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Gore Verbinski
Nicolas Cage, Michael Caine, Hope Davis, Gemmenne de la PeŮa, Nicholas Hoult, Michael Rispoli, Gil Bellows, Judith McConnell
Writing Credits:
Steve Conrad

... bring an umbrella.

Dave Spritz is a local weatherman in his home town of Chicago, where his career is going well while his personal life - his relationship with his perfectionist writer father, his neurotic ex-wife, and his now-separated children - is spiraling downward. Despite being both loathed and loved by the local masses, Dave is a guy who doesn't seem to have it all together, and in this film, he begins to feel it. An attractive job offer presents Dave with a major question: to pursue his career in New York City, or to remain at home with his family.

Box Office:
$4.248 million on 1510 screens.
Domestic Gross
$12.469 million.

Rated R

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby 2.0
French Dolby Digital 5.1

Runtime: 101 min.
Price: $29.95
Release Date: 2/21/2006

• ďTraining WheelsĒ Featurette
• ďMeet the CrewĒ Featurette
• Extended Scenes
• Photo Gallery
• Trailers
• Previews


Sony 36" WEGA KV-36FS12 Monitor; Sony DA333ES Processor/Receiver; Panasonic CV-50 DVD Player using component outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Sony SA-WM40 Subwoofer.


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The Weather Man (2005)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (February 1, 2006)

For the last decade or so, Nicolas Cage has bounced between the quirky roles on which he made his name and big blockbusters. I see that as a good thing since Cage easily could have committed himself solely to big budget efforts. I donít criticize him for those choices Ė hey, I like action extravaganzas Ė but itís nice to note that he keeps in touch with more challenging roles as well.

That side of his career comes out with 2005ís The Weather Man. Professionally, TV weatherman Dave Spritz (Cage) has no complaints. Sure, yahoos occasionally pitch food items at him, but he makes $240,000 a year to work two hours a day, and he sees room for career and financial growth when he gets a shot at the weather gig on a national morning show with Bryant Gumbel.

Personally, things ainít so hot. He split from wife Noreen (Hope Davis) and has problems with his kids. Teen Mike (Nicholas Hoult) just got out of rehab for substance abuse, and his counselor Don (Gil Bellows) seems to have more than just a professional interest in the kid. Obese 12-year-old Shelly (Gemmenne De la Pena) smokes, curses, gets nasty comments from other kids, and wants to kill animals.

Daveís dad Robert (Michael Caine) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist whose approval Dave desperately seeks. Matters get worse there as well when Robert receives a diagnosis of lymphoma. Dave also harbors dreams of living up to his dadís legacy and becoming a successful author, but his efforts flop.

Dave tries to make things improve, though. He attempts to reconcile with Noreen, and they attend group counseling. He remains his own worst enemy, though, as he canít control his bad instincts. The movie follows his ups and downs as he attempts to deal with all these issues and improve his life.

Itís not everyday you find a movie that discusses the vaginal impressions left in the clothes of a pre-teen girl. Weather Man is definitely an odd beast, though, as it straddles a line between soap opera and sick comedy.

In general, it walks that line surprisingly well. I usually find efforts like this to become cloying and artificially eccentric. Weather Man toys with that but never falls into the traps. Perhaps some of that comes from the strong cast it assembles. Okay, I never quite accept Caineís American accent, as Iím too accustomed to his normal tones. Cage also doesnít seem jovial and personable enough to succeed as a TV personality; heís way too odd to prosper in that format.

Despite those issues, the actors flesh out their roles well. Caine remains a solid presence, while Cage manages to tame his excessively odd side. Sure, his unusual qualities still come through, and thatís a good thing; I donít want to see a neutered Cage. However, he doesnít let the tics get the best of him, and he makes Dave an interesting yet believable personality.

The same goes for the movie as a whole. It easily could have turned into an absurd, eccentric farce, but it avoids that. Instead, it balances its strangeness with a certain warmth and humanity. This allows us to invest in the characters but ensures matters never become sappy or saccharine.

