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post #1 of 23 Old 05-18-2008, 07:18 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=110715&d=1211116105
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

86






Studio and Year: Paramount 2007
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 96 Minutes
Genre: Action/Thriller

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: MPEG-4 (AVC)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English Uncompressed 5.1 PCM, English/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Starring: Jessica Biel, Nicolas Cage, Tony Kittles, Julianne Moore, Michael Trucco
Directed by: Lee Tamahori
Music by: Mark Isham
Written by: Gary Goldman based upon a short story by Philip K. Dick
Region Code: Not available

Blu-ray Disc release Date: May 20, 2008







"Destiny is sometimes better left to chance"



Film Synopsis:


Las Vegas showroom magician Cris Johnson has a secret: he can see two minutes into the future. Sick of the government and scientific interest in his gift, he lies low in Vegas, performing cheap tricks and living off small-time gambling "winnings." But when a terrorist group threatens to detonate a nuclear device in Los Angeles, government agent Callie Ferris must use all her wiles to capture Cris and convince him to help her stop the cataclysm.




My Take:


Las Vegas showroom magician Cris Johnson has a secret: he can see two minutes into the future. Sick of the government and scientific interest in his gift, he lies low in Vegas, performing cheap tricks and living off small-time gambling "winnings." But when a terrorist group threatens to detonate a nuclear device in Los Angeles, government agent Callie Ferris must use all her wiles to capture Cris and convince him to help her stop the cataclysm.

Let me start off by saying that I liked this film more than I expected to. Going in I had read some things about it and didn’t have high expectations which may explain why I didn’t find it to be such a let down. While the premise is certainly nothing knew I think that the film makers knew that going in and used some pretty good special effects and action sequences to help bring some uniqueness to the story. The pacing was good and at 96 minutes it certainly didn’t drag.

I like Nicholas Cage and in this film I still felt that way. He presents a strong persona on camera that was part of the appeal for me here. The real problem was the casting of Julianna Moore as a tough as nails FBI Special Agent in charge. She was just not credible in the role and it made almost every scene she was in seem corny and forced when she delivered her dialogue. Jessica Biel plays the love interest/kidnap victim and if you are at all familiar with her you know that she is anything but the type to portray a character of weaker substance. The plot is not very deep and when all is said and done you are left with a ending that certainly might make you feel as though they could have come up with something better. Personally I didn’t mind the end and liked the idea that it didn’t have to end that way.

The casting Moore and shallow plot are the two low points. What gave it some credibility was the great action sequences/special effects and Nicholas Cage although I still can‘t figure out what the heck was going on with his hairstyle during the film.



Parental Guide:

The PG-13 Rating is for intense violent sequences and some language. Depending on the audience most pre-teens and older should be just fine with it.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 88



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699



Video: 84


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

Next comes to Blu-ray disc from Paramount featuring 1080p AVC encoded video and lossless uncompressed PCM audio. The video has an average bitrate of 33 mbps and the audio a constant bitrate of 6.9 mbps.

I reviewed this film last year when it was released on DVD. After watching it in high definition I went back and compared my notes from that review. Here are my comments from the DVD review:


“The MPEG 2 encoded 2.35:1 anamorphic video transfer represented here was good but could have been better in my opinion. Colors were well rendered and richly vibrant at times. There is a scene shot at the Grand Canyon which was visually stunning with beautiful color reproduction. Flesh tones were too golden and at times had the appearance of an air brushed photo. I know that actors can be vain and Nicholas Cage and Julianne Moore are aging a bit but give me a break. Contrast levels were elevated which over cooked whites. Dynamic range appeared to be quite good as blacks were noise free and inky. There are several sequences which feature the Las Vegas nightline and the strong blacks made the colors and scenery really pop.”

attachment.php?attachmentid=110716&d=1211116105

“Detail was a mixed bag which was annoying at times. There were times when fine detail in close ups was exquisite and other times when the camera appeared to be out of focus. The same was true of long panning shots. The scenes featuring the Grand Canyon looked amazing while other scenes using mountainous landscapes as a backdrop looked soft and lacking in dimensionality. I noticed some video noise and edge enhancement as well. Moire was clearly visible on the rooftop of the lodge near the end of chapter of 17 as Moore and Cage drive away.”


