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post #1 of 36 Old 11-29-2011, 07:37 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=229195&d=1322580784
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

87






Studio and Year: Touchstone - 2011
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 146 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, Spanish/French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Octavia Spencer, Dallas Bryce Howard, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janey, Cicely Tyson,
Written & Directed by: Tate Taylor based on the novel by Kathryn Stockett
Music by: Thomas Newman
Region Code: A,B,C

Blu-ray Disc release Date: December 6, 2011







"You is kind. You is smart. You is important."



Film Synopsis:

Adapted from the NY Times #1 bestseller by Kathryn Stockett The Help is about a young white woman, Eugenia "Skeeter" Phelan, and her relationship with two black maids during Civil Rights era America in the early 1960s. Skeeter is a budding journalist who decides to write a controversial book from the point of view of the maids (known as the Help), exposing the racism they are faced with as they work for white families.


My Take:

In reading the supplied press jacket from Disney I felt that it mirrored my thoughts about this wonderful film so closely that I decided to include it here.

The Help is an inspirational, courageous and empowering story about very different, extraordinary women in the 1960s South who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project — one that breaks society’s rules and puts them all at risk. The Help stars Emma Stone as the courageous Eugenia “Skeeter‟ Phelan, who goes against the beliefs of her family and friends to find her own voice. The critically praised, emotional performance of Viola Davis as Aibileen Clark, a woman who secretly dreams of one day having more than she has been given, offers a deep emotional storyline. The breakthrough performance of Octavia Spencer as Minny Jackson, whose sass and tough exterior disguise the pain and fear she faces every day, brings both drama and humor to the film. Bryce Dallas Howard breathes life into the catty Jackson socialite Hilly Holbrook and Jessica Chastain brings charm and humor as Celia Foote, a kind housewife living outside of town who longs to fit in. Sissy Spacek, Allison Janney and Ahna O‟Reilly also provide vivacious performances that round out this all-star female ensemble.

Listening to author Kathryn Stockett and best friend/filmmaker Tate Taylor talk about the novel and film it is obvious that both were personal projects stemming from life experiences growing up in Mississippi. Obviously they didn’t grow up in the era depicted in the story however each grew up in a household that employed a black maid who became an integral part of their childhood/family. My wife and daughter read the book and felt that the film as written and portrayed captured its essence vividly. I found The Help to be stirring, poignant, funny and relevant. It paints in broad strokes and touches on several societal issues, the most obvious of which is racism, but the thematic tone remains consistent. There is a genuine quality that imbues the characters especially Aibileen, Minny, and Hilly. Viola Davis and Dallas Bryce Howard give incredible performances. There is no denying that The Help is purposefully a statement piece, a testimonial, but that doesn’t make it any less effecting. It speaks from the heart and does so with the best intentions despite its manipulative trappings. I loved it for all of the subtleties found not only in the performances but in the transcendent emotion found in its context. I look forward to watching it again.



Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic material.





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: 82



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699



Video: 92


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


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

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

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

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&d=1210373699

The Help comes to Blu-ray Disc from Touchstone/Disney featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 28 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.

A variety of colors are effectively used in this film to help set the tone/setting based upon the mood of the scene and characters within it. The cinematography is beautiful. Images are crisp with well balanced color and definitive resolution that provide a transparent and lustrous quality. Skin tones are varied with natural looking complexions that appear lifelike. Shadow detail is strong which enhances depth during dark segments that contain limited light. Blacks are deep and dynamic which adds punch to sequences containing mixed light and dark elements. Contrast is stable which delivers bright punchy whites and vivid eye popping primary colors. The exterior shots and earth tones of the southern landscapes exhibit excellent delineation with viable long range acuity. Grain is visible, in light, even layers that provides a filmic texture. This is a rewarding and pristine quality presentation that looks terrific.

This isn’t the type of film that requires extended dynamic range, frequent surround use or deep bass but it certainly benefited from lossless audio’s higher fidelity. The front oriented DTS-HD Master Audio sound mix features dialogue that is full bodied with defining tonal characteristics and prominent soundstage position. High level detail is readily apparent as subtle sound effects, music and voices are rendered with superior clarity and depth. There is little call for discrete surround activity however the film’s music utilized the entire soundstage to provide a satisfying sense of dimension.



