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Patriots Day (a J!-ENT 4K Ultra HD Review)

March 23, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

Peter Berg’s “Patriots Day” is well-made, well-researched, well-acted and felt that the film was a wonderful tribute to the heroes of the Boston Marathon Bombing and not being exploitative.  Highly recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2016 CBS Films Inc. All Rights Reserved.


TITLE: Patriots Day

DATE OF FILM RELEASE: 2016

DURATION: 133 Minutes

BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 2160p Ultra High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio), English DTS:X Audio, DTS Headphone:X Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Audio Optimized for Late- Night Listening SUBTITLES: English, English SDH, Spanish, French

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: R (Violence, Realistically Graphic Injury Images, Language Throughout and Some Drug Use)

RELEASE DATE: March 28, 2017


Directed by Peter Berg

Screenplay by Peter Berg, Matt Cook, Joshua Zetumer

Story by Peter Berg, Matt Cook, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson

Producer: Dorothy Aufiero, Dylan Clark, Stephen Levinson, Hutch PArker, Michael Radutzky, Scott Stuber, Mark Wahlberg

Associate Producer: Lauren Downey, Daphne Lambrinou, Joseph J. Micucci, Bo Shen, stephen Stapinski, Shixing Zhou

Executive Producer: Louis G. Friedman, Eric Johnson, Nicholas David Nesbitt, John Logan Pierson, Paul Tamasy, Dan Wilson

Music by Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross

Cinematography by Tobias A. Schliessler

Edited by Gabriel Fleming, Colby Parker Jr.

Casting by Sheila Jaffe, Angela Peri

Production Design by Tom Duffield

Art Direction by Steve Cooper

Set Decoration by Ronald R. Reiss

Costume Design by Virginia Johnson


Starring:

Mark Wahlberg as Tommy Saunders

John Goodman as Commissioner Ed Davis

Kevin Bacon as Special Agent Richard DesLauriers

J.K. Simmons as Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese

Christopher O’Shea as Patrick Downes

Rachel Brosnahan as Jessica Kensky

Michelle Monaghan as Carol Saunders

Jimmy O. Yang as Dun Meng

Melissa Benoist as Katherine Russell

Alex Wolff as Dzohkhar Tsarnaev

Themo Melikidze as Tamerlan Tsarnaev

Martine Assaf as Connie Pugliese

James Colby as Superintendent Billy Evans

Michael Beach as Governor Deval Patrick

Rhett Kidd as Harrold


Mark Wahlberg shines in this all-star action-thriller that chronicles the courage and power of the people of Boston during the real-life manhunt for the Boston Marathon bombers.


From filmmaker Peter Berg (“Hancock”, “Friday Night Lights”, “The Kingdom”) comes the American drama-thriller film “Patriots Day” about the 2013 Boston Marathon Bombing and the terrorist manhunt that took place.

Featuring a screenplay co-written by Berg, Matt Cook (“The Duel”, “Triple 9”) and Joshua Zetumer (“RoboCop”), the film would receive positive film reviews from critics.

The film stars Mark Wahlberg (“Boogie Nights”, “The Fighter”, “Prisoners”), John Goodman (“The Artist”, “Roseane”, “The Big Lebowski”, “10 Cloverfield Lane”), Kevin Bacon (“Apollo 13”, “Footloose”, “X-Men: First Class”), J.K. Simmons (“Whiplash”, “Spider-Man” films, “The Closer”), Michelle Monaghan (“Gone Baby Gone”, “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, “Due Date”), Themo Melikidze (“Beautiful Something”, “Transit 17”), Alex Wolff (“The Naked Brothers Band”, “Come Through the Rye”, “The Sitter”), Jimmy O. Yang (“Silicon Valley”, “The Internship”), Melissa Benoist (“Supergirl”, “Whiplash”, “Glee”), Jake Picking (“Dirty Grandpa”, “Goat”), Christopher O’Shea (“Baby Daddy”, “Madam Secretary”), Rachel Brosnahan (“Beautiful Creatures”, “Manhattan”, “The Finest Hours”) and many more.


VIDEO:

“Patriots Day” is presented in 2160p High Definition (2:40:1). The film is presented in 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray.

Picture quality is fantastic as closeups show amazing clarity and day scenes are vibrant.  Many of the scenes are shot at night, but light is well done and for the most part, the film looks great in 4K Ultra HD!

IMPORTANT TO KNOW: To watch 4K Ultra HD, you will need a 4K UHD TV with HDR and an Ultra HD Blu-ray Player + a high-speed HDMI 2.0A Cable.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Patriots Day” is presented in English DTX-X Audio, DTS Headphones: X Audio, Spanish and French 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio.

