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David O. Russell
Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Virginia Madsen
Writing Credits:
David O. Russell

Joy is the story of the title character, who rose to become founder and matriarch of a powerful family business dynasty.

Box Office:
$60 Million.
Opening Weekend
$17,500,000 on 2,896 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
>Castillian Dolby Digital 5.1
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 124 min.
Price: $39.98
Release Date: 5/3/2016
• “Joy, Strength and Perseverance” Featurette
• “Times Talk” Featurette
• Gallery


Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; 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.


Joy [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 8, 2016)

Director David O. Russell teams with actor Jennifer Lawrence for the third straight film via 2015’s Joy. Based semi-loosely on a true story, the movie takes us to the late 1980s to introduce us to Joy (Lawrence), a single mother who leads a less than satisfying life.

Some of this comes from her family situation, as many of her relatives reside in the same house with her. Joy’s mother Terri (Virginia Madsen) rarely leaves the bed, where she watches endless hours of soap operas. Joy’s dad Rudy (Robert De Niro) gets the boot from his third wife and returns to live with the family despite much animosity between him and Terri. Include Joy’s ex Tony (Edgar Ramirez) as a resident in the basement as well as their two young kids and Joy maintains a crowded, complicated house.

Always blessed with a creative mind, Joy invents a new mop that doesn’t require the usual form of wringing. We follow her struggles to bring this dream to life and the impact it has on her situation.

If Martin Scorsese never picked up a camera, would David O. Russell have a career? I don’t want to peg Russell as a Scorsese-imitator, but… well, he kind of is.

Or at least Russell has become a Scorsese wannabe, as earlier films like Three Kings stood on their own. Over the last few years, though, movies such as American Hustle have gone heavily in the Scorsese direction, and this seems to have overwhelmed Russell, as he’s more Marty than David now.

Though Scorsese doesn’t act as the only influence, as Russell sucks down traits from other filmmakers as well. Is it a coincidence that significant parts of the third act play as if they’re from The Godfather? Probably not, as I suspect Russell knew exactly how heavily the film hews toward the world of the Corleones.

Russell’s choice to brazenly showcase his influences harms Joy, but this doesn’t become a fatal flaw. Instead, the movie’s most significant problem comes from its general incoherence and its less than subtle sense of storytelling.

The latter factor probably mars the film the most. Characters speak in ways that seem unnatural, and they spell out thoughts/desires in such concrete ways that realism falters. Russell even makes prominent use of the soap operas Joy’s mother loves as a method to inform the story in an even clumsier manner.

None of this works, and the borderline random manner in which the tale unfolds doesn’t help. Despite the film’s title, Joy often seems disinterested in the lead character, so it’ll abandon her or other roles for periods of time. It sometimes feels like a much longer movie cut down to two hours – and done so without a whole lot of rhyme or reason.

Once Joy’s business affairs start to dominate, the film comes together better, but not to a degree significant enough to redeem the end product. With a good cast and a decent plot, Joy has potential, but the final product seems so disjointed that it becomes a chore to watch.

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

Joy appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a positive presentation.

Sharpness appeared solid. A few slightly soft shots materialized, but nothing significant, so the majority of the film presented nice delineation. Moiré effects and jagged edges presented no concerns, and edge enhancement remained absent. Print flaws never caused distractions.

In terms of colors, the flick went with a subdued set of tones. Hues opted for the usual teal and orange, without much beyond that. Within those parameters, the tones looked fine. Blacks were dark and firm, while shadows appeared clear and well-developed. The image seemed generally good, but the slight softness made it a “B+“.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it offered a functional effort and not a lot more. Of course, I didn’t expect a dazzling soundfield from this sort of drama, and I got exactly what I anticipated. In terms of effects, general ambience ruled the day.

Surround usage stayed limited; the back speakers gently fleshed out various settings but did little more than that. A few scenes perked up the mix – such as those at a body shop or on the sea – but much of the mix remained modest in scope.

In those forward channels, the music provided nice stereo separation and opened up the mix reasonably well. There wasn’t a whole lot of activity or movement, but the effects conveyed a good sense of space and place. The track functioned appropriately for the story.

Audio quality appeared fine. Dialogue was consistently warm and natural; I heard a little edginess at times but nothing serious. Effects were a minor component of the mix, and they seemed appropriately subdued and accurate; there wasn’t much to hear, but the various elements were clean and distinct. The music came across as the best part of the track, as the songs and score were pretty lively and full. This was a decent reproduction of the material.

A few extras flesh out the set. Joy, Strength and Perseverance runs 20 minutes, 21 seconds and offers info from co-writer/director David O. Russell, inventor Joy Mangano, and actors Jennifer Lawrence, Virginia Madsen, Diane Ladd, Elisabeth Rohm, Edgar Ramirez, Isabella Rosselini, and Bradley Cooper. The featurette looks at story/characters and themes, cast and performances, and Russell’s approach to the material. “Strength” has a smattering of insights but it seems less substantial than I’d like.

During the one-hour, seven-minute and 42-second Times Talk, we hear from Russell and Lawrence. In a session moderated by journalist Maureen Dowd, Russell and Lawrence discuss what inspired the film, story, characters and themes, fact and fiction, the current state of Hollywood, cast and performances, and assorted other topics.

The “Times Talk” offers a mixed bag. Dowd offers questions that vary from insightful to pointless, and those dictate the flow of the conversation. We still get a decent array of notes, but the result lacks consistency.

Finally, the disc includes a gallery. It offers a whopping seven movie images. It’s too short to be useful.

At times, Joy threatens to cohere into a decent movie, but it fails to come together in a natural manner. The end result flits all over the place and never turns into a satisfying product. The Blu-ray offers pretty good picture and audio along with mediocre supplements. Joy winds up as a lackluster effort from David O. Russell.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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