Reign Over Me (Blu-ray) (2007)

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Released 21-Aug-2007

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Featurette-Behind The Reign
Featurette-Jam Session With Adam Sandler And Don Cheadle
Gallery-Photo-A Still Reign
Trailer-Surf's Up
Trailer-Perfect Stranger
Trailer-Are We Done Yet?
Trailer-Catch And Release
Trailer-Ghost Rider
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 124:33
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Mike Binder
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Adam Sandler
Don Cheadle
Jada Pinkett Smith
Liv Tyler
Saffron Burrows
Donald Sutherland
Mike Binder
Case Amaray Variant
RPI $39.95 Music Dave Jordan


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Linear PCM 48/24 5.1 (4608Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
Hungarian Dolby Digital 5.1
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1
Polish Dolby Digital 5.1
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
English for the Hearing Impaired
Dutch
Arabic
Bulgarian
Croatian
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Hebrew
Hindi
Hungarian
Icelandic
Norwegian
Polish
Romanian
Slovenian
Swedish
Turkish
Russian
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

When Reign Over Me was doing the theatrical circuit, I wrote it off as being an attempt by Adam Sandler to expand his range that, in my estimation at least, was doomed to fail. Then, as I read more about it on the 'net and heard various little facts such as Tom Cruise being offered Sandler's part at one stage, my interest perked up a bit. Confronted with a lack of anything to watch in the tail end of the days when I could tolerate SD, I ended up renting a copy of Reign Over Me and watching it on a Plasma TV similar in dimensions to my current set. I was awed by the photography, for one thing. New York is a beautiful place even with all the grime and congestion (which seems remarkably reduced in this film in comparison to that which Sydney continues to suffer). But what really awed me was Adam Sandler's performance as Charlie Fineman, a dentist who in the blink of an eye has lost everything that used to give his life meaning, and struggles every day to find a way to deal with it. Psychological issues used to be mined by the film industry for plot ideas, but this is one of maybe a handful of occasions where the director, writer, and actors really seem to grok the subject.

Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle) is a dentist living a very stagnant life in which everyone from his wife Janeane (Jada Pinkett Smith) to his business partners regularly walk all over him. Seemingly unable to assert himself, Alan goes through the motions of yet another day, and tries to get an opinion of his situation from Angela Oakhurst (Liv Tyler), a psychiatrist who works in the same building, after closing time. Then he sees his old roommate from his tertiary schooling days wandering the street, and tries to get said roommate's attention. In a discussion with the wife and children, we hear from Alan how Alan has not heard from Charlie since the devastating attacks upon the World Trade Center, in which Charlie lost his wife and daughters. After one particularly trying day at work in which a woman by the name of Donna Remar (Saffron Burrows) makes sexual advances to him, a situation that soon escalates into legal threats, Alan finally catches up with Charlie and attempts to reconnect with his old friend. However, Charlie's attempts to treat the life he once had as if it had never happened have really started to affect his ability to care for himself and get along with others.

Complicating matters is the presence of a business manager named Bryan Sugarman (Mike Binder) and a protective landlady named Adell Modell (Rae Allen), who are butting heads with Charlie's in-laws, Jonathan (Robert Klein) and Ginger Timpleman (Melinda Dillon). The latter are so desperate to weave their way back into their son-in-law's life without any regard for how this might affect him that they resort to all sorts of chicanery even of the legal kind. The fact that Doreen Fineman (Diana Gettinger) and her three daughters with Charlie had a substantial life insurance policy also means that serious questions present themselves about the purity of motivation in Bryan's and Adell's actions. Of course, the fact that Charlie has a breakdown and starts waving a pistol at people on the corner of a street gives the State, and more importantly the Timplemans, the opportunity to have him held against his will where he has no opportunity to avoid them. As is standard procedure in such cases, Charlie attends a series of hearings in which a Judge named Raines (Donald Sutherland) listens to a pair of lawyers argue about what should be done with Charlie.

