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MOVIE INFO

Director:
Allen Hughes
Cast:
Mark Wahlberg, Russell Crowe, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Barry Pepper , Alona Tal, Natalie Martinez, Kyle Chandler
Writing Credits:
Brian Tucker

Tagline:
Proof Can Be a Powerful Weapon.

Synopsis:
Seven years after being forced to resign as a New York police officer, private detective Billy Taggart (Wahlberg) takes on his toughest case yet: following the wife (Zeta-Jones) of the city's hard-nosed mayor (Crowe), who's convinced she's cheating on him. But by the time the mayor reveals his true intentions, Billy is already in too deep. Now, with his freedom - and quite possibly his life - on the line, Billy will risk it all in a desperate bid to expose the truth, and seek redemption in a city where second chances don't come cheap.

Box Office:
Budget
$55 million.
Opening Weekend
$9.000 million on 2620 screens.
Domestic Gross
$19.692 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Descriptive Audio 5.1
Italian DTS 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Italian
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
Italian

Runtime: 109 min
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 4/30/2013

Bonus:
• Deleted Scenes
• “Putting It All Together” Documentary
• Previews and Trailer
• 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


Broken City [Blu-Ray] (2013)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (May 14, 2013)

Like Gangster Squad, 2013’s Broken City offered a movie with a high-profile cast that got released in January, Hollywood’s traditional “dumping ground” for efforts the studios think will flop. Like Gangster Squad, City failed to find much of an audience. Actually, it looked bad compared even to the lackluster $45 million gross Squad nabbed, as City mustered a mere $19 million in the US.

As was the case with Squad, I found myself intrigued by City due to its cast, so here I am. NYPD Detective Billy Taggart (Mark Wahlberg) ends up in court for the alleged murder of teenager Mikey Tavarez (Luis Tolentino). Taggart claims self-defense, while the prosecutors accuse the cop of a cold-blooded killing – and the citizens are up in arms.

Taggart skates and ends up in a meeting with Mayor Nicholas Hostetler (Russell Crowe). He knows that Taggart actually did murder Tavarez because the teen raped and murdered his girlfriend’s younger sister but got off on a technicality. For the good of the department, Hostetler and Police Chief Carl Fairbanks (Jeffrey Wright) ask Taggart to step down from his job. He agrees, with the understanding that the mayor will someday pay back his “good deed”.

With that we leap ahead seven years and re-encounter Taggart as a private detective, one who specializes in low-rent infidelity cases. Hostetler remains mayor and goes through another campaign. With Election Day due in four days, Hostetler finds a tough challenge from Councilman Jack Valliant (Barry Pepper).

In the midst of this, Hostetler calls in Taggart to investigate alleged infidelity by his wife Cathleen (Catherine Zeta-Jones), with the caveat that he must complete the job by Election Day to keep the info away from his political foes. Desperate for cash – and eager to please the mayor – Taggart accepts the gig, but he regrets it when Hostetler’s true intentions come into question.

When those revelations occur, will we care? You might, but I didn’t. Most thrillers of this sort at least manage to come up with narratives that intrigue us enough to make us wonder how they’ll end, but that fails to happen in City. As the film wandered through one plot twist after another, I remained disengaged; none of the material drew me in and made me care about the outcome.

City wants badly to give us a modern film noir, and it succeeds: it works badly. Apparently the script was a hot property in Hollywood at one point, but that’s hard to believe given how amateurish so much of it seems. Not only does City fail to develop interesting characters or situations, but it comes bogged down with often laughable dialogue.

Oh, that dialogue! Obviously screenwriter Brian Tucker tried hard to channel his inner Raymond Chandler, but he failed; heck, he couldn’t even find his inner Chandler Bing. We find one clunky line after another, with duds like “Sing Sing ain’t no place for guys with good hearts” to slacken our jaws. Believe it or not, we’re supposed to take material like that seriously – it’s not a parody.

City also befuddles us with its bizarre lack of logic. How can a cop in a high-profile case such as the one that befell Taggart be able to make a living as a private detective? Wouldn’t his face be known and remembered by many, many people in NYC? Wouldn’t this ensure that he could rarely successfully observe anyone because they’d be aware of who he was? Would someone as informed as Valliant’s campaign manager (Kyle Chandler) really not recognize him?

