127 Hours (2010/Fox Blu-ray) + Conviction (2010/Fox Blu-ray) + Heaven Ain’t Hard To Find (2010/E1 DVD)
Sound: B- (Heaven: C+) Extras: C+/B-/D Features: C+/B-/D
Films have tried to be inspiring since the silent era, but
in the 1980s, a bad new formula in how to do this and the following releases
show how this has affected three recent such productions for better and worse.
127 Hours (2010) is Danny Boyle’s first
film since Slumdog Millionaire and
though I thought it had some good moments thanks to James Franco giving a good
performance, it was somewhat predictable (not knowing the outcome not applying
in this fashion) there are conventions the screenplay (adapted from the
biographical book) by Simon Beaufoy of his sad ordeal of being trapped in the
rocks of the mountains and cavers he sportingly loved to hike through becomes
the ordeal of his life.
There is not much more to this, though some will be
interested, I would have been better off reading the book and know that this
gets amazingly bloody for a project that does intend to be inspirational to
The 1080p 1.78 X 1 AVC @ 24 MBPS digital High Definition image
is a mix of more kinds of video than expected, editing and shot in too many
predictable ways that include too many degraded shots to the point that it
almost does not justify Blu-ray release.
This post-modern mix is reminiscent of Greenaway’s Pillow Book (reviewed elsewhere on this site) without any hints of
making a political statement. It is fair
at first, but the approach becomes annoying after a while and
counterproductive. The DTS-HD Master
Audio (MA) lossless 5.1 mix purposely has bad audio for the location work,
which includes plenty of dropouts and other flaws.
Extras include Digital Copy for PC and PC portable
devices, Deleted Scenes, feature length audio commentary by Boyle, Producer
Chris Coulson & and Co-Screenwriter Simon Beaufoy and featurette Search & Rescue on the actual event
the film is based on.
The best of the three projects here, Tony Goldwyn’s Conviction (2010) is another harrowing
tale of justice where someone is wrongly convicted and someone else spends a
good chunk of their life trying to free the person against all odds and a
system that may be very corrupt. This
time, Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell are brother and sister, whom are very
close. Later on in life when she has a
divorce and two sons, he is accused of a murder he did not commit. This seems to go away, but he is arrested two
years later and she is determined to get him free.
That is when she becomes a lawyer. This all happened and I was surprised how
watchable this was despite seeing this story before. Minnie Driver is her friend who helps her in
law school, Melissa Leo is the female cop certain he did the killing and we get
fine all around casting including Peter Gallagher and Juliette Lewis. This is some good filmmaking and though it
can be predictable at times, the story has some interesting angles and Goldwyn
has developed into a fine filmmaker.
Once you start watching, it is very engaging.
The 1080p 1.78 X 1 AVC @ 32 MBPS digital High Definition
image is really good and the best on this list, with only slightly stylized
visuals and a decent shoot by Director of Photography Adriano Goldman
throughout. The DTS-HD Master Audio (MA)
lossless 5.1 mix is dialogue-based, but is warm, clean, clear and the best of
the three releases as well. The
soundfield is good, but obviously not going to be demo material. Still, the combination is very professional.
Extras include A Conversation with Tony Goldwyn and Betty
Ann Waters, who Swank plays in the film.
Finally we have Neema Barnette’s Heaven Ain’t Hard To Find (2010), a well-meaning but silly
comedy/drama trying to jump on the Tyler Perry bandwagon as a troubled man
finds a pretty woman and three church ladies who help will help him out from
his running from the law when he is accused of a crime he might not have
committed. The church needs restored and
if he can help, they can do the same for his life.
I thought this was silly, corny, extremely predictable and
borderline condescending as the acting, writing and directing never
worked. The cast is not awful, but they
are no impressive either. Even for the
audience it was made for, this is not the best in that vein either, so see it
at your own risk.
The anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 digital High
Definition image is shockingly soft, loaded with motion blur and even color
reproduction is an issue. The Dolby
Digital 5.1 mix is the default highlight, yet has volume drops, audio issues
and is not that well mixed, so the combination is very trying. Extras include two superfluous Music Videos.
- Nicholas Sheffo