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LIONS GATE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Matt Piedmont
Cast:
Will Ferrell, Diego Luna, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Genesis Rodriguez, Efren Ramirez, Adrian Martinez, Gael García Bernal
Writing Credits:
Andrew Steele

Tagline:
Funniest movie you'll ever read.

Synopsis:
Armando Alvarez (Will Ferrell) has lived and worked on his father's ranch in Mexico his entire life. As the ranch faces financial strains, Armando's younger brother Raul (Diego Luna) shows up with his new fianc‚e, Sonia (Genesis Rodriguez) and pledges to settle all his father's debts. It seems that Raul's success as an international businessman means the ranch's troubles are over, but when Armando falls for Sonia, and Raul's business dealings turn out to be less than legit, the Alvarez family finds themselves in a full-out war with Mexico's most feared drug lord, the mighty Onza (Gael Garc¡a Bernal).

Box Office:
Budget
$6 million.
Opening Weekend
$2.287 million on 382 screens.
Domestic Gross
$5.895 million.

MPAA:
Rated R

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
Spanish DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 84 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 7/17/2012

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Director Matt Piedmont, Writer/Producer Andrew Steele and Actor Will Ferrell
• 10 Deleted Scenes
• “The Making of Casa de mi Padre” Featurette
• Music Videos
• Pedro Armendariz’s Final Interview
• Previews and Commercials


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


Casa De Mi Padre [Blu-Ray] (2012)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 12, 2012)

If nothing else, 2012’s Casa de mi Padre shows Will Ferrell’s willingness to take chances. Indeed, Casa seems likely to go down as the oddest production from a major star that we’ll see this year.

What makes Casa so unusual? The film emulates Mexican melodramas of the 1970s – and comes as an entirely Spanish-language production despite the presence of Americans as writer, director and star.

Armando Alvarez (Ferrell) wants to impress his father (Pedro Armendáriz, Jr.) and prove he can run their cattle ranch, but the elder Alvarez thinks Armando lacks brains and favors his smarter, more successful son Raul (Diego Luna). The senior Alvarez becomes even more impressed with Raul when his son comes home with super-hot new fiancée Sonia Lopez (Genesis Rodriguez) in tow.

This complicates family relationships, largely because Armando obviously becomes smitten by Sonia but he attempts to disguise this behind feelings of concern for his brother. As Armando gets to know Sonia, she reveals that Raul deals drugs, and this pits brother against brother – and also involves “the Onza” (Gael García Bernal), the local drug kingpin.

When I first saw trailers for Casa, I assumed that was the end of that. It seemed to exist as a comedy sketch and didn’t appear to be something that’d end up as a full-length movie; I figured the trailer was a goof and nothing more.

Obviously I was wrong, but my inclination was correct. Casa looked like fodder for a brief comedy sketch, and that’s where it should have remained. There’s barely enough amusing material here to flesh out a two-minute trailer, much less to keep us entertained across 84 minutes of film.

Much of the problem comes from the movie’s relentless two-joke nature. It exists as a spoof with an emphasis on cheesiness – and the presence of Ferrell. I get the impression we’re supposed to feel entertained solely due to the anachronistic use of Ferrell as a Mexican and Spanish speaker. That’s a good 50 percent of the film’s gag right there.

The other half comes from the intentional cheapness of the project. We get plenty of “mistakes” such as continuity errors or shots of technicians in reflections, and we find crappy effects like obviously phony animals. These are all intended to amuse, as we’re supposed to delight at their crumminess.

This might’ve worked better if we’d not already gotten plenty of other faux cheap films like Black Dynamite. Casa brings virtually nothing new to the table other than its choice to feature Spanish as its dominant language – and its Anglo lead actor.

As such, Casa is more concept than film. It takes one simple idea and stretches it for 84 minutes without much else to carry it. This makes it mildly entertaining while the novelty of “Mexican Will Ferrell” remains fresh, but it can’t last. In the end, Casa delivers a slow, monotonous and self-indulgent dud.

Footnote: stick around through the end credits for a cameo from a 70s TV star.


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

Casa de mi Padre appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Nothing about the image dazzled, but it looked fine.

Sharpness was usually strong. Occasional wide shots came across as a bit soft, but those instances remained rare. The majority of the flick appeared well-defined and distinctive. No concerns with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge haloes. Print flaws created no distractions in this clean presentation.

Colors tended toward a golden tone. A few other tones appeared – such as deep reds in a bar sequence - but the vast majority of the flick opted for an amber tint. Within those stylistic constraints, the movie delivered clear, full tones. Blacks were dark and dense, while shadows seemed clear and distinctive. All of this was good enough for a “B+”.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it provided a fairly low-key affair. The soundscape usually focused on the front speakers, where we got nice stereo music as well as some decent environmental material. The back speakers tended to reinforce the front channels and didn’t often add much of their own; we got occasional unique elements in the rear but not much to make them active participants. A dream sequence probably delivered the most dynamic use of the various channels.

Audio quality seemed positive. Music was warm and full, and effects showed clear, accurate reproduction. Speech was consistently natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. This was a decent but unmemorable mix.

When we shift to the set’s extras, we open with an audio commentary from director Matt Piedmont, writer/producer Andrew Steele and actor Will Ferrell. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at inspirations and influences, music, cast and performances, challenges of shooting in Spanish, sets and locations, intentionally-cheap production design and continuity, photography, and a few other areas.

I worried this would just be a lot of joking, and some of that occurs. However, the participants still manage to deliver a reasonable amount of info about the production. While the track never becomes especially fascinating, it includes enough useful material to make it worth a listen.

10 Deleted Scenes fill a total of 19 minutes, 43 seconds. Virtually all of these concentrate on secondary characters and additional exposition. Given the borderline extraneous nature of the film’s plot, they seem unnecessary. While they might’ve added to our understanding of the movie’s tale, they would’ve done nothing to make the flick more interesting, as narrative remains unimportant. Fans may find some humor in them, though.

A featurette called The Making of Casa de mi Padre goes for 15 minutes, 43 seconds and provides notes from Ferrell and actors Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna, Adrian Martinez, Efren Ramirez, and Genesis Rodriguez. The show covers the project’s roots and concept, Piedmont’s work during the shoot, story and characters, cast and performances, working in Spanish, and some other topics. Ferrell gets in some funny moments and we find a smattering of good details in this fairly enjoyable program.

Next comes a Music Video for “Fight for Love” by Will Ferrell and Genesis Rodriguez. Some of this footage appears in the film, so the video doesn’t deliver much to make it new.

Pedro Armendariz’s Final Interview lasts three minutes, 37 seconds. Here the late actor discusses his character, his co-stars, and aspects of the shoot. This is one of the worst-recorded video pieces ever – wind nearly ruins the audio – but it’s an enjoyable little chat.

We also find three Comerciales. These come for “Champion 100s”, “Scorpion Beer” and “Suave Leopardo Cigarettes”. These give us cheesy 1970s-style fake ads for various products. They’re mildly amusing.

A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Safe, Friends with Kids, Saving Private Perez, Everything Must Go and Man on a Ledge. These show up under Also from Lionsgate as well, but no trailer for Casa appears.

As a quick comedy sketch, Casa de mi Padre would’ve amused. As a feature-length film, it bores. The movie attempts to exploit the same easy joke from beginning to end and lacks the cleverness and wit to make it entertaining for more than its first five minutes or so. The Blu-ray provides very good visuals, acceptable audio and reasonably useful supplements. Even diehard Will Ferrell fans will probably find it tough to endure this slow, self-indulgent snoozer.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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