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SONY

MOVIE INFO

Directors:
Bennett Miller
Cast:
Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo, Sienna Miller, Vanessa Redgrave
Writing Credits:
E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman

Tagline:
Based on the shocking true story.

Synopsis:
The greatest Olympic Wrestling Champion brother team joins Team Foxcatcher led by multimillionaire sponsor John E. du Pont as they train for the 1988 games in Seoul - a union that leads to unlikely circumstances.

MPAA:
Rated R

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
English Audio Descriptive Service
French DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English

Runtime: 134 min.
Price: $34.99
Release Date: 3/3/2015

Bonus:
• “The Story of Foxcatcher” Featurette
• Two Deleted Scenes
• Trailer
• 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


Foxcatcher (2014)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 1, 2015)

A character drama that revolves around Olympic wrestling, 2014’s Foxcatcher introduces us to Mark Schultz (Channing Tatum). Though both won gold medals at the 1984 Olympics, Mark lives in the shadow of his older brother Dave (Mark Ruffalo), the more famous wrestler of the two.

Billionaire industrialist John du Pont (Steve Carell) assembles his own training program based out of his Pennsylvania estate and welcomes Mark to work there as he strives to make the 1988 Olympics. We follow their relationship as Mark and John form an unusual team.

While I won’t discuss what specifically happens, I will note that Foxcatcher comes with a potentially shocking ending. I refer to it as “potentially” because the finale won’t startle viewers aware of the events on which Foxcatcher comes based. As was the case with American Sniper - another movie with an out of nowhere “dark ending” - Foxcatcher presents factual material, so anyone familiar with those elements will find no surprises.

In the case of Foxcatcher, that list didn’t include me – at least not to my recollection. I should have known about the events depicted here, and maybe I did when they occurred decades ago, but going into the movie, I boasted no conscious foreknowledge of where the tale would go.

I view this as a good thing, for without the surprise at the end, Foxcatcher offers little of merit. I get the feeling that those involved figured the movie finished with such a bang that they didn’t need to do much with the preceding two hours.

I'm fine with films that offer a slow build - if they actually build. Foxcatcher doesn't. Instead, it simply saunters slowly as it marches toward its slam-bang finale.

The performances do help carry the film, as all the castmembers offer interesting acting. They're still not enough to keep me involved in the movie but clearly they make it much better than it would've been with lesser actors.

Still, the lack of much drama through those first two hours cripples Foxcatcher. Understated to an extreme, it feels like little to nothing happens much of the way. We spend tons of time with the characters but learn little about them; the movie gives us ample subtext but never does much with what we see.

This means Foxcatcher tends to imply a lot but not tell us anything. For instance, it hints at a sexual relationship between John and Mark, but it does nothing with that theme. While I don’t demand that a story spell out everything for me, I’d like more than vague hints.

Foxcatcher also doesn’t explore du Pont’s psychology well. Again, we find teases, as in addition to his generally weird personality, we view some of his eccentric behavior, such as when he purchases a tank and complains it doesn’t come with the right gun.

But none of this gives us a clue to du Pont’s real dark side. He’s just an oddball and a creep, not someone who shows the psychological deficits necessary. Foxcatcher keeps its characters and themes simple and they show little depth or introspection.

All of this leaves us with a lot of tedious material and not much meat to sustain us. While I appreciate the decision to avoid sensationalism in Foxcatcher, I’d still like to see a movie where it feels like something actually happens - or at least where I feel I’ve learned something substantial about the characters. That doesn’t occur during the sluggish, superficial Foxcatcher.


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

Foxcatcher appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The understated image suited the movie.

Sharpness seemed fine. A few shots were a smidgen soft, but those fit the film’s style and created no concerns. The picture lacked shimmering or jagged edges, and I saw no signs of edge haloes. Print flaws failed to crop up here.

As one might expect, colors stayed subdued. The movie tended toward a brownish tint much of the time that fit its settings and tone, though wrestling matches delivered peppier hues. These worked well for the material. Blacks seemed dark and dense, and low-light shots depicted good clarity. I felt this was a satisfactory representation of the film.

I didn’t expect much from the movie’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, and I got the quiet experience I anticipated. The mix came to life most obviously during wrestling scenes, as those filled out the speakers well.

Otherwise, this remained a low-key mix. Music showed nice stereo spread, but much of the rest of the time, I thought the audio did little with the various speakers. Even shots on aircraft didn’t broaden the spectrum especially well. Given the movie’s focus, though, I didn’t mind this.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech appeared distinctive and natural, with no edginess or other issues. The movie’s spare score came across well, and effects seemed accurate and concise. I felt the soundtrack suited the story.

Only a handful of extras show up here, and we open with a featurette called The Story of Foxcatcher. It fills 16 minutes, 20 seconds with comments from producer/director Bennett Miller, producer Jon Kilik, makeup department head Bill Corso, supervising sound editor Paul Hsu, production designer Jess Gonchor, Dave Schultz’s wife Nancy, Mark Schultz, and actors Mark Ruffalo, Channing Tatum, Steve Carell, and Sienna Miller. The program looks at the movie’s path to the screen, story/character areas, wrestling training, cast and performances, makeup, sound design, sets and locations, and the film’s tone.

Despite its short length, “Story” delivers a fairly good overview of the production. It touches on a variety of useful subjects and does so with reasonable depth. A commentary would’ve been preferred, but “Story” works better than expected given its running time.

Two Deleted Scenes occupy a total of five minutes, eight seconds. We find “Conference Call” (3:15) and “Where’s Dave?” (1:53). “Call” does a bit to highlight du Pont’s odd behavior, while “Dave” shows Mark’s testy relationship with his sister-in-law.

As much as I thought Foxcatcher needed more “overt” character/story material, these scenes show I might’ve been wrong – at least as the filmmakers would’ve explored the topics. While these scenes add more information, they do so in a ham-fisted manner.

The disc opens with ads for Whiplash, Red Army, Mr. Turner, Love Is Strange and Leviathan. We also get the trailer for Foxcatcher.

An ending with a movie attached, Foxcatcher provides a slow drama. With 134 minutes at its disposal, it should give us a rich character study, but instead it simply meanders and goes nowhere. The Blu-ray provides good picture and appropriate audio along with some minor bonus materials. At the core of Foxcatcher, there’s an interesting story to be told, but the movie seems too dull to succeed.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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