Whip It (Blu-ray)
First time director Drew Barrymore takes a familiar plot of a teenager trying to find her way in the world and mixes it with the rough-and-tumble sport of roller derby. Clichés aside, it's an enjoyable film mainly due to Ellen Page, who's a marvelous young actress and shows her range by not rehashing her sarcastic know-it-all role from Juno.
The AVC presentation is very strong with vibrant and accurate colors and compression is never an issue. Skin tones are accurate with a natural hue and when the girls finish a grueling workout you can see the sweat pouring off their faces. Detail is adequate, although there are some scenes were the edges are out of focus (maybe intentionally), but the contrast is very consistent with inky blacks and nice depth.
Featuring a DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, Whip It is a technically sound presentation, although I felt the design could have been more aggressive. Dialog is always intelligible, but the dynamics are pedestrian and rarely encompass the entire frequency range. The punk-laden soundtrack expands the soundstage, but the roller skating sequences could use some additional discrete effects to compliment the action on screen.
The standard-definition bonus features are a big letdown. Given the popularity of roller derby in the 1970s I was hoping for some type of historical featurette, but sadly the only goodies are some deleted scenes, a short interview with the screenwriter, and a commercial for the soundtrack.
I didn't have high expectations when I cracked the case but was pleasantly surprised. If you're into "girl power" films, then look no further. The story is entertaining with an excellent presentation and there're hot chicks on roller skates. Recommended.
Release Date: January 26, 2010
Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)
Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 power amplifier
Belkin PF60 power conditioner
M&K S-150s (L, C, R)
M&K SS-150s (LS, RS, SBL, SBR)
SVS PC-Ultra subwoofer
Monoprice HDMI cables (source to pre/pro)
Best Deal analog-audio cables
PureLink HDC Fiber Optic HDMI Cable System (15 meters) from pre/pro to projector
Acoustical treatments from GIK Acoustics