Air I Breathe, The (Blu-ray) (2007)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||2007|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Jieho Lee|
Sarah Michelle Gellar
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 EX
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (64Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.40:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.40:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Crash has a lot to answer for. Aside from being the most questionable Best Picture Oscar winner of the last few years, its success has managed to spawn a bevy of barely-distinguishable pretentious independant ensemble dramas that intertwine a series of shallow, loosely connected plotlines and characters in the vain hope that they will add up to some kind of poderous masterpiece that provides deep insight into the human condition. The Air I Breathe is but one of this glut. Like many of its compatriates, it is amiable enough to pass the time but proves that no amount of cliches and contrived coincidences can make up for a genuinely involving plot.
The film comprises four loosely coupled storylines, each supposedly representing four different angst-ridden emotions; Happiness, Pleasure, Sorrow and Love. 'Happiness' tells the tale of a mopey bank employee (Forest Whitaker) who inexplicably yearns for a greater wealth and finds himself in trouble with the mob after he bets on a rigged horse race. 'Pleasure' tells the story of a mob enforcer (Brendan Fraser, who seems to be a sucker for this type of movie) who can see glimpses the future (but makes questionably frivolous use of it) and is tasked with looking after the hoodlum nephew of his boss (Emile Hirsch). 'Sorrow' tells the story of a mysteriously secretive pop star who goes by the name of Trista (Sarah Michelle Gellar), who runs off with Brendan Fraser when the mob buy out her management contract. Finally, 'Love' tells the story of a doctor (Kevin Bacon) who races the clock to find a blood donor for the woman he loves (Julie Delpy). Andy Garcia features as an evil mob-boss, whose role as the antagonist of each story loosely anchors each of the four parts together.
Each of the actors put in decent performances, despite the flimsiness of many of the characters they are portraying. Alas, no amount of solid acting can make up for the general blandness of the plotlines. The final plotline, 'Love' is silly to the extent that it spoils the decent performances of its leads and generally dries up the little goodwill the previous parts had generated towards the film. Ultimately, fans of any of the cast members will probably enjoy the film enough to warrant a hire, but anyone that isn't already lured by the cast will probably find The Air I Breathe to be a slog.
The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio in 1080p.
The video quality mediocre at best. It looks more like an upscaled DVD than natural 1080p video, and an upscale of a unimpressive DVD encode at that. Aside from the image being a little soft, and possibly slightly out of focus, the real give-away here is macro-blocking artefacts which are visible frequently throughout the film, particularly in the many dark scenes, and are about the size of blocking artefacts you would expect to find on a DVD. There is also very limited depth to the colour palette, which frequently results in colour banding, and some iffy colouring (particularly a pinksh hue to lighter greys). There is a poor level of detail in the frequent shadowy scenes. This is certainly not unwatchable transfer, but it is certainly not one that warrants the effort or expense of buying the Blu-ray rather than the DVD.
The film-to-video tansfer shows no sign of any film artefacts.
English subtitles for the Hearing Impaired are provided. They appear to be accurate and well timed.
The film features and English 5.1 DTS HD track and an English 5.1 Dolby Digital track (640 Kbps).
The audio mix is rather bass-heavy and sludgy. The dialogue sounds muddy and is occasionally a little hard to discern. A mild background hiss and audio clipping is present in some of the louder parts of the movie. The audio appears to be well synchronised to the video.
The film features an oddly fitting, overly melodramatic orchestral score that is ultimately as forgetable as the rest of the film.
The surrounds are used to fair effect and create an immersive sound field. One or two scenes really stand out ahead of the rest, however. The most noteworthy being a great rain/lightening/thunder-filled scene late in the film, which makes for almost demo-worthy listening. The subwoofer supports the mix well throughout.
|Surround Channel Use|
Director/co-writer Jieho Lee, co-writer Bob Derosa, editor Robert Hoffman, and cinematographer Walt Lloyd bang out a fairly dry and technical commentary, that gets more pretentious by the minute. If these guys were to pat each other on the back any harder they might have physically done some damage. I found my opinion of the movie swaying from apathy to annoyance on the strength of this commentary track, as it magnified every pretentious angle ten fold.
Presented in SD, here are four inconsequential deleted scenes, whose presence would have done nothing but pad the movie. Curiously, in what looks like an attempt to pad the list of extras, the title of each deleted scene is listed seperately on the packaging as though it is a seperate featurette. Skip them.
Two minutes of almost amusing outtakes, presented in SD video. Skip it.
Trailers for four other films are present. None are particularly inspiring or memorable.
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 features Spanish subtitles that are not present on the Australian Region B Blu-ray, but misses out on a handful of trailers for other films. The difference is so negligible, this one is a draw.
An aimless, and rather pretentious, ensemble piece that cruises by on the strength of its decent B-list cast. Fans of any of the cast members will probably enjoy the film enough to warrant a hire, though it is ultimately a rather forgettable affair.
The video transfer is no better than an upscale of a fair-quality DVD. The audio is a little muddy, with occasionally noticeable background hiss and crackle. The extras are a light-on.
|DVD||Sony Playstation 3, using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).|
|Audio Decoder||Pioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|