The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 110 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English/French/Portuguese Dolby TrueHD 5.1, Thai/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Indonesian, Korean
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Kerry Washington, Patrick Wilson, Jay Hernandez, Ron Glass
Directed by: Neil Labute
Music by: Mychael Danna & Jeff Danna
Written by: David Loughery & Howard Korder
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 27, 2009
"What could be safer than living next door to a cop?"
A young couple (Patrick Wilson and Kerry Washington) has just moved into their California dream home when they become the target of their next-door neighbor, who disapproves of their relationship. A stern, single father, this tightly wound LAPD officer (Samuel L. Jackson) has appointed himself the watchdog of the neighborhood. His nightly foot patrols and overly watchful eyes bring comfort to some, but he becomes increasingly aggressive to the newlyweds. These persistent intrusions into their lives cause the couple to fight back.
Lakeview Terrace is built upon a premise that has been done many times. It has taken slightly different forms but essentially deals with a person or persons being terrorized by a wacky neighbor. The spin here is that the neighbor just happens to be a police officer. The victims are a young recently married interracial couple, Chris and Lisa Mattson (Wilson & Washington) who have just bought their first home in a fairly upscale LA County suburb. Abel Turner (Jackson) is a single father of two, is respected in the community, and is a senior member of the LAPD. Abel apparently takes a pretty staunch position when it comes to interracial couples and immediately takes a dislike to his new neighbors, particularly Chris. Initially when little things happen the couple chalks them up to coincidence or perhaps a misunderstanding. However it soon becomes obvious that Abel is not to be trifled with and that he has every intention of convincing his new neighbors that perhaps they should live elsewhere. Chris seems to be the main target of Abel’s disapproving actions however after a terrifying incident involving Lisa it becomes clear that perhaps he is capable of much more. When the couple discovers evidence that could prove that Abel is complicit in the incident involving Lisa they find out just how far he is willing to go.
I thought this was a typical thriller that had enough suspense to keep it interesting. Movies like this tend to paint police officers as people with ever reaching authority that can achieve the impossible to get at their intended targets. I found Able to be an interesting character. Here is a guy that lives in a racially diverse neighborhood. There are Whites, Asians, Hispanics, and Blacks living right on top of one another in a small culdesac which he seems to have no trouble with. In moves a young professional couple, seemingly decent, and he is instantly offended at just the sight of them. This is something that surely goes on in today’s society to some degree. His problem with them was simple, stick to your own kind and don’t try to be something your not. Abel was brought up in LA’s tough South Central and fought hard to get where he is. This along with his position gave him a feeling of entitlement when it came to passing judgement on others. As for the Mattson’s they had their own issues to deal with long before they moved to Lakeview Terrace. Lisa’s father (Glass) was a well to do businessman who openly felt that their relationship had a dismal future. The couple were at odds over when to have children which added another layer of stress. I liked the development of the characters (Abel and the Mattson’s) and thought that it was important that we as the audience see a little of who they were aside from their interaction so that perhaps we might understand them. This made some of the events that transpire in the film to seem plausible. Of course being a Hollywood production there are many things that were out of the realm of plausibility but hey that’s why we watch movies. Sam Jackson is one of my favorite actors and although he doesn’t have a varied repertoire of characters in his arsenal I think that this one, like most, played to his strengths. I thought that both Wilson and Washington gave strong performances and I liked the film’s pacing. It didn’t bring anything new to the genre but I think that all the elements needed to make it enjoyable were present (including the formulaic ending).
The rating is for intense thematic material, violence, sexuality, language and 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)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Lakeview Terrace comes to Blu-ray from Sony featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 25 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 1.4 mbps.
This is an excellent high definition video presentation that boasts warm, inviting colors with deeply saturated primaries and vivid hues. Fleshtones are nicely delineated with warm tonality and diverse complexional quality among the cast. Detail is in abundance as images look crisp with clearly resolvable fine minutia, and three dimensional depth that on occasion provides a near infinite visual perspective. Blacks are dense in appearance with excellent dynamic range and noticeable gradational stages. Contrast is strong which provides plenty of pop to colors and whites without washing them out. The video had a dynamic, pleasing, and pristine quality that looked great throughout the presentation. The Dolby TrueHD soundtrack featured crystal clear dialogue, snappy dynamics and a subtle, yet strong surround sound mix. I was impressed with the implementation of both spacial dimension and discrete directional sounds that created a realistic and occasionally immersive listening environment. This worked hand in hand with film’s music, and source material, to build tension and help drive the story.
- Commentary with Director Neil LaBute and Actress Kerry Washington
- 8 deleted scenes with optional commentary by Director Neil LaBute
- (HD) Welcome to Lakeview Terrace: Featurettes
- An open house: Behind the story -5 minutes
- Meet your neighbors: Casting - 5 minutes
- Home sweet home: Production - 6 minutes
- (HD) 7 Sony Pictures BD Previews
- BD-Live enabled - Access to trailers, Blu-ray Club membership, Hancock special features promo
Lakeview Terrace is a thriller that doesn’t break new ground but is entertaining just the same. It offers enough suspense, strong characters and competent direction to make it worth watching. Sony continues to support the Blu-ray Disc format by delivering first rate video presentations, and high quality lossless audio encodings on their day and date Blu-ray Disc releases. While this film may not hold up well under repeat viewings it is definitely worth checking out via a rental.
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