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MGM

MOVIE INFO
Director:
Michael Cristofer
Cast:
Antonio Banderas, Angelina Jolie, Thomas Jane, Jack Thompson, Gregory Itzin, Allison Mackie
Screenplay:
Michael Cristofer, based on the novel by Cornell Woolrich

Tagline:
You Cannot Walk Way From Love.

Box Office:
Budget
$26 million.
Opening Weekend
$6.402 million on -unknown- screens.
Domestic Gross
$16.252 million.
MPAA:
Not Rated.

DVD DETAILS

Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 118 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 6/7/2011

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary With Director Michael Cristofer
• Trailer
• Gloria Estefan Music Video


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


Original Sin [Blu-Ray] (2001)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson

When I review DVDs and Blu-rays, I always watch them all the way through the conclusion of the end credits. This doesnít occur because Iím anal; I do it because I want to see it the filmmakers add anything interesting during/after the credits. This doesnít happen frequently, but these pieces pop up often enough to make the attempt worthwhile.

As I scanned through the closing credits for 2001ís Original Sin, I noticed something that surprised me: a copyright date of 2000. Huh? The movie hit screens on August 3 2001, so it seemed weird that it showed this copyright.

When a movie that features reasonably prominent actors like Angelina Jolie and Antonio Banderas sits on the shelf for a year or so, thatís what we call a bad sign. Sometimes movies stew for a while and still have something offer; for example, Jessica Lange won an Oscar for her work in Blue Sky, a movie that took years to hit screens.

No oneís winning any awards for Original Sin, however. While not a terrible movie, it seems quite bland and lackluster and it never threatened to engage me.

Set in the 1880s, Sin takes place in Cuba. We meet wealthy coffee plantation owner Luis Vargas (Bandera), a man who doesnít believe in love. But he needs a wife, so he gets a mail-order bride from Delaware. When Julia (Jolie) arrives, he immediately discovers that heís been deceived; she sent pictures of a plain-looking woman, not the babe she actually is. However, since Luis also misled her - he didnít reveal his wealth - neither party seems more evasive than the other.

However, that quickly changes. Julia shows some suspicious behavior, and a private detective named Walter Downs (Thomas Jane) soon turns up to check into her well being. Juliaís sister back in the States worries about her and Downs needs to establish the facts. Luis ignores the odd tone and falls deeply in love with Julia; he also gets some seriously good boniní, which seems to make the biggest impact.

And thatís where my plot synopsis stops. Sin takes a twisty path to its conclusion. I didnít think many of the turns seemed very surprising, but itís impossible to go farther and not give away potential spoilers, so Iíll leave well enough alone.

On the positive side, Sin was well cast. Jolie seems made-to-order for this kind of sexy but evasive character. I donít think she could play peppy, perky and genuine if her life depended on it; Jolie does best with this sort of elusive and wicked part. Banderas also seems appropriately chosen to play the swarthy entrepreneur, and he brings reasonable heat and depth to the part. The chemistry between the two appears unexceptional but strong enough to serve the film.

So why does the movie fall flat? Because it commits the worst sin of all: boredom. Frankly, little happens that seems interesting. Sin comes in the same spirit as flicks like Basic Instinct. Like that film, Sin offers little more than a higher-budget take on the same cheesy sex thrillers that show up on Cinemax all the time. Replace the no-names found on those movies with some more famous actors and better production values and thatís what we get here.

Actually, Sin has a more highfalutin pedigree than those movies, since it was adapted from a book called Waltz Into Darkness. That text also influenced a 1969 Francois Truffaut offering called Mississippi Mermaid, and given that directorís reputation, Sin gets some credibility due to the connection.

But it still feels like little more than another cheap mystery. It really seems that Original Sin exists mainly to show some high-profile actors getting down and dirty with each other, and if thatís what you want to see, you might enjoy the film. Otherwise, it comes across like a somewhat silly and unnecessarily convoluted sex thriller with little to offer from it.