That’s just one of many head-scratchers, and the odd decisions extend to casting. It seems clear that Hostetler was meant for an actor older than the then-48-year-old Crowe. The mayor refers to boxing matches from 1962 as if he personally remembers them, for heaven’s sake! He also calls Valliant “the kid” even though Pepper’s only six years younger than Crowe.

Yes, I realize that actors often play younger/older than their characters, but I still think Crowe is simply far too young for the role. The movie tries to “age him up” – mainly via a frumpy haircut – but he never seems all that much older than Pepper, and he certainly doesn’t convince us he recalls events from 50 years ago.

Why not cast an older actor? I have no idea – maybe the producers just liked Crowe and figured no one would care about his age. And maybe they’re right – heck, I might not have minded if this was one of only a handful of problems involved with City.

In truth, I might have let a lot of gaffes go by the wayside if City could’ve done one simple thing: entertain me. Give me a movie with a compelling tale/characters and I’ll forgive it all sorts of sins.

But Broken City commits the biggest cinematic crime of all: it’s boring. It starts slowly and never picks up the pace, so it waddles from one dull plot twist to another. We don’t ask “whodunit” – we ask “whenwillitend”.


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

Broken City appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Across the board, the transferred looked good.

Sharpness was fine. A little softness occurred in some wide shots, but those didn’t become a concern. Overall definition seemed solid. I noticed no jagged edges or moiré effects, and the presentation lacked apparent edge haloes or other artifacts. I also saw no print flaws, as the movie always seemed clean.

In terms of colors, City reflected Hollywood’s modern fascination with orange and teal. As tedious as that has become, the colors looked fine within the design parameters. In addition, blacks were dark and tight, while low-light shots were decent; some could be a bit dense, but they weren’t bad. This was a generally positive presentation.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it added breadth to the experience. The movie didn’t deliver a rock-em-sock-em soundscape, but it managed to open up well, especially when it dealt with the many street scenes; those showed a nice sense of the New York atmosphere.

A few louder sequences – usually connected to action beats like car chases – made more dynamic use of the spectrum, but those didn’t pop up with great frequency. Instead, the emphasis on general environment remained, and that was fine. I felt the soundfield fit the material.

Audio quality always pleased. Speech remained natural and concise, with no edginess or other flaws. Music sounded full and dynamic, while effects came across as accurate and clear. All of this suited the film and earned a solid “B”.

Only a few extras show up here. A documentary called Putting It All Together goes for 34 minutes, 59 seconds and features director Allen Hughes, screenwriter Brian Tucker, editor Cindy Mollo, producer Randall Emmett, costume designer Betsy Heimann, production designer Tom Duffield, and actors Mark Wahlberg, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jeffrey Wright, Russell Crowe, and Alona Tal. We learn about the script’s origins and development, story/character issues, casting and performances, cinematography, editing, and various design elements, sets and locations, and Hughes’ impact on the production.

A conglomeration of featurettes, that set-up ensures that “Together” doesn’t offer a seamless affair. Still, it includes a reasonable amount of good information. It covers a solid array of topics and does so in an efficient manner to become a useful collection of components.

Six Deleted Scenes run a total of eight minutes, 35 seconds. We find “The LA Premiere” (1:19), “Jimmy Luv” (1:53), “The Mayor’s Wife” (0:41), “Reflecting” (1:04), “’You Were Right’” (2:18) and “Alternate Ending” (1:20). “Luv” is simply an outtake that offers an improv riff on a phone call, while most of the others deliver minor exposition. We get a bit more of Billy’s girlfriend; she’s the primary beneficiary of the added sequences, though she remains an undeveloped role.

Of all six, the “Alternate Ending” provides the most intrigue. I don’t want to say much about it since it’d involve spoilers, but it adds a somewhat cynical twist on the finale. I actually kind of like it and wish the filmmakers kept it.

The disc opens with ads for The East and A Good Day to Die Hard. Sneak Peek also throws in a promo for The Marine 3, and we find the trailer for Broken City as well.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of City. It includes some previews but no other extras.

With a high-powered cast, Broken City looked like a potential winner. Unfortunately, the actors find themselves mired in warmed-over film noir clichés and a muddled, meandering story that does little more than bore. The Blu-ray delivers pretty good picture and audio along with a few decent bonus materials. Don’t let the stars on the Blu-ray’s cover entice you; Broken City is a dud.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.6666 Stars Number of Votes: 24
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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