The Bucket List
Director Rob Reiner delivers a heartwarming tale of two elderly gentlemen having their last hoorah before cancer overtakes them for good. Nicholson and Freeman have great chemistry, and the first act does an outstanding job of developing their relationship. The second act has a few laughs as they begin to check items off their list, and the ending is emotionally impactful in this inspired salute to life.
The VC-1 encode is generally good, but the CGI effects are blatantly obvious. In fact, if I didn't know any better, I would swear the CGI is from last century. Regardless of this shortcoming, the rest of the movie presents a pleasing picture. Color saturation is accurate, close-ups reveal a lot of detail, and the black levels are rock solid. Grain is virtually nonexistent, and the print is in pristine shape.
Warner decided to use a paltry Dolby Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack (640kbps), a decision I assume was made to save space on the single-layer BD25 disc. Granted, this isn't an action film with a demanding soundtrack, but at this stage of the game, high-definition audio should be mandatory on any day-and-date release. In any event, the audio is very front-loaded with the surround channels delivering only low-level ambient effects. Dialog is crisp and clear, and the imaging across the front is acceptable, but I implore the studio to drop the "HD-light" audio and provide lossless codecs in the future.
The bonus features aren't anything special and include a "pop-up" trivia track, two separate interviews with Rob Reiner talking to Nicholson and Freeman, a John Mayer music video, and a behind-the-scenes "making of" look at the video. Rounding out the bonus features is an interview with the screenwriter, Justin Zackham, delving into his inspiration for the story.
I enjoyed this film a lot, and I really connected with the two leads. There are lots of laughs, and the emotional ending had my wife and I in tears. Unfortunately, the audio was a disappointment, but for this genre of film, you aren't sacrificing much with the lossy Dolby Digital soundtrack. Recommended.
Release Date: June 10, 2008
Film: 8 out of 10
Picture: 8 out of 10
Sound: 6 out of 10
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)
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