Out of the Furnace (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 03-15-2014, 08:56 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

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

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109941&d=1210373637

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )
87





Studio and Year: 20th Century Fox - 2013
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 116 minutes
Genre: Drama/Crime

Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Resolution: 1080p/24


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Christian Bale, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Willem Defoe, Woody Harrelson, Zoe Saldana
Directed by: Scott Cooper
Music by: Dickon Hinchliffe
Written by: Brad Inglesby & Scott Cooper
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: March 11, 2014







"Sometimes your battle chooses you"


Film Synopsis:

From Scott Cooper, the critically acclaimed writer and director of Crazy Heart, comes a gripping and powerful drama about family, fate, circumstance and justice. Russell Baze (Oscar® Winner Christian Bale*) leads a dead-end life – he works a meaningless steel mill job all day, and cares for his terminally ill father at night. When Russell’s brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) returns home from Iraq, he is lured into one of the Northeast’s most ruthless crime rings and mysteriously disappears. When the police fail to solve the case, Russell puts his life at risk in order to seek justice for his brother. This absorbing film features a knockout cast that includes Woody Harrelson, Forest Whitaker, Willem Dafoe, Zoe Saldana and Sam Shepard.

My Take:

I enjoy films that seem to have a story to tell regardless of its root in fact or fiction. To that end I was drawn to Out of the furnace a film that takes place in a small town and centers around two brothers, Russell and Rodney, who haven’t had an easy go of it and essentially are all that one another has.

The narrative, co-written by director Scott (Crazy Heart) Cooper adheres to themes we have seen before but that are no less engaging in their depiction of family, the strife of blue collar existence in a financially meager community and the crime that can accompany such a setting. Russell and Rodney are drawn from formulaic patterns with one being the more resolute and the other being a bit of a loose cannon but what they have in common is a respect and devotion for one another. For Russell life is fairly simple, work at the local steel mill, tend to the needs of his dying father and enjoy spending whatever free time he has with his girlfriend. For Rodney it’s a bit more complicated. He has always been headstrong, quick to anger and after doing a tour in Afghanistan feels a nagging angst that requires an outlet.

The first act of the story sets the characters up well and neatly segues into the second which unsettles both men leading them on a collision course with the film’s antagonist played to disturbing excellence by the always reliable Woody Harrelson. The third act is where the film comes up a bit short as the proceedings shift too much toward contrivances that steer the situations in directions that lack plausibility especially given the earlier plot points. From there it becomes more of a revenge thriller with an eye brow raising ending that, depending on your point of view, may leave you disappointed.

Out of the furnace isn’t a perfect film however there is merit to be found in its slightly uneven story and excellent characterizations as portrayed by its well-placed cast. I found it to be an enjoyable watch that kept me interested over its nearly two hour runtime.


Parental Guide:

The rating is for strong violence, language and drug content.



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: 86

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


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

  • Low frequency effects: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

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

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

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

  • *Low frequency extension (non-rated element): attachment.php?attachmentid=109939&d=1210373637


Video: 88

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


  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373692

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

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373692

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


Out of the furnace comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 34 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.4 Mbps.

This video presentation offers little in the way of high Gloss, razor sharp imagery but it seems to represent the film’s elements well. Primary colors appear satisfying while the film intentionally maintains a cooler overall palette that works well against the drab settings featured in the story. Complexions are texturally descriptive with lifelike tonality that varies only slightly among the cast. Resolution is very good although the film’s inherently softer elements leave some wide angle shots with smoother lines and average delineation. Close ups and mid level shots are more revealing of the resolvable detail that draws out subtle textures in the people and objects within the frame. Contrast is on the money and blacks are stable but not overly dynamic in appearance. This wasn’t really a problem as there were few scenes that utilized low level material where this was consistently apparent. I saw no overt signs of video anomalies or compression related artifacts and thought this appeared to be a pristine quality encoding.

The DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack had no trouble rendering clear and well-articulated dialogue. Sound effects had notable dynamic energy so that they sounded full bodied and aurally satisfying. This is not a film that requires heavy use of surround sound to deliver its message but it does rely on the entire soundstage for proper atmosphere and low frequency detail from time to time. The mix does a decent job of creating the right sounds at the right levels and placing them appropriately in the sound field’s acoustic environment. Low frequency effects are used to add solidity to sound effects and the film’s music score. I thought the presentation served the source material well and sounded fine

Bonus Features:

  • (HD) Inspiration: Members of the cast discuss what lead them to their career choice – 3 minutes

  • (HD) Scott Cooper – 6 minute featurette

  • (HD) Crafting the fight sequences – 5 minute featurette

  • (HD) The music of Out of the furnace- 9 minute featurette

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer

  • Ultraviolet Digital Copy




Final Thoughts:

Out of the furnace is a formulaic drama/crime/thriller that works despite a somewhat uneven script. It’s strength lies in its hard-boiled characterizations and credible performances which elevate it from a middling genre entry to an enjoyable one. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment featuring solid high definition audio/video quality and a lackluster supplemental package. Out of the furnace is an off the beaten path release that is well worth exploring on Blu-ray. Give it a rent.



attachment.php?attachmentid=109949&d=1210373731






Ralph Potts
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post #2 of 3 Old 03-24-2014, 07:16 AM
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Quote:
The third act is where the film comes up a bit short as the proceedings shift too much toward contrivances that steer the situations in directions that lack plausibility especially given the earlier plot points. From there it becomes more of a revenge thriller with an eye brow raising ending that, depending on your point of view, may leave you disappointed.

Spot on.

After all the slow burn buildup to the final act, I felt let down. As I've stated many times before, I love slow moving stories that build up characters and let the viewer figure things out without being spoon fed the meaning but when you don't do this well, we have time to notice flaws both large and small and this movie had more than a handful of flaws that tended to pull you out of the story when they easily could have been re-written and let the story carry on.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
- Why did Rodney write a note to describe this would be his last fight before setting things "right" if by the time he read the note the fight would be over? Rodney did not come across as a gushing and open person emotionally so the note was totally against character imo.
- Did we really need a Deerhunter ripoff scene right down to the newly released prisoner getting a beauty of a buck right in the crosshairs only to hesitate and let the animal go free? Steel mill town setting and girlfriend issues included.
- Did the bar close at 5:30 in the morning before our villian shows up because people are seen walking out and getting in the car with the waitress still cleaning up and within a few minutes we have a sunrise showdown on our hands.
- The entire drug buy scene. Ask about the boss in the middle of a buy and leave your drugs on the table after refusing to take a hit to prove you're not a cop? You wouldn't be leaving alive if the crew that was so fast to kill someone that just owed them money was true to form.
- Murder the bookie and recover Rodney's body and the police don't come in and collect everything in that back room including the ledgers with phone numbers? Fine.
- And how many deer rifle shots can you take before not being able to walk? One in the thigh - get up and walk it off. Gut shot spitting up blood? Walk it off. Meth's a helluva drug I guess.

Just a few of the issues among many but in the end it was more a flawed product due to a confused story (lazy writing) with a great approach but terrible landing. We need more movies of this style imo, just better ones.

Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, and Willem Dafoe were superb in my opinion whereas Bale seemed too restrained when he was the most emotionally wrecked character of the movie.

B- overall and that's carried on the gritty visuals, haunting score, and first two acts. It would have landed square in the C rating if not for the appeal of the genre to me.
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post #3 of 3 Old 03-24-2014, 07:53 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by HD Hockey Guy View Post

Spot on.

After all the slow burn buildup to the final act, I felt let down. As I've stated many times before, I love slow moving stories that build up characters and let the viewer figure things out without being spoon fed the meaning but when you don't do this well, we have time to notice flaws both large and small and this movie had more than a handful of flaws that tended to pull you out of the story when they easily could have been re-written and let the story carry on.

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
- Why did Rodney write a note to describe this would be his last fight before setting things "right" if by the time he read the note the fight would be over? Rodney did not come across as a gushing and open person emotionally so the note was totally against character imo.
- Did we really need a Deerhunter ripoff scene right down to the newly released prisoner getting a beauty of a buck right in the crosshairs only to hesitate and let the animal go free? Steel mill town setting and girlfriend issues included.
- Did the bar close at 5:30 in the morning before our villian shows up because people are seen walking out and getting in the car with the waitress still cleaning up and within a few minutes we have a sunrise showdown on our hands.
- The entire drug buy scene. Ask about the boss in the middle of a buy and leave your drugs on the table after refusing to take a hit to prove you're not a cop? You wouldn't be leaving alive if the crew that was so fast to kill someone that just owed them money was true to form.
- Murder the bookie and recover Rodney's body and the police don't come in and collect everything in that back room including the ledgers with phone numbers? Fine.
- And how many deer rifle shots can you take before not being able to walk? One in the thigh - get up and walk it off. Gut shot spitting up blood? Walk it off. Meth's a helluva drug I guess.



Just a few of the issues among many but in the end it was more a flawed product due to a confused story (lazy writing) with a great approach but terrible landing. We need more movies of this style imo, just better ones.

Casey Affleck, Woody Harrelson, and Willem Dafoe were superb in my opinion whereas Bale seemed too restrained when he was the most emotionally wrecked character of the movie.

B- overall and that's carried on the gritty visuals, haunting score, and first two acts. It would have landed square in the C rating if not for the appeal of the genre to me.

Greetings,

I would have to agree on all points. Thanks for this great post...smile.gif


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