Category Archives: DVD Review

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DVD Review – Come What May

Category : DVD Review

Director: Christian Carion

Starring: August Diehl, Matthew Rhys, Olivier Gourmet

Year: 2015

There was such a vast percentage of humanity affected by WWII that we’ll literally never run out of stories to glean from that time period, to turn into sagas and dramas that both teach a lesson and give us a taste of the history that we dare not forget.  Come What May comes at the era from a different direction, showing us a world gone mad through the eyes of those whose stories haven’t been loudly told.  In a way, these are tales from before the heart of the war was at hand, tales of the lives that were changed by the approach of battle, just as so many were destroyed by the actual chaos.  I appreciate the fresh viewpoint and the atypical delivery, but what’s even better is the quality put in to bringing this chapter to life, and the heart written into every scene.

The Movie

In the spring of 1940, Germany was already on their way to a sure victory over a cowering Europe.  Having already taken neighboring, Germanic territories, the Nazis were pushing on into France, crushing the token British and French forces, ending the war before it had scarcely begun.  The Brits were forced back to Dunkirk, the French never stood a chance, and Hitler’s forces began their takeover of the farmlands of central Europe, the fields that would feed a world army.  The French peasants were left with few options; stay in their villages and hope the German tanks would pass them by or flee south toward a possible safe haven, leaving everything they had ever known behind and in the hands of Nazi occupation.

This is the story of the struggle of the native people of this land, as they fought to hold on to any memory of their past peace, a dream that was slowly fading away.  Hans, a German rebel who worked for an underground radio station but was forced to leave his homeland, finds himself in a French jail, with no support from either side.  His son, Max, is living in a village that will soon be on the move, led by their mayor, a man who is used to having others follow his decisions but has never had to travel through a war zone before.  When Hans escapes jail, only to befriend a marooned Scottish officer, the two trek across the countryside in order to find Max, to find safety, to find some sort of sanity in the insanity that is the beginning of a world war.

We know the history of the Holocaust very well, and there is no saturation point when it comes to the films that can tell us the stories from that horrible time, both from a dramatic standpoint and from a humanitarian one.  But there was much more to the war than battles and terror, there were smaller tales that may have slipped through the cracks of time, individual accounts that might be smaller on scale but still deliver a powerful impact.  Come What May is a very personal film that sheds light on a very unique group of people; the displaced French.  Their struggles may not have been as vicious as others, but the way in which their roots were uplifted is just another crime to throw at the feet of the Nazis, just another way they destroyed so much.

It’s clear from the beginning that this movie is slightly documentarian in style, partly war drama, and always full of real feeling from a director/writer who felt that he had something very important to share with us.  It won’t capture your attention, entertain you, if that word can be used about the abuse of a population, in the way that many American-made war films can, but it also won’t bore audiences with an overly-artistic depiction of the times either.  Instead, it falls somewhere in the middle; a little action, a bit of beauty, but mainly focusing on telling a generally true story as it might have happened, allowing us to be there and to understand the panic behind the flight of so many who would never see their homes again.  The acting is strong enough to share the message, the Spring scenery is beautiful, the German advancement is frighteningly steady, and the film as a whole is a well-made point piece with just enough Hollywood to hook those who don’t want to forget what happened all those years ago.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the video quality of the Blu-ray disc isn’t exactly stunning, but it won’t disappoint those looking for a crisp image from a high quality medium.  The picture is saturated with rich color and showcases the beauty of the countryside, as well as the dark gore of war.  It’s a strong visual, with realistic cinematography and a nice brightness.

Audio – Done in DTS-HD Master Audio, the audio quality of the disc is quite excellent.  There is also a choice of 5.1 Dolby Digital, as well as subtitles in English.  Throughout the film, French and German subtitles will automatically appear.  The sound quality of the Blu-ray is superb, with an incredible soundtrack as well, crafted by the renowned Ennio Morricone.

Extras – There are many extras on the Blu-ray disc, beginning with an option of audio commentary with director Christian Carion.  A theatrical trailer is available to view.  The Making of Come What May is a look into the creation of the film.  Behind the Scenes with composer Ennio Morricone is exactly that.  And an Interview with Christian Carion and Richard Peña can be selected for your enjoyment as well.

Final Thoughts

Highly Recommended.  An unusual WWII film, at least in the direction from which it attacks the subject, Come What May is nevertheless an important piece to the greater puzzle of those impacting years and the people who survived to tell the tale.  We learn about the quick French collapse, but we don’t know much about the peasants who fled for their lives, and this is their story.  In that, it’s a film worth watching, with an added bonus of some solid acting and storytelling as well.  It won’t join a group of award-winners perhaps, but it at least deserves its time in the sun.  The video is pleasantly done, the audio is a highlight, and there are many extras to enjoy as well.  Taken as a whole package, there is much to appreciate here, especially for those wanting to dive into learning about WWII and the people who make it worth studying.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – My King

Category : DVD Review

Director: Maiwenn

Starring: Emmanuelle Bercot, Vincent Cassel, Louis Garrel

Year: 2015

Not to overlook the leading ladies of this film, Maiwenn the director and Bercot the lead actress, but My King is a success because of the man the title is referring to; Georgio, played perfectly by a genius Cassel.  This French actor is a phenomenon, and we are lucky to have him as a cross-over talent in Hollywood as well, so that we can see him in his native country and also in our more familiar American cinema.  Eastern Promises, Black Swan, A Dangerous Method, Partisan, Tale of Tales; pick up a film starring Vincent Cassel and I guarantee a performance like no other, and more often than not one that steals the show.  He’s a transcendent talent, a natural villain, a complex hero, an actor who can take on any job.  It’s refreshing to see him in a French film, where he seems even more comfortable, is even more impressive, and jumps off the screen as an unparalleled delight.

The Movie

Tony, a single mother of a young boy, is injured in a skiing accident going much too fast downslope.  Her accident becomes a metaphor for her life, as she gradually recovers from an exciting yet traumatic incident that has left her scarred but ultimately stronger.  As she stays for many weeks at a rehabilitation center, she spends her time remembering the most important events of her life; meeting a man named Georgio, having a lovely son together, and separating after many years of boisterous unhappiness.  Tony recalls the past while looking toward the future, using her quiet moments wisely as a way to accept the things that she cannot change, and to plan ahead for a life that still has such promise.

