No Reservations—Warner Bros. (Blu-ray)
My wife and I decided to give this one a spin the day before Valentine's Day. Advertised as a romantic comedy, we were a bit disappointed with the lack of romance in the film. Sure it has its moments, but this is really a drama about a chef with a hectic life trying to fit her Niece in after losing her Mom in a car accident. This is a rather serious tale and I liked the characters, but I think the ad campaign was a bit misleading and could leave those in the mood for a romantic comedy a bit disappointed. The film does have a good heart though and we both enjoyed it for what it was, a human drama with a sprinkle of warmth and charm.
The HD presentation is a bit inconsistent in overall quality. Fine object detail is excellent but most of the medium to longer shots come off on the soft side. This becomes a bit of a distraction from time to time simply because the close ups look so good. Color balance is excellent though with a natural look that is both pleasing and vibrant. A bit more care would have probably earned this one a near reference mark.
Warner has been pretty disappointing lately with audio. Most Blu-ray releases on the market include at least a lossless soundtrack if not a full blown uncompressed offering. Warner continues to be hit or miss, even with their day and date releases and delivers a legacy Dolby Digital 5.1 mix this time around. Sure this isn't a film with a soundtrack that demands the best out there, but what is the point in advertising a next generation experience if it only applies to video? The highlight of the audio presentation is the film's score, which does a great job of balancing the mood and lightening things up. The surround soundstage was a bit underwhelming, but there are enough cues to keep it involving. Dialogue is a bit unbalanced in volume from time to time and I was surprised how much timbre changed based on where the character was in the image. Like the image quality I think a bit more care was needed.
Extras stay in the theme of the film and include a cooking feature with the film's stars and an inside look at the production from Unwrapped's host Marc Summers.
In the end my wife and I enjoyed this film but I was disappointed in the spotty A/V presentation. I hope now that Warner has fully embraced Blu-ray that we'll start to see a bit more consistency in video presentation and support for higher resolution audio.