||Dolby TrueHD 5.1
While some of its contrivances really slap the viewer into dismay, the
overall entertainment value of "OPEN ROAD," just released on dvd and blu-ray by
ANCHOR BAY/STARZ, is surprisingly impressive! Jeff Bridges, Justin Timberlake
and the very affable, pretty Kate Mara, star in this drama, with baseball
serving as the backdrop and glue to its two main characters. Timberlake plays
Carlton, a player in Minor League, whom upon learning his mother, Katherine(Mary
Steenburgen) is about to have major surgery due to her heart condition.
Katherine makes a request for her son to find his father and bring him to her
before she goes under the knife. Along with his good friend, Lucy, who happens
to be a former girlfriend(see, he's a likeable guy) they head off to get
Carlton's dad, Kyle Garrett, a former player for the Houston Astros, to journey
home with them.
However, when a situation at the airport prevents them from being able to fly,
the three embark on what will be a cathartic roadtrip across the mid-west,
wherein they encounter vast landscapes offering a moving perspective of America,
find out new things about one another and themselves and grow in some form
through the journey. Has this been done before? Many times! It is essentially a
"road trip" film. However, the script is well written and the cast honor it in a
way providing many moving and authentic moments. While Bridges doesn't seem
perfectly content with his accent, and this is noticeable in several scenes, his
charisma makes most of this problem a non-issue, and generally not hard to adapt
to. Mara, Timberlake and everyone else feel natural in their roles and aid
significantly in making the more dramatic moments feel honest. There are also
some genuinely funny moments within the story, making "OPEN ROAD" a journey
likely to satisfy the entire family over the holiday season.
ANCHOR BAY/STARZ has provided the correct 2.35:1 aspect ratio for the (16:9
enhanced)dvd and 1080p AVC-MPEG 4 blu-ray. Both formats have drawbacks in
quality depending on the given scene. The blu-ray has a surprising amount of
artifacts and appears overprocessed. However, there are moments when great depth
is offered, particularly when focused on the natural locations and wide vistas.
The dvd tends to appear too dark in various scenes, and more notably so than the
blu-ray in scene-to-scene comparisons. Fleshtones vary in quality on occasion in
the blu-ray, and more prominently so on dvd.
While neither format offers anything close to praiseworthy efforts for the
image, the blu-ray is superior to the dvd in virtually every scene.
A Dolby TrueHD mix is provided for blu-ray and standard Dolby Digital for dvd.
Both mixes are generally on par with oneanother. Surrounds are rarely
noticeable, with most emphasis on the center channel. Occasionally, a discrete
effect occurs off to the sides, but this is a minimalist environment throughout.
Neither mix is truly bad, just not noteworthy.
Both formats offer the same extras, a commentary with Bridges and the film's
director, and a short behind-the-scenes featurette. Both of these are really
only potentially worthwhile for huge fans of the film, as they are so casual in
their approach, both in discussion and in the tone of the short featurette, they
become underwhelming quickly.