While the film features crystal clear audio (dialogue) and music, surround channels are well-utilized for action sequences during explosions, gun exchanges and crowd ambiance.  Great use of the surround channels and LFE!

Subtitles are in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Patriots Day” comes with the following special features:

  • Boston Strong – (21:34) Featuring interviews with Dr. Jeffrey Kalish, Dun Meng and Sgt. Jeff Pugliese.
  • The Boston Bond: Recounting the Tale – (21:43) The cast and crew talk about filming in Boston and working with the community.
  • The Real Patriots: The Local Heroes’ Stories – (19:41) Filmmaker Peter Berg discusses the various heroes that he met and the real people that inspired the characters for the film.
  • The Cast Remembers – (5:52) The cast discuss how they found about the Boston Marathon bombings.
  • Actors Meet Real-Life Counterparts: A 2-Part Series – (10:08) Featuring John Goodman and Ed Davis and Jimmy O. Yang and Dun Meng.
  • Researching the Day – (11:22) Director Peter Berg and crew discuss the research of recreating the 2013 Boston Marathon and the bombing.

EXTRAS:

“Patriots Day” will come with a slipcover, both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray and UltraViolet Digital HD code.


I remember the Boston Marathon bombings quite clearly.

Watching things unfurl on CNN, immediately I was glued to the TV set, angered that our country was once again being targeted by terrorist attacks and to find out that were many people, including children who were dead or injured.  Then to find out about the two accused of the bombings, finding out a university police officer was killed, followed by a kidnapping of a Chinese man who revealed the brothers are planning to bomb New York and just following the news for the hunt of the Tsarnaev brothers.

It was a story that captivated America where in 9/11, the terrorists killed themselves.  While in this case, these two terrorists were out in public and we wanted them caught and to answer for their crimes.

With Peter Berg’s “Patriots Day”, we get to see how things went for those harrowing days, the people involved in the manhunt for the two terrorists, those who were injured and those who lost their lives.

Peter Berg and fellow writers Matt Cook and Joshua Zetumer no doubt made sure to pay their respects to those involved in the capture of one of the terrorists but to also pay respects to law enforcement and those who’s life was changed forever, but keeping the theme of “Boston Strong” central to the film and showing how the support for law enforcement and the victims will remain in the hearts of people who remember that fateful day and have managed to continue, to move on and show true determination but also providing inspiration for those watching the film.

Mark Wahlberg’s character of Tommy Saunders is a fictional character but his role captures the heart of Boston PD who were doing all they can to catch the terrorists.  Police officers who were on duty, with hardly any sleep, determined to keep Boston safe and to catch those who are responsible.

John Goodman also did a great job of portraying Commissioner Ed Davis and Kevin Bacon as Special Agent Richard DesLauriers of the FBI who worked tirelessly to control information in regards of who was responsible for the bombings but also coordinating their men for the manhunt.

J.K. Simmons as Sergeant Jeffrey Pugliese of the Watertown PD who was there to take on one of the terrorists during a shootout.  Jimmy O. Yang as Dun Meng, the man who was carjacked and held by gunpoint by the two terrorists for a long period of time until he made a major risk by bolting from his vehicle when one of the terrorists were preoccupied and managed to run and call police.

Peter Berg tries to show the loving side of both characters, Sgt. Pugliese with his wife and Dun Meng with a woman he met.

But “Patriots Day” also effectively pays tribute to those who lost their lives or those who were caught in the blast.

“Patriots Day” pays respect to MIT Officer Sean Collier (portrayed by Jake Picking) who was ambushed by the two terrorists and was killed.  While he never had a chance to fight back, they tried to steal his weapon unsuccessfully.  The film also tries to show the loving and friendly side of Collier, from going on a date with a student to him hanging out with his friends, singing a song and playing video games.

We also get to see victims such as couple, Patrick Downes and Jessica Kensky, father Steve Woolfenden taking his young boy on a stroller to watch the Boston Marathon, both were near the first bomb that exploded.  Berg shows the love between Patrick and Jessica and the father and son relationship with the Woolfenden’s.

Possibly a tough role were to play the terrorists and actors Alex Wolff and Themo Melikidze no doubt had to pull off these individuals and show the audience of their mindset but also their cowardly, evil actions.  The same with Melissa Benoist who plays the bomber’s wife and showing viewers on what happened when she was interrogated by law enforcement.