Note that this release of Original Sin provides an unrated edition of the film. The flick got an ďRĒ theatrically. Since I didnít see the movie on the big screen, I canít compare the two, but Sin does seem moderately graphic. During the major sex scene between Jolie and Banderas, it gets more involved than Iíd expect from this kind of release. Thereís also some fairly risquť material during a scene between Jane and Jolie. IMDB lists the ďRĒ-rated one at 116 minutes, which indicates about two extra minutes appear on this disc.


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

Original Sin appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with an erratic transfer.

Overall sharpness was good, but lapses occurred. Most of the movie delivered nice clarity and definition. However, periodic soft spots cropped up, and a few shots seemed a bit blocky. No issues with jaggies or moirť effects occurred, but I noticed light edge haloes at times. Print flaws were heavier than expected; I noticed examples of grit, speckles and nicks. These never became overwhelming, but they showed up much more frequently than Iíd expect given the movieís recent vintage.

Colors looked fairly lush and warm. At times they seemed a bit heavy, but they usually were pretty full. Blacks appeared dark and deep, while shadows showed generally nice clarity. Though much of the movie was attractive, the issues with softness and source defects knocked it down to ďC+Ē status.

I thought the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Original Sin seemed acceptable. I expected a soundfield with a forward emphasis from this kind of flick, and the mix delivered that. Most of the audio remained in the front spectrum, where I heard very good stereo music and a consistently solid sense of atmosphere and ambience. The mix usually remained fairly subdued, as it concentrated on general environmental elements. Effects moved smoothly from channel to channel and blended together neatly. The surrounds contributed good reinforcement of the music and effects but they didnít provide many unique elements.

Audio quality seemed generally positive. Dialogue was always intelligible but I thought the lines could be a bit metallic; though most of the lines showed decent naturalness, too many appeared somewhat stiff. Effects were clean and accurate, with no distortion or noticeable flaws. Music was bright and vivid and showed reasonable dynamic range.

The only area in which the audio lost some points related to the absence of solid bass, however. Low-end response appeared acceptable but the LFE channel seemed to get little to no usage, and bass should have been deeper; the track never seemed anemic, but it lacked the depth Iíd have liked. Still, the audio was good enough to warrant a solid ďB-Ē.

How did the audio and picture of this Blu-ray compare with the original DVD from 2002? I thought the sound was a wash, as the lossless DTS-HD mix didnít appear to add anything to the impact.

Visuals worked better but still had problems. In truth, I suspect that the Blu-ray simply recycled the DVDís transfer, as I couldnít discern any work done to improve it; for instance, all the same print flaws from the DVD reappeared here. The image looked better on Blu-ray due to the formatís superior qualities, but it was still more flawed than Iíd like and it didnít take full advantage of Blu-rayís capabilities.

Except for a photo gallery, the DVDís extras repeat here. The only significant one offers an audio commentary from director Michael Cristofer. He gives us a running, screen-specific piece that seems generally good but spotty. On the negative side, the commentary suffers from quite a few empty spaces. He also spends too much time on flat discussions of sets and filming techniques. However, usually when he speaks, Cristofer provides reasonably interesting material.

The director covers a number of different elements of the production. He discusses differences between Sin, the Francois Truffaut film Mississippi Mermaid, and the novel on which both were based. Cristofer also goes over some casting tidbits, MPAA concerns, locations, and a variety of additional issues. The track seems fairly dry at times and it includes too many gaps, but I still think it gives us a decent look at the film.

We find a trailer for Sin as well as a music video for Gloria Estefanís ďYou Canít Walk Away From LoveĒ. Well, we get part of the video; after 105 seconds, it stops and we get an ad for Estefanís greatest hits album! Granted, itís a cheesy video anyway; it shows clips from the movie with a few shots of a lip-synching Estefan superimposed on top. Nonetheless, I thought the absence of the full video seemed tacky and obnoxious.

With Original Sin, we find a couple of high-profile actors who get nasty with each other to a degree one doesnít normally see from performers of their stature. Thatís the filmís primary appeal; otherwise it offers little that seems very compelling. The Blu-ray features inconsistent picture, decent audio and a small set of supplements. This became an unexceptional presentation for a dull movie.

To rate this film visit the original review of ORIGINAL SIN

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