H D - S E N S E I

A view on Hi-def discs 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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Domino Blu-ray

(Tony Scott, 2005)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Studio: New Line Home Video

 

Video:

Region FREE

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Chapters: 28

Feature film: 1080p / VC-1

Disc Size: 22,693,001,956 bytes

Feature Size: 19,900,588,032 bytes

Time: 2:07:34.730

Chapters: 21

Average Bitrate: 20.80 Mbps

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Audio:

Dolby TrueHD Audio English 1736 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1736 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 5.1-EX / 48 kHz / 640 kbps)
Dolby Digital EX Audio English 640 kbps 5.1-EX / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English, Spanish, none

 

Extras

Audio Commentary with Director Tony Scott and Writer Richard Kelly
Alternate Audio Track Commentary
I Am a Bounty Hunter (SD, 20:31)
Bounty Hunting on Acid (SD, 10:36)
Seven Deleted and Extended Scenes (HD, 7:46)
Theatrical Trailers

Digital Copy

 

Two discs in a standard Blu-ray case.

Release Date: January 20th, 2009

 

Summary: A trademark Tony Scott film and starring Keira Knightley, Domino presents an entertaining mix of gritty action and a sharp visual style. The film is inspired by the life of Domino Harvey, a former model who rejected her privileged Beverly Hills life to become a bounty hunter...

 

 

 

 

 

The Film:

There is little room for depth of character in a film as formally mercurial as this, so Scott has opted for a rogues' gallery of stereotypes, with just enough quirks to be interesting. The cast is made up mostly of larger-than-life actors, especially Rourke, Lindo and Walken, as well as celebrities playing fictionalised versions of themselves (Springer, Ian Ziering and Brian Austin Green). The biggest treat is a bizarre (and uncredited) cameo by singer/actor Tom Waits, to the accompaniment of his own Jesus Gonna Be Here, playing precisely the mythic persona (mystic prophet to the dispossessed) that he has been cultivating through his music for years. Diminutive, posh-toned Knightley may seem an odd choice to hold all these living legends together, but her insistent implausibility fits perfectly in a film so concerned with the traffic between tall tales and true.

The real Domino Harvey, who appears briefly at the end of the film, had, in fact, been arrested for allegedly dealing methamphetamines and was facing trial and a probable decade's worth of imprisonment when, shortly before production on the film ended, she died at home, under house arrest, of a massive drug overdose. Real life is not always quite as pretty as it seems in the movies, but then this is exactly what Domino dramatises, with the sort of vivid dynamism normally reserved for action films that are far more conventional and far less intelligent.

Excerpt from Anton Bitel at Eye For Film located HERE

 

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

 

I wasn't particularly enamored with the film for about the first half and that, unfortunately, affected by judgment on this single-layered Blu-ray image transfer here by New Line. As it rolled along I began to appreciate both much more. The hyper-kinetic Scott film certainly over-utilizes every cinematographic trick in the book with heavy, blown-out, contrast fluctuations, rapid edit cuts, shaky and obtuse camera angles, unpronounced color infusion and about a million other effects. I couldn't shake the 'overkill' - it was desensitizing me to the entire film. It appeared cheap and amateurish - almost like a directionless student film. The image itself bounces around from heavy grain to intense close-ups. BUT then I began to come around. I could see some reasoning behind the 'punk' infusion. The image style began to grow on me and I suspected that the modest bitrate of 20.80 Mbps was all Domino required. I suspect it is accurate to the theatrical intent of Tony Scott... but even if this Blu-ray transfer occasionally misrepresents (or is 'weak') it doesn't really impact upon the essence of the film. Colors look vibrant, detail shows strength in close-ups and grain is abundant. There is not a lot of depth - because of the manner in which it was shot - more than the fault of the transfer. It's still excessive but for a film like this, the 1080P image supports these wild visuals as well as needed.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio & Music: We are given a dynamic TrueHD 5.1 track that separates, slices and dices as well as the film demands. Being so scattered it's hard to definitively judge. There are pieces of over 50 different music artists and indefinable effect noises coming out the wazoo - running around the room. Original music by Harry Gregson-Williams runs the gamut with deep 'party-rock' bass blasting away in circumstance. There is also a 48 kHz 5.1-EX option but I didn't do extensive testing to determine any differences. The commentaries are in 2.0.  There are no DUBs but removable English or Spanish subtitles offered.

Extras: Supplements appear duplicated from the previous SD release but the 7 deleted scenes are in HD here. I appreciated the solid audio commentary with Director Tony Scott and Writer Richard Kelly, plus a kind of weird alternate audio track that was sporadic, less defined and professional. I Am a Bounty Hunter runs 20 minutes but I wanted more as being as sheltered as I am I knew so very little of this story. Highly interesting indeed. We get another - Bounty Hunting on Acid (running 10 minutes in SD, the aforementioned HD deleted and extended scenes running 8 minutes and there are the ubiquitous theatrical trailers. Entertaining anough and filling the void.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE : One can't give any credence to this story, so utterly glamorized by Hollywood, that doesn't even vaguely represent the circumstances of Domino Harvey's life - this is a gimmee. I think I'd have liked either a more true, less dramatized piece, or just a totally fictional character without even the attempt of personification to a real person. Perhaps this indicates the limitations of writing these days - or the limits of my imagination. Either way in the end, through a bit of torturous cinematic flashing-light vagueness, I was amused. Domino is filled with actors and personalities that I love - from Rourke characterizing Rourke to Bisset's sexy class, Walken being Walken to Knightley doing a lapdance - it's hard not to succumb to some degree. The Blu-ray is the Blu-ray and I don't feel it's going to look or sound any better - it wouldn't benefit the presentation enough to make a difference even if it did. Actually, I'm still so dizzy from the film I don't even know if I am recommending it or not. Prepare for Hollywood at it's most glamour-puss, action-fertile, MTV-ish - but it's a little more than that. Just a little. Did I say Keira Knightley does a lapdance? Ohh, I did. She does.     

Gary Tooze

January 20th, 2009