Leatherheads Blu-ray Review
PicturePresented in it's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and encoded using the Vc-1 system at 1080P, the picture quality on Leatherheads is as shiny as one of the new helmets that depicts the films title.
The whole film appears to have been shot through some kind of filter that gives skin tones a golden glow in indoor scenes. During outdoor scenes however, colours are accurate, strong and bold.
I do have one gripe though - that of black crush. During particularly dark scenes, the intimate detail that's on show for all to see just kind of disappears. It's a real pity as well because that's actually stopping this disc from becoming a reference disc on the picture quality side of things.
The whole shooting match appears to be free from any digital artefacts or edge enhancement - though one thing I did (or didn't notice) was grain - or the lack of it. Even in the darkest shots, grain appears to be absent throughout. In my opinion, some DNR has been applied to get rid of the grain - personally, I would rather them leave it in to retain the filmic look...but you can't please all of the people all of the time.
SoundContinuing Universal trend of releasing Blu-ray discs with DTS HD Master Audio lossless tracks, this one comes complete with a 5.1 version that is a bit of mixed affair to be honest.
First off, there's the imbalance in volume throughout the film. The opening titles had me reaching for the remote to turn the volume down by about 10db - only to be reaching for it again ten minutes later so that I could hear what was going on...but by then, it had settled down and I was able to leave it at my normal listening level.
Strangely for me, the thing that stands out more than anything else in this mix is Randy Newmans ragtime type score. There's some Al Jolson thrown in for good measure and I found it really enjoyable - so much so that I downloaded it this morning (legally of course...)
For me, the soundtrack never really makes the first down - it always appears to punt on the fourth and give the ball away. There's a certain lack of dynamics even during the football matches where 40000 people are supposed to be packed into a stadium. The rear channels kick in somewhat during those scenes - but very seldom will your subwoofer wake up and burst into life.
It's a pity really because it's a bit of a missed opportunity. I don't think the disc is at fault - I personally feel that the soundtrack on has been poorly engineered...even once you have found the right balance on the volume dial, the dialogue is a little muffled and hard to understand. It's certainly the worst I've heard from Universal since they turned to the Blu side...
ExtrasAt first glance, the disc doesn't appear to be stuffed to the gills with extras, The Blu-ray disc of Leatherheads does have one trick play up its sleeve however...
U-Control which is available if you own a Profile V1.1 player or above. Set it to play before you watch the movie and you will be prompted to press a button on your remote to view behind the scenes interviews and other interesting facts about the film.
The majority of them on this disc are from the commentary involving the director and producer - but there are some other interesting snippets about CGI included. There's also some nice interviews with the cast and crew.
Feature Commentary with George Clooney and producer Grant Heslov is dull and lifeless. The best bits appear in the U-Control feature with the pair actually on the screen - probably best just to watch it that way...
And that's full time on the extras side of things...though at first glance it doesn't look like there's a great deal, the U-Control feature is very clever in that it kind of hides the interviews and making of features...I think it would be good of the studio to acknowledge those people that haven't got Profile 1.1 players yet and put those interviews and features on the disc so that they can be accessed by all - just a thought.
VerdictI was really looking forward to watching Leatherheads. George Clooneys directing career has gotten off to a great start and as an actor he's likeable and pleasing to watch. I was so disappointed with this though that I'm hoping that it's just a minor blip on what promises to be a great directing career. Ok, so he's no Hitchcock - but to be nominated for the coveted best director Oscar for Goodnight And Good Luck, which was only his second outing in the directors chair shows that he has promise and I look forward to enjoying many more films that he both stars in and directs.
Blu-ray wise, this is like watching the Chicago Bears - you don't quite know what's coming next.
The picture quality is fine for the most part and oozes detail. However, it suffers from a little loss of that detail in dark scenes and appears to have had all the grain removed.
The sound quality is all over the place...the first ten minutes will either deafen you or blow your speakers apart - please be warned. It does settle down after that but then the dialogue is a little quite and hard to follow. Randy Newmans fine ragtime type score does earn the sound a bonus point though.
Recommendation wise - it's probably worth a rental in a quite release month. I couldn't even recommend it to die hard gridiron fans because the matches in the film don't exactly get the pulse racing. As a romantic comedy, I found the romance missing and the comedy a little too sporadic...
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £24.79
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.