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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Dominic Sena
Cast:
Kate Beckinsale, Gabriel Macht, Tom Skerritt, Columbus Short, Alex O'Loughlin, Shawn Doyle, Joel S. Keller
Writing Credits:
Jon Hoeber, Erich Hoeber, Chad Hayes, Carey Hayes, Greg Rucka (graphic novel), Steve Lieber (graphic novel)

Tagline:
See Your Last Breath.

Synopsis:
Kate Beckinsale stars in this white-hot thriller as a U.S. marshal investigating Antarctica's first murder. But as one victim turns into many and daylight grows shorter, the woman must race against the clock and Mother Nature to discover the identity of the killer. Whiteout is based on the graphic novel by Greg Rucka.

Box Office:
Budget
$40 million.
Opening Weekend
$4.915 million on 2745 screens.
Domestic Gross
$10.268 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $28.98
Release Date: 1/19/2010

Bonus:
• Additional Scenes
• Previews
• Digital Copy


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.


Whiteout (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 12, 2010)

Back in 2001, it looked like Kate Beckinsale would become an “A”-list actress in the Sandra Bullock vein. She did action like Pearl Harbor and romantic comedy like Serendipity.

And after that? Beckinsale maintains a decent career, but she’s far from “A”-list status, and despite appearances in big projects like Scorsese’s Aviator, the “B”-list remains a stretch for her. That’s why Bullock still headlines major movies and Beckinsale ends up in “C”-list box office flops such as Whiteout.

Apparently based on a graphic novel, Whiteout takes us to Antarctica. A prologue opens in 1957. Under suspicious circumstances, a Soviet aircraft crashes in the frozen climate.

From there we come to the present day and meet US Marshal Carrie Stetko (Beckinsale). She transferred to the Antarctic gig after a bad experience back home in Florida; she wanted the low-stress job to mentally recover.

Finally ready to head back to the US, Stetko gets stuck in Antarctica when the continent’s first-ever murder takes place. Someone discovers a frozen corpse out in a remote area, and Stetko conducts the investigation. This leads her down a dark path as she attempts to solve the crime and stay alive – all while the viewers also waits to find out what that Soviet plane has to do with any of this.

I’ll say this for Whiteout: it gets some credit for its unique setting. No, it’s not the first thriller to take place in a cold climate, but it takes the most severe weather in the world and uses that side of things as part of the story. The frigid environment added a layer of threat absent from most movies of this sort.

After that, matters become much less interesting. Despite the unusual setting, Whiteout follows a wholly predictable course. Viewers should easily be able to predict various story points and character “turns”. We can tell in advance who will be good or bad, and the plot elements lack any sense of surprise or intelligence. The movie follows a “by the numbers” approach to its material that makes it rather tedious much of the time.

Eventually we don’t even much care about the Soviet plane’s secrets. These act as the flick’s MacGuffin, and I suppose they do their job, as they manage to motivate the plot. If the action that surrounded the MacGuffin worked better, I’d be happy, but everything here seems so rote and perfunctory.

None of the actors manage to elevate the material either. Beckinsale seems vaguely irritated throughout the movie, like she’s not sure how she ended up in such a mediocre crime drama. She uses an awkward American accent and never appears to invest in her character; while she hits the logical notes, none of them come together to make her performance convincing or compelling.

And that goes for the rest of Whiteout as well. I’ve certainly seen crummier thrillers, but I can’t think of many that are quite so dull. We find precious little inspiration or excitement in this turgid crime drama.


The DVD Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus D

Whiteout appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. The film delivered a perfectly satisfying transfer.

Sharpness always worked well. Even wide shots provided nice clarity, so the whole package offered a good sense of clarity and definition. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement failed to appear. Some light artifacting and mosquito noise appeared, but source flaws otherwise failed to distract.

Given the frozen setting, I expected Whiteout to provide a limited palette. I expected correctly, as the movie stayed with cold tones most of the time. Florida flashbacks gave us a more vibrant setting, but the vast majority of the flick remained chilly and largely monochromatic. When more dynamic hues occurred, they were perfectly fine; the never quite excelled, but they seemed good.

Blacks were pretty positive. They demonstrated nice depth and density, and shadows followed suit. A few low-light shots came across as a little dark, but they usually provided nice clarity. Overall, I found this to be a solid presentation.

In addition, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of Whiteout worked well. The soundfield kicked into gear mostly due to weather sequences. Those used the spectrum well, as snow and winds filled the environment in a compelling manner. Planes and a few action scenes also added decent punch, but the weather elements remained the focal point. All of these created a good sense of the frozen setting.

Audio quality was fine. Some of the looped lines didn’t mesh terribly well, but speech still seemed concise and distinctive. Music was full and rich, while effects demonstrated good accuracy. Those elements were always clear and dynamic. Though not the most dazzling soundtrack, I thought the mix filled out the film in a positive way.

Two Deleted Scenes fill a total of four minutes, 13 seconds. The first shows a scientist who complains to Carrie because someone stole his pot, while the second expands on her investigation. Neither adds anything significant or interesting, though I guess the former shows us the monotony of Carrie’s job.

A few ads launch the disc. We get promos for The Box, Ninja Assassin, Halo Legends, Blu-ray Disc and The Book of Eli.

Despite an intriguing setting, Whiteout lacks much inspiration. It provides a simple, forgettable thriller that fails to develop into anything memorable or exciting. The DVD offers very good picture and audio but it lacks substantial supplements. I’d skip this tiresome “adventure”.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 6
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