Bonus Features:


  • HD The making of The Help: From friendship to film – 23 minute retrospective/documentary

  • (HD) In their words: A tribute to the maids of Mississippi – 11 minutes

  • (HD) 5 deleted scenes with introduction by director Tate Taylor

  • (HD) “The living proof” music video by Mary J. Blige

  • Bonus DVD of The Help


Final Thoughts:

Based on Kathryn Stockett’s novel The Help is an inspirational film that tells the poignant story about very different, extraordinary women in the 1960s South who build an unlikely friendship around a secret writing project. I found this film to be evocative, funny and relevant as it paints in broad strokes that touch on several societal issues, the most obvious of which is racism, but the thematic tone remains consistent. It speaks from the heart and does so with the best intentions despite its manipulative trappings. I loved it for all of the subtleties found not only in the performances but in the transcendent emotion found in its context. The Help debuts on Blu-ray Disc from Disney in a nicely balanced package that features top notch high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound quality and worthwhile bonus material. It comes highly recommended.









attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






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post #2 of 36 Old 11-29-2011, 12:44 PM
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Never got a chance to see this when it first came out but all the reviews i've read it looks like a good movie. I'll give this one a spin.
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post #3 of 36 Old 11-29-2011, 12:59 PM
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Thanks, Ralph. Will check it out.
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post #4 of 36 Old 11-30-2011, 01:43 PM
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By chance I just caught this one last night with my wife and 10 yr. old daughter. Great review Ralph, spot on as always. I have to say one of the best American films I've seen in quite some time. I liked the way the subject matter was up front and the way the film dealt with different stereotypes. Glad to see high marks for the video transfer as this is a definite buy for me!

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post #5 of 36 Old 11-30-2011, 02:02 PM
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I will be checking this one out!
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post #6 of 36 Old 12-04-2011, 12:49 PM
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I went to this movie mainly because I drag my family to see action movies on the big screen and felt that I had to go along with them to see a movie that they really wanted to see. I was surprised how much I enjoyed this movie. I will definitely be renting this movie from Netfix when it comes out.

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post #7 of 36 Old 12-12-2011, 11:53 AM
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Easily one of the better if not the best films of 2011

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Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #8 of 36 Old 12-13-2011, 01:33 AM
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I was surprised to see Ralph give the movie so many stars, and after the first 45 mins I was REALLY doubting it, but that's why I rarely, if ever, stop watching a movie half way through. The second half of the film in particular was excellent. I had no idea that Bryce Dallas Howard was this good of an actress. She had me cringing every time her character came on screen lol. She got some serious acting chops and I really hope she starts getting some more prominent roles.

Overall the film was excellent. It's very difficult to watch at times, and I honestly still can't believe this was how America was back in the middle part of the 20th century. I never become numb to the portrayal of how things were, and I hope others don't either.

Thumbs up!
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post #9 of 36 Old 12-13-2011, 01:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa View Post

I was surprised to see Ralph give the movie so many stars, and after the first 45 mins I was REALLY doubting it, but that's why I rarely, if ever, stop watching a movie half way through. The second half of the film in particular was excellent. I had no idea that Bryce Dallas Howard was this good of an actress. She had me cringing every time her character came on screen lol. She got some serious acting chops and I really hope she starts getting some more prominent roles.

Overall the film was excellent. It's very difficult to watch at times, and I honestly still can't believe this was how America was back in the middle part of the 20th century. I never become numb to the portrayal of how things were, and I hope others don't either.

Thumbs up!

Greetings,

Glad you stuck with it Summa. I agree that Dallas Bryce Howard truly owned this character.

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post #10 of 36 Old 12-13-2011, 10:46 AM
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Wife had read the book and really wanted to see this in the theater but for one reason or another never did. We watched a rental several nights ago and thought it was an excellent film although my wife contends the book provided much more detail and background on the characters so she rated it better than the film. Viola Davis continues to impress, the rest of the actors were perfectly cast. Thanks for the well written review.

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post #11 of 36 Old 12-14-2011, 09:20 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pokekevin View Post

Easily one of the better if not the best films of 2011

Better than Rise of the Planet of the Ape? I wonder why this movie has not been reviewed yet?
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post #12 of 36 Old 12-14-2011, 09:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Summa View Post

I honestly still can't believe this was how America was back in the middle part of the 20th century. I never become numb to the portrayal of how things were, and I hope others don't either.

