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ALCHEMY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Austin Stark
Cast:
Nicolas Cage, Sarah Paulson, Connie Nielsen
Writing Credits:
Austin Stark

Synopsis:
In the aftermath of the 2010 BP oil spill, an idealistic but flawed politician is forced to confront his dysfunctional life after his career is destroyed in a sex scandal.

MPAA:
Rated R

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Audio:
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English Dolby Stereo 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 90 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 8/25/2015

Bonus:
• Previews and Trailer


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 Runner [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (August 27, 2015)

Another day, another Nicolas Cage direct-to-video movie! In 2015’s The Runner, we meet Louisiana Congressman Colin Pryce (Cage). After the disastrous 2010 BP oil spill in the waters off his home state, Pryce tries to change the system that allowed this mess to emerge.

As Pryce advocates for “green” solutions and the end of drilling in the Gulf, he makes powerful enemies. These forces conspire to derail his career, as Pryce ends up involved in a scandal, though one partly of his own making since the married Pryce carries on an affair.

I took a look at Cage’s filmography, and by my estimation, he last played the lead in a major motion picture with 2010’s Sorcerer’s Apprentice. Even with that big-budget box office disappointment, Cage has been off the “A-list” for quite some time. I don’t think Cage has starred in a genuine live-action hit since 2004’s National Treasure.

I wouldn’t comment on Cage’s fall from box office grace if he embraced “quality films”. Instead, Cage seems to be happy to grab a paycheck from anyone who throws cash his way. While Runner comes with more noble aspirations than crap like Drive Angry or Left Behind, it winds up as another Cage misfire.

I don’t blame Cage for the movie’s failure, though he does nothing to help the film, either. Cage seems to be on total cruise control in Runner, as he manages to bring no heart or personality to Pryce. Cage mostly seems like he suffers from a bad case of heartburn, which means he fails to create an interesting, compelling character.

Even if Cage delivered an excellent performance, though, Runner would flop due to its lack of coherence. The film never seems too sure where it wants to go. Is it a green energy manifesto/attack on corporate misdeeds? A sexy melodrama? A political thriller? An uplifting look at renewed love in middle age? Yes and no - Runner toys with all these themes but it fails to present a clear narrative that makes any of these trends come to life.

Instead, Runner meanders from one plot point to another without anything to make it interesting. Amateurish, slow and pointless, the movie fails.


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

The Runner appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The image looked pretty positive.

Sharpness seemed mostly good. A handful of slightly soft shots emerged, but not with regularity or severity. The movie usually seemed tight and concise. Jagged edges and shimmering didn’t cause distractions, and edge enhancement seemed to be absent. Source flaws also failed to pop up in this clean transfer.

Teal? Teal! Some other hues crept in as well, but the majority of the tale opted for a prominent blue/green feel. As tedious as that was, the colors seemed accurately reproduced within the stylistic choices. Blacks came across as dark and dense, while shadows were smooth and clear. Though not stellar, the image satisfied.

While not as impressive, the Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of The Runner proved to be more than acceptable. For the most part, the soundfield emphasized atmospheric elements. A few sequences kicked into higher gear, and these did so well. When necessary, the movie offered a lively, engulfing experience.

Audio quality satisfied. Speech sounded crisp and concise; the lines lacked edginess and seemed well-reproduced. Music showed nice range, as the score was consistently full and rich.

Effects also conveyed good accuracy and punch. Low-end response seemed tight and warm throughout the film. This was a good mix for a character drama.

The disc opens with ads for Survivor, Kidnapping Mr. Heineken, The Iceman and Good People. These also appear under Previews along with the trailer for The Runner. No other extras appear here.

With weak characters and little obvious purpose, The Runner presents a poor political drama. Nothing about it works and it devolves into a dull, meandering dud. The Blu-ray provides very good picture and decent audio but lacks supplements. Maybe someday Nicolas Cage will make another good movie, but The Runner isn’t that film.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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