Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 8 Old 12-20-2009, 09:12 PM - Thread Starter
Mod & Bluray Reviewer
 
Lee Weber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,355
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Liked: 122
attachment.php?attachmentid=161249&d=1261155018
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373699

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373699

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

76






Studio and Year: Anchor Bay Films - 2009
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 105 minutes
Genre: Thriller/Drama

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: VC-1 (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English PCM 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Micheal Douglas, Jesse Metcalfe, Amber Tamblyn
Directed by: Peter Hyams
Music by: David Shire
Written by: Peter Hyams (screenplay), Douglas Morrow (1956 screenplay)
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 22, 2009







"Why would a man frame himself...for murder?"



Film Synopsis:

High profile lawyer, Martin Hunter (Michael Douglas) has an impeccable record putting criminals behind bars and is a shoo-in for governor in the upcoming election. But when ambitious rookie journalist, C.J. Nicholas (Jesse Metcalfe) begins investigating Hunter for tampering with evidence to secure his convictions, the district attorney’s perfect record is up for scrutiny. Commencing a risky game of cat and mouse with Hunter, C.J. frames himself as a murder suspect to catch the corrupt D.A. in the act. Romantically involved with C.J. but unaware of his assignment, Assistant D.A. Ella (Amber Tamblyn) becomes caught between her boss’s political ambitions and C.J.’s dangerous expose. As mounting evidence stacks up against both men, Ella’s own life becomes threatened as she discovers incriminating proof that puts the fate of both Nichol’s innocence and Hunter’s reputation in her hands.




My Take:

I knew something was rotten in Denmark when I received a movie I had not heard of written and directed by Peter Hyams (2010, Outland and one of my favorites, Running Scared) based on a 1956 Fritz Lang (M, Metropolis) film and starring Michael Douglas. Beyond a Reasonable Doubt looked reasonably decent, I liked the description on the case, and Anchor Bay usually puts out good looking Blu-ray’s. So, I was interested. This turned out to be a squandered opportunity and is one of those straight to video movies you catch at 2AM on Showtime; you enjoy it but never think of again. As always, Michael Douglas did a fine job. Douglas plays D.A. Martin Hunter, the dirty D.A. who will do anything to further his career--but there just was not enough of him on screen. That left us with Jesse Metcalfe in the lead role of investigative reporter C.J. Nicholas. Metcalfe couldn't command the attention needed to hold this bland script together. I did enjoy Amber Tamblyn as the assistant D.A. who is caught between her love for C.J. and her job. The problem with Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is the script not the plot. The idea of framing yourself for a murder you did not commit, all to prove that the D.A. is planting last minute DNA evidence was interesting and had potential. Too bad Hyams's script was full of convenient plot devices, forced dialogue and no real sense of urgency. There are holes in this script that I'm just not able to forgive.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Spoiler  
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
For example: there is an important main character that ends up dead and we really hear nothing about it after. There is also the officer that is doing all the dirty work for the D.A. and we never find out why.
For all that I saw coming, and how sub-par the script was I will give it credit for getting me with an unseen twist at the end. Unfortunately for Beyond a Reasonable Doubt, that last moment was not enough to make it worth 2 hours.



Parental Guide:

Rated PG-13 for a sex scene, violence and brief strong language.





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=1210373694

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373698

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373697

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373697

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373697



Video: 72



  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373697

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373698

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373698

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946d=1210373696


Beyond a Reasonable Doubt comes to Bluray Disc from Anchor Bay featuring 1080p VC-1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 16.5 mbps and Uncompressed PCM 5.1 sound that has an constant bitrate of 4.6 mbps

Dull and drab sum this up from an A/V standpoint. Yes it's a passable release but this is HD and we expect more! There were times I felt as though I was watching a SDDVD. Black levels were crushed and I found myself futzing with my gamma to try to remedy the issue to no avail. The colors were natural but the Skin-tones were washed out and for lack of a better term, were too contrasty. There were the occasional times where it looked nice, mostly during the brighter daytime scenes but unfortunately it was a mostly underwhelming transfer. The audio was a bit better. The LFE had some impressive big room shaking low end during the 2 car chase scenes. Besides that the rest was again, passable with some annoying traits. At first the dialogue seemed a bit boxy but cleared up as the film progressed (or did I just get used to it?). The effect speakers were used a bit much when it was uncalled for. The mix was off enough for me to notice but not enough to completely kill the experience. All in all Beyond a Reasonable Doubt is mid-level Blu-ray release that could have used a bit more attention to detail.