Tony met Georgio at a club, dripping water into his face to spark his memory.  They had actually met before, years prior, when they were both quite young.  Tony, a lawyer and a student, remembers Georgio for his way with women, his smooth manner, and his sharp humor.  Georgio, on his part, doesn’t remember Tony at all, but quickly falls for her, even though she doesn’t resemble the models he is used to dating.  Georgio is a wild man, fast with a joke, but slow with responsibilities, an untamed animal who doesn’t mind using his sex and his charm to convince those who should run away to stay.  So begins a tumultuous love affair between two people who cannot let go, even though they know they should.

If the plot seems too common, believe me, it is not.  There are elements that we’ve seen before, as there are in any love story, but those elements only make the film feel real, not recycled.  A passionate love, two people who aren’t perfect for each other, the inability to ever really move on; yes we’ve seen that before, but perhaps never better, as My King brings a certain frightening truth to the screen in a way that’s not always comfortable, but should be greatly appreciated.  It isn’t the film of the year, but there is so much here that deserves our attention, from the weaving of an alternative romance to the lessons we can all learn about trust, love, and the danger of opening ourselves up to a person who isn’t able to take care of our most delicate pieces.

Perhaps a French film about the difficulties of love doesn’t sound like the most exciting way to spend two hours, and I might agree with you, if it weren’t for the performance of Vincent Cassel, something that basically blew me away.  He plays Georgio with such complex emotions, making him at once a god and a monster, showing us both the beauty and the horror of falling in love.  And doubtless we all know someone who is a little like this character: a swindler, a cheat, a rebel, a free spirit, the life of the party, but not someone you can depend on.  Imagine falling desperately in love with that person, or better yet, watch it happen here.  My King is a film that brings life to the screen, not needing to reinvent the wheel, because reality is often unfathomable enough.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.40:1 Widescreen and shot using a Sony CineAlta PMW-F55 camera with Zeiss Super Speed and Angenieux Optimo lenses, the video quality of the film is quite strong, with a great eye for detail and an ultimate focus on the characters; their faces, their moods, their inner thoughts, their small victories and defeats.  The picture quality isn’t amazing, but it is clear and strong, delivering all we could ask for from a drama.

Audio – The DVD was done in French 5.1 Surround, with an option of French Stereo.  The film is subtitled in English, with no other language or text options than to turn it completely off.  The audio quality was fine, with no magic moments or cringe-worthy issues.  The use of music was subtle, the film is mostly dialogue, and the sound doesn’t really ever become a noticeable technical aspect.

Extras – There are quite a few special features on the disc.  There is a short film called I’m An Actrice, a 24-minute story of an irresponsible mother who wants to make her 10-year-old daughter into a movie star.  One deleted scene is available, a 3-minute cut called Wolves.  15 minutes of outtakes are included for your viewing pleasure.  There are seven trailers to watch: My King, Neither Heaven Nor Earth, My Love Don’t Cross That River, The Ardennes, Breathe, Full Moon in Paris, The Best Intentions.  And you can learn about Film Movement in a short paragraph.

Final Thoughts

Highly Recommended.  Were in not for Vincent Cassel, My King would be a nice but otherwise forgettable bit of French dramatics.  It’s a love story, a difficult one to watch at times, an inspiration at others, but ultimately only a fine film, not anything extraordinary.  Add in Cassel though, and his performance takes it to another level.  His character was well-written and well-played, a lovable asshole who you couldn’t imagine living with but would love to have over for a drink.  Cassel stole the show as Georgio, but I don’t think anyone will complain, since he quickly becomes the #1 reason to watch.  The video of the film was nice, the audio was normal, and there are a few extras, so the technical aspects of the movie don’t let you down.  But the quality is in the acting and the simplicity of the story, in the passion behind the love between these characters, and what each of us can take away from the tale.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Goat

Category : DVD Review

Director: Andrew Neel

Starring: Ben Schnetzer, Nick Jonas, Gus Halper

Year: 2016

Nick Jonas is not an actor, or at least not a good one.  With his teen heartthrob status behind him, he’s attempted to make the push onto the screen, and his moments have come fairly regularly.  Some TV, just getting started in movies; I think we’ll see more of him before we see less, but I also think that is a very bad thing.  The kid can’t act, and nearly brings Goat crashing down around him because of it.  The saving grace; a young man who does have talent, Ben Schnetzer.  Getting his break in 2013 and not slowing down since then, here’s an actor who we can look forward to seeing often over the coming years, a recently-recognized gem who puts this film on his shoulders and very nearly saves the day.

The Movie

Brothers Brad and Brett love the wild life, partying on the weekends with their friends, hooking up with girls, drinking way too much, and basically enjoying their youth while its present.  Brad just graduated from high school and is attempting to decide on his future.  Brett, the elder, attends a local college, where he and his frat buddies are all big men on campus.  As a sibling, Brad’s path in the fraternity is set, if he wants to follow it, with beer and babes waiting for him if he so chooses.  But a random robbery turned assault sets Brad back a step, as getting beat up creates an anxiety in him that he’ll need more than a month to move past.  But rush week is just around the corner, so he’ll have to make a plan soon if he wants to be one of the cool kids.

With his “accident” always in the back of his mind, Brad decides to pledge, joining a group of other goats for hell week, a period of hazing and ridicule that is seen as completely necessary by the brothers of the fraternity, since they all went through the same thing.  To weed out the weak ones, or so they justify it, the brothers torture the goats, making them drink until the vomit, treating them like animals, tying them up together, using them for target practice, and generally making their lives miserable.  Too much of this treatment begins to force Brad to rethink his decision, but it might be too late to back out.  His past trauma, his current debasement, they add up to a terrifying experience that is all too common and all too real.

The best moment of the film is when James Franco randomly shows up at the frat house, chugs some Rhinegeist, and makes a motivational speech.  No, seriously, that actually happens, and it literally feels like he stumbled onto the set to have a drink.  It’s the most realistic scene of the movie, and really adds a nice touch of humor.  On a more serious note, it also helps audiences understand the potentially positives of a brotherhood like this, how young men could want to be a part of it, how they might do terrible things to earn their place.  At its heart, Goat is a story of hazing and why it happens, why anyone would put themselves through it, and why it must be stopped.  The message here is unbearably real, so no matter what else fails about the film, at least there’s that groundwork laid, and perhaps the moral will touch a few lives before the movie fades away.

