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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Biography > Running With Scissors (Blu-ray)

Running With Scissors (Blu-ray)

 

Picture: B†††† Sound: B†††† Extras: C†††† Film: B-

 

 

Trying again to recreate the feel of American Beauty, newcomer director Ryan Murphy has adapted Augusten Burroughs autobiographic book Running With Scissors into a comedy/drama with profound implications and quirky characters.The most explicit manifestation of this is having Annette Bening playing another mother gone wild, this time a seemingly loving one who becomes so self-centered that she finds everything in her life disposable, including her son Augusten (Joseph Cross), who she leaves at the crazy house of her not so sane therapist (Brian Cox).

 

There he is stuck with his animal food eating wife (Jill Clayburgh), and two daughters (Evan Rachel Wood and Gwyneth Paltrow) who each have their own issues.His good for nothing father (Alec Baldwin) is no help and it takes a suicidal loner (Joseph Fiennes) to help him make a connection and discover his sexuality.Some may consider it Wes Anderson-lite, but that misses what did work.

 

The cast is very good, but the screenplay by Murphy is filled with limits, glitches and too much we have seen before to totally work, though many of the more important ideas get through.When Beningís character turns out unsurprisingly to be mentally ill, we, her performance and the script is not certain if it is Manic Depression, Schizophrenia or something else because that aspect of the film is dangerously underdeveloped.However, it is one of the better films of a very bad year and maybe Murphy will find his directorial voice next.We expect this will be a popular rental and sales title.

 

The 1080p 2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image was shot by Christopher Baffa in Super 35mm and though it looks new and is not bad, the colors are just too stylized too often, hurting depth and detail too much.If the attempt was to be in the mode of the 1970s, this does not look like Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the 1970s or any other city of that time.There are some visually compelling moments, but the makers overplay their hand.It did not seem as pronounced in 35mm print this critic saw either, for whatever reason.

 

The PCM 16/48 5.1 mix is not bad, but is centered too often towards the front like it was in theaters.This is obviously dialogue-based, but the use of songs form the 1970s do not always break through like they should.The usage is sometimes superfluous, though the use of Manfred Mannís 1976 chart-toping Blinded By The Light is classic.Too bad the film did not hit the nail on the head like that more often.

 

Extras include a piece on the set design, personal memoir by the writer and featurette on the cast titled Inside Outsiders that are all not bad.Like the film, however, the extras stop short.Ultimately, Running With Scissors is not the well-rounded success it should have been artistically or critically, but it is ambitious, has its moments and is worth a good look.

 

 

-†† Nicholas Sheffo


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