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John Dies at the End [Blu-ray]
(Don Coscarelli, 2012)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Touchy Feely Films
Video: Eureka Entertainment
Region: 'B'-locked (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 31,142,467,557 bytes
Feature Size: 22,919,571,456 bytes
Video Bitrate: 24.97 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: February 17th, 2014
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3866 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3866 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary: Dolby Digital Audio English 224 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 224 kbps
English (SDH), none
• Full-length commentary by
director Don Coscarelli, producer Brad Baruh, and actors
Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes
• Casting Session (7:13)
• Trailer (2:26)
Description:It's a drug that promises an out-of-body experience with each hit. On the street they call it Soy Sauce, and users drift across time and dimensions. But some who come back are no longer human. Suddenly a silent otherworldly invasion is underway, and mankind needs a hero. What it gets instead is John and David, a pair of college dropouts who can barely hold down jobs. Can these two stop the oncoming horror in time to save humanity? No. No, they can't.
When a powerful new street drug opens the gateway for an inter-dimensional invasion, the only two people on the planet capable of saving mankind are a pair of clueless college dropouts. Adapted from author David Wong's cult novel of the same name, Don Coscarelli's Joe Dies at the End finds humanity getting hooked on Soy Sauce, a revolutionary drug that allows the user to transcend time and space. But it can also have one very disturbing side effect; some people who take Soy Sauce experience a shocking physical transformation. When the world faces a threat that seems beyond human comprehension, only jobless slackers John and David have the power to drive the mysterious invaders back. But even then there's no guarantee that they'll truly succeed. Paul Giamatti, Clancy Brown, and Doug Jones star in this outlandish horror comedy from the director of Bubba Ho-Tep.
You shouldn’t think of the title of “John Dies at the End” as a spoiler in the conventional sense, thought there is a character named John and, well, you know. This movie, written and directed by Don Coscarelli and based on a novel by Jason Pargin (writing under the pseudonym David Wong), is not really about John (Rob Mayes), in any case, and is either entirely spoiler-proof or completely self-spoiling. It lays waste to linear narration, thematic coherence, psychological plausibility and just about everything else you might expect to encounter. It zigs, zags and trips over its own feet and on its own home-brewed hallucinogens. It’s a ridiculous, preposterous, sometimes maddening experience, but also kind of a blast.Excerpt from A. O. Scott at the NY Times located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
John Dies at the End looks very impressive on Blu-ray from Eureka Cinema in the UK. This was shot on HDV with the Red One Camera - source format being Redcode RAW (4.5K). The image quality looks wonderfully clean and crisp. The Blu-ray is dual-layered with a supportive bitrate producing bright, vibrant colors and tight detail - notable in close-ups. Nothing is overblown and I saw no issues with flaring, in fact contrast is another strong point of the visuals with rich black levels. I see plenty of depth and zero noise. Kudos should be attributed to the art direction. This has an impressive visual style and looks pristine in the 1.78:1 aspect ratio. Even the animated sequence and black + white still image appear pleasing. A great video presentation, IMO.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Audio is very potent via a DTS-HD Master 5.1 surround at a power-packed 3866 kbps. Effects are abundant in the film and the transfer gets a solid workout - holding up with impressive buoyancy and rich, deep depth. The score is by Brian Tyler (William Friedkin's Bug, Columbus Circle, Bangkok Dangerous) with added music tracks by Paul Ratajczak and The Inevitable Backlash. It all sounds tight and crisp with a highly supportive high end. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'B'-locked.
Eureka include a commentary with director Don Coscarelli, producer Brad Baruh, and actors Chase Williamson and Rob Mayes. This is lively and fun with some great anecdotes and production details including CGI, character's dialogue and more. One of the better commentaries I have heard this year to date. We also get a decent, 10-minute, interview with Paul Giamatti (conducted for Fangoria) where he confesses the, affection for and, long desire to be in a horror - as well as his strong opinion of director Coscarelli. Creature Corps is 8.5-minutes with effects producer Robert Kutzman detailing specifics about the props and outlandish costumes. Getting Sauced runs shy of 7-minutes and is s brief promotional featurette. There are almost 10-minutes of deleted scenes including, what appears to be, an alternate ending. There are 7-minutes worth of, rather boring, Casting Sessions and, lastly, the film's trailer. A pretty healthy lot with plenty of value!
March 10th, 2014
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.
Oppo Digital BDP-83 Universal Region FREE Blu-ray/SACD
Gary W. Tooze
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