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Clever, character driven and quirky, ROCKNROLLA ($35) is the latest comic crime caper from writer/director Guy Ritchie. ROCKNROLLA is a mixture of small time hoods coming up against big time mobsters with a taste for London real estate, not to mention a smart, sexy accountant playing both ends against the middle, as well as some bottom feeding junkies with a taste for rock n roll. The plot has the expected elements of cross and double cross, but is way to complicated to explain in any detail. Short version… smalltime thieves and Wild Bunch members One Two (Gerard Butler) and Mumbles (Idris Elba) get screwed over by London crime boss Lenny Cole (Wilkinson) in a real estate deal. Cole then enters into another real estate deal with a Russian mobster named Uri Omovich (Karel Roden), who gives Cole his lucky painting as a sign of good faith. Enter the wildcards, namely a sexy accountant named Stella (Thandie Newton) and the supposedly dead, crack-addicted rock star Johnny Quid (Toby Kebbell), whose separate motivations make a whole lot of mob cash, as well as lucky painting, disappear. As one might expect, a whole lot of comic tinged violence and mayhem follow. The cast of ROCKNROLLA also features Nonso Anozie, Jamie Campbell Bower, Tom Hardy, Matt King, David Leon, Andy Linden, Ludacris, Roland Manookian, Dragan Micanovic, Jimi Mistry, Jeremy Piven, Blake Ritson and Mark Strong.

Warner Home Video has made ROCKNROLLA available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The best way to describe the1080p presentation of ROCKNROLLA is silky smooth, but slightly skewed. ROCKNROLLA appears to have been shot digitally, then had its image manipulated to pump up darker sequences and have its color palette desaturated. The end effect of stylistic choices results in ROCKNROLLA having a very clean and polished, but a decidedly cold and antiseptic, look. Considering the cold bloodedness of the majority of the characters, this is a good look for the movie. The image is very crisp and dimensional and provides very good, but not exemplary, image detail. As I stated previously, the hues have been reduced in intensity, sometimes the colors taking on a near sepia-like quality. Blacks appear accurate, as do the whites. Contrast has been pushed to give a slightly edgy quality to the picture. No surprise, the image is pristine. Grain/video noise is virtually absent from the presentation.

ROCKNROLLA is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. While there are bits of action interspersed, ROCKNROLLA is primarily a dialogue driven film. As such, there is an understated quality to much of the sound design. Sound effects are effectively placed throughout the soundstage, which helps create realistic sonic environments, as well as providing good stereo imaging across the front. Additionally, the surround channels spring to life during key moments, as well as providing the requisite ambience and musical fill throughout. Fidelity is very strong in terms of music and producing convincing sound effects. The bass channel adds weight, but never comes across as overblown. Depending upon how well one can perceive truly English accents, will determine the level of intelligibility of the dialogue. Personally, I had no trouble with the accents, but I am sure there will be those who may require an assist from subtitles. English, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel tracks are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as, as well as the extras. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Guy Ritchie and actor Mark Strong. Featurettes include Blokes, Birds And Backhanders: Inside RocknRolla (fifteen minutes) and Guy’s Town (nine minutes). A Deleted Scene and some Bonus Trailers close out the extras.  A Digital Copy of the film is also provided.

Personally, I really enjoyed ROCKNROLLA and am looking forward to the proposed sequel. The Blu-ray presentation looks very good handles the stylized imagery without incident. Recommended to those who know what to expect from this type of film.



RocknRolla (+ Digital Copy) [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 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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