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Alejandro Agresti
Keanu Reeves, Sandra Bullock, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Christopher Plummer, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, Willeke van Ammelrooy, Dylan Walsh, Lynn Collins
Writing Credits:
David Auburn, Eun-Jeong Kim (motion picture, Siworae), Ji-na Yeo (motion picture, Siworae)

How do you hold on to someone you've never met?

A lonely doctor (Sandra Bullock) who once occupied an unusual lakeside home begins exchanging love letters with its newest resident, a frustrated architect (Keanu Reeves). When they discover that they're actually living two years apart, they must try to unravel the mystery behind their extraordinary romance before it's too late.

Box Office:
$40 million.
Opening Weekend
$13.616 million on 2645 screens.
Domestic Gross
$52.280 million.

Rated PG

Widescreen 2.35:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1

Runtime: 98 min.
Price: $29.98
Release Date: 9/26/2006

• Additional Scenes and Outtakes
• Trailer


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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The Lake House (2006)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 29, 2006)

12 years after they paired for the hit action flick Speed, Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock come together again in 2006’s supernatural romance The Lake House. Bullock plays Dr. Kate Forster, a new MD at a busy Chicago hospital with no social life. Reeves portrays Alex Wyler, an architect trying to rebuild his life and relationships with his estranged family.

Alex moves into a house by the lake, and when he does so, he finds a note from the prior tenant. This warns of some concerns like paw prints that Alex doesn’t see. As it turns out, that’s because the letter came from the future.

We learn that Kate wrote the missive that Alex read. She’s in 2006 while he’s back in 2004. They begin a really long distance correspondence and romance. The movie follows their relationship and how it affects their lives.

When I first heard of Lake, I totally shunned it: “If Keanu and Sandy ain’t on a bus primed to blow, I ain’t interested!” However, I eventually became moderately interested, almost from a sense of perverse curiosity. After all, Lake couldn’t be as sappy and lame as it looked, could it?

Yes it could – and then some. I will admit that the movie boasts an interesting idea with its time-travelling mail. That concept opens up the story too all sorts of intriguing notions, virtually none of which the film actually explores.

Instead, it prefers lots of vaguely sad, lingering glances from its leads. They read their letters and gaze off into space as they dream about each other. This flick could’ve been shot without audio and it would’ve worked just the same. It’s 98 minutes of mopey gazes and little else.

I recognize the film is hamstrung by the inability of its leads to physically connect, but all of this gets ridiculous. We also see shots that overlay the two actors in the same place to create the impression they’re there together. These just become confusing, mainly because their letters answer each other a little too neatly; the story tries to create a feel for interactive text that’d be impossible in the situation.

With any time-travel story, one needs to disregard logic to a degree. I’m willing to do that when the movie’s fun ala Terminator 2 or Back to the Future. Sure, both of those flicks suffer from plot holes, but they entertain so much we don’t care.

Since Lake offers such a ponderous experience, we get more than enough time to focus on the problems. The main one stems from the fact the pair don’t immediately connect in 2006. Sure, we see a few failed attempts, but Kate never bothers to look up Alex. This makes no sense. Get online, honey, and do a Google search to find him! She passively waits for him to contact her via the letters rather than track him down in the present.

There’s a very good story rationale for this that I won’t reveal as it’d be a serious spoiler. Suffice it to say that the reason Kate doesn’t contact Alex in 2006 is visible from a mile away; the film wants it to surprise us but it doesn’t.

Instead, we get stuck inside an exercise in tedium. Lake runs a mere 98 minutes but feels twice as long. Keanu still can’t portray any realistic emotions, and the movie fails to take advantage of Sandra’s more potent skills. It attempts an aching romance but only leaves the viewer with an aching head.

Anachronism alert: in 2004, Kate and Alex listen to a McCartney song that wasn’t released until 2005.

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

The Lake House appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Despite no significant issues, the transfer lacked the definition I’d expect.

Sharpness was the main concern – though a minor one. Most of the movie looked concise and accurate, but that varied at times. In particular, close-ups could be a bit indistinct at times. I saw no jagged edges or shimmering, but a little edge enhancement occurred. Print flaws remained absent.

Colors went for a muted side of natural. The tones lacked much vivacity, but they came across as more than adequate for the film’s restrained nature. Blacks were dark and dense, and low-light scenes came across as accurate and concise. The occasional soft shot made this a less than stellar transfer, but it worked fine for the most part.

Don’t expect any fireworks from the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The Lake House. Like the film itself, this mix stayed quiet and subdued. The soundfield concentrated on mild ambience. The track never brought much life to the proceedings, as we heard general atmosphere and little else. The surrounds echoed this side of things but didn’t bring out anything additional.

At least audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and distinctive, with no edginess or other problems. Music appeared warm and full, while effects were clear and accurate. This was a perfectly serviceable track but not one that stood out as memorable.

Not too many extras pop up for Lake. In addition to the movie’s trailer, we get some Additional Scenes and Outtakes. The disc includes five of these with a total running time of three minutes, 47 seconds. We find “Doug bores Alex and Mona with conversation at party” (0:54), “Alex meets Henry at the hospital (outside Wyler’s room)” (0:31), “Alex and Wyler in hospital room” (0:18), “Alex dumps Mona” (1:20), and “Alex listens to Henry/Vanessa discuss ‘Visionary Vanguard’” (0:44). Most of these are filler bits that simply flesh out existing sequences in a minor way. “Hospital room” is actually a gag from Christopher Plummer, while “Dumps” at least demonstrates what happened to the Mona character. None of these seem very interesting.

The DVD opens with a promotional featurette for We Are Marshall as well as a trailer for Take the Lead.

An ineffective romance with a twist, The Lake House creates more questions than answers. I can go with time issues when I enjoy the ride, but not when I don’t care. Lake is a prime example of a story where I just have no investment in the characters and feel more bored and frustrated with its slow pace than anything else. The DVD offers decent picture and audio but really skimps on extras. Skip this tedious turkey.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.1904 Stars Number of Votes: 21
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