WSR Detailed LaserDisc Review

Hard Eight

Reviewed In Issue 26 Of Widescreen Review® Stars:
Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson

WSR Review Scores
Picture Rating: 3.5
Sound Rating: 3
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Reference Systems
Critics' Composite Score:
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DVD General Information
(Studio/Distributor): Columbia/TriStar Home Video
(Catalog Number): 81036
(MPAA Rating): R
(Retail Price): $34.95
(Running Time In Minutes): 101
(Color Type): Color
(Chaptered/Scene Access): Yes
(Closed Captioned): Yes
(Theatrical Release): 1997
(LD Release Date):
(THX® Digitally Mastered): No

Credits Information
(Director): Paul Thomas Anderson
(Screenplay/Written By): Paul Thomas Anderson
(Story): NA
(Music): Michael Penn & Jon Brion
(Director Of Photography):
(Production Designer): Nancy Deren
(Visual Effects): FTX Effects
(Costume Designer): Mark Bridges
(Editor): Barbara Tulliver
(Supervising Sound Editors): Richard King
(Re-Recording Mixers):
(Executive Producers): Keith Samples, Hans Brockmann & François Duplant
(Co-Producers): Daniel Lupi
(Producers): Robert Jones & John Lyons

DVD Picture Information
(Principal Photography):
(Theatrical Aspect Ratio): 2.35:1
(Measured LaserDisc Aspect Ratio): 2.35:1

DVD Sound Information
(DVD Soundtrack): Dolby Surround
(Theatrical Sound): Dolby Stereo SR
(Theatrical Re-Issue Soundtrack):
(Remastered Dolby Digital): No
(Remastered DTS Digital Surround): No
(Additional Languages):

WSR Narrative Review
Story Synopsis:
Hard Eight is a gripping story of gambling, kidnapping and murder. Sydney (Baker Hall) is a deadpan professional gambler who takes the naive John (Reilly) under his wing after what seems to be a chance encounter. As their relationship develops, John falls for waitress/hooker, Clementine (Paltrow) and finds bad company with Jimmy (Jackson). When John and Clementine kidnap an overzealous client, Sydney sends the shaken couple away, giving Jimmy a long-awaited opportunity to play his trump card on the old man.

LaserDisc Picture:
The picture, framed at 2.35:1, inconsistently exhibits unnatural looking color fidelity. Interior casino scenes sometimes seem oversaturated. Other times, colors look fully saturated and vivid with natural fleshtones and deep blacks. Images are generally sharp and detailed with some slight noise and occasional artifacts apparent.

LaserDisc Soundtrack:
The soundtrack is monaural in character, though the nicely recorded music score is in stereo. Dialogue is closely miked and generally lacks spatial presence. Surround envelopment is subtle overall.
(Surround Bass Below 50Hz): No
(Aggressive System Surround): No
(Intense 25Hz Bass): No
(Deep Bass Challenging): No
(Aggressive 0.1 LFE):
(Holosonic Soundfield): No
(Aggressive Split Surround): No
(Center Back Surround Imaging): No
(Directionalized Dialogue): No
Superb Sound Effects Recording Quality:
Superb Music Score Recording Quality:
Superb Special Visual Effects Quality:
Superb Color Fidelity:
Superb Cinematography:
Reference LaserDisc:
Collector Edition: