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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
George Nolfi
Cast:
Matt Damon, Emily Blunt, Florence Kastriner, Phyllis MacBryde, Natalie Carter, Chuck Scarborough, Jon Stewart
Writing Credits:
George Nolfi, Philip K. Dick (short story, "Adjustment Team")

Tagline:
Your Fate Has Been Adjusted.

Synopsis:
Academy Award® nominee Matt Damon stars in this action thriller about a man who glimpses the future Fate has planned for him – and chooses to fight for his own destiny. Battling the powerful Adjustment Bureau across, under and through the streets of New York, he risks his destined greatness to be with the only woman he's ever loved (Emily Blunt). Based on a story by the legendary Philip K. Dick, The Adjustment Bureau is “entertaining and thought-provoking”.

Box Office:
Budget
$50 million.
Opening Weekend
$21.157 million on 2840 screens.
Domestic Gross
$62.453 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 106 min.
Price: $29.95
Release Date: 6/21/2011

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director George Nolfi
• Deleted and Extended Scenes
• “Leaping Through New York” Featurette
• “Destined to Be” Featurette
• “Becoming Elise” Featurette
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 7, 2011)

For a take on a Philip K. Dick story, we head to 2011’s The Adjustment Bureau. The film starts in 2006, when New York Congressman David Norris (Matt Damon) runs for the US Senate. He loses the campaign but gains stature for the future when he gives his concession speech.

What makes this oratory so great? Before David gave it, he bumped into a lovely young woman named Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt). They established a connection and she encouraged him to speak from the heart and be less of a standard issue politician. David does this, and the result sets him up as a future contender.

David bumps into her again when he rides the bus to work. This time he gets her number and plans to formally woo her, but fate intervenes – literally. When David arrives at his office, he discovers all his co-workers frozen in place as a mysterious team mucks with them. Squad leader Richardson (John Slattery) explains that they’re from “The Adjustment Bureau”, a group that keeps humans on the right track. They came to the office to influence David’s partner Charlie’s (Michael Kelly) thoughts about a deal, but Richardson also warns David to stay away from Elise.

Richardson doesn’t explain why David and Elise need to stay separated, though the agent does his best to prevent a future connection when he destroys David’s copy of her phone number. Since David doesn’t know her last name, he possesses no method to contact her, though he rides the same bus for years in the hope he’d meet her again.

Fast-forward three years and David again stands as a front-runner for a Senate election. On that bus once more, he happens to spy Elise on the street and reconnects with her. This leads to the start of a real romance – and many more attempts from the Bureau to keep them away from each other. David won’t take “no” for an answer, and he struggles against fate to be with the love of his live.

One might enter Bureau with the expectation of an action thriller. One won’t get it, for while the movie occasionally indulges in that kind of material, it doesn’t embrace it. Even when we get to the film’s climax, it doesn’t deliver a lot of action pizzazz; the finale is exciting and fun but not exactly thrilling.

And that’s fine for me, as Bureau delivers a surprisingly warm and human take on its supernatural subject matter. Much of the credit goes to Damon and Blunt, as they demonstrate excellent chemistry. From minute one, we buy them as a couple and accept the “love at first sight” nature of their relationship. That’s hard to pull off, but we don’t question their bond for an instant. Since so much of the flick relies upon that factor, this becomes intensely important, so the effectiveness of the Damon/Blunt pairing goes a long way.

Damon’s an interesting actor because he’s not really particularly interesting. He’s not quirky or charismatic or intense, and he seems to play every role about the same way, which means he should be a bore by now.

But he’s not, and I suspect that’s because Damon delivers something that’s hard to fake: he seems genuine. We believe Damon in whatever role he adopts, and he adds a layer of humanity often absent from those quirky/charismatic/intense actors. This becomes especially crucial in Bureau due to the nature of the story. Sure, someone like Johnny Depp might be more fun to watch, but I’m not sure he’s allow us to buy into the conceit as well; Damon’s presence grounds the tale.

I do like the story that Bureau relates, and I appreciate the way it skirts with theological issues but leaves them on the periphery. It certainly sets up some philosophical elements and can provoke discussion, but it keeps its eye on its main characters, which I think is a good idea. We enter the bigger issues via the David/Elise relationship, so the movie never feels like some long-winded essay; it’s a good character piece with a bit more behind it.

