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Nights in Rodanthe(2008)
From 'Message in a Bottle' to 'The Notebook' cinematic adaptations of Nicholas Sparks's novels are sure to inspire tears, and this drama should be no exception. Diane Lane and Richard Gere, who previously played a couple in 'Unfaithul', star here as an unhappily married woman and a conflicted man drawn together by a storm in the town of Rodanthe, North Carolina.
For more about Nights in Rodanthe and the Nights in Rodanthe Blu-ray release, see Nights in Rodanthe Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on February 7, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.0 out of 5.
Starring: Diane Lane, Richard Gere, Christopher Meloni, Viola Davis, Scott Glenn, Pablo Schreiber
Director: George C. Wolfe
» See full cast & crew
Nights in Rodanthe Blu-ray Review
Genre cliches arrive just in time for Valentine's Day...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, February 7, 2009
I know what you've been thinking: if only there was a sappy, overbearing film my wife, sister, mother, and grandmother could force me to watch... now that would just be heaven. Well gents, your long wait is finally over. Cashing in on yet another book from overrated romance novelist Nicholas Sparks (The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember), attempting to rekindle the cinematic flame between Unfaithful co-stars Richard Gere and Diane Lane, and amassing rivers of tears from women of all ages comes Nights in Rodanthe, a plodding and predictable genre picture that offers all the emotional subtlety of a thirty-two car pileup.
Adrienne Willis (Diane Lane), a hard-working mother of two (Mae Whitman and Charlie Tahan), is struggling to put her life back together after her husband, Jack (Christopher Meloni), leaves her for another woman. But when Jack tells her he's ready to return home and give their marriage a second chance, Adrienne panics and retreats to a remote Bed-n-Breakfast in North Carolina for the weekend. There she meets Paul (Richard Gere), a surgeon with a tumultuous past all his own. Not only is he at odds with his son (an uncredited James Franco), he's being sued for gross malpractice in the wake of a procedure that ended in tragedy. When a fierce storm leaves the distraught pair with no one to turn to but each other, they begin sharing meals, stories, and revelations about their personal fears. Before long, a romance develops that promises to mend their broken hearts and allow them to face their individual problems.
What follows is one of the most contrived, manipulative third acts I've ever had to endure from an otherwise uninspired, connect-the-dots romantic drama. Love buds out of sheer convenience, common bonds develop that suit nothing but the plot at hand, and tragedy strikes for no other reason than to pluck heart strings and get your tear ducts flowing. It doesn't help that the Willis family problems are packed into a brief introduction (presumably shortened so the director could get Lane and Gere together as quickly as possible), making Adrienne more of a superficial antidote to Paul's troubles than a scorned woman trapped between a loveless marriage and the desires of her heart. At a mere 97 minutes (which somehow manages to feel like three hours), there isn't even enough meat in the script to make the characters' self-discovery and the film's climactic events resonate. Instead, Gere and Lane are tossed into a repetitive selection of scenes specifically designed to accelerate their on-screen romance.
The film's attempts to ensnare me were so transparent, so aggressive, and so heavy-handed that I found myself withdrawing every time first-time feature-film director George C. Wolfe tried to yank me deeper into the story. Chalk it up to the director's inexperience in helming bloated Hollywood productions or Sparks' own derivative novel, but I checked out long before Gere and Lane fell for each other. I didn't buy their attraction, I didn't feel for their personal plights, and I despised the manner in which their pasts were crammed down my throat. I don't know about you, but I enjoy a flick that gently lures me into its world before taking advantage of my emotional investment. Unfortunately, Nights in Rodanthe didn't take the time to woo me -- it was too busy swinging a blunt ax at my heart's door to politely invite me anywhere.
I'm sure there's a hungry audience out there that's more than willing to suspend disbelief and drink up everything Sparks and Wolfe have on tap. I suppose if you like films that tell you how to think and how to feel, this one will appeal to your more casual sensibilities. However, filmfans looking for an intelligent romantic drama will find themselves dodging the film's telegraphed punches and avoiding its persistent advances. Taking everything into account, Nights in Rodanthe is an average flick that makes for a last-resort rental at best.
