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The Judge - Blu-ray Review

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The Judge - Movie Review

4 stars

The verdict is in. The Judge is one of the better films I have seen this year.

The unstoppable force meets the immovable object, in a Downey-fied, Duvall-laden holds-no-punches emotional slobber knocker. Downey, continuing his journey up the “mountain,” of stardom has been wrought with critically pleasing films, from Iron Man, Sherlock Holmes, and The Avengers, seems to see no end in sight. Duvall on the other hand, being the battle-hardened veteran of film he is, continues to show moviegoers why, at eighty-three years of age, is still a force to be reckoned with.

In a surprising change of scenery, director David Dobkin, responsible for such comedies as Wedding Crashers, and Shanghai Knights, delivers an emotionally charged, yet endowed with the perfect bit of comedic relief that makes this film as appealing, and satisfying, as it is.

Upon being informed of his mother’s death, incredibly suave, yet ridiculously egotistical lawyer Hank Palmer (Downey), journeys back to his hometown to say goodbye, and pay his respects. Having been vacant from his family’s lives for many years, the return home was less prodigal than he would have hoped. Palmer’s father, honorary Judge Joseph Palmer (Duvall), having been so, for over forty years, is nothing short of heroic in his small, main-street American town of Carlinville, Indiana. However, the climb up the mountain of heroism, has left his family fractured only hoping for recovery.

Upon nearly coming to blows with his relatives, Hank sets off back to his life-in-the-fast-lane routine. However, learning that the powerful, and almighty Judge, has been accused of murder, brings this big-headed narcissist back to reality. Refusing any representation from his son, the equally stubborn judge, forces his son’s hand.

As Hank, woefully attempting to assist his ailing father, ventures deeper into the fractured remains that are his family, the tension increases, and the pressure mounts. As all of the motions are denied, jurors take their seats, and courtroom fills up, the verdict is one that will never be forgotten in this fleeting Americana town.

Upon viewing the resume for director David Dobkin, moviegoers may be anxious to approach a dramatic film, created by the same man that presented you Vince Vaughan and Owen Wilson crashing weddings. At 141 however, the film does seem to scrape along certain scenes and situations, and could perhaps been edited for 120, viewers may feel that sense of hated jury-duty all over again. However, containing a plethora of outstanding performances, an emotionally driven setup, and a screenplay that is incredibly laughable, yet nearly tear-jerking, The Judge won’t disappoint.

The Judge - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: R for language including some sexual references.
Runtime:
141 mins
Director
: David Dobkin
Writer:
Nick Schenk, Bill Dubuque
Cast:
Robert Downey Jr., Robert Duvall, Vera Farmiga
Genre
: Drama
Tagline:
Defend your Honor.
Memorable Movie Quote: "My father is a lot of unpleasant things, but murderer is not one of them."
Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site: http://thejudgemovie.com/
Release Date:
October 10, 2014
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
January 27, 2015.
Synopsis: In The Judge, Downey stars as big city lawyer Hank Palmer, who returns to his childhood home where his estranged father, the town’s judge (Duvall), is suspected of murder. He sets out to discover the truth and along the way reconnects with the family he walked away from years before.

The Judge - Movie Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - January 27, 2015
Screen Formats: 2.40:1
Subtitles
: English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1; French (Canada): Dolby Digital 5.1; Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1; Portuguese: Dolby Digital 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; Digital copy; DVD copy
Region Encoding: A

This film may be a bit on the lengthy side, but there's no arguing that The Judge is a good-looking 1080p transfer from Warner Bros.  The opening scene with Robert Downey, Jr. and David Krumholtz in the mens' room, with that striking blue tile and the detail on RDJ's aging face and David Krumholtz's stubble, will let you know the type of viewing experience you're getting into.  Like the film, however, it's not perfect.  There are some darker scenes, where the black levels and detail could use a little boost.  However, those well-lit scenes and daytime shots, with blue skies, lush greens and excellent details, all more than make up for those other fleeting moments.  The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track sounds just fine.  The dialogue is definitely the main focus here -- or more specifically, Robert Downey, Jr.'s dialogue.  However, the soundtrack is strong in the surrounds and there are plenty of atmospheric sounds in the diner, at the funeral, in the courtroom, and during the storm.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Director David Dobkin sits down for a feature-length commentary that's comprehensive but cast-free.

Special Features:

As usual, Blu-ray packages carry more special features than standard DVD sets. Deleted scenes, a making-of featurette and an interview with supporting cast member Dax Shepard can be found on Blu-ray.  The latter is the most entertaining of the lot, with Shepard lightening up the mood of the film with his own cast interviews.  Nothing groundbreaking here but, for its fans, the release of The Judge delivers a decent verdict.  

  • Inside The Judge (22 min)
  • Getting Deep with Dax Shepard (10 min)
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by David Dobkin (12 min)

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