Southland Tales (2007) [Blu-ray]

Genre(s): Drama / Fantasy / Science Fiction / Thriller
Sony || R - 145 minutes - $28.95 || November 18, 2008
Reviewer: Brad Lowenberg || Posted On: 2008-11-14


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

B L U - R A Y
.:: EXCLUSIVES ::.

Blu-ray Exclusives

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Richard Kelly
Writer(s): Richard Kelly (written by)
Cast: Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Justin Timberlake, Mandy Moore, Cheri Oteri, Bai Ling, John Larroquette, Miranda Richardson, Kevin Smith


Theatrical Release Date: November 14, 2007


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • Writer/Director Commentary (BD Exclusive)
  • The Prequel Saga (BD Exclusive)
  • Surveilling the Southland
  • This is the Way the World Ends
  • BD-Live


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

I'm going to be perfectly honest here - I have no idea what went on for the 144 minutes I sat through. No idea. I've tried to formulate my own opinion for the ending, I've tried to understand what Richard Kelly was trying to do and I continue to fail. I'm not alone - a look around the Internet at various other reviews and forum posts shows I am hardly the minority here.

As far as the plot is concerned... well, I'll do my best. Sometime in 2005 a bomb goes off in Texas destroying several towns which marks the start of World War III. A few years pass and we are now in present time where numerous other things have happened. A crazed scientist (Wallace Shawn) has created some sort of drug called Fluid Karma and also found a new way to make energy (since we can't get much gas anymore) using the waves of the ocean (or something like that). Meanwhile we find out that Boxer Santos (Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson), who is married to the daughter (Mandy Moore) of a senator (who is running for President), has lost his memory and thinks he is someone else named Jericho Kane who just-so-happens to be researching a part for a film he and his ex-porn star girlfriend (Sarah Michelle Gellar) had wrote. That's where the story brings in Officer Taverner (Sean William Scott), who lets Boxer ride in his car so he can get an idea of what a cop does...but that's only because Taverner (who does not fully understand why) plans on setting up Boxer for a fake murder.

That's it. That's the best I can do for a synopsis. Did any of that make sense to you? If so, you will find the film to be about ten times more confusing than that because its constantly changing the rules on who's good, who's bad, and who's insane.

Was the movie even any good? Tough to say. I didn't fully understand it, and even with repeat viewings I feel I would still be lost, but I did enjoy the idea of it. It was interesting in a Magnolia type of way to see how each of the characters plot intertwined together throughout the film with concludes in a huge explosion (literally).

As far as the acting is concerned it hit and misses. The film has a huge cast - sometimes teetering on gigantic - and while some characters are used very little others are in almost every scene. The big stars of the film for me would be Sean William Scott and Justin Timberlake who both excelled in their roles here and made the film their own. Dwayne did an alright job but I couldn't believe a big guy like him would twiddle his fingers when he got just the slightest bit upset. Sarah Michelle Gellar was believable in her role as an ex-porn star turned pop queen...but her part could have been nixed and the film would have been just fine.

While I have always had a soft spot for Donnie Darko... it made a hell of a lot more sense than Southland Tales.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

Commentary with Director Richard Kelly - Yeah, this is what many wished for and we got; a commentary track. Sadly, Kelly spends a ton of time talking about the budget and what did and didn't work rather than explaining the film... which I would have liked. Still an excellent track. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

The Prequel Saga - Looks to be some of the comic books that you click for the next scene. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **

Surveilling the Southland (35 Minutes) – This is a pretty good ‘making-of’ with a large amount of the cast and crew throwing in their opinions of the film.

This is the Way the World Ends (9 Minutes) - An interesting story that tells the tale of how the world was destroyed.

Also included is the BD-Live option for some trailers.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

Southland Tales is presented in 2.35:1 (AVC/MPEG-4) on a 50GB Disc. Overall it's a nice presentation with only a few instances of soft scenes. Only a few times did I notice a speckle here and there and grain was kept at a minimum.

Sony has included an English TrueHD 5.1 Track. The film has a nice soundtrack and only once did it make a big splash (half-way through the film with Timberlake) but was otherwise fairly quiet. Dialog sounded nice and clean.



.::OVERALL::.

If you want to have your head messed with then rent Southland Tales. It’s a... unique film that would require multiple viewings just to try and understand what the plot is. The Blu-ray boasts average Picture and Audio Quality and a rather lacking set of Special Features.