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LIONSGATE

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion
Cast:
Elijah Wood, Rainn Wilson, Alison Pill, Jack McBrayer
Writing Credits:
Leigh Whannell and Ian Brennan

Tagline:
Please Don't Feed the Children

Synopsis:
A mysterious virus hits an isolated elementary school, transforming the kids into a feral swarm of mass savages. An unlikely hero must lead a motley band of teachers in the fight of their lives.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend:
$7,545 on 20 Screens.
Domestic Gross:
$55,749.

MPAA:
Rated R.

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

Runtime: 88 min.
Price: $19.99
Release Date: 12/1/2015

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion, Writers/Actors Ian Brennan and Leigh Whannell, and Actors Rainn Wilson, Elijah Wood, Alison Pill and Jack McBrayer
• “Circle, Circle, Dot, Dot… Catching Cooties” Featurette
• “Talking Cooties” Featurette
• 12 Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes
• Alternate Ending with Optional Commentary
• Gag Reel
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic TC-P60VT60 60-Inch 1080p 600Hz 3D Smart Plasma HDTV; 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


Cooties [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 9, 2015)

Someday the zombie craze will end, but that won’t happen today. In that genre vein, we find 2015’s Cooties, a comedic horror tale of vicious children.

Set in the fictional town of Ft. Chicken Illinois, we go to the local elementary school during summer school. Fourth grader Shelly Linker (Sunny May Allison) eats a contaminated chicken nugget that eventually makes her crazed and violent.

Shelly attacks classmates and spreads her virus. Led by substitute teacher – and aspiring horror writer – Clint Hadson (Elijah Wood), the school staff attempts to contain this outbreak and stay alive in the face of these killer kiddies.

As I alluded at the start, the zombie genre has been beaten to death, so the big question becomes this: does Cooties offer anything new and fresh? Not really. While it goes for comedy more than terror, it lacks much to make it compelling.

The biggest issue here stems from the film’s inability to focus on its purpose. To be sure, Cooties favors comedy to terror, especially in terms of its actors. They play the entire enterprise for laughs, and those performances ensure that we never view the results as especially scary or threatening.

Which is what makes the movie’s tone confusing. As much as Cooties wants to offer a comedic parody, it also hopes to really frighten the audience. The scenes often take on a much darker sense than one would anticipate from a flick such as this.

On the surface, I feel like I should applaud a horror-comedy that doesn’t soft-pedal the scares, and I would praise Cooties - if those attempts worked. Alas, they don’t.

Rather than create a giddy mix of laughs and scares, Cooties feels like two totally disconnected movies blended into one. It’s like the filmmakers created two completely different flicks and decided to edit the results into a single piece.

All of that leaves Cooties as a lackluster hybrid. With a pretty good cast and a fun premise, it musters the occasional entertaining moment, but the overall product feels disjoiinted and plodding.

Footnote: a bonus scene appears after the end credits.


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

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

Overall sharpness seemed good. Some shots came across as a little soft – mainly during interiors – but the film usually provided positive accuracy and delineation. The image lacked jagged edges or moiré effects, and edge haloes didn’t become an issue. Cooties also avoided print flaws.

Cooties opted for a subdued palette, with a mix of intentionally faded teal and orange. The colors worked fine; they didn’t seem memorable but they fit the production design. Blacks were acceptable – though a little flat – and shadows showed pretty good delineation. All of this added up to a “B” for the image.

I felt the same about the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1, which showed decent ambition. This meant music and effects spread to all five channels in a moderately active manner.

However, integration seemed a bit spotty. Music offered nice stereo spread, but effects tended to seem somewhat artificial and speaker-specific. This wasn’t a major distraction, but I thought the mix could’ve meshed together better.

Audio quality was fine. Some lines suffered from mediocre dubbing but the majority of the dialogue sounded acceptably concise. Music was bold and full, while effects showed nice clarity and delineation. Like the visuals, the audio appeared good but not great.

Among the extras, we find an audio commentary with directors Jonathan Milott and Cary Murnion, writers/actors Leigh Whannell and Ian Brennan, and actors Rainn Wilson, Elijah Wood, Alison Pill and Jack McBrayer. All of them chat together for a running, screen-specific look at story/character areas, influences, stunts and action, cast and performances, sets and locations, and related domains.

With so many participants, this commentary ran the risk that it’d become chaotic – and it kind of does. No, the track doesn’t turn into a total mess, but it lacks much focus. Those involved tend to joke around, laugh at the movie and have fun. Occasionally they give us nuggets of information, and some can be useful, but the chat feels less productive than it should.

A featurette follows: Circle, Circle, Dot, Dot… Catching Cooties (13:20). In this, we hear from Wood, Brennan, Whannell, Milott, Murnion, McBrayer, Pill, Wilson, producers Daniel Noah and Josh C. Waller, and actors Nasim Pedrad and Jorge Garcia. The program examine the film’s origins and development, story/character areas, the film’s tone and influences, cast and performances. It’s a pretty decent overview of the project.

Talking Cooties goes for nine minutes, 18 seconds and lets us see some of the recording session for the commentary. That makes it an odd piece, as it offers nothing new in terms of content - we just watch the participants chat. It’s a waste of time.

12 Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes fill a total of 16 minutes, three seconds. The additions tend to be minor. We get a lot more of the stoned crossing guard as well as other small tidbits. The most significant lets us learn more about precocious Calvin. None of these segments seem memorable.

We also get an Alternate Ending (4:13). It shows a more low-key take on the finale. It lacks the theatrical finale’s big action orientation and feels like a bit of a dud.

The “Alternate Ending” can be viewed with or without commentary from the same crew as the main discussion. They give us basic details about the scene and why it wasn’t used. The commentary offers useful information.

A Gag Reel goes for four minutes, three seconds. It offers the usual goofs and giggles, though it throws in a few alternate lines as well. Those help make it mildly worthwhile.

The disc opens with ads for The Voices, American Ultra, Hellbenders and Tusk. No trailer for Cooties pops up here.

I’ve seen good comedy-horror hybrids, but Cooties doesn’t belong to that club. Despite a handful of entertaining scenes, the movie lacks focus and wears out its welcome before long. The Blu-ray provides mainly positive picture and audio along with a decent array of bonus materials. Cooties isn’t a total loss but it disappoints.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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