DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Tom McCarthy
Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Brian d'Arcy James, Stanley Tucci
Writing Credits:
Josh Singer, Tom McCarthy

The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$295,009 on 5 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated R

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

Runtime: 129 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 2/23/2016

• “Uncovering the Truth” Featurette
• “A Look Inside” Featurette
• “The State of Journalism” Featurette
• Previews


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.


Spotlight [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 22, 2016)

For a look at the 2015 Oscar Best Picture winner, we head to Spotlight. Set in 2001, we meet the Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” team, journalists who take on deep, lengthy investigative pieces. Long-time editor Walter “Robby” Robinson (Michael Keaton) heads a group that includes reporters Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo), Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams), and Matt Carroll (Brian d’Arcy James).

A new editor-in-chief from outside of the organization, Marty Baron (Liev Schreiber) takes an interest in “Spotlight” and urges them to check out a story about a sex scandal within the Catholic church. We follow these endeavors and where the reporters go with their efforts.

Fairly or not, any movie about investigative journalism inevitably becomes compared to 1976’s All the President’s Men. That classic wasn’t the first film to examine this subject matter, but it remains the best of the bunch.

Spotlight does well for itself, but I wouldn’t place it in the same league as President’s Men. The 1976 came with a certain sizzle and dramatic tension that largely fails to materialize in the professional but slightly sterile Spotlight.

On the surface, I should love Spotlight, as I find much to admire about it. I like that it lacks histrionics, as even with so much controversial subject matter, it maintains a calmness that seems unusual in modern movies.

I also appreciate the film’s overall level of professionalism. With an excellent cast and lots of talent elsewhere, the movie comes across as well-executed and classy.

Spotlight also develops at an appropriate rate. While it gives us glimpses of the main characters’ personalities, it keeps the focus on the investigation itself, and it moves that thread along in a satisfying manner. We find a thorough overview of the challenges involved and the approaches taken by the reporters.

Objectively, I feel impressed by Spotlight - so why do I not feel more passionate about it? I think at its core, the movie simply lacks a certain “zing” that would take it to a higher level. As professional and compelling as it may seem, Spotlight just doesn’t become as gripping as it should be.

Maybe the movie’s a little too dispassionate. Don’t get me wrong – this isn’t a bloodless affair told at a clinical distance. The film shows the stakes involved and gives us drama.

I still feel like something’s missing, though, and I don’t think the film connects with the narrative in a way that makes it as effective as it could have been. No one involved does anything wrong, but the end result simply falls short of greatness.

Nonetheless, I do like and recommend Spotlight, as it tells an important story in a positive manner. It may not reach the peaks of President’s Men, but what does? Spotlight remains a solid “B+” movie.

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

Spotlight appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a fairly appealing presentation.

Sharpness seemed positive. A smidgen of softness cropped up in the occasional wider shot or some interiors, but nothing prominent occurred. Instead, the movie looked accurate and concise the majority of the time. Jagged edges and shimmering failed to mar the presentation, and edge haloes remained absent. I also saw no print flaws.

The film’s hues tended toward a thin amber/teal much of the time. These hues seemed uninspired but the disc reproduced them for the desired effect. Blacks were dark and deep while shadows seemed clear and smooth. Nothing here quite excelled, but the image was satisfactory.

With its character focus, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack seemed decent but unmemorable. Street or bar scenes opened up the mix a bit, and a sequence at Fenway worked fine, but most of the film emphasized low-key ambience. Though these moments created an acceptable sense of place, they didn’t turn this into a particularly involving mix.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech was natural and distinctive, while effects came across as accurate and tight. Music showed nice range and dimensionality. Nothing here impressed, but the soundtrack suited the story.

Only a small array of extras completes the package, all in the form of featurettes. Uncovering the Truth runs six minutes, 33 seconds and includes notes from former Boston Globe editor Marty Baron, former “Spotlight” team editor Walter “Robby” Robinson, former Globe Deputy Managing Editor Ben Bradlee Jr., and reporters Mike Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer, and Matt Carroll. They offer their reflections on the events that inspired the movie. I like this glimpse of the real people involved in the story.

A Look Inside lasts two minutes, 30 seconds and features co-writer/director Tom McCarthy and actors Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci and Liev Scheiber. They offer basics about the story in this glorified trailer.

Finally, The State of Journalism fills three minutes, 14 seconds with info from Keaton, Schreiber, Ruffalo, McCarthy, Slattery, and actor Brian d’Arcy James. Mainly they lament the decline of newspapers over the last 15 years. It’s accurate but not especially revelatory, and it exists mainly to promote the movie.

The disc opens with ads for Steve Jobs, Race, Suffragette, Trumbo, The Danish Girl and Straight Outta Compton. Previews adds promos for Rosewater, Nightcrawler, End of Watch, Pawn Sacrifice, Trash, Dope, Rock the Kasbah and Mr. Robot. No trailer for Spotlight shows up here.

Though well-made and consistently interesting, Spotlight lacks the zing it needs to become something genuinely special. Still, it presents a professional, generally stimulating view of potent investigation. The Blu-ray offers mostly positive picture and audio but lacks notable supplements. Spotlight falls in the middle of the pack for Oscar Best Picture winners.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.238 Stars Number of Votes: 21
3 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main