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The Lincoln Lawyer (4K UHD Blu-ray Review)

The Mcconaissance. A term coined for the career comeback of Matthew McConaughey. A multi-year film run that resulted in the Academy Award winning performance for The Dallas Buyers’ Club. An Oscar win was something many thought was possible in the 1990s, but for most the 2000s, he was just seen as slumming it around in romantic comedies, an underwhelming drama and some failed big budget films (Like Sahara, which is actually awesome, go check it out). However, if you look at the box office haul for those romantic comedies, they were making money. Basically, he was making movies that boys wanted to see, which is silly, but that’s how backward the world of film fandom/criticism can be. But, this turn all began with this little film here, The Lincoln Lawyer. Its now coming to the 4K Ultra-HD format from Lionsgate on August 15th.

Film 

Mickey Haller is L.A.’s top criminal defense lawyer – a fast-living, freewheeling pro who does business out of the back seat of his classicLincoln Town Car. He knows all the ins and outs of the legal system and how to exploit them to his clients’ advantage. But after agreeing todefend a wealthy young man accused of rape and murder, Mickey suddenlyfinds himself embroiled in a deadly game of violence, vengeance,and deception that threatens to not only end his career, but also his life.

Popular film genres or styles will come in a blast and then all of sudden disappear and become a bit of relic of a bygone era. We still get Westerns, but they are a far cry from the every weekend type affair they were back in the day. Someday, the superhero genre will find its way there too. The Lincoln Lawyer feels special and great now, but had this come out from the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, it would have been run of the mill or just this week’s flavor. The adult-skewing star driven drama (Frequently featuring courtrooms), were a dime a dozen and made careers for many involved. What is great about The Lincoln Lawyer is that its not nostalgic, hokey or winky with how it plays the game, but it does have its own way of embracing the tropes of the genre that feel honest and endearing.

Returning to the film now, McConaughey is still great (I think he even had slight Oscar potential talk when the film came out), but its shocking just how stacked the rest of this cast is. And even for its time, this is stacked. The “names” in this movie then are still names now.  I could just ramble off a cast list, but you can read that on your own time. William H. Macy puts in some insanely fun work that really REALLY will have you feeling like you just rented some movie from the video store that you just missed in theater. On top of everything and maybe overlooked, is one of Ryan Phillipe’s career best performances. Its surprising this film’s success didn’t lead in to a bit of a resurgent bump for him.

Overall, the film is just a well oiled machine. It delivers some good humor, terrific drama, some steamy romance and fun, memorable characters to fill it all out. The film even has a neat little hook to set it apart from the pack. It did well at the box office and a sequel was talked about. Its based on a book series so there are more stories to tell (Including some spin offs I think). I really would have loved to see McConaughey get a little bit of a franchise that played to his strengths. However, we are so far removed now, I’m pretty sure we can just chuck that idea altogether. But if they change their mind, I’m on board for sure!

Video 

Encoding: HEVC / H.265

Resolution: 4K (2160p)

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Layers: BD-66

Clarity/Detail: Well, The Lincoln Lawyer looks like a nice improvement over the standard Blu-ray release of the film. However, how much is going to the debate. It certainly comes across as more full and confident image, and all the detail gets a little bit of an uptick.  To me this one looked more incremental from aspect to aspect, but the blacks were probably the most notable step up across the board. This is very much the same kind of jump you have with the previous Lionsgate release of Snitch.

Depth:  The dimensional work sees itself a little bit more free and the further separated from the background. Characters also move with no jitter or blur and with much more confidence.

Black Levels: Blacks become more rich and deep here. There is a nice, naturally darker feel to this image than before.  It still has many layers and no real issues with the hiding of details occurs. No crushing was witnessed during this viewing of the film.

Color Reproduction: Colors are natural and feel pretty bold. In the obvious, colors you expect to pop give a bit more vibrant exposure than others.

Flesh Tones: Skin tones come off just a bit warmer, close to natural and maintain that appearance throughout the duration of the film. Facial details are very strong, picking up stubble, bruises, cuts, pores, sweat beads, make-up, lip texture and more visible from any distance.

Noise/Artifacts: Clean

Audio 

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos, English 2.0 Dolby Digital Optimized for Late Night Listening, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital

Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: The Lincoln Lawyer with Dolby Atmos seems a little excessive, but oh well, here we are.  What this Atmos track does do, is improve the clarity and looseness of the mix. Effects are a lot more spacy, free and balanced here in the mix. Every environment is much more realized and every detail in the audio is much more crisp in its delivery. It sounds great, but as you know, this isn’t really a movie (Aside from a couple moments) that anyone is expect a WHAM-BAM kind of explosion from.

Height: There are some sounds here and there from above, but a lot of it is ambient sound like club noise or little things overhead. Not that the movie demands much and that you were expecting that anyway.

Low Frequency Extension: Club beats, a gunshot, getting clocked over the head, doors slamming, engines rumbling and some more other natural sound thump with good accuracy from your subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: All the speakers carry a bit of their own life in making all the environments in the film feel lived in and real. Sound travels with good accuracy. The rear and side speakers have a lot of ambiance, but also get to have a little bit of fun on their own.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue is crisp and clear. Every piece of diction, mumble or lip smack is captured pretty decently.

Extras 

The Lincoln Lawyer comes with the Blu-ray edition and an UltraViolet Digital Copy of the film. The bonus features are the same as the previously released Blu-ray.

Making The Case: Creating The Lincoln Lawyer (HD, 13:40) 

Michael Connelly: At Home On The Road (HD, 10:16)

One on One with McConaughey and Connelly (HD, 5:28) 

Deleted Scenes (HD, 4:07)

Summary 

The Lincoln Lawyer is an awesome little bit of throwback cinema that even today, we still don’t see much of. Its a terrific movie. However, like Snitch before it, I’m not sure that this is a movie this early on in the 4K Ultra-HD format that people are going to upgrade on right off that bat. It does have some decent improvement over its predecessor and keeps all the bonus, so its go that going for it. If you’re wanting to shell out for it, go ahead and grab it. Please, though, if you’re someone who is excited for movie like Snitch and The Lincoln Lawyer on 4K right this instant, sound off in the comments. I’d love to know.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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