I think Sheldon summed this film up perfectly when he says that “Things We Lost in the Fire is a stunning film that does more than just position Halle Berry and Benicio Del Toro in the Oscar® race. It’s an affirmation that small things can prevent life from being a bitch. It’s a film that simultaneously extols the virtues of individuality and the need for family and friends. In short, it’s a small miracle.” You can read his full review at http://eclipsemagazine.com/movie-reviews/4657/. In this Berry just lost her Husband (David Duchovny) to a mugger who shot him. She invites his oldest friend, a troubled drug addict Benicio to stay with her. The film is relentlessly depressing and not uplifting at all. Usually I hate films like this, but Berry is just so amazing in this, she captures your attention and makes you care.
She has had a strange career where it’s obvious she knows how to pick good roles in small but strong films like this one, but then when she tries to go for a payday we get stuff like Catwoman. Benicio on the other hand has never tried to go commercial and here’s a little known fact, years ago I filled out one of those goofy celebrity matchmaking quizzes and Benicio was my match. So every since then I’ve been hunting him down, came close during the Che press tour which got cancelled. But it’s probably not ironic that my celebrity match is a clinically depressed (my non-proven theory), intense method actor. He’s strong in this, but I never felt like he rose above the clichéd drug addict trying to go clean stereotype. This movie is about how these two very different people relate to each other and try and come together in the face of this tragedy. I thought for sure this movie would get some Oscar lovin when it came out a few years ago and was disappointed when it didn’t. Now that it’s out on Blu-ray I hope people give it another chance.
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This is another one of those plain Jane Paramount releases where we’re lucky they even bother to give us an HD version at all. The menu is very basic, it includes a screenshot of the Poster and that’s it. The 1080p transfer is gorgeous. You can see the rough edges around Duchovny’s face but it’s not a film that necessarily benefit’s from the HD treatment as a lot of the film colors are sort of bland to begin with. So seeing a brown porch in pure HD isn’t going to make you go, wow! The audio is nice. As I said earlier, the menu is really nice, but plain. There are 4 buttons, Play, Settings, Scenes, and Extras. There are five Subtitle Tracks – 2 English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. You have 5.1 Dolby Digital True HD for your English Audio Track and 5.1 Dolby Digital for French and Spanish.
Extras are really pretty lame. There’s a 20-minute discussion about the movie with the director and crew, in Standard def that looks amazingly bad. It’s grainy, fuzzy, not sure why they even bothered to put this on the disc. It’s barely watchable. There are 7 deleted scenes (in SD) that total about 9 minutes and the theatrical trailer in HD.
Things We Lost In The Fire retails for $29.99 and on Amazon for $21.99 at that price I expect a lot more than just an excellent movie in the best picture quality possible. I’m never really sure how to grade these featureless Blu-ray catalog titles. On the one hand the movie is great, the picture and audio is amazing but for the premium price they ask for the format I expect a heck of a lot more than what the studios give us and in some cases (like Election) when they don’t give us anything. For me Blu-ray is more than just about having a great picture if that was all I cared about, I’d just download HD Films from iTunes or my Xbox Live or PSN. I still wonder how Blu-ray beat out HD-DVD. The main selling point the Blu-ray backers kept toughting was how much more “capacity” the disks hold and therefore you can do “sooo much more.” Instead of fulfilling that promise we’re getting all of these releases that contain no extra features, it’s as if I’m stuck in the dark ages when DVDs first came out. Things We Lost In The Fire on Blu-ray hits the shelves March 24, 2009.
Movie Grade – A
Video – A
Audio – A
Menu/Navigation – A (hard to fault a plain, featureless menu)
Features – F
Final Overall Grade C
EM Review by
Originally Posted 3.14.09