Jane Austen Book Club, The

Featured In Issue 130, April 2008

WSR Score3
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
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For mature thematic material, sexual content, brief strong language and some drug use
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-50)
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A, B & C
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Robin Swicord
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Dolby TrueHD 5.1
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With six months to read six novels, the six members of The Jane Austen Book Club take reading the classics to new heights. The reading group consists of five women and one man, who decide to get together regularly to discuss the English writer's beloved novels. The group soon discovers that the heartaches of Emma, Mr. Darcy, and the Bennett sisters are not so different from their own. Based on the novel by Karen Joy Fowler. (Stacey Pendry)

Special features include the following featurettes: Behind The Scenes Of The Jane Austen Book Club (20 minutes), The Life Of Jane Austen (22 minutes), The Book Club: Deconstructed (12 minutes), and Walking The Red Carpet: Los Angeles Premiere (three minutes); seven deleted scenes; a commentary track by cast and crew; and previews. Special features are available with optional subtitles.

The anamorphically enhanced 1.78:1 DVD exhibits a somewhat soft image, with relatively poor resolution at times that makes faces look waxy and plugged-up. There are times, however, when the images can look nicely detailed. Color fidelity is fairly good and contrast is nicely balanced. Black levels are fairly deep and shadow delineation is adequate. Edge enhancement is noticeable from time to time, but pixel breakup is not much of a problem. The H.264 AVC-encoded Blu-ray Disc doesn't have the same punch as the better high-definition releases, with colors somewhat muted and overall brightness somewhat lacking. The sense of dimensionality is good, though, and black levels are solid. Resolution is generally good, but there are times when the image looks somewhat soft. (Danny Richelieu)

The Dolby® Digital 5.1-channel soundtrack can be limited to the front three screen channels, and even when the surround channels are used, the front and rear stages don't mesh completely, with little sidewall imaging. The rear stage also can have little imaging between the two loudspeakers, making the stage sound incongruous and unnatural. Dialogue occasionally can sound too forward with relatively poor spatial integration as well. The lossless Dolby TrueHD encoding on the Blu-ray Disc has good fidelity, but the limitations of the mix are still a problem. Dialogue can still sound slightly too forward, but it is articulate. (Danny Richelieu)