H D - S E N S E I

A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


High Crimes [Blu-ray]


(Carl Franklin, 2002)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corporation

Video: Twentieth Century Fox



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

Runtime: 1:55:13.948

Disc Size: 23,994,189,108 bytes

Feature Size: 21,650,583,552 bytes

Video Bitrate: 18.84 Mbps

Chapters: 36

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 1st, 2009



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 3801 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3801 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 /
48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio Spanish 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps / Dolby Surrounds



English, English (SDH), French, Spanish, none



• Commentary by director Carl Franklin

Liar Liar (How To Beat a Polygraph) - 5:51
"A Different Kind of Justice" (Martial vs. Civilian Law) - 4:58
FBI Takedown in Union Square and Car Crash - 7:31
Together Again - 3:33
A Military Mystery (Conversation with author Joseph Finder) - 7:22
A trailer





Description: A happily married, successful female lawyer is shocked to learn that her husband has a hidden past as a classified military operative, and is accused of committing a heinous war crime. She must wrestle with her own doubts about his guilt as she defends him, with the help of a private investigator, in a top-secret military court where none of the rules she knows so well apply.



The Film:

"High Crimes" is a movie like that. Judd plays Claire Kubik, a high-profile defense attorney for a big firm. When her ex-Army husband (Jim Caviezel) is arrested by the FBI, charged with murder and arraigned before a military tribunal, she defiantly says she will defend him herself. And because she doesn't know her way around military justice, she enlists a lawyer named Grimes (Morgan Freeman) as co-counsel. Grimes is that dependable character, a drunk who is on the wagon but may (i.e., will) fall off under stress.

This is the second movie Judd and Freeman have made together (after "Kiss the Girls" in 1997). They're both good at projecting a kind of Southern intelligence that knows its way around the frailties of human nature. Although Freeman refers to himself as the "wild card" in the movie, actually that role belongs to Caviezel, whose very identity is called into question by the military charges. "Is your name Tom Chapman?" Claire asks her husband at one point. She no longer knows the answer.

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.

Considering it's a single-layered transfer - High Crimes looks fairly impressive. Close-ups show strong detail, colors look true without being overly bright and there is some occasional depth. The image quality seems smooth, a shade glossy and tight. Contrast suffers a bit - more notable in the darker scenes with some minor noise. This Blu-ray seems reasonably competent - while not demo material it's well ahead of it's DVD counterpart.

















Audio :

It's a healthy DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 3801 kbps supporting the limited action sequences with some explosive punch and separation. It's dialogue heavy pushing mostly through the center channel but there are a few violent surprises that seem carried very well by the lossless audio. There are optional subtitles and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.




Extras :

There is nothing new beyond the last DVD edition - meaning the same commentary by director Carl Franklin which is surprisingly good and he's the type of speaker I wish I'd hear more from - but, I guess, before doing more commentaries he'd have to direct more films that reached DVD or Blu-ray status. He's got a recognizable voice - from all the TV acting he's done. There are about 6 short featurettes involving stuff like How To Beat a Polygraph, "A Different Kind of Justice" (Martial vs. Civilian Law) and A Military Mystery (a conversation with author Joseph Finder). Input in, at least, two of the pieces comes from FBI consultant Sue Doucette. There are a couple of trailers but overall the commentary is the one thing worth indulging - in my opinion.



As a garden-variety courtroom thriller - this has some entertainment value. While not at the level of a 'Grisham' - it's supported well by the charisma of the two leads.  It has some rather gaping holes that come to fruition in the ending but for a popcorn-night this is a decent first feature. The Blu-ray is better than I anticipated - in both audio and video. It's lack of new supplements supports its reasonable price. A, kind of, odd pairing but I love Judd and Freeman together - but indulging is totally your call. 

Gary Tooze

August 24th, 2009





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
Momitsu - BDP-899 Region FREE Blu-ray player
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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