Picking apart the feature though, there really isn’t much else to brag about.  The concept far outshines the delivery, as the details become falling crumbs as you poke into the center.  The message is what’s important, sure, but we are still audiences, we still need entertaining, and we still won’t forgive obvious flaws.  The biggest one was Nick Jonas, who couldn’t act his way out of a barn with a goat and a mud wrestling pit.  I know he’s still relatively new to acting, but if he doesn’t improve in a hurry, he’s going to become a joke.  Ben Schnetzer won’t, that kid is going places, and he single-handedly saves this film from failure.  His character is both believable and likeable, we root for him, and we want him to make it out of this alive.  The direction, the side characters, the college; it was all OK, nothing special, and the same can be said of the film as a whole, as it fails to impress and should simply be considered a good try.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 16×9 (Widescreen), the video is the least of the film’s concerns.  The picture quality is fine, feeling more like an indie film than a studio feature, with no real attention paid to clarity or cinematography.

Audio – The DVD was done in English 5.1 Dolby Digital, with a choice of Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital as well.  Also, subtitle options are available in English, French, and Spanish.  The audio goes the same way as the video; completely unimpressive.

Extras – There are no special features on this disc.

Final Thoughts

Recommended.  Perhaps if you consider Goat more a lesson on hazing and less an actual movie it can be elevated to a better rating.  It has a clear statement to make, is based on a book, and can be seen as impactful if you look at it in a certain way.  We know this is a problem, this film sheds light on the subject, and so deserves some respect for having the guts to speak out.  However, the film itself isn’t of the highest quality, and can’t be enjoyed in that way.  The dramatic work is so-so, dragged down tremendously by Nick Jonas, and the rest of the cast/crew never really pick it up out of the scrub.  The video is not noteworthy, neither is the audio, and there are no special features on the DVD, so look elsewhere for technical marvels.  This film is important in a certain way, but the topic would have been better left in other hands.

☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Road to the Well

Category : DVD Review

Director: Jon Cvack

Starring: Laurence Fuller, Micah Parker, Rosalie McIntire

Year: 2016

Road to the Well carries the feeling of five films wrapped into one, and never coalesces into something steady enough to stand upright while it’s being pulled in a star of directions.  It’s a horror movie, a comedy, suspense, bizarre drama, an indie project, everything rolled into 100 minutes with no apologies given for the mess that is the final product.  Jon Cvack definitely has an original idea, brings something darkly wacky to the screen, but ultimately fails to wrap it all up in order to fit it into one package.  Some mistakes from a low-budget team are to be expected, but too many ruin whatever was the intended aim, a goal that I still can’t identify.

The Movie

Frank is moderately happy, though nowhere near the life he had envisioned for himself back in his younger days, when he and his carefree friends used to picture the future, when anything was possible.  He works in an office, has a nice girlfriend, doesn’t really talk to his old pals anymore, and is slowly becoming everything he never wanted to be.  But multiple events in a short amount of time will shake up his boring existence, until his new life resembles his old life not at all.  First, his buddy Jack calls out of nowhere, says he’s in town, wants a ride.  Reuniting with Jack, who is still unfettered, brings a rush of rebellion back into Frank’s life, and when he, that very night, finds his girlfriend cheating on him, the time might be ripe for a change.

The two friends head out for some drinks to shake off the depression of finding your boss’ face buried between your girlfriend’s legs, and, luckily for Frank, a beautiful woman just happens to be at the bar.  They talk, connect, have sex, and then she winds up dead.  Wait, wait, what?  And that’s exactly how Frank feels, as his life suddenly spins out of control.  On Jack’s advice, the two begin a journey to take care of the body, wash their hands of the guilt, and forget the entire experience ever happened.  But all is not as it seems, it’s not that easy to dispose of a corpse unnoticed, and these two buds might not see exactly eye to eye when it comes to the morals of hiding one murder with more.

Road to the Well is definitely an unpolished piece of film noir, an attempt at bringing some darkness into our lives but a ‘good try’ rather than a great final product.  Jon Cvack, who also wrote the screenplay, just didn’t have the magic touch when it comes to making death fascinating, making man’s natural evil appear on screen in a way we want to watch.  The film did get a little better over time, as the action picked up, as the music kept pumping, as the story became weirder and weirder until it crossed some unseen boundary between amateur and audacious.  By the end, I had begun to enjoy the oddity of the story, but by then perhaps it was too late to jump on board.

The characters were at once very skit and somehow almost likeable, like you understood there wasn’t a ton of talent involved but you kinda liked it anyway.  Laurence Fuller as Frank was appreciatively pathetic, but won’t be winning any acting awards any time soon.  Micah Parker as Jack had the brooding look going for him and an air of nonchalance, but can’t support a film entirely on his own shoulders.  Perhaps by favorite actor in the film was Barak Hardley as their friend Chris, a guy who brought some comic relief and who I could see popping up in other films if anyone happens to take notice of this one.  It’s almost worth it, it’s right on the border, but probably can’t be called “quality” and won’t ever get a large audience.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 16×9 and shot using an Arri Alexa camera, the video quality of Road to the Well is nothing to write home about.  Much of the movie is done in the dark, and so the visuals are never very dynamic.  The picture is as good as you would expect from a low-budget, indie film, and won’t attract much attention.  It can be forgiven, but it can’t really be appreciated.

Audio – Done in 5.1 Surround, the audio quality of the disc is about as unremarkable as the video.  There are no audio options or language features on the disc, and, actually, there is no menu on the DVD at all, the film plays straightaway.  The balance between dialogue and background noise was pretty poor, and I kept having to adjust the volume for every different scene, but the music was fairly strong.

Extras – There are no special features on the DVD.

Final Thoughts

Rent It.  Ultimately, Road to the Well is a watchable thriller, but not much else.  It starts out bad, improves, and ends as only OK, so don’t expect much out of this dark drama other than a story that gets better as the action progresses, but never really becomes anything wonderful.  It’s an amateur attempt at, well, something, although it’s difficult to determine exactly what.  A little funny, a bit edgy, featuring a couple well-acted scenes; you won’t hear me heaping compliments on this film, but I also can’t tear it to shreds.  The video was throwaway, as was the audio, and there aren’t any extras on the disc, so look elsewhere for outstanding technical aspects.  Watch if you’re intrigued, but don’t get too excited.

☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Never Open the Door

Category : DVD Review

Director: Vito Trabucco

Starring: Jessica Sonneborn, Deborah Venegas, Kristina Page

Matt Aidan, Mike Wood, George Troester, Steven Richards

Year: 2014

Never Open the Door plays like an hour-long Twilight Zone episode, and to anyone who has enjoyed that classic show or the variety of more-modern remakes, you know that to be a fine compliment to this film.  For only lasting 60 minutes, for being shot completely in black & white, for including only minimal characters, and for obviously being quite low budget, this movie displays a surprising amount of homage to the old style, all without completely ripping it off either.  My favorite Twilight Zone episodes were the original and the redo of the man on the airplane who could see a monster attacking the wing, though no one would believe him, starring William Shatner and John Lithgow, respectively.  Never Open the Door isn’t exactly done in that same style, it’s more vampirish than impish, but it comes with the same mood and it leaves the same impact of entertainment.

The Movie

Three couples come together in a cabin for the weekend, a reunion of sorts and a celebration of their friendship.  Luke and Maria are married, he a businessman/budding politician, she is lovely wife.  Isaac and Angel are engaged, but just haven’t exactly decided on the date quite yet.  Terrance and Tess aren’t really a couple, though Terrance would like them to be, and will be contended with teasing her about her job as a veterinarian and trying to make her guilty for not wanting to hook up.  At a lovely holiday dinner party, the six friends from college will share their news, present each other with quaint announcements, harass one another the way only long-time friends can, and will generally have a festive evening.

But, of course, that can’t last long, not in a movie like this, and everything will be ruined in the blink of an eye and a spray of fresh blood.  A violent knock at the door prompts some apprehension, and opening it reveals an injured stranger.  He vomits blood on Tess, collapses in the foyer, and then dies, right after uttering a warning not to open the door.  Well, more knocks are then heard outside, with voices varying from that of a little girl to that of the devil himself.  Needless to say, while Tess is upstairs cleaning up, the remaining friends keep the door closed and fret about what to do next.  They will soon find out that indoors isn’t that much safer, as Tess is undergoing some sort of demonic change, and will soon be seeking a few victims.

There’s something about Never Open the Door that should please aficionados of this genre, or rather multiple somethings, starting with the general mood and moving on to the correct injection of smart details.  First of all, shooting the film in black & white was genius, and lent the entire project a classic feel.  That might sound too simple, just eliminating color, hoping that would be enough to transport us back into the past.  But never underestimate our sensory memory, just seeing a film made in this way can be enough to shift us back a few decades.  It was a nice choice, a smart way in which to work, and I applaud the director for making what seems in hindsight to be a no-brainer of a decision.

More worked as well, it wasn’t just the gray gimmick that made the film.  At only an hour, there was never time for the action to turn stale, for the audience to lose interest.  A bit of blood, a flash of boobs; enough of the genre standards were tossed in to make us feel at home.  And the actors were all invested, none of them coming across as pretty faces in a horror flick.  Rather, they seemed like a troupe that had worked together before, knew their own strengths and weaknesses, meshed as a unit.  Some of the jokes, especially early on, were a touch silly, I didn’t really become invested until about halfway through, and no one will be calling this movie the original work of the century.  But there’s enough here to latch onto, to enjoy, especially if you take it with a grain of salt.

The Blu-ray

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and shot all in black & white, the video quality of Never Open the Door is about as high as a creepy classic transferred to a DVD, which isn’t really a problem, instead just adding to the nostalgia of the style.  For a low-budget horror flick, I’ve seen worse picture quality.

Audio – There are no audio options, choices, or details available on the disc.  The sound quality is unremarkable, but does rely on some tense, dated music to set the tone of the evening, something that can be noted in the film’s favor.

Extras – The special features are where any technical aspects of the movie will be noticed.  The first extra is a trailer for the film.  Also, there are three interview segments: a conversation with actress Jessica Sonneborn, a conversation with director Vito Trabucco, and a conversation with producer Christopher Maltauro.  Lastly, there is a photo gallery accompaniment and a 6-mintute tribute featurette dedicated to Maggie, a makeup artist who died shortly after the film was completed.

Final Thoughts

Recommended.  This is definitely a film for those who already love the genre, the style, the originals, the late-night horror flicks that scared you as a child when you were up watching something you shouldn’t have been.  But there is quality here that’s actually a little surprising, a strong enough nod but with a touch of clever film-making that saves it from becoming something completely recycled.  I actually really enjoyed actor Mike Wood as Luke; he reminded me of a young, funny, awkward, semi-evil version of Wallace Shawn, with a thick-lipped grin that was at once lovable and loathsome.  Anyway, the movie is an hour long, people die in ways that make only a little sense, but everything is in the name of fun, so it’s easy to forgive and hard to fault.  The video is OK, the audio is fine, there are a few extras, but don’t look to this film for any mind-blowing technical details.  Come for a good throwback and stay for a few gross outs, just don’t expect much else.

☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – The Intervention

Category : DVD Review

Director: Clea DuVall

Starring: Melanie Lynskey, Jason Ritter, Natasha Lyonne

Clea DuVall, Ben Schwartz, Alia Shawkat, Vincent Piazza, Cobie Smulders

Year: 2016

Perhaps the only independently intelligent thing director Clea DeVall did when filming her debut was to cast Melanie Lynskey as the hands-down lead.  Not only is Lynskey the central figure to the story in many ways, she’s also the most talented actor in the bunch and the most capable of taking the entire project onto her shoulders.  That the film required heavy lifting was apparent from the very beginning, and without her, it would have fallen flat on its recycled face.  DuVall isn’t actually even a director, she’s a mediocre actress who specializes in bit parts and bad movies.  So, look to one figure and one figure only when the film as a whole doesn’t (surprisingly) go completely down in flames.  Lynskey runs around putting out fires, both in the plot and out, the cast as an entity is at least likable, and that classic, Big Chill vibe is in full force during The Intervention, a movie that probably shouldn’t have been made but I guess didn’t turn out too terrible.

