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Featuring an "all star" ensemble cast, VALENTINE'S DAY ($36) is a relatively harmless and breezy bit of romantic fluff from director Garry Marshall, which is actually ideal programming for an inevitable date night. Set on that most romantic of holidays, VALENTINE'S DAY intertwines a number of stories of new and old love in the greater Los Angeles area. Here are the various scenarios: Florist Reed Bennett (Ashton Kutcher) proposes to his girlfriend Morley (Jessica Alba), who accepts… then has a change of heart. Schoolteacher Julia Fitzpatrick (Jennifer Garner) decides to surprise her boyfriend Dr. Harrison Copeland (Patrick Dempsey) for the big day, but does not know that the rat is married. High school senior Grace (Emma Roberts) plans on losing her virginity to her boyfriend Alex (Carter Jenkins), while their friends Willy (Taylor Lautner) and Felicia (Taylor Swift) decide to do just the opposite. Adorable tyke Edison (Bryce Robinson) orders flowers for his Valentine, then goes on a small odyssey to insure the delivery, while his grandparents Edgar (Hector Elizondo) and Estelle (Shirley MacLaine) have a small marital breakdown. Professional football player Sean Jackson (Eric Dane) has sacrificed having a relationship for his career, but then makes a personal choice, that leaves his publicist Kara (Jessica Biel) and his agent Paula (Queen Latifah) to scramble. Sports reporter Kelvin Moore (Jamie Foxx) finds himself forced into a Valentine’s Day puff piece by Susan (Kathy Bates), the news producer who pulls his strings. Receptionist Liz (Anne Hathaway) and mailroom clerk Jason (Topher Grace) have a two-week-old relationship that might go bust if he finds out she moonlights as a phone sex operator. Finally, on a Los Angeles bound flight, U.S. Army captain Kate Hazeltine (Julia Roberts) is befriended by a newly single Holden Bristow (Bradley Cooper), as she makes her way home to see the one she loves.

New Line Home Entertainment has made VALENTINE'S DAY 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. While certainly not a hi-def demo disc, the 1080p presentation offers an attractive rendering of the fairly sugary imagery. Image sharpness, depth and fine detail are of the caliber one should expect from a slightly dewy-eyed romantic comedy. In other words, the picture isn’t as crisp or hyper-realistic looking as the latest big budget action blockbuster, but still quite nice. Colors are fairly warm and provide good saturated. Flesh tones are always quite appealing. The blacks are usually accurate and whites appear crisp. Contrast and shadow detail are all they need to be for this type of undemanding material. The film elements from which VALENTINE'S DAY has been mastered are free from defects. Modest grain/noise keeps the presentation organic.

VALENTINE'S DAY is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. No surprises here, VALENTINE'S DAY comes with a fairly standard romantic comedy mix. Never drawing attention to itself, the sound design utilizes the outlying channels for occasional sound effect placement, as well as spreading the music through the soundstage. Thanks to the lossless encode, the musical component gets a nice boost in fidelity, which enhances the score and songs on the soundtrack. As for the bass channel, it has little to do other than keeping the sound grounded. Like your typical romantic comedy VALENTINE'S DAY is almost always on talky side, with the dialogue being cleanly reproduced and easy to understand. 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. Starting things off is a running Audio Commentary with director Garry Marshall. Featurettes and other programs include the following: The Stars Confess Their Valentine’s Day Stories (six minutes) and The Garry Factor (five minutes). Deleted Scenes with optional introductions by Garry Marshall, a Music Video for the song Stay Here Forever by Jewel, a Blooper Reel and Bonus Trailers close out the standard extras. A DVD copy and Digital Copy of the film are also provided, with both being housed on the second disc of this set.

As I stated above, VALENTINE'S DAY is a relatively harmless and breezy bit of romantic fluff. The Blu-ray presentation, won’t win any new converts, but is just fine for those already entrenched in the world of hi-def.



Valentine's Day [Blu-ray] (2010)


DVD & Blu-ray Disc reviews are Copyright © 2010 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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