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WSR Detailed DVD Review
Reviewed In Issue 51 (Aug 2001) Of Widescreen Review®
Steven Bauer, Benjamin Bratt, James Brolin, Don Cheadle, Erika Christensen, Clifton Collins, Jr., Benicio Del Toro, Michael Douglas, Miguel Ferrer, Albert Finney, Topher Grace, Luis Guzman, Amy Irving, Tomas Milian, D. W. Moffett, Dennis Quaid, Peter Riegert Jacob Vargas & Catherine Zeta-Jones
About the many steps in the thorny chain of drug dealing, Traffic follows the route of those involved in the movement
The anamorphically enhanced 1.85:1 DVD exhibits a stylized picture with different appearances between the three main storylines throughout the film. The Mexico scenes are intentionally raw and uninviting. These scenes have a desaturated, harshly contrasted quality, and are revealing of film grain and artifacts. To achieve the look, the filmmakers overexposed the film and shot through a tobacco filter, giving the picture a sweltering, somewhat monochromatic appearance. In the scenes in Washington D.C., colors have a blue cast that gives the picture a cold feel. Yet in the third storyline of the film, in San Diego, the picture is slightly softer, but colors are more accurately balanced, with accurate fleshtones, rich hues and deep blacks. Blue filters are used at times. Overall, images are sharp and nicely detailed, with fine details revealed in clothing and facial features. While some minor pixelization is noticed, there is no obtrusive edge enhancement. Considering the intentionally stylized qualities of the picture, images are quite solid and appear to nicely represent the visual creativity of Steven Soderbergh. (Suzanne Hodges)
This soundtrack is a milestone in terms of the production, in that supervising sound editor and re-recording mixer Larry Blake edited, and mixed the audio entirely on a computer workstation, small-room environment using the Pro Tools software, rather than on a conventional multi-track mixing console in a dubbing theatre. Overall, the sonic character is somewhat soft, in comparison to other contemporary soundtracks. The dialogue and sound effects used in the final mix were originally on-set production recordings. Voices tend to exhibit a close-miked characteristic, but otherwise are impressively natural sounding with spatial integration that is inherently seamless. Because the film has a documentary-type feel to it, the soundfield has been deliberately styled to be oriented from the center channel. The music is the multichannel element of the soundtrack, offering a pleasing sense of immersion with .1 LFE incorporated for a palatable low-end presence. This soundtrack, though conservative in terms of dimension, serves as a vital component in terms of the storytelling experience through its creative nuances. (Perry Sun)
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