The Movie

Seven friends, and a Plus One, organize and gather for a reunion at a large, family owned estate in the country where they spent many a happy day, albeit an increasing number of years ago.  Annie is the instigator, a fun-loving “social drinker” who is engaged but never can seem to set a date.  Her fiancee is Matt, a sensitive type, a man who definitely wants kids and a family.  Then there’s married duo Peter & Ruby, a high-stress power couple with large amounts of anxiety and cynicism.  We also have Jessie, Ruby’s sister, along with her long-term girlfriend Sarah.  Rounding out the group is free spirit Jack who has brought much-younger Lola into the fold for the party.  The gang’s all here for a weekend in the country, so exciting that you’ll have to lie down, and don’t think that a little thing like a decade will be enough to fog the memories of this eclectic bunch.

Actually, Annie had an ulterior motive when planning this reunion.  Acting as the leader, but with support from many of the others, she has formed a sort of intervention in order to broach a painful subject.  The friends believe that Peter and Ruby’s marriage is toxic, that they are no longer happy, that it would be best for everyone involved if they would just get a divorce.  Sure there are kids involved, money matters, it would be pretty heartbreaking, but the majority feel that the happiness of their besties is at stake, and that desperate times call for desperate measures.  You can be assured that this little stage show will not go over well, and that’s only if it ever gets brought up at all, since Annie is often too drunk to remember to start the ball rolling, while Jessie has no idea how to confront her sister about her lack of marital bliss.  Well, it’s going to be an interesting three days.

Melanie Lynskey can’t actually be said to steal the show, because I think Clea DuVall might have gone to her secretly and asked her to please save her.  DuVall clearly didn’t know what she was doing, and Lynskey stepped up to the plate to not exactly hit the ball out of the park, but at least to draw a walk and keep the inning going.  If you can’t tell, I already love Lynskey from previous experience, namely Happy Christmas and other bit parts in which she absolutely shone.  She’s a Kiwi, though with her ability with accents, you’d never even know, and that talent allows her to go anywhere, be anyone.  Lynskey really is a special actor, someone to keep an eye on wherever they happen to pop up.  She took over The Intervention, made the film about herself, and we really ought to thank her for that, since otherwise I think we would have gotten a complete mess.

The film was definitely a Big Chill knockoff, which isn’t exactly to its discredit, since many have tried before to copy that timeless movie, to varying degrees of success.  Beside Still Waters is one that worked, About Alex is one that didn’t quite as much, but filmmakers are constantly trying, because they know that there’s a formula available if you can just tap into it.  Clea DuVall tries here, and does well enough writing/directing/starring, her best idea being to get out of the way, to let the story tell itself, to let Lynskey be the star.  Still, the film isn’t wonderful, it’s rather a good remake of a standard premise, complete with the old gang, the old problems, a weekend away, drinking, kissing, making decisions, and ultimately changing paths.  We like watching that plot, to a certain extent, and are willing to forgive a few flaws, which The Intervention sure has, so there’s something here to cling to, if not something that will hold you for very long.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 (Widescreen 16×9), the video quality of the film is fine enough not to notice, not strong enough to impress.  Most scenes were shot in bright light using a lot of color, allowing the characters to demand the attention, not the visuals.  Most action was set in or near the house, so there weren’t a ton of scenes that stand out as visually important.

Audio – The disc was done in English 5.1 Dolby Digital, with an option of Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital.  Subtitles are available in English, Spanish, and French.  The audio quality, like the video, is completely unimportant.  The sound quality is fine as far as balance is concerned, but I can’t remember a single song in the background, and there’s no score to speak of either.

Extras – There are only two special features on the DVD: a Tegan & Sara music video and the film’s Blooper Reel.

Final Thoughts

Recommended.  I was surprised that Natasha Lyonne wasn’t utilized in this film more, given that she’s probably the biggest name, since her OITNB role took off.  But I can’t complain that Melanie Lynskey stood in the spotlight for the majority, with the other characters swirling around her.  She was up to the task, which can’t really be said for the director, the result being an average movie with one great actress and a base that, although it’s been recycled many times, always has a place in our hearts.  The video and audio aren’t impressive, neither are the extras, so the technical aspects of this film won’t stand out, but they probably were never meant to.  The story is what’s important, it’s fairly enjoyable, but the movie as a whole is only OK, never wonderful.  The Intervention is a mediocre Big Chill carbon copy, but its lack of success won’t stop us from watching the next one to come along.

☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Last Girl Standing

Category : DVD Review

Director: Benjamin R. Moody

Starring: Akasha Villalobos, Brian Villalobos

Year: 2015

Joey from Friends once said that if two actors have chemistry, it’s because they haven’t had sex yet.  If they have no chemistry at all, it’s because they’ve already done it.  The passion of anticipation builds the heat, and when there’s no more pressure, there’s no more on-stage spark.  That silly theory fits well here, as the two main characters of Last Girl Standing have no chemistry whatsoever and are, in real life, a married couple.  I guess that’s the problem with acting on screen or on stage with your significant other; no matter how wonderful your relationship might be off camera, it’s hard to show that to audiences in the way two young potential lovers can, or with as much fervor.  Anyway, that’s only a small part of what’s wrong with this film, it just struck me as interesting.  You know what didn’t?  The rest of the movie.

The Movie

A be-masked and be-horned crazed killer of the woods called the Hunter goes on a campy rampage that ends as all campy rampages end; with every single weekend trekker dead except one attractive female, who somehow kills the monster with her wits and escapes relatively unharmed.  That’s exactly how it happens for Camryn, as all her friends end up kabobbed but she leaves the bloody campsite with her life.  The experience will scar her forever though, and moving on past the horrific events will not be easy.  The Hunter makes all the papers, sparks legends, grows in terror, and Camryn may never really escape the specter of that evil man or what was done in the that forest what feels like years ago and somehow nightmarishly recent.

Attempting to move on, our sad survivor gets a job at a dry cleaner’s, works hard, keeps to herself, lives alone, and tries to forget.  But that’s nearly impossible, and the killer still haunts her dreams.  He even begins to haunt her days, whether in reality or not we can’t be sure.  Camryn thinks he’s back, that somehow he’s risen from his grave to claim his last victim.  But no one else has actually seen him, so maybe she’s freaking just freaking the freak out.  A new employee named Nick seems sympathetic, and even introduces her to his gang of friends, some young folk who don’t mind including her into their group.  What they have welcomed along with Camryn is undefined; demons, ghosts, a secret past, and perhaps a very real and dangerous present.

