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|Home: BigScreen Journal - Blu-ray Review: Killers|
List Price: $39.99 (Check Price at Amazon.com)
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| Video Format:
Movie: BD-50 (x1) BD-MV
Recently-dumped Jen meets Spencer in France while on vacation. They meet, fall in love, get married, and live the idyllic suburban life. Until, that is, Spencer's previous life as a contract assassin comes back to haunt him and they are the targets of hired killers from all directions.
The picture quality of this title is top-notch for its category. I'm sure that it represents the same quality that was shown in theaters on opening day. Bright daylight scenes never looked washed out and the nighttime chase scenes always showed the right amount of detail to convey what was happening in the scene.
The lossless DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack takes your 7.1 sound system for a ride! As with most movies of this type (romantic comedy/action comedy) the dialog seems a little artificial, but it never got in the way of enjoying the movie while I was watching it.
An added nice touch is the short digital sound trailer for DTS-HD Master Audio that plays before the movie starts. I wish more studios would include these trailers, as commercial movie theaters choose not to advertise their sound systems. It gives the viewer a chance to impress their guests and sets the expectation for the sound quality that is to come in the movie. Fortunately, the sound mix in this movie does not betray that expectation!
This disc contains various extras, including videos, deleted, alternate, and extended scenes, mobile device functionality, integration with social networks, and BD-Live content. Most of this (save for the BD-Live content, which Lionsgate brands as "LG Live") is accessible via the "Special Features" menu item.
I like to see the theatrical trailer included with movies, so I was disappointed that one was not included here. Two trailers were produced for the movie, but neither is present on this disc or in the BD-Live extras. Being able to watch the trailer helps one to appreciate how the movie was marketed during its theatrical release, and it's unfortunate when such a simple and obvious extra is not included. While we have two trailers on the Trailers & Videos page for the movie, all trailers should always be included with the video release for the best video and audio quality possible. Why this is not done continues to baffle me.
A behind-the-scenes featurette, titled Killer Chemistry: Behind the Scenes, is your typical segment that would air on any number of "first look" types of shows. The stars and crew get to talk about how wonderful it was to work with one another, and you get to see a few scenes from the movie. The title is somewhat paradoxical, given the lack of chemistry between the leads in this movie.
A mercifully-short gag reel is included that shows the cast flubbing their lines, tripping over set pieces, and mugging for the camera. If you miss this, you won't have missed anything significant.
There are also seven deleted scenes, four alternate scenes, and four extended scenes for your viewing pleasure. None of these benefit the movie in any substantial way, but are interesting nonetheless. Probably the most interesting are the scenes with neighbors Mac and Lilly Bailey. I would have appreciated the opportunity to hear the editor and/or directors say why these scenes were not used in the movie.
The BD-Live section is labeled as LG Live on the main menu, and it contains little of interest related to this movie.
When the main menu comes up, the right side of the screen features two "widgets" reminiscent of those available for PC's. One widget features a clock that counts off the seconds in a circular pattern and the other shows the weather for your area. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it was a proof-of-concept of a tool that was used to create the Blu-ray content, and we'll see widgets in the future that actually make sense when it comes to using a Blu-ray player and/or watching the particular movie. The third widget is a news ticker that displays headlines about various Lionsgate releases. Given the right content, the news ticker could be useful, but in its current iteration, it is not. A message appears on the screen that tells you that pressing the Red button will toggle the display of the widgets, and you can also selectively enable/disable them via the LG Live menu.
Given that the widgets do nothing to add to the enjoyment of this movie, at least the final two items in the LG Live menu provide some related content.
There is Twitter and Facebook integration for those who wish to let all their social network friends know what movie they're watching. You have the opportunity to supply your login details so that everyone will know you are watching Killers on Blu-ray.
Finally, there are three wallpapers that can be sent to your cell phone. You enter your cell phone number and select the wallpaper you want to send. When I looked at this feature, only the third wallpaper showed a thumbnail of the image when it was selected. I did not have any of these wallpaper images sent to my phone, so I cannot judge the functionality of the service or the quality of the images.
