L  e  n  s  V  i  e  w  s

A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz

 

A Little Background     Openers     

 

    Modus Operandi     The Scorecard:     

Emotive Connection      Audio     Operations    Extras     The Movie     Equipment

 

BLU-RAY STORE        ALL OUR NEW FORMAT DVD REVIEWS

 

Leatherheads [Blu-ray]

 

(George Clooney, 2008)

 

 

 

 

 

Review by Leonard Norwitz

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Smokehouse Pictures & Casey Silver

Blu-ray: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

 

Disc:

Region: A

Runtime: 114 min

Chapters: 20

Size: 25 GB

Case: Standard Amaray Blu-ray case

Release date: September 23rd, 2008

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: VC-1

 

Audio:

English 5.1 DTS HD Master Audio; Spanish & French DTS 5.1

 

Subtitles:

English, English SDH, Spanish & French

 

Extras:

• Feature Commentary by Director George Clooney & Producer Grant Heslov

• Exclusive to Blu-ray: U-Control with Picture-in-Picture Behind the Scenes of the commentary

 

 

The Film: 6
Leatherheads crosses the fast talking, screwball comedy of His Girl Friday with fast talking, screwball comedy like Mr. Deeds Goes to Town and Hail the Conquering Hero – mostly the latter, and not very much to its credit. Leatherheads begins promisingly enough with a contrasted look at college vs. pro-football in 1925 – the former: orderly, well attended, full of heroes and gods, and very well funded. The latter was only professional in the sense that their players were paid, but very little. (I was reminded of how much the winners took home in The Shoot Horses, Don't They?) Even before the Great Depression, we are told, there was little support for or interest in the game outside of college ball. Pro players were little more mangy brawlers, and rules, such as they were, were made for doing an end run around.

 

 


George Clooney mugs and smirks his way as pro-ball captain of the Bulldogs, Dodge Connelly. Connelly's heart is in the game, even as the news that funding has just been cancelled, and thus his team. Elsewhere, Renée Zellweger pouts and smirks her way through her big city newsroom as ace reporter Lexie Littleton. Her new assignment: get the goods on college superstar Carter Rutherford, played by a less mugsy John Krasinski. The story is that Rutherford may not have actually been the Sgt. York type hero that the media has taken him for up to now. Lexie keeps her true assignment secret as she travels with the team to get closer to Carter, who connelly wants to use to create a fan base for a new team.

Clooney, as director, clearly loves his material, but tries so hard to emulate the period in terms of look and music that he lost sight of how his characters, and their ersatz triangular romance, fit into the history of the sport. He's a good comic actor, and. At 46, still has no right to be as handsome as he is. Krazinski struck me as sufficiently dashing, but not nearly substantial enough for pro-ball. As for Zellweger, the less you know about Rosalind Russell and Barbara Stanwyck in similar roles, the better.

 


 

Image: 6/7
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVDs, including SD 480i.

While desaturation is all the rage these days, few go so far as Leatherheads to convey an antique look of near-sepia high contrast. In so doing, Clooney & company have come perilously close to draining their film of heart – an effect which may have infected into our feeling about the drama. The image, what there is left of it, is reasonably sharp, especially apparent in the close-ups. Bit rates are typically in the upper 20s.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music: 7/7
Dialogue and imaging of on-the-field audio is crisp and clean, with some rousing enveloping audience noises in the surrounds. The usually reliable Randy Newman created a score more derivative than evocative, thus draining it of freshness.

 

 

 

Operations: 9
The menu is laid out like other Universal Blu-rays I have seen so far – and they are all very cleverly laid out, indeed. I like the arrows that tell you which way to direct you remote, and the bonus feature instructions are detailed and intuitive. High marks here. The chapter menu includes buttons for U-Control in case you want to approach those functions from that point. And there is also a way to adjust the PIP volume in the set-up menu.
 

Extras: 3
What would have been nice in the way of extra features was a dispassionate look at the birth of professional football. Universal even announced as much some weeks before the release of their Blu-ray, and just such a feature seems to be on the corresponding DVD release. Whether this was the result of a decision to employ only a single layer, or for some other reason I cannot say, but it was missed. Alas, what we do get is a feature commentary by Director George Clooney & Producer Grant Heslov, that only occasionally looks in that direction. There's some diverting PIP material of their commentary as well as behind the scenes comments by cast members, but nothing that suggests they took the real game of the day seriously.

 

 

Bottom line: 6
A well-intentioned piece of fluff that tries too hard to be cute, clever and theatrical. I would have liked to see the pre-rules pro-football demonstrating more mayhem, so we could really see and feel the difference. While not a disc that will show off your high definition system to any advantage, it does have its charm. If you can leave your critical hat in the other room, Leatherheads can even entertain. Once through should do it nicely.

Leonard Norwitz
September 18th, 2008

 

 

 

 

 





 

Hit Counter

 

DONATIONS Keep DVDBeaver alive:

Mail cheques, money orders, cash to:    or CLICK PayPal logo to donate!

Gary Tooze

Thank You!