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PARAMOUNT

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Robert Zemeckis
Cast:
Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Jared Harris, Lizzy Caplan
Writing Credits:
Steven Knight

Synopsis:
In 1942, a Canadian intelligence officer in North Africa encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war.

MPAA:
Rated R.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Portuguese Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
English Audio Description
Subtitles:
English
French
Portuguese
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Portuguese

Runtime: 124 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 2/28/2017

Bonus:
• 10 Featurettes


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


Allied [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 19, 2017)

In 2016, director Robert Zemeckis and actor Brad Pitt joined forces for the first time in their long careers. We find them paired for the war thriller Allied.

Set in 1942 at the height of the Second World War, Canadian paratrooper Max Vatan (Pitt) drops into Morocco, where he must meet up with French resistance fighter Marianne Beauséjour (Marion Cotillard). They work under orders to pose as a married couple so they can push toward an attempt to assassinate the German Ambassador (Anton Blake).

As the mission progresses, the artificial romance between Max and Marianne blossoms into true love, and they eventually reunite in England, where they plan to become a real married couple. However, Max learns secrets about Marianne that test the bounds of the relationship and his loyalties.

Every year we find a few movies that look like sure Oscar contenders that don’t quite get there. Allied falls into that category, as a film that involved Zemeckis, Pitt and Cotillard felt like certain Oscar-bait but outside of a nod for costume design, the Academy ignored the film.

As did audiences. Pitt and Zemeckis boast a bunch of big box office hits under their belts, but Allied failed to make a financial dent. It took in a lackluster $40 million in the US, and with worldwide totals of $115 million, it didn’t make back its costs.

I’d like to claim that audiences missed a terrific film, but alas, Allied lacks much merit. Even with the gift of a lot of talent in front of and behind the camera, the movie fails to create much of a positive impression.

Actually, Allied doesn’t make much of an impression period, as the film seems surprisingly bland. The main narrative takes forever to go anywhere, and even when moments of potential intrigue occur, they feel insubstantial.

This occurs mainly because we never really care about the leads. While obviously talented, Pitt and Cotillard struggle to make a connection on screen, and the absence of chemistry dooms the project.

Given the way the narrative evolves, we need to really invest in the characters and their emotions, so if that side of things falters, the entire tale threatens to go down the toilet. Pitt and Cotillard seem professional enough, but they can’t create engaging personalities who truly connect to each other – and to the viewer.

Is it really a good idea to set a movie about romance amidst the French resistance in Casablanca? Of course, Allied tells a story very different from the classic Bogart flick, but still, the general similarities create inevitable comparisons, and these don’t favor Allied.

Despite those links, Allied probably offers more of an English Patient vibe – at least while Max and Marianne remain in Morocco. Once they head to England, the movie takes on more of a Hitchcock feel, though not good Hitchcock, as the tale remains stuck in neutral.

I can’t help but think Zemeckis was the wrong person for this sort of tale. His best work came from movies that emphasized comedy and action, neither of which play much of a role in Allied. This film turns into a romantic thriller, and neither genre fits his talents well.

This means Zemeckis fails to bring personality to Allied, and he seems out of his element. Though the movie offers the basics of a decent drama, the end result lacks the depth and suspense it needs to succeed.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus C+

Allied appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. At all times, the transfer fared well.

Sharpness worked nicely, as the movie came with strong delineation. I noticed no prominent signs of softness, so the movie gave us crisp, tight imagery. The Blu-ray lacked shimmering or jaggies, and it also failed to present any edge haloes or print flaws.

In terms of colors, the Moroccan scenes went with a fairly sandy palette, whereas the English sequences featured more of a green/teal overtone. Though these hues didn’t excite, they came across with positive delineation. Blacks were deep and dark, while shadows showed smooth imagery. All in all, I felt very pleased with the presentation.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it offered sporadic bouts of activity. Much of the movie opted for general ambience, but on occasion, the mix kicked into higher gear.

This became true during the sequence in which the leads attempted the assassination, and when the characters made love in the desert, the sandstorm swirled around them in a convincing manner. Bombings in London also added a good sense of impact. These moments popped up too infrequently to create a consistently engaging track, but the material brought zing to the proceedings at times.

Audio quality seemed fine. Speech appeared natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music showed nice clarity and range, while effects were accurate and dynamic. When necessary, the mix offered excellent low-end punch. This became good enough for a “B” rating.

The Blu-ray comes with 10 featurettes that total one hour, seven minutes and 54 seconds. We locate “Story of Allied” (5:13), “From Stages to the Sahara” (10:10), “Through the Lens” (8:49), “A Stitch in Time” (8:40), “’Til Death Do Us Part” (5:52), “Guys and Gals” (5:22), “Lights, Pixels, ACTION!” (9:33), “Behind the Wheel” (3:30), “Locked and Loaded” (3:35), and “That Swingin’ Sound” (7:06).

Across these programs, we get notes from director Robert Zemeckis, producers Graham King and Steve Starkey, writer Steven Knight, executive producers Jack Rapke and Patrick McCormick, production designer Gary Freeman, VFX supervisor Kevin Baillie, director of photography Don Burgess, costume designer Joanna Johnston, hair and makeup designer Daniel Phillips, picture car coordinator Michael Geary, armourer Robert Grundy, composer Alan Silvestri and actors Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Betts, Charlotte Hope, Anton Lesser, and Jared Harris.

The featurettes cover history, story/characters, sets, production design and period detaiils, cinematography, costumes, cast and performances, stunts, effects and action, weapons and vehicles, and music. While this gives us a nice overview of the production, the amount of praise for all involved gets burdensome at times. Though the featurettes still tell us a lot about the film, I could live without so much happy talk.

Despite a lot of talent behind it, Allied fizzles. The movie fails to deliver the necessary heat, intrigue and suspense, so it winds up as a dull exploration of romance and espionage. The Blu-ray brings us excellent picture with pretty good audio and a collection of often informative featuretttes. Allied becomes a lackluster attempt at a thriller.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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