While the social network integration and cell phone wallpapers were new BD-Live features to me, I still remain underwhelmed when it comes to BD-Live content being produced by the movie studios. No nuggets of information that are only available via this feature, no online polls, nothing of compelling interest that truly adds to the enjoyment of the movie and rewards the purchase of the Blu-ray title.
What do you think? Leave comments at the end of this review and tell me what you think would make BD-Live something worth looking at!
This disc contains some additional items that only a segment of the population will be able to use.
D-Box encoding allows those who have D-Box motion control seating to move and shake with the movie. We do not have D-Box equipment, so this feature was not tested. The review by Widescreen Review does mention the effectiveness of the D-Box encoding, so check out that review for information about how that might add to the enjoyment of this movie.
One of the menu items in the Special Features section informs the viewer about the BD Touch iPhone application that can be downloaded from Apple's App Store. The app is free and allows you to use your iPhone and iPod Touch as a remote control, which actually does work. I'm not sure why you would want to do this over using your remote control, however. The app also advertises itself as providing additional content on a movie-by-movie basis. I was not able to find anything in the app for this title, so I am going to assume that none exists at this time. Also, the Details sections in the app crashed whenever I selected it, so perhaps the application isn't fully cooked yet?
The final extra was another iPhone app called Metamenu, which promises to provide the viewer with enhanced content related to the movie that you're watching. Since the app was not free, and I had no desire to pay to check it out without being assured of its value, I did not explore the feature in depth. It appears as though they offer movie-specific versions of the app for free, but no version specific to Killers was available on release day. Hopefully, this functionality will mature in the future, as I see it having some great potential for adding value to the movie-watching experience.
Bookmarking is supported, but instead of having bookmarks shown in the Scenes section off the main menu, they are buried in the Special Features section. I guess it's just a matter of two different approaches, but the precedent has been set by other studios that bookmarks are shown in the Scene Selection area, so putting them elsewhere just confuses the viewer.
Even though this was a BDMV disc, the Oppo BD-83 that we have in for review could not auto-resume the movie like we have observed with other BDMV titles. Every time we inserted the disc, we were forced to watch the upfront ads (and skip through them, one-by-one). More significantly, there was no way to resume the movie at the last point of playback, or to start from the beginning, like has been done on numerous Disney titles and our last Warner Bros. Blu-ray title that was reviewed, The Book of Eli.
This feature is great for those of us who are not able to watch an entire movie in one sitting, and I wish that more studios would implement it on their releases. Resuming playback is one of the biggest usability problems with the Blu-ray format that studios need to recognize and support.
The menu navigation was quite easy to understand. I was always sure of where I was in the menus, and how to get back to where I wanted to go. While this seems like a simple and obvious thing, it's not always the case with some Blu-ray titles. The creators of this title should be complimented for getting it right!
When I saw the trailer for Killers earlier this year, I marked it as a movie I wanted to see. Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to catch it while it was in theaters, so I was looking forward to reviewing this Blu-ray release. While I found it enjoyable, it's not in the upper echelon of romantic comedies, action comedies, or even Katherine Heigl comedies. Kutcher and Heigl are pretty to look at, and the story keeps moving, but after the movie is over (and occasionally during the movie), you realize how little substance it has. I wanted to like this movie more, but the movie didn't live up to my expectations that were set by the trailer and by the cast involved.
Is it worth purchasing or renting? The amount of extras add to the value of a purchase, but the BD-Live section has nothing of significant value when it comes to this movie, so I'm conflicted about recommending a purchase. Do you find value in the extras outlined here? Are you going to watch the movie more than once? If so, then go ahead and make the purchase. But otherwise, this might be a rental rather than a purchase.
I'd really like to see the upfront ads be removed altogether. I implore movie studios to respect those that buy their Blu-ray releases to go straight to the main menu, sidestepping what amounts to commercials that they are forcing their customers to view before they can enjoy the movie they just bought. It's fine to do this on the rental copies, but a purchased copy should be absent upfront ads.
Don't just take our word for it, check out these resources for more reviews of the movie and of the disc.
A copy of this title was provided at no cost by the movie studio/distributor for the purpose of this review. No expectation of the results of this review were set as a condition of receiving the item.
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