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PARAMOUNT

MOVIE INFO
Director:
George Ciooney
Cast:
Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ed Harris
Writing Credits:
George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Synopsis:
As a 1950s suburban community self-destructs, a home invasion has sinister consequences for one seemingly normal family.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$2,840,246 on 2046 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$5,775,178.


MPAA:
Rated R.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
Spanish Dolby 5.1
English Audio Description
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish

Runtime: 105 min.
Price: $31.99
Release Date: 2/6/2018

Bonus:
• Audio Commentary with Writer/Director George Clooney and Writer Grant Heslov
• “Welcome to Suburbicon” Featurette
• “The Unusual Suspects” Featurette
• “Scoring Suburbicon” Featurette


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RELATED REVIEWS


Suburbicon [Blu-Ray] (2017)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 24, 2018)

George Clooney first worked with writers/directors Joel and Ethan Coen via 2000’s O Brother, Where Are Thou? and he acted in three more of their films through 2016’s Hail Caesar. 2017’s Suburbicon brings a different kind of Clooney/Coen collaboration, as along with Grant Heslov, they wrote the script while Clooney also directed.

Set in the summer of 1959, we go to the tranquil all-white community of Suburbicon. The local climate changes when the African-American Mayers family moves to the neighborhood.

Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) lives in Suburbicon with his wife Rose (Julianne Moore), but tragedy strikes when burglars break into their home and kill her due to an overdose of chloroform. The combination of the Mayers family and Rose’s death unsettles the previously sedate Suburbicon and results in a mix of dire consequences.

For all his success as an actor, Clooney can’t quite produce a hit as a director. He’s earned some good critical notices – and even mustered an Oscar nomination as Best Director for 2006’s Good Night and Good Luck - but audiences haven’t embraced his films.

With Suburbicon, Clooney created a true flop in all ways. Critics disdained it, and crowds avoided it, as the film made less than $6 million, a shockingly low total given all the star power involved in it.

It seems unimaginable that talent like Clooney, the Coens, Damon, Moore, Oscar Isaac and the rest could turn out a terrible movie. Surprising as the result may be, all those folks indeed combined to deliver a pretty awful film.

With the prominent image of a battered Damon on a children’s bicycle, advertisements sold Suburbicon as a black comedy, a darker version of Pleasantville, and some of that tone does appear. At times, the movie flirts with parody, as it mocks the idealized, white-washed notion of the squeaky clean 1950s society.

The Mayers family becomes the focal point of the satire. Though they’re a relentlessly nice, dignified clan, the angry white residents of Suburbicon view them as a terrible threat and blame multiple woes on them, all while the true evil lurks beneath the surface.

A little of that theme goes a long way, but Clooney leaves no subtle overtones in Suburbicon. He makes sure we see everything in literal black and white, so don’t bother to bring your brain to the proceedings – the movie lets us know what to think and how to feel.

Despite the promise of the film’s ads, the satirical side remains fairly minor, as does its take on racism. Again, we get a modest glimpse of the Mayers clan and the negativity they endure – with the already-mentioned irony along for the ride – but they play a pretty small part in the proceedings.

In truth, the presence of the Mayers family exists mainly so Clooney and company can pretend that they want to make a comment about racism and society. Whatever points the film attempts are so infrequent and so obvious that they seem useless – the film could lose the entire Mayers narrative and be no worse for it.

Actually, the movie would probably work better without these clumsy stabs at racial commentary. So thin and perfunctory, those tidbits don’t add to the film in a positive way.

While we do get the mix of moments connected to satire and/or racism, most of Suburbicon plays as a thriller related to Rose’s death – and a tepid thriller at that. Suburbicon borrows liberally from various film noir efforts of the past, but not in a clever or insightful way.

No – instead, Suburbicon takes these elements and shoves them at us in a clunky, unconvincing manner. The movie never threatens to become an engaging thriller, partly because the viewer can sense any potential plot twists a mile in advance. Nothing comes as a surprise, so we find little tension or drama.

I’d claim that Suburbicon goes off the rails in its third act, but it never stays on the tracks long enough to lose its way. Matters go nutty toward the end in an attempt to redeem the prior tedium, and these attempts just feel desperate, as if the filmmakers knew they were stuck with a dog and wanted to throw out all the stops to “redeem” the project.

They fail. All the actors remain professional and don’t mar the proceedings, but they can’t do much with this stinker. Suburbicon simply lacks cohesion or anything to make it a stimulating journey.


The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus B-

Suburbicon appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The movie came with a terrific transfer.

Sharpness consistently worked well. No obvious signs of softness manifested themselves, so we ended up with a tight, well-defined presentation.

The image lacked jaggies or moiré effects, and edge haloes remained absent. Print flaws also failed to create distractions.

To the surprise of no one, Suburbicon went with a teal and amber palette. Though these color choices seemed tedious, the Blu-ray reproduced them in a satisfying manner.

Blacks looked deep and dark, while shadows appeared smooth and concise. Everything about the presentation seemed pleasing.

Though not as impressive, the film’s DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack suited the narrative. The soundscape tended to focus on music, which spread across the five channels in a smooth, engrossing manner.

Effects offered less active material, as the movie focused largely on dialogue. Ambient material showed good use of the various channels, though, and a few more ambitious scenes – like a vehicle crash and explosion - managed to bring the mix to life in a moderate manner.

Audio quality worked fine, with music that sounded warm and full. Speech appeared natural and concise, without edginess or other concerns.

As noted, effects didn’t have a lot to do here, but they remained accurate and well-reproduced. This was a perfectly competent soundtrack.

A few extras appear, and we launch with an audio commentary from writer/director George Clooney and writer Grant Heslov. Both sit together for a running, screen-specific look at story/characters, cast and performances, production design and locations, music, editing and related topics.

Clooney dominates the track, as Heslov chimes in with less frequency. The commentary brings us a decent array of notes, but it never comes across as especially involving. While not a bad listen, the chat lacks a lot to make it better than average.

Three featurettes ensue. Welcome to Suburbicon goes for 29 minutes, 50 seconds and includes notes from Clooney, Heslov, director of photography Robert Elswit, production designer James D. Bissel, car wrangler George Sack, costume designer Jenny Eagan, and actors Gary Basaraba, Julianne Moore, Karimah Westbrook, Matt Damon, Leith Burke, Tony Espinosa, Noah Jupe, Alex Hassel, Glenn Fleshler, and Oscar Isaac.

“Welcome” looks at the project’s development and historical influences, story/characters, cast and performances, Clooney’s work on the set, locations and period details, photography and editing. While it comes with some of the usual happy talk, “Welcome” provides a pretty good look at the film, especially in terms of the historical background. Those factors make it a useful and enjoyable program.

The Unusual Suspects: Casting lasts 12 minutes, 49 seconds and features Clooney, Damon, Hassell, Moore, Fleshler, Basaraba, Isaac, Heslov, Westbrook, Burke, Jupe, and casting director Ellen Chenowith. As expected, “Suspects” goes over cast and performances. It adds a few interesting nuggets.

Finally, we get the seven-minute, 54-second Scoring Suburbicon, a piece with notes from Clooney and composer Alexandre Desplat. We learn a bit about the movie’s music in this reasonably effective piece.

Despite the presence of George Clooney behind the camera and Matt Damon and Julianne Moore in front of it, Suburbicon fizzles. The movie lacks any sense of purpose or direction and becomes a mish-mash of genre concepts in search of a point. The Blu-ray offers excellent visuals along with good audio and a useful selection of supplements. Don’t let the talent involved in Suburbicon fool you, as the movie flops.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1.5 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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