Homefront (Blu-ray) (2013)

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Released 23-Apr-2014

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller/Action Featurette-Making Of-(1:31) Gator Featurette : 1080p
Featurette-Making Of-(2:39) Stand Off Featurette : 1080p.
Deleted Scenes-(3:25) Three short scenes
Alternate Ending-(5:07) Expands but does not change ending.
Theatrical Trailer-(2:23) American Hustle : 2.40:1 / 1080p.
Theatrical Trailer-(2:11) The Legend of Hercules : 2.40:1 / 1080p.
Theatrical Trailer-(1:58) Violet & Daisy : 2.40:1 / 1080p.
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2013
Running Time 100:08
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Gary Fleder
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Jason Statham
James Franco
Kate Bosworth
Isabella Vidovic
Winona Ryder
Rachelle Lefevre
Clancy Brown
Omar Benson Miller
Frank Grillo
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $29.95 Music Mark Isham


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Almost eight minutes of action pre-credits.

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     When Homefront ended I turned to my partner and said : "That was one terrific movie!"

     Director Gary Fleder has a comparatively short list of movies to his credit, two for television and seven for the big screen. Of his seven feature movies at least two, Kiss the Girls (1997) and Runaway Jury (2003) are two films I have enjoyed watching more than once, and are films which can be justifiably described as thrillers. In today's commentary on movies the term "thriller" has become meaningless through overuse, along with other movie oriented terms such as "blockbuster", "superstar" and "starlet". Fleder's latest film, Homefront, is that rare creature, a genuine thriller. It's as close to knife-edge screen suspense and tension as I've experienced in the last few years.

     Sylvester Stallone's screenplay, based on Chuck Logan's novel of the same name, opens in Shreveport, Louisiana, with a seven or eight minute pre-credit prologue crammed with action and violence. Undercover agent Phil Broker (Jason Statham) has infiltrated a biker gang investigating their drug dealings. Stoker's cover is uncovered and a shootout ensues with violence, deaths and arrests. A vendetta is established against Broker, who, disturbed by events, quits his job. Credits.

     Post credits we find ourselves eight months later and Broker, with daughter Maddy (Isabella Vidovic), is established in business in a small Louisiana town, the birthplace of Maddy's deceased mother. Broker has set up a contracting business with Teedo (Omar Benson Miller), and is attempting to instil a sense of worth in his young daughter urging her to "stand up for herself". As a result Maddy gets involved in an incident at school which ends with a young male bully with a broken nose. Broker is called in for an interview with the school counsellor, Susan (Rachelle Lefevre), and is confronted by the young bully's parents, local yokels Cassie Bodine (Kate Bosworth) and her partner, Jimmy (Marcus Hester). There are failed attempts at reconciliation, fostered by Sheriff Keith Rodrigue (Clancy Brown) . Despite the sheriff's efforts a vengeful Cassie enlists the aid of her drug-dealing, and drug supplying, brother, Gator Bodine (James Franco) . (Teedo fills Broker in on some red-neck history, telling him that "they call him Gator for some dumb-ass reason".) Cassie asks Gator to give Broker a scare that will force him out of town. Add to this colourful mix of characters Gator's girlfriend, Sheryl Mott (Winona Ryder) and hitman Cyrus Hanks (Frank Grillo) and we have fuel for any writer to create absorbing drama. Whoever is responsible, Logan, Stallone or Fleder, we certainly get an absorbing series of character conflicts.

     While initially we might seem to be in the land of stereotypes, all characters have qualities which set them apart and make for fascinating and real characters. Chief of these would be James Franco (Howl), an excellent actor who here gives depth and subtlety to what could have been a one dimensional cut-out. In a smaller role, Winona Ryder (Edward Scissorhands) gives poignancy to her hard-as-nails, seen-better-days, girlfriend. The entire cast is perfect, even young Isabella Vidovic, who is lovely, believable and becomes the focus of the film's climax. The work of all of these actors stands or falls on the strength of the protagonist, and Jason Staham (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels) is at his best. Mixing strength, vulnerability and charm, Statham is a dramatic powder keg. Action scenes that would otherwise be unbelievable are somehow accepted - or almost accepted - given the sheer physical presence of the man. Although he is never bare chested in the film, Statham has never been so physically awesome, and nor has he been more vulnerable and intimate than in the scenes with young Isabella Vidovic. This is his best film in years.

