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WARNER

MOVIE INFO

Director:
John Lee Hancock
Cast:
Sandra Bullock, Tim McGraw, Quinton Aaron, Kathy Bates, Jae Head, Lily Collins, Ray McKinnon
Writing Credits:
John Lee Hancock, Michael Lewis (book)

Synopsis:
Teenager Michael Oher is surviving on his own, virtually homeless, when he is spotted on the street by Leigh Anne Tuohy. Learning that the young man is one of her daughter's classmates, Leigh Anne insists that Michael - wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the dead of winter - come out of the cold. Without a moment's hesitation, she invites him to stay at the Tuohy home for the night. What starts out as a gesture of kindness turns into something more as Michael becomes part of the Tuohy family despite the differences in their backgrounds.

Box Office:
Budget
$29 million.
Opening Weekend
$34.119 million on -unknown- screens.
Domestic Gross
$248.755 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 1.85:1/16X9
Audio:
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
French

Runtime: 128 min.
Price: $28.98
Release Date: 3/23/2010

Bonus:
• Deleted Scenes
• Previews


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 Blind Side (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 11, 2010)

Here come four words I thought I’d never write: “Sandra Bullock, Oscar winner”. That doesn’t serve as a judgment on her talent. Instead, it reflects Bullock’s film choices. Bullock specializes in romantic comedies, and flicks of that sort don’t get Oscar love.

Inspirational sports-related movies like 2009’s The Blind Side don’t usually earn Academy affection either, but the film was such a hit that Oscar couldn’t ignore it. Blind Side came out of nowhere to become 2009’s biggest sleeper. With a gross around $250 million, it turned into a certified smash.

And it transformed Our Sandy into a serious actor, apparently. Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) grows up with a crack-addicted mom, a deadbeat dad, and a crummy education. He gets to sleep on the couch at a friend’s house for a while but eventually loses that “privilege”.

The pal’s dad does help Mike enroll in a private Christian school, where “Big Mike’s” athletic potential opens doors. However, he finds it awfully hard to fit in there – at least until a wealthy mom-about-town named Leigh Anne Tuohy (Bullock) develops an interest in him. She takes him under his wing and gives him a place to stay as well as someone to care about him.

This motherly tendency goes down a different path when Michael plays for the school’s football team. A true “gentle giant”, Michael lacks the killer instinct to be an on-field force. However, he possesses great protectiveness, and Leigh Anne pushes that button to get him to live up to his potential. We follow Michael’s progress on the field and in real life as he becomes part of the Tuohy family.

Any review of Blind Side written after March 7, 2010, should probably start with the big question: did Bullock deserve an Oscar for her turn as Leigh Anne? In short, no, but that doesn’t act as a slam on her performance, which is pretty good.

Instead, it’s a judgment that the role and the film are so lightweight that it’s tough to view Bullock’s work as really award-worthy. I feel a bit hypocritical when I say that, as I often gripe that the Oscars ignore actors who don’t play Major Roles. It rarely matters how good a performance in an action flick or a comedy is; those actors find it very hard to get Oscar nominations, at least in the lead category; the Academy’s more open to less serious work in the supporting vein.

I don’t judge Blind Side as lightweight because it’s not about war or the Holocaust or whatever. I judge it as lightweight because it’s simply an insubstantial take on its subject. Blind Side bears a strong resemblance to efforts like Remember the Titans and writer/director John Lee Hancock’s own The Rookie.

Absolutely nothing here deviates from that template. I don’t view that as a bad thing, but it does mean the flick lacks a great deal of depth. Much of it just seems too easy. For most of the flick’s running time, we get a simplistic take on its subject, as Michael’s journey comes with precious few obstacles. The story throws in some basic impediments toward the end, but the tone remains fluffy and fairly one-dimensional.

Which impacts upon the characters and thus makes it tough for the actors to rise above the level of the material. Bullock and the others give it their best shot, and they generally succeed. Bullock adds depth to a character who could’ve just been a Tough Southern Mama stereotype. She can’t quite make Leigh Anne a total human being, but again, the script undercuts the character; it doesn’t attempt to develop her beyond a basic level, and Bullock’s best efforts can’t fix that.

