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LIONSGATE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
James Ponsoldt
Cast:
Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, Bill Paxton, John Boyega
Writing Credits:
James Ponsoldt, Dave Eggers

Synopsis:
A woman lands a dream job at a powerful tech company called the Circle, only to uncover an agenda that will affect the lives of all of humanity.

Box Office:
Budget
$18 million.
Opening Weekend
$9,034,148 on 3163 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$20,497,844.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

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

Runtime: 110 min.
Price: $39.99
Release Date: 8/1/2017

Bonus:
• “No More Secrets” Featurette
• “The Future Won’t Wait” Featurette
• “A True Original” Featurette
• Previews
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
-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.


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Free Fire [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 24, 2017)

With a cast led by stars Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, 2017’s The Circle looked like a potential hit. However, saddled with brutally bad reviews, the movie sputtered at the box office and failed to recoup it modest $18 million budget.

Despite all the negative comments, I thought I’d give the film a look and see if it warrants its dismal fate. After she graduates from college, Mae Holland (Watson) lands what appears to be a dream job at “The Circle”, the world’s biggest technology company.

Mae does well and eventually meets Circle founder Eamon Bailey (Hanks). He recruits her for a social experiment with far-reaching ramifications when she agrees to literally lead her entire life online.

Without question, Circle touches on timely topics. With every passing day, technology takes over more of our lives and intrudes on our privacy to a greater degree, so the film comes with the potential to grab into subjects with important ramifications.

Parts of The Circle hint at the Orwellian possibilities, especially in the form of group think rampant among workers at the company. Given the prevalence of social media, everyone knows everything about everyone else – and if you don’t notify the world of your every movement, you get viewed as a freak.

At times, Circle threatens to give us an insightful view of these topics. Along with a Silicon Valley sense of snark at times, the movie throws out the potential to prosper.

Unfortunately, Circle loses all sense of proportion and beats the viewer over the head with its notions and themes. The members of the business give off a creepy cult tone that I can’t exactly call subtle, as even “The Circle” itself implies a certain form of conformism.

In order to make its points, the movie takes matters way too far, and it stretches credulity and also opts for simplification. Rather than pursue its notions in a serious manner, Circle opts for broad melodrama, choices that make it tough to swallow much of the time.

That’s a shame, for I really do like the basic concepts behind the film. It pushes us to consider how much interconnectivity is too much, issues we’ll need to confront more and more.

It just doesn’t look at these in a meaningful and insightful way. The Circle dumbs down its theses too much and strips them of real heft.

As I mentioned when I reviewed the live-action Beauty and the Beast, I think Watson peaked as an actor during the early years of the Harry Potter franchise, and nothing about Circle changes my mind. Watson tends to act with her eyebrows and an odd compilation of pained facial expressions, none of which allow her to resemble an actual human being.

It probably doesn’t help that we contrast Watson’s mopey, one-dimensional turn against Hanks’ charismatic take on his underwritten role. An older stand-in for Mark Zuckerberg, Hanks brings more punch to the part than it deserves – he makes us wish the movie spent more time with Eamon instead of the dishwater dull Mae.

Even with a superior lead actress, though, I think Circle would fizzle due to its heavy-handed nature. The movie wants to make good points but it suffers from a relentless lack of nuance and coherence.


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

The Circle appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie delivered a good but not great presentation.

Sharpness became a minor weak link, as wide shots lacked terrific delineation. Most of the film offered appropriate definition, though, so those instances of softness remained rare. I saw no signs of moiré effects or jagged edges, and the image suffered from no edge haloes or source defects.

In an unsurprising move, the palette opted for a heavy teal and orange orientation. These hues worked fine within their design parameters. Blacks seemed dark and tight, while shadows appeared smooth and clear other than a few mildly thick nighttime shots. Only the occasional instances of mild softness impacted the presentation.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it suited the story’s scope. This meant a mix heavy on environmental information and music, with only a few scenes that used the side/surrounds in a more dynamic way. Given the narrative’s ambitions, though, I thought the soundfield made sense.

No issues with audio quality emerged. Music showed nice range and heft, and speech appeared natural and distinctive. Effects came across as accurate and clean. This felt like an appropriate soundtrack.

Three featurettes appear here, and these start with the four-part No More Secrets: Completing The Circle. It lasts 30 minutes, 56 seconds and offers info from writer/director James Ponsoldt, producers Anthony Bregman and Gary Goetzman, production designer Gerald Sullivan and actors Tom Hanks, Emma Watson, Patton Oswalt, John Boyega and Karen Gillan.

“Secrets” looks at the source and its adaptation, story/characters, cast and performances, and sets and locations. The segments offer decent insights into the movie, though they don’t give us a ton of depth given the amount of time availability.

The Future Won’t Wait: Design & Technology runs 10 minutes, 55 seconds and features Ponsoldt, Filmograph executive producer Seth Kleinberg and Filmograph designer Aaron Becker. “Wait” focuses on the movie’s graphics displays as well as credits and offers a decent overview of this subject.

Finally, we get A True Original: Remembering Bill Paxton. This 13-minute, 53-second program brings us comments from Ponsoldt and Hanks. Paxton died a couple of months before the movie’s release, and this becomes a tribute to him.

In particular, Hanks’ anecdotes of his collaboration on Apollo 13 and elsewhere help make this a memorable – and much less sappy than usual – piece. Hanks’ charm allows this show to say goodbye to Paxton in winning manner.

By the way, in a creepy coincidence, Glenne Headley – who plays Paxton’s wife in Circle - passed only a few months after the film hit screens. I guess the Blu-ray went into production too late for mention of Headley’s death to appear.

The disc opens with ads for Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets and Nerve. No trailer for Circle appears here.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of The Circle. It includes the same extras as the Blu-ray.

With a provocative premise, The Circle shows the potential to become a winning drama. However, it sputters due to superficial investment in its themes and a weak performance from its lead actress. The Blu-ray offers generally positive picture and audio along with decent supplements. The Circle lacks depth and meaning despite its intriguing concepts.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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