Reference DVD Review: Next

Paramount
Movie ••½ Picture •••• Sound •••• Extras •••

As a small-time Las Vegas magician with an odd gift of being able to see 2 minutes into the future, Nicolas Cage is, as always, interesting. The same is true of Julianne Moore as an intense Federal agent, and even Jessica Biel manages to add a bit of nuance to a role that's designed to be little more than eye candy. But despite being based on a story by the mighty Philip K. Dick, Next is a straight-up action thriller that isn't nearly as thought-provoking or involving as its setup might suggest.

The good news is that this movie looks and sounds extremely good. Beautiful shots of the Grand Canyon are slightly sepia-toned but filled with big colors and precise image detail. The action sequences serve up lots of complex digital effects that might have yielded image distortion in a less carefully produced transfer. The surround channels get plenty of work and serve up the requisite blasts with aplomb. And subtle sounds (like overheard conversations) are rendered with a fine degree of naturalism.

Extras include three making-of featurettes, the most interesting of which glimpses into the lifestyle of the locals who live at the base of the Grand Canyon.

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