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Noah Baumbach
Ben Stiller, Rhys Ifans, Greta Gerwig, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Chris Messina, Susan Traylor
Writing Credits:
Noah Baumbach (and story), Jennifer Jason Leigh

He's got a lot on his mind.

Roger Greenberg (Stiller) is single, fortyish and deliberately doing nothing. In search of a place to restart his life, he agrees to housesit for his brother in LA and tries to reconnect with his former bandmate (Rhys Ifans) and successful ex-girlfriend (Jennifer Jason Leigh). But old friends aren't necessarily still best friends, and Greenberg soon finds himself forging a connection with his brother's personal assistant, Florence (Greta Gerwig). Despite his best attempts not to be drawn in, Greenberg comes to realize that he may at last have found a reason to be happy. Critics rave, “Greenberg has a soul, a heart and a sense of humor.” (Stephanie Zacharek, Salon.Com)

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$118.152 thousand on 3 screens.
Domestic Gross
$4.216 million.

Rated R

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish DTS 5.1
French DTS 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 108 min.
Price: $39.98
Release Date: 7/13/2010

• “A Behind the Scenes Look at Greenberg” Featurette
• “Greenberg Loves Los Angeles” Featurette
• “Noah Baumbach Takes a Novel Approach” Featurette


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.

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Greenberg [Blu-Ray] (2010)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 2, 2010)

Although the Night at the Museum and Meet the Parents series have made Ben Stiller a borderline “A”-list acyor, he doesn’t stick totally with jillion-dollar blockbusters. An indie dude back in the 90s, Stiller still indulges his less commercial side. In that vein, we find 2010’s quirky character comedy Greenberg.

20-something Florence Marr (Greta Gerwig) works as a personal assistant for Phillip Greenberg (Chris Messina) and his family. When they head out of a town for a vacation, she shifts her responsibilities to Phillip’s aimless, possibly mentally unstable brother Roger (Stiller), the person who will watch the house over the span of the trip. Though he once played in a potentially successful band, Roger now embraces the desire to do virtually nothing.

Along the way, Roger reunites with former band mates and gets to know an old girlfriend (Jennifer Jason Leigh) again. Roger also embarks on an occasional, odd relationship with the much younger Florence.

Normally I loathe movies like Greenberg. Usually flicks like this come across with a self-consciously quirky vibe and they become insufferable, especially when they involve characters who suffer from psychological concerns. “Indie character dramedy” mixed with “mentally unstable characters” should be a recipe for disaster.

While Greenberg flirts with the unbearable side of the street, it usually remains pretty enjoyable – and I can’t really explain why, they I suspect the actors have a lot to do with it. Stiller essentially plays a nastier, weirder version of his usual semi-bumbling character, but he refuses to wink at the camera. Rather than overtly play the situations for laughs and make Roger a cartoon – which would be very easy to do with such an “out-there” personality – Stiller lends an air of reality to the role.

Gerwig does the same for Florence, and the entire project comes across as underplayed/understated. That’s a good thing, as it prevents matters from veering into a mix of potential quagmires – and it also ensures a decent sense of believability. It would be easy for the characters/situations here to swerve into parody and/or melodrama, but they don’t.

That seems even more remarkable when one considers the mix of theoretically dramatic sequences on display here. Played in a more “Hollywood” fashion, the film would revolve around the scenes with Big Life Impact potential. Here, however, the segments just add to the subtext of the movie. Do the characters grow and change? Yeah, but not in mind-blowing, super-substantial ways.

And that makes the tale more realistic. In many ways, Greenberg feels like a cousin of Sideways, another essentially plot-free character piece that revolves around some decidedly dysfunctional personalities. That was another one that easily could’ve taken a turn for the hackneyed and precious but didn’t. I don’t think Greenberg works as well as Sideways, but it ends up as a satisfying character drama/comedy.

The Blu-ray Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus D

Greenberg appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie boasted a terrific transfer.

No issues related to sharpness, as the movie looked concise and accurate. Virtually no signs of softness marred the presentation. Jagged edges and shimmering failed to appear, and edge haloes remained absent. Source flaws caused no distractions.

Colors were fine. The movie went with a fairly natural palette that favored a mild golden tint. The hues looked full and rich. Blacks were dark and tight, while shadows demonstrated good clarity. I expected a positive transfer and that’s what I got.

I didn’t expect much from the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, but it provided a surprisingly dynamic affair. Though I can’t say the soundscape dazzled, it offered more scope than anticipated. This usually occurred to convey the title character’s state of mind, so some active elements like helicopters filled the room. These didn’t occur with great frequency, but they brought out more information and impact than typical for this kind of flick. General ambience also seemed convincing.

At all times, audio quality was positive. Speech appeared concise and accurate, without edginess or other concerns. Music came across as lively and full, and effects fell into the same range. Those elements sounded accurate and dynamic. I felt impressed enough with the whole auditory package to give it a “B+”.

In terms of extras, we only get three very brief featurettes. A Behind the Scenes Look at Greenberg runs three minutes, 24 seconds as it presents comments from actors Ben Stiller, Rhys Ifans, and Greta Gerwig. Essentially this is just a long trailer, as it tells us a little about the story and shows us many film clips. The remarks from the actors simply indicate that the flick will be memorable and special. Yawn.

Greenberg Loves Los Angeles goes for two minutes, eight seconds and includes statements from co-writer/director Noah Baumbach, location manager Stephenson Crossley, set decorator Elizabeth Keenan, and costume designer Mark Bridges. They discuss aspects of shooting in LA. A couple of minor nuggets emerge, but “Loves” is way too short to provide any substance.

Finally, Noah Baumbach Takes a Novel Approach fills one minute, 32 seconds. It throws in comments from Baumbach, Stiller, and actor Mark Duplass. They quickly describe the movie’s vibe and influences. Again, the piece’s brevity makes it borderline useless; it’s promotional and without much value.

While most films of its ilk wear their quirks on their sleeve, Greenberg manages to remain subtle. It definitely features unusual characters, but it doesn’t revel in their oddness and play things strictly for laughs. When the movie amuses, it comes across its humor honestly, and it creates a good portrait of its personalities. The Blu-ray boasts excellent visuals and surprisingly strong audio but lacks any useful supplements. The absence of quality bonus materials disappoints, but the flick really satisfies.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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