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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


Don McKay [Blu-ray]


(Jake Goldberger, 2009)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Animus Films

Video: Image Entertainment



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

Runtime: 1:29:58.810

Disc Size: 16,491,496,976 bytes

Feature Size: 15,785,465,856 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Chapters: 12

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: June 29th, 2010



Aspect ratio: 1.78:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1811 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1811 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB



English (SDH), Spanish, none



• Commentary with director Jake Goldberger and Producer Jim Young

Deleted Scenes (4:52 in 4:3 letterboxed SD)

• Trailer (1:51 in 4:3 SD)





Description: In this edgy thriller, Don McKay (Thomas Haden Church, Sideways) flees his hometown after a horrendous tragedy and vows never to return. But 25 years later he comes back to find a dark menace looming over the town. As he attempts to rekindle his romance with an old high school girlfriend (Elisabeth Shue, Leaving Las Vegas), Don is pulled into a malevolent world from which he may never escape.



The Film:

The premise of the short-story-size comic thriller Don McKay is as thin and crumbly as a corn chip: The sad-sack, middle-aged school janitor of the title (Thomas Haden Church) is summoned back to the hometown he left years ago by Sonny (Elisabeth Shue), an ex-girlfriend who says she wants to see him because she's dying. She's not exactly telling the truth, of course. In this burg, which is situated down the road from The Twilight Zone, everybody seems to be hiding something — from Sonny's weird, mothering housemate (Melissa Leo) to her strange, menacing doctor (James Rebhorn) to Don's eccentric, ambivalent old friend (David Keith).

But crumbliness doesn't preclude tastiness. Nakedly influenced by the Coen brothers' 1984 genre-bender Blood Simple, first-time writer-director Jake Goldberger gets a few good tonal feints in, especially when he consults the Coen recipe book for the disorienting effect of blood (and bloody violence) on American simple folk. (Lest you miss the homage, Blood Simple's M. Emmet Walsh plays a taxi driver.) But the young filmmaker's best asset is Church, the movie's executive producer as well as its star. The MVP of
Sideways has a demeanor of laconic resignation that's perfect for a guy who mops school hallways when he's not mopping blood.

Excerpt from Entertainment Weekly located HERE


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

Don McKay appears slightly superior to DVD - but that is the extent of any positives.  This is only single-layered with the 1 1/2 hour feature taking up only 15 Gig of puny space on the disc. The 1.85:1 ratio film has been put to 1.78 and nothing about the image is remarkable. It has a couple of shining moments of detail in a few close-ups - colors aren't particularly vibrant and there is little, to no, depth. It looks like Image Entertainment scrimped on the technical side of the transfer. It is consistent and clean but nothing akin to the appreciated attributes of the format.














Audio :

Don McKay is a fairly sedate film experience audio-wise with some minor violence and effect noises and the DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 1811 kbps does an adequate job of supporting the movie. I doubt a more robust track would have picked up any further range or depth. There isn't a lot of bass response or high end to export. There are optional subtitles in English or Spanish.



Extras :

The commentary with director Jake Goldberger and Producer Jim Young is better than I was expecting - there is some enthusiasm and I can further appreciate what the film was attempting. After that only 4.5 minutes of 4:3 letterboxed, inconsequential, deleted scenes (bookended by details of his janitorial job) and a non-HD trailer for less than 2-minutes.



Forget that the film itself is kind of goofy (presumably intentionally so) - never reaching an appealing framework for its thriller aspects while the humor seemed out of place - but Image Entertainment give us a very limited transfer and, aside from a commentary, non-existent supplements and are asking top tier Criterion level pricing. They want $36 for this Blu-ray! I doubt I'd recommend this for under $10... or even as a rental - so obviously we strongly suggest passing on this title. Value is not present. Don McKay never comes together - it has Noir-esque appeal but the comedic touches seem to have spoiled that - and the Blu-ray production has little effort put into it. 

Gary Tooze

June 24th, 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 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 3500 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:

60-Inch Class (59.58” Diagonal) 1080p Pioneer KURO Plasma Flat Panel HDTV PDP6020-FD

Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD Player
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)

APC AV 1.5 kVA H Type Power Conditioner 120V

Gary W. Tooze








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