Nights in Rodanthe Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Blu-ray edition of Nights in Rodanthe may have its fair share of problems (more on that later), but its rich 1080p/VC-1 transfer is the only aspect of this disc that adds substantial value to the release. While Wolfe's subdued palette is underwhelming at times, primaries are relatively bold, fleshtones are natural, and blacks are well resolved. Aside from a single sequence in which the transfer had trouble rendering clean reds (notice the man's flannel shirt and woman's bright blouse during the community's evening party), colors are strong, stable, and solid. Contrast is also quite attractive, blessing the image with convincing depth and dimensionality. More importantly, detail is sharp, fine fabric and skin textures are crisp, and delineation is revealing. A few soft shots pop up here and there (particularly when Adrienne returns home in the third act), but they usually appeared to be the result of the original print rather than its presentation here. It's tough to tell whether Warner employed a minor application of DNR -- a few close-ups do look suspiciously waxy compared to other standout shots -- but I rarely felt that the picture looked over-processed or artificial.
Thankfully, noise and artifacting are kept to a minimum. Even banding is kept under control despite scene after scene of cloudy skies and looming storms. I caught glimpses of all three issues in a handful of establishing shots, but they didn't become a legitimate distraction. As it stands, my only major complaint involves the use of some rather obvious edge enhancement. White outlines are clearly visible against the gray Rodanthe skies on more than one occasion and I found myself wishing studios would abandon such unnecessary enhancements and allow a high definition presentation to sink or swim on its own merits. Regardless, Nights in Rodanthe offers an impressive video transfer that should easily please fans of the film and give all those bored-boyfriends out there something to enjoy.
Nights in Rodanthe Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Sigh. At a time when Warner has been working so diligently to include lossless audio on every release, Nights in Rodanthe arrives with nothing more than a standard Dolby Digital 5.1 surround track. Granted, a DTS HD MA or TrueHD mix wouldn't have improved matters much since the film is a conversational, front-heavy affair, but I would have at least liked to hear it presented without any possible compromises in quality. To its credit, dialogue is intelligible and nicely prioritized, effects have been neatly placed throughout the soundfield, and pans are quick and smooth. Sadly, the rear speakers are largely silent, ambience is uninvolving and underdeveloped, interior acoustics are surprisingly inconsistent, and proper LFE support is nowhere to be found. I doubt the disc's lifeless sonics are solely the product of a lossy audio track (I would blame the film's lackluster sound design on all counts), but it certainly doesn't help. Instead of delivering a robust and immersive experience, dynamics are limited, fidelity is problematic, and the majority of the soundscape has been crammed into the center speaker. All things considered, this one is passable but ultimately disappointing.
Nights in Rodanthe Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Hm... that's a new one. It seems that the Blu-ray edition of Nights in Rodanthe includes nearly an hour of special features, none of which appear on the barebones DVD. Moreover, all of the video content is presented in high definition. Considering Warner usually encodes their entire supplemental packages in standard definition, it's certainly a nice change of pace. If the studio started offering lossless audio and HD features on every disc, they would effectively stave off the majority of complaints high-def enthusiasts have leveled at Warner over the last two years.
Nights in Rodanthe Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Allow me to cut to the chase: I've never been and will never be a member of Nicholas Spark's target audience. Suffice to say, I despised Nights in Rodanthe -- I couldn't stand its manipulative advances, its contrived plot developments, or its annoying attempts to make me fall in love with its characters. I know there are plenty of people out there who will soak up every shot and swoon at every line, but I couldn't wait for the credits to crawl up the screen. It's just too bad the Blu-ray edition isn't more of a technical show-stopper. While it boasts an excellent video transfer, it only includes a standard Dolby Digital audio track and an anemic supplemental package. Sure, all the special features are BD exclusives and the video content is presented in high definition, but there simply isn't enough material on hand to get excited about. My advice? Stay away from Nights in Rodanthe unless your wife or girlfriend's Valentines-Day-happiness depends on it.
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Nights in Rodanthe Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Today on Blu-ray - February 10th - February 10, 2009
In a time when a musicians' popularity rises and falls more often than the tides, it is somewhat difficult to imagine that a single person could be regarded as "the best", and that people could hold that sentiment over 200 years after his death. I of course speak ...
• Nights of Rodanthe Coming to Blu-ray - December 3, 2008
New Line Home Entertainment in conjunction with Warner Home Video has announced that they will bring 'Nights in Rodanthe' to Blu-ray on February 10th, day-and-date with the DVD release. Technical specs for this Richard Gere and Diane Lane film have yet to be announced, ...
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