The Weather Man goes down as an unusual but not off-putting film. It pursues its own agenda and keeps us off-guard as it avoids simple answers or pat situations. Just when you think itíll go one way, it moves in another direction. This makes it memorable and thought-provoking.

The DVD Grades: Picture B-/ Audio B/ Bonus B

The Weather Man appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 televisions. Some problems with definition made this a less than stellar transfer.

Sharpness varied a bit. Much of the movie came across as reasonably defined and concise. However, more than a few exceptions occurred, as the film occasionally looked somewhat soft and tentative. No jagged edges or shimmering occurred, but I noticed moderate edge enhancement at times. No problems with source flaws caused distractions, as the movie remained free from defects.

With an extremely subdued palette at work, not many colors cropped up in Weather Man. The movie went with a cold grayish-blue tint that reflected its tone and winter setting. The colors we saw looked fine; we just didnít get many of them beyond the chilly tint. Blacks remained acceptably dense, and shadows were clear and smooth.

While it lacked much ambition, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack of The Weather Man was perfectly satisfying for the material. The soundfield focused on general information. Music showed good stereo delineation, while effects created a solid sense of place. Mostly we got general atmosphere without too many specifics. The surrounds reinforced these, though they added a little unique information due to different elements. A car here, a plane there Ė all of these helped spark the back speakers.

No problems with quality occurred. Speech was consistently concise and crisp, and I detected no issues with intelligibility or accuracy. Music sounded robust and lively, while effects were clean and detailed. The occasional loud sequence presented good bass response as well. Not much stood out here, but the overall impression was positive.

Most of the DVDís extras come from some featurettes. Extended Outlook: The Script runs 10 minutes, six seconds and uses the standard format with movie clips, behind the scenes bits, and interviews. We hear from producer Todd Black, director Gore Verbinski, screenwriter Steve Conrad, and actor Nicolas Cage. We learn a little about why the script appealed to those involved, but the most interesting bits come from Conradís information about inspirations for various aspects of the story. Those make it a fun piece to watch.

Next we find Forecast: Becoming a Weatherman. This five-minute and 44-second show includes notes from Cage, Conrad, Verbinski, Black, and meteorological technical advisor Tom Skilling. We get info about the challenges associated with Cageís performance as a TV weatherman. Itís a little fluffy but it includes a few nice insights.

During the nine-minute and 23-second Atmospheric Pressure: The Style and Palette, we discover comments from Verbinski, director of photography Phedon Papamichael, and production designer Tom Duffield. They go over choices for the color palette and the sets and locations. These areas offer many good details about the selections and we receive a solid primer in the decisions related to visuals.

Relative Humidity: The Characters lasts 19 minutes, 43 seconds, and includes comments from Verbinski, Cage, and actors Michael Caine, Hope Davis, Michael Rispoli, Gemmenne De la Pena, and Nicholas Hoult. They discuss their parts and give us inner glimpses of the characters and their relationships. Some of this comes across as basic recap, but decent insight fleshes out the program. I especially enjoy the shots of Verbinski as he repeatedly pegs Cage with food for the many scenes of that sort.

Finally, Trade Winds: The Collaboration fills 15 minutes and 40 seconds. It features Verbinski, Papamichael, Black, editor Craig Wood, composer Hans Zimmer, and costume designer Penny Rose. This looks at how Verbinski works with others in the areas of editing, cinematography, producing, costumes, and music. ďCollaborationsĒ suffers from a rather scattered tone, as it covers too many semi-disparate topics without much to link them. Still, it gets into some intriguing subjects and fleshes them out just well enough to make this a decent show.

In addition to the movieís trailer, the DVD opens with some promos. We get ads for Elizabethtown, Yours, Mine and Ours, Asylum, MacGyver, CSI: NY and Ferris Buellerís Day Off. These also appear in the discís Previews area.

Quirky but not obnoxiously so, The Weather Man manages to balance itself well. It provides just enough drama and emotion to succeed along with its definite tone of oddness. These make it unusual and intriguing. The DVD offers decent picture and audio with a moderately useful set of extras. This isnít a killer DVD, but the filmís interesting enough to merit a rental.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.75 Stars Number of Votes: 16
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