David Gordon Green
Sandra Bullock, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Joaquim de Almeida, Ann Dowd
A battle-hardened American political consultant is sent to help re-elect a controversial president in Bolivia, where she must compete with a long-term rival working for another candidate.
$3,400,000 on 2,202 Screens.
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Latin Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Runtime: 107 min.
Release Date: 2/2/2016
• “Sandra Bullock: A Role Like No Other” Featurette
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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.
Our Brand Is Crisis [Blu-Ray] (2015)
Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 24, 2016)
Few topics suit satire as well as politics, and 2015’s Our Brand Is Crisis goes down that path. Jane Bodine (Sandra Bullock) works as a political strategist, and she specializes in challenging situations. Eventually this gets her in enough hot water that she decides to retire.
After six years, though, Jane returns to the business in 2002. This leads her to South America, where she takes on a gig to elect controversial Bolivian politician Pedro Castillo (Joaquim de Almeida). This pits her against long-time rival Pat Candy (Billy Bob Thornton), as he leads the campaign for Castillo’s opponent Victor Rivera (Louis Arcella).
Much was made of the fact “Jane” was originally as a male role but the gender changed to cast Bullock. I’d like to claim that she works in the part, but unfortunately, she mostly doesn’t.
This doesn’t mean Bullock flops as the political mastermind, but she consistently feels wrong for the role. Bullock is a versatile actor but the casual cynicism required here doesn’t come naturally to her. Bullock gives Jane a goofy comedic feel and little else, as she lacks the dark edginess needed to bring out the character’s natural misanthropy.
The choice to make our lead a female opens up sexual tension between Jane and Pat – or attempted sizzle, at least. Unfortunately, Bullock and Thornton show zero chemistry, so their flirtatious sequences come across as awkward at best, creepy at worst. Even without the sexual side of things, Bullock and Thornton need to ignite in a manner that they don’t achieve.
In addition, David Gordon Green seems like the wrong director for this sort of satirical project. Best-known for the druggie comedy Pineapple Express, Green lets Crisis unfurl at a slow, logy pace.
That seemed fine for the stoned feel of Pineapple, but it doesn’t work here. Crisis needs to take on a more manic energy, one that embraces the absurdity of the campaign. Rather than let the fur fly, Green keeps matters restrained – and dull, honestly. Where the material should crackle, it drags.
All of this seems like a shame. I find politics fascinating, and the subject remains ripe for mockery. Granted, given the nature of the 2016 presidential campaign, I’m not sure it’s possible for fiction to seem stranger than truth, but Crisis barely tries. It attempts a smattering of wacky political moments, but these don’t feel as outrageous as the movie wants us believe.
This leaves Crisis as a pretty slow 107 minutes. Every once in a while, it manages an entertaining moment, but we get too few of those instances.
The Blu-ray Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+
Our Brand Is Crisis appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a positive presentation.
Overall sharpness seemed solid. A hint of softness occasionally materialized, but the movie usually showed pretty good clarity. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge haloes. Source flaws were absent, as the movie looked consistently clean.
Crisis gave us a stylized palette. Unsurprisingly, teal and orange dominated. Within those parameters, the hues were positive. Blacks seemed deep and dark, while shadows showed reasonable smoothness and clarity. No real issues affected this appealing presentation.
Don’t expect much from the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, as it remained restrained. That made sense for the story, though, so the sonic choices didn’t surprise. The soundscape used music well and contributed reasonable environmental material, mainly during campaign events. I’d be hard-pressed to point out anything memorable, as ambience dominated, but the mix seemed fine for the material on display.
Audio quality was satisfactory. Music sounded warm and full, and effects demonstrated good clarity and accuracy. Speech appeared concise and distinctive. The soundtrack did what it needed to do.
A featurette called Sandra Bullock: A Role Like No Other runs 11 minutes and includes comments from producer Grant Heslov, director David Gordon Green, and actors Sandra Bullock, Zoe Kazan, Billy Bob Thornton, Anthony Mackie, Reynaldo Pacheco, Scoot McNairy, and Ann Dowd. We get notes about characters and story as well as cast and performances. Much of this relates to the Greatness of Sandy, but we get a few good notes along the way.
The disc opens with ads for Black Mass and The 33. No trailer for Brand appears here.
While it comes with the potential to deliver an insightful piece of satire, Our Brand Is Crisis seems far too toothless. From its miscast lead actor to its sluggish pacing to its lack of comedic spark, the movie meanders. The Blu-ray offers strong picture, acceptable audio and minor supplements. Despite a lot of talent behind it, Crisis disappoints.
Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars
| Number of Votes: 1