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Craig Gillespie
Jon Hamm, Lake Bell, Alan Arkin, Aasif Mandvi, Bill Paxton
Writing Credits:
Thomas McCarthy

Sometimes to win, you have to change the game.

A sports agent stages an unconventional recruitment strategy to get talented Indian cricket players to play Major League Baseball.

Box Office:
$25 million.
Opening Weekend
$10,511,000 on 3,019 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 124 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 10/7/2014

• “Training Camp” Featurette
• “Their Story” Featurette
• “Million Dollar Music” Featurette
• Three Deleted Scenes
• Alternate Ending
• Outtakes
• Sneak Peeks


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.


Million Dollar Arm [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (October 1, 2014)

With 2014’s Million Dollar Arm, we get an improbable sports tale based on true events. Set in 2008, sports agent JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) finds himself on hard times when he loses a major client.

Desperate for new avenues of revenue, JB decides to tap the massive market in India. He thinks cricket bowlers can adapt for baseball, so he engineers a competition to find Indians who can make it to the Major League. We follow this endeavor, as JB eventually brings Rinku Singh (Suraj Sharma) and Dinesh Patel (Madhur Mittal) back to LA with him.

“Underdog” sports stories aren’t anything new, but that doesn’t mean the genre can’t boast life. For its first act, Arm manages an entertaining take on the subject. The film sets up its premise and characters in a satisfying way and delivers a good mix of comedy, narrative exploration and drama.

As the movie progresses, though, it tends to dawdle. Some of this stems from the predictable nature of the story, as we can see the progression of events in advance. Even if one knows nothing about the real-life events that inspired the film, the tale traces such well-worn “feel good” ground that we know what’ll happen before it does.

This predictable element doesn’t ensure issues, as “foregone conclusion” movies can still offer fine entertainment. Arm just meanders too much and takes too long to get where it needs to go. It feels like it needs to progress more quickly than it does, and that applies to all aspects of the narrative.

And I do mean all. JB’s romance with tenant Brenda (Lake Bell)? Drags. The talent search in India? Drags. The development of JB’s relationship with Rinju and Dinesh? Drags. This creates an overall impression of a movie that goes too long and doesn’t know how to get where it wants to be.

The actors do their best to bring life to the fairly one-dimensional material. Hamm doesn’t break a sweat as the lead, but he creates a likable enough protagonist, and JB’s connection to Brenda works surprisingly well, largely because Bell creates such an unusual love interest; she adds a quirky comic sensibility that enlivens the part. Neither Sharma nor Mittal shows great acting talent, but they’re acceptable and allow us to care for them.

The addition of Alan Arkin as a talent scout helps contribute pizzazz to the package. He could play this role in his sleep but Arkin amuses and enlivens his handful of sequences. He becomes a highlight to an occasionally logy movie.

Ultimately, Arm presents enough positives to keep us reasonably interested, but it doesn’t rise above that level. It runs too long and lacks enough creativity to become more than a moderate pleasure.

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

Million Dollar Arm appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a pleasing presentation.

Overall sharpness worked fine. A smidgen of softness crept into a handful of elements, but those instances didn’t trouble me. Instead, the majority of the flick provided solid delineation. The image lacked shimmering or jaggies, and no edge haloes materialized. As one would expect from a brand-new movie, print defects failed to mar the picture.

In terms of palette, Arm opted for a mix of light amber and mild teal. Those choices seemed a bit odd for a story like this – I would’ve expected “hotter” colors, especially in India – but the Blu-ray reproduced them well enough. Blacks came across as dark and deep, while shadows seemed smooth and concise. Overall, the transfer worked well.

No one anticipates a dynamic soundscape from a character piece like Arm, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 track matched my expectations. Music used the various channels well to become an active partner, and effects added a bit of life to the proceedings. Street and baseball scenes broadened sonic horizons to a moderate degree, as they brought us atmospheric information. Nothing I’d call memorable occurred, though.

Audio quality seemed good. Speech remained concise and crisp, with no edginess or related concerns. Music fared best of all, as the score/songs appeared peppy and full. Effects lacked much prominence, but they remained accurate and dynamic enough. This became a “B” mix.

Three featurettes launch the disc’s extras, and we open with Training Camp. It goes for six minutes, 18 seconds and includes notes from actors Suraj Sharma, Madhur Mittal, pitching coach Mike Ribaudo, and trainer Ahmed Yusuf. We get an overview of the methods used to whip the actors into baseball shape. Some of the behind the scenes footage offers interesting material, but we don’t get much substance.

In the two-minute, 54-second Their Story, we hear from real-life JB Bernstein, Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel. They offer some observations about their experiences in the story that inspired the movie. It’s good to hear a little from the actual subjects but their remarks give us no insights; this is a promo reel for the film more than anything else.

Lastly, Million Dollar Music fills two minutes, 34 seconds and features composer AR Rahman,. He tells us about the score/songs he created for the film. With so little time at his disposal, Rahman can’t tell us much, so this ends up as another superficial piece.

Three Deleted Scenes occupy a total of two minutes, 28 seconds. We see “JB’s Problem” (0:42), “Sold” (0:53) and “I’d Take Ten Dollars” (0:38). We also find an Alternate Ending (0:49). The “deleted scenes” add a little character information and the first two allow us to see more of Alan Arkin, which is always a good thing. The “Ending” offers superficial differences, so don’t expect much from it; the sequence does nothing to change any story/character points.

A collection of Outtakes lasts two minutes, four second. It shows the standard allotment of wackiness and mistakes. It seems average for the genre.

The disc opens with ads for Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day and 101 Dalmatians. Sneak Peeks throws in promos for Disney Parks, The Fosters, Maleficent, Star Wars: Rebels and Sleeping Beauty. No trailer for Arm shows up here.

Though more than a little predictable and more than a little long, Million Dollar Arm still manages entertainment value. I’d like it more if it was tighter and less sentimental, but it still gives us a decent feel-good story. The Blu-ray delivers good picture and audio but skimps on bonus materials. I can’t say Arm does a lot for me, but it winds up as a likable enough experience.

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