Two parts of this film really stand out and elevate it above the usual Movie Of The Week About Someone In A State Of Psychological Distress™. Donald Sutherland's cameo as a Judge is pure gold, but a flashback to happier times, where we get to see Adam Sandler's character with the wife and children is a moment of storytelling brilliance. No dialogue or real lead-in to this shot is needed, it just gives one a tangible sense of how much Charlie has lost. Not all about the film is perfect, though. The moments in which Adam Sandler is required to throw tantrums at those around him really throw one out of the film, and sometimes his mannerisms seem a little exaggerated. But what the film gets right is quite a lot more than what the film gets wrong. If only all films based on the plight and distress of those in unusual or desperate circumstances could be made to this standard.

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Transfer Quality

Video

Reign Over Me has quite a variable transfer, although some of the effects noted would appear to be deliberate artistic decisions.

The video transfer is presented in the aspect ratio of 2.40:1 within in a 1920 by 1080 progressive window.

The actors are always in focus and very sharp, as are things necessary to the scene making sense. A lot of backgrounds and things distant from the camera appear out of focus, a conversation between Don Cheadle and Melinda Dillon being a good example. It is quite apparent that the director was aiming for some kind of visual effect, although what he was hoping to accomplish in this manner is unclear. It does not make it any easier that a lot of outdoor scenes show the background in sharp, clear focus, or that backgrounds appear sharp and focused while objects closer to the camera seem diffuse. The transfer does what it can with these very odd decisions, and does it well. The shadow detail is excellent, and no low-level noise is visible.

The colours in the film are also very much all over the place, which appears to have been an artistic decision. Sequences in which Alan is discussing Charlie's situation, or inside Charlie's apartment, have a cold, steely look that visually reinforces the isolation and pain of the character. Scenes in Angela's or Alan's offices have a warmer look that has an effect so subtle I would be hard put to describe it here. Flesh tones were accurate, and while there were plenty of blooms of light from the New York street lights, no bleeding or misregistration was apparent.

It is always difficult to judge whether compression artefacts are present in a transfer of a film where so much is purposefully out of focus. I do not remember seeing anything that stood out as a compression artefact during the film's running length. Film-to-video artefacts were not visible in the transfer. I failed to notice any film artefacts, either.

Subtitles are available in English and English for the Hearing Impaired. The latter are pleasant to look at, well-timed, and accurate to the spoken dialogue.

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

Audio

Reign Over Me is a very dialogue-driven film, and the audio transfer reflects this.

A total of seven soundtracks are presented on this disc. The first, and default, is the original English dialogue in Dolby Digital 5.1, with the second being the original English dialogue in Linear PCM 5.1, and I listened to the latter for the most part. The third soundtrack is an English Audio Descriptive Service in what the packaging claims to be Dolby Digital 5.1, but sounds to my ear more like Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo. Rounding out the soundtrack choices are Dolby Digital 5.1 dubs in Czech, Hungarian, Russian, and Polish. The Polish soundtrack, for some odd reason, has the original English dialogue mixed in at a lower level.

The dialogue is also difficult to assess for one reason. Adam Sandler delivers some of his dialogue in such a manner that is not meant to be easily understood, mumbling a lot at times, which is consistent with the character. This aside, the dialogue is clear and easy to understand, with no noticeable problems with audio sync.

The music in the film consists of some pre-existing numbers compiled by Dave Jordan, and an original score by Rolfe Kent. The former are obviously much more prominent, with the song after which the film is named being used in a rather odd manner during one great scene after we hear it in its original form during a montage. Both elements of the music complement the film enormously and add a certain oomph to scenes.

The surround channels are used to separate the sounds of the street, the videogame Charlie spends much of his time playing, and the music among other things from the mains. They are used fairly consistently throughout the outdoor sequences, but when the leads are simply sitting and having a conversation, it is only the occasional environmental effect that keeps the sound field from collapsing into stereo. That is not to say this is a bad soundtrack, or even one that underutilises the 5.1 channel format. It is just a subtle soundtrack for a film that does not demand a great deal from most of the speakers. The Linear PCM soundtrack has a bit of an edge in terms of how the dialogue is better separated from the rest of the soundtrack, but this is not a disc you use to show off your audio setup.

