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Stephen Frears
John Cusack, Jack Black, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Iben Hjejle, Todd Louiso, Lisa Bonet, Tim Robbins
Writing Credits:
Nick Hornby (book), D.V. DeVincentis, Steve Pink, John Cusack, Scott Rosenberg

A comedy about fear of commitment, hating your job, falling in love and other pop favorites.

Join John Cusack, Jack Black, and Academy Award winner Catherine Zeta-Jones in a romantic comedy sure to make your all-time top-five list - with a bullet! Experience all the laughter and the drama of High Fidelity on Blu-ray for the first time, complete with a new digital restoration. Rob Gordon's (Cusack) semi-failing record store isn't the only thing in his life that's floundering. When his longtime girlfriend walks out on him, Rob's needle skips the love groove, and he is forced to examine his past romantic failures in his own unique way.

Box Office:
$20 million.
Opening Weekend
$6.429 million on 1183 screens.
Domestic Gross
$27.277 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 114 min.
Price: $20.00
Release Date: 8/7/2012

• Interviews
• Deleted Scenes
• Trailer
• Previews


Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.


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High Fidelity [Blu-Ray] (2000)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 7, 2012)

As I’ve occasionally mentioned elsewhere, only my love for music surpasses my affection for movies. (Actually, I adore dogs above all else, but let’s just stick with the arts here.) Because of this, 2000’s High Fidelity - a film about music obsessives – should be right up my alley.

Surprisingly, I remember feeling lukewarm toward Fidelity when I saw it theatrically. Nonetheless, the subject matter retains enough appeal to get me to give it another shot 12 years later.

Rob Gordon’s (John Cusack) life revolves around music. He owns thousands of albums – mostly vinyl, of course – and runs his own not-so-successful record store. As we meet him, his girlfriend Laura (Iben Hjejle) leaves him because she doesn’t think he shows any signs of emotional development. This is just the latest in a long series of romantic flameouts, though Rob seems tremendously mature compared to his part-time employees Dick (Todd Louiso) and Barry (Jack Black). We follow Rob’s attempts to cope with this relationship change and other personal issues.

By that synopsis, you should figure out that Fidelity doesn’t deliver a narrative-heavy experience. In fact, I’m not even sure if it actually has a “plot”; it’s tremendously character-focused without any natural storyline on display beyond Rob’s exploration of himself and his relationships.

Which is fine, as it gives us a clever, insightful take on those topics. With his relentless sense of self-pity, Rob provides a surprisingly unsympathetic lead. We expect a certain genial likeability from Cusack, and some of that still comes through, but he allows himself to abandon much of his usual boy-next-door charm to become the kind of self-absorbed misanthrope necessary for the role.

Not that any of this makes it hard to relate to Rob – at least for those of us in the target audience. I hate to admit how closely I connect to the lead character, but damn if I couldn’t see a lot of myself in Rob. I even went through my own “what does it all mean/getting in touch with exes” stage back when I was in my mid-30s. The film manages to connect to this stage of life and mindset well.

It also has a lot of fun with the stereotypes of collectors. Those of us who’re into music will recognize the characters on display here, especially via the incessant one-upmanship in which some of these guys engage. Excepting myself, of course – ahem – a lot of these folks don’t have the greatest social skills, and the movie depicts their behavior in a way that’s playful but accurate.

I must admit I wish the movie spent more time at the record store, actually, as those scenes offer the most enjoyment. Rob’s efforts to sort through his past are also good, but the moments with Laura tend to drag. At nearly two hours, Fidelity is probably a bit long for this sort of film, and I think the editors could’ve shaved some of the Laura bits. These are important to the narrative, of course, but we don’t need so many of them; those segments could’ve been abbreviated without any loss of dramatic impact.

It probably doesn’t help that as played by Hjejle, Laura isn’t a very interesting character. Maybe that’s part of the point – Rob has to sort through all the more “exciting” girlfriends to find the one who’s a better match at her core – but she still doesn’t come across as someone who merits Rob’s passion.

I blame the script for this; Hjejle fleshes out the role as well as she can, but Fidelity is very much a “man’s movie”. The scenes that focus on males feel true, but when it tries to depict the opposite sex, the characters usually come across like some guy’s idea of how women think/act and not reality. This isn’t a fatal flaw, but I do think the females in the flick can be a weak link.

Ultimately, I suspect my original view of High Fidelity remains correct, as I think it’s a good film but not a classic. I can relate to it a bit better now that I’m older and find more than a little to like about it, though. It’s a flawed movie but it’s still generally solid.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus C

High Fidelity appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a perfectly positive transfer.

Overall sharpness seemed good. A few shots looked a bit tentative, but the movie appeared pretty distinctive overall. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I also didn’t notice any edge haloes or artifacts. Source flaws were absent, so we got no specks, marks or other concerns.

Character movies like aren’t known for their vivid colors, so don’t expect the hues of Fidelity to dazzle. Nonetheless, they tended to look pretty solid, as the tones showed generally nice boldness and clarity. Blacks were deep and tight, and I thought shadows appeared smooth and well-developed. This was a more than competent transfer.

As for the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Fidelity, it worked fine given the movie’s ambitions. While the soundfield didn’t boast a tremendous amount of range, it gave us a good environment for this story. A few louder scenes – such as at clubs or during storms – opened up the spectrum. Music demonstrated nice stereo delineation, while the effects in the front provided a reasonable sense of place.

Audio quality fared well. Speech was consistently natural and concise, while music seemed lively and warm. Effects came across as accurate and distinctive, and they showed decent dynamic range. At no point did this mix threaten to tax my system, but it was more than satisfactory for its scope.

The Blu-ray includes only a few extras. Conversations With Writer/Producer John Cusack goes for a total of 11 minutes, one second, as he offers notes about working with the director, music, his co-stars, and some character/story topics. Expect a few insights but this is mostly promotional fodder – though it gives us a lot of spoilers, so don’t watch it if you’ve not already seen the film.

Conversations with Director Stephen Frears fills 14 minutes, 39 seconds. Frears discusses aspects of his film career and his work here, cast and performances, shooting in Chicago, story/character areas, and music. This compilation of comments resembles the Cusack piece; again, we get some useful material but I can’t call this a great reel.

Nine Deleted Scenes occupy a total of 14 minutes, 22 seconds. Many of these prove to be surprisingly high-quality. We see more of the skate punks who shoplift, and we discover additions to other secondary characters like Marie. The deleted scenes add “name” cameos from folks like Harold Ramis and Beverly D’Angelo as well.

D’Angelo shows up in the best of the cut scenes, one in which a vengeful jilted wife tries to sell a nearly priceless record collection for $50. (A reference to this sequence still shows up in the final cut when Rob takes a call from the woman.) It’s one that will resonate with any collector, as we’d all kill for a similar scenario – and we all want to flog Rob when he turns down the offer!

The only one I dislike comes from Rob’s challenge to the viewer. This acts as a “don’t judge me until you’ve walked a mile in my shoes” piece that doesn’t work. Still, it’s interesting to see, and the collection of sequences remains good.

The disc opens with promos for Frankenweenie and Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Sneak Peeks also provides ads for Castle and other TV on DVD/BD products. We also get a trailer for Fidelity.

More than a decade after I first saw it, I still don’t like High Fidelity as much as I think I should. That said, it’s still a quality look at a certain personality type and relationships. The Blu-ray provides very good picture along with positive audio and a few useful supplements. Nothing about the Blu-ray dazzles, but it provides a quality representation of a mostly engaging film.

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