Highway (Rental) (2001)

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Rental Version Only
Available for Rent

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Road Movie Dolby Digital Trailer-Train
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 92:57
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By James Cox
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Jared Leto
Jake Gyllenhaal
Selma Blair
John C. McGinley
Jeremy Piven
Mark Rolston
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI Rental Music Rich Robinson


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

"It started as a desperate escape and became the wildest ride of their lives"

    Jack Hayes is a young stud pool cleaner with too much time on his hands. But one day when playing out a fantasy with the pool's owner (a mobster's wife), he's sprung in the act by the husband and all of a sudden Jack's life isn't as boring as he once thought.

    Pilot is a bored teenage slacker with too much time on his hands (sound familiar?). He spends his time 'borrowing' cars from a local club and having really boring sex with his girlfriend. He is also the lifelong best friend of Jack. When Pilot hears about the predicament that Jack has got himself into, he suggests the only sane course of action: leave town straight away. Pilot is familiar with the mobster and his form of justice against his enemies which is to break their feet. Not finding the broken feet prospect appealing, Jack hits the road with Pilot in tow.

    Not sure where to go, the two end up on their way to Seattle, which to Pilot's way of thinking is the centre of the universe. Along the way the two hitch up with Cassie, another young bored thing with too much time on her hands and a secret that will shock the pair to the core. Soon all are on the way to the Pacific Northwest Mecca of Seattle with the idea of attending a memorial for Kurt Cobain, the Nirvana frontman who has just killed himself. But the three are in for some shocks and surprises from not only from each other, but themselves as each is about to embark on a ride that may just define their entire lives.

    How do you make a boring film like this sound appealing? God knows, because I don't and I got the feeling while watching this film that the writers and director had no idea either. This film, despite being a 'road trip' film in reality goes nowhere. In production from 1999, you get the impression that whatever this film was going to be kept being changed and rearranged and rewritten and re-edited and so on and so forth. In the end, it looks as though the studio said "just edit the d*** thing to a watchable length and release it". So this is what we've got.

    There are some positive things about this picture. The editing is quite good with a very modern style used somewhat akin to the style of Paul Thomas Anderson with multiple shots for the same scene used. This gives the impression of things being just a bit out there (perhaps drug-induced). There is also some very nice photography seen with the film utilizing a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The cast features Jared Leto, a bright up-and-comer who has appeared in the films Requiem for a Dream (2000) and the Jodie Foster / David Fincher thriller Panic Room (2002). Also starring is Selma Blair who featured in Cruel Intentions(1999) and Jake Gyllenhaal from October Sky (1999) and Donnie Darko (2001). Throw in some extra supporting stars like Jeremy Piven and John C. McGinley and what do you get? A good movie? You would think so. Instead, crap is the general result with a film that the actors surely wish they could forget as I'm trying to do myself.

    Have you seen this title on the shelf at your local video store and thought that it'd be good for a laugh? Liked the cover and stars and thought 'this looks good'? Think again. When watching this film, I was reminded of another film I reviewed, Homer and Eddie, which is another crap 'road trip' film. In that review, my advice was: "Save your sanity, save yourself. Avoid this film at all costs". The same goes for this film, too. Avoid.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Despite the below par quality of the movie itself, the quality of the video transfer to DVD is quite good.

     This disc presents the film in what looks to be its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

     The sharpness of the image committed to disc is very good with a clean and clear picture throughout. Shadow detail is quite good with some of the darker scenes having a very acceptable level of detail viewable. Low level noise is not an issue.

     For the duration of the film, colour use is quite natural with an excellent colour transfer available here.

     MPEG artefacts are not an issue with this title and an almost artefact free image is seen throughout the film. There is some minor aliasing to be seen during the film such as at 51:31 and 69:59 but for the most part, the image is quite good. Edge enhancement is not a real problem with the transfer, but is visible at 80:25. There are some very minor white flecks that can be seen during the film that spot the screen from time to time. These are very slight and are only noticeable if looked for.

     There is only one subtitle option available on this disc, that being an English for the Hearing Impaired title. These are fairly accurate and convey the general meaning of the film while not being word for word.

     This disc is formatted single layer and as such a layer change is not an issue.

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

Audio

    The audio transfer is quite good with effective use of the surrounds and subwoofer.

    There is only one audio track available on this disc, that being an English Dolby Digital 5.1 mix.

    The dialogue quality on this disc is very good with no problems with the intelligibility of the spoken word. The audio sync during the feature is quite good with no issues of note.

    The music for the film is by Rich Robinson of the band The Black Crows. While effective, this is no showcase for early 90s grunge classics and there is a really surprising lack of tunes from this era, especially those from the band Nirvana given the subject matter. It is very possible that there were some music licensing problems that precluded the use of Nirvana songs, but they would have added to the value of the film.

    The surrounds are used quite effectively during this feature and add a dynamic that supports the goings-on on-screen. While not generally attention-drawing or distracting for the most part, they do stand out during the first seconds of the film (at 0:00 to 0:13) with what sounds to be a roulette marble rolling around the five speakers while we're in the middle. A very interesting effect and perhaps one way that you might check the tonal matching of your speakers. Otherwise, the surround mix is quite good and does its job very well.

    The subwoofer is used to back up the mains in regards to both musical score and goings-on on-screen. While not hugely active, the subwoofer plays its supporting role well without drawing attention to itself.

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

Extras

    This disc is very light-on in regards to extras with only a theatrical trailer on offer.

Menu

    After the usual Village Roadshow logos and copyright warnings, the warnings fade into the disc's main menu offering us the options of Play, Scene Selections, Trailer and Subtitle On/Off. This menu and the Scene Selection menus are silent and 16x9 enhanced.

Theatrical Trailer:  2:08

    This is the main trailer for the film and gives the impression that we might have a good time watching this film. Proof positive that you can't always believe what you see. The trailer is presented in the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced. Audio is Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded.

R4 vs R1

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

    It looks as though we have almost the same package afforded Region 1 except for the fact that the Region 1 features a Pan & Scan version on its flip side. There is also an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded track available on the Region 1 disc. There are some slight differences in packaging artwork (for example, on the cover our skyline is flat while on the Region 1 cover, the skyline slopes to the right. Go figure). A PAL transfer and local affordability would give the Region 4 disc the edge.

Summary

    Don't ever kick yourself because you didn't see this film. Believe me, you ain't missing a thing. If you want to see a youth oriented 'road trip' film, then get Road Trip or American Pie. Okay, so American Pie isn't a 'road trip' film, but at least something happens during the movie! Otherwise, avoid this boring crap. You won't be missing a thing.

    The video transfer is quite good with a clean image throughout. (Of course it is, because it's such a bad film.)

    The audio transfer is excellent with a good mix of all available channels.

    The extras are almost non-existent with only a theatrical trailer on offer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Sean Bradford (There is no bio.)
Friday, October 25, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPanasonic A300-MU, using S-Video output
DisplayHitachi CP-L750W LCD Projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationYamaha RX-V2090
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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