Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Woody Allen's films are either hit or miss with me, but this one hits on all cylinders. The characters are engaging and real, the story has some hilarious moments, and the setting is fabulous. Javier Bardem's portrayal of the Spanish painter is a 180-degree turn from his Oscar-winning performance as the ruthless killer in No Country For Old Men, showing off his range as an actor.
Regrettably, the VC-1 encode isn't that good. Resolution isn't consistent from scene to scene, with some looking mildly sharp and others very soft and blurry. Color saturation ranges from rich to poor depending on the surroundings, and the black levels are elevated to the point of dark gray, which is never a good thing.
The PCM 3.0 (L/C/R) soundtrackthe first I've ever heard in this configurationsounds pretty good, even though the dynamics are rarely tested in the dialog-heavy production. Voices sound clear and natural, although there are a couple of occasions when the timbre doesn't fit with the surroundings. Regardless, the Spanish music sounds amazing in its clarity, and given the genre of the film, there's nothing major to complain about.
This is an entertaining and funny production with an uninspiring Blu-ray release. There are no bonus features, and the video is a mixed bag, but the audio serves the purpose. If you're looking for some great laughs, be sure to check it out.
Release Date: January 27, 2009
Studio: The Weinstein Company
JVC DLA-RS1 projector
Stewart FireHawk screen (76.5" wide, 16:9)
Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Anthem PVA-7 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