|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
(Keith Maitland, 2016)
Review by Gary Tooze
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 38,892,673,869 bytes
Feature Size: 23,972,444,160 bytes
Video Bitrate: 31.20 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: March 21st, 2017
Aspect ratio: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 3461 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 3461 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio English 2011 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2011 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
English (SDH), None
After the Screener Q+A (11:16)
• Character Profiles (3:05, 2:37, 3:06, 3:46, 1:39, 2:33, 3:26, 2:33, 2:30, 2:49)
Memorial Dedication (4:22)
Description: August 1st 1966 was the day our innocence was shattered. A sniper rode the elevator to the top floor of the iconic University of Texas Tower and opened re, holding the campus hostage for 96 minutes in what was a previously unimaginable event. Based entirely on first person testimonies from witnesses, heroes, and survivors, TOWER combines archival footage with rotoscopic animation of the dramatic day in a seamless and suspenseful retelling of the unfolding tragedy. The film highlights the fear, confusion, and visceral realities that changed the lives of those present, and the rest of us, forever a day when the worst in one man brought out the best in so many others.
There are stories of remarkable heroism here, alongside
accounts of people discovering that they were cowards -
something entirely understandable in the circumstances.
Police officers remember their utter confusion and their
amazement when members of the public stepped up to take
action. Expanding beyond the stories of those who
happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, we
learn about the amateur gun enthusiasts who heard what
was happening on the radio and rushed to the scene to
pepper the tower with bullets, limiting what the shooter
could do. The local police didn't have guns that could
shoot high enough. There was no plan for dealing with
such an event. One is reminded of the words of Philip
Larkin's famous war poem: never such innocence again.
Keith Maitland has said there was no way the University of Texas would
let him use its campus as a location for live-action filming of his
documentary on the notorious 1966 sniper attack.
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
Wikipedia - "The film is based on a 2006 Texas
Monthly article by Pamela Colloff, "96 Minutes." Maitland
originated from New Jersey and attended UT Austin. Maitland
read the article in 2006 and asked Colloff to have lunch
with him. He suggested making a film about the incident
during the meeting. Colloff became one of the executive
producers of the film. Various University of Texas students
worked on the film as interns.
The dual-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of Tower with a very high bitrate looks perfect in 1080P. There isn't much to go wrong with the transfer of digital-to-digital and the 1.78:1 appears pristine with bright colors, inventive effects and older live-action footage that can look damaged, grainy and intentionally less-crisp as an artistic foil to the animation. There are also modern interviews that look excellent, presumably shot in HD. The film was made using Rotoscoping (often abbreviated as "roto") - a tool for visual animated effects incorporating live-action. Wikipedia states: "By tracing an object, the moviemaker creates a silhouette (called a matte) that can be used to extract that object from a scene for use on a different background. While blue and green screen techniques have made the process of layering subjects in scenes easier, rotoscoping still plays a large role in the production of visual effects imagery. Rotoscoping in the digital domain is often aided by motion tracking and onion-skinning software." The resulting HD image quality is flawless. It is probably as close as theatrical as one could anticipate.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino Lorber give the optional of two DTS-HD Master tracks; a 5.1 surround at 3461 kbps or a 2.0 channel track at 2011 kbps, both 24-bit, in the original English language. There are, obviously, gun (rifle etc.) effects in the film - and the surround separation is excellent - crisp, tight and with rich depth - piercing around your home theatre. Dialogue was always clean and clear. The effects are juxtaposed by the film's use of classical music - notably Claude Debussy's "Clair de Lune" which has a strange, serene, separating characteristic to the onscreen activity - supporting the disbelief by the characters of what what happening on that day. There is also popular songs of 1966 (ex. The Mamas & the Papas Monday, Monday) used and original music by Osei Essed. It all sounds excellent via the robust lossless rendering. There are optional English (SDH) subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Kino add some supplements. There is a ten-minute piece "After the Screener Q+A" which includes the director, Keith Maitland, and cast/crew being asked a few questions. I really enjoyed the Behind-the-Scenes Animation that shows the live-action - often in split-screen with the roto'ed animation effect. It's about 6-minutes worth of specific scenes/characters and I found it interesting. Then there are 10 character profiles running about 26-minutes in total with modern interviews with the characters present at the event and portrayed in the documentary. We can see how they look now an hear more details in their own words. It's quite impacting. Lastly, there is a 5-minuite piece on a 'Memorial Dedication' and a trailer.
March 5th, 2017
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 5000 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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