The film’s efficacy also helps with the real archived video of the terrorists and video caught from banks and at stores they were at.  It helped remind audience that what people were watching, was the real deal.

I felt that filmmaker Peter Berg and his fellow writers did amazing job in crafting this drama-thriller by sticking to facts, despite the film focusing on a fictional character.

The 4K Ultra HD is wonderfully detailed during closeups and also features an impressive lossless soundtrack especially during the bombings, the gun battle exchanges, the explosions sounds quite amazing through the surround channels and the use of LFE.  And the numerous special features included are also fascinating to watch and thankfully they are of good duration and not too short.

Overall, Peter Berg’s “Patriots Day” is well-made, well-researched, well-acted and felt that the film was a wonderful tribute to the heroes of the Boston Marathon Bombing and not being exploitative.  Highly recommended!

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

July 6, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” was indeed a treat.  Aside from the wonderful performances, the direction by Lasse Hallstrom is well-done, the cinematography of Terry Stacey is also fantastic and for the most part, Simon Beaufoy’s screenplay of Paul Torday’s novel manages to be delightful and makes the film quite enjoyable.  It’s an original storyline which I don’t think will ever be duplicated.  If you are looking for a different kind of romantic comedy that is fun and very entertaining, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” is definitely recommended!

Images courtesy of © 2011 Yemen Distributions Ltd., BBC and The British Film Institute. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

FILM RELEASE: 2011

DURATION: 107 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French and Spanish

COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: PG-13 (Some Violence and Sexual Content and Brief Language)

Release Date: July 17, 2012

Directed by Lasse Hallstrom

Screenplay by Simon Beaufoy

Novel by Paul Torday

Produced by Paul Webster

Executive Producer: Guy Avshalom, Stephen Garrett, Paula Jalfon, Zygi Kamasa

Production Executive: Tim Van Rellim

Music by Dario Marianelli

Cinematography by Terry Stacey

Edited by Lisa Gunning

Casting by Fiona Weir

Production Design by Michael Carlin

Art Direction by Steve Carter, Nicki McCallum

Set Decoration by Rebecca Alleway

Costume Design by Julian Day

Starring:

Amr Waked as Sheikh Muhammed

Emily Blunt as Harriet

Catherine Steadman as Ashley

Tom Mison as Capt. Robert Mayers

Ewan McGregor as Dr. Alfred Jones

Rachael Stirling as Mary Jones

Kristin Scott Thomas as Patricia Maxwell

Tom Beard as Peter Maxwell

Jill Baker as Betty

Conleth Hill as Bernard Sugden

Alex Taylor-McDowall as Edward Maxwell

Matilda White as Abby Maxwell

Otto Farrant as Joshua Maxwell

Hamish Gray as Malcolm

Clive Wood as Tom Price-Williams

Ewan McGregor (Beginners) and Emily Blunt (The Adjustment Bureau) star alongside Oscar©-nominee Kristin Scott Thomas (I’ve Loved You So Long) and Amr Waked (Syriana) in this extraordinary, beguiling tale of fly-fishing and political spinning, of unexpected heroism and late-blooming love and of an attempt to prove the impossible, possible. Directed by Oscar©-nominee Lasse Hallström (Chocolat) and written by Oscar©-winner Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire), this feature film is based on Paul Torday’s acclaimed novel about a scientist who looks to fulfills a sheikh’s dream of bringing the sport of fly-fishing to his homeland in Yemen. It is produced by Paul Webster (The Motorcycle Diaries) and executive produced by Jamie Laurenson, Stephen Garrett, Paula Jalfon, Zygi Kamasa and Guy Avshalom.

British writer Paul Torday has written a few best-selling and award winning novels.  His 2006 novel “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” was a winner of the 2007 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Price for Comic Writing and a Waverton Good Read Award in 2008.

The story was so well loved in the UK that it would receive serialization on BBC Radio 4 and eventually receive a film adaptation in 2010 directed by Lasse Hallstrom (“Chocolate”, “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”, “The Cider House Rules”, “Dear John”) and written by Simon Beaufoy (“Slumdog Millionaire”, “The Full Monty”, “127 Hours”).

“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” revolves around several characters.

Harriet Chetwode-Talbot (as portrayed by Emily Blunt, “The Young Victoria”, “The Devil Wears Prada”, “The Adjustment Bureau”) is a consultant who represents a wealthy Yemeni, Sheikh  Muhammed (as portrayed by Amr Waked, “Syriana”, “The Father and the Foreigner”) who wants to introduce salmon fishing to the desert country of Yemen.  Harriet has begun dating Capt. Robert Mayers (as portrayed by Tom Mison, “One Day”) and has fallen in love with him.  But Capt. Mayers has been called on duty on a major mission to Afghanistan.

