DVD Movie Guide @ dvdmg.com
Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main


Director: Cast:
Craig Robinson, Markees Christas, Carla Juri, Lina Keller
Writing Credits:
Chad Hartigan

The romantic and coming-of-age misadventures of a 13-year-old American living in Germany.

Rated R.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 91 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 11/8/2016

• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director Chad Hartigan and Actors Craig Robinson and Markees Christmas
• Bloopers
• “Making Morris From America” Featurette
• Deleted Scene
• Casting Tapes
• Previews


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.


Morris From America [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (November 1, 2016)

With 2016’s Morris From America, we find a twist on the old “coming of age” story. Curtis Gentry (Craig Robinson) coaches professional soccer, and the job sends him to Germany.

A single father, this also means Curtis’s 13-year-old son Morris (Markees Christmas) makes the trek to Deutchland. A rough age for most kids, the young teen struggles to adapt to a foreign culture.

No one will accuse America of great originality in terms of its overall narrative, but the movie does try to give us something different via its specifics. I think most “coming of age” tales with African-Americans place them in a working class urban setting. America puts that concept on its ear, especially since it makes its lead a true stranger in a strange (to him) land.

Various choices make America a prime candidate to become unbearably mawkish and contrived. Morris’s age puts him in that most awkward of periods, and the film also tosses in complications related to his race, the foreign nature of the environment, and a dead mother to boot!

To the filmmakers’ credit, America largely avoids the sentimental pitfalls that could derail it. While I won’t claim it never threatens to go down those paths, it usually keeps its emotions honest.

The work of the actors helps. Best-known for wild laughfests, Robinson brings humor to Curtis but he doesn’t become a simply comedic character. Robinson manages to give Curtis a human edge while he also produces laughs.

Most of the film’s heavy lifting falls on Christmas, and the young man does fine in the role. Occasionally he seems less than convincing, but he pulls off the part most of the time. While this means a few slightly amateurish moments, I’ll take those since Christmas’s natural, unstudied feel comes through more often.

For all its positives, though, America falters because it becomes less interesting as it goes. Even with a clear Karate Kid vibe, the first act works very well, as it creates a sweet, endearing scenario.

After that, though, the film encounters diminishing returns. The second act falters a bit but still keeps us with it, whereas the third act tends to fall apart to a large degree. The filmmakers simply don’t seem to know what they want to do with the characters and can’t come up with a satisfactory resolution.

Still, even with the way in which the movie sputters as it progresses, more about America succeeds than fizzles. Buoyed by endearing characters and honest performances, the film usually keeps us engaged.

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

Morris From America appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. No real issues marred the visuals.

Sharpness looked very good. Only mild softness materialized, which meant a tight, well-defined image. I witnessed no shimmering or jaggies, and edge haloes remained absent. As expected, the film lacked any print flaws.

In terms of palette, America went with a pretty standard mix of orange and teal. The film didn’t overwhelm us with those choices and made them low-key, but the image did favor them in its gentle manner. Within the stylistic decisions, the hues seemed fine. Blacks were deep and tight, and shadows looked smooth and clear. This turned into an appealing image.

As for the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack, it became more engaging than expected, as the various channels offered reasonably lively material. This becomes most obvious in social settings, as scenes in bars or playgrounds or soccer fields created a fine sense of the environments. Music also boasted fine utilization of the different channels and helped make this soundscape more involving than I expected.

Audio quality appeared good. Speech seemed distinctive and concise, without roughness or brittleness. Music was warm and full, and effects came across as accurate. Effects showed good delineation and accuracy. The soundtrack worked nicely for the material.

Among the disc’s extras, we find an audio commentary with writer/director Chad Hartigan and actors Craig Robinson and Markees Christmas. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific look at the project’s origins and development, story/domains and autobiographical elements, cast and performances, sets and locations, music, and related issues.

This commentary seems wholly mediocre. While it gives us a decent overview of various movie topics, it lacks much real insight. That leaves it as a decent track but not one that ever threatens to become especially enlightening.

Next comes the 11-minute, 22-second Making Morris From America. It offers info from Hartigan, Robinson and Christmas. The show looks at story/characters, cast and performances and shooting in Germany. As an overview, “Making” works okay, but it feels redundant after the commentary.

Bloopers fills two minutes, 35 seconds with some of the usual goofs and silliness. It seems pretty blah to me.

One Deleted Scene lasts one minute, 18 seconds. It shows more of the Morris/Katrin relationship. It makes their connection more blatantly physical and doesn’t fit the film.

A collection of Casting Tapes fills four minutes, 28 seconds. It presents try-outs for Christmas and Lina Keller. These are fun to see.

The disc opens with ads for Swiss Army Man, The Lobster, Into the Forest, Equals and The Adderall Diaries. No trailer for America appears here.

As a “coming of age” story, Morris From America occasionally satisfies. However, it loses steam as it goes. The Blu-ray brings us mostly solid picture and audio as well as a few bonus materials. America provides an erratic but often enjoyable tale.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 1
1 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main