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SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Alex Proyas
Cast:
Nicolas Cage, Chandler Canterbury, Rose Byrne, Lara Robinson, D.G. Maloney, Nadia Townsend, Alan Hopgood, Adrienne Pickering
Writing Credits:
Ryne Douglas Pearson (and story), Juliet Snowden, Stiles White

Tagline:
Knowing is Everything ...

Synopsis:
A college professor (Nicolas Cage) opens a time capsule that has been dug up at his son's elementary school. In it are some chilling accurate predictions of disasters ... when, where, and how many will die. Most of these events must uncover the details of the next disasters in hopes of preventing them. If he fails, who knows how many will die?

Box Office:
Budget
$50 million.
Opening Weekend
$24.604 million on 3332 screens.
Domestic Gross
$79.911 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish br>Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish

Runtime: 121 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 7/7/2009

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary With Director Alex Proyas
• “Knowing All: The Making of a Futuristic Thriller” Featurette
• “Visions of the Apocalypse” Featurette
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
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.

RELATED REVIEWS


Knowing [Blu-Ray] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 7, 2009)

With predictions of the end of the world right around the corner, the time seems right for films about apocalyptic visions. In that vein comes 2009’s Knowing. The film starts in 1959, as we see an elementary school class produce drawings for a time capsule. Spooky young Lucinda Embry (Lara Robinson) creates an odd numerical code instead, but it still ends up buried for future kids to see.

From there we leap to 2009 to meet MIT professor John Koestler, a single father who struggles to get over the death of his wife. His son Caleb (Chandler Canterbury) attends the school that buried the time capsule, and both are in attendance when they retrieve it. All the kids get to open the old documents, and Caleb ends up with Lucinda’s.

Caleb brings Lucinda’s scribbling home with him, and John takes a look at her work. As he processes the numbers, he realizes that they offered predictions of massive tragedies such as 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina. He realizes that all but three have already come true, and one of them literally predicts the end of the world. John works to make sense of the prophecies and halt them.

Like many movies, Knowing offers a compelling idea coupled with erratic execution. During its first act – heck, maybe even through its opening hour – the film works quite well. Flicks about creepy psychic visions are nothing new, but the story takes an unusual spin and offers an eerie connection with real-world events.

Unfortunately, Knowing goes off on a few too many unneeded tangents. We get a small subplot about faith and whatnot that seems forced. Rather than just embrace the basic slam-bang action side of things, the movie boasts pretensions that just don’t work. We could live without the religious allusions and attempts at deeper meaning; they have a time and place, but this film doesn’t make them fit.

Conversely, Knowing falters somewhat when it depicts disasters. For instance, during a plane crash scene, we see burning victims flail as they near death. This seems unnecessarily horrible and actively takes us out of the story. We don’t need to see people on fire to appreciate the horrors of a plane crash.

This means Knowing occasionally feels like “disaster porn”. I fully understand why some war movies choose to show graphic violence; they want to demonstrate the horrors of those circumstances and get away from the sanitized version of war that we’ve so often seen in the past.

But what purpose does similar mayhem serve in a flick like this? Nothing more than basic titillation, really, and that creates a distraction. Rather than involve us in the action, the film takes us off-course due to the unsettling nature of the material.

Which is too bad, as Knowing still has a lot going for it. I like the way the plot unfolds – for the first hour, at least – as it keeps us guessing with where the prophecies will lead. That side of things peters out somewhat during the film’s second half, but we still find enough compelling story material to make sure that we stick with the flick.

All of which leaves Knowing as an erratic but often interesting film. It possesses too many flaws to be a real winner, but the basic plot and parts of its execution are enough to keep us involved. While not a classic, Knowing has some punch for fans of apocalyptic thrillers.


The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio A-/ Bonus B-

Knowing appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Expect a top-notch transfer here.

At all times, sharpness remained excellent. Not a smidgen of softness reared its ugly head through this tight, precise presentation. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering appeared, and edge enhancement was absent. The movie also lacked any source flaws.

In terms of palette, Knowing tended to go with the chilly side of natural. Colors usually appeared reasonably accurate, though they were a little desaturated. Within the movie’s stylistic confines, the tones looked quite good. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows showed fairly solid delineation. A few shots seemed slightly dense, but overall, those elements displayed nice definition. This was a consistently excellent image.

Knowing also gave us a fine DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack. While pretty subdued most of the time, the mix of disaster sequences added real impact. Various crashes and explosions kicked into high gear and offered demo-quality material. The different elements filled out the room well and created accurate, powerful audio. Music also showed good stereo imaging, and during quieter moments, the movie still showed nice breadth.

Audio quality was always strong. Speech sounded concise and distinctive, without edginess or other issues. Music seemed lively and dynamic, and effects offered similar qualities. Those elements were powerful and dynamic; bass response was terrific and packed a strong punch. Even without a consistently high level of auditory involvement, this track had enough strengths to deserve an “A-“.

As we head to the disc’s extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Alex Proyas. Accompanied by a facilitator identified only as “Mark”, Proyas offers a running, screen-specific look at story and characters, themes, tone and interpretation, cast and performances, stunts and effects, production design, and a few other areas.

If you want a lot of nuts and bolts filmmaking details, you’ll probably not be particularly happy with this track. However, if you want an introspective, thoughtful take on the movie, the commentary works well. Proyas’ insights add a lot to our understanding of the tale and its various elements. We do get some movie-making basics as well, so Proyas doesn’t totally ignore that side of things. He makes this an engaging and enjoyable chat.

Next we find two featurettes. Knowing All: The Making of a Futuristic Thriller goes for 12 minutes, 35 seconds as it includes notes from Proyas, producer Jason Blumenthal, executive producers Stephen Jones and Topher Dow, hair and makeup designer Lesley Vanderwalt, production designer Steven Jones-Evans, senior visual effects producer Camille Cellucci, visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson, and actors Rose Byrne, Chandler Canterbury, and Lara Robinson. “Futuristic” looks at the script and story, Proyas’ approach to the material, cast and performances, stunts and various effects, shooting in Australia, and the movie’s themes.

While not a terrific piece, “Futuristic” at least surpasses the standard promotional program. We learn a reasonable amount about the flick’s creation and the show moves at a good clip. Nothing here really excels, but the piece fares well most of the time.

Visions of the Apocalypse runs 17 minutes, 15 seconds and features Arguing the Apocalypse author Stephen O’Leary, clinical psychologist Selina Matthews, Cal State Northridge professor of anthropology Sabina Magliocco, Loyola Marymount assistant professor of theological studies David A. Sanchez, UCLA Center for the Study of Religion’s Jean Rosenfeld, Chapman University Associate Professor of Sociology Paul Apodaca, USC Department of Physics and Astronomy professor/chair Werner Dappen, and UCLA Professor of Physics and Astronomy Mark R. Morris. “Visions” looks at various cultural thoughts about the end of the world as well as some of the science in Knowing. “Visions” creates a superficial overview, of course, but it proves to be both informative and entertaining as it fleshes out our understanding of apocalyptic concepts.

A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Push, Astro Boy, and The Brothers Bloom. No trailer for Knowing appears here.

Knowing takes a compelling plot and delivers decent entertainment. It falters more than a few times – especially when it goes over the top in terms of violence – but it offers enough intrigue to keep us involved across its two hours. The Blu-ray offers excellent picture quality as well as often terrific audio and a fairly good collection of extras. I can’t say that Knowing ever becomes a true winner, but it gives us enough kick to earn my moderate recommendation.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.574 Stars Number of Votes: 54
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