Alfred “Fred” Jones (as portrayed by Ewan McGregor, “Star Wars I-III films”, “Trainspotting”, “Big Fish”) is a man with Asperger’s syndrome and is also a British government expert in salmon fisheries.  Fred is also married to a woman named Mary (as portrayed by Rachel Stirling) who is career-obsessed and all she is concerned about is her career and money, which she tends to prioritize over her own husband.

In order to improve relations between the British and Arab (but also to distract voters away from the bad news of UK involvement in Afghanistan and also hopefully win more votes for the Prime Minister), with the Prime Minister’s press secretary Patricia Maxwell (as portrayed by Kristin Scott Thomas, “The Horse Whisperer”, “The English Patient”, “Gosford Park”) knowing that Sheikh Muhammed wants to introduce salmon fishing to Yemen, Patricia reassigns Fred to work with the Sheikh’s consultant, Harriet.  Primarily to figure out if it is feasible to bring salmon to Yemen, which Fred thinks it is unfeasible due to the lack of water and the weather conditions.

And as Fred’s serious and cold attitude becomes amusing to Harriet, the two must work together and make things happen as the relationship with Sheikh Muhammed is important to the Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, while Fred and Harriet are working with each other, Fred’s serious and cold demeanor starts to wear off as he becomes much nicer towards Harriet.  But when tragedy hits Harriet after finding out that her boyfriend may have been killed during battle, Fred begins to take care of Harriet who is emotionally withdrawn.

Knowing the importance of bringing the salmon to Yemen, Fred is there with Harriet through her healing process and just being there as a good friend to her. The two begin to work closely with each other and also with Sheikh Muhammed and eventually finding a way to bring salmon to Yemen.  And as they reach closer to realization that the plan of bringing salmon to Yemen can work, life begins to changes for both Fred and Harriet, especially as the two beginning working closer with each other.

But Fred is married and what if there is a chance that Harriet’s boyfriend did survive the mission?  Meanwhile, while plans are in place to bring salmon fishing to Yemen, local militants are doing what they can to stop it, even if that means trying to assassinate the Sheikh.

Will Fred and Harriet be able to make salmon fishing in Yemen come true and what happens when these two fall in love?

VIDEO:

“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1).  The overall picture quality for this film is quite amazing.  Shot in London, Scottland and Morcco, Terry Stacey (“Adventureland”, “50/50”, “P.S. I Love You”) manages to capture the lush greens and the barren desert with efficacy.  Colors are natural, vibrant when they need to be and black levels are nice and deep.  I didn’t see any banding issues, nor did I see any artifacts and the detail, may it be during closeups or the clothing of an individual can be seen.  If anything, the film looks great on Blu-ray!

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA.  As one can expect from a romantic comedy, the film is dialogue driven and is crystal clear, along with Dario Marianelli’s (“Atonement”, “V for Vendetta”, “Pride & Prejudice”) musical score.  But there is also good use of surround and LFE, primarily during the fishing scenes and you hear the fish jumping in the water to sounds of splashing.  These really come through the surround channels and just the boom from those scenes, it was a nice touch.

There area few scenes with crowds and you do get ambiance but for the most part, the lossless soundtrack for “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” was quite appropriate and the added touch of the surround channel and LFE sequences were pretty cool to hear!

Subtitles are in English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES

“Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” comes with the following special features:

  • Miracles Happen: Making Salmon Fishing in the Yemen – (13:07) The director and cast talk about the making of the film.  From interviews with the fly fishing adviser, shooting in Scotland and what happened when a flood devastated the set and more.
  • The Fisherman in the Middle East: Novelist Paul Torday – (3:14) Novelist Paul Torday talks about how his novel became a film.

I have to admit that before I review a fishing-related film, I always wonder if it will be about another banal storyline of one trying to find their life through fishing.  Fortunately, this is not the case with “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”.

In fact, I found this film to be smart, delightful and quite moving!  While fishing is an important part of the film, what makes “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” so original is that it deals with political spin, as viewers get to see how politicians try to deflect a crisis by trying to find another story that people will follow.

In the case of this film, the Prime Minister’s press secretary trying to deflect the crisis in Afghanistan and the death of soldiers by trying to build up British and Arab relations by a storyline of two sides working together to bring salmon fishing to the Yemen.  And the concept may seem like a bore when reading it, this film is definitely not boring, thanks to its characters and a wonderful performance by Emily Blunt, Ewan McGregor, Amr Waked and Kristin Scott Thomas.

