88 MinutesTri Star (Blu-ray)
Al Pacino plays university professor Jack Gramm, who occasionally assists the FBI in matters of forensic psychiatry. His recent testimony against a freshly convicted criminal seems to be the reason he has gotten a scary phone call informing him he will die in 88 minutes.
So far this hasn’t been the greatest year for Al Pacino. This one didn’t generate any buzz at the box office and his new film with Robert DeNiro doesn’t seem to be doing much better. Despite the bad reviews I actually thought this was a decent thriller though a bit by the numbers. The plot leaves you guessing most of the film but Pacino plays it a bit too smooth through most of the film which doesn’t help the intensity. Fans of the genre would probably enjoy this one and I would at least recommend a rental.
Sony is typically quite impressive with their HD presentations but this one fell a bit short. The color balance was a bit too diverse for my tastes. Interior shots were a bit too red and orange compared to the natural exterior shots. Contrast levels were also quite weak with washed out blacks that hurt dimension and added a soft look to the film. At times it was hard to tell if something was CG or not simply because of the balance of contrast and detail. Fine detail in close ups was good though and depth of image didn’t suffer much.
The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix is a great one with a nice sense of environment and ample use of the surround soundstage. The channel to channel cohesiveness really lends to an engaging soundstage and I’ve been impressed with the level of dynamic range Sony’s soundtracks have been displaying. Bass response is tight and aggressive when need be. Dialogue is clean and I thought the levels were great through most of the more intense sequences.
Extras include a feature commentary with the director as well as interviews with Al Pacino on getting into character. An alternate ending and look at the process of making the film is also included. Like all of Sony’s new Blu-ray titles, this is a BD-Live enabled disc that allows you to visit Sony’s BD-Live page and download trailers and get the scoop on upcoming releases.
Despite the negative buzz I didn’t think this one was too bad. Sure it doesn’t bring anything new to the table but the film never bored me and the cast was pretty solid. Easily worth a rental for fans of thrillers.