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SCREEN GEMS

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Michael Sucsy
Cast:
Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Jessica Lange, Sam Neill , Jessica McNamee, Wendy Crewson, Tatiana Maslany, Lucas Bryant, Scott Speedman
Writing Credits:
Jason Katims, Abby Kohn, Stuart Sender (story), Marc Silverstein

Synopsis:
Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum star in a must see love story that's inspired by true events. A car accident puts Paige (Rachel) in a coma, and when she wakes up with severe memory loss, her husband Leo (Channing) works to win her heart again.

Box Office:
Budget
$30 million.
Opening Weekend
$41.202 million on 2958 screens.
Domestic Gross
$125.014 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Service
Czech Dolby Digital 5.1
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
Russian Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Turkish Dolby Digital 5.1
Ukranian Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Bulgarian
Chinese Traditional
Croatian
Czech
Estonian
Spanish
French
Hindi
Indonesian
Korean
Lithuanian
Romanian
Russian
Serbian
Slovak
Slovene
Turkish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Chinese Traditional

Runtime: 104 min.
Price: $40.99
Release Date: 5/8/2012

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Michael Sucsy
• Four Deleted Scenes
• “’Til Death Do They Part” Featurette
• “Profiles of Love: Paige and Leo” Featurette
• “Trying to Remember” Featurette
• Gag Reel
• Previews
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; 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.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Vow [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 18, 2012)

Did the Powers That Be in Hollywood come together and decide that 2012 should be The Year That Channing Tatum Becomes a Big Star? Barely four full months into the year, the actor seems to be everywhere, as he popped up in January’s Haywire, February’s The Vow and March’s 21 Jump Street. Still to come? Magic Mike and GI Joe: Retaliation, both of which debut June 29, setting up a serious Tatum vs. Tatum battle.

I already weighed in on Haywire and should get to the others eventually, so now I’ll focus on The Vow. As they head home on a snowy night, a plow rams into the car occupied by married couple Leo (Tatum) and Paige (Rachel McAdams). This sends her through the windshield and into a coma.

With that, we flash back four years to see how Leo and Paige met and fell in love with each other. When we get back to present time, we watch as Paige emerges from her coma with no memory of her husband.

This launches a battle between Leo and Paige’s estranged parents (Sam Neill and Jessica Lange). They want her to come back with them – and potentially get her to rekindle a long-dormant romance with her former fiancé Jeremy (Scott Speedman) – while Leo obviously objects. He embarks on a course to re-woo her and get her back with him.

Based on his appearance, one can easily think of Tatum as a talentless meathead who gets gigs solely because he looks good in his underwear. When I first encountered the actor via 2006’s She’s the Man, I found myself pleasantly surprised by Tatum’s unusual line readings and comic timing. My viewing of the recent Jump Street flick reminded me that the guy does possess solid comedic skills.

When it comes to drama, however, I think Tatum fares less well. Oh, he still delivers a pretty likable presence, as he comes across as down to earth despite his (literal) male model looks, but when confronted with his role’s more dramatic needs, Tatum tends to falter. He comes across as a smidgen wooden and unconvincing when the movie takes him to non-comedic places. Add to that the fairly one-note nature of the Leo character and we find a pretty big hole at the center of Vow.

Like Tatum, McAdams tends to handle comedy well, and I think she shows greater range for other roles. Paige certainly requires her to deliver a broader range of attitudes and emotions, but I can’t say she does so especially well. Part of the problem comes from the script, as it fails to make Paige seem particularly sympathetic.

That’s a pretty big task – how can we find a woman who goes through such trauma to be so unlikable? – but the film achieves it, as the movie’s first half presents Paige as shrill and annoying. We warm to her as the film progresses, but we never quite embrace her like we should. Indeed, the flashback segment appears to exist solely to give us some reason to like Paige, as the present-day model is so sour we need to attach ourselves to a more winning version.

Probably the biggest problem with Vow stems from its odd thinness. Given the nature of the story, it should come with plenty of drama and character development, but instead, it does little to take advantage of its potential strengths. It makes Paige’s parents and ex-fiancé stock baddies, and it feels stuck in neutral much of the time. The script simply can’t come up with enough material to fill its 104 minutes, so it plods along without much to satisfy as we wait for its inevitable ending. (No, I won’t reveal how it concludes, but if you can’t figure it out on your own, you probably haven’t seen many movies.)

I find it hard to describe The Vow as a disappointment, for I’m simply not part of its target audience. Guys in their mid-40s don’t tend to be the core for weepy romances, so I suppose the film had to climb a steep hill for me to dig it.

