All is Bright (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
Official AVS Blu-ray Disc Reviews > All is Bright (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review
Ralph Potts's Avatar Ralph Potts 12:55 PM 11-15-2013
The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

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

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109939&d=1210373637

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

Studio and Year: Anchor Bay - 2013
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 107 minutes
Genre: Drama

Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Paul Giamatti, Paul Rudd, Sally Hawkins, Amy Landecker
Directed by: Phil Morrison
Music by: Graham Reynolds
Written by: Melissa James Gibson
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 19, 2013

"All is busted. All is broke. All is Bitter…"

Film Synopsis:

Lie, cheat, steal…it’s all part of the holiday spirit for ex-con Dennis (Paul Giamatti) and fast talker Rene (Paul Rudd) when they try to make a quick buck selling Christmas trees in New York. For Dennis it’s a chance to go straight, and for his best friend and former partner-in-crime, Rene, it’s a chance to make some easy cash so he can marry Dennis’s ex-wife. But for two not-very-bright guys now stuck together on the cold streets of Brooklyn, this holiday season may bring some of the most unexpected miracles of all.

My Take:

All is bright follows two down on their luck, small time Canadian crooks Dennis and Rene. Dennis has just been released following a four year prison term, only to find out that that his wife, Therese, has moved on by telling their preteen daughter he died and is seriously dating his old friend and partner in crime, Rene. Struggling to deal with the loss of his family and lack of work, Dennis reluctantly turns to Rene who is about to make his annual business trip into New York City to sell Christmas trees. With adversarial tension mounting between them Dennis and Rene strive to find middle ground in the hopes of selling the trees and returning with the cash that each feels will help cement their futures. The question is whose future will include Therese?

As a fan of both Paul Giamatti and Paul Rudd I thought that All is bright looked promising. The film never really rises to its potential however it musters enough darkly comedic rhetoric, ancillary drama and character driven moments to overcome its dismal pacing and estranged theme. The development of the characters is poor making them hard to care about especially early on. It isn’t until the introduction of Olga (Sally Hawkins), a NY City maid in search of a Christmas tree for her employer, that a viable connection is established. Unfortunately the beginnings that feel good in that regard never really bear fruit. Luckily the performances by the two Pauls coupled with the less than jolly holiday theme keep interest going until the end which reveals a soft underbelly that coincides with the film’s bleak thematic tone.

All is bright is a small endeavor that will probably leave most viewers wanting. I would like to think that I got it and appreciated it for what it was worth.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for language and brief 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.**

Audio: 80

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

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

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

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373692

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

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109948&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=109946&d=1210373692

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

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

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

All is bright comes to Blu-ray Disc from Anchor Bay Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 18 Mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel sound that has an average bitrate of 2.1 Mbps.

By design this film doesn’t boast vibrant colors are eye popping visuals but the encoding appears solid. Colors have a muted level of saturation and those used are rarely bright which give the perception of a limited palette. Overall they are naturally rendered and appear to fall within the visual range intended. Fleshtones have appreciable complexional distinction but the lighting used can sometimes leave them appearing flat and lacking in texture. Blacks are respectable with above average delineation. Shadow detail is fair to good which enhances visual perception during the scenes shot in limited lighting. Resolution is adequate so that varying degrees of detail can be seen in close ups but the video isn’t razor sharp or dimensionally strong. It isn’t a bright film which when coupled along with the reserved chromatic scheme gives it a dull finish. This seems to coincide with the creative decisions of the filmmakers and results in stable imagery that lacks the eye popping definition that some may expect from a newer film.

The Dolby TrueHD (sampled at 96 khz) sound quality is solid and offers a one dimensional, front oriented perspective that sounded smooth, tonally neutral and exquisitely detailed. Dialogue is centrally focused and lucid with distinguishable intonation and requisite clarity. Surround activity is limited to subtle ambience that occasionally offered some spatial dimension that extended the depth of the sound field.

Bonus Features:

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy

Final Thoughts:

All is bright is a bleak dark comedy that suffers from a meandering pace and nonsymmetrical script. What it brings to the table is a rewardingly offbeat context that is underscored by solid performances by leads Paul Giamatti, Paul Rudd and a complimentary supporting turn by Sally Hawkins. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Anchor Bay Entertainment in a barebones offering that features stylized yet satisfying high definition video and crystal clear lossless Dolby TrueHD sound quality. When you’re in the mood for something a little different give All is bright a rent.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6 Meter from Spectracal)
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8801 11.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (With Darbee video processing)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Summa's Avatar Summa 01:10 AM 11-18-2013
Wow, very interesting pairing! Based on Ralph's review and that trailer, this is one I'm going to really want to check out. Paul Giamatti is one of the few actors on my "must see everything they're in" list.

Thanks Ralph! I probably would have missed this one if you hadn't reviewed it.
Ralph Potts's Avatar Ralph Potts 03:05 AM 11-18-2013
Originally Posted by Summa View Post

Wow, very interesting pairing! Based on Ralph's review and that trailer, this is one I'm going to really want to check out. Paul Giamatti is one of the few actors on my "must see everything they're in" list.

Thanks Ralph! I probably would have missed this one if you hadn't reviewed it.


Sure thing AJ. I am a Paul Giamatti fan as well.. smile.gif

Be sure to post back once you have seen this one.

Summa's Avatar Summa 07:32 AM 11-18-2013
Originally Posted by Ralph Potts View Post


Sure thing AJ. I am a Paul Giamatti fan as well.. smile.gif

Be sure to post back once you have seen this one.


I went ahead and started watching last night after reading your was pretty late, so I stopped half way, but will finish it up today.

A couple small things that have stood out for me: One of the reasons Im such a fan of Giamatti in particular is because he's a true craftsman and he is among the best actors in the world at nuance and authenticity. The fact that he incorporated a slight Canadian accent to his character just really impressed me, and it's small things like that that I love about his work. It's also a big reason why I have such disdain for someone like Ben Affleck, lol. Someone like Giamatti has more acting talent in his little finger and he tends to make FAR better films, yet you have a guy like Benny who is basically the same character in every movie, tends to make lousy films, yet is one of the biggest stars today. I dont' mean to single out Benny necessarily, it's just that he's such a great example for this comparison.

The other thing I noticed was the audio, which you cited in your review. Whoever the audio guy or gal was for this job, they deserve a raise. I wasn't even watching in my HT, I was just running some Grado PS500 headphones via my AudioEngine D1 usb/dac. The detail in this audio track is ridiculous. When they were pulled over at the border stop and the American inspector guy walks into the back of the truck, that "echo" you hear when he steps onto the wooden floor of the trailer created the physical sensation for me of the last time I walked into the back of a similar truck - the UHaul I rented last time I moved. There were several other examples of that, too, and it's something that I'm glad doesn't go unnoticed when you write up your reviews. Probably the majority of us have an appreciation for audio quality of these films, and the quality of the sound work on this one was stellar.

I'll report back later with some final thoughts, but so far I'd say your review was spot on accurate. The charisma and chemistry between the Pauls is taking what would otherwise be a very uneventful story and keeping me interested enough to see where it goes. The writers didnt' give them much to work with, but their delivery still brings the characters to life.
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