     While perhaps not sitting on the edge of my seat, I was most definitely sitting well forward for the climax of this genuine thriller. A terrific protagonist and a bunch of excellent bad-uns, headed by James Franco and Winona Ryder, take us on one hundred minutes of top notch screen excitement. This thriller, for once, is not just a collection of car chases. This one has the action scenes, but it also has a collection of memorable characters and first rate performances. The script is tight and intelligent, the direction invisible, the camerawork outstanding and the disc's visuals and sound are beyond criticism. For out and out thrilling entertainment, this one would take a lot of beating. It is suspenseful, action entertainment at its very best.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Homefront is one of the very best Blu-ray discs it has been my pleasure to view - and I have over eleven hundred in my library.

     The film is presented at the aspect ratio of 2.40:1, the original theatrical ratio. Superb use of the widescreen frame is made by cinematographer Theo van de Sande (2009's The Hole and last year's Love and Honor). Countless times I was reminded of the framing of early Cinemascope movies of the 50's. This is a genuine widescreen movie, with that Bausch and Lomb anamorphic feel to it. And that is only the beginning of the visual pleasures of this film. The opening aerial shot of a glistening, headlight filled freeway and bridge dazzles, and every frame after that maintains the standard. Daylight scenes are bright and brilliantly detailed, whether it is arboreal vistas, urban slums or Jason Statham's stubble. The night scenes glisten, with inky blacks and minute detail glowing from the dark shadows in the corners of the screen. The colours are bright, vibrant but natural, and skin tones are exemplary. I could go on, but everything I say would be a rave for the quality of this disc. This is, without a doubt, one of the first discs I would put in my player to impress friends.

     Subtitles, centred at the foot of the screen, accurately convey the dialogue and effects, making excellent use of colour to differentiate between speakers and effects.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     There are two audio streams : English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 encoded at 48 kHz, and English with Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired option, Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround Encoded at 48 kHz.

     This film is an auditory, as well as a visual, treat. Dialogue is front and centred, with every word crystal clear, despite any red-neck accents. There are no sync problems. There is ample of activity across the fronts and, in scenes where there is a chance to use the entire surround field, then every speaker is filled with dynamic activity. Gun shots ring out, tyres screech - every possible sound is employed to enhance the more active scenes. Added to this is one of the most effective bass tracks I have heard. There are no bone bouncing efforts, like in the early scenes of Pacific Rim, but the sub-woofer is even more dramatic here for its subtlety. The scene where Statham is being drowned in a vat of water is a standout. Turn the volume up and watch the opening pre-credit sequence. You will be blown away by the depth of the aural fireworks. Also excellent is the music of Mark Isham (The Majestic), given an expansive treatment throughout the film. Often country and rock flavoured with throbbing, pulsating bass, the score can become symphonic and moodily lyrical.

    There is a nicely delivered Descriptive Narration for the Vision Impaired from the usual male reader.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

     The menu screen consists of a montage of exciting scenes from the film, with music from Mark Isham's score on the soundtrack.

    There are a handful of extras, but their total running time is just over twelve-and-a-half minutes, meagre indeed. The main additions are the small expansions of the cat's involvement in the plot.

Gator Featurette (1:31)

     This is little more than a trailer, but does focus on the character played by James Franco. There are brief snippets of cast interviews and also contributions from the director and Sylvester Stallone.

Stand Off Featurette (2:39)

     This repeats much of what is contained in the "Gator" featurette, but this time the focus is on Jason Statham's character. Again we see brief comments from Statham, Franco, Gary Fleder and Stallone.

Deleted Scenes (3:25)

     There are three short sequences not included in the final film:

Alternate Ending (5:07)

     Without getting into any spoiling of the film, there is a little added to the end of the film, but nothing that improves what we already have.

Startup Trailers

    At startup there is a trio of excellent trailers, all presented in sparkling high definition and at the ratio of 2.40:1: American Hustle (2:23), The Legend of Hercules (2:11) and Violet & Daisy (1:58)

Censorship

    There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The local release loses only French and Spanish subtitles.

Summary

     As you may have gathered, I really enjoyed this film. Here are all the old, traditional values of a movie thriller. A terrific protagonist, believable and genuinely threating villains, femmes, one lovely, one a moll, and a young child perfect to become the victim for the climactic thrills. Heck, there's even a cat. Add faultless picture and sound, a top notch cast working with a terse and smart script, propelled by a director who definitely knows what to do to draw his audience into the action. Homefront is a top thriller. There is very little in the way of extras, but who cares? Just watch the movie again!

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BLU RAY BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA55A950D1F : 55 inch LCD HD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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