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directed by Marc Forster
USA 2001

This is truly one of the biggest surprises of the past few years. Marc Forster's profound drama "Monster's Ball" is - in my opinion - the best film of 2001. It tells the story of two lonely, desperate people who find each other under worst possible circumstances.

"Monster's Ball" is not the type of love story that Hollywood produces every few weeks, its about much more than just love. It's about need and finding somebody who fills the empty place in your heart. What Hank (Billy Bob Thornton) and Leticia (Halle Berry) need is someone they can relate to, someone who understands their feelings and actions. And they find each other. Both are going to change their lives drastically and actually begin new ones.

The cinematography by Roberto Schaefer and mood of this film is brilliantly distanced, caught in the heat of Louisiana, underlined by a meditative and ethereal soundtrack of minimalist perfection. The acting is bravura. Halle Berry provides a performance of devastating emotional depth and truly deserved her Oscar. Billy Bob Thornton is great as well and its a shame that he wasn't even nominated for an Academy Award. The supporting cast is convincing and strong all the way, but it was really Halle Berry who made me cry and feel the pain of her character.

"Monster's Ball" certainly is a masterpiece. An experience of deep, human tragedy that shouldn't be missed by any sophisticated film lover.out of  
 

C.P. Czarnecki

Posters

Theatrical Release: November 11th, 2001

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Comparison: 

Lions Gate (Signature Series) - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

(Lions Gate (Signature Series) - Region 1 - NTSC LEFT vs. Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray RIGHT)

DVD Box Cover

Distribution

Lions Gate Home Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

Lions Gate Home Entertainment

Region 'A' - Blu-ray

Runtime 1:52:32 1:52:42
Video

2:35:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 5.32 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s

2:35:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Single-layered Blu-ray
Feature: 21.36 Gig

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate: SD

Bitrate:  (Blu-ray)

 

NO BITRATE GRAPH FOR Blu-ray YET!

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Surround 2.0) English (DTS HD Master 5.1)
Subtitles English, Spanish, none English, English (SDH), Spanish, none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 2:35:1

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Director Marc Forster and Screenwriters Milo Addica and Will Rokos
• Behind the Scenes with Producer Lee Daniels
• Sundance Channel Presents Anatomy of a Scene
• Cast and Crew Interviews (19:41)
• Monster's Ball Trailer
• Everything Put Together Trailer

DVD Release Date: February 18, 2003
Keep Case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Lions Gate Home Entertainment

2:35:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Single-layered Blu-ray
Feature: 21.36 Gig

Edition Details:
• Audio Commentary by Director Marc Forster and Screenwriters Milo Addica and Will Rokos
• Behind the Scenes with Producer Lee Daniels (18:23)
• Cast and Crew Interviews (19:41)
• Monster's Ball Trailer
• Music for the film: Monster's Ball (8:20)

• Four Deleted Scenes (4:04)

• On the Set (4:21)

Blu-ray Release Date: November 4th, 2008
Standard Blu-ray case

Chapters 16

 

Comments NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

ADDITION: Lions Gate Blu-ray - October 08' - We have a very impressive image on the new Monster's Ball Blu-ray from Lions Gate. Wow. I think Carsten was correct about the DVD being good but the compared captures below blow it right out of the water. I've done my best to match his grabs and may be off my a frame or two on some - but the vast improvement is obvious. Colors take notable shift to realism and detail is dramatically sharper. There is a shade more information in the frame with the Blu-ray. Everything about the new image is superior and this supports our theory of age of films being put to 1080P (although this is not always an absolute truism.) This Blu-ray debut looks so good at times - I was zooming in to seek edge-enhancement but came up empty - it looks clean - no DNR either.

So what else? Well, a new track - a DTS HD Master 5.1 that sounds as tight and crisp as one would want. It's not an aggressive score and the rear speakers don't get a lot of dynamic action but it's the subtleties that I appreciate. Asche & Spencer's original score sounds fabulous and suits the film to a 'T'. So, the Blu-ray sounds as good as it looks.

Extras are almost the same - we seem to lose one tidbit (Sundance Channel Presents Anatomy of a Scene) but gain 4 deleted scenes, an 8 minute bit on the music and a short piece entitled 'On the Set'. Most importantly the good commentary remains with director Marc Forster and screenwriters Milo Addica and Will Rokos.

So this $20 Blu-ray from Lions Gate eclipses the old SD on every front. It was perfect time for me to re-watch this film and made me wonder why I had not done it sooner. The symbolic references in it are almost amusing they are so obvious but it works very well with the incredible performances. Thornton is always good but even his charisma seems toppled by Berry - who evolved herself, in Monster's Ball, into a highly respected actress.

This Blu-ray is strongly recommended!   

***

 

ON THE SD-DVD: This is what I consider a really good DVD. The picture is very sharp and clear, absolutely nothing to complain. Anamorphic, progressive and tight lines. Colors appear un-manipulated. While this film is certainly dialogue-driven, the 5.1 track adds depth to the great soundtrack.

The bonus material is interesting and especially the director's and screenwriters' audio commentary which provides a lot of valuable information. The interviews are very brief, but the "Anatomy of a Scene" featurette is interesting. And then we have the theatrical trailers for two Marc Forster films (this one and "Everything Put Together").

If you love this film as much as I do, don't hesitate to pick up this great DVD!

 - C.P. Czarnecki

 



SD Menus and Extras
 

 


Screen Captures

 

(Lions Gate (Signature Series) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

 


(Lions Gate (Signature Series) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 


(Lions Gate (Signature Series) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 


(Lions Gate (Signature Series) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 


(Lions Gate (Signature Series) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 


(Lions Gate (Signature Series) - Region 1 - NTSC TOP vs. Lions Gate - Region 'A' - Blu-ray BOTTOM)

 

 

 


 
More Blu-ray captures

 

 

DVD Box Cover

Distribution

Lions Gate Home Entertainment

Region 1 - NTSC

Lions Gate Home Entertainment

Region 'A' - Blu-ray




 

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