movies

Dolby Atmos Immersiveness

Updated 01/19/2022

Dolby Atmos is the latest in Home Theater right now, and since I finally picked up an Atmos-enabled receiver and have managed to dial everything in just right for the theater room in my basement, I thought I’d share my experiences with just how immersive particular titles get.

Below, you’ll find a running list of Atmos (and in some cases, DTS-X) titles from both streaming and physical media that I’ve watched. I’ll be ranking each title out of 5 “speakers” (1 being not very immersive at all, 5 being insanely immersive) and will point out any scenes that stood out, so you can fast-forward to your ears’ delight!

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT (4K UHD BLU-RAY – 01/18/22)

Paramount

This is the kind of movie that was made for Atmos. And while the sound more than shines throughout the film, the Atmos effects often take a backseat to the more-than-well rounded out mix of the movie itself. Dialogue is often whispered, and tense conversations through gritted teeth pop up in almost every scene. However, there are some Atmos-heavy scenes that are worth mentioning:

• Chapter 1: Tom Cruise and Simon Pegg are talking beneath an overpass where cars are driving overhead in both directions

• Chapter 3: Skydiving is a workout for every speaker

• Chapter 6: Police bike chase is wild. Stuff going on everywhere

• Chapter 7: Really tense scene with a traincar going right overhead then right into another chase scene with some wild alternating between left and right heights

• Chapter 10: Gun battle in a sewer has some really fun overheads

• Chapters 12 – 14: Helicopters just live overhead for minutes straight. Absolute helicopter porn that ends with a Cliffhangeresque scene that is almost exclusively overheads

This is a really cool movie and the sound is more than excellent. But if you’re looking for a movie full of demo-worthy scenes to show off those Atmos muscles, you might look elsewhere unless you’re really into helicopters.

ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS LEVEL:

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

THE CONJURING 2 (BLU-RAY – 01/18/22)

Warner Brothers

Blu-Ray • Atmos • 1080p Upconverted

I’ve seen this movie my fair share of times, but this is my first time in Atmos, and fucking hell, what a difference. The overhead effects are put to full use throughout its run time. Rain pours almost the entire movie, British pop invasion tunes are crawling across the ceiling almost as much as whispers of demons, and it makes the jump scares that much more effective. Here are some moments that stood out:

• Chapter 5: Footsteps overhead when cops are poking around

• Chapter 6: Bells ringing all over the soundstage, house being torn apart chaotically in every speaker

• Chapter 8: Persistent rainstorm with thunder and lightning

• Chapter 10: Sounds of a flooded basement, water everywhere, kids running around upstairs. This scene was actually one of the coolest I’ve heard with an Atmos movie so far

• Ch 12 to the end of the movie: Downpour & Ed’s breathing in overheads. Demon begins grunting and breathing, and it bounces all over the ceiling

As far as Horror films are concerned, I think this is what Atmos was built for: another thing to scare the living shit out of the audience. I already really liked this movie, but this brought a whole new element to the table. This might be my go-to demo for now 🤘

ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS LEVEL:

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

DOCTOR SLEEP: DIRECTOR’S CUT (BLU-RAY – 01/17/22)

Warner Brothers

Blu-Ray • Atmos • 1080p Upconverted

Since I can remember, The Shining has been my favorite movie – a go-to every Halloween, I get sucked in by Kubrick’s magic touch and cinematic trickery. It’s an incredible movie experience that gets better with every viewing. Lucky for us, Mike Flanagan (The Haunting of Hill House, Bly Manor, etc.) was given the reins to the adaptation of Stephen King’s Shining sequel, and I’m happy to say that this is everything I hoped for and more. Now, I’ve seen both versions, and while the Director’s Cut doesn’t change too much, I would still definitely recommend getting your hands on that version.

There are too many scenes of overhead sonic excellence to mention in this release, that I’m just going to have to suggest that you experience it yourself. There’s a persistent heartbeat pouring through the overheads and surrounds throughout the entire film that will rattle your nerves by the time the characters arrive back at the iconic Overlook, and then the Atmos effects take center stage, and you’ll be smiling from ear-to-ear until the credits roll. If you’re not too sure about Atmos yet, Doctor Sleep will definitely get you on the train.

ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS LEVEL

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

OVERLORD (BLU-RAY – 01/17/22)

Paramount

Blu-Ray • Dolby Atmos • 1080p Upconverted

Superhuman Nazi Zombies aside, the sound design on this movie is fun as hell. From the get-go, nervous soldiers on a plane rattle through the air, and we’re right in the middle of every bullet and explosion from there on out. There’s a scene where the main character falls out of said plane, and the wind whooshing around him covers the entire overhead landscape. There are a few other standout scenes, including footsteps over creaking boards that might convince you someone is upstairs, and great water trickling in tunnels throughout. This was a really fun one.

ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS LEVEL

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

ARCHIVE 81 (NETFLIX – 01/17/22)

Netflix

Netflix • Dolby Atmos • 4K

This show is really fun. It goes off the rails in the last two episodes or so, but that’s also when the Atmos effects really kick in. Without spoiling anything for you, there’s a scene in the last episode where a particular structure begins crumbling all around a couple characters and it really feels like the stonework is crashing down over your head. Add in some really cool overhead music effects throughout the entire show, and this makes for one really fun immersive viewing experience. Definitely would recommend this show (especially in the last few episodes) for Atmos demo.

ATMOS IMMERSIVENESS LEVEL:

🔊 🔊 🔊 🔊 / 5

Five Decades of Nominees – 1994 – ‘The Remains of the Day’

Snooze

Alright. We’ve come to the end of the 1994 nominees for Best Picture. And what a snoozy doozy way to end them. I’ve been sitting on how to approach writing about this movie for a couple days, and I just…well, let’s give it a shot.

I’ll start with the acting. Anthony Hopkins, the most recent, and controversial winner of the Best Actor award, is so Anthony Hopkins in this. He’s a butler of a giant estate owned by a nazi sympathizer in pre-World War II England, and he rules every scene, as he always does. When I say Hopkins is so Hopkins, you know what I mean: he’s got those signature tics, the witty little reactions, the head-held-high snootiness that he’s best known for.

As always, he’s great, and I really think this movie would have been in a lot of trouble without him. Emma Thompson, like Hopkins, is who she always is – not bad, just incredibly British and sad, and honestly, it took me three sittings to finish this movie because Thompson films put me to sleep.

Something strange to see is Christopher Reeve, just a couple years before his debilitating accident that ultimately led to his death, as the American ambassador that attempts to convince the owner of the manor not to work with the Germans. The acting is here, the problem is, there’s not much else.

There are also a couple of Game of Thrones alums in this, not surprising since it’s probably the most British movie ever made. We’ve got a really young Lena Headey as a housekeeper, and that old blind dude from the wall as Hopkins’ dad.

This movie drags. Hard. I haven’t read the book, of course, but I came away from the film wondering what the hell just didn’t happen. I won’t ruin it for you, but when the credits rolled, I was really surprised. It’s one of the dullest endings to a movie I’ve ever seen, and I’m guessing it’s explained better in the novelization.

The strangest part of the film for me, is that there is this clique of butlers and housekeepers, and they’ve all crossed paths at some point. And there is also this hierarchy in which these people are fighting over, and the top spot is butler. Like, I’m sorry, but what the fuck? Is this a strictly British thing that I’ve never heard of or read about? Or was this made up for dramatic effect? What the hell is going on in this movie?

Sorry. I will say, the movie is pretty. It’s shot so well, and though it doesn’t really take many risks, each shot feels like a painting you’d find in a gallery. There’s a scene toward the end, where Hopkins and Thompson are sitting on a pier and the lights come on, and the contrast of the lights’ colors are absolutely mesmerizing. There is also a sunset scene with Hopkins driving that really is amazing. Trouble is, a lot of these shots make you feel like you’re watching something on PBS. I know there’s a market for that (probably bigger than I think), but woof, not my bag, man.

This is the sort of movie that’s playing at your grandma’s house on her tiny TV on a summer afternoon. It’s a costume designer’s blueprint, a Masterpiece Theater special stretched long, the film that appeases your groaning grandparents so they’ll watch the Oscars. It’s undeniably, the worst of the five ’94 nominees: not necessarily bad, but without the substance of the other four.

Where is ‘Philadelphia,’ by the way? How did that movie not get nominated? It’s cool that Hanks won Best Actor, but that movie carries so much more emotional depth and focuses on a much bigger worldwide issue than The Remains of the Day attempts to. Perhaps AIDS was still much too taboo for the Academy, but Philadelphia absolutely crushes me every time I see it.

