09/26/2016  
Take Me To The River on Blu-ray & DVD Feb 5Phantom From 10,000 Leagues (1956) on Blu-ray & DVD Jan 5Condemned on DVD & Blu-ray Jan 5Broad City: Season 2 on DVD Jan 5McHale's Navy: The Complete Series on DVD No 17Return to Sender on Blu-ray & DVD Sep 29The Phantom of the Opera with Lon Chaney Blu-ray & DVD Oct 13

follow us on twitter

dOc on facebook

NE News Editor

Jennifer Esposito Is Your Newest NCIS Agent in Season 1...
Critics Are Split on Ghostbusters Reboot ...
'Respect is key': The Game, Snoop Dogg lead march to LA...
Kristen Stewart's Sheer Dress At 'Equals' Premiere -- S...
"A Slow Slipping Away"-- Kris Kristofferson's Long-Undi...
Fox News' Roger Ailes Sued for Sexual Harassment by Ous...
Garrison Keillor Retires from 'Prairie Home Companion' ...
Jennifer Aniston is Pregnant: Star Steps Out in Loose D...
Hiddleswift Is One Big Song Promotion -- A Theory...
Elvis Presley's daughter Lisa Marie Presley files for ...





Microsoft Store

Share: email   Print      Technorati.gif   StumbleUpon.gif   MySpace   digg.gif delicious.gif   google.gif   magnolia.gif   facebook.gif
Permalink: Permalink.gif



Buy from Amazon

Buy from Amazon.com

Genius Products presents
Harsh Times (2005)

"I'm a soldier of the apocalypse, man!"
- Jim Davis (Christian Bale)

Review By: Chuck Aliaga   
Published: March 12, 2007

Stars: Christian Bale, Freddy Rodriguez
Other Stars: Eva Longoria, Terry Crews, Noel Guglielmi
Director: David Ayer

MPAA Rating: R for (strong violence, language and drug use)
Run Time: 01h:56m:09s
Release Date: March 13, 2007
UPC: 796019799553
Genre: drama


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
A- BA-A C+

DVD Review

Arguably the most talented actor working today, Christian Bale has recently boosted his appeal thanks to some high-profile roles. His turn in The Prestige was phenomenal and he simply is Batman now thanks to the winning reinvention, Batman Begins. Thankfully, it isn't like Bale to rest on his laurels and simply wait for the high-profile blockbusters to fall in his lap. Instead, he shows up in smaller projects like 2005's Harsh Times. This shelved product from Training Day writer/producer David Ayer hit a handful of theaters late in 2006, but is sure to appeal to Bale's growing fan base now that it's available on DVD.

Jim Davis (Bale) has just been rejected by the LAPD, who promised him a position following a tour of duty in the Middle East. The rejection leads Jim on a streak of violence and self-destruction, and, along with his buddy Mike (Freddy Rodriguez), the booze starts to flow, guns are fired, and illegal drugs consumed. While not a saint himself, Mike becomes caught in the middle of Jim's tirades, jeopardizing his already rocky relationship with Sylvia (Eva Longoria). What sounds like a typical day for your average delusional psychotic turns into a hellish downward spiral. The only question is whether Jim takes Mike all the way down with him.

This is Bale like you've never seen him before, and he's always been a rather chameleonic performer. His hardcore, lewd-language-filled tirades and rampant violent outbursts had me thinking the story was going to take a drastic turn and eventually reveal his character to be an undercover cop. Instead, Jim Davis turns out to be just an extremely messed up war veteran. In what could have been a clownish, pedestrian mockery of such a character turns into a tour-de-force by the always impressive Bale. It's so great to see such a big star tackle a role in a small, barely distributed film.

Unfortunately, Jim Davis goes a little too crazy for the movie's good as things progress. The character teeters between edgy and over-the-top during the entire film, but leans more towards the latter down the stretch. However, these shortcomings are easily forgotten, thanks to a shocking ending that features one of the most breathtaking slow-motion sequences since The Matrix. In pulling this dazzling effect off, Ayer actually makes it easier to forgive the unnecessary, distracting flashback cuts that take us back to Jim's military experiences. These have worked in the past for other pictures, but they're just not elaborate enough, generating confusion. If we're supposed to believe that Jim has been scarred by being in the field, such visuals need to be either fleshed out or completely left to our imagination.