As much as I like the story and construction of the narrative, though, I still think the Damon/Blunt pairing remains the main reason for the movie’s success. Lose them and we probably find ourselves detached from the outlandish story, but with those two involved, we embrace the tale and find it to be fun and involving.


The DVD Grades: Picture C/ Audio B-/ Bonus B-

The Adjustment Bureau appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Expect a pretty mediocre presentation here.

Sharpness was erratic. Close-ups demonstrated fairly good clarity and delineation, but wider shots tended to become soft and blocky. Mild edge haloes didn’t help, as they gave the movie a somewhat mushy look. Shimmering and jaggies were minor, and source flaws were almost non-existent; I saw a couple of small specks but nothing else.

The film’s palette usually opted for a chilly blue orientation; a few scenes went the amber path, but those were rare. Within that design range, the colors seemed fine; they weren’t especially strong, but they seemed acceptable. Blacks tended to be somewhat inky, and shadows could be a bit flat. This wasn’t an ugly image, but it was lackluster.

Don’t expect fireworks from the film’s Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. On the surface, Bureau would seem to be an action flick, but it’s really not; it’s more of a love story with the occasional flourish. This meant a mix heavy on music and general environmental material. When the track used the side or rear speakers, it was usually for score or material like street sounds or rain. Nothing memorable fleshed out the track; it fit the movie reasonably well but didn’t add much.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, and the score demonstrated pretty good vivacity. Effects did little to tax my system but they were clear and accurate enough. Overall, this ended up as a decent but unspectacular track.

We get a mix of extras here. These open with an audio commentary from writer/director George Nolfi. He provides a running, screen-specific look at the film’s development, story/adaptation topics, themes and tone, cast and performances, editing and music, effects, and other filmmaking areas.

Nolfi provides an efficient commentary. He gets into a good mix of appropriate topic and does so in an engaging way. He helps make this a strong chat.

Six Deleted and Extended Scenes run a total of seven minutes, one second. These include “Henderson Patronizes Richardson” (0:50), “David and Charlie in the Car” (0:41), “Henderson Offering Help” (0:31), “Additional Thompson Dialogue” (1:30), “Extended Cedar Lake Dancing” (2:27), and “Thompson Tells David to Walk Away” (1:02). “Lake” is easily the most boring of the bunch; it just shows more of Elise’s performance and does nothing to further the film. The two Henderson clips are fun, however, as they show the pressure that barely-seen character places on Richardson. The other two scenes simply add more from Thompson; they seem redundant, though we get some interesting thoughts about the Bureau’s influence from “Additional Dialogue”.

Three featurettes follow. Leaping Through New York lasts seven minutes, 37 seconds and offers remarks from Nolfi, producers Michael Hackett and Chris Moore, production designer Kevin Thompson, visual effects supervisor Mark Russell, and actors Matt Damon and Emily Blunt. As implied by the title, “Leaping” looks at shooting in New York and aspects of scenes set there. “Leaping” provides a quick but satisfying take on some of the challenges faced by the crew.

Destined to Be fills four minutes, 52 seconds with notes from Damon, Blunt, Nolfi, and actor Anthony Mackie. We hear about the lead cast and characters. This is little more than a promo reel that tells us about aspects of the movie.

Finally, Becoming Elise goes for seven minutes, seven seconds and features Blunt, Nolfi, Hackett, Damon, Moore, choreographer Benoit-Swan Pouffer, and producer Bill Carraro. The piece looks at Blunt’s training for the role and her performance. It provides a good take on the work Blunt did for the part.

The disc opens with ads for Paul, Blue Crush 2, Bring It On: The Musical, Universal Studios Hollywood, Jane Eyre, Scarface and The Eagle. Previews delivers promos for Green Zone, The Bourne Identity, The Good Shepherd, Public Enemies, Wanted, Focus Features, The Film Foundation and “Anywhere 4 U”. No trailer for Bureau shows up here.

Despite its action/sci-fi/thriller trappings, The Adjustment Bureau is an old-fashioned love story at heart, and one that works well. It can thank its leads for that, as Matt Damon and Emily Blunt make the outlandish tale succeed. The DVD delivers mediocre picture, decent audio and a reasonably good set of supplements. This isn’t a great release, but the movie entertains.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main