You have one storyline revolving around Harriet (Blunt), who not only has to emotionally deal with her boyfriend having to go to Afghanistan on a mission and not long after, having to deal with the prikish Dr. Alfred Jones (McGregor).  But the delightful thing about Harriet is that she embraces her job and Dr. Alfred Jones with humor and just wanting to make sure that she comes through for her client, the Sheikh Muhammed (Waked).

And as for Dr. Alfred Jones, a man with Asperger’s Syndrome but so qualified and knowledgeable when it comes to fish, talking with others who are not so familiar with fish and streams, he can be rather cold.  But what is interesting about Jones is that under that cold demeanor, he’s actually a good guy.  He’s just not good with his emotions but yet, Harriet manages to bring the best out of him.

And this is where the conundrum begins because Harriet hears of her boyfriend’s possible demise (news reports of no survivors involving British soldiers in Afghanistan).  Emotionally withdrawn, Dr. Jones knows that he needs her to complete this Yemen project, so he gradually warms up by being there for her, helping her through this tough time.  And through that tough time of adjusting, not only does he enjoy her as as a colleague, he begins to feel attracted to her.  As she does with him.

And to add to the relationship between the two, you add the Sheikh Muhammed.  The Sheikh knows that there are people who will try to derail his plan to bring salmon fishing to Yemen (especially as there are groups who don’t like the interaction with the British on working on a  project together).  But the Sheikh has a lot of faith, always positive and for Dr. Jones, he is unable to understand what faith is, but through being with the Sheikh throughout the project, he begins to change and possibly see where his life can be better used to help people.

And then you have Kristin Scott Thomas as the press secretary Patricia Maxwell.  A woman who is seen primarily talking on her phone or on chat with the Prime Minister, and she provides a comical look at how the politicians work.

As for the Blu-ray release, the picture quality is fantastic and the lossless soundtrack sounds great, especially for the salmon fishin scenes that tend to use the surround channels and LFE quite effectively.  While not special features heavy, you do get two of them.

Overall, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” was indeed a treat.  Aside from the wonderful performances, the direction by Lasse Hallstrom is well-done, the cinematography of Terry Stacey is also fantastic and for the most part, Simon Beaufoy’s screenplay of Paul Torday’s novel manages to be delightful and makes the film quite enjoyable.  It’s an original storyline which I don’t think will ever be duplicated.

If you are looking for a different kind of romantic comedy that is fun and very entertaining, “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” is definitely recommended!

CBS FILMS CASTS BRYAN CRANSTON, ANNA KENDRICK AND MILES TELLER IN UPCOMING FEATURE COMEDY

March 7, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

CBS FILMS CASTS BRYAN CRANSTON, ANNA KENDRICK AND MILES TELLER
IN UPCOMING FEATURE COMEDY

NICK BRAUN, ALISON BRIE, BRANDON T. JACKSON, CHRISTOPHER MINTZ-PLASSE
AND JAY PHAROAH ALSO JOIN THE ENSEMBLE

LOS ANGELES – March 7, 2012 – CBS Films announced today that Bryan Cranston (Drive, TV’s Breaking Bad), Anna Kendrick (50/50, Up In The Air) and Miles Teller (Footloose, Project X) will star in the comedy tentatively titled Get A Job.  Nick Braun (Prom, TV’s Poor Paul), Alison Brie (Scream 4, TV’s Community), Brandon T. Jackson (Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son, Tropic Thunder), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fright Night, Superbad) and Jay Pharoah (TV’s Saturday Night Live, Lola Versus) are set to co-star in the film. Dylan Kidd (Roger Dodger, TV’s Children’s Hospital) is attached to direct the film from a screenplay by Kyle Pennekamp and Scott Turpel.  Michael Shamberg and Stacey Sher (Django Unchained, Contagion) of Double Feature Films are attached to produce.

Get A Job is a multi-generational comedy about four recent college graduates who discover that their lofty expectations and the realities of adulthood are two very different things.  Teller will play Will Davis, who finds his true calling after struggling through an entry level job.  Kendrick plays Jillian Stewart, Will’s type-A girlfriend, who lives her life according to the strictest of plans.  Cranston plays Roger Davis, Will’s father who is hunting for a job at the same time as his son.  Braun, Mintz-Plasse and Jackson will play Will’s three friends, (Charlie, Ethan and Luke, respectively), each of whom find careers with some interesting results. Brie will play Tanya, one of the group’s sharp-witted co-workers.  Pharoah will play Skeezy D, who starts his own recession-proof business.

