Lakeview Terrace appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. This was a watchable but not great transfer.
Sharpness created occasional issues. Though most of the movie displayed good delineation, some wide shots seemed a little soft and undefined. Some mild edge enhancement caused a few of these concerns, and the flick could be slightly blocky at times. No issues with moiré effects occurred, but I did notice a speck or two.
Colors usually seemed acceptable. Set during a heat wave, the movie gave off a rather warm orange glow, and that affected all the tones. The hues appeared fine for the most part; they could be a smidgen heavy but usually looked solid within the design parameters. Blacks were dark and firm, but shadows were more questionable; some low-light scenes appeared a bit dense. Some of that seemed to come by design, but I still thought the image was a little murkier than expected. Despite the various issues, the presentation was still good enough for a “B-“, but it was an inconsistent “B-“.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio of Terrace worked well, as the soundfield opened up nicely. Various vehicles zipped around the spectrum well and created a fine sense of the settings, especially when we saw Abel on the job or when wildfires threatened homes. Otherwise we got general ambience that formed the places in a pleasing manner. The surrounds added good info to the mix and they connected with the forward speakers to a good degree.
Audio quality was strong. Speech always remained natural and concise, and the score showed solid range and clarity. Songs followed suit, while effects also came across as clean and accurate. They displayed punch when necessary and always seemed well represented. This was a very good mix.
Among the DVD’s extras, we find an audio commentary from director Neil LaBute and actor Kerry Washington. Both sit together for this running, screen-specific chat. They discuss how they came onto the project, cast, characters and performances, the story and changes to the script, locations and production design, ratings issues and a few other topics.
Overall, this turns into an enjoyable commentary. Perhaps inevitably, the chat occasionally degenerates into praise for various elements of the flick, but the participants also manage to throw out a good amount of useful info. LaBute dominates and includes nice insights into his choices, while Washington shares a fair number of interesting remarks as well. While not a stellar commentary, this is an interesting one most of the time.
Eight Deleted Scenes run a total of 13 minutes, 51 seconds. These include “Dad Inspects the New Home” (0:58), “Unpacking” (1:21), “Chris Wakes Up” (0:28), “Chris’ Presentation/Lisa Talks With Donnie” (3:01), “Chris Shops for Curtains” (0:48), “Chris and Lisa’s Party” (0:39), “Abel and Lisa Knife Confrontation (R-Rated Version)” (4:03) and “Abel and Lisa Knife Confrontation (PG-13 Rated Version)” (2:22). Most of these clips offer minor exposition. For instance, we learn more about Chris’ job as well as Lisa’s work. We also see a bit more of Lisa’s father’s disapproval of her marriage. “Knife” creates a tense scene that adds to the Lisa/Abel relationship; it seems interesting on its own, but it might’ve been out of place in the final cut. I do think it’s too bad “Donnie” didn’t appear since it includes a very quick cameo from LaBute’s favorite actor.
We can watch these scenes with or without commentary from LaBute. He provides some basic notes about the sequences and also lets us know why he cut them. We get good info about the segments.
A collection of three featurettes called Welcome to Lakeview Terrace fill a total of 19 minutes, 31 seconds. The shows break into “An Open House” (5:48), “Meet Your Neighbors” (6:30) and “Home Sweet Home” (7:11). Across them, we hear from LaBute, Washington, writer David Loughery, stunt coordinator Ben Bray, transportation captain Jeremy Morgan, production designer Bruton Jones, and actors Samuel L. Jackson, Patrick Wilson, and Jay Hernandez.
The shows look at what drew the participants to the project, LaBute’s impact on the production, cast, characters and performances, story and themes, sets and locations, stunts, and visual design. Much of the time, the featurettes stay with general information, so don’t expect a lot of depth. We some decent notes about a few production elements, but the pieces usually remain mediocre.
A few ads open the DVD. We get clips for Blu-Ray Disc, Paul Blart Mall Cop and Passengers=. These also appear in the Previews area along with promos for The Pink Panther 2, Hancock, Brick Lane, Termination Point, Married Life, Breaking Bad, The Shield Seasons 1-6, The Lazarus Project, Deep Winter, The Librarian 3: Curse of the Judas Chalice, The Pursuit of Happyness and Fearnet.com. No trailer for Terrace appears here.
Lakeview Terrace wants to provide commentary on American race relations within the framework of a thriller. Unfortunately, it never decides which way to go; its “jack of all trades” tendencies leave it as satisfying in no direction. The DVD provides average picture quality along with very good audio and a smattering of decent extras. Nothing stands out here as memorable, and the movie itself turns into a muddled dud.