has an average rating of 6.1 on IMDb
1080p in AVC MPEG-4 on a 50gb disc
Dolby TrueHD 5.1
include BD-Live, commentary and featurettes
– 108 minutes
Overall Verdict – Great Disc/Decent Flick
— Review written by: Brendan Surpless —
The Movie Itself is directed by Jon Avnet (known for “Fried Green Tomatoes“). Jack Gramm (Al Pacino) is at the top of his game in the forensic psychology field. He has just testified against serial killer Jon Forster (Neal McDonough) resulting in his death sentence penalty. Jack seems to have the respect of those around him simply for his legendary work in the field but everything and seemingly everyone around him becomes a suspect when Jack receives a phone call. The person informs Jack that he simply has 88 Minutes to live. Now Jack must figure out who is doing this and most importantly why. What results is a film that is interesting enough but I think director Avnet sums it up best in one of the features where he labels the movie as “simple”.
What works in “88 Minutes” is that the first half of the movie is extremely good almost to the point where one would think this is classic Pacino. Pacino plays a character we’ve seen before but perhaps its the dreary Washington setting that helps to bring this one to a different feel. As Gramm tries to figure out exactly what’s going on, the first initial phone calls do bring home a sense of terror and genuine fear in the eyes, voice and emotions or Gramm. It’s just that once Gramm leaves the campus he works at and decides to go to ‘X’ and ‘Y’ place that movie starts to fall apart. Why on earth would you go to the house of the woman you were with last night that has gone missing? I would be as far away as humanly possible. Instead Gramm walks right into the trap of the killer. It’s items like this that truly hurt the overall quality of the movie.
On the acting side I will say that Pacino does bring home another great performance despite the aforementioned stupid character moves that were written for him. The other actors (in particular William Forsythe and Neal McDonough) do a serviceable job but I felt the worst acting (especially in certain parts of the film) comes from Leelee Sobieski. With little to no emotion or real ‘character’ in her performance we’re never, ever convinced of her performance. And this is kind of a shame as I enjoyed her in “The Glass House” and especially in “Joyride“.
While “88 Minutes” isn’t necessarily a bad film I was easily admit that I expected quite a bit more especially when you consider that Pacino is quite the excellent actor. Sure the plot sounded typical and well “simple”, but usually Pacino is able to bring even the most basic of plots (“Two for the Game” to something of a more quality product. Yes I do recommend “88 Minutes” as a decent way to spend 2 hours but only throw this movie in if there’s nothing else to watch. Otherwise you’ve seen this before folks.
Video Quality on this release is 1080p in AVC MPEG-4 using a BD-50 (50 gigabyte Blu-ray Disc). At first glance “88 Minutes” has a very dark, gritty feel to it. The opening 6 minutes (basically setting up the story) contain numerous black sequences most of which hold up well. Blacks in particular seemed to be the strongest aspect whether it be these aforementioned scenes or the black suit of our lead character Jack Gramm. The rest of the color palette, mostly consisting of blues and grays, seemed a bit muted or somewhat toned down. Now this could be because of the dreary weather throughout the film or perhaps a stylistic choice by Denis Lenoir (Director of Photography). Grain is pretty much absent except during the flashbacks where Jack is remembering his kid sister. There is evidence of “3-D pop” (check out the scene where his Porsche blows up. Looks like that was shot on a handheld. Talk about nice)!.
All in all this is a solid transfer that easily earns its “4 Star Rating“.
Audio Quality on this release is in Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround. Dialogue was rendered fine. Even though some may think that Pacino tends to speak on the softer side (with the occasional yelling) I will say that I had no volume issues with the film resting on a comfortable 55/100 on my 605. Dynamics are great. This isn’t the most dynamite constant explosion rear heavy soundtrack but when the effects come in, they arrive in a manner that is truly convincing. Perhaps the best aspect of this track was Edward Shearmur’s score. Yes the sudden rises he used are typical of a thriller but I just felt they added a solid soundstage to the film.
Now this was a great audio track that perfectly captured all the little elements of this thriller. An excellent “4.5 Star Rating“. Really top notch material here.
Bonus Material are presented in Standard Definition video with Dolby Digital 2.0 Audio.
- Alternate Ending: Here we get an Alternate Ending that runs 10min10sec. The Alternate Ending is literally an Alternate Scene as the first 6 minutes are identical to the final product. The only difference is we see Jack speaking to his class about the serial killer.
- “Director’s Point of View: Here, in 7min46sec, director Jon Avnet speaks on working with Al Pacino and making the film.
- “The Character Within”: Here, in 7min48sec, Al Pacino sits and discusses how he built Jack Gramm and how he felt working with Avnet.
- Audio Commentary with director Jon Avnet: Here Avnet sits down and provides a rather interesting commentary. He has the type of voice that comes off as never pompous but always someone who shows that his full heart in his what he does. Granted he does mention that this particular film was overly “simple” in terms of plot (how many directors admit that about their films?), but the commentary is still engaging and worth a listen.
- Previews: Here we get previews for a few upcoming and current Blu-ray releases in “Prom Night“, “Made of Honor“, “21“, “Felon“, “Vantage Point“, “Untraceable“, “Resident Evil: Degeneration” and “Starship Troopers 3”
- BD-Live is included on this release which allows those of you with “Profile 2.0″ Blu-ray Disc Players to access online content such as downloadable trailers in HD (Hi-Def) and SD (Standard Def) as well. This feature has yet to be enabled, it will be enabled on street date according to my press release (in hand).
the presented features are okay. The Alternate Ending is pretty much an Alternate Scene as everything is the same until the final 4 minutes. The featurettes are short and to the point while Avnet provides an interesting commentary.
Blu-ray Disc packaging: