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LIONSGATE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Destin Daniel Cretton
Cast:
Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Naomi Watts
Writing Credits:
Destin Daniel Cretton, Andrew Lanham

Synopsis:
A young girl comes of age in a dysfunctional family of nonconformist nomads with a mother who's an eccentric artist and an alcoholic father who would stir the children's imagination with hope as a distraction to their poverty.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English Dolby TrueHD 7.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 127 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 11/7/2017

Bonus:
• “Memoir to Movie” Featurette
• “A Conversation with Jeannette Walls” Featurette
• “Making of ‘Summer Storm’” Featurette”
• “Scoring :The Glass Castle” Featurette
• Deleted Scenes
• Previews


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RELATED REVIEWS


The Glass Castle [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 6, 2017)

Based on Jeannette Walls’ successful 2005 memoir, The Glass Castle offers a family-based drama. Initially set in 1989, we meet Jeannette (Brie Larson), a magazine columnist who lives in New York with her fiancé David (Max Greenfield).

Jeannette grew up in small town southern US, where she went through an unconventional childhood with father Rex (Woody Harrelson), mother Rose Mary (Naomi Watts) and siblings Maureen, Brian and Lori. We alternate between these earlier experiences and how they continued to impact Jeanette as an adult in the late 1980s.

Back in 2016, Captain Fantastic earned a lot of praise with a somewhat similar story of a family led by a decidedly individualistic father. That film provided a surprisingly deft tale, as it balanced the usual “embrace the unusual” theme I expected with a decent sense of realism as well.

Castle does something different, mainly due to the two eras in which it takes place. Whereas Fantastic stayed entirely in one period, Castle bounces back and forth between Jeanette’s childhood and adulthood.

This creates an interesting dichotomy, as it allows us the perspective of how the Walls family’s rootless existence impacted all involved decades down the road, though it emphasizes the negative side of things.

That becomes a contrast with Fantastic, which seemed to side with its lead character’s “off the grid” viewpoint. In Castle, we get a stronger feeling of the damage done to the family due to Rex’s independent streak, as that theme becomes dominant.

Which I think makes sense. For all the encouragement the Walls kids get to become independent thinkers, Castle paints Rex as a self-absorbed malcontent who cares more about his war against the world than he does about his family’s welfare.

Sort of - Castle tries to have it both ways to a certain degree. In theory this is a good trend, as it prevents Rex from turning into a one-dimensional ogre.

However, it also leaves the story with a wishy-washy feel, as if the filmmakers can’t decide whether or not to embrace the “feel good” aspects of the narrative or the darker tones. The film flip-flops from one attitude to another without much clarity, so we get a movie that proceeds in a somewhat herky-jerky manner, all of which moves inexorably toward a not-especially-moving “happy ending”.

In addition, the 1980s scenes feel tacked on and unnecessary much of the time, and that means I get the impression they’re there solely to provide the aforementioned happy ending. Most of the movie focuses on young Jeannette and the family, so when it jumps to adult Jeannette, it doesn’t connect especially well.

Not that the “flashback” scenes flow all that smoothly themselves, as Castle seems oddly episodic and disjointed. Perhaps that makes sense, as this may convey the erratic, fragmented lifestyle suffered by Jeannette and her siblings, but it doesn’t lend itself to coherent storytelling, and it feels more like iffy editing than a filmmaking choice.

Castle comes with a strong cast, though it essentially wastes the Oscar-winning Larson. Adult Jeannette plays too small a role in the overall narrative for it to use her in a satisfying manner.

Of the remaining actors, Harrelson and Watts fare best, mainly because they’re able to bring some nuance and charm to deeply flawed characters. They don’t smooth off their parts’ rough edges, but they still manage some humanity underneath all the insanity.

The cast can’t quite salvage a spotty film, though. While parts of Castle show promise and connect, too much of the movie seems disjointed and inconsistent.

Footnote: stick around through the end credits to see footage of the real Walls family.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus C

The Glass Castle appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a satisfactory presentation.

Overall sharpness seemed solid. A couple of wide shots looked a smidgen soft, but those were the exception to the rule, as the majority of the flick was accurate and detailed.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge haloes. Source flaws were absent, as the movie looked consistently clean.

Like most films of this sort, Castle gave us a palette that focused on amber and teal. Other hues appeared, but those dominated. Within those parameters, the hues were positive.

Blacks seemed deep and dark, while shadows showed good smoothness and clarity. I felt happy with the transfer.

As for the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 soundtrack of Castle, it lacked a ton of ambition. The soundfield focused on music and ambience, though it opened up on occasion.

For instance, street scenes became a little more involving. Nothing especially memorable occurred, though.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues.

Music offered good clarity and range, and effects worked well enough. They didn’t have much to do, but they appeared reasonably accurate. All of this ended up as a perfectly satisfactory soundtrack for this sort of movie.

Four featurettes appear here, and these open with Memoir to Movie. In this 25-minute, 48-second piece, we hear from author Jeannette Walls, co-writer/director Destin Daniel Cretton, director of photography Brett Pawlak, production designer Sharon Seymour, costume designers Joy Hanae Lani Cretton and Mirren Gordon-Crozier, and actors Brie Larson, Woody Harrelson, Ella Anderson, Naomi Watts, Iain Armitage, Eden Grace Redfield, Chandler Head, Charlie Shotwell, Sarah Snook, Josh Caras and Olivia Kate Rice.

“Memoir” looks at story/characters, cast and performances, Cretton’s approach to the material, production design and costumes. At times it generates useful information, but a lot of it tends toward praise and happy talk.

We hear from the author during A Conversation with Jeanette Walls. It goes for 15 minutes, 24 seconds and gives the writer’s notes about her life and her book’s adaptation to the screen. Like “Memoir”, we find a smattering of insights but a lot of the time, “Conversation” feels like a promo piece.

Making of “Summer Storm” runs three minutes, 22 seconds and offers info from Destin Daniel Cretton and composer Joel P. West. They give us basics about the song and we see recording studio footage. It seems mildly interesting at best.

For the final featurette, we get the four-minute, six-second Scoring The Glass Castle. It features West and Destin Daniel Cretton as it looks at aspects of the film’s music. “Scoring” offers passable insights about this work.

Nine Deleted Scenes fill a total of nine minutes, 32 seconds. These tend toward brief character expansions, none of which add much to the parts or the narrative, though Rose Mary gets a little more focus than what we see in the final film.

The disc opens with ads for Wonder, The Big Sick, Tulip Fever, Room and The Choice. No trailer for Castle shows up here.

A second disc presents a DVD copy of Castle. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

Taken from a real-life story, The Glass Castle musters convincing drama at times. However, it doesn’t explore its subjects in a full-blooded manner, so it tends to meander too much of the time. The Blu-ray comes with solid picture quality as well as acceptable audio and a handful of supplements. This turns into a decent but erratic experience.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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