“We are making an emotionally honest comedy about the challenges that every generation faces in our rapidly changing world. We have assembled an extraordinary cast to make that happen,” commented Kidd.

Maria Faillace and Ryan Conroy are overseeing the project for CBS Films.  The film is set to begin production on March 12th in Los Angeles.

Miles Teller, Anna Kendrick and Brandon T. Jackson are represented by CAA. Bryan Cranston, Christopher Mintz-Plasse and Alison Brie are represented by UTA.  Nick Braun is represented by WME.  Jay Pharoah is represented by ICM. Miles Teller is managed by BOLD and his legal is handled by Stone, Meyer, Genow, Smelkinson & Binder, LLP. Anna Kendrick’s legal is handled by Morris, Yorn, Barnes, Levine, Krintzman, Rubenstein, & Kohner.  Brandon T. Jackson is managed by ML Entertainment and his legal is handled by Del, Shaw, Moonves, Tanaka, Finkelstein & Lezcano.  Christopher Mintz-Plasse is managed by Principato-Young. Nick Braun is managed by Levine Okwu Erickson.  Alison Brie is managed by Vital and her legal is handled by Bloom, Hergott, Diemer, Rosenthal, LaViolette, Feldman, Schenkman & Goodman.  Jay Pharoah’s legal is handled by Hansen, Jacobson, Teller, Hoberman, Newman, Warren, Richman, Rush & Kaller.

About CBS Films
CBS Films is a division of CBS Corporation.  CBS Films will release four to six movies a year, spanning all genres. For more information, log on to www.cbsfilms.com <http://www.cbsfilms.com/> .

Faster (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

February 16, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Dwayne Johnson makes his return to action films with “Faster”.  Violent, gritty and high on adrenaline, if you are looking for a Dwayne Johnson, kick-ass popcorn action flick, “Faster” is definitely for you!

Images courtesy of © 2010 CBS Films Inc. and Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: Faster

FILM RELEASE DATE: 2010

DURATION: 98 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

COMPANY: CBS Films/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

RATED: R (Strong Violence, Some Drug Use and Language)

RELEASE DATE: March 1, 2011

Directed by George Tillman Jr.

Written by Tony Gayton, Joe Gayton

Produced by Tony Gayton, Liz Glotzer, Martin Shafer, Robert Teitel

Executive Produced by Joe Gayton, Dara Weintraub

Music by Clint Mansell

Cinematography by Michael Grady

Edited by Dirk Westervelt

Casting by Sarah Finn

Production Design by David Lazan

Art Direction by Andrew Murdock

Set Decoration by Jan Pascale

Costume Design by Salvador Perez Jr.

Starring:

Dwayne Johnson as Driver

Mauricio Lopez as Prison Guard

Jim Gaines as Inmate

Oliver Jackson-Cohen as Killer

Tom Berenger as Warden

Jan Hoag as Receptionist

Courtney Gains as Telemarketer

Adewale Akinnuoye–Agbaje as the Evangelist

Billy Bob Thornton as Cop

Moon Bloodgood as Marina

Aedin Mincks as Tommy

Michael Irb as Vaquero

Josh Clark as Uniform

Carla Gugino as Cicero

Mike Epps as Roy Grone

Maggie Grace as Lily

Sidney S. Liufau as Kenny

After 10 years in prison, Driver (Dwayne Johnson) has focused on one thing – hunting down the people responsible for brutally murdering his brother. Now a free man with a terrifying purpose, he sets out to find and kill all those on his list. But on his heals are two men who will do anything to stop him – a veteran cop (Billy Bob Thornton) and a hitman (Oliver Jackson-Cohen) who finds his match in this worthy opponent. Now, the hunter is also the hunted.


Trailer


In 2011, Dwayne Johnson (“The Scorpion King”, “The Other Guys”, “Race to Witch Mountain”) made his action film comeback with “Faster” directed by George Tillman Jr. (“Barbershop” films) and written by Tony and Joe Gayton (“Bulletproof”, “Uncommon Valor”, “Sweet Jane”).

Starring alongside Johnson are Billy Bob Thornton (“Sling Blade”, “Armageddon”, “Monster’s Ball”), Carla Gugino (“Watchmen”, “Sin City”, “Night at the Museum”), Moon Bloodgood (“Terminator Salvation”, “Eight Below”, “Pathfinder”), Oliver Jackson-Cohen (“Going the Distance”), Maggie Grace (“Lost”, “Taken”, “Knight and Day”), Tom Berenger (“Platoon”, “Inception”, “Training Day”), Jennifer Carpenter (“Dexter”, “Quarantine”) and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (“Lost”, “G.I. Joe”, “The Bourne Identity”).