My notes for this review are almost identical. I was frustrated by inconsistency in clarity especially in the early parts of the film. Close ups never seemed to have any issues with resolve as they looked excellent in practically every instance. There are times where sharpness tapers off leaving the image looking soft and lacking depth. I would conclude that this is related to the photography and not the encoding based upon its presence both here and on the DVD. Even so I felt it necessary to point out because it does impact fidelity perception.

I was less bothered here by the golden hue that seemed to bathe certain sequences. Fleshtones were realistic looking with the exception of Nicholas Cage who looked like he had just come out of a tanning bed. The only noise I noticed was in the Vegas night sky off in the distance at the beginning of Chapter 2. I couldn’t say for sure whether it was compression related as it didn’t last long (you would have to actually be looking for it) and I didn’t notice any other issues. Colors were well saturated and quite vivid at times although not always natural in appearance. Greens were too limey and some of the pastel type colors used strayed too far to the extreme in some cases which made them seem cartoonish. That is a minor quibble though as I think that was the intention. The shots of the beautiful vista views at the Grand Canyon looked wonderful in high definition. These scenes benefited from the extended dynamic style used in the film. White levels were elevated which washed out some sun drenched exterior sequences. Black levels and contrast were good enough that blacks retained solid depth during scenes that contained light and dark/black elements.

There is no question that this presentation easily trumps the earlier standard DVD release.


Here are my comments from the DVD review with respect to the audio presentation:

“ The Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track presented here is encoded at 448 kbps and simply excellent. Fidelity is first rate with plenty of dynamic pop and crystal clarity. The film features a speeding train colliding with a car that is viscerally thrilling. The track makes great use of the entire systems and presents itself with great detail as it handles the complexities taking place on screen. This comes in the form of gunshots emanating from various weapon types, car chases featuring several vehicles of different makes, and a scene taking place in a busy casino. The subwoofer gets a great workout during a scene involving a downhill foot chase and large rolling logs, vehicles, and debris. Dialogue was easily discernible and both front and read soundstage depth were quite enveloping when called for.”


The 5.1 channel uncompressed lossless PCM audio retained all of the qualities that I liked about the Dolby Digital mix. It elevated them to create a more enjoyable surround sound experience. The higher dynamic range made sounds clearer and gave moments of impact better solidity and punch. The Dodge Charger getting creamed by the train, the large rolling debris on the hillside behind the motel, or the explosive finale were reproduced with aggressive aplomb. The surrounds were used effectively during moments of intensity to bombard the listening position with a flurry of discrete and ambient surround activity. I noticed that when they were used for lower level background ambience the mix sounded slightly compressed in the rear. Clarity and dialogue intelligibility were never a problem. This is a great audio mix that created a clear, believable and at times immersive surround sound presentation.



Bonus Features:


The bonus features were above average and entertaining with the possible exception of the Two minutes in the future with Jessica Biel featurette. The making of featurette was typical but it did offer some nice insights from the cast and crew. The Next Grand Idea featurette focused on the scene shot at the Grand Canyon location. This was very interesting as it pertained to the site and the local Native Americans that live there and who were used in the film. The Visualizing featurette offered a look at the film’s special effects. I thought that the effects were quite good and this feature was well done. Lastly, the Jennifer Biel piece presented her insights into what it would be like to have the ability that Nicholas Cages’ character has in the film. Any opportunity that I can get to look at JB is a good thing however this was pure fluff plain and simple.

I don‘t care for interactive menus that require multiple button pushes just to access a scene however I would like to see Paramount add some style to their disc menu system as it is basic at best.