The introduction to this film was good enough, and is deserving of a small nod before we move on to all that was wrong with all the rest.  These images are all from the first five minutes when all the action happens, when the background is established, and when the film plays upon its traditional horror roots.  The idea behind the movie is that we’ll see what happens after the credits roll, what goes on in the psyches of victims after tragic events.  It that way, there’s a bit of a message here, a small amount of critique on abuse and trauma and recovery, so give credit to Moody for directing/writing something with a touch of depth.  The film begins bloody and well, there’s a small amount of moral, so all is off to a good start.

But that’s literally where the positives end, about 10 minutes into the movie.  From then on, it’s mostly boring and mostly bad.  The boring is any scene in which Camryn is scared or defensive, and that’s about every one.  She mainly worries about the Hunter, sees him, he chases her around, and then she wonders if it was real.  That schtick gets quite old quite fast, and makes up way too much of the action of the film.  The bad is any scene in which actors have to interact, because none of them really can.  All the characters are terribly written, and their actors don’t help them out much, especially the wedded leads.  They bring nothing to the camera, don’t mesh on screen, and drop the proverbial ball.  There’s a little more story/twist at the end, but by then I had totally checked out.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, the video quality of this film is not only forgettable, but probably ought to be ignored.  It’s rather poor really, which isn’t exactly shocking, given that the movie is a low-budget horror flick, but the picture just isn’t strong enough and needs to be completely forgiven by audiences so that it doesn’t become a distraction.

Audio – The DVD was done in 5.1 English Dolby Digital, with an option of 2.0 Stereo.  In this menu, commentary can be accessed, from either writer-director Ben Moody and producer Rachel Moody or from writer-director Ben Moody and actors Akasha Villalobos & Danielle Evon Ploeger.  Also, there are subtitles available in English SDH.  The audio quality is only a step better than the video; unremarkable rather than bad.

Extras – There are a few quick, self-explanatory special features on the disc if you’re thirsty for more: Making Of, Gag Reel, Fight Rehearsals, Hunter Test Footage, Set Tour, and a Trailer for the film.

Final Thoughts

Rent It.  A good idea does not a good movie make, and this film is either a dull or shining example of that concept, depending on which way you want to look at it.  What happens after the killing spree, how do the survivors move on, and what does this melodrama have to say about real trauma; these are interesting questions, but unfortunately this film didn’t have to skill to answer them in the way they deserved.  It asked the questions, but I wish someone else had taken a stab at addressing them, pun intended.  As it is, this movie becomes something that can probably be completely ignored, even though it isn’t completely terrible.  The video is pretty poor, the audio not much better, and there are a few extras if you’re interested.  I can’t say “run away” but I also can’t manage much more than “it’s not the worst thing ever”, so take that as you will and probably don’t take this movie at all.

☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – A Man Called Ove

Category : DVD Review

Director: Hannes Holm

Starring: Rolf Lassgard, Bahar Pars, Filip Berg

Year: 2015

With a website called Archer Avenue, it isn’t hard to guess that my favorite film is The Royal Tenenbaums.  Apart from some genius directing from Wes Anderson and the creation of a fantastic world that is like our own only much better, the film is a wonder of story and characters, a look at family and death from a viewpoint that’s both original and beautiful.  A Man Called Ove is, in a strange way, the Swedish equivalent of Tenenbaums, the revelation of the good inside a bitter old man and the painting of a world around him that may not be perfect, but is full of the love and companionship he’s been searching for his whole life.  No movie is going to reach the heights of my favorite of all time, but Ove at least makes a leaping attempt, and manages to touch rarefied air.

The Movie

Ove is a lonely man living on a quiet block, someone who abides by the rules and expects others to as well.  He has worked at the same rail yard for years, visits his wife’s grave every day, and spends his free time checking garage locks, rattling chains, and screaming at motorists who dare to use the bike-only paths.  Ove is unhappy, and his temper is only going to get worse after he is forced into retirement by the hated whiteshirts of his company, a group of young, snide, pencil-pushers who think they control the world.  At the end of his rope figuratively, Ove decides to make it literal and hang himself, hastening the end and allowing him to be with his beloved wife Sonja once again.  But sometimes even your own death doesn’t go as planned.

Blocked at every turn, and annoyed with life anew by a family of gregarious neighbors, Ove finds himself drawn back into the world he wishes to leave behind by task after task that needs completing before he can come to peace with things and finally let go.  As he begins a reluctant relationship with Persian emigrant Parvaneh and her family, Ove opens up like he never has before, revealing his past and those in it who made him who he is today.  We see the man as a boy, the father who he loved, the woman who he fell for, and the life that he had made for himself, before death met him at every turn.  Now death has come for Ove, or has it?  Has life come in its place, and will living have more promise than he could have imagined?

Why this movie works so well could be an entire cinema study course that becomes a requirement of incoming students.  I didn’t go to film school, I admittedly lack knowledge in many areas, but sometimes a movie just feels right, and attempting to figure out why Ove falls into that category could be a fun way to spend a semester.  The grumpy man, the new family next door, the sad past, the lessons learned, even the healing kitty; these elements standing alone seem cheesy beyond description, but somehow they come together to create magic, and how you pull this film out of your hat I don’t think I’ll ever fully comprehend.  What stands out to me though is the movie’s honesty, it’s quirky humor sure, but it’s believability about all, the way it can take standard themes and make it seem like we’re learning about life for the first time.

Rolf Lassgard as Ove was incredible, and Filip Berg as the younger Ove no less so, as the pair of them brought the character to life and gave him impressive depth in a way that not enough Hollywood features even attempt.  The side actors were all solid, the setting of Swedish suburbs was perfect, and then the flashbacks just brought everything to life.  I’m not always a fan of flashbacks, but here they were basically molded into a second film that overlapped the first, allowing audiences to go back and forth, enjoying each separately.  The way they melted together was where the magic happened, creating a multi-layered story that was both sorrowful and hopeful.  Like Tenenbaums in its presentation of a flawed hero and the toll that simply living has taken on him, Ove is a film that gets it, whatever “it” is, and furthermore knows how to share it with us without our even seeing clearly what we receive.  It’s feeling rather than material, and this movie strikes the right chords at the right times, becoming something great.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the video quality of the film is quite strong, allowing every beautiful scene to come to life to its fullest extent.  The cinematography isn’t mind-blowing, but the picture quality is high enough and the movie is shot well enough that the visuals can be enjoyed, without their becoming a focal point.

