The Reader (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 30 Old 04-20-2009, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=140282&d=1240237152
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

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

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

83






Studio and Year: The Weinstein Company - 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 124 Minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Kate Winslett, Ralph Fiennes, David Kross, Lena Olin, Bruno Ganz
Directed by: Stephen Daldry
Music by: Nico Muhly
Written by: David Hare based on the novel by Bernhard Schlink
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: April 28, 2009







"How far would you go to protect a secret?"




Film Synopsis:

This film is set in turbulent post-Nazi Germany and brings to life the celebrated international novel by Bernhard Schlink. Academy Award winner Kate Winslett stars as Hanna Schmitz - a lonely, working-class woman who experiences a brief but intense affair with a teenage boy. Years later they meet again: Hanna now a defendant in a notorious case and her ex-lover, now a law student, holding the secret to her salvation. Directed by three-time Academy Award nominee Stephen Daldry and featuring Ralph Fiennes as the grown man still reeling from Hanna's influence.




My Take:

attachment.php?attachmentid=140283&d=1240237299

I haven’t read the book but if the film is any indication it must be a wonderful read. The Reader is a story that generates a range of emotions. It is visually explicit in its depiction but never feels completely inappropriate regardless of the intimacy of the relationship between Hanna and Michael. Their affair lasts only a summer but Michael feels its effects for years to come. It is clearly obvious later in the film that even though he was only a teenager at the time that Hanna was probably the love of his life. Their relationship wasn’t such that they talked a lot. She enjoyed listening as Michael read to her and told her of the things he was learning in school. To her it became the foundation of their everyday meetings. Michael fell in love with Hanna and found that he could think of little else. She had a secret that she not only kept from Michael but from everyone. I identified her secret early on but really didn’t understand her fervent desire for it to remain that way. I believe that it is what ultimately led to the end of their relationship. Unfortunately for Michael he was young and didn’t see the obvious signs. Hanna is a complex woman with a tough exterior but she can also be passionate and tender, while maintaining a quiet side that keeps her distant. Honesty is a strong point for her except when it comes to keeping her secret. Later in the story she will risk everything in order to maintain its status. This is a fact that Michael comes to learn when he is shocked to see Hanna in a courtroom 8 years after their last meeting. She is on trial and as the case unfolds Michael learns about her past and realizes the truth about what she kept from him and the world.

I thought this was a strong and poignant film that featured a stellar performance from Kate Winslett. The story is peeled back in layers and as it unfolds you come to understand a bit more about both Hanna and Michael. Their summer together had a profound effect on Michael which subsequently impacts his relationships later in life. The fact that the screenplay is based on a novel is obvious because there are aspects of the film that felt just a bit incomplete but never incoherent. I was impressed with David Kross and thought that did an excellent job. His portrayal of this character transcended Ralph Fiennes’ in my opinion. I enjoyed this movie and look forward to re-visiting it again as I can’t help but feel that it has more to offer.




Parental Guide:

The rating is for scenes of sexuality and nudity.






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: 80



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

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373692

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373692



Video: 86


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


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

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

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

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

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699
attachment.php?attachmentid=140285&d=1240237299

The Reader comes to Blu-ray featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 32 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.8 mbps.

This presentation offers solid high definition images that are framed in a 1.85:1 aspect. Colors are accurate and reflective of the time period that exists throughout the majority of the film. Bright colors are deeply saturated with secondary hues appearing a bit more reserved. Complexions are tonally descriptive and lifelike in depiction. Detail in low light and dark backgrounds is excellent. Contrast is spot on and blacks are deep and gradationally satisfying. Images are crisp with resolute definition and consistent sharpness regardless of the camera’s perspective. The video doesn’t offer razor sharp high gloss texture but I felt it was very filmic and appropriate for the source material. The soundtrack is offered in lossless Dolby TrueHD and lossy Dolby Digital multi-channel flavors. For some reason the default is the Dolby Digital track so be sure to select the TrueHD option if your gear is so equipped. The TrueHD sound quality was excellent as dialogue was crystalline with deep room penetration and defining tonal character. The front soundstage was well articulated as sounds were spread evenly across the three speakers. Directional and ambient effects were on cue and mated perfectly with the events transpiring onscreen. The surrounds were effectively engaged from time to time to expand the depth of the soundfield. This in turn added dimension to falling rain, spatiality to exterior sequences, and realism to the expanse of an open courtroom or the confines of a prison cell. Low frequency detail was limited to the palpable rumbling of the trams/street cars featured early in the film. Nico Muhly’s beautifully sculpted and tender music score was interweaved with the story and added a breathable texture to the aural atmosphere within the room. This was a well designed surround mix that complimented the film and sounded great.



Bonus Features:


  • 11 Deleted scenes

  • Adapting a timeless masterpiece: making The Reader – 23 minute documentary

  • A conversation with David Kross an d Stephen Daldry – 9 minute featurette

  • Kate Winslett on the art of aging Hanna Schmitz – 12 minute featurette

  • A new voice: A look at composer Nico Muhly – 4 minute featurette

  • Coming to grips with the past: Production designer Brigitte Broch – 7 minute featurette

  • Theatrical trailer
attachment.php?attachmentid=140284&d=1240237299



Final Thoughts:

The Reader is a poignant and well acted film adaptation of the novel by Bernhard Schlink. It is a story about love, secrecy, and reconciliation. It uses explicit visuals and candid dialogue that lends an air of credibility to its telling. Kate Winslett gives the best performance of her career (in my opinion) and young David Kross showed incredible depth for an actor starring in only his third film. This is a film that is worthy of your time. The Weinstein Company brings it to Blu-ray looking and sounding great while including a good compliment of bonus supplements that fans are sure to appreciate.








attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






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post #2 of 30 Old 04-20-2009, 03:27 PM
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Such an amazing film and was well put together. The cast, characters, plot, storyline and settings were done nicely. This movie is up there with Doubt and Slumdog Millionaire.

Can't wait to get me copy on this.

Thanks for the usual buzz Ralph.

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post #3 of 30 Old 04-20-2009, 09:12 PM
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If you like Kate Winslet, you will see A LOT of her in the first act...A LOT

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post #4 of 30 Old 04-20-2009, 09:31 PM
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I don't think that awful old-age makeup will be helped at all by high definition.

The entire exculpatory thrust of this film was just repugnant.

Blu-Ray: 489
HD DVD: 187
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post #5 of 30 Old 04-21-2009, 12:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post

If you like Kate Winslet, you will see A LOT of her in the first act...A LOT

Hehe! I had already preordered this, but now I'm SURE I'm gonna like it!
yeah, I'm THAT simple! Hehe! Actually, i really like Kate Winslet, dressed or not, so this was a no-brainer for me.

"Unplugging the signal cable is pretty much the ultimate in component isolation. Now if you removed the AC power and it still did it you should look for the little blond girl saying "they're he-re."
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post #6 of 30 Old 04-21-2009, 06:55 AM
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I've always appreciated her acting ability...now there are a couple more reasons to like her!

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post #7 of 30 Old 04-21-2009, 07:03 AM
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I enjoyed this film. If you like Kate, your going to like the first 30mins of it. It is a very important part of the film. Great acting and movement.
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post #8 of 30 Old 04-21-2009, 10:39 AM
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It was a well made movie, but something about it just didn't resonate with me the way it needed to. It certainly didn't deserve to be nominated for Best Picture (or Best Actress). Also, Kate's boobs are scary looking.
I'd give the movie a C/C+
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post #9 of 30 Old 04-21-2009, 11:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormshadow4life View Post

It was a well made movie, but something about it just didn't resonate with me the way it needed to. It certainly didn't deserve to be nominated for Best Picture (or Best Actress). Also, Kate's boobs are scary looking.
I'd give the movie a C/C+