“Faster” is an action film that focuses on the storyline of four characters.  The primary character and storyline revolves around driver (played by Dwayne Johnson) and other multiple storylines featuring the cop (played by Billy Bob Thornton), the detective (played by Carla Gugino) and the killer played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen).

The film begins with Driver (played by Dwayne Johnson) in prison.  Having spent ten years in prison, he is released by the warden (played by Tom Berenger) in hopes that when released, he will be a better person.

The first thing that Driver does, when he gets out of prison is to go to a junkyard where a car, a gun and a sheet with a list of names and addresses.  Driver then heads to an office full of workers, spots a guy and shoots him in the head with a camera right on him.

Investigating the case are Detective Cicero (played by Carla Gugino) and Cop (played by Billy Bob Thornton).  Cop has ten more days until retirement but he’s also addicted to drugs, meanwhile Cicero is not so happy that she has to share this case with Cop but both must work together.  Cop also has to deal with his wife Marina (played by Moon Bloodgood), who he is having marriage problems with and has a difficult time of not being there for his son Tommy (played by Aedin Mincks).

We are introduced to the Killer (played by Oliver Jackson-Cohen) who is a man who thrives on competition and when he’s beaten it, he moves on to different things.  He is a man who has accumulated wealth but since he was successful in that endeavor, he moved on to become a killer.    He is deeply in love with Lily (who is as great in shooting firearms as Killer).   Killer has received a new job, to eliminate Driver and also the same men that is on Driver’s list.

Meanwhile, we learn through a video of why Driver was sent to prison and why he has a scar on his face.  Driver was the driver of the getaway car for his brother and his friends that stole some money.  When they retreated to a safehouse, another group had come in and shot them, while tying both Driver and his brother in a chair in hopes that they will reveal where the stolen money was hidden.  Driver had a chance to see the five people from the other group and watch as one of them slit his brother’s neck after he had revealed the location of the money.  Driver was then shot in the head (the bullet exited from his cheek) by someone and was dead for a little while until he was revived and his shattered skull was repaired with a metal plate.  Someone from the group recorded the whole murder and the video is now being viewed by the Detective and Cop.

Meanwhile, Driver goes for the second person on his list… An older man who looks harmless.  While the older man has a teenager helping him out by carrying his groceries, he puts a drug in her drink which knocks her out.  The older man is revealed to be the man who videotaped the whole incident of what took place that day when Driver was shot and his brother was killed.  As Driver goes to the apartment complex where the old man is staying, right outside the complex is Killer.  Killer has decided that after he eliminates Driver, he wants to marry Lily and have a family with her and end his business of killing people.

This leads to a cat and mouse game as Driver is determined to kill everyone on that list, people who were involved in killing his brother and his friends and shooting him.  While, Killer goes after the same people, working for a mysterious client and determined in killing Driver, so he can get on with his life and get married.  Meanwhile, hoping to stop both men are Detective Cicero and Cop.

VIDEO:

“Faster” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1).  The film looks absolutely gorgeous in HD!  Plenty of details can be seen throughout this film, from the detail and textures of the skin pores of every character during closeups, facial hair on the guys, detail on the guns, detail on surroundings, what you would expect from a recent film, “Faster” looks awesome!  There is detail from the sweat and blood all over Driver, the detail of the firearms, the vehicles, you name it, the detail is what comes through in this Blu-ray release.

Outdoor scenes are colorful and vibrant, blacks are nice and deep, I saw no signs of any dust particles, artifacting, banding, DNR, edge enhancement or aliasing whatsoever.

AUDIO & SUBTITLES:

“Faster” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA and the lossless soundtrack is also awesome!  Driver’s luger packs a punch and when he and Killer are exchanging fire, audio was well utilized through the surround channels and definitely bringing an immersive soundtrack to the viewer.  And this happens quite a bit throughout the film as there is quite a bit of gunfire, cars speeding up and burning rubber and hearing the tires shriek, automobile crashes and hearing the metal crunching, bullets ricocheting off metal.

Overall, a pretty good use of surround and LFE.  Granted, it’s not as active as “Quantum of Solace” but it’s still features a solid lossless soundtrack and fans of this film should enjoy hearing it in lossless.

