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Tom Shadyac
Aldis Hodge, Greg Kinnear, Morgan Freeman
Writing Credits:
Doug Atchison

Wrongly convicted and sent to prison, Brian Banks fights to clear his name within an unjust system.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$2,156,272 on 1240 Screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG-13.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English DVS
Spanish DTS 2.0
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 100 min.
Price: $19.98
Release Date: 11/12/2019

• “The Story Behind Brian Banks” Featurette
• Previews


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Brian Banks [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 15, 2020)

Based on a true story, 2019’s Brian Banks introduces us to the title character. As a kid, Brian shows a tremendous athletic ability, and he excels as a football player.

As a teenager, Brian gets unjustly convicted of a sexual offense. This sends him to prison.

Now 27 and on parole, Brian (Aldis Hodge) lives with his mother Leomia (Sherri Shepherd) and struggles to find his way. Despite his advancing age, Brian still dreams of a career in the NFL.

Desperate to clear his name, Brian contacts Justin Brooks (Greg Kinnear) of the California Innocence Project to appeal his conviction. With assistance from Brooks, Brian attempts to fight against the legal system.

Back in the 90s and 00s, Tom Shadyac directed a series of comedic hits like Ace Ventura Pet Detective and Bruce Almighty. However, in 2007, a bad bicycle accident impaired Shadyac and inspired him to take a long sabbatical from feature filmmaking.

Other than an introspective 2010 documentary, Banks represents Shadyac’s first foray back into movies. Given his comedic background, this serious flick seems like a departure, but it doesn’t stand alone in his filmography.

After all, 1998’s hit Patch Adams mixed laughs and drama, and 2002’s Dragonfly avoided comedy entirely. Banks follows the Patch Adams path, as it gives us an earnest take on a real-life subject.

If you thought Shadyac’s time away from Hollywood changed him, Banks will quickly disavow you of that notion. Though not as painful to watch as the grating Patch Adams, this one also follows an earnest but superficial path that reeks of Shadyac’s old dumbed-down ways.

Maybe it’s too much to expect a filmmaker to really change. Shadyac embraced a particular strain of “populist” movies that emphasized broad emotions, usually a mix of laughs and heart-tugging.

With Banks, Shadyac firmly goes into the latter realm, as he shoots for an emotional tale of injustice and redemption. Unfortunately, the man once referred to as “Shady-hack” shows no signs that he matured over his sabbatical, as Banks gives us just another hackneyed effort from the director.

Expect every cheap genre cliché in the book to emerge here. Shadyac never allows the story to play out in an honest, natural manner, as he embraces a mix of artificial stabs at emotion.

This seems wholly unnecessary. The facts of the matter seem more than sufficient to deliver a compelling drama, so why assault the viewer with a never-ending barrage of tacky, contrived moments?

Because that’s what Shadyac does, I guess. He can’t resist the kind of lame grandstanding that made Patch Adams such a chore.

In addition, Banks suffers from poor construction. The film attempts to jump around various eras, but it fails to find a groove in that regard, so it becomes a muddled mess.

All of this feels like a shame, as a better director could’ve created a compelling drama. In Tom Shadyac’s hands, though, Banks ends up as trite and maudlin.

The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B/ Bonus D

Brian Banks appears in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie’s visuals looked good.

The shows offered solid clarity. Only a smidgen of softness materialized, so definition was usually positive.

No issues with jagged edges or shimmering appeared, and I saw no edge haloes. Source flaws failed to mar the presentation.

The film opted for a palette with a definite teal tint as well as some amber. Within those parameters, the colors seemed fine.

Blacks were pretty deep and tight, while shadows appeared positive, with only a little opacity on occasion. Overall, the film provided appealing visuals.

The DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack suited the movie but won't win any awards. The soundstage appeared nicely broad at the appropriate times and could be moderately engulfing on occasion. It's a talky little film, so the focus was mainly up front, but the audio expanded when necessary.

This occurred mostly via music and environmental ambience – especially in terms of score and songs, as those used the various speakers well. Football games and a few other sequences added some range as well.

Sound quality seemed fine. Dialogue always appeared crisp and natural, and I had no trouble understanding it. The score was warm and distinctive.

Effects also seemed realistic and adequate for the tasks at hand. Banks won't be anyone's demo track, but the mix worked well for the film.

A featurette called The Story Behind Brian Banks runs one minute, 42 seconds and features executive producers/real-life subjects Brian Banks and Justin Brooks, director Tom Shadyac and actors Aldis Hodge, Sherri Shepherd and Greg Kinnear.

“Behind” looks at the real-life Banks and the movie’s story. It’s a wholly superficial overview, though it’s nice to get a quick look at Banks himself.

The disc opens with ads for The Art of Self-Defense, Luce, Indian Horse and Emanuel. No trailer for Banks appears here.

Despite a strong real-life story at its core, Brian Banks flops. Director Tom Shadyac delivers his trademark heavy hand and turns this into a trite, dull tale. The Blu-ray brings solid picture and audio but it lacks notable bonus features. Banks lets down its title subject.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
0 3:
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