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ALCHEMY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Shira Piven
Cast:
Kristen Wiig, Wes Bentley, Linda Cardellini, James Marsden, Joan Cusack, Jennifer Jason Leigh
Writing Credits:
Eliot Laurence

Synopsis:
When Alice Klieg wins the Mega-Millions lottery, she immediately quits her psychiatric meds and buys her own talk show.

MPAA:
Rated R

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
Audio:
English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
English Dolby Stereo 2.0
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
None

Runtime: 87 min.
Price: $24.99
Release Date: 6/16/2015

Bonus:
• Featurette
• 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


Welcome to Me [Blu-Ray] (2015)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 18, 2015)

Despite the enormous success of 2011’s Bridesmaids, Kristen Wiig hasn’t tried too hard to turn herself into an “A”-list actor. Instead, she’s done supporting parts in big movies and focused on indie flicks for her leads.

In the latter category comes 2015’s Welcome to Me. Alice Klieg (Wiig) suffers from Borderline Personality Disorder and lacks much direction in life beyond an obsession with Oprah Winfrey. When she wins $86 million via the lottery, Alice uses the money to fund her dream: she buys her own talk show. We follow Alice’s life as a TV personality and how this affects her and those around her.

That’s an awfully wacky concept for a movie, and Welcome adheres to its quirks from start to finish. In truth, Welcome feels less like a movie and more like a collection of Saturday Night Live sketches. Would it be a stretch to imagine Alice as one of Wiig’s TV characters and the “Welcome to Me” talk show as a regular skit? Not in the least.

While shots of Alice on her program fill a lot of Welcome, we see her in regular life as well, so those scenes attempt to add layers to the movie that wouldn’t exist on SNL. Unfortunately, even with those scenes, we never get a lot of depth to the characters or situations.

We don’t get a sense of Alice as anything more than a fairly comedic creation, as Wiig does little to add depth to the character. Wiig portrays the role as straight-out crazy. She creates amusement along the way, so the movie produces some laughs, but if Wiig wants to give us a more nuanced, realistic personality, she fails.

Welcome really does flop as any form of exploration of the lives of the mentally ill. It treats Alice as a source of wackiness and not much more. I guess we’re supposed to believe some development occurs, as Alice does change along the way, but this takes place in a magical manner without much connection to the real world.

At its heart, I suspect Welcome wants to be a critique of our fame-obsessed modern society. Is it a coincidence that Alice’s last name “Klieg” elicits thoughts of spotlights? I seriously doubt it, and the flick’s other stabs at social relevance seem just as hamfisted.

I guess Welcome wants to make a point about how TV exploits the mentally unstable, but it does so poorly. Didn’t we already do that with Network? Sidney Lumet and company did the theme much better in 1976.

I appreciate that Welcome avoids a cloying tone that I might’ve expected, but it remains more of a comedic premise than a full-fledged movie. The movie delivers occasional laughs and not much more.


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

Welcome to Me appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.78:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. This was a consistently pleasing presentation.

Overall sharpness seemed solid. A couple of wide shots looked a smidgen soft, but those were the exception to the rule, as the majority of the flick was accurate and detailed. No issues with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and I noticed no edge haloes. Source flaws were absent, as the movie looked consistently clean.

Like most films of this sort, Welcome gave us an amber-tinted palette. Other hues appeared, but the golden feel dominated. Within those parameters, the hues were positive. Blacks seemed deep and dark, while shadows showed good smoothness and clarity. I felt happy with the transfer.

As for the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of Welcome, it lacked a ton of ambition. The soundfield focused on music and ambience, though it opened up on occasion. For instance, street scenes became a little more involving. Nothing especially memorable occurred, though.

Audio quality was fine. Speech seemed natural and concise, without edginess or other issues. Music offered good clarity and range, and effects worked well enough. They didn’t have much to do, but they appeared reasonably accurate. All of this ended up as a perfectly satisfactory soundtrack for this sort of movie.

Only minor extras appear here. A featurette goes for seven minutes, 59 seconds and provides comments from writer Eliot Laurence, director Shira Piven, producers Jessica Elbaum and Aaron L. Gilbert, and actors Kristen Wiig, Linda Cardellini, Joan Cusack, James Marsden, and Wes Bentley. The show looks at story/character areas as well as cast and performances and Piven’s impact on the production. This delivers a superficial promo piece.

The disc opens with ads for Are You Here, Accidental Love, Fading Gigolo and The Humbling. We also get the trailer for Welcome.

With Welcome to Me, Kristen Wiig does little to expand beyond her origins as a sketch comic. Sure, the movie attempts a narrative and character arc, but instead it just feels like a collection of wacky comedic moments. The Blu-ray brings us pretty good picture and audio but it lacks substantial supplements. Welcome to Me boasts some entertainment value but it feels slight and flimsy.

Viewer Film Ratings: 2 Stars Number of Votes: 1
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