Nonetheless, I like its actors and thought it came with an intriguing premise, so dub it a disappointment I will. The Vow had the potential to create something a bit more dynamic than the average romantic drama, but instead, it turns into basic soap opera fare.


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

The Vow appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. The movie came with a good but not great transfer.

Sharpness was usually positive, though not in a sparkling way. The movie managed to display pretty solid definition; it just seemed a bit loose at times, especially in interiors, and it failed to display the clarity expected of the better Blu-rays. No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects occurred, and edge enhancement was absent. I also failed to detect any source flaws.

In terms of colors, the movie featured a natural palette that favored a slight golden tone. Hospital interiors favored the usual chilly blue, but otherwise, slightly amber ruled the day. Across the board, the hues looked positive. Blacks were dark and deep, while shadows appeared clear and smooth. The mild softness made this a “B”.

I thought that the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Vow seemed fine but it didn’t excel because of a lack of ambition. Like most romantic dramas, the movie featured a limited soundfield that favored the forward channels. It showed nice stereo spread to the music as well as some general ambience from the sides.

Panning was decent, and the surrounds usually kicked in basic reinforcement. A few scenes opened up better, though, like at parties or bars; those sequences boasted lively music. However, most of the movie stayed with the limited imaging expected from a romance.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech was natural and distinct, with no issues related to edginess or intelligibility. Effects sounded clean and accurate, with good fidelity and no signs of distortion. Music was perfectly fine, as the score and songs showed positive dimensionality. This track was good enough for a “B“ but didn’t particularly impress.

As we shift to supplements, we open with an audio commentary from director Michael Sucsy. He provides a running, screen-specific discussion of story and characters, sets and locations, cast and performances, music, stunts and effects, inspirations and influences, visual design and cinematography, and a few other production areas.

From start to finish, Sucsy delivers a pretty terrific track. He covers all the appropriate filmmaking subjects and does so with charm and good humor. I kind of wish I liked his movie more than I do, as Sucsy seems like a nice guy. Well, at least I can praise his high-quality commentary!

Four Deleted Scenes go for five minutes, 56 seconds. These include “Leo and Paige at a Concert”, “Friends Introduce Leo to Lina”, “Leo Talks About Paige with Rita” and “Leo Gets Advice”. With “Concert”, we see a bit more of pre-accident Paige, while “Lina” shows Leo’s friends’ attempts to get him to move on and date someone else. “Talks” offers more interaction between Leo and Paige’s mom, and “Advice” is just a quick bit in which Leo’s told he needs to be more of a caveman with Paige. All but “Talks” are superfluous; “Talks” is a little long, but it helps humanize at least one of the movie’s “bad guys”, so it might’ve been a decent addition to the film.

Three featurettes follow. ’Til Death Do They Part goes for eight minutes, 15 seconds and delivers info from Sucsy, producers Roger Birnbaum and Jonathan Glickman, Alzheimer’s Prevention Program author Dr. Gary W. Small, production designer Kalina Ivanov, and actor Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, and Sam Neill. “Part” looks at the real-life incident that inspired the film as well as story/character areas, cast and performances, and set design. “Part” provides pretty basic “making of” material. It’s nothing great, but it moves quickly and offers a decent overview.

Profiles of Love: Paige and Leo fills nine minutes, 59 seconds with comments from Tatum, Glickman, Sucsy, and McAdams. “Profiles” examines cast, characters and performances. It tends toward fluff, so don’t expect much from it – unless you just like to hear how wonderful McAdams and Tatum are.

Finally, Trying to Remember occupies 10 minutes, 10 seconds and features Sucsy, McAdams, Small, and Tatum. “Remember” acts as a companion to “Profiles”, as it mainly focuses on aspects of the movie’s main characters. Small throws out a few facts about brain injuries, but those are buried in this superficial – and disappointing – piece. I hoped to learn more about the real-life couple who inspired Paige and Leo, but it’s just another promo program.

A Gag Reel runs three minutes, 10 seconds. It shows us a standard assortment of screw-ups and laughs. If that’s your thing, you’ll enjoy it.

The disc opens with Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, Tonight You’re Mine and The Artist. These also appear under Previews along with clips for Damsels in Distress and The Woman in Black. No trailer for Vow shows up here.

A second disc provides a DVD Copy of The Vow. This delivers a retail version of the release, which makes it more valuable than some “bonus DVDs”.

With a good cast and an interesting basic story, I thought The Vow could rise above its romantic drama roots. Unfortunately, it does little to live up to its promise and simply meanders along without much direction or life. The Blu-ray delivers fairly good picture and audio along with supplements that vary from a solid commentary to a series of bland featurettes. This is a reasonably positive Blu-ray for a mediocre movie.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 3
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main