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LIONSGATE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Mike Mills
Cast:
Joaquin Phoenix, Gaby Hoffman, Woody Norman
Writing Credits:
Mike Mills

Synopsis:
When his sister asks him to look after her son, a radio journalist embarks on a cross-country trip with his energetic nephew to show him life away from Los Angeles.

MPAA:
Rated R.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 109 min.
Price: $21.99
Release Date: 4/12/2022

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Mike Mills
• ďMaking Címon CímonĒ Featurette
• Previews


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RELATED REVIEWS


C'mon C'mon [Blu-Ray] (2021)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 2, 2022)

When we last saw Joaquin Phoenix, he starred as the title character in 2019ís Joker and took home an Oscar for his work. After that big studio effort, Phoenix returns with 2021ís indie flick Címon Címon.

Radio journalist Johnny (Phoenix) leads a nomadic life, as his job places him in spots all around the US. Emotionally immature, Johnny lacks much contact with family, mainly because of the aftereffects related to his motherís death.

Johnny reconnects with his semi-estranged sister Viv (Gaby Hoffman) as she deals with issues connected to her ex-husband Paul (Scoot McNairy). This leads Johnny to visit her in LA, where he encounters his nine-year-old nephew Jesse (Woody Norman).

Viv needs to go to Northern California to work through problems with Paul, and that means she could use a babysitter. Due to his job, though, Johnny canít stay in LA with Jesse, so he takes the boy on a road trip where the two get to know each other and embark on some adventures.

You donít suppose Johnny will learn some lessons and grow up along the way, do you? Spoiler alert: yeah, though donít expect Címon to follow a typical feel-good path.

That doesnít mean the story goes down dark avenues, as it maintains a fairly neutral attitude. Still, one shouldnít expect real surprises from the ways in which Johnny reconnects with family and grows up a bit.

Honestly, the movieís backstory related to the death of Johnny and Vivís mother as well as Paulís mental collapse all feels like windowdressing. Essentially the simple story of a middle-aged man who finally starts to grow up, it comes across like the filmmakers figured it needed more gravity, so they tacked on these deeper topics.

I disagree, and I think these more dramatic domains just distract from the main theme. The movie doesnít need any ďseriousĒ rationale for the Johnny/Viv estrangement or the road trip, so these elements can seem unneeded.

That said, since so much of Címon comes across as contrived, one might not even notice the unnecessary nature of those plot points. A collection of loosely connected scenes that involve self-absorbed characters, this becomes a tough tale to swallow.

Again, the various contrivances become a crutch. Johnnyís job allows him to act as the movieís narrator, and a better-constructed film would function without this incessant ďJohnny the ExplainerĒ chatter.

Of course, Johnnyís career choice also allows him to visit various spots and engage Jesse in a variety of ways. Granted, most road trip films require some plot loop to exist, but this one feels even more forced than usual, especially because Johnnyís interviews come across as irrelevant editorializing.

These chats with random kids come across as an easy way to provide ďsocial commentaryĒ and they feel superfluous. The movie could Ė and would Ė fare better without the distractions they provide.

The lack of real characters or a substantial plot remains a serious issue here, as too much of Címon feels like pretentious claptrap. We get pseudo-profundity from the interview subjects along with Johnnyís trite commentary and alleged ďdeep thoughtsĒ.

Because the adults veer toward self-absorbed and self-pitying, they become a problematic base for the story, and Jesse doesnít compensate. He alternates between obnoxious and precocious, without much personality in between these poles.

Weíre supposed to like the kid but he just annoys, and not in a smart way. Jesse needs some charm to make Johnny warm to adulthood and parental responsibilities, but the kid feels like a movie creation and not a believable personality.

Really, that goes for Címon as a whole. The film never offers more than self-serious pretentious episodes without much to satisfy.


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

Címon Címon appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.66:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This became a positive presentation.

Sharpness was strong. A handful of slightly soft wide shots appeared, but the majority of the film looked well-defined.

No concerns with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. Source flaws also failed to create problems.

The black and white elements boasted nice contrast and impact. Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows showed good delineation. All of this left us with a solid transfer.

One shouldnít expect much from the filmís DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundscape, as it remained decidedly low-key. It did occasionally offer a bit of pep, as effects used the side and rear speakers in a moderate manner.

Not much occurred in this regard, but the mix managed to spread elements in discrete locations, and these moved well. We also got some localized dialogue, even in the rear speakers. Nothing here dazzled, but the material prompted reasonable involvement.

Audio quality was fine. Speech sounded natural and distinctive, without edginess or other issues. The gentle score appeared clear and appropriately full.

Effects were clean and accurate. They didnít tax my system but they satisfied. This was a more than acceptable soundtrack for a character piece.

When we move to extras, we begin with an audio commentary from writer/director Mike Mills. He offers a running, screen-specific look at inspirations and influences, story/characters, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, photography, editing and related domains.

At the start, Mills tells us that he didnít prepare for this commentary. Though that sounds like a sign of a bad discussion to come, these fears prove unfounded.

Instead, Mills offers a thorough and informative track. While he occasionally engages in some semi-inevitable happy talk, he mostly gives us a solid view of the film.

Making Címon Címon runs eight minutes, 10 seconds and features Mills and actors Gaby Hoffman, Jaboukie Young-White, Molly Webster, and Woody Norman.

The featurette looks at story/characters, the movieís style, cast and performances, and Millsí approach. A few minor insights emerge but this feels like a fairly promotional piece.

Under Also from A24. we find previews for Minari, The Green Knight, Zola and 20th Century Women. No trailer for Címon appears here.

With Címon Címon, we get a pretty standard story of a man who matures and develops bonds. The film pursues pretentious paths that make it less effective and more than slightly irritating. The Blu-ray delivers very good visuals, adequate audio and supplements abetted by a strong commentary. Despite the talent involved, Címon feels tiresome and self-indulgent.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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