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UNIVERSAL

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Joel Edgerton
Cast:
Jason Bateman, Joel Edgerton, Rebecca Hall
Writing Credits:
Joel Edgerton

Synopsis:
A young married couple's lives are thrown into a harrowing tailspin when an acquaintance from the husband's past brings mysterious gifts and a horrifying secret to light after more than 20 years.

Box Office:
Budget
$5 million.
Opening Weekend
$11,854,273 on 1,648 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$43,771,291.

MPAA:
Rated R

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French

Runtime: 109 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 10/27/2015

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director/Actor Joel Edgerton
• Alternate Ending
• Deleted Scenes
• “Karma for Bullies” Featurette
• “The Darker Side of Jason Bateman” Featurette
• Previews and Trailers
• DVD Copy


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


The Gift [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 3, 2015)

Actor Joel Edgerton rises to “triple slash” status with 2015’s The Gift, a thriller he wrote, starred in and directed. Simon Callum (Jason Bateman) and his wife Robyn (Rebecca Hall) move from Chicago to his childhood home of California to get a clean start after her miscarriage.

As they settle into their new residence and shop for furniture, they encounter Gordon “Gordo” Mosely (Edgerton), a high school classmate of Simon’s. This seems like a minor incident, but Gordo slowly infiltrates their life. At first this appears innocent, but eventually, Gordo’s motives come across as more sinister.

Or do they? A Hitchcockian tale, Gift walks a fine line, as it keeps the audience on their toes.

At the start, the story seems to take a pretty standard path, as it lets us view Gordo as a generic awkward semi-stalker. We see Simon and Robyn as the probable victims of a potential psycho, and we expect a certain narrative to develop from there.

It doesn’t. Of course, I don’t want to offer specific spoilers, but I will say that the movie comes with a good variety of curveballs that make Gift more intriguing than the standard genre effort.

Edgerton’s script manages to build these twists and character moments well. Rather than come out of nowhere, the screenplay offers the framework and clues for the plot machinations. While the viewer may not necessarily expect all - or most - of the change-ups, the movie does develop them in a concise, satisfying manner.

Good performances help. Edgerton makes Gordo creepy without being overbearing, and Hall brings a nice sense of wounded weariness to Robyn. Bateman plays against comedic type as cynical Simon and manages to flesh out the part well.

Edgerton also directs Gift with admirable restraint. Too many filmmakers would shoot for overt “scare moments” and other cheap tactics to get a rise out of the audience, but Edgerton largely avoids those. The movie moves at a slow, deliberate pace that pursues a gentle sense of creepiness without broad, campy stabs at obvious manipulation.

Occasionally, The Gift can seem like it tries a little too hard to be clever, but that’s a minor criticism. The movie takes a well-trod genre and gives it new life as a creative, engaging thriller.


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

The Gift appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a positive presentation.

Sharpness was solid. Only a smidgen of softness ever occurred, so the majority of the flick offered strong delineation. No issues with jaggies or shimmering occurred, and the presentation lacked edge haloes. In terms of source defects, I witnessed no specks, marks or other issues; the Blu-ray gave us a clean transfer.

In terms of palette, Gift went with Hollywood Standard teal and orange, with an emphasis on the blue/green. That seemed like a lackluster choice, but I couldn’t complain about the execution of the tones, as they seemed fine. Blacks appeared dark and dense, while shadows showed decent clarity. No notable issues occurred here.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it remained pretty low-key. General ambience ruled the day, as little more exciting than that appeared. Street shots offered decent breadth, and music spread well to the side speakers. Nonetheless, the track usually stayed restrained.

Audio quality seemed acceptable. Speech appeared natural and concise, as the lines always remained intelligible. Music seemed full and rich, while effects showed good accuracy. Nothing here stood out as particularly memorable, but the track was fine for a film of this sort.

Despite the film’s fairly low profile, the Blu-ray comes with a good array of extras, and we open with an audio commentary from writer/director/actor Joel Edgerton and editor Luke Doolan. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, themes and influences, cast and performances, sets and locations, music and camerawork, editing, and related areas.

Though Doolan tosses in occasional notes, Edgerton dominates. That’s fine with me, as he helps make this a pretty engaging chat. We learn a reasonable amount about the movie, and I especially like it when Edgerton discusses the challenges that he encountered as a neophyte director. I can’t call this a tremendously fascinating commentary, but it covers the film well.

Cut footage appears via an Alternate Ending (4:38) and four Deleted Scenes (7:55). In the latter vein, we find “Simon Beats Gordo In the Garage” (1:12), “Ron and Lucy” (1:16), “First Cop Scene” (2:55) and “Second Cop Scene” (2:32). The “Ending” changes nothing about what happens to the characters; instead, it simply explains how they got there. It’s interesting but too concrete, as it spells out details better left to the imagination.

As for the deleted scenes, they seem fairly mundane. We get some extended sequences and a little more fleshed-out material for supporting roles. Nothing especially memorable arises.

We can view the “Ending” and the “Scenes” with or without introductions from Edgerton. He gives us notes about the scenes and why they got cut. Edgerton offers nice insights.

Karma for Bullies runs one minute, 54 seconds and gives us remarks from Edgerton and actor Jason Bateman. We get a little character story info here, but the emphasis remains heavily promotional.

We finish with The Darker Side of Jason Bateman. It goes for one minute, five seconds and features Edgerton. Like “Bullies”, this is another advertisement without informational value.

The disc opens with ads for Unfriended, Secret In Their Eyes, Self/Less, Trainwreck and The Loft. We also find two trailers for The Gift.

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

A promising directorial debut from Joel Edgerton, The Gift takes the thriller genre and develops it in creative ways. With good pacing and nice performances, it emerges as an engaging drama. The Blu-ray offers solid visuals as well as low-key but satisfying audio and a few good bonus materials. The Gift turns into a winner

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 4
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