  • (HD) Making the Next best thing featurette

  • (HD) The Next Grand idea featurette

  • (HD) Two minutes in the future with Jessica Biel featurette

  • (HD) Visualizing the Next move featurette




Final Thoughts:


Next is a popcorn flick that requires you to check your brain at the door and sit back and watch. It won’t win any awards for acting but in the end I left feeling more entertained than let down. I enjoyed it more on this high definition revisit tobe sure. Paramount is back in the world of Blu-ray high definition and I for one am happy to welcome them back.







attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 23 Old 05-18-2008, 08:41 AM
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Thanks Ralph. Your review seems to match my expectations. I had the U.K Blu-ray released by EIV and to my eyes the there were plenty of scenes that exhibited tremendous three dimensionality. It's very clear that Paramount have done a high bit rate encode for Blu-ray.

Few questions

1) Does the transfer suffer from aliasing/jaggies ?
2) Is the audio encoded at a constant bitrate of 6.9 Mbps or 4.6 Mbps ?

Blu-ray : 340
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post #3 of 23 Old 05-18-2008, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

Thanks Ralph. Your review seems to match my expectations. I had the U.K Blu-ray released by EIV and to my eyes the there were plenty of scenes that exhibited tremendous three dimensionality. It's very clear that Paramount have done a high bit rate encode for Blu-ray.

Few questions

1) Does the transfer suffer from aliasing/jaggies ?
2) Is the audio encoded at a constant bitrate of 6.9 Mbps or 4.6 Mbps ?

Greetings,

1) - No obivious issues there. The DVD had some problem areas but those same sequences looked solid here.

2) - I indicated a constant bitrate of 6.9 mbps in the review.


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post #4 of 23 Old 05-18-2008, 01:40 PM
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So the BD doesn't suffer from jaggies like the HD DVD? Worst jaggies I've seen on an HDM title with the Next HD DVD. If somone could post screenshots to verify this, I will rebuy.
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post #5 of 23 Old 05-18-2008, 03:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Greetings,

I can't comment on the HD DVD but I saw no such problems here.


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post #6 of 23 Old 05-18-2008, 08:16 PM
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Thanks Ralph and Brian81. Mhafner can you please pinch in and throw in your comments ?

Blu-ray : 340
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post #7 of 23 Old 05-18-2008, 11:16 PM
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You should go pro.. You leave other BR reviewers in the dust..

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post #8 of 23 Old 05-18-2008, 11:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KBI View Post

You should go pro.. You leave other BR reviewers in the dust..

Could you be a little more specific ?

Blu-ray : 340
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post #9 of 23 Old 05-19-2008, 06:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

Thanks Ralph and Brian81. Mhafner can you please pinch in and throw in your comments ?

I don't have this disk so I can't check but would appreciate if the reviewer would have a look at the same scenes where the HD-DVD/UK BD had jaggies documented, and confirm that the jaggies are gone on a 1:1 pixel mapped 1080p display.
http://www.image-load.eu/out.php/i18...e818711965.png
http://www.image-load.eu/out.php/i18...0158837176.png
http://www.image-load.eu/out.php/i18...f978542856.png
http://www.image-load.eu/out.php/i18...8356519821.png
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post #10 of 23 Old 05-19-2008, 08:14 AM
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Thanks mhafner. If possible kindly check and revert back Ralph.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #11 of 23 Old 05-19-2008, 08:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Greetings,

I will take a look at these later on tonight and post back.