The subwoofer is used in small amounts to support traffic, the occasional fisticuffs, and music. It is not worked especially hard although it is well integrated with the rest of the soundtrack.

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

Extras

Menu

As seems to be standard practice for Sony, we are favoured with a Top Menu and a Pop-Up Menu. The Pop-Up Menu is on the sluggish side, so the Top Menu is very much appreciated. Both are well-themed and very easy to navigate. This Pop-Up Menu gets some points for being accessible whilst the feature is paused.

Featurette - Behind The Rain

A sixteen minute, fifty-one second making-of special in the aspect ratios of 1.78:1 and 2.40:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo audio. It's your basic making-of special, but its worth a look because of the subject matter. The most interesting revelation is that the film was shot with the Panavision Genesis, which explains the weird variances in sharpness and background grain. Normally, the statement about how moved the audiences are comes off as hyperbole, but this is indeed quite a moving film.

Featurette - Jam Session With Adam Sandler And Don Cheadle

Beginning with a very SD 1.33:1 interview in which Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle joke about their musical abilities and how these factored into recording the jam session scenes, the action shifts to a 2.40:1 sequence of the two playing on a bass (Cheadle) and electric-acoustic guitar (Sandler). The audio is reported by my player as being Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, but a higher bitrate keeps the clarity of the two instruments and improvised vocals satisfactory. Total running time is four minutes and forty seconds.

Photo Gallery - A Still Reign

Presented as a five minute and thirty-five second featurette, this still gallery in 1.78:1 landscape or a portrait orientation of indeterminate ratio plays with the titular song playing over the top in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo.

Trailer - Surf's Up

Presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and 1080P resolution, this two minute and twenty-eight second trailer makes me wonder what the people who made the film were on.

Trailer - Perfect Stranger

Presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and 1080P resolution, this one minute and fifty-nine second trailer also makes me wonder what the people who made the film were on, and not in a good way.

Trailer - Are We Done Yet?

Let me see... film featuring Ice Cube driving to a rustic old home with family. I am grossly offended by this trailer being on my disc. Presented in 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, 1080P resolution, and a running time of one minute and forty-eight seconds. Save your money and wait for The Money Pit to arrive in HD instead.

Trailer - Catch And Release

A one minute and fifty-eight second trailer in the aspect ratio of 1.85:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. The film actually looks passable, which is an improvement over the other trailers so far.

Trailer - Ghost Rider

Presented in an approximate 2.20:1 aspect ratio with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, this two minute and twelve second trailer pretty much contains everything that was watchable in the full film. Except the full extent of the crappiness of the dialogue, anyway.

R4 vs R1

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

Actual specifications for the Region A disc are not easy to find. The differences seem to revolve around the languages available, with the Region A disc apparently having subtitles in Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish in place of the Russian and other European options that are on the Region B. Pending better information on the contents of the Region A disc, I will declare this one to be even.

Summary

Reign Over Me is a kind of film you do not see often these days, where a simple episode of Human drama is presented well and in a very real fashion. Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle hit multiple home runs with their performances. I certainly look forward to seeing if Sandler can break out of the obnoxious clown mould any further.

The video transfer is good, but limited by some interesting artistic choices.

The audio transfer is good.

The extras are limited.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Dean McIntosh (Don't talk about my bio. We don't wanna know.)
Friday, June 20, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDSharp AQUOS BD-HP20X, using HDMI output
DisplayPanasonic Viera TH-42PZ700A. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationSony STR DE-835
SpeakersYamaha NS-45 Front Speakers, Yamaha NS-90 Rear Speakers, Yamaha NSC-120 Centre Speaker, JBL Digital 10 Active Subwoofer

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Might I suggest you look here??? -
The Polish soundtrack - REPLY POSTED