What, because they're real? I think she deserved the award and the movie was one of the best pictures last year, but that's my opinion

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post #10 of 30 Old 04-21-2009, 11:34 AM
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Believe you me, I've seen plenty of REAL breasts.....Kate's are some of the worst...they look like a saggy deflated balloon with dark chewed bubble gum-like nipples. (they have changed drastically since Titanic)

This reminds me, Penelope Cruz in Elegy should have won Best Acress over Kate. I know Penelope won Best Supporting Actress this year, but she was better in Elegy. (not to mention, Penelope's boobs are real...and beautiful!)
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post #11 of 30 Old 04-21-2009, 11:56 AM - Thread Starter
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Greetings,

While I can appreciate this discussion I would prefer that it not continue in this vein. (I like Kate as well but somewhat agree with SS4life ).


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post #12 of 30 Old 04-21-2009, 12:48 PM
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Hi Ralph,

It's actually 1.78, not 1.85. Just checked our HDSR's to verify.

Thanks for the great review.
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post #13 of 30 Old 04-21-2009, 01:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paul nyc View Post

Hi Ralph,

It's actually 1.78, not 1.85. Just checked our HDSR's to verify.

Thanks for the great review.

Greetings,

I initially entered 1.85:1 in my notes and when I checked saw that it was 1.78:1 but never updated my notes. Correction made.

Thanks Paul...

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post #14 of 30 Old 04-21-2009, 01:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

While I can appreciate this discussion I would prefer that it not continue in this vein. (I like Kate as well but somewhat agree with SS4life ).


Regards,

Sorry about that!

As for the movie...I think the problem for me was that every time they seemed to be setting up some kind of payoff, they switched gears and it just went nowhere.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
one example would be when he goes to visit the survivor of the fire....the scene just felt odd to me. One second she is pissed, the next she's agreeing with him. It felt very "off" to me

I wish I had liked it more.... oh well.


P.S.
hopefully Elegy comes to BluRay soon so you can review it!
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post #15 of 30 Old 04-21-2009, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

While I can appreciate this discussion I would prefer that it not continue in this vein. (I like Kate as well but somewhat agree with SS4life ).


Regards,

I concur.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormshadow4life View Post

P.S.
hopefully Elegy comes to BluRay soon so you can review it!

I'm on the same boat. Hope the release date comes out soon.
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post #16 of 30 Old 04-21-2009, 03:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormshadow4life View Post

they look like a saggy deflated balloon with dark chewed bubble gum-like nipples. (they have changed drastically since Titanic)

Last comment on this, but I felt it needed to be said. Titanic was shot 13 years ago or so and I believe Kate's had a few bambino's and is older, so one can surmise that's the reason they look the way they do (and I don't think they look bad).

As for Penelope, no kids, and is definitely hot, no argument there!

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post #17 of 30 Old 04-21-2009, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post

If you like Kate Winslet, you will see A LOT of her in the first act...A LOT

It was so true in almost every movies she was a part of.
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post #18 of 30 Old 04-21-2009, 10:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Vaughn View Post

What, because they're real? I think she deserved the award and the movie was one of the best pictures last year, but that's my opinion

Dave, how correct you are!! The remarkable Ms Winslet also deserved BOTH her Golden Globe awards this year.....for "The Reader" AND "Revolutionary Road." And, though I wouldn't have voted (if I were qualified by being a member of the Academy, which does not "give" anyone awards) "The Reader" the top Oscar, it definitely deserved its nomination in the BP category.
As Dave V says, "...but that's my opinion."

