H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def DVDs by Gary W. Tooze

 

Introduction: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 7500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction. So be it, but film will always be my first love and I list my favorites on the old YMdb site now accessible HERE.  

Gary's Home Theatre:

Samsung HPR4272 42" Plasma HDTV
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player (firmware upgraded)

Sony BDP-S300 1080p Blu-ray Disc Player (firmware upgraded)
Sony DVP NS5ODH SD-DVD player (region-free and HDMI)

Marantz SA8001 Super Audio CD Player
Marantz SR7002 THX Select2 Surround Receiver
Tannoy DC6-T (fronts) + Energy (centre, rear, subwoofer) speakers (5.1)

Gary W. Tooze

 

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Risky Business [Blu-ray]

 

(Paul Brickman, 1983)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Studio:

Warner Home Video
 

Discs:

Region: FREE

Feature Runtime: 1:39:08

Chapters: 32

Feature film disc size: 24.5 Gig (disc is dual-layered)

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 16th, 2008

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p

 

Audio: English: TrueHD 5.1, English: Dolby Digital 5.1 DUBs: French: 2.0, Spanish 1.0

Subtitles:
Feature: English SDH, English, French, Spanish, none
 

Supplements:

• Commentary with director Tom Cruise, director Paul Brickman and producer Jon Avnet (only accessible with BonusView of BDLive capability)
Original Screen Tests - 14:34 (in HD!)
• 25th Anniversary Retrospective - 29:28 (in HD!)

Director's Cut of the Final Scene - 7:24 (in HD)

Disc 2

Digital Copy of the film

 

Product Description: Little did Tom Cruise know that he would become a box-office superstar after he cranked up some Bob Seeger and played air guitar in his underwear. But there's more to this 1983 hit than the arrival of a hot young star. Making a stylish debut, writer-director Paul Brickman crafted a subtle satire of crass materialism wrapped in an irresistible plot about a crafty high schooler named Joel (Cruise) who goes into risky business with the beguiling prostitute Lana (Rebecca De Mornay) while his parents are out of town. Joel turns his affluent Chicago-suburb home into a lucrative bordello and forms a steamy personal and professional partnership with Lana, but only as long as the two can avoid the vengeful pimp Guido (Joe Pantoliano) and keep their customers happy. A signature film of the 1980s, Risky Business still holds up thanks to Cruise's effortless charm and the movie's timeless appeal as an adolescent male fantasy.

Jeff Shannon from Amazon.com located HERE

 

 

 

The Film:

"Risky Business" is a movie about male adolescent guilt. In other words, it's a comedy. It's funny because it deals with subjects that are so touchy, so fraught with emotional pain, that unless we laugh there's hardly any way we can deal with them -- especially if we are now, or ever were, a teenage boy.

 

This description may make "Risky Business" sound like a predictable sitcom. It is not. It is one of the smartest, funniest, most perceptive satires in a long time. It not only invites comparison with "The Graduate," it earns it. Here is a great comedy about teenage sex.

The very best thing about the movie is its dialogue. Paul Brickman, who wrote and directed, has an ear so good that he knows what to leave out. This is one of those movies where a few words or a single line says everything that needs to be said, implies everything that needs to be implied, and gets a laugh. When the hooker tells the kid, "Oh, Joel, go to school. Learn something," the precise inflection of those words defines their relationship for the next three scenes..
.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert's review at the Chicago Sun Times located HERE

 

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

This dual-layered Blu-ray image doesn't appear to scale the 1080P heights fans may have been anticipating but take into account that the film is 25 years-old now (hard to believe - I know.) Once again this 'age' factor seems to have a huge impact on the quality of the Blu-ray presentation. I expect the source and the original film appeared quite similar to how this high-definition transfer represents. But in comparison to more modern film to Blu-ray, viewers may find it a shade inadequate. Colors appear true, if not brilliant, detail is superior to SD but never razor sharp, and background noise exists, at times, with notable prominence. So, although a healthy notch above SD-DVD, I don't feel Risky Business approaches the extravagance of image quality that most hope, and expect, from a Blu-ray viewing. But, folks, this is how the film looks - no fault of Warner's transfer. Fans may wish to indulge though solely based on its superiority over SD-DVD and other factors (great extras, audio - see below). I mean, it is a very acceptable looking image for a film of its time/production and there is no DNR or edge enhancement that I could detect. The screen captures (linked to full-resolution versions) can hopefully give you an idea of what Risky Business on Blu-ray will look like on your system.

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music:  
The TrueHD 5.1 track is one of two English language options - the other being a standard 5.1 - and it stands up acceptably. I don't really have any complaints with the mix and the Tangerine Dream music sounded exceptional to me but the film does not fit into the action genre and use of the surround capabilities is fairly limited. In the infrequent incidents where it does come into play the track does its job without a hitch. Subtitles are offered in English, French or Spanish.

 

Extras:
Cited on the back of the box as 'Exclusive to Blu-ray Video Commentary by Tom Cruise, director Paul Brickman and producer Jon Avnet" (notable as playable only accessible with BonusView of BDLive capability). Funnily enough, I just heard Jon Avnet on the 88 Minutes commentary and he definitely benefits from a the grouping with Brickman and Mr. mega-super-star Tom Cruise (whom admits he was just trying not to get fired in Risky Business.) Interesting that Warner limited this commentary to the
Blu-ray features as opposed to just being able to listen to the audio by itself (without video window). So you definitely need the BDLive feature to access the commentary. There are also some HD features - fans will love to indulge in the 15 minutes of original screen tests - prefaced with Amy Heckerling, Avnet, De Mornay and Cruise himself giving input. It shot on video in Brickman's living room - a few scnes with Cruise and De Mornay. Very cool! The 25th Anniversary Retrospective - (also in HD!) runs 1/2 an hour and has input from many. Brickman introduces the Director's Cut of the Final Scene (7:24 in HD) stating that he feels this is the absolute best completion to Risky Business (and he may be right). Very good job Warner - just what we have been waiting for - an excellent collection of hi-def and Blu-ray exclusive supplements. Ohhh... also there is a second disc with the 'digital copy' of the film for your external device (should you wish to indulge.)

 

Bottom line:
Critics generally love this film and with good reason. At the time it struck out with some less obvious intonations - bordering on artistic. Since then it has gained some further status with being Cruise's first 'leading role' film. The
Blu-ray image is decent, and certainly authentic, enough to enjoy the experience - but the extras are the true selling point. I've been waiting for Blu-ray to start making some solid footing in the format's capabilities for supplements. This is pointing that way - finally. For the fun, and at times racy, film of one person's swift journey to adulthood and for the total high-definition package this is definitely recommended (just don't expect too much from the visual quality)!   

Gary Tooze

September 13th, 2008

 

 

 

 

 





 

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