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post #1 of 4 Old 10-14-2015, 10:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Matchstick Men Blu-ray Review

Ralph Potts reviews this cleverly entertaining comedy/thriller from director Ridley Scott that stars Nicholas Cage as a career con man that becomes involved in the biggest hustle of his life. The one he never saw coming.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )



Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )



Studio and Year: Warner - 2003
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 116 minutes
Genre: Drama/Comedy

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

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Nicholas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Alison Lohman, Bruce McGill
Directed by: Ridley Scott
Music by: Hans Zimmer
Written by: Nicholas Griffin & Ted Griffin
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 13, 2015

"Lie, cheat, steal, rinse, repeat…"

My Take:

If there's a sucker born every minute, these guys will work the delivery room. Meet Roy and Frank, con men who plan to flimflam a flimflammer out of big-time dough. They have a new partner to help them too: Roy's long-absent 14-year-old daughter, who has entered his life and is eager to learn the art of the con. Just when you think you have it figured out you don't, during this acclaimed comedy thriller directed by Ridley Scott. Nicolas Cage is winningly quirky as Roy, genius at crime and basket case in life because he's an agoraphobe, a germaphobe and suddenly a parent. Sam Rockwell is wily Frank. And Alison Lohman plays the wild child at Roy's door. For fun, suspense and brain-busting twists, nothing's hotter than Matchstick Men.

I love Matchstick men. Being a Nicholas Cage and Sam Rockwell fan I blind bought it when it was first released on DVD back in early 2004. It has been a personal favorite ever since and is a film that for me, never loses its luster. I haven't watched it in a while but this revisit reminded me of why it's special and why I like Nicholas Cage. His portrayal of Roy is the perfect blend of quirky, charismatic, empathetic, and compunction. The script is simply spot on, drawing us in with tangibly drawn characters and a wonderfully balanced storyline that features elements of crime, dark comedy, drama and an underlying sizzle of mystery.

The situational framing on both the light and heavier sides of the narrative are cleverly integrated and underscored by the pitch perfect interaction among the principle and supporting characters. As the story plays out to its conclusion you may or may not see what lies in store, I know I didn’t the first time I saw it. I was caught up in the apparent focus of the unfolding/spiraling events hoping for one outcome only to be blindsided by another. I absolutely loved the twist and inevitable outcome which had a bittersweet essence. Watching the film afterward, knowing what happens, doesn't make it any less engaging as I find myself reveling in all the "moments" littered throughout. In addition to Nicholas Cage's performance, Sam Rockwell, Alison Lohman and Bruce McGill all contribute to the quality of the film.

I know we all tend to see Ridley Scott through his work in the realm of sci-fi blockbuster however Matchstick men is a fine example of a director's touch that draws out the best in a screenplay and cast. I am thrilled that it has finally made its way to Blu-ray and applaud Warner Brothers Home Entertainment for continuing to release their catalog titles in high definition.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for thematic elements, violence, some sexual content and language.

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: 82
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Dynamics:
  • Low frequency effects:
  • Surround Sound presentation:
  • Clarity/Detail:
  • Dialogue Reproduction:
  • Low frequency extension * (non-rated element): NA
  • DSU Rating * (non-rated element): NA

Video: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

  • Resolution/Clarity:
  • Black Level/Shadow Detail:
  • Color Reproduction:
  • Fleshtones:
  • Compression:

Matchstick men comes to Blu-ray Disc from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 30 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.1 Mbps.

This is a solid video presentation that boasts plenty of discernible detail, stable contrast, and dimensionality. Blacks are punchy and stand out when onscreen with mixed content. Visual perspective in low lighting is estimable which enhances depth. Images are dynamic, appropriately colorful, clearly drawn, and perfectly suited for the source material. I didn’t see any obvious signs of video artifacts or extraneous noise.

The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack has ample dynamic range and detail rich clarity that enables the detection of subtle background sounds within the acoustic environment created by the surround mix. Dialogue is well prioritized which clearly renders voices and effects with appropriate distinction and tonal balance within the front soundstage. Low frequency effects aren’t noteworthy but the subwoofer is kept busy as it works in tandem with the rest of the system to appropriately convey the low level bass associated with the film’s recorded elements.

Bonus Features:
  • Audio commentary
  • Tricks of the trade: Making of Matchstick men – 3 segments totaling 71 minutes
  • Theatrical trailer

Final Thoughts:

Directed by Ridley Scott, Matchstick men is intelligently crafted, wonderfully enacted and among my personal favorite films starring Nicholas Cage. It makes its debut on Blu-ray from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment featuring complimentary high definition video, crystal clear lossless sound and legacy bonus features. As a fan I am thrilled to now own Matchstick men on Blu-ray. If by some chance you've never seen it toss this release in your rental queue and enjoy.

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS4910 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 AV8802A 13.2 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" and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package

Ralph C. Potts
Blu-ray Reviewer
My Home Theater
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post #2 of 4 Old 10-14-2015, 10:41 AM
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I didn't know this was coming out on blu-ray. I really liked the movie a few years ago.

With you positive review, I'm eyeing this now. Thanks, Ralph!
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post #3 of 4 Old 10-16-2015, 01:58 AM
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Ive never seen this film Ive just watched the trailer, I didn't even know of its existence. I will look into this thanks Ralph
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post #4 of 4 Old 10-18-2015, 05:21 PM
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I am a sucker for a good con movie and this is one of my favorite.
Plus, any reason to see Alison Lohman in HD is worth it...

Thanks Ralph!
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