Not all of America was like this. Growing up in the 60s, I know that there were never segregated bathrooms, KKK attacks, etc. etc. in NJ or NY. However, the south was a whole different story...things were horrendous for people of color (and people like George Wallace didn't help.) Remember, this story takes place in Mississippi. That's not to say that racism didn't exist elsewhere, of course. But most areas in the U.S. weren't at this level of inequality during the early 60s. (Thankfully.) Excellent film and probably will get a few Oscar nods.

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post #13 of 36 Old 12-14-2011, 10:00 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gbaby View Post

Better than Rise of the Planet of the Ape? I wonder why this movie has not been reviewed yet?


Greetings,

Because 20th Century Fox doesn't forward review copies until close to or right at street date. My review copy of Rise of the planet of the apes arrived day before yesterday.

I will get to it in the next day or so.

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post #14 of 36 Old 12-14-2011, 11:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post

Greetings,

Because 20th Century Fox doesn't forward review copies until close to or right at street date. My review copy of Rise of the planet of the apes arrived day before yesterday.

I will get to it in the next day or so.

Regards,

Sorry for the diversion, but I appreciate your response as I saw it last night and thought it was off the charts and one of the most entertaining movies I've seen in quite some time. So impress was I with it, I looked for the review on this forum to see if you were as impressed as I was impressed. In any event, I'll wait for your assessment which I don't expect necessarily to mirror mine.
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post #15 of 36 Old 12-14-2011, 04:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cinema13 View Post

Not all of America was like this. Growing up in the 60s, I know that there were never segregated bathrooms, KKK attacks, etc. etc. in NJ or NY. However, the south was a whole different story...things were horrendous for people of color (and people like George Wallace didn't help.) Remember, this story takes place in Mississippi. That's not to say that racism didn't exist elsewhere, of course. But most areas in the U.S. weren't at this level of inequality during the early 60s. (Thankfully.) Excellent film and probably will get a few Oscar nods.

That's exactly why it's so hard for me to fathom. I grew up in the north like you did. Back when I was really young in the 70s, my parents best friends were AFrican Americans (I'm caucasian). They lived next door and we all stayed close and kept in touch for years and years. We had just about all races, cultures and ethnicities represented in the neighborhoods I grew up in, and that's the environment I'm most comfortable in today.

I remember when I first moved here to Atlanta ten years ago, I was standing in line with my girlfriend to see a movie. There was some idiot behind me talking about white and black people, and how they should stay separated. He compared this to how in the wild, "lions and zebras are always apart and never hang out with each other". Against my better judgement, I turned around and explained to him the concept of "species", and while lions and zebras were different species, white people and black people were not. If looks could kill....

Racism has never made sense to me, as it's not a conscious choice that we make in life. This country (and the planet, for that matter) would be such an amazing place if this concept didn't exist to such a degree, particularly in the minds of the ignorant..
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post #16 of 36 Old 12-15-2011, 06:57 AM
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An incredible, moving film that deserves all the awards possible .. a real tear jerker that got to me more than once ..

A perfect blend of dispair and hope ..

Best of the Year in my book .. and Hollywood at it's finest ..

I remember those days .. America at it's worst ..

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post #17 of 36 Old 12-16-2011, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by mgkdragn View Post

An incredible, moving film that deserves all the awards possible .. a real tear jerker that got to me more than once ..

A perfect blend of dispair and hope ..

Best of the Year in my book .. and Hollywood at it's finest ..

I remember those days .. America at it's worst ..

Just got it. Looks good.

But let's face it, America is at it's worst today.

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post #18 of 36 Old 12-16-2011, 11:02 PM
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This is one of those movies I'll tell my friends they should definately see. Acting at it's finest.
This movie brings out all of your emotions. Just a marvelous movie.

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post #19 of 36 Old 12-17-2011, 11:21 AM
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Saw this earlier in the week...having a movie night for it Tuesday. Best of the year for me

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Must..stop...buying...every bluray release...
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post #20 of 36 Old 12-17-2011, 11:28 AM
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Better than Rise of the Planet of the Ape? I wonder why this movie has not been reviewed yet?

Rise was a better of the year but the emotions got me lol. Kind of like american history x. Great films that year but the believable and somewhat realistic story made it the best in my eyes

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post #21 of 36 Old 12-17-2011, 08:39 PM
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Enjoyed it. Jessica Chastain is everywhere thee days.... Like in the last 3 big releases I just watched. Very good actress.

This film had a gorgeous picture and great sound. Nice review.

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post #22 of 36 Old 12-17-2011, 08:42 PM
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Spot on review Ralph!

