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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze


That Evening Sun [Blu-ray]


(Scott Teems, 2009)


NOTE: There is another Blu-ray of That Evening Sun HERE with a 'Night Cover' - but I am not positive of the differences - they are the same price. Could it just be the cover?


Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Ginny Mule Pictures

Video: Image Entertainment



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

Runtime: 1:49:13.630 

Disc Size: 19,364,512,720 bytes

Feature Size: 13,101,244,416 bytes

Video Bitrate: 11.00 Mbps

Chapters: 16

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: September 7th, 2010



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 2151 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2151 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
(Anti) Commentary: LPCM Audio English 1536 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1536 kbps / 16-bit



English (SDH), Spanish, none



• Feature Anti-Commentary with director/writer Scott Teems, Director of Photography Rodney Taylor, ASC and editor Travis Sittard
"That Tennessee Sun..." The Making of That Evening Sun (9:12 in HD)
The Art and Craft of That Evening Sun (34:02 in HD)
Cast Interviews - Hal Holbrook, Ray McKinnon, Walton Goggins, Mia Wasikowska, Carrie Preston and Dixie Carter (30:07 in total)
Crew Interviews - Scott Teems, William Gay, Rodney Taylor, Mara LePere-Schloop, Alexis Scott, Terence Berry + Laura D. Smith, and Raul Celaya + Larsen Jay (46:19)
Trailer (2:24 in SD)





Description: Academy Award-nominee and ten-time Emmy-winner Hal Holbrook (Into the Wild) stars with Oscar-winner Ray McKinnon (The Blind Side) and Alice in Wonderland's Mia Wasikowska in this critically acclaimed gem. Fleeing the retirement home where his son abandoned him, Abner Meecham sets out to reclaim his beloved Tennessee farmstead - only to find it's been leased to an old enemy, the volatile Lonzo Choat. After Abner intervenes to protect Choat's daughter from her drunken father's abuse, events spiral toward a startling, violent climax in " exceptionally fine, richly atmospheric film." (Joe Leydon, Variety) Dedicated to the memory of the late Dixie Carter.



The Film:

It's a story confined by time and space, adapted by the director, Scott Teems, from the story "I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down" by William Gay. Although the setting is a gentle Tennessee landscape and the houses look like illustrations for a calendar of farm life, the situation owes more to Eugene O'Neill or Tennessee Williams. The actors are more than successful at creating deeply plausible characters. There may have been temptations to go broad, but they're all subtle, even McKinnon, in a role that could have gone over the top.

Watching Holbrook, I was reminded again of how steady and valuable this man has been throughout his career. I saw his famous "Mark Twain Tonight" three times in the '60s, I remember he and Dixie one night at the Royal Court Theater in London where a lamp came crashing to the stage and they handled it with perfect grace and humor, and I remember him most recently as the old man who cares and worries about the doom-seeking hero of "Into the Wild." Here he incorporates everything he knows about getting to the age of 80 (he's actually 85) and conveys it without the slightest sign of effort. This isn't a performance, it's an embodiment. You know, I think he's about old enough to play Mark Twain.

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


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

Impressive image considering the wimpy transfer. The feature takes up a measly 13 Gig with a video bitrate of only 11 Mbps - just marginally ahead of dual-layered DVD.  This may only be evident in the digital noise in the darker sequences though. Most of That Evening Sun was shot in natural light and, with kudos to the gracious cinematography of Tennessee country, it looks quite good with great colors and solid detail in close-ups.  This is only single-layered but the image quality is surprising. It is not overly glossy and flesh tones report accurate colors but foliage can look ultra vibrant. The digital rendering is definitely brighter and sharper than SD could relate. There are even instances of depth. Don't be dissuaded by the tech limitations - this gave me a great presentation in 1080P.



NOTE: There is another Blu-ray of That Evening Sun HERE with a 'Night Cover' - but I am not positive of the differences - they are the same price. Could it just be the cover?
















Audio :

Aside from limited gunplay and a rip-roaring fire the audio is reasonably passive with some cantankerous threat yelling - but it all comes through well in the DTS-HD Master 5.1 at 2151 kbps. It may actually be stronger than necessary as the film is basically dialogue and a subtle, but occasionally seething original score by Michael Penn. It's clean and consistent - no distracting flaws that I could ascertain. There are optional English and Spanish subtitles positioned under the characters - ala Universal Studios digital films (see sample) and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.



Extras :

Director/writer Scott Teems has a lot to say in the 'Anti-Commentary' also joined by director of photography Rodney Taylor, ASC and editor Travis Sittard. Teems makes a valid point early on that he really prefers films to speak for themselves - just as he saw them on the big screen growing up. I think he may be referring to the fact that people have different experiences with film creations - none are necessarily correct or incorrect but the more post-discussion can influence people away from a 'pure' reaction. In a kind of long-winded way he is defending this principle. Solid point taken - I like him. Hence this commentary doesn't initially delve as deeply as some we have heard - but eventually he gets right into the swing of production details, impressions and what was trying to be represented etc. . Rodney and Travis get their time 'in' and the commentary which initially appeared a bit mundane - in the 'overall' I enjoyed it. There are plenty of supplementary video extras - "That Tennessee Sun..." The Making of That Evening Sun runs a short 9-minutes and perhaps more engaging would be The Art and Craft of That Evening Sun running more than 1/2 hour with the filmmakers giving input on a variety of topics (with audio sounding like it was over a telephone). There are also cast interviews with Hal Holbrook (always good to hear), Ray McKinnon, Walton Goggins, Mia Wasikowska, Carrie Preston and Dixie Carter running another 1/2 hour in total and a grouping of crew interviews with Teems, writer William Gay, cinematographer Rodney Taylor, production designer Mara LePere-Schloop, costumer Alexis Scott, and producer teams Terence Berry + Laura D. Smith, and Raul Celaya + Larsen Jay running 45-minutes covering each of their respective areas of expertise. Fans who indulge in all that is offered may end up gaining some respect for Teems and the project as a whole. Lastly there is a an SD trailer. Quite a handful and this might be the most extras I've seen for an Image Entertainment release... in my memory.



I really liked That Evening Sun - but need to revisit a 3rd time but I'll avoid 'spoiling' for readers my lack of 'conclusion'. The film initially brings up memories of The Straight Story and parts of Sling Blade. Holbrook is awesome and the story itself is engaging and well told through Teem's vision. Dialogue is king here with southern charm and humorous quips. I can see That Evening Sun being regarded as somewhat of a masterpiece in years to come - or at least developing a niche following. The Blu-ray is not technically stellar but does its job to create a worthwhile presentation. The film is strongly recommended!



NOTE: There is another Blu-ray of That Evening Sun HERE with a 'Night Cover' - but I am not positive of the differences - they are the same price. Could it just be the cover? 

Gary Tooze

September 3rd, 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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