Audio – The DVD was done in 5.1 Swedish Dolby Digital, with an option of 2.0 Swedish Dolby Digital.  Subtitles can be selected in either English or Swedish.  There is some solid background music to set the scene, but otherwise the audio takes a page out of the video’s book and gets out of the way so that the story can tell itself, unhindered by our attention veering to technical aspects.

Extras – There are a few special features on the disc, if you want to see even more.  The Ove In Us All is a 15-minute featurette including talks with Hannes Holm, Rolf Lassgard, and Bahar Pars.  Director and Cast Q&A at Scandinavian House NYC is a 21-minute question and answer panel with the team behind the film.  There are two galleries to choose from: makeup and time lapse.  And lastly, there is a theatrical trailer for the film.

Final Thoughts

DVD Talk Collector Series.  Judging by my list, A Man Called Ove will battle The Handmaiden for the title of Best Foreign Film of 2016, and should even be considered for Best Picture, although I know that’s not how it works.  In my book though, Ove is one of the few amazing films of the year, something special that I did not see coming, something typical and original at the same time, something I’m glad I watched.  This Swedish gem can be enjoyed by so many audiences, it doesn’t necessitate someone who loves art house or who can sit through hours of subtitled dramatics.  It’s rather simpler than that; this is a good movie.  It has heart and heartbreak, but so does life, and I’ve rarely seen honest emotion brought to life like this.  The video and the audio fall to the background, there are a few extras to enjoy, but the technical parts of this film won’t impress.  What will is a the story, the feeling behind it, some clever filmmaking, and that special little something that’s as undefinable as it is hard to capture, reproduce, to bring into our lives; be thankful that Ove somehow managed the near-impossible.

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Little Men

Category : DVD Review

Director: Ira Sachs

Starring: Theo Taplitz, Michael Barbieri, Greg Kinnear

Year: 2016

Ira Sachs’ last film was 2014’s Love is Strange, a New York romance with a twist; the couple in the spotlight was a pair of old, gay men.  That didn’t stop it from being an excellent film; on the contrary, it was refreshing to see that a love story can feel just as natural focused on two men instead of a man and a woman, two older characters instead of Hollywood’s ‘it couple’ of the hour.  In many ways that was the point of the movie; that love happens where it happens, that the more we understand the more we become used to it the more we don’t question or judge.  Sachs made the entire story seem commonplace in a very refreshing way, every day in a manner that taught us a resounding lesson.  He tries again with Little Men, tries to take a quiet plot and make it speak loudly with its depth, something that I think worked for him before, but doesn’t come across the same way twice in a row.

The Movie

Jake Jardin is a middle-schooler, an only child, and an artist, living in Manhattan with his psychiatrist mother and his actor father.  His mother pays the bills while his father tries to get something going at an off-Broadway theatre, a mission that has yet to be successful.  Jake’s a good kid, a quiet boy, someone who loves drawing and doesn’t have a ton of friends.  But his life will change when his grandfather dies, even though his family was never close to the man.  He did leave them an apartment in Brooklyn, with an attached shop on the ground floor that houses a quaint dress shop and provides some rent money.  So, to cut costs, Jake and his parents move to Brooklyn, making some of the grandfather’s affairs their own, unfortunately.

The woman who runs the shop downstairs was friends with Jake’s grandfather, allowing her to rent the space at an extremely discounted rate.  With a new family living upstairs and owning the building, her peaceful life is no more, and she’ll have to talk business with near-strangers.  Meanwhile, Jake becomes fast friends with her son Tony, an outgoing boy who wants to be an actor, a tough, soccer-playing Chilean/Italian who is everything Jake isn’t.  But the two fit somehow, complimenting one another, and their friendship is quick to set.  The stressful situation between their parents over money matters doesn’t help though, nor does the chance that the next school year will find them heading in different directions, down separate paths toward adulthood.

In attempting to speak softly and to make subtle points, Little Men missed an opportunity to be heard and to make an impact.  Its message was too quiet, too every day, too gentle, and became not only easy to miss but likely to miss as well.  Even for those who enjoy Sachs’ other films and who are looking to enjoy this one as well, the points slide smoothly away before we can grasp them, or as least don’t glitter enough for us to stick our hands down into the cold water to touch.  Were audiences desirous to love this film, the pace, action, and lack of punches might still turn them away, as the movie fails to grab you even if you want to be grabbed.  I came in knowing that the morals would be soft-spoken, and still could not appreciate that fact.

Unfortunately, apart from blaming the director for a bit too little influence and pressure on the story, I blame the two boys for not winning anyone over and not being able to carry the film upon their backs.  They should not have been asked too, that was part of the problem, Sachs needed a heavier hand, but they were called upon a ton and were not able to answer back.  Taplitz as Jake was awful, or at least without effect, delivering a one-note performance that wasn’t even good enough to be called amateur.  His counterpart, Tony, was better, more vibrant, but still a kid trying to act, not an actor yet.  The adults were fine, but again, there wasn’t enough to hold on to to make this film or anything about it entertaining, impactful, or interesting.  I respect the desire to let a plot speak for itself, to not bludgeon audiences with dramatics until we are force fed, to deliver a simple story that mirrors real life in a way we don’t see often enough from Hollywood features.  But while Little Men did these things and did them well, it’s voice was so soft it often went unheard, and that’s a pity.

The DVD

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.66:1, the video was completely forgettable.  It stood out as much as the story did, which is to say not at all.  The quality as fine, but unremarkable, with no focus on clarity or cinematography.  The film had an ultra-realistic feel, and that’s fine, that’s a style, but it’s also not something that will make your picture pop.

Audio – The DVD was done in English 5.1 Dolby Digital, with an option of subtitles in Spanish or English SDH.  Once again, the audio like the video was a technical aspect that was overlooked by the filmmaker and so can be overlooked by audiences as well.  No special attention was paid to the sound or sound quality, letting it disappear unnoticed.