And, Ralph, thank you for your usual well-thought-out and objective review of a fascinating if controversial film and, according to you, an excellent BR release.
While all are entitled to their opinions concerning the content of the film, I might point out that nothing of the nature and execution of this film was hidden from the public. There's a simple way to avoid "repugnance" (my feelings about "Cloverfield")-- and that is to research before seeing. And if it looks questionable to your standards---- don't go!
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post #19 of 30 Old 04-22-2009, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by ilovenola2 View Post


While all are entitled to their opinions concerning the content of the film, I might point out that nothing of the nature and execution of this film was hidden from the public. There's a simple way to avoid "repugnance" (my feelings about "Cloverfield")-- and that is to research before seeing. And if it looks questionable to your standards---- don't go!


I had no problem with the subject matter of the film, the film just never connected with me the way "great" films do.
But as for your advice on avoiding certain movies, many of us (especially me) prefer to see a movie without knowing the details. Being surprised by a film these days is a rare thing these days, and I love it (even if it means I see a stinker once in a while)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stormshadow4life View Post

I had no problem with the subject matter of the film, the film just never connected with me the way "great" films do.
But as for your advice on avoiding certain movies, many of us (especially me) prefer to see a movie without knowing the details. Being surprised by a film these days is a rare thing these days, and I love it (even if it means I see a stinker once in a while)

Well, I have to agree with you on preferring to see a film "cold," especially these days when too-detailed previews, intelligence-challenged tv "E"-shows and over-zealous, self-important blog-types reveal far too much about an upcoming film.
Yesterday, prior to a viewing of "State of Play" (excellent, I thought, and that's all I'm saying!), we were "treated" to virtually the entire new "Wolverine" movie during a three-minute preview.

And though I admire "The Reader" enormously, I, too, wouldn't put it in the category of "great" films. I certainly believe Ms Winslet's performance was a great challenge to a superb actress and a ticket to a most deserved Oscar for her.

Oh!! And I totally agree with you on the "surprise" aspect of seeing a film cold. How right you are!
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Oh man, tell me about it.
I have starting closing my eyes during trailers now. It was actually the Wolverine trailer that made me decide to stop watching them.... before Watchmen, they truly did show most of the movie
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post #22 of 30 Old 04-23-2009, 06:43 PM
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Just finished watching "The Reader" and thought it was a terrific movie. All I knew about it was the fact that Kate had a very young lover. With no real knowledge of the storyline, I was able to really enjoy it as it unfolded.

I have loved Kate Winslet since Titanic and been a fan of Ralph Fiennes for many roles, specifically Schindler's List. To that end, it was no surprise that this would be a terrific movie.

I thought Kate was outstanding and Ralph, well , he was vintage Ralph. I did not know of David Kross, but like Ralph, (Potts) I thought he was excellent. Also was a nice touch having Lena Olin play the dual role of both mother and daughter.

I look forward to watching "The Reader" again, maybe in a couple of weeks, to pick up some things I may have missed in the first go round.

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post #23 of 30 Old 04-24-2009, 02:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mike-tee View Post

Just finished watching "The Reader" and thought it was a terrific movie. All I knew about it was the fact that Kate had a very young lover. With no real knowledge of the storyline, I was able to really enjoy it as it unfolded.

I have loved Kate Winslet since Titanic and been a fan of Ralph Fiennes for many roles, specifically Schindler's List. To that end, it was no surprise that this would be a terrific movie.

I thought Kate was outstanding and Ralph, well , he was vintage Ralph. I did not know of David Kross, but like Ralph, (Potts) I thought he was excellent. Also was a nice touch having Lena Olin play the dual role of both mother and daughter.

I look forward to watching "The Reader" again, maybe in a couple of weeks, to pick up some things I may have missed in the first go round.

Mike T

Greetings,

Glad that you enjoyed it Mike. Thanks for sharing your impressions..


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post #24 of 30 Old 04-24-2009, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

Glad that you enjoyed it Mike. Thanks for sharing your impressions..


Regards,

Hello Ralph (Potts)

Whew, I had lots of Ralphs in my last post. Thanks again for your review. I may not thank you each time I post here, but the thought is always there.

