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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - February, 2010

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"A Serious Man" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Tyler Stripko

movie-february-2010-a-serious-man210

Synopsis

Larry Gopnik (Micheal Stuhlbarg) is a college physics professor facing a seemingly endless supply of problems.  His wife wants to leave him for a friend.  His tenure at his university is in doubt.  His children ignore him and his eccentric older brother won’t leave his house.  He even has a foreign student threatening to sue him for “defamation” unless he accepts a bribe for a passing grade.  Needing help figuring out what to do with his life, Gopnik seeks advice from whoever will offer it, from his attorney to his rabbi.

 

Specifications

  • Universal
  • 2009, Color, Rated R, 1 Hr 46 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1 and 1.85:1
  • 1080p
  • Codec: Not Specified
  • English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Starring Michael Stuhlbarg and Richard Kind
  • Directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: Nudity
  • Language: Moderate

Commentary

This movie is only 106 minutes long, but it felt like three hours.  The pacing is incredibly slow.  This was deliberately done, but frankly NOTHING happens in this entire movie.  There is no tie-in to the creative introductory scene and the ending is completely unsatisfying.  As each new problem hits Gopnik, you pray that he will finally stand up for himself and fight back, but he never does.   He just keeps taking all the punishment.  It is both frustrating and infuriating to watch, but I guess that was the point of this movie.  On the plus side, the acting was excellent throughout the film, with strong performances by all members of the cast.   This film is a nominee for “Best Picture” at the 2009 Academy Awards, but I really struggle to see why.

Technical

Despite not caring for the film itself, I have nothing bad to say about the audio or video quality of this disc.  The carefully crafted cinematography is finely preserved in HD, with excellent detail, good color, and solid contrast.  The images are very natural looking, with no over-hyped colors and great clarity.  The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack was also nicely done.   While this is not a loud action movie, the soundtrack fits the film well.   Dialogue is always clear and easy to understand.  The few scenes where music kicks in with full surround sound were pretty neat and sounded great.  While the overall soundtrack is rather subdued, the occasional music and massive bass thwacks (during the start of the “rabbi” scenes) contrast nicely.

Extras

Included on this disc is a sit down with the Coen brothers about their vision for the film, a feature on how they recreated 1967 for the film, and "Hebrew and Yiddish for Goys."