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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Out of Sight (HD DVD)
Out of Sight (HD DVD)
Universal // R // October 24, 2006 // Region 0
List Price: $29.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Daniel Hirshleifer | posted November 4, 2006 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Recommended
E - M A I L
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P R I N T
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The Movie:
Out of Sight is a funny little time capsule of a movie. When it came out, George Clooney was a star, but not a mega star. Jennifer Lopez was known as an actress, not an annoying pop singer. Steven Soderbergh was an acclaimed but hardly A-list director. And actors like Don Cheadle, Catherine Keener, and Luis Guzman were not so well known. Out of Sight changed all of that.

Out of Sight has positively affected almost everyone associated with it. First is Soderbergh himself, who had hit a creative slump in his career. His utterly brilliant 1996 film Schizopolis re-energized him creatively, but it was Out of Sight that brought him back to the masses. It was the first time he used specific color schemes for different locations, a technique he took even further with Traffic. It was also his first time working with George Clooney, spawning a partnership that not everyone agrees is a good thing. And while it didn't seem like it at the time, it was his first "big name all-star cast movie," which he would perfect with Ocean's Eleven and would take too far in Ocean's Twelve. So, for Soderbergh, it's an extremely important film that points to everything he's done since.

As for everyone else, well, you name it. Who in this movie hasn't been successful? This film launched George Clooney from pretty-faced E.R. doctor to super stardom, gave Jennifer Lopez the clout to start her singing career, and gave a lot more work to the character actors who littered the film. As a springboard for careers, the film's power is undeniable.

But how does it hold up? Not as well as I would have liked, I have to admit. Watching the movie to review the HD DVD is the first time I've seen it since its original theatrical run, and it seemed a lot more fresh then. Perhaps it's that Ocean's Eleven really did seem like a faster, funnier remake of this film, or maybe it's the looming specter of the far superior Jackie Brown looking over its shoulder, but for some reason, Out of Sight no longer has the zing and the sizzle that made it such a huge hit back in 1998.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's a solid movie. No doubt about that. There's a reason this movie did so well and did so much for everyone who worked on it: It's a good, solid movie. But it's not a great movie. Does it have great parts? Sure. Almost anytime Albert Brooks is on screen, for example, or the face-off between Cheadle, Clooney, and Ving Rhames in the boxing club in Detroit. And it has two awesome cameos from Michael Keaton and Samuel L. Jackson. So this is still a movie worth watching. It's just not what it once was. But still, it's fun to look back and wonder, had this movie not been made, where would Soderbergh, Clooney, and Lopez be right now?

The HD DVD:

The Image:
Oh hell yeah! This is HD done right. This movie looks utterly fantastic. Right from the first shot, this transfer screams "High Definition," with tons of detail and perfect color reproduction. All the work Soderbergh did to tint and color code each location is brought to life in this transfer. And it handles each location just as it should. Miami is bright and bursting with color. Detroit is drab, and full of blues and greys. I've never seen Out of Sight look this good, and that includes in the movie theater. This is one of the best HD transfers I've seen yet.

The Audio:
While the 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus audio mix doesn't hit the spectacular highs of the video, it more than holds its own. Surrounds are used mostly for the music, although during the prison break and final caper it does get its share of gunshots. Overall, the mix does its job without being flashy, and I can't complain about that.

The Supplements:
Out of Sight isn't full to the brim with extra features, but what we do get are all pretty good.

Soderbergh and screenwriter Scott Frank start things off with a good, old-fashioned commentary. Soderbergh is always fun to listen to, and even though this commentary isn't the brilliantly absurdist "Soderbergh Interviews Soderbergh"-style commentary from Schizopolis, it's still got a lot of solid moments to it. Soderbergh has a very dry humor that permeates the proceedings, while Frank is more informative than funny. It's not the best commentary I've ever heard, but it's far from boring.

Then comes the making-of documentary, this on entitled "Inside Out of Sight." I was pleasantly surprised by this one, as it managed to balance humor with information. In fact, a lot of it is very funny, as Don Cheadle and Steve Zahn call Soderbergh a drunk who was only good for half an hour of shooting a day, and Clooney only talks about his co-stars' worth as it pertains to their basketball skills. But then we get serious interviews with author Elmore Leonard, on whose novel the film is based, and Albert Brooks, as well as Soderbergh himself and others. If only more behind-the-scenes featurettes could be as entertaining as this one.

Also included are several deleted scenes. Some are extended scenes, such as the sequence with Clooney and Lopez in the trunk of her car, while others are genuinely deleted, such as the section where Steve Zahn calls up Don Cheadle to get him involved in the heist he has planned.

The Conclusion:
While it's not as fresh as it once was, Out of Sight is still an entertaining diversion. The film still has plenty of excellent performances and the chemistry between Clooney and Lopez is undeniable. Plus, it's fun to look back on it and for a few hours forget Ocean's Twelve and the fact that Jennifer Lopez is known as J-Lo. Recommended.

Daniel Hirshleifer is the High Definition Editor for DVD Talk.

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