Mad Money (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 1 Old 11-11-2008, 06:23 AM - Thread Starter
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The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )

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

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109942&d=1210373647

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Overture Films/Anchor Bay - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 104 Minutes
Genre: Dramedy

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

Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Diane Keaton, Queen Latifah, Katie Holmes, Ted Danson, Stephen Root, Christopher McDonald
Directed by: Callie Khouri
Music by: Marty Davich & James Newton Howard
Written by: Glenn Gers
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: November 18, 2008

"They're having the crime of their lives"

Film Synopsis:

Academy Award winner Diane Keaton, Academy Award nominee Queen Latifah and Katie Holmes are all in for the crime of their lives! Deep inside the most secure bank in America, three desperate women from very different worlds cook up the most unlikely heist of the century: Smuggle out millions of dollars in worn-out currency headed for a Federal Reserve shredder every day. Taking the cash is going to be easy...but getting away with it will be insane! Ted Danson, Christopher McDonald (Happy Gilmore), Roger Cross (24) and Stephen Root (Office Space) co-star in this wild comedy caper from the creator of Thelma & Louise about chasing your dreams, beating the system and paying the price for Mad Money!

My Take:

I went into this review with fairly low expectations which was probably just as well. This is a formulaic comedy that featured a pretty good cast but just lacked a solid script. The idea of these three inexperienced women walking out of the Federal Reserve with thousands of dollars that has been earmarked for destruction, stuffed in their clothing is quite a stretch. The three are employed at the Reserve in various positions. Keaton's character being recently employed after her husband (Danson) informs her that they are on the verge of bankruptcy and must sell their palatial home after he loses his job. She comes up with the idea of stealing the money which the Reserve destroys as part of the recycling process. She can't do it alone though and has to illicit the assistance of Latifah and Holmes to pull it off. I don't want to give the impression that this film didn't have any redeeming qualities because that wouldn't be true. I thought Ted Danson and Queen Latifah were the standouts among the cast. Keaton is a fine actress who can play any part and she was fine here. The problem was that her character wasn't likeable which made her performance seem a little disingenuous. Holmes isn't a very good actress so playing the goofy, ditzy role of Jackie didn't seem very demanding. I thought it dragged just a bit in the second act and could easily have been ten minutes shorter. Other than a few chuckles I just didn't feel that it had anything really tangible to offer from an entertainment perspective.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for sexual material, language, and brief drug references.

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: 84

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

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373699

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109947&d=1210373699

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

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=109946&d=1210373699

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

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

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

Mad money comes to Blu-ray Disc from Starz/Anchor Bay featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 31 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 3.7 mbps.

The video presentation offered high definition quality that was consistent with a newer release film. Images were rendered cleanly with crisp definition and stable sharpness. Colors were bright with vibrant tonality and naturally pleasing depth. Complexions were well delineated with lifelike texture and subtle highlights. Black and contrast levels struck a good balance so that bright scenes were punchy and dark scenes had appreciable depth and discernible detail in shadows. Dialogue was produced with excellent room penetration and descriptive intonation. It was anchored to the center channel and retained a position of prominence within the front soundstage. There really wasn't much call for lots of surround activity however the music score played back over the entire system along with ambient background details that broadened the sound field. There was a weighty bass presence that accompanied the music that was a bit too conspicuous at times but I wouldn't say that it interfered with the soundtrack's audio flow. There were times where I found this surround mix to have a nice enveloping quality that elevated the presentation.

Bonus Features:

  • Audio commentary with Director Callie Khouri

  • (HD) Makin' money: Behind the scenes of Mad Money (9 Minutes)

  • 7 Deleted/Alternate scenes

  • (HD) Theatrical trailer

Final Thoughts:

Mad Money is a film that will probably get lost in the shuffle of ho hum comedies. Its mediocre script and formulaic premise didn't leave its cast with much to work with. I am very happy to see Starz/Anchor Bay supporting lossless audio encodings on their Blu-ray disc releases. While this film might be below average its audio/video presentation was far from it as it looked and sounded great. I would recommend that you try and catch this one on cable or as a rental if you are curious.


Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS1x 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Carada Precision Brilliant White 96" Screen
Oppo 970HD universal disc DVD Player (480i HDMI)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BD55K Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Marantz DV7001 Universal Disc Player
Denon AVR 5308CI THX Ultra 2 Preamp/Video Processor
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 seven Channel amplifier
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, VizionWare, Audioquest, Best Deal Cables - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

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