I mentioned in one of my first posts in this review forum, that I usually look here first to see if you've reviewed a specific film. Your input has helped quite a bit with purchases, as well as filling in my BB queue. Keep 'em coming, Ralph.

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post #25 of 30 Old 04-25-2009, 04:23 AM - Thread Starter
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Hello Ralph (Potts)

Whew, I had lots of Ralphs in my last post. Thanks again for your review. I may not thank you each time I post here, but the thought is always there.

I mentioned in one of my first posts in this review forum, that I usually look here first to see if you've reviewed a specific film. Your input has helped quite a bit with purchases, as well as filling in my BB queue. Keep 'em coming, Ralph.

Mike T

Greetings,

Thanks man..


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post #26 of 30 Old 04-25-2009, 10:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mike-tee View Post

Hello Ralph (Potts)

Whew, I had lots of Ralphs in my last post. Thanks again for your review. I may not thank you each time I post here, but the thought is always there.

I mentioned in one of my first posts in this review forum, that I usually look here first to see if you've reviewed a specific film. Your input has helped quite a bit with purchases, as well as filling in my BB queue. Keep 'em coming, Ralph.

Mike T

Hi, Ralph (Potts!)--

Just wondering if up there in New York State, they pronounce the name-as-spelled Ralph, "Ralph" or (as it may or may not be in Merrie Olde England), "Rayfe?"

It even varies in the UK-- witness composer "Rayfe" Vaughan Williams and actors "Rayfe" Feinnes and Sir "Ralph" Richardson.

My old English teacher, Ralph M., migrated from Connecticut to Mississippi for the job in the late 1950s (were HIS eyes opened! ). He told us about "Ralph" and "Rayfe" and when he heard me, behind his back, call him "Ralphie-Boy or Ray-fee-Boy," he made me stand against the wall at recess for a week!
Then he married my cousin and let me call him "Ralph" away from school.
But never "Rayfe!"

Joe B in NOLA--
celebrating 40 years of Jazz Fest this wknd & next! C'mon down!!
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post #27 of 30 Old 06-06-2009, 02:21 PM
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Finally got around to watching this, and both me and the wife loved it! We didn't know anything about the storyline, and was pleasantly surprised. The picture quality was great. After reading teh review again I realize I probably used the lossy soundtrack without noticing, so I'm going to watch it again in a few days to try to spot the difference.

"Unplugging the signal cable is pretty much the ultimate in component isolation. Now if you removed the AC power and it still did it you should look for the little blond girl saying "they're he-re."
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post #28 of 30 Old 06-07-2009, 09:22 AM
 
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Originally Posted by mikeyd2007 View Post

watched this one and loved it! 7/10!

[IMG]http://***************/9/P/i.jpg[/IMG][IMG]http://***************/9/F/i.jpg[/IMG]

Same..7.5/10 for me :0
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post #29 of 30 Old 06-13-2009, 02:56 PM
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Loved this one. The first 30 minutes were extremely sensual! More than any movie that I can remember in quite some time. Whew! After that, the movie slowed quite a bit, but still was able to hold itself together albiet at a slow pace. I'm not a big Kate Winslett fan, but those first 30 minutes sure had me thinking twice.

Film: 4 out of 5
PQ: 4 out of 5


Dan
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post #30 of 30 Old 07-19-2009, 09:15 PM
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Very good film and blu-ray presentation. Not at all exculpatory as one reviewer said...and enough of the Winselt boobs debate ("Dude, did you see The Reader? Those Nazis were hot!)..I thought she was terrific. beautiful, tragic, and ultimately not at all sympathetic for her actions. Yes it's a "serious" movie but engrossing and given the subject matter it's serious w/o being pretentious. The denouement is a bit weak but it's probably from the book, which I haven't read and probably works in the novel.

On a side note..go back and watch season one of Extras w Ricky Gervais..long before The Reader she does an hilarious turn as herself . bitter about Academy Award losses and saying the way to win an Oscar is to be in a Holocaust movie.
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