Well, that’s the end of the 1994 nominees. Overall, the right movie won, and it really wasn’t close. I feel like four of these should have been nominated, but that seems to be the case every year. Next up for this month, we’ve got the 1985 nominees. I’ll try to squeeze them all in this month, but life has a way of making that tough, so we’ll see.

Have you seen The Remains of the Day and want to tell me I’m absolutely wrong? Think some other movies from 1993 should have been nominated for the ’94 Oscars that weren’t? Let me know in the comments or on Instagram, and it’ll probably help me write these in the future.

CinemAbysmal: The Podcast – EPISODE 50: with Special Guest, Ryan Dean Tucker!

Welcome to Episode 49 of CinemAbysmal: The Podcast, where contributors of CinemAbysmal.com talk about what society would consider some of the worst of the worst media out there.

This month, we welcome back the inimitable RYAN DEAN TUCKER, as he assigns is each a film from his enormous basement movie store and we report back our thoughts to him. Nick gets the Canadian rival to ‘The Room,’ a strange road trip cult classic, ‘Ryan’s Babe.’ Holly gets the Shelley Long supernatural (?) comedy, ‘Hello Again,’ and Dylan talks the Kyle Maclachlan alien thriller, ‘The Hidden.’ DON’T MISS THIS EPISODE!!

As always, please SHARE, RATE, AND SUBSCRIBE!

Find this new episode and more on Spotify, iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher, Spreaker, and everywhere else you find podcasts! Just search for ‘CinemAbysmal’!

CinemAbysmal: The Podcast – Episode 34: Movies That Scared Us As Kids

Welcome to Episode 34 of CinemAbysmal: The Podcast, where contributors of CinemAbysmal.com talk about what society would consider some of the worst of the worst media out there. This week, Nick fucked up and watched Watership Down instead of The Dark Crystal, so we discussed four movies that scared us as children instead of three. By the way, they’re all still pretty fucked up. Check it out on all your favorite apps below! As always, please SHARE, RATE, AND SUBSCRIBE!

iTunes –https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cinemabysmal/id1153464020?mt=2

SoundCloud

Google Play Music –https://play.google.com/music/m/Irjld24rxpsi22hdnugilmxh57u?t=CinemAbysmal

Stitcher https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=128435&refid=asa

Spreaker http://www.spreaker.com/show/cinemabysmals-show

You can also find us on BeyondPod! Just search forCinemAbysmal.

CinemAbysmal: The Podcast – Episode 34: Movies That Scared Us As Kids

Welcome to Episode 34 of CinemAbysmal: The Podcast, where contributors of CinemAbysmal.com talk about what society would consider some of the worst of the worst media out there. This week, Nick fucked up and watched Watership Down instead of The Dark Crystal, so we discussed four movies that scared us as children instead of three. By the way, they’re all still pretty fucked up. Check it out on all your favorite apps below! As always, please SHARE, RATE, AND SUBSCRIBE!

iTunes –https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cinemabysmal/id1153464020?mt=2

SoundCloud

Google Play Music –https://play.google.com/music/m/Irjld24rxpsi22hdnugilmxh57u?t=CinemAbysmal

Stitcher https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=128435&refid=asa

Spreaker http://www.spreaker.com/show/cinemabysmals-show

You can also find us on BeyondPod! Just search forCinemAbysmal.

CinemAbysmal: The Podcast – Episode 30: Fan4stic and Ghost Rider

Welcome to Episode 30 of CinemAbysmal: The Podcast, where contributors of CinemAbysmal.com talk about what society would consider some of the worst of the worst media out there. This week, we discuss bad super hero movies, including 2015’s Doctor Doomed Fantastic Four and the delightfully stupid Ghost Rider with Nic Cage! We also welcome our new co-host, Dylan Sorenson! Check it out on all your favorite apps below! As always, please SHARE, RATE, AND SUBSCRIBE!

iTunes –https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/cinemabysmal/id1153464020?mt=2

SoundCloud

Google Play Music –https://play.google.com/music/m/Irjld24rxpsi22hdnugilmxh57u?t=CinemAbysmal

Stitcher https://www.stitcher.com/s?fid=128435&refid=asa

Spreaker http://www.spreaker.com/show/cinemabysmals-show

You can also find us on BeyondPod! Just search for CinemAbysmal.