|S E A R C H D V D B e a v e r|
China Moon [Blu-ray]
(John Bailey, 1994)
Review by Gary Tooze
Theatrical: Tig Productions
Video: Kino Lorber
Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)
Disc Size: 22,433,420,636 bytes
Feature Size: 20,146,790,400 bytes
Video Bitrate: 23.64 Mbps
Case: Standard Blu-ray case
Release date: December 12th, 2017
Aspect ratio: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps
Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video
DTS-HD Master Audio English 1556 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1556 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
• Audio commentary by director John Bailey and
co-editor Carol Littleton
Description:In a small Florida town, a tantalizing tale of mystery, passion and fatal obsession unfolds under the sultry spell of a full moon. Ed Harris (The Right Stuff) and Madeleine Stowe (The Proposition) turn up the heat in this sexy, stylish neo-noir thriller. Together with co-stars Benicio Del Toro (Traffic) and Charles Dance (The Imitation Game), Harris and Stowe deliver searing performances in this deliciously dark web of love, lust and lies that keeps you guessing until the final mesmerizing frame. Homicide detective Kyle Bodine (Harris) is the best in the business. But even a cop as brilliant as Kyle can become confused in the embrace of a seductive woman. What starts as a casual flirtation with local beauty Rachel Munro (Stowe) escalates into a desire that cannot be denied. And when Rachel's need to escape her unhappy marriage to an abusive banker ends in murder, Kyle becomes trapped in a bewildering nightmare of deceit and deadly betrayal.
Honest homicide detective Kyle Bodine (Ed Harris) wanders into a Tampa, Fla., bar one night and meets gorgeous Rachel Munro (Madeleine Stowe), who is married to abusive bank president Rupert (Charles Dance). Bodine begins having an affair with Rachel. During a fight, Rachel accidentally kills Rupert and convinces Bodine to help her dispose of the body. But when Bodine's partner, Lamar Dickey (Benicio Del Toro), investigates the case, all the clues he finds point toward Bodine as the murderer.
Bailey works from a brilliantly crafted, often inspired
screenplay from Roy Carlson. Especially early on in the
picture, the partnership works at a very high level, for
example when Bodine and Rachel first meet, and the
seductive sparing between them begins a showerstorm of
verbal sparks. With "China Moon," Bailey steps up
to make his debut as a director after years as a
cinematographer working for the likes of Larry Kasdan
("The Big Chill") and Paul
Schrader ("Cat People" and "Hardcore"). And it's
clear from this impressive debut that Bailey has been
keeping his eyes open too.
China Moon is a slick noir thriller, nice to look at, well-acted and directed, but ultimately predictable, even to its "surprise" ending. Kyle Bodine (Ed Harris) falls in love with Rachel Munro (Madeleine Stowe), the unhappily married wife of a drunken Southern aristocrat Rupert (Charles Dance). One night, tired of his beatings and abuse, Rachel kills Rupert, apparently in self-defense. Kyle helps her cover-up the crime and establish an alibi. However, Kyle's young partner Lamar (Benecio Del Toro) suspects Rachel of the murder and begins an investigation. In fairly predictable plot twists reminiscent of the far superior Body Heat Kyle finds his life falling apart. While the plot is contrived, the performances are convincing, particularly that of Madeline Stowe as the treacherous Rachel. Ed Harris gives the character of Kyle depth and complexity. Cinematographer-turned-director John Bailey gives the film a great, dark, rain-slicked noir look and feel and lingers on details which take an otherwise predictable mystery/thriller and make it seem like a game of wits.Excerpt from B+N located HERE
Image : NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.
The single-layered Kino Lorber Blu-ray of China Moon looks decent and consistent in 1080P. It's not an overwhelming image but it is consistent and stable with pleasing layered contrast and some depth visible in the 2.35:1 frame. The source has a few speckles and there are no demonstrative weaknesses. The softness seems natural and film-like and I see no signs of digitization. This Blu-ray gave me a very watchable, and pleasurable, viewing in regards to the picture quality.
CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION
Kino Lorber use a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel track at 1556 kbps (16-bit) in the original English language. There are effects in the film - mostly gunfire, but some rain and bar scenes. They sounds quite crisp. Thescore is by George Fenton (The Crucible, The Fisher King, Planet Earth, Life) and it's a nice mix of jazz and orchestral - as Carol Littleton describes in the commentary - as sounding noir-ish and similar to the work of composer Miklós Rózsa. It suits the film very well with a Blues band in the beginning and sounds excellent in the lossless. There are optional English subtitles (see sample above) offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.
Kino include an audio commentary by director John Bailey and co-editor Carol Littleton - he details some of the production decisions and she inputs some insightful noir references. Both are interesting and it's very much worth listening to as far as I got into it. There is also an original theatrical trailer and trailers for bunch of other neo-noirs on Kino Blu-ray.
November 21st, 2017