spoofs, including the vastly superior Blazing Saddles, but Spaceballs does have an energy.”

“Black levels, while immediately striking, lead to significant crush, particularly with Dark Helmet.”

“This DTS-HD effort makes the most of the stereo channels, splitting them cleanly for music and tracking shots of ships passing through.”

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Robin Hood – Men in Tights: “Men in Tights is hardly terrible, but feels forced, and even repetitive.”

“Everything carries a decidedly digital, compressed, and dated quality.”

“Separation is surprisingly aggressive throughout, including widely split fronts containing dialogue, swords being clanged together, and also some of that ambient audio from time to time.”

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History of the World – Part I: “This is a brilliant, satirical take on human history, or at least the sheer idiocy of it.”

“Once into the bright outdoor environments of Rome, the somewhat pale color is the only notable complaint.”

“The Spanish Inquisition is surprisingly full, with crystal clear lyrics and distinct instruments.”

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The Phantom: “Undoubtedly, The Phantom came out at the wrong time, just shy of the current super hero boom, and during a downfall of the genre”

“Obvious DNR has applied, adversely affecting mid-range and long shots the worst.”

“This is an audio track that excels at everything, despite the lower fidelity compared to what audiophiles are used to with modern films.”

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The Twelve Chairs:Brooks’ uses a variety of tricks to illicit laughs, from the signs inside the Bureau of Housing, to fast motion as DeLuise and Moody scamper around over the first chair.”

“While facial detail is at a premium (although some close-ups perform admirably), backgrounds are wonderful.”

“Both an uncompressed DTS-HD mix and compressed mono audio choice exist, and in many ways, the mono is preferred.”

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Running Man: “Everything that made Schwarzenegger’s ‘80s action movies the cult classics they are is here.”

“The film is inherently soft, with few notable crisp details, and typically flat images.”

“This track loves heavy ambiance, especially early on as helicopters pass overhead, or in the factory where clanging tools and sparks envelop the viewer.”

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Cliffhanger: “Considering the multiple explosions, falling bridges, perilous climbs, and numerous gunfire escapes, it is safe to say the audience is sufficiently primed in Cliffhanger’s theatrics.”

“There is quite a bit to discuss when dissecting Cliffhanger’s Blu-ray debut from Sony… While it may sound odd, Cliffhanger does not have enough grain.”

“Thankfully, everything about this powerful DTS-HD effort is about perfect.”

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Event Horizon: “That’s why the third act is such a disappointment, falling into the usual traps, from splitting the crew to bombs running on timers.”

“… extensive edge enhancement is liberally applied, and at times staggeringly bad.”

Event Horizon may not offer the cleanest, crispest bass, but it nonetheless rattles with incredible power.”

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Point Break: “This is an odd, goofy movie, surely ridiculous enough that no one took it seriously upon watching it, but in the writing, there is something memorable.”

“The debut for Point Break on Blu-ray is merely adequate.”

“The track also shows some light ambiance, producing a convincing rain effect in each channel.”