Michael Scott

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Home Again


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Movie: :3stars:
Video: :4stars:
Audio: :4stars:
Extras: :1.5stars:
Final Score: :3.5stars:



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Movie

They say that there are actually several “growing up” moments in your life, and none is more noticeable and visceral than going out on your own into the world for the first time, and getting divorced. Each one has the person thrown into what seems like the unknown and you’re expected to sink or swim in a world that seems bent on watching you sink. Those moments may seem rough, but they also give us the chance to define (or redefine) ourselves in a way that will dictate the course of our lives going forward. First time director/writer Hallie Meyers-Shyer does a solid job at pushing several story points together that revolved around people dealing with these exact same issues in a way that is both slightly depressing AND a little bit hopeful. The movie never really breaks out and redefines the genre, but Home Again is solid romantic dramedy that hits enough right notes to be rather enjoyable, despite the cliches and well worn ruts that she falls into.

Reese Witherspoon is Alice, recently divorced (or at least seriously separated) woman who is just about to celebrate her 40th birthday while trying to reinvent herself as a career woman and a single mother. Nothing about that is easy, and the poor woman is barely keeping her head above water (even though she has just moved back into her film director father’s old house and money doesn’t appear to be an issue). Everything seems to be spiraling in her life though, as her interior decorating job is having a hard time getting off the ground, she’s having to race two young daughters by herself, AND she’s dealing with the feelings of depression and self doubt after having moved away from her husband Austen (Michael Sheen). Things change drastically when on her 40th birthday bash (at a club for all those not sure if she’s going through a mid life crisis) she runs into a young wannabe film maker named Harry (Pico Alexander), and his two film making buddies, spin into her life.

Harry, his brother Teddy (Nat Wolff) and their life long friend George (John Rudnitsky) have just made it to L.A. and they are on the cusp of making it big. The three guys have gained huge recognition for their short film project that they submitted, and the trio have a tentative movie deal in the wings. The thing is, they have nowhere to stay and Harry has just fallen head over heels for Alice. Thanks to Alice’s overbearing mother (played by Candice Bergen), the 4 people are thrust into the same house as Harry, Alice, George and Teddy all figure out what they are doing with their lives. Alice is given a second chance at love with Harry’s amorous attentions, while Teddy and George are seeking validation on their own end with projects that DON’T involve the controlling hand of the charismatic Harry.
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For those of you wondering, Hallie Meyers-Shyer is the daughter of famed film maker Nancy Meyers, who is most notable for films like The Intern, Something’s Gotta Give, The Parent Trap, What Women Want, and The Holiday. So naturally her daughter has some pretty big shoes to fill. Hallie has dabbled about in her mother’s films as extras, and had a few stints in small writing gigs, but this acts as the writing and directing debut for the girl and she makes a decent dramedy that is rife with the influences of her famous mother (just look at the color grading and the decorating style used in her father’s house. It just reeks of the Crate and Barrel style that Nancy is so known for). It was almost eerie and strange to see how CLOSE the film replicates a Nancy Meyers movie. The characters, the love stories that involved and older woman and a young man, and the visual cues are so similar that you can’t help wondering if the entire film was made as an homage to Hallie’s mother.

That being said, there are some distinct differences and quirks to the movie that keep it from being as touching and “good” as the before mentioned films from her progenitor. The film works as a cute little fantasy with Harry and Alice getting it on, while George and Teddy start their own life. That is, until the movie just starts to get “weird”. The movie strays from a character study of people that can and can not live together, to a far flung, almost stalkerish, happy go lucky lark that leaves you feeling a bit uncomfortable and almost like we’re expecting for the other shoe to drop. The movie itself isn’t really bad, but just “off” a little bit. I enjoyed the movie for what it is, and the romantic dramedy works on so many levels thanks to Nancy’s influence on her daughter’s stylings. A trait that really works for the movie until the second act conflicts start to unravel just a bit.




Rating:

Rated PG-13 for some thematic and sexual material




Video: :4stars:
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The 1.85:1 AVC encoded Blu-ray looks rather ravishing, considering the fact that Hallie uses the same overly warm, sun drenched looks that her mother utilizes in her films as well. The place feels very home and lightly bronzed in place,s but colors are very well saturated and create a very vibrant look. The image is never OVERLY sharp, but still quite pleasing to the eye with great facial detail (I’m shocked how good Candice Bergen looks, wrinkles and all), and black levels never fall below excellent. The only NEGATIVE thing I can really think of is some intermittent banding in low light and the fact that it was never designed to look glossy and razor sharp. It’s a warm, slightly softish picture that shows of plenty of detail and there is very little I can say bad about the encode from Universal.






Audio: :4stars:
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I almost don’t have to write this section, as you can pretty much guess the type of audio mix that accompanies of a film of this genre. Yup, it’s decidedly forward heavy, with the main emphasis firmly on the vocals with some mild ambiance thrown into the mix. Dialog is crisp and clean, while the surrounds are active with things during the play at the end, or the background dialog of diners when Alice goes nuts on her date. Other than that, it’s a fairly straight forward talky type of track. LFE adds some punch to car engines and the like, but it’s a drama/ rom com track and that brings with it all the stereotypical mix characteristics. Everything is done quite well, it just won’t rock you like a hurricane.


.






Extras: :1.5stars:
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• Feature Commentary with writer/director Hallie Meyers-Shyer and producer Nancy Meyers







Final Score: :3.5stars:



Home Again is a bit of a generic romantic comedy that manages to hit enough of the right chords to work for a majority of the time. Fans of Nancy Meyers works will instantly recognize many of the cliched beats that made her famous, but Hallie has a bit of a problem getting all of those puzzle pieces to work as seamlessly as she wants to. The movie is rather cute, and works as harmless entertainment for those people who like romantic dramedies (my wife was happy as a clam), but it does feel a bit bland in spots. Audio and video are spot on for the genre at hand, and the extras remain slim as could be with just a single audio commentary on the disc. While it’s not Oscar material, it was cute watch and makes for a solid viewing.




Technical Specifications:

Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Michael Sheen, Candice Bergen
Directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Written by: Hallie Meyers-Shyer
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish DTS 5.1
Studio: Universal
Rated: PG-13
Runtime: 97 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 17th, 2017







Recommendation: Solid Watch

 

tripplej

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Thanks for the review. I do like Reese Witherspoon.. Will check it out.
 
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