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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Jeremy Gardner
Cast:
Jeremy Gardner, Adam Cronheim, Niels Bolle, Alana O'Brien
Writing Credits:
Jeremy Gardner

Tagline:
How Will You Survive?

Synopsis:
The personalities of two former baseball players clash as they traverse the rural back roads of a post-plague New England teeming with the undead.

MPAA:
Unrated

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DTS-HD MA 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 100 min.
Price: $19.97
Release Date: 9/16/2014

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director/Actor Jeremy Gardner, Producer/Actor Adam Cronheim and Director of Photography Christian Stella
• “Tools of Ignorance” Documentary
• Outtakes
• “Rock Plaza Central at the Parlor”
• Trailer and Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
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.

RELATED REVIEWS


The Battery [Blu-Ray] (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (September 15, 2014)

Though the genre borders on oversaturation, 2014’s The Battery attempts another take on the zombie concept. The film brings us to New England, where the shuffling undead roam the territory and few humans remain.

Despite significant personality differences, two former baseball teammates pair up to stay alive. Ben (Jeremy Gardner) displays the more aggressive side and adapts to this new survivalist lifestyle, while Mickey (Adam Cronheim) tends to remain quieter and more actively pines for the existence left behind before the zombies came.

As they wander the land, they never find any other humans – not until they locate some walkie-talkies and hear a conversation between other survivors. This leads to more conflicts, as Ben prefers to stay the course while Mickey wants to get to this community.

Though my reviews may sometimes convey a different impression, I feel fine with movies that lack substantial narratives. I don’t need a plot-heavy film to keep me engaged, but I want something onto which I can hang my hat.

That becomes an issue with Battery, which takes a lack of story farther than I’d like. Most of the film’s first half simply shows the guys as they roam and survive; any plot elements remain incidental. Once the notion of the commune appears, the tale looks like it might head toward a more driven path, but it doesn’t. We continue to follow the leads from one rambling sequence to another.

This leaves the movie as a more impressionistic experience than usual, and that seems fine – to a degree. Battery just lacks the meat to make it interesting for 100 minutes, especially since it does precious little to develop its characters. We don’t really know more about the leads at the end than we did at the start, so the film doesn’t turn into an effective personality study. It’s more about the monotony of zombie survival than anything else.

Battery manages some interesting moments and gives us something more creative during its third act. I don’t want to provide spoilers, but the finale places the leads in one very confined spot for an extended period, and it comes to life during this unusual circumstance.

Unfortunately, that sequence can’t quite redeem the tedium that burdens so much of the preceding two acts – and the film suffers from an ultimate conclusion that leaves gaping questions and feels like an invitation for a sequel. Battery shows promise but remains too slow and self-indulgent to succeed on a consistent basis.


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

The Battery appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The transfer presented the film in a fairly appealing manner.

Sharpness looked good. Some softness hit wider shots, but those instances remained mostly insubstantial, so the majority of the flick showed fine clarity and accuracy. Jaggies and shimmering failed to distract, and edge haloes remained absent. The movie also lacked any source flaws and was consistently clean.

In terms of colors, Battery went with subdued tones, as the movie tended toward an amber feel or a green impression. The hues never stood out as memorable, but they weren’t supposed to be impressive, so they were fine for this story’s stripped palette. Blacks were pretty deep, and shadows were well-depicted, though some low-light shots could be a little murky. The image offered a solid “B” presentation.

As for the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it lacked a ton of ambition, though I didn’t view that as a flaw. A story like this came heavy on ambience and light on opportunities for fireworks, so the absence of showy sequences failed to become a problem. Music filled the various channels in a satisfying manner, and low-key effects fleshed out the spectrum in a logical way. Nothing dazzled but the mix seemed workable for the material.

Audio quality pleased. Speech was concise and natural, while effects – as subdued as they tended to be – remained accurate and full-bodied. Music was vibrant and dynamic. While this was never a memorable track, it suited the story.

When we head to extras, we launch with an audio commentary from writer/director/actor Jeremy Gardner, producer/actor Adam Cronheim and director of photography Christian Stella. All three sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, sets and locations, cinematography and visual design, editing and deleted scenes, cast and performances, music and audio, and other domains.

Though the track can be a little too jokey at times, it usually delivers a good level of information. At least the tone remains peppy as the participants go through various aspects of the production. While it may become too informal on occasion, the commentary still covers appropriate bases in a positive manner.

Called Tools of Ignorance, a documentary lasts one hour, 29 minutes and 20 seconds. It offers notes from Gardner, Cronheim, Stella, makeup effects/set designer Kelly McQuade, production manager/actor Elise Stella, executive producer/actor Matt Bacco, editors/foley designers Alicia Stella and Michael Katzman, musician Chris Eaton and composer Ryan Winford. The piece looks at the filmmakers’ start in movies and the development/financing of Battery, equipment and technical considerations, casting and bringing others onto the project, sets and locations, cast and performances, audio and music, makeup effects, editing and deleted scenes, and general thoughts about the end result.

Just because a documentary uses a long running time doesn’t ensure quality, as I’ve found extended “making of” shows that lacked much substance. “Tools” doesn’t fall into that category.

Instead, it gives us a simply terrific look at the production. Inevitably, it repeats some info from the commentary, but it comes with plenty of new details, and the video footage helps – as does a frank, honest tone with room for discussion of fights/problems during the production. Heck, we even get glimpses of Gardner’s earlier video films. “Tools” provides an entertaining and educational show that’s more enjoyable than Battery itself.

A collection of Outtakes goes for 11 minutes, 37 seconds. The compilation shows a mix of bloopers, behind the scenes shots and deleted/alternate takes. It’s not exciting but it comes with some interesting moments.

Rock Plaza Central at the Parlor fills 10 minutes, 48 seconds. It lets us watch rehearsals by Rock Plaza Central, the band who created some of the songs found in the movie. If you like the music, this segment may boast some value, but it seems like a snoozer to me.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find ads under More from Scream Factory. This domain includes promos for Beneath, Dead Shadows and 5 Senses of Fear.

Though it comes with some worthwhile moments, The Battery lacks the momentum to make it enjoyable on a consistent basis. I like some aspects but think it sputters more than I’d prefer. The Blu-ray gives us pretty good picture and audio as well as some informative bonus materials. Battery gets points for effort but doesn’t turn into a satisfying final product.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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