Extras – There are a few special features on this disc, if you’re thirsty for more.  The Making of Little Men is a 20-minute behind-the-scenes and interview segment.  Casting Session: “Tony” (Michael Barbieri) is a 4-minute reading by the actor.  Casting Session: “Jake” (Theo Taplitz) is a 6-minute test of the kid.  And there are three trailers available: Little Men, Lo and Behold, The Wave.

Final Thoughts

Recommended.  I wish that this film had spoken up, which I know is a theme I keep returning to, but that’s about the only thing that impressed me about the movie; that it could have been better were it to have been louder.  I understand the subtle way in which the story was told, but that subtlety went too far, became an affectation instead of a tool, and I can only imagine the heights this film could have reached were it to have allowed itself to run free.  Sachs held the reins to tightly, but then also didn’t watch where he was going, allowing his actors to trot along without ever really getting anywhere.  The video, audio, and extras are all boring at best, and the film as a whole could be called the same.  Watchable yes, but lovable no, as Little Men fails to force us to watch, when, sadly, there is much here that should be seen.

☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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DVD Review – Men Go to Battle

Category : DVD Review

Director: Zachary Treitz

Starring: Timothy Morton, David Maloney, Rachel Korine

Year: 2015

While Men Go to Battle is a major step up from other, low-budget, Western-style, dramatic history lessons, its ladder only reaches so high, without the length to become an actual, solid, notable, memorable, big boy feature film.  Director Zachary Treitz takes his first stab at a full-on movie with this period piece, and there’s potential there if you’re willing to look for it.  He has an eye for the subtle moment, but too many subtleties only make a long evening, and his film definitely feels longer than its 90 minutes.  He’s just getting his feet wet, as are the stars of his project, so a few missteps are understandable and acceptable.  Keep this director in mind, check back on him in a movie or two, and you just might stumble across a gem.

The Movie

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Kentucky, 1861, and the beginning of the Civil War promises a quick end to a simple disagreement.  For most folk, the war is distant, something brewing beyond the horizon but not something that has any immediate impact other than worrying that your slaves might get a bit uppity.  Such are the lives of the Kentucky farmers, including brothers Henry and Francis Mellon.  They aren’t wealthy enough to have any slaves or local clout; hell, they can barely scrape together a living on their small farm and can barely put in enough work to keep half of it in crop.  Francis is the wheeler, the dealer, the talker, and the money-spender, while Henry remains quiet and subdued, a simple man in troubling times.

A strange night with a few odd incidents will be enough to disrupt this pair of brothers and to send them off in their own separate directions.  A playful, drunken brawl by the fire one evening leads to an injury to Henry’s hand, which then requires a trip to town to see the doctor.  At a party hosted by the leader of the town, Henry, still inebriated, risks a conversation with the beautiful Betsy Small, a young woman who could not possibly be more out of his league.  The close confines of his own home, the failing farm, the injury, the spurning; it’s all too much for Henry and he disappears into the night.  When word reaches Francis that his brother joined the army, the two begin a correspondence that reveals the many sides of this historic time.

mengotobattle4

Good try.  And although that can be such a condescending phrase, I don’t mean it to be here.  No, I mean it literally; this film is a good try at a cool genre, if not exactly a complete success through and through.  It takes the harshness of the Western, bleeds it into the Civil War, pits brother against brother, doesn’t cover up the many harsh realities of the time, and never attempts to touch on every subject, an endeavor that would have been futile.  The simplicity of the farm and its inhabitants, their neighboring town, the everyone-knows-everyone mentality; that’s all captured very well, and shows that this director does have promise, that he can envision how to say what he wants to say, even if he can’t speak eloquently quite yet.

But now to the bad tries, because there were plenty of those as well.  The film definitely has an indie air, and while there’s nothing wrong with that, there are times that feel decidedly dad-with-a-camcorder.  There are some quality issues, especially with the weird night vision scenes, that make it too obvious that there was absolutely no money at hand to produce this movie.  The acting is another issue, one that needed addressing across the board, really, as the entire cast was indie actors doing the best they could.  Again, nothing inherently wrong with that, it just eventually became a distraction.  If someone got a hold of this film in the future, tried it again with more money and a different cast, there’s a chance that magic might be lurking just beneath the surface.

The DVD

mengotobattle3

Video – With an aspect ratio of 1.66:1 Widescreen, the video quality of this film is not something that will elicit any praise.  It’s very low-budget, especially any scene in low light, and feels it every step of the way.  There are a few very nice visuals, especially centering on the War itself, but otherwise it was someone with a camera in a farmyard.

Audio – The DVD was done in 5.1 Surround, with an option of 2.0 Dolby Digital.  The film can also be played with a director and cast commentary track.  There are no language or subtitle choices.  The sound quality is as lackluster as the picture, with ‘indie’ written all over it.

Extras – There are a few special features on the disc.  Operation Commando is a 20-minute short film, a story of two brothers on opposite sides of a summer camp war game.  Deleted Scenes and Outtakes can be accessed here.  There are seven trailers available: Men Go to Battle, Neither Heaven Nor Earth, Schneider vs. Bax, Ugly Dirty and Bad, The Automatic Hate, Take Me to the River, The Quiet Earth.  And there is a paragraph of information about Film Movement for your reading pleasure.

Final Thoughts

mengotobattle1

RecommendedMen Go to Battle plays a little like Cold Mountain, but without the major romance story.  There’s even a scene where Henry stays with a woman and her children, a sad scene that speaks of the losses on both sides during the war.  It’s very similar to a scene with Jude Law and Natalie Portman, and there’s definitely some copying going on in regards to leaving home, missing home, coming home.  But, and I keep saying this, these negatives aren’t really to the film’s discredit, not incredibly anyway, as this movie is a good attempt at what other, bigger productions have pulled off before and this little guy is trying to accomplish.  That it isn’t perfect is expected, so there’s only so much you can criticize it.  The video is understandably poor, the audio forgettable, but there are a few extras on the disc if you want more.  Overall, a film to remember only if its pieces go on to do greater things.

☆ ☆ ☆ – Content

☆ ☆ – Video

☆ ☆ – Audio

☆ ☆ ☆ – Extras

☆ ☆ – Replay

 

 

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