Aaron also does nicely as Michael. That role actually receives even less development than Leigh Anne, but Aaron gives him some heart. A good supporting cast fleshes out the rest of the parts well, though I must admit young Jae Head’s SJ is such a broad comedic character that he tends to annoy.

Because Blind Side tells a nice tale and does so in an enjoyable manner, I don’t want to come across as too hard on the film. In truth, it’s a pleasant and effective flick that delivers an uplifting message in an entertaining manner.

But so did Titans, Rookie and quite a few other flicks in this genre, which leaves me somewhat befuddled at the enormous success of Blind Side. I guess it just hit the public consciousness at the right time, as something about it clearly appealed to many people. It’s not like the flick made a skillion dollars right out of the gate and then fizzled ala Twilight: New Moon. Nope - Blind Side took the “slow and steady” approach to its massive box office receipts.

I admire that, as it’s nice to see a small movie like this succeed on its own merits rather than due to hype. Nonetheless, I just wish I could figure out why the audiences embraced Blind Side so much more than other very similar films. This is a professional, enjoyable movie but it’s not one that seems particularly distinguished.


The DVD Grades: Picture C/ Audio C+/ Bonus D

The Blind Side appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this single-sided, double-layered DVD; the image has been enhanced for 16X9 sets. While the picture had some positives, it was more erratic than I’d like.

Sharpness was actually better than expected. Wide shots could be a bit soft, but most of the movie appeared reasonably concise and well-defined. However, some issues stemmed from digital artifacts; I noticed mild edge enhancement along with mosquito noise. The movie came across as rather blocky on occasion, and I noticed shimmering and jagged edges at times. No source flaws appeared, however.

Colors were fine. The movie went with a fairly natural palette that favored a mild golden tint. The hues never excelled, but they looked acceptable. Blacks were reasonably dark and tight, but shadows seemed a bit too dense. I liked enough of the transfer to merit a “C”, but some parts of it didn’t work very well.

One shouldn’t expect sonic fireworks from a drama such as Blind Side, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack remained subdued. The mix featured good stereo music and decent environmental information but little more substantial than that. Even the football games lacked much pizzazz; they contributed enough of the requisite material to succeed, but the audio wasn’t memorable. The surrounds played a minor role at best, so don’t expect much from them. A fight/flashback sequence briefly brought those channels to life, but that was about it.

At least audio quality was good. Speech appeared natural and concise, with no problems on display. Music sounded vivid and full, and effects were perfectly acceptable. As noted, they rarely offered anything to make them stand out from the crowd, but they worked fine. I thought this was a pretty average track without any qualities that allowed it to impress.

In spite of the film’s enormous success, the Blind Side DVD lacks substantial extras. We find four Deleted Scenes that fill a total of seven minutes, six seconds. We get “I’m the Designer” (1:21), “Lunch Ticket” (3:47), “Sizes” (0:25) and “Who Are You Looking For?” (1:33). “Designer” just extends a scene in the final cut, while “Lunch” expands on the science teacher’s attempts to draw him out of his shell. It’s nice that this underdeveloped character gets some more time; the sequence would probably slow the film a little more, but it adds some background. “Sizes” offers a quick comedic beat, and “For” extends Leigh Anne’s attempts to find Michael’s mother. The latter mostly reinforces the scummy drug dealer character; we don’t need more of that to see him as a baddie.

The disc opens with some ads. We find promos for Invictus, Free Willy: Escape from Pirate’s Cove, IMAX Under the Sea and the Lego Harry Potter video game. No trailer for Blind Side appears here.

Why did The Blind Side earn about $250 million at the box office and snare Sandra Bullock an Oscar? I don’t know. While the movie provides enjoyable “feel good” entertainment, little about it stands out from its genre crowd, so I can’t figure out why it struck it so big. The DVD provides mediocre picture and audio, and it skimps on extras. This is a pleasant but unmemorable flick.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.1153 Stars Number of Votes: 26
85:
24:
8 3:
12:
71:
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