Hotel Noir (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 14-Aug-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Crime Drama Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-x 4 for other films
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 92:42
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Sebastian Gutierrez
Studio
Distributor
Accent Film Entertainment Starring Rufus Sewell
Malin Akerman
Carla Gugino
Danny DeVito
Rosario Dawson
Robert Foster
Kevin Connolly
Michelle Dawley
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Robin Hannibal
Mathieu Schreyer


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080i
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, constantly - this is a noir after all.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Felix (Rufus Sewell), a police detective, has stolen a suitcase full of cash from the mob intending to run away with dancer and mob moll Mary (Malin Akerman). When Mary does not arrive at their rendezvous, Felix checks into a local hotel. There, over the course of one night, he interacts with lounge singer Hanna Click (Carla Gugino), her thuggish “agent” Vance (Kevin Connolly), Eugene Portland (Danny DeVito), a sad shower door installer and pet portrait painter, Sevilla (Rosario Dawson), a call girl in a superhero costume doing the rounds of the hotel, and his police partner Jim Logan (Robert Foster). As Felix’s backstory is told, plus parts of Hanna’s, connections and interconnections between the various characters emerge.

     Hotel Noir is by screenwriter / director Sebastian Gutierrez; he also wrote and directed Judas Kiss (1998) but has more credits as a screenwriter with films such as Gothica (2003) and Snakes on a Plane (2006) on his resume. Interestingly, he also had a go at a screenplay with a structure of interlocking stories in 2011 when he wrote and directed Girl Walks into a Bar. Hotel Noir is his homage to the hard boiled noir thrillers of the 1940s; it is in black and white and features voiceover narration, unreliable storytelling, snappy dialogue, a detective in hat and trench coat, gangsters, the mob, molls, hookers, femme fatales, double crosses, shootouts and a jazz score.

     There are some familiar faces in the cast of Hotel Noir including Rufus Sewell, Carla Gugino, Danny DeVito, Rosario Dawson and Robert Foster. The acting, like the dialogue, is a bit all over the place. Rufus Sewell, as the sap who falls for a dame, is not convincing enough to elicit our sympathy while Danny DeVito is Danny DeVito, and feels out of place. The standout, however, is Carla Gugino who is excellent as the lounge singer with a past, and a heart. Gugino was good in Watchmen (2009) and San Andreas (2015) and she also had a role in Sin City (2005), in which Rosario Dawson, who is over the top in Hotel Noir, also had a part. I mention this for interest because in 2016 Hotel Noir was rereleased in a coloured version and renamed City of Sin.

     The period setting of Hotel Noir is not specified although the cars, the typewriter, telephone and microphone place it into the late 1940s / early 1950s, the heyday of the noir thrillers it apes. Hotel Noir is stylist and tries to be cool and clever; it is uneven and tries too hard, but it is fun and almost succeeds.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Hotel Noir is presented in the original 2.35:1 aspect ratio, in 1080i using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     Despite being only 1080i this black and white print is strong in detail showing the stylish interior of the hotel; it is also impressive in the dancing segments with the white costumes, or the white dress when Gugino does her number, not bleeding into the black / grey backgrounds. Blacks and greyscale are very good, brightness and contrast consistent. The film is steady in motion and I saw no marks or artefacts.

     No subtitles are provided.

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

Audio

     The audio is a lossy Dolby Digital 5.1. The IMDb indicates that the film was released with a mono audio.

     Dialogue occasionally sounds muffled, as if it was recorded on set but the microphone was too distant from the character. However, it is always understandable. The film has a lot of conversations during which the rears and surrounds are not used but in the flashback sequences engines, rain, thunder and, during the heist the hum of machinery, is evident. The subwoofer added a bit of depth to the engines, shots and the rain. The jazz oriented score by Robin Hannibal and Mathieu Schreyer evokes the 1940s, and so supports the visuals well.

     There are no lip synchronisation issues.

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

Extras

Start-up Trailers (8:37)

     On start-up there are trailers for The Conspiracy, Pig, Shadows of Liberty and noobz. These trailers can also be selected from the menu at the “Trailers” tab plus a trailer for Hotel Noir (2:22).

R4 vs R1

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

     The only other Blu-ray of Hotel Noir listed is a German release. No other details are available.

Summary

     With a cast including Rufus Sewell, Carla Gugino, Danny DeVito, Rosario Dawson and Robert Foster, stylish black and white visuals, snappy dialogue, double crosses, shootouts and a jazz score, Hotel Noir is an entertaining homage to the noir thrillers of the 1940s that is uneven but gets a lot of things right.

     The video and audio are fine, despite being only 1080i and lossy Dolby Digital. Trailers are the only extras. This is hardly a good advertisement for HD presentation but this has been out for a while and if you see it in a bargain bin somewhere it is certainly worth a look

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, September 10, 2018
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
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