Good Will Hunting (1997/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Lake
Effects (2011/Anchor Bay DVD)/A Separation (2011)/Think Like A Man (2012/Sony Blu-rays)
B/C/B-/B- Sound: C+/C/B-/B- Extras: B/D/B-/C Films: B/D/B-/C
because something is sold as a drama does not mean we need to get serious and
like it, comedy aside or not. I was
reminded of this watching the latest set of such releases.
one hand you have Gus Van Sant’s still enduring Good Will Hunting (1997) which gave Robin Williams his Supporting
Actor Oscar and Ben Affleck and Matt Damon (who co-star) their only Academy
Awards to date, but as writers. A hit
for Miramax, it is the latest of the better title sin that catalog coming out
from Lionsgate on Blu-ray. They play
best friends (with their own group) in Boston
as street guys who are getting older.
Damon is a janitor at a college, but has personal issues and is actually
gets the attention of a math teacher (Stellan Skarsgard) and from there, things
start to happen that might change his life forever, including a potentially
serious relationship (Minnie Driver) and the film just gets better from
there. Hard to believe 15 years have
past since it was made (Van Sant sort of revisited the material with the
likeable Finding Forrester featuring
Sean Connery) and it reminds us of how good all involved can be when they are
working at their best. If you missed it
or have not seen it in a long time, it is worth revisiting.
include a new 4-Part Retrospective on the film and Matt Damon Remembers Good Will Hunting featurette, plus vintage
extras are also included, such as an Era
Of featurette, Cast & Crew Spotlight, A Winning Season featurette, Life
Goes On featurette, Production Featurette, 11 Deleted Scenes of interest
with Audio Commentary, Theatrical Trailer, Behind-The-Scenes Footage, a Music
Video, Academy Award Best Picture Montage and feature length audio commentary
track with Van Sant, Damon and Affleck.
other hand, we get Scottie Thompson, Madeline Zima, Jane Seymour, Ben Savage,
Casper Van Dien and Sean Patrick Flannery wasted in the corny, silly, dumb and
phony Michael J. McKay mess Lake Effects
(2011) about sisters (Thompson and Zima) who live separately and are brought
back by the death of their dad (Jeff Fahey) in a TV movie-like work that has
more clichés than Lifetime and Hallmark Channel’s fall schedules combined!
to “warm your heart” to the point that you might feel ill and this never feels
like anything realistic or honest. I
like many of the actors here, so it is especially disappointing to see them so
wasted in what is the nadir of many of their careers. You can try this one for yourself, but set
your expectations very, very, very low.
include Deleted Scenes that would not have helped and a Making Of featurette.
have the 2011 Best Foreign Film Academy Award Winner, Asghar Farhadi’s A Separation
(2011), which is a good film, but is really not much more than another divorce
drama despite being set in Iran. The performances are fine, the storyline
solid, but I did not think it was better than some other nominees in the
category and though it is worth your time (unless you are sick of the subject
of divorces), the tale of a woman who wants to leave her good husband and leave
his sick father behind is great at showing us three-dimensional human beings in
the highly restrictive country. Now you
can see for yourself.
include An Evening With Asghar Farhadi
featurette, Birth Of A Director
featurette and feature length audio commentary track by Farhadi.
we have Tim Story’s Think Like A Man
(2012), which is commercially historic for out-Tyler Perrying Perry’s recent
cycle of non-stop moneymakers, making a good bit of money in a relationship
comedy based on a book by comedian Steve Harvey who appears in the film selling
his book. I liked some of the cast,
including Regina Hall, Taraji P. Henson, Gabrielle Union and Kevin Hart, but it
is nothing we have not seen before and becomes formulaic very quickly.
it is a film about modern three-dimensional African Americans with energy and
that is why it was a hit, especially since we rarely still see such films and
Perry cannot deliver such a film, neither can the far more political Spike Lee
or the directors of the former Black New Wave who have given up as trying to
direct substantial films. It is worth
your time if you are really interested, but I was not as impressed.
include a Gag Reel and Deleted Scenes of interest, while the Blu-ray adds four exclusive
1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image on Hunting
has some grain, but is the best transfer here despite being the oldest release,
with a solid print and decent color and detail throughout, while the same on Separation is softer, styled down and
has some motion blur and slight detail issues.
The 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Man also has some of those same
problems, but not as dull and without limiting the color scale.
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on Separation and Man may
not have consistent soundfields and not be the best mixes, but they are the
best soundtracks here, leaving the same mix on Hunting too quiet, too much towards the front speakers and in the
center channel and sounding at least second generation. The lossy Dolby Digital 5.1 on Lake still
manages to be worse with too much of the sound coming through the center
channel, a lack of surrounds and generally a very weak presentation.
- Nicholas Sheffo