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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

 

The Town [Blu-ray]

 

(Ben Affleck, 2010)

 

 

Review by Gary Tooze

 

Production:

Theatrical: Warner / GK Films

Video: Warner Home Video

 

Disc:

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

Runtime: Extended: 2:30:17.049 / Theatrical: 2:04:44.143

Disc Size: 40,649,920,224 bytes

Feature Sizes: Extended: 19,720,886,784 bytes / Theatrical: 17,787,199,488 bytes

Video Bitrate: 13.97 Mbps / 13.95 Mbps

Chapters: 13

Case: Standard Blu-ray case inside slipcase

Release date: December 17th, 2010

 

Video:

Aspect ratio: 2.39:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Audio:

Extended: DTS-HD Master Audio English 2153 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2153 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

 

Theatrical: DTS-HD Master Audio English 2722 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 2722 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio French 448 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital EX Audio Spanish 448 kbps 5.1-EX / 48 kHz / 448 kbps / DN -4dB
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps / DN -4dB / Dolby Surround

 

Subtitles:

English (SDH), French, Spanish, none

 

Extras:

• Commentary by Ben Affleck for both Extended and Theatrical cuts

• Focal Points - Ben's Boston (6 scenes - The Cathedral of Boston, Pulling Off the Perfect Heist, The Town, The Real People of the Town, Nuns with Guns: Filming in the North End and Ben Affleck: Director & Actor - 1080P) - 30:25 in total - playable with movie or separately

• BD-Live Functional

• Enclosed DVD with Theatrical cut, no extras and Digital copy for use with portable devices

 

Bitrate:

 

 

Description: Ben Affleck follows his acclaimed Gone Baby Gone directorial debut by directing, co-writing and starring in a taut thriller about robbers and cops, friendship and betrayal, love and hope and escaping a past that has no future. He plays Doug MacRay, leader of a Boston bank robber gang but not cut from the same cloth as his fellow thieves. When Doug falls into a passionate romance with the bank manager (Rebecca Hall) briefly taken hostage in their last heist, he wants out of this life and out of the town. As the Feds close in and the crew questions his loyalty, he has one of two choices: betray his friends or lose the woman he loves. Jon Hamm, Jeremy Renner, Blake Lively, Titus Welliver, Pete Postlethwaite and Chris Cooper also star.

 

 

The Film:

Doug MacRay is an unrepentant criminal, the de facto leader of a group of ruthless bank robbers who pride themselves... in stealing what they want and getting out clean. With no real attachments, Doug never has to fear losing anyone close to him. But, that all changed on the gang's latest job, when they briefly took a hostage -- bank manager, Claire Keesey. They let her go unharmed, but sometime later she meets an unassuming and rather charming man named Doug... not realizing that he is the same man who only days earlier had terrorized her. The instant attraction between them gradually turns into a passionate romance that threatens to take them both down a dangerous, and potentially deadly, path.

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

The Town looks quite impressive on Blu-ray from Warner and this may be the first time they are utilizing the AVC encode as opposed to, their usual, VC-1. This dual-layered Blu-ray contains both the 'extended' and 25-minute shorter 'theatrical' cuts of the film but surprisingly these are not seamlessly branched and are separate, but comparable, transfers limiting the available bitrate for both versions. There may be a technical reason, that I am unaware of, why it was authored in this fashion. Regardless, detail is acceptable and the image is thick, heavy and film-like with vibrant colors. The image is progressive and in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio. Skin tones seem un-manipulated/accurate while contrast exhibits healthy, rich black levels. It is maybe a shade glossy and not abundantly textured. Action sequences (car chases, gun battles etc.) are fluid in motion and despite the puny bitrate both versions produce solid, and pleasing presentations without annoying flaws. This Blu-ray has a consistent appearance and background grain is not overwhelmingly clunky. This seems competent by modern standards but I'd love to hear why the two versions weren't seamlessly branched on the lone disc (like BDs of Paramount's Leon: the Professional, Fox's Aliens or Taken). Bottom line visually is that this Blu-ray supports an enjoyable home-theater viewing for standard viewing.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Audio :

Both extended and theatrical cuts sport powerful DTS-HD Master 5.1 tracks (extended: 2153 kbps, theatrical: 2722 kbps) . There is plenty of aggressive audio in the film with three dominant scenes of bank heists or fleeing from the law. There is excellent, punchy, bass and notable separations that have a crisp edge. The original score in lossless by David Buckley and Harry Gregson-Williams plays subtly in the background. There are optional subtitles in English (SDH), French of Spanish and my Momitsu has identified it as being a region FREE disc playable on Blu-ray machines worldwide.

 

Extras :

Supplements include a commentary by Ben Affleck - it appears to be the same for both cuts - but edited for the shorter theatrical version. It's quite good and I gained respect for him as a filmmaker. There was always this perception about Affleck that Gone, Baby Gone hopefully dismissed and I think The Town is an even better effort. I enjoyed hearing his production details and having the director's chair he was never short of knowledge to impart about The Town. There are also 'Focal Points' Ben's Boston which are six scenes - The Cathedral of Boston, Pulling Off the Perfect Heist, The Town, The Real People of the Town, Nuns with Guns: Filming in the North End and Ben Affleck: Director & Actor - 1080P) playable with movie or separately and running about 1/2 an hour. The disc is BD-Live Functional and there is an enclosed DVD with the Theatrical cut, no extras and access to a Digital copy of The Town for use with portable devices.

 

 

BOTTOM LINE:
I think Affleck shows himself very well here - competent direction, his performance is strong and he supports the digital presentation with a commentary. I watched both versions and preferred the, loner, 'extended' but neither had an issue with pacing.  Rebecca Hall has a magnetic relationship with the camera, Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker) is wonderfully supportive and Affleck has been spending some long hours in the gym. I'm now curious as to his next project. This is simple entertainment with maybe some hints at the philosophical (family, loyalty, independence etc,.)  The Blu-ray gave me a solid presentation for both cuts and this should be an enjoyable night in the home theater. Recommended! 

Gary Tooze

December 8th, 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.

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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