This is what High Definition is all about! I just LOVED the warm color palette and the details, depth, and dimensionality were superb! This was reference all the way.

My wife and I both enjoyed the movie itself immensely. It is refreshing to see a good character-driven movie and the acting from all quarters was excellent. I expect to see some nominations come Oscar night from this winner. And the life lessons it portrayed, though nothing new, is something we need to be reminded of often.

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post #23 of 36 Old 12-18-2011, 04:47 AM - Thread Starter
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Greetings,

Thanks Denny and Jeff. I'm glad that you enjoyed this one as much as I did.

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post #24 of 36 Old 12-19-2011, 02:51 PM
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Just rented this a few days ago and truly enjoyed it. One of the things I liked the most was the way racial prejudice was shown in a matter-of-fact way without the sort of sensationalism that would lead to disbelief on the part of modern audiences.

I was born in 1950 and raised mostly in Northern California, an Air Force brat. In 1958 we kids and my Mom spent the winter living in Oklahoma while my dad was stationed in Greenland. This was my first real experience with institutional racial prejudice. I remember going to the biggest and best dept. store in Oklahoma City and seeing separate restrooms and drinking fountains with "colored" signs. The small town we lived in had two movie theaters, one for whites and one for African Americans. I remember reading newspaper stories about captured white criminals who were reported to be of low character partly because they were "known to associate with Negroes".

Thankfully overt public expression of racial prejudice is pretty much a thing of the past.

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post #25 of 36 Old 12-22-2011, 08:02 AM
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I was a child in the south when the events took place in this movie. While viewing it, my impression was it was a soft, sanitized view of living in the south. Jim Crow lite sounds correct to me. I'm sure its appeal was to women for sure. I thought the movie was good, but not great. And, its definitely not Oscar material. If it receives an Oscar, it would be based on pity alone; somewhat like the movie "Precious" which I did not like.
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post #26 of 36 Old 12-23-2011, 02:09 PM
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Watched this the other night, after hearing "rave reviews" from friends.

I found the Blu-ray had excellent detail and captured the colors and textures of the time perfectly.

I thought the acting was something akin to a sketch on Saturday Night Live. The "help" characters served as the straight man, while the other characters were so blown out of proportion that they had to be comedy creations.

Now I've lived in the deep South for a period. While I saw racism, one thing I found was that stupid knows no color. The movie seemed to promote the notion that the uneducated were somehow inherently wise and caring, while the educated were dumb and insensitive beyond belief.

I got the feeling that I was not watching a film as much as an extreme propaganda piece. I got the same feeling watching Robert Redford's "The conspiracy". The story was just a ruse used to distract the viewer from a strong political message.
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post #27 of 36 Old 12-25-2011, 12:54 PM
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^^^I usually avoid "message" films like the plague for the exact reason stated--I don't like being beaten over the head with stereotypical characterizations.

I just didn't see this in The Help. Not all of the white characters were relentlessly evil by any means, look again at not only Skeeter, but Celia and her husband and Hilly's mother played by Sissy Spacek.

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post #28 of 36 Old 01-08-2012, 03:27 PM
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Excellent flick. Actually thought the PQ belonged a tier up than where it is now. Amazingly crisp, colors and blacks are excellent.
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post #29 of 36 Old 01-16-2012, 04:45 PM
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Just watched this one today (along with Tree of Life).....which brings up point #1.... Jessica Chastain is great! Although I rather hated Tree of Life, I found her utterly watchable in it....and she was great in this one too.
Point #2:
The Help is a really good movie. I assumed this was basically a movie for the Oprah crowd (middle aged housewives), but I discovered that is soooo not the case. While sometimes I felt the movie went a little too overboard with "comedy" (the toilets in the yard scene), it still managed to be very heartfelt and a fantastic emotional journey. Also, it did paint in very broad strokes at times (mostly Bryce Dallas' character), which could turn some off.

I'm very glad I watched it. And on a side note, while Octavia Spencer was very good in it (she won last night), I felt Viola Davis was the most important piece to this movie.

I'm not sure how I felt about the ending though...I would have liked a little more closure on Viola's character (and Emma's).
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post #30 of 36 Old 01-31-2012, 11:42 AM
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I downloaded this over the holidays and liked it. It wasn't my choice, however, as I like action flicks. I was overruled by four females to this one male, so I was out-voted. But I got into the story soon enough. Video was very good.
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