Subtitles are presented in English, English SDH and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“Faster” comes with the following special features (presented in high definition, English stereo and optional English subtitles):

  • PS3 Theme – If you have a PS3 theme, you can get a grayish theme with Dwayne Johnson holding his gun.
  • movieIQ®+sync – If you’re Blu-ray is connected to the Internet, you can pull up info. on the film realtime.
  • Alternate Ending with Director’s Introduction – (12:42) The original ending to “Faster” that didn’t do well during the test screening.  Some may like this ending more than the final cut, I did like it…but I enjoyed the final cut ending more.  There is a different outcome to the ending of the film.  Featuring an optional introduction by director George Tillman Jr.
  • Deleted Scenes with Director’s Introductions – (7:54) Featuring five deleted scenes with optional introductions by director George Tillman Jr.
  • Criminals & Cops: The Cast of Faster – (12:12) Featuring an interview with director George Tillman Jr. and the cast of “Faster”.
  • Weapons and Wheels: The Guns, Cars and Stunts of Faster – (11:54) A featurette featuring the weapons, cars and stunts used on “Faster”.
  • Animatics – (12:22) Featuring the storyboard and pre-rendered CG storyboards for the bank heist, old man, hospital and joust scenes.


The Rock has come back to action films!

And after trying different genres, there is no doubt that Dwayne Johnson doing action films fits perfectly for him.  You want to see Johnson in films where he is kicking butt and “Walking Tall” was a perfect example of where Johnson shines as an action film star.  It’s what many people have seen him do as “The Rock” on WWE and so, his return to action films in “Faster” was expected and if there is one thing that can be positively said about this film is that the Brahma Bull brings it!

But unlike his previous films, Johnson’s character “Driver” is not a good guy.  He’s a criminal, he’s a murderer and while you are sympathetic for his cause, I feel that the character is one that will easily turn people off and those who will want to see Dwayne Johnson do what he does best, playing a character who wants to kick some ass!

For the most part, this action film is an entertaining popcorn action flick that is quite watchable, adrenal and enjoyable but if you try to extract what is deep about satisfying about the movie, that is where “Faster” comes up short.

One major positive about the film is its cast.  You have an all-star cast and while most of them don’t show up for all that long, the storyline’s focus on four different characters is quite interesting. Outside of Johnson’s “Driver”, Billy Bob Thornton can always pull off the Cop-like character.  Granted, he’s not a likable cop, as his first initial shot shows him to be a drug addict, but Billy Bob knows how to play these type of character roles.  Carla Gugino as Detective Cicero was not well utilized in my opinion and possibly the characters that you do find pretty cool and feel they should have their own movie is Oliver Jackson-Cohen’s “Killer” and Maggie Grace’s “Lily”.

And that for me lies the problem.  We enjoy the characters too much.

In some ways, I felt we shouldn’t.  Sympathetic, I understand but the Driver was fine, playing the man carrying out his revenge.  The Killer should have been some deranged, psycho lunatic.  The Cop could stay the way he was and for Cicero, a more definitive position of a woman in power, rather one who feels she is getting shortchanged by the Cop.

Sure, the concept would fit into the banality of revenge action films but it works.  Instead, we are left with plot holes that make no sense.  Why was the ordeal videotaped?  Why do the police have that videotape?

Also, I do believe that there is one crucial deleted scene that should have been included in the film and it deals with the Cop and the character of Marina.  I know that George Tillman Jr. didn’t want to cut it but he did and I felt it was a mistake.  I also feel the “Kill Bill”-esque type of storyline and killing one’s parent and then warning their child about if they want to come at him for revenge was just too contrived.

But in the end, it all comes down to is the film’s writing and execution.  The writers made these characters too likable and while the film is focused on the driver, they made the audience supporting the suave Killer and his girlfriend Lily even more (which prompted the change of the original ending of the storyline).

I will say that George Tillman Jr. does take a big step forward from his “Barbershop” film years by directing this action film.  “Faster” is a visually cool looking film and on Blu-ray, the picture quality and audio quality is great!  The special features were also good but it would have helped to have a director’s commentary and giving Tillman a chance to reflect on certain scenes and if he would have done anything different.

With that being said, I still enjoyed “Faster” as a popcorn action flick that features a good number of stars in the film.   On Blu-ray, I felt that the picture quality and lossless audio soundtrack definitely enhanced my enjoyment of the film.

But if you enjoy Dwayne Johnson action films  and you want to see him in a more violent film and see him ultimately kick some ass, I have no doubt that “Faster” is a film that you will definitely enjoy.

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