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THE BUCKET LIST ($36) is a wonderful, life affirming comedy/drama featuring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman- two of the screen’s best actors of their (or any other) generation. In case you didn’t know, THE BUCKET LIST is the story of two men who are going to die. Sure, we’re all going to die, but THE BUCKET LIST tells the story of two men who meet after they are both diagnosed with terminal cancer, and they decide to take the road trip of a lifetime together; doing all the things they’ve always wanted to do- that is, before they kick the bucket.

When you really thinks about it, the premise of THE BUCKET LIST really doesn’t sound all that appealing, especially when one considers that most folks spend their entire lives trying not to think about their own mortality. However, THE BUCKET LIST doesn’t dwell on death, even if it is an ever present factor; instead, the movie generates laughter as our two heroes live life to the fullest, crossing items off their ultimate "to do" list, before their time runs out.

THE BUCKET LIST is an actor’s movie- both Nicholson and Freeman turn in terrific performances, and fortunately for the audience, they get the lion’s share of screen time. Rob Reiner’s direction is understated, but he keeps thing moving, thus preventing THE BUCKET LIST from becoming overly sentimental, and diminishing Nicholson and Freeman performances. The cast of THE BUCKET LIST also features Sean Hayes, Beverly Todd, Rob Morrow, Alfonso Freeman and Rowena King.

Warner Home Video has made THE BUCKET LIST available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentation is excellent- there are moments that are truly stunning to look at and the hi-def transfer really shines. Sure, there are times when the film’s cinematography doesn’t impress on a visual level- namely, the hospital sequences. However, even the lesser moments look great. Image sharpness and detail is generally excellent, down to the fine details, such as individual hairs and flaw’s in the actors’ skin. Colors can pop and they do- flawlessly. Flesh tones are generally appealing, that is, when the character’s health allows. Blacks, whites, contrast and shadow detail all surprisingly good for a character-based comedy/drama. The elements from which THE BUCKET LIST has been mastered appear virtually flawless. Grain and/or video noise remain on the mild side.

THE BUCKET LIST is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital 640kbps soundtrack. Since THE BUCKET LIST is primarily a talky comedy/drama, the sound design isn't particularly aggressive. That being said, I can understand why the powers that be at Warner decided that a lossless codec wasn’t necessary. There are moments when the outlying channels do see some action- and the sound effects do zoom to life, but the 640kbps soundtrack does hold up well enough even then. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the dialogue maintains complete intelligibility. French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French and Spanish subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few extras. When watching the film, one has the option of a Trivia Track with pop up info. Next are Interviews- Director Rob Reiner is on hand to separately interview leading men Jack Nicholson (twenty two minutes) and Morgan Freeman (seventeen minutes). A five-minute featurette, Writing The Bucket List is also provided, as is a Music Video for the John Mayer song Say, plus a Making The Music Video featurette.

Despite the unpleasant subject matter, THE BUCKET LIST life affirming comedy/drama with terrific performances from Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. The Blu-ray release looks amazing and sound fine. Highly recommended.



The Bucket List [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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