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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

Falling Down [Blu-ray]

 

(Joel Schumacher, 1993)

 

  Re-released November 16th, 2010:

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Studio:

Theatrical: Warner

Video: Warner Home Video

 

Disc:

Region: FREE! (as verified by the Momitsu region FREE Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:52:36.332

Disc Size: 23,015,043,565 bytes

Feature Size: 21,785,567,232 bytes

Average Bitrate: 25.80 Mbps

Chapters: 33

Case: Bookstyle Blu-ray case

Release date: May 26th, 2009

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: VC-1 Video

 

Audio:

Dolby TrueHD Audio English 659 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 659 kbps / 16-bit (AC3 Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
DUBs:

Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio Italian 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio Japanese 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / Dolby Surround
Dolby Digital Audio Portuguese 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 192 kbps 1.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps

 

Subtitles:

English, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, Italian, Japanese, Norwegian, Portuguese, Spanish, Swedish, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary by Michael Douglas and Joel Schumacher

'A Conversation With Michael Douglas (10:11 in SD)

• Theatrical trailer

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Freeways are clogged. Terror stalks our cities. At shops and restaurants, the customer is seldom right. Pressures of big-city life can anger anyone. But Bill Foster is more than angry. He’s out to get even. Foster abandons his gridlocked car – license plate D-FENS – on the hottest day of the year and walks straight into an urban nightmare both absurdly funny and shatteringly violent. Academy Award winner Michael Douglas is Foster, an ordinary guy at war with the frustrations of daily life. Fellow Oscar winner Robert Duvall is the savvy cop obsessed with stopping Foster’s citywide rampage. This spellbinding thriller is their story, asking “Are we falling apart?”

 

 

The Film:

On the morning the film begins, he is stuck in traffic on the freeway. Nothing is moving. Exhaust fumes rise all around him.

The director, Joel Schumacher, deliberately shoots this scene as a homage to the famous opening of Fellini's "8 1/2," but instead of finding himself floating up into the sky, like Fellini's hero, the man gets out of his car, slams the door, and goes walking alone across Los Angeles. This is not always a safe thing for a crew-cut white man, wearing a shirt and a tie.

The man has no name in the film; he becomes known to the police as D-FENS, after his license plate. He is already unhinged when he starts his walk, but eventually the tools of violence fall into his hands, and he uses them. In a grocery store, he asks for change for the telephone, and is refused by the Korean proprietor. He tries to buy a can of pop, but the change from a dollar would not be enough for a phone call. His frustration rages, until he grabs the owner's baseball bat and starts swinging, taking down piles of junk foods, cans of diet soda.

Excerpt from Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times located HERE

 

 


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

The image on the Blu-ray of Falling Down is a solid leap above the existing DVD although it's obvious that Warner haven't really 'gone-to-town' with the VC-1 transfer residing on single-layered disc taking up 23 Gig. Contrast seems a little light/dull and while flesh tones are probably reasonably accurate they lean towards the warmer end of the spectrum.  Detail may be one of the most notable attributes - especially over the existing SD counterparts. There isn't a lot of texture to the image and some scenes have minor noise. Outdoor scenes show some depth. This Blu-ray, while not at the premium end of hi-def renderings, seems to do, only, a fair job although I expect it could have looked even better - but how much more - who knows?  Zooming in on the image displays some undesirable blockiness but for standard viewing I expect most people will be content. Those who project may note the deficiencies.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

No surround going on here - this is a 2.0 True HD track (in original English) with 6 foreign language DUBs. It's puny too at only 659 kbps. So don't expect any floor rattling experiences - not that the film exports a lot of aggression in the audio (it's more 'pent-up' in the character.) Still, there's some 'popping' gunplay blistering through the front channels and background/effect noises are a definite part of this film experience. But it has no depth or range - it's quite flat - not that it adversely bothered my viewing. Warner have gone low-key with this 'International edition' which has subs and DUBs in multiple language options. Expectantly my Momitsu tells me this is Region FREE! 

 

Extras :

The supplements appear to duplicate the older DVD with the commentary from Douglas and Schumacher. I am always interested in what Douglas has to say and this extends to the 10-minute conversation in SD where he discusses receiving the script and a bit on production. There is also a trailer but overall the commentary is the most viable supplement and if you were keen on the film it may be much worth indulging.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I wouldn't say it's a stellar 1080P transfer (audio or video) but I admit to liking this film for some reason. There are little touches - ex. when the mini American flags are spilled onto the floor and the few seconds of a discontented loan applicant picketing in front of the monetary institution. There are political messages but they don't seem to be have a stringent agenda. They really just build our empathy for the character. Yes, we've all been in a traffic jam, or told we won't get change for the phone unless we buy something. It's kind of gratifying to see someone say 'F*%k you' to the situation - even if we never will. But I still don't consider this a great film. This is infinitely superior to existing digital home theater presentation on DVD and, despite my reservations on the transfer, I'm kinds glad I have it on the Blu-ray format because I know I'll revisit it. 

Gary Tooze

May 8th, 2009

  Re-released November 16th, 2010:


 

About the Reviewer: 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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