IAR Blu-ray Preview: 'The Judge'

Monday, 26 January 2015 11:53 Written by  iamrogue
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IAR Blu-ray Preview: 'The Judge'

With The Judge hitting Blu-ray this week, your living room – or your phone, iPad, or computer – can be the setting of last year's most tense, most emotional courtroom battle.

This movie, a combination of nimble legal thriller and earnest familial drama, stars international icon Robert Downey Jr. (Avengers: Age of Ultron) and the legendary Robert Duvall (The Godfather) in a supporting performance that earned him an Academy Award nomination.

Taking a break from his blockbuster gig as Tony Stark, Downey Jr. plays Hank Palmer, a slick big city lawyer who returns home to his small town when his estranged father is accused of murder. 

In The Judge, Hank's father is, in fact, a notoriously upright local judge.  After decades of issuing stern justice without compromise, the judge may very well have run down a criminal with his car.  While grappling with their loaded relationship, Hank volunteers to defend his father from a zealous prosecutor, setting the stage for high-stakes legal maneuvering and emotional catharsis.  Amidst all this, Hank also attempts to come to grips with his fractured family, his high school sweetheart, and his own crumbling marriage.

"Well you can say it is a courtroom drama or a father/son story and this and that. To me the audience is the cast member in the judge," Downey Jr. commented in IAR's interview promoting the film's release last year. "And that is the transcendent thing when people were reading the script or when Warner called us and said, 'We think this is really special. We want to make it.' As we have been having these screenings, people are saying, 'I know it is called The Judge, but that is my mom.'"

It's a two-hander between Downey Jr. and Duvall, the Oscar-winner playing Judge Joseph Palmer.  As if that's not enough, The Judge boasts a mind-boggling supporting cast that includes Verga Farmiga (Bates Motel), Vincent D'Onofrio (the upcoming Daredevil Netflix series), Billy Bob Thornton (FX's Fargo series), Leighton Meester (That's My Boy), David Krumholtz (Serenity), Dax Shepard (This Is Where I Leave You), and Balthazar Getty (Judge Dredd).

Director David Dobkin (Wedding Crashers) and two-time Academy Award-winning cinematographer Janusz Kaminski (Lincoln) create a lush visual landscape, one in which their handsome 2.40:1 frame is filled with gorgeous light, whether the scene take place on the brightest day or in the courtroom where sunlight cuts through the dim courtroom.  Blu-ray is obviously the very best way to see The Judge, bringing Dobkin and Kaminski's immaculate visuals to your eyes thanks to a high-definition 1080p presentation.

As for the score by twelve-time Oscar nominee Thomas Newman, as well as the dialogue spoken by The Judge's world class cast, they're given their due thanks to a 5.1 DTS-HD MA sound mix that will make you feel like you're actually in the crowd at the court watching the scenes play out live.

The two-disc Blu-ray set is accompanied by a DVD copy as well as an UltraViolet HD digital copy allowing you to download and instantly stream the standard definition theatrical version of the film to a wide variety of devices including computers,  tablets, smartphones, game consoles, Internet-connected TVs, and, of course, Blu-ray players.

Blu-ray is the only way to experience the full compliment of supplemental features delving into the making of The Judge

Dobkin himself provides an entertaining and informative feature-length commentary track, and he also appears in "Inside The Judge," an almost 30-minute behind the scenes look that eschews the typical talking head format in favor of a roundtable discussion that showcases the cast, director, and producer Susan Downey.

There are also nearly 20 minutes of deleted and extended scenes, all of which can also be viewed with commentary from Dobkin, who explains why each didn't make the final cut.

Finally, there's "Getting Deep with Dax Shepherd," a ten-minute featurette following the actor on set as he conducts silly interviews between takes.

Experience all those extra features when The Judge hits Blu-ray this Tuesday, January 26th.

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