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


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


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.


“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.


“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.


“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.


“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!

The Duel (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

August 13, 2016 by · Leave a Comment 


Kieran Darcy-Smith’s “The Duel” is an entertaining yet standard revenge western film.   The storyline may get over-the-top at times, but it’s probably Liam Hemsworth’s best action role as the main protagonist and Woody Harrelson in another solid performance as the film’s antagonist.

Images courtesy of © 2016 Mississipix Studios, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: The Duel


DURATION: 100 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:39:1), English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Subtitles: English and Spanish

COMPANY: Lionsgate

RATED: R (Strong Violence and Language)

Release Date: August 9, 2016

Directed by Kieran Darcy-Smith

Written by Matt Cook

Produced by David Hoberman, Todd Lieberman, Maureen Meulen, Adam Rosenfelt

Executive-Producer: Jason Cloth, Matt Cook, Aaron L. Golbert, Nathalie Marciano, Brian Pitt

Co-Executive Producer: Patrick Murray

Cinematography by Jules O’Loughlin

Music by Craig Eastman

Edited by Tracy Adams, Blake Harjes, Douglas Slocum

Casting by Anne McCarthy, Kellie Roy

Production Design by Toby Corbett

Art Direction by Douglas Cumming

Costume Design by Terry Anderson


Liam Hemsworth as David Kingston

Alice Braga as Marisol

Woody Harrelson as Abraham

Emory Cohen as Isaac

Chester Rushing as Winston

William Sadler as Governor Ross

Raphael Sbarge as Dr. Morris

Bedict Samuel as George

Felicity Price as Naomi

Academy Award® winner Tom Hanks delivers one of his most engaging performances as Alan Clay, a recently divorced American businessman who is sent overseas to pitch a state-of-the-art holographic teleconferencing system to a king. As Alan vainly tries to navigate new and unusual customs, he finds himself thrust into a series of wonderful misadventures, and a fateful encounter that changes his life forever.

From director Kieran Darcy-Smith (“Animal Kingdom”, “The Cave”, “The Square”, “The Reef”) comes his American western film “The Duel”.

Written by Matt Cook, “The Duel” stars Liam Hemsworth (“The Hunger Games” films, “Independence Day: Resurgence”), Alice Braga (“I Am Legend”, “City of God”, “Elysium”, “Predators”), Woody Harrelson (“Cheers”, “Zombieland”, “No Country for Old Men”), Emory Cohen (“Brooklyn”, “The Place Beyond the Pines”, “Afterschool”), Chester Rushing (“Stranger Things”, “NCIS: New Orleans”) and William Sadler (“The Shawshank Redemption”, “The Green Mile”, “Iron Man 3”).

The film is set in the Great Plains during the 1880’s.

We are taken to the past where David Kingston’s father and preacher Abraham Brant (portrayed by Woody Harrelson) take part in a knifing duel.  And his father is killed.

Fastforward 22-years later and David Kingston (portrayed by Liam Hemsworth) is now an adult who is now a Texas Ranger.

He is summoned by Governor Sullivan Ross (portrayed by William Sadler) to investigate the deaths of Mexicans found in a river next to the town of Helena near Mount Hermon.

One of the Mexicans, Ernesto Calderon and his sister, the relatives of the Mexican General Calderon and he is threatening to bring Mexican soldiers over the border to look for them.  This may cause a war.

And Mount Hermon is run by the preacher Abraham Brant, known for slaughtering Indians, Mexicans and Negros for 2 cents a scalp.

Kingston is to go to Mount Hermon alone with a different name and to find out if he is responsible the deaths of Mexicans and has General Calderon’s family.

Governor Sullivan also talks about how Abraham has been known to have the power of healing and he has seen him heal a person alone.

But as David plans to fulfill this mission, his wife, Marisol (who is a Mexican woman) does not want to be left alone and insists that she will go with him to Mount Hermon.

As the two head to Mount Hermon, while they plan to be there for a short time, Abraham takes a liking towards David for some mysterious reason and hires him as the sheriff of Helena.

Meanwhile, Abraham starts to get close to Marisol.

Abraham starts to learn that the place is like a religious cult who look to Abraham as if he is a god.  While Abraham is a non-believer, there are people who immediately cause him problems such as Abraham’s son Isaac and his group of friends.

He also sees people such as Englishman and Chinese come to the town but not one Mexican, which is surprising considering the region.

But something ominous is happening in Mount Hermon and David is determined to find out what is actually going on.


“The Duel” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:39:1 aspect ratio). The film looks vibrant in outdoor Saudi Arabia day scenes and close ups are full of detail. Skintones look natural. I didn’t notice any banding or artifacts during my viewing of the film. For the most part, picture quality for the film is great!


“The Duel” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio. The soundtrack is primarily dialogue with surround channels being used for ambiance (such as crowd scenes) and your occasional fight scenes or scenes with gun shots.  Overall, lossless soundtrack is crystal clear.

Subtitles are in English and Spanish.


“The Duel” comes with the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director Kieran Darcy-Smith and production design Toby Corbett.


“The Duel comes with a slipcover an UltraViolet Digital HD code.

For “The Hunting Game” movie fans, seeing actors Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson together in another film outside the popular franchise film series is a plus!

In past films for Hemsworth, we have seen him in action roles for “The Hunger Games”, “The Expendables 2” and “Paranoia”.  And while brother Chris Hemsworth is known for his role as Thor in the various Marvel superhero films and action films such as “Rush”, “Snow White and the Huntsman” films and “Star Trek” films, younger brother Liam Hemsworth stars in “The Duel” that doesn’t depend on any other actor and it’s a role in a film that he carries well on his own.  Fortunately, it works for him to have Woody Harrelson as the film’s antagonist.

“The Duel” revolves around a Texas Ranger named David Kingston, who is on a mission to find out if a preacher, who runs a large cult, is responsible for the murders of Mexicans near the village area that he is responsible for.

Because his wife Marisol is intent of going with him, and not wanting to be away for so long from her husband, both go to the Mount Hermon.

And for David, going there to meet with this preacher is quite huge, as the preacher, Abraham, is the man responsible for murdering his father.

While David’s main intent is to discover any information that the preacher and his people are responsible for these murders of Mexicans but also trying to prevent the Mexican army from crossing over and generating a full-scale war, there is a dark secret lingering around the town, and David, who is selected by Abraham to become the town’s sheriff, will slowly uncover this dark secret.

While the film is a standard revenge film, you don’t watch too many westerns where its antagonist is a preacher and his followers are religious zealots who carry snakes and women get possessed by the touch of Abraham.

I do feel the film is entertaining for its revenge aspect but I think I have been spoiled with too many westerns about teams of people fighting against antagonists, versus one man who must prepare himself in taking on many people in the village.

Perhaps that is where the film is a farfetched but I did enjoy the film for its revenge storyline, its necessary use of violence to depict the dangers in the town but by no means, does the film get into anything gory or too over-the-top violent.

Liam Hemsworth does a great job as the primary protagonist and Woody Harrelson, always a good antagonist in any film he stars in.  But he does a solid job playing the creepy preacher.

As for the Blu-ray release, picture quality is very good considering the majority of the film is shot outdoors.  Lossless audio is primarily used well during crowd scenes for ambiance and of course, multiple scenes with gunshots and fighting, etc.  As for special features, there is an audio commentary with the director and production designer.

Overall, Kieran Darcy-Smith’s “The Duel” is an entertaining yet standard revenge western film.   The storyline may get over-the-top at times, but it’s probably Liam Hemsworth’s best action role as the main protagonist and Woody Harrelson in another solid performance as the film’s antagonist.