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post #1 of 2 Old 02-24-10, 09:18 PM Thread Starter
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Walk the Line - Blu-ray Review

Walk the Line
Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick, Waylon Payne, Tyler Hilton
Director: James Mangold
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 136 minutes
Rating: PG-13
Blu-ray Release Date: February 2, 2010

Movie

“Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.”

The man really does not need more of an introduction than his simple, yet boisterous self-introduction. J.R. Cash (Phoenix) grew up with a passion for music. That passion, unfortunately, is overlooked and unappreciated by his father, Ray Cash (Patrick). Ray, who is traumatized by the loss of his apparently preferred older son, Jack, unintentionally takes it out on little Johnny. From that point forward, all little Johnny all wants to do is be satisfactory in his father’s eyes. What’s more, Johnny works so hard to win the respects of everyone around him, from his family all the way to the father of the girl he would like to marry.

When he finally ties the knot with Vivian (Goodwin) her hopes for him to finally settle down and get a steady job begins to clash with his potential music career. As Johnny Cash’s love for music flourishes and as he pursues his dream he finally gets a break with a recording company and makes his first recording. As him and the rest of his band grow in popularity he must face the dilemma of leaving his distraught wife, Vivian and young daughter at home while he goes on tour. As this rift begins to separate the couple, Cash begins to see a sparkle in another woman by the name of June Carter (Witherspoon). Regularly touring together June, Johnny, the rest of his band, Jerry Lee Lewis (Payne) and Elvis Presley (Hilton) begin to see more of one another than Johnny sees of his family. This only leads to him falling more for June than he expected.

Juggling the road life and his family life becomes tougher and Johnny begins to rely on drugs in order to keep his edge as he sails through his career. Unfortunately, this leads to an addiction and a rift between him and everyone around him. Continuing to try to please everyone he is around, he finds himself only falling further and further away from that initiative.

I think I had too high of expectations for this film that it didn’t quite live up to them. It fares better than Jaimee Fox’s ‘Ray’ in my opinion, as it is not quite as depressing-feeling. Still, I found the stories to be somewhat the same in that most of the movie deals so much with the bad parts of their life that the good part is only summed up into about five minutes of the movie. Fortunately, ‘Walk the Line’ doesn’t take the same route that ‘Ray’ did and simply sum up the rest of his entire life into a bunch of photos that gets shown for the last several minutes of the film. I also think ‘Walk the Line’ is more of a fun ride than ‘Ray’ because the overall music and I think the Academy Award nomination it received were valid.

Rating

‘Walk the Line’ is rated PG-13 for some language, thematic material and depiction of drug dependency. The movie is kind of depressing sorts the majority of the time so it’s likely not one you would want to watch with the younger crowd.

Video

The video transfer for ‘Walk the Line’ is very good. Detail and sharpness appeared solid throughout and fortunately I didn’t notice any signs of DNR or edge enhancement that could’ve easily destroyed the visuals. Beads of sweat and skin blemishes are apparent as well. Dark colors, especially the rich blacks that dominate Johnny Cash’s wardrobe really give the visuals an inky dimensionality. More vivid colors like that of June Carter’s wardrobe often seem to pop off the screen. With a lot of video shot on stage, the darkened backdrops add even more depth to the image. I really don’t have much to complain about with this video transfer.

Audio

The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is really something special. Being a story about Johnny Cash and following his music career, I expected no less either. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised by the overall presentation of the audio. From the very opening credits you get a sense of what kind of treat you will be in throughout the movie. The sound of the guitars and the vocalists’ voices really expand through the front stage. Surround usage is not incredibly lively and directional, but they are used consistently to expand the sense of space. There are a couple of instances of subtle speaker panning that occur, but it’s somewhat few and far between. What really took me by surprise was the amount of weight provided from the low frequency department. All of the songs had a sense of heft and thump to them.

Extras

The following extras are included in this release:

-Audio Commentary with James Mangold
-A series of 10 deleted scenes with optional director’s commentary
-‘Extended Musical Sequences’ – Pretty straightforward as to what this is.
-‘Folsom, Cash & The Comeback’ Featurette – just a little featurette talking about the importance of Johnny’s performance at Folsom jail.
-‘Celebrating the Man in Black: The Making of Walk the Line’ Featurette – a 20 minute featurette hosted by Kris Kristofferson on the behind the scenes of the movie
-’Ring of Fire: The Passion of Johnny & June’ Featurette – mostly family and friends talking about the relationship that the two had together.
-One theatrical Trailer

Overall

I had very high expectations for this movie, having never seen it before, but it seemed to fall just slightly short of those expectations. Granted, this is my first viewing of the film after it was released and the vast majority of my friends have done nothing but talked it up. I did still enjoy it and gained a further appreciation for Mr. Cash’s music, but I felt the pacing was a little bit on the slower side. Fortunately, the music was engaging and I still find myself thinking about the music I heard in the movie, even hours after watching it. ‘Walk the Line’ is a movie worth checking out to see if it fits your fancy.


Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
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post #2 of 2 Old 02-24-10, 09:19 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Walk the Line - Blu-ray Review

As a note to readers, the video is not in any way represented by the stills I've included. Those are grainy and don't show off just how good this disc actually looks.

Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." - Groucho Marx
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