Many character studies involving psychologically damaged military veterans carry at least a glimmer of hope. It's this story's complete lack of such that makes it such a tough sell, and an even tougher chore to mentally revisit following the end credits. Yet despite the tough nature of the proceedings, Ayer paces things brilliantly, making it difficult to push the pause button even once. There's a simple opening title sequence, and then we jump right into Jim's crazed mind. There's no letting up for pointless exposition, as gritty and hard-nosed are the order of the day. He's got plenty of room left for improvement, but as far as directorial debuts go, Ayer is off to a good start.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: B

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: This 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen presentation stays true to Ayer's visual intentions. Image detail is crisp, but some softness and grain do creep in. However, those aspects are simply style choices for this unique visual experience. The flashback sequences feature bright flashes of light, but the overall color scheme remains natural and well-done, despite these bursts. Fortunately, there don't appear to be any unintentional blemishes in the transfer.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Spanishyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is extremely impressive, making wonderful use of the surrounds and directional effects. Bass presence is phenomenal, adding a tight, aggressive punch to the action sequences and rap-music-heavy soundtrack. Despite the often loud activity, the dialogue never suffers, remaining clear throughout.

Audio Transfer Grade: A

 

Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
1 Original Trailer(s)
2 Other Trailer(s) featuring Black Christmas, School For Scoundrels
9 TV Spots/Teasers
7 Deleted Scenes
1 Feature/Episode commentary by Writer/producer/director David Ayer
Packaging: Keep Case
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: The extras begin with an audio commentary by writer/producer/director David Ayer. He's generally pleasing to listen to, and we get numerous anecdotes about the shoot along with technical tidbits.

Along for the ride are seven deleted scenes that run for nearly 13 minutes, though they aren't major omissions from the finished film. They basically provide extended looks at some sequences, with footage that was trimmed to tighten the pacing a bit.

We also get the film's original theatrical trailer, as well as nine TV spots, four of which are in Spanish.

Extras Grade: C+

 

Final Comments

Barely released and virtually unknown, Harsh Times is a worthwhile rental, if only for Christian Bale's performance. While far from a perfect film, David Ayer shows promise as a first-time director, crafting a down and dirty mood. The DVD features excellent audio and video, as well as an Ayer commentary track and deleted scenes.

 


Back to top

Search 10,000+ titles:

or Advanced Search

DVD REVIEW ARCHIVE


Get FREE Shipping on all orders at TimeLife.com! - 120x90

 



Microsoft Store

Keywords

television, jennifer esposito, blue bloods, ncis, mark harmon. duane henry, wilmer valderrama, michael weatherly, bull, movie, ghostbusters, comedy, chris helmsworth, melissa mcarthy, kristen wiig, celebrity, rap, game, shoop dogg, jayceon terrell taylor, alton sterling, kristen stewart, equals, jonathan simkhal, nicholas hoult, music, kris kristofferson, country music hall of fame, alzheimers, lyme disease, fox news, gretchen carlson, fox and friends, steve doocy, roger ailes, the real story with gretchen carlson, radio, garrison keillor, a prairie home companion, jennifer anniston, baby bump, justin theroux, taylor swift, tom hiddleston, calvin harris, lisa marie presley, michael lockwood, riley and benjamin keough, danny keough, michael jackson, nicolas cage, tom affleck, boston fan, bill simmons, hbo show, any given wednesday, tom brady, deflategate, hamilton, lin-manuel mianda, periscope, heart tweet machine, hamilton mixtape, cable, hbo, curb your enthusiasm, larry david, bernie sanders, saturday night live, maya and marty, christina grimmie, murdered, plaza live, before you exit, marcus grimmie, nashville, cmt, president brian phillips, the tonight show, jimmy fallon, president obama, the roots, hillary clinton, tim mcgraw, faith hill, maggie mcgraw, humble and kind, ellen degeneres show, titi pierce, coldwell banker robbins & free realty, hairspray live!, tracy turnblad, york theatre company, john waters, jennifer hudson, harvey fierstein, martin short, derek hough, j.k. rowling, harry potter and the cursed child, noma dumezweni, emma watson, judd apatow, paul freig, melissa mccarthy, romance, history channel, roots, remake, anika noni rose, t.i., malachi kirby, josh duhamel, transformers, fergie, black eyed peas, axl, double dutchess, abc, music city, grand ole opry, chip esten, lennon stella, the voice, alisan porterm, christina aguilera, ceelo green, ariana grande, sia, the little big town, 2016 billboard music awards, pink, just like fire, pamela neal, warrior princess, send my love (to your new lover), billboard music awards, adele, patrick daughters, bryan cranston, lbj, all the way, melissa leo, frank langella, todd weeks, hard sell, kristin chenoweth, wicked

On Facebook!
digitallyOBSESSED!
digitallyOBSESSED!
Promote Your Page Too

Visit:

Zarabesque.com

Original Magic Dress.com

Susti Heaven

Become a Reviewer | Search | Review Vault | Reviewers
Readers | Webmasters | Privacy | Contact
Microsoft Store