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August 15, 2009
New In Town Blu-Ray Review
Cinema Release Blu-Ray Release Distributor Director
5/3/200911/8/2009IconJonas Elmer
Video Codec Sound Format OFLC Rating Star(s)
AVC MPEG-4DTS-HD MA 5.1PGRenée Zellweger

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Renée Zellweger stars in New in Town.

Romantic comedies aren't really my cup of tea, they are ultimately very predictable beasts with only the rarest of movies resulting in the leads not ending up together. Released earlier this year New in Town stars Renée Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr as the two leads. Did this movie capture our interest? Read on...

New in Town tells the story of a high-powered consultant (Lucy, played by Renée Zellweger) in love with her upscale Miami lifestyle who is sent to a middle of nowhere town in Minnesota to oversee the restructuring of a blue collar manufacturing plant. After enduring a frosty reception from the locals, icy roads and freezing weather, she warms up to the small town's charm, and eventually finds herself being accepted by the community. When she's ordered to close down the plant and put the entire community out of work, she's forced to reconsider her goals and priorities.

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Harry Connick Jr and Renée Zellweger.
While this is a romantic comedy of sorts, it does take around an hour of the 96 minute runtime before the love story really comes into play, and when this happens the movie picks up a little bit in tone and humour as it reaches it's predictable conclusion - both in terms of the romantic story, and the outcomes for the factory. The biggest issues with this movie is that it fails to bring anything new to the table. People overhear conversations they shouldn't, girl looks like an idiot in front of prospective boyfriend, girl needs boyfriends help and so on. Still, there are some classic scenes in this movie such as one with Lucy needing help to go to the toilet while on a hunting trip and then, well, the result is hilarious so I won't spoil it.

Most of you would be aware that I find almost no joy in watching Renée Zellweger on-screen. She does absolutely nothing for me, but I actually enjoyed her in this movie. It's a solid, natural, performance and she is actually quite likable for once. Supporting cast including Harry Connick Jr as Ted, J.K. Simmons as the plant manager and Siobhan Fallon Hogan as Lucy's secretary, are all strong in their supporting roles.

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A frosty environment in New in Town.
Overall New In Town is what I would call a 'nice' picture. There's nothing offensive in this movie, the characters are likable, there are a couple of amusing moments, but the movie does follow a predictable path to a predictable ending. We would recommend this to fans of the actors, just don't expect too much.

New in Town comes to Blu-Ray at an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (slightly wider then the 1.85:1 theatrical presentation) and has been encoded using the AVC MPEG-4 codec. The film runs at a solid bitrate often above the mid-20Mbps range when required. Even the darker, static, scenes run at a fairly high bitrate resulting in an impressive transfer. Detail levels are impressive and while the film has a bit of a bleak, washed-out look in parts this suits the tone and icy cold city of New Ulm in which the film is set.

There were though some occasions when the image lept out as quite gorgeous, primarily when we see Renée Zellweger's character jogging through the city streets. The transfer is generally free of any dirt or marks, and contains a natural, low level amount of film grain giving it a natural film look.

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J.K. Simmons is quite brilliant as usual.
There are two audio tracks on this disc, a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track and a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track. Both are impressive, but the DTS track is a higher bitrate and does sound a little clearer overall. Still, this isn't a movie to test your aural senses by any stretch of the imagination with a focus on the dialogue and occasional subtle music. There is some use of surround sound channels, and limited sub-woofer use throughout. Nothing outstanding, but nothing offensive either.

If there is one disappointment with the audio it's that the American disc has been lavashed with a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track, but does omit the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track in favour of a French Dolby Digital 5.1 track. This disc includes a single subtitle track, English. We only sampled it briefly but it seemed solid enough with good pacing and accurate translation of the dialogue.

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Harry Connick Jr. will have the girls swooning.
There is only one extra on this disc - a forced, unskippable trailer for the movie Fame which is heading to cinemas this September apparently. This is actually pretty disappointing as the American release of this movie comes with quite a few extras including a Picture-in-Picture commentary, deleted scenes, and other making of video featurettes.

The biggest disappointment with this release isn't the movie, or the audio visual quality but rather the lack of extras which were decent on the American release apparently. Still, if you're a fan of Renée Zellweger of Harry Connick Jr then you will still likely enjoy this release.

Review By: Dave Warner


Note: All images in this article are Copyright© Icon Films. They are only indicative of the movie and not sourced from the vastly superior Blu-Ray disc format.