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Wayne Roberts
Johnny Depp, Rosemarie DeWitt, Zoey Deutch
Writing Credits:
Wayne Roberts

A college professor lives his life with reckless abandon after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 7/9/2019

• “Death and How to Live It” Featurette
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver;
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


The Professor [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 29, 2019)

Welcome to the world of direct-to-video films, Johnny Depp! With 2019’s The Professor, the Oscar-nominated actor finds himself firmly in the land of projects that essentially lacked theatrical distribution.

Richard Brown (Depp) teaches a university class. Richard learns that a terminal illness leaves him with roughly six months to live.

Faced with this terrible news, Richard alters his life to follow a more hedonistic path. Richard feels less constrained by the usual mores as he also attempts to cope with his fate.

All of that leaves Professor as the kind of project that theoretically would lead toward Oscar consideration. As Richard, Depp gets a big, meaningful arc to embrace and show his acting chops.

Both Depp and the film itself bite off more than they can chew, though Depp displays reasonable restraint. With all the emotions that come Richard’s way, Depp must’ve been tempted to gobble down scenery, but he usually goes down a fairly subdued path.

This makes his performance more effective than expected. I feared he’d shoot for a broad, over-emotive take that did little more than annoy, but Depp manages to keep Richard acceptably natural and realistic.

Unfortunately, the rest of Professor falls short of its aspirations, as it offers a muddled piece. On one hand, it aspires to be a comedy about the professor who loosens up on death’s door, but on the other, it hopes to provide lots of life lessons and serious statements.

Neither side works. If Professor committed more fully to either direction, it might’ve blossomed into something satisfying, but because the movie can’t decide which path to follow, it stumbles and feels rudderless.

That said, Professor could’ve wound up as a much less appealing affair. Along with Depp, we get a good cast, and they manage to add class to the proceedings.

Professor also avoids too much mawkishness. Inevitably, it pursues some mawkish melodrama, but its tone usually stays on a more even keel.

These positives prove enough to make Professor a watchable film, but I can’t claim it elevates above that level. Too inconsistent to truly succeed, this ends up as a pretty mediocre effort.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B-/ Bonus D+

The Professor appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie offered a positive visual impression.

Overall definition seemed positive. Only a little softness materialized, so the movie usually appeared accurate and concise.

I noticed no signs of jaggies or edge enhancement, and shimmering was absent. The film lacked print flaws and seemed clean.

In terms of colors, Professor went for a teal and orange tint. These appeared fine within the film’s stylistic choices.

Blacks seemed dark and tight, and shadows demonstrated good clarity. This added up to a satisfying presentation.

A character drama wouldn’t seem to be a candidate for a whiz-bang soundtrack, and the DTS-HD MA 5.1 audio of Professor fell into expected realms. Usually the track remained oriented toward ambience, so don’t expect lots of sizzle from the mix.

Audio quality satisfied. Although didn’t get much score, the music was full and rich, while effects showed nice clarity and accuracy.

Speech – obviously an important factor here – appeared concise and crisp. Nothing here soared, but it all seemed perfectly adequate for the project.

A featurette called Death and How to Live It runs 15 minutes, 36 seconds and provides comments from writer/director Wayne Roberts, producers Braden Aftergood and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, and actors Zooey Deutch, Danny Huston, Devon Terrel, Ron Livingston, Odessa Young, and Rosemarie DeWitt.

“Death” looks at the film’s inspirations and story/characters, cast and performances, and thematic topics. A few insights emerge, but most of “Death” just promotes the movie.

The disc opens with ads for The Con Is On, Killing Gunther, Gun Shy and War On Everyone. No trailer for Professor appears here.

Thanks to a strong cast, The Professor remains a decent viewing experience. Unfortunately, it seems erratic and never rises above this level of general mediocrity. The Blu-ray boasts very good picture as well as suitable audio and minor supplements. Despite some solid talent, The Professor never soars.

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