This movie review is as much a review of Apple TV as it is the Movie CONTRABAND:
Movie Review: The January movie release CONTRABAND starring Mark Wahlberg, Ben Foster, Lukas Haas, Kate Beckinsale, Giovanni Ribisi and J.K. Simmons is a solidly made movie which is based upon a very lackluster script. Essentially saving the movie are the actors combined with a solid director in Baltasar Kormakur, an acclaimed Icelandic Director/Actor.
The basics on the movie are that in order to protect his brother-in-law from a drug lord, a former smuggler heads to Panama to do a big score to cover it and save his family. Sadly, the script is not even as interesting as a Steven Segal movie in his heyday. The script was a pretty bad adaptation of another movie in itself, but enough of that.
Kate Beckinsale is pretty wasted in her role with forced tension and not much to leverage it off of except maybe the intent to get a pay check and work with Wahlberg. Giovanni Ribisi is pretty much a similar character to many he has played before. Sadly, even with an accomplished acting troupe, it just falls flat and is predictable and a bit boring.
On a high note, the movie was cinematic and shot very well, with a solid audio mix as well. So on a technical basis it is pleasing. It just isn’t that great of a movie. It’s hard to recommend this movie. It just isn’t worth the time to watch it.
Contraband rates a 4 out of 10 star review. Sadly it is just mediocre in the end.
Apple TV Review: I watched this movie on Apple TV rental and it surprisingly worked out very well. With the movie rented in one room i watched 1/2 the movie, then later i shifted to another room and a different Apple TV. Did this present a problem? Not at all, it re-downloaded the HD movie and allowed me to pickup at the same place i was in watching the movie.
The picture quality of Apple TV (updated 1080p unit) was great. The image on the movie looked great on my 75″ screen and it was ok when i was on my older Apple TV 720p model. You really can see a big difference on the picture quality. Audio? just your average solid Dolby Digital. Nothing Fancy or higher resolution when compared to Blu-Ray. It did the trick though and was passable.
When you compare Blu-Ray and a VOD PPV via Apple TV, no contest the BD picture and audio is better. You also get lots more extras and more. But when you are renting, just watching the movie is important and hell you save money when compared to buying a BD.
Ease of rental on Apple TV: 8 of 10 Stars, Improved 1080p HD picture quality is much better, audio is good, but not great.
I recommend Apple TV for those who are looking for an easy solution. There are other ones, such as blu-ray players with Amazon, Vudu and more built in. Roku is another solid option with much more add-on video channels available. But if easy and basic is needed. Apple TV hits the spot.