Judge, The (Blu-ray) (2014)

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Released 11-Feb-2015

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Featurette-Multiple
Deleted Scenes
Audio Commentary-Director
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2014
Running Time 141:31
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By David Dobkin
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Robert Downey Jr
Robert Duvall
Vera Farmiga
Vincent D’Onofrio
Billy Bob Thornton
Jeremy Strong
Dax Shepard


Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $39.95 Music Thomas Newman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    My site colleague RayN reviewed the DVD of this film a few weeks ago and his review can be found here. Ray provides an excellent plot summary in his review. I tend to agree with Ray's view's on this film. It is a quality family drama combined with a courtroom drama, highlighted by some great acting by an ensemble of excellent actors including Robert Downey Jr, Robert Duvall, Vincent D'Onofrio, Vera Farmiga, Jeremy Strong and Billy Bob Thornton. The original story was written by the director, David Dobkin based on his own life and then was turned into a screenplay by Nick Schenk and Bill Dubuque.

     As Ray rightly notes this is an excellent family drama which has rich and interesting characters and characterisations, however it is probably a little too long for the story, despite the great acting. Fans of courtroom dramas should certainly take a look and those who enjoy acting at its finest will also do well to pick this up. Those who want car chases and gunfights should look elsewhere as D'Onofrio points out in one of the extras. The score by Thomas Newman is also a highlight and the quality of writing shines through.

     Recommended as a film but read on to see if this Blu-ray version is worth the upgrade.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     This transfer is quite disappointing for a new release, major studio film. I can only guess that the source material had a part to play in this because many of the issues from the DVD mentioned by Ray also occur on this Blu-ray. There is significant grain in many scenes especially inside ones. One particular example occurs early in the film at 2:00 where Hank Palmer is arguing in a bathroom, although this is certainly not the only scene with this problem. Many of the outdoor scenes are much better with very minimal or no grain, however faces tend to the pale throughout. In addition to the grain many interior scenes are afflicted by significant light colour bleeding. There is also quite a bit of aliasing and shimmer on shirts, clothes and other things. To sum this transfer up, it is quite variable and seemingly only a little better than the DVD, although I am sure the shadow detail would be better on the Blu-ray.

     There are subtitles available in English for the Hearing Impaired. They were clear and easy to read.

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

Audio

     The main audio on this Blu-ray is a DTS HD-MA 5.1 track in English, plus an Audio Descriptive track in Dolby Digital 2.0 and the commentary.

     This is a good quality Blu-ray sound transfer without setting the world on fire. There is nice atmosphere and appropriate use of the subwoofer, although these are mostly mild in nature suiting the style of film. The music by Thomas Newman sounds good combined with some country flavoured folk tunes plus Willie Nelson singing Coldplay! The dialogue is generally good, although some lines are indistinct and the subtitles are useful.

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

Extras

     The extras are better than average.

Menu

     The menu included music.

Commentary - Director David Dobkin

     Dobkin has interesting things to discuss on this commentary but is not a very interesting speaker. He talks about the cast, the story and its basis in his own life, his approach to telling the story onscreen and more. Worth a listen.

Inside The Judge (22:16)

     A better than average making of which involves mostly chats between the actors and some scenes from the film. The actors discuss working together, their styles of acting and give some insight into the process they use which is much better than the usual claptrap. Well worth watching.

Going Deep with Dax Shepherd (9:21)

     This set of jokey interviews is repeated from the DVD. Mildly amusing.

Deleted Scenes (18:28) with optional commentary by the director

     An interesting collection of deleted scenes which are certainly worth seeing and show more of the characters.

R4 vs R1

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

    The US Region A Blu-ray has the same features. Tie.

Summary

    A quality courtroom/family drama featuring an excellent ensemble of actors.

    The video quality is disappointing for Blu-ray.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are better than average.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic DMR-PWT500, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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