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MOVIE INFO

Director:
John Stalberg
Cast:
Adrien Brody, Michael Chiklis, Colin Hanks, Matt Bush, Sean Marquette, Adhir Kalyan, Cody Longo, Mykelti Williamson
Writing Credits:
Erik Linthorst (and story), John Stalberg (and story), Stephen Susco

Tagline:
Future going up in smoke? Make sure it's some primo shit.

Synopsis:
A high school valedictorian who gets baked with the local stoner finds himself the subject of a drug test. The situation causes him to concoct an ambitious plan to get his entire graduating class to face the same fate, and fail.

Box Office:
Budget
$10 million.
Opening Weekend
$82.740 thousand on 200 screens.
Domestic Gross
$82.740 thousand.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Spanish Dolby Surround 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 100 min.
Price: $29.99
Release Date: 9/4/2012

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Executive Producer/Writer/Director John Stalberg, Jr.
• Deleted Scenes
• Theatrical Trailer and Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; 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


High School [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 31, 2012)

We get another spin on the teen stoner flick via 2012’s High School. In this one, high school valedictorian/general good boy Henry Burke (Matt Bush) succumbs to peer pressure and takes his first-ever hit of a joint.

Bad timing accompanies this choice, as it occurs soon after another top student named Charlyne Phuc (Julia Ling) botches a state spelling bee because she’s stoned. This event – and others like it – prompt principal Dr. Leslie Gordon (Michael Chiklis) to impose mandatory drug tests. He does this the day after Henry puffs his first puff.

This leaves Henry with a choice. He can simply take the test and fail, or he can team with stoner classmate Travis Breaux (Sean Marquette) to foil the system. How? By getting the whole school high, which ensures the results will be dismissed as tainted.

When a movie starts with a cheap joke about a kid’s name – “Phuc” provides a homonym for a certain profane word – we know we’re on shaky ground. Matters don’t improve from there, as High School walks the crude side of the street from start to finish.

I wouldn’t mind this choice if it paid off with real comedy, but School usually opts for the easy, tacky attempts at mirth. Few of these succeed, as laughs are few and far between, and the film never threatens to go anywhere.

Instead, it tends toward the meandering/self-indulgent side of the street. Maybe it makes sense that a movie about pot-smoking comes across as aimless, but it doesn’t create good entertainment. Too much of the film – from an overly-long excerpt from a fake anti-drug movie to a running gag related to a frog that appears to say “what” – just rambles along and goes nowhere.

We’re also expected to be easily amused by stoned folks. That’s the movie’s main conceit: blazed people are funny. And sometimes that’s true, but it’s not the case here; the flick just thinks we’ll be delighted by drugged-out exploits.

It’s wrong – really, really wrong. High School packs about 20 minutes of content into its 100 minutes, and it wears out its welcome well before it gets to its conclusion. Unfortunately, it never answers the most important question: what’s on the pictures that were used to blackmail Adrien Brody to get him to appear here?

Footnote: stick through the end credits if you want to see a little tag.


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

High School appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. This turned into a satisfying presentation.

Sharpness looked fine. A few shots – mostly interiors – showed a smidgen of softness, but those instances remained minor. Overall definition seemed solid. No concerns with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge haloes were absent. No print concerns appeared in this clean presentation.

Colors were positive. The movie tended toward a somewhat stylized palette that was more than adequate, as the hues appeared reasonably full.. Blacks were fairly dark and tight, and shadows showed good clarity. Nothing here dazzled, but the transfer delivered a good reproduction of the movie.

As for the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of High School, it worked pretty well. Like most comedies, the soundfield emphasized the front channels. The music displayed good imaging, and effects broadened to the sides well. They presented a nice sense of atmosphere and kicked into action well when appropriate. Surround usage became more active than expected, mostly due to the stoner scenes; those expanded the spectrum in a dynamic way that worked the various channels in a lively way.

Audio quality was quite good. Speech came across as natural and crisp, with no issues connected to edginess or intelligibility. Effects were clear and accurate. They showed good range and clarity as well. Music worked very nicely, as the songs and score were bold and dynamic. This was a more involving than expected mix for a stoner comedy.

A few extras round out the set. The main attraction comes from an audio commentary with executive producer/writer/director John Stalberg, Jr. He offers a running, screen-specific look at music, sets and locations, cast and performances, various effects, story/character areas, production design, costumes and photography, and a few other subjects.

Although I don’t think much about his movie, Stalberg provides a very good commentary. He covers a lot of territory and delivers a mix of nice details. Although the track sags a bit at times, Stalberh still provides more than enough good data to make this a winner.

11 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 12 minutes, 31 seconds. Some offer extensions to existing sequences, while others just contribute more stoner humor. A few deliver actual exposition, though, which is unusual; most of the time, cut sequences fall more in the “padding” realm and don’t tell us a lot. The expository bits are more valuable than most; they wouldn’t have made this a good movie, but at least they contribute a little information.

The disc opens with ads for Jersey Shore Shark Attack and Demoted. We also get the trailer for High School.

Although I’ve never been a huge fan of the “stoner comedy”, I think the genre can be entertaining. Unfortunately, High School ends up as an inferior example; it meanders along with a slew of cheap, lame jokes and little else. The Blu-ray provides solid picture and audio as well as a strong audio commentary. This becomes a solid release for a weak film.

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