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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Action > Mystery > Science Fiction > Relationships > Mumblecore > Safety Not Guaranteed (2012/Sony Blu-ray)/Your Sister’s Sister (2010/IFC/MPI Blu-ray)

Safety Not Guaranteed (2012/Sony Blu-ray)/Your Sister’s Sister (2010/IFC/MPI Blu-ray)


Picture: B-/C+     Sound: B-     Extras: C+     Films: C+



The Duplass Brothers are doing everything to get involved with filmmaking, but will they survive?  Here are two mumblecore indie comedies with some drama that feature Mark Duplass playing two sides of the same kind of character.



In Colin Trevorrow’s Safety Not Guaranteed (2012) is an ambitious comedy about a trio of young magazine writers (Aubrey Plaza, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni) decide to investigate an ad where the man claims to be able to time travel, claims to have already done it, would anyone join him, bring their own weapons and of course, says the title!  He is played by Duplass.


From the producers of the overrated Little Miss Sunshine, I thought this was at least as good a script and film, plus had more surprise laughs throughout that were from authentically funny places than most comedies of any kind I have seen lately, but as an overall story, it runs into trouble despite some fine casting, fine acting and solid moments.  Worst of all it’s the ending, which has so many problems and issues that it would take a separate essay to explain why, but it ruins what did work and when you think about it, is very bad.


Still, this is the best work with the Duplass name to date and I have a feeling we’ll be seeing these actors again soon.  Extras include two featurettes: A Movie Making Mission and The Ad Behind The Movie.



In Lynn Shelton’s Your Sister’s Sister (2010), Duplass is a friend of one young lady (Emily Blunt) who gets stuck at work, so he goes and visits her sister (the underrated Rosemary DeWitt) who he gets very physically involved and neither of them want the sister to know.  Of course, she shows up early and unexpectedly, leaving them spending time together at her isolated place and the inevitable suppressed feelings and truths surface.


The trick is how they do so.  The casting is again good and I’ve liked Blunt very much for a while, DeWitt is a perfect match and Duplass plays the guy in the middle as a goof off the bat in an early scene where he is drunk after his brother dies and becomes extremely inappropriate in a remembrance at the beginning.  As a result, we have seen more than some of this before and this is less funny than the other film, but I liked how honestly ambitious it was, though still a mumblecore film.


It is just it cannot deliver much more despite another good cast as the script has some dialogue that gets silly and it does not add up either when all is said and done.  So Duplass has a future in acting, but can he get past formula storytelling?  Can he get past mumblecore and clichés?  We’ll see.


Extras include a trailer and two feature-length audio commentary tracks, one by Shelton & Duplass, the other by Cast & Crew.



The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Safety is a little better than the 1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Safety, both with some good shots, but Sister has more noise throughout and its color spectrum is a little more limited.  Both were shot in HD and I cannot imagine either looking much better, but Sister can be a trying viewing experience.


The DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mixes on both Blu-rays can have some surround moments, but also have more than their share of dialogue, talking heads and jokes, so it can be warm but also have a location audio sound feel, which is sometimes intended.  That means sound towards the front speakers, but again, I don’t think these could sound much better and are professionally well recorded for the most part, with music being a major factor in the surrounds when they kick in.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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