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Slickly produced and fast moving, NEXT ($30) is a film that is best enjoyed if one checks their brain at the door, so they can’t apply logic or think too hard on what they are watching. Of course, this reviewer certainly wasn’t thinking about plot, characterization or gaping holes in logic anytime Jessica Biel was on the screen, but I digress… If you are like me, you will certainly have fun while you are watching NEXT, but it is doubtful if you will remember too much about the film afterwards (other than how hot Jessica Biel is). But then again, it really isn’t important how memorable NEXT is after the fact, since this little action thrill ride is pure popcorn movie entertainment all the way.

NEXT has been adapted from The Golden Man by Philip K. Dick, an author whose stories have been extensively mined by Hollywood… sometimes striking gold, other times not. The premise of NEXT finds Nicolas Cage in the role of Cris Johnson, who takes advantage of his ability to see two minutes into the future to eek out a living as a low level Las Vegas magician billed as Frank Cadillac. Cris’ abilities attract the attention of FBI Agent Callie Ferris (Julianne Moore), who wants to utilize his talent to assist her in tracking down terrorists, who are in possession of a nuclear weapon that they intend to set off somewhere in California. Of course Cris is reluctant to become involved with any government agency, but changes his tune when his personal interests become endangered. The cast of NEXT also features Thomas Kretschmann, Tory Kittles, José Zúñiga, Jim Beaver, Jason Butler Harner, Michael Trucco and Peter Falk.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made NEXT available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. This is a truly fine looking 1080p presentation that will give viewers very little to complain about. Actually, the worst aspect of how NEXT looks is the fact that some of the process work is a little cheesy, which is related to the original production and is not a flaw in the Blu-ray. Although having NEXT available in hi-def does make the limitations of the process work more obvious. For the most part, NEXT delivers a very crisp image with terrific definition; one can easily discern individual hairs and flaws in the actions skin in close ups. Additionally, the outdoor photography looks really good, especially the Grand Canyon sequences. Colors tend to be very vibrant, although they sometimes appear a little overdone. Flesh tones are pretty appealing, but they too can come across as a little overdone. The blacks are pretty accurate and the whites are stable. Contrast is fairly smooth, while the level of shadow detail is just fine. The film elements are free from blemishes. Appreciable grain is fairly minimal.

NEXT is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel uncompressed PCM soundtrack. The soundtrack is very similar to the DVD release, although it features enhanced fidelity. In action movie mode, NEXT features a fairly aggressive sound design, which makes good use of all the discrete channels. Sound effects are well placed and move effectively across the sound field. Music has a very strong presence, plus the bottom end of the track has a great deal of depth. Voices are cleanly reproduced and the film’s dialogue is always completely understandable. English and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, plus a French 2.0 channel track are also encoded onto the disc, as are English, French, Spanish and Portuguese subtitles.

The disc’s interactive menus provide access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as some nice extras. Making The Best Next Thing is a pretty standard seventeen-minute promo/interview program. Visualizing The Next Move spends twelve minutes looking at the special effects. The Next Grand Idea spends six minutes on the location shoot. Two Minutes In The Future With Jessica Biel provides an additional two minutes to stare at the lovely actress.

NEXT provides mindless sci-fi action popcorn entertainment with the decided hi-def eye candy quotient of Jessica Biel. Paramount’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds pretty sweet.



Next [Blu-ray] (2007)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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