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SUMMIT ENTERTAINMENT

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Paul McGuigan
Cast:
Chris Evans, Dakota Fanning, Djimon Hounsou, Camilla Belle, Neil Jackson, Kai Cheung Leung, Colin Ford
Writing Credits:
David Bourla

Tagline:
One Push Can Change Everything.

Synopsis:
Hang on tight as a gang of super-powered paranormal operatives takes you on a white-knuckle thrill ride. The excitement starts when a future-seeing Watcher (Dakota Fanning) convinces a telekinetic Mover (Chris Evans) to help steal a briefcase that holds a billion-dollar secret. But to outrun government agents, they must enlist a mind controlling Pusher (Camilla Belle) who could be their salvation - or their doom. Also starring Academy Award Nominee Djimon Hounsou, Push will pull you in completely.

Box Office:
Budget
$38 million.
Opening Weekend
$10.079 million on 2313 screens.
Domestic Gross
$31.806 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish

Runtime: 111 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date: 7/7/2009

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary With Director Paul McGuigan and Actors Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning
• Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary
• “The Science Behind the Fiction” Featurette
• Previews


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; 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


Push [Blu-Ray] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (July 10, 2009)

2009’s Push provides an action flick with a literally mind-blowing twist, as it involves characters with paranormal powers. We learn that Nazis started experiments to turn those with psychic abilities into weapons, and other “Divisions” continued this work after the war.

The special ones fall into a few categories. For instance, “Watchers” can see into the future, “Movers” can use their minds to manipulate physical objects, and "Pushers” put thoughts in the heads of others. Additional categories exist, but the film concentrates on these.

A prologue introduces us to a “Mover” named Nick (Colin Ford as a kid, Chris Evans as an adult), while the opening narration comes from a “Watcher” named Cassie (Dakota Fanning). Nick tries to hide from Division in a Hong Kong slum, but they find him anyway.

As does Cassie, who proposes a deal in which they can try to bring down Division. The catch: her plan also involves a “Pusher” named Kira (Camilla Belle), and Division is after her as well. To complicate matters more, she’s Nick’s former girlfriend, and her abilities make it hard to know if she can be trusted. Our heroes recruit others as they try to locate a briefcase with a powerful drug before Division and a rival Chinese clan get to it – or kill them first.

Unless I see a movie like The Fellowship of the Ring - ie, something that I know exists as only one chapter in a longer story – I like to get an actual ending to the flick. At the risk of offering a spoiler, Push will not provide such a satisfying finale. I don’t know if the producers always had a sequel in the works or if they just were optimistic, but suffice it to say that Push comes with what essentially amounts to a non-ending.

Maybe I wouldn’t mind that if the film didn’t also provide so many other elements that leave us hanging. With a sci-fi flick of this sort, I expect inconsistencies and muddled bits; they’re simply inevitable when you launch into such a fantastic world. That said, Push delivers more than its recommended daily allowance of incomplete ideas and befuddling moments. You’re more likely to leave the flick with more questions than you had when you entered.

That means we get a really muddled narrative, and the movie also relies on far too many deus ex machina moments. If you take a drink every time a character survives due to an improbable savior, you’ll be trashed halfway through the flick.

All of these problems are a shame, as I think Push had potential to be quite good. Sure, the story and characters essentially offer a mix of Heroes and X-Men, but they come with enough clever twists to merit attention. The world involved here seems intriguing and could go down some fun paths.

Few of which get explored here, unfortunately. The briefcase with the drug has to be one of the worst MacGuffins I’ve seen in a while, and the fact the movie ends in such a limp manner makes the ineffectual nature of that plot device even more bothersome. The characters lack much depth, and the actors can’t do much with them.

Actually, some talented folks wind up buried in the wreckage here. Chris Evans was one of the few highlights of the Fantastic Four movies, as he exhibited real charm. Here he just looks tired most of the time. Dakota Fanning seems unsure whether she should stick with the precocious girl routine that earned her fame or if she should move toward a more adult presence. That leaves Cassie as a tentative character without much to attract us.

None of these would be a big issue if Push delivered the action/adventure goods. It just doesn’t. The film starts in a reasonably effective manner, but it soon gets bogged down in its messy plot and muddled characters. When the action should heat up, the flick remains flat. We just never invest enough to care, and the stunts/fireworks can’t make up for that.


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

Push appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. Despite a few tiny concerns, I felt very pleased with the transfer.

My only mild complaint related to source flaws. I noticed a handful of miniscule specks during the movie. Otherwise, the flick seemed to be devoid of print defects. Push featured intentional grain at times, but I wouldn’t fault the transfer for that.

Otherwise, everything here looked great. Sharpness was virtually immaculate. At all times, the flick came across as tight and well-defined. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement appeared to be absent.

In terms of palette, the flick boasted a loud stylized sense of color. The hues bordered on garish, but they fir with the film’s ambitions. Blacks were tight and dark, and shadows looked clear and smooth. The smattering of source flaws almost made this a “B+” transfer, but I liked the rest too much to drop it below an “A-“.

While not as impressive, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Push also succeeded. Actually, this one almost landed a “B” because it lacked the level of ambition I expected from this kind of film. Oh, the soundscape offered a lot of material and immersed us in the action to a reasonable degree, but honestly, I’m not looking for “reasonable degree” from a wild sci-fi flick. I want there to be a dazzle factor that didn’t occur during Push.

Still, the soundfield worked well enough. Music boasted good stereo imaging, and the effects fleshed out all five speakers in a satisfying way. Nothing here really impressed, but it was satisfactory.

Audio quality was very good. Despite lots of looped dialogue, speech remained natural and concise. Music was loud but still clear and full. Effects offered solid range and power, as the film’s louder moments packed a good punch. You won’t find demo-quality material here, but you’ll get a pretty effective track.

When we shift to the disc’s extras, we begin with an audio commentary from director Paul McGuigan and actors Chris Evans and Dakota Fanning. All three sit together for this running, screen-specific discussion of story/character issues, cast and performances, stunts and effects, camerawork and visual design, shooting in Hong Kong, and a few other production areas.

Even with three participants, we don’t get a ton of good information here. We find a surprising amount of dead air, and we also discover a lot of happy talk. At times, the speakers manage to offer some decent tidbits, but the commentary never becomes better than average.

Four Deleted Scenes run a total of three minutes, 13 seconds. We find “Cassie Buys Alcohol” (0:33), “Stowe and Popgirl on the Phone” (0:33), “Cassie Hides from Stowe” (1:12) and “Stowe Killed by Popgirl” (0:56). None of these amount to much more than minor bits of filler, really. “Killed” seems the most compelling, but even it doesn’t add anything significant.

We can watch the deleted scenes with or without commentary from McGuigan. He gives us some thoughts about the sequences and tells us why he cut them. McGuigan delivers a few interesting remarks.

The Science Behind the Fiction lasts nine minutes, 17 seconds and features McGuigan and US Special Operations Consultant Dr. John Alexander. The program looks at some of the psychic concepts involved in the movie. There’s an interesting featurette to be made on this topic, but “Science” isn’t it. It dances around the various subjects but doesn’t tell us much of value.

A few ads open the disc. We get clips for Knowing, Astro Boy, and The Brothers Bloom. No trailer for Push appears here.

At its heart, Push has the potential to offer a dynamic action flick. Unfortunately, it comes with a poorly told story and characters that never develop. Despite a few good action bits, the film drags too much to enthrall us. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals, very good audio, and a passable set of supplements. I like the Blu-ray, but the movie itself doesn’t do much for me.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 5
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