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post #12 of 23 Old 05-19-2008, 05:40 PM
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You are a one man reviewing machine, Mr. Potts. At this rate there won't be any more BDs to review soon.
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post #13 of 23 Old 05-19-2008, 06:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mhafner View Post

I don't have this disk so I can't check but would appreciate if the reviewer would have a look at the same scenes where the HD-DVD/UK BD had jaggies documented, and confirm that the jaggies are gone on a 1:1 pixel mapped 1080p display.
http://www.image-load.eu/out.php/i18...e818711965.png
http://www.image-load.eu/out.php/i18...0158837176.png
http://www.image-load.eu/out.php/i18...f978542856.png
http://www.image-load.eu/out.php/i18...8356519821.png

Greetings,

Jaggies are present in the Paramount logo. They are also visible on the wall clock at the beginning of chapter two in the diner. I would not catagorize them as excessive but certainly there if you look.

I had to get to within 5 feet of the screen to see them. From my seated position (16 feet) I missed them the first time, sorry.

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post #14 of 23 Old 05-19-2008, 06:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom Stranger View Post

You are a one man reviewing machine, Mr. Potts. At this rate there won't be any more BDs to review soon.

Greetings,

Thanks. So many to review so little time...



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post #15 of 23 Old 05-19-2008, 06:57 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Jaggies are present in the Paramount logo. They are also visible on the wall clock at the beginning of chapter two in the diner. I would not catagorize them as excessive but certainly there if you look.


Thanks for the update! Looks like I won't be bothering with a double dip here.
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post #16 of 23 Old 05-19-2008, 08:44 PM
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Thanks Ralph for the confirmation. As I sit from 6-8 feet away I wouldn't mind picking the U.S version as it has good replay value.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #17 of 23 Old 05-20-2008, 03:07 AM
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I'm sitting 4.5m away but on my 3.5m wide screen the jaggies are easy to see. As suspected the master tape is screwed. Pity since this is a Genesis HD production that could look almost flawless.
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post #18 of 23 Old 05-20-2008, 03:09 AM
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Besides the jaggies what is your general opinion on the PQ ? I think the other reviewers are being quite harsh on this one ?

Blu-ray : 340
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I don't think the reviews are harsh. People complain about the Warner releases like Willy Wonka, Perfect Storm, and Fugitive, but IMO Next is more noticeable. It's not as large jaggies as Lethal Weapon 2, but they're just as bad. It reminds me of the flawed component video output from my JVC 40K DVHS deck but a tad worse, since on NEXT I remember it looking like the jaggies shimmered. I remember someone mentioning in the thread for the HD DVD that this is possibly due to a bad 4K to HD downconversion? Don't quote me on this, I just remember reading something of that sort posted here on AVS. Considering Paramount does separate HD DVD and BD encodes, I was hoping that this would have been corrected, but I guess they used the same flawed source for both.
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post #20 of 23 Old 05-20-2008, 08:57 AM
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Nice catch but when Paramount were already through with the encodes we can't expect them to correct. Anyways I don't bother much as it's not noticeable from a distance of > 6ft.

Blu-ray : 340
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post #21 of 23 Old 05-20-2008, 11:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgans316 View Post

Besides the jaggies what is your general opinion on the PQ ? I think the other reviewers are being quite harsh on this one ?

Greetings,

Regarding the complaints about the HD DVD I have no opinion because I have never seen it. As far as this one goes I didn't find it objectionable and have added it to my collection. I think that speaks for itself.


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post #22 of 23 Old 05-20-2008, 11:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

Regarding the complaints about the HD DVD I have no opinion because I have never seen it. As far as this one goes I didn't find it objectionable and have added it to my collection. I think that speaks for itself.


Cheers,

Isn't it a bit easier for you to add to your collection since the studio send you these discs to review? j/k - I couldn't resist!

In all seriousness, I'm all about PQ, but I don't crawl up next to the screen to pick out jaggies. Maybe if I had 110" screen it would be a bigger concern for me. Here's hoping that I get that size screen someday soon!
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post #23 of 23 Old 08-15-2008, 10:11 AM
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I saw this movie on the theater and i liked it much, now i am going to try on Bluray. Too bad Blockbuster don't carry it yet online. I am heading to their store now to see if i find it to rent!
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