Bonus Features:


  • (HD) The Whole Truth: The Making of Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

  • (HD) Criminal Forensics: The Burden of Proof

  • Audio Commentary with Director Peter Hyams and Actor Jesse Metcalfe

  • Digital Copy



Final Thoughts:

There is a reason why this never got a wide release and why you most likely have not heard of it. Lackluster storytelling, lackluster A/V and lackluster extras sum up this release. If you happen to flip on to it one evening when nothing else is on you won’t be too disappointed. I can say, beyond a reasonable doubt this Blu-ray release is a pass.




attachment.php?attachmentid=157497&d=1257542613







Lee Weber
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews




Reference Review System:


JVC DLA-RS20 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Prismasonic HE1500R Anamorphic Lens
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Pioneer SC07 Receiver
Pioneer BDP-320 Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer

Lee Weber is online now  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 8 Old 12-21-2009, 07:49 AM
AVS Special Member
 
JamE55's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1,192
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 10
From reading the film's synopsis i'm going to take this one out for a spin. The plot seems kind of typical which is one of my favorites.

Too bad the a/v score dept isn't up there with the rest. Watch but not collect.
JamE55 is offline  
post #3 of 8 Old 12-23-2009, 09:05 PM
AVS Special Member
 
shawnwalters's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Chicago, IL & Wilmington, NC
Posts: 3,005
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked: 10
I rented this and watched it for 10 minutes but couldn't stand the "boxy" audio. I also noticed the lip sync was off on both the DD and the PCM track. Instead of messing with my lip sync delay setting on my pre pro I just stopped the movie. Really a shame considering Michael Douglas is in it. Good thing it was a rental and not a blind buy!

shawnwalters is offline  
post #4 of 8 Old 12-24-2009, 09:41 AM
AVS Special Member
 
aydu's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central Illinois
Posts: 3,755
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 51 Post(s)
Liked: 60
Michael Douglas does not star in this film. He has a few scenes and basically showed up for a few days on set to collect a paycheck.

The pq and aq on this film are very stylized. They are so bad that the transfer can't be to blame.

They saved some good money on lighting in this film. Looks like they tried to get a "natural lighting" feel to the effort. Unfortunately, some scenes have no light, leaving you to view the profile of the actors faces against a lighted background. If you're home camcorder delivered this quality video, even in SD, you'd likely return it.

This turkey obviously didn't make any money on the theatrical release. Based on the inherent video quality of the flick, I find it curious as to why anybody would choose to release this on Blu Ray.

The audio has sync issues - mostly noticable at the beginning of the film. Strange as this is probably the part of the film that the person doing the actual transfer was awake.

The story had potential, and Michael Douglas does do a good job with what he has to work with. If you rent this one, it should be strictly to see how the plot turns out.

Avoid it like the H1N1 virus if you have any interest in pq or having the sound match the mouth movements.

Anchor Bay should be sunk for this release on Blu Ray.
aydu is online now  
post #5 of 8 Old 12-24-2009, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
Mod & Bluray Reviewer
 
Lee Weber's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Boston
Posts: 2,355
Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 13 Post(s)
Liked: 122
Lee Weber is online now  
post #6 of 8 Old 12-24-2009, 05:11 PM
AVS Club Gold
 
Don Landis's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Jacksonville, FL
Posts: 11,164
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 278 Post(s)
Liked: 156
Saw it last night. It was the first sit down movie with my new Oppo BD-83SE and when I heard the reverb in that courtroom, I thought for sure the Oppo was not set up right, but as soon as he went outside the audio was crisp and detailed.

The story was a good one, IMO. My wife likes Douglas and all his movies. We did not fall asleep from boredom on it and while I guessed the surprised ending about 15 minutes before it was given away, I enjoyed it as a one time watch.

What I didn't like is the dull lack luster image quality. It looked more like a high quality SD DVD than a blu Ray. I would not score it as high as you did, Lee.

After that I watched Crank 2 to treat myself to some good BD quality in 7.1. 4th time I've watched it and this time it was even better on the new player.
Don Landis is offline  
post #7 of 8 Old 12-24-2009, 08:43 PM
AVS Special Member
 
shawnwalters's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Chicago, IL & Wilmington, NC
Posts: 3,005
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked: 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Weber View Post

I did not notice any sync on my set-up. I just re-checked it.

Just tried it in another player in another room and there is definitely still audio sync issues with the disc. So it seems only some discs were affected if yours is not. Its so bad in fact when they are out in front of the courtroom, he is talking and the camera pulls away and then goes back to him and you hear him talking but his mouth is not even moving.

shawnwalters is offline  
post #8 of 8 Old 12-27-2009, 10:02 AM
AVS Special Member
 
JJHXBR's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Sandpoint, ID & Palo Alto, CA
Posts: 1,106
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawnwalters View Post

Just tried it in another player in another room and there is definitely still audio sync issues with the disc. So it seems only some discs were affected if yours is not. Its so bad in fact when they are out in front of the courtroom, he is talking and the camera pulls away and then goes back to him and you hear him talking but his mouth is not even moving.

I watched this last night and also had audio sync issues.
This seemed to be more of an issue with the PCM audio than the DD soundtrack.
Finally ended up listening to the DD soundtrack as it tolerable.
If not for the audio issues this wasn't a bad movie for a rental.
JJHXBR is offline  
Reply Official AVS Blu-ray Disc Reviews

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off