The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Anchor Bay Entertainment - 2010
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 105 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.85:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English, Spanish
Starring: Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones and Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Craig T. Nelson
Directed by: John Wells
Music by: Aaron Zigman
Written by: John Wells
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: June 7, 2011
"In America, We Give Our Lives To Our Jobs. It's Time To Take Them Back"
The Company Men is a remarkably relevant and uplifting motion picture experience inspired by today’s headlines. Featuring a powerhouse cast including Academy Award® winners Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones and Kevin Costner. Bobby Walker (Affleck) is living the American Dream, until he is stunned to find himself the latest casualty of corporate downsizing. Suddenly, Bobby is forced to re-evaluate his self-worth as a husband, a father and a man. For as long as he can remember, he’s given his life to his job. Now, with only the love of his wife and family, it’s time to take his life back...
So you haven't heard of 'The Company Men'... but by the above synopsis might deduct that the writer was trying to cash in on the state of the economy and rash of layoffs. This is true yet false, as multi-Emmy winning writer/director John Wells (ER, The West Wing) started this idea back in the the early 2000s when the Dot Com bubble burst, so it was that crisis that stemmed the idea, this new one just gave him more incentive to finish.
On paper 'The Company Men' looked like a great investment. But just like in the film, business is business and this star studded cast should not take it personal that it opened on just over 100 screens to little, if no fanfare. If I had a cast like this (Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper, Tommy Lee Jones and Kevin Costner, Maria Bello, Craig T. Nelson), I sure would try to make back my 15 million big-ones, and try to squeeze a big weekend out of it, even if I wasn't fully secure with the final product.
Was it a mistake to not give this film a wider release?? Yes. Even thought there are a few unrealistic aspects to add drama, the films message and performances do push it up from a decent flick to a good movie. The film deals with corporate downsizing and its effects on the employees lives and household after the fact. We follow Ben Affleck as Bobby Walker, a status seeking show-off who cares more about his Porsche and golf game than his home life. When he gets the pink slip he tries to keep up appearances, blowing through any savings and severance in a matter of months. His wife takes some control, giving him the much needed reality check needed to realize what he has and what really is important in life.
The cast of Nelson as the CEO of GTX, the company that is creating all the lay-offs to please the share holders, Tommy Lee Jones as his best friend and co-worker, who cares more about him 'team' the bottom line, and the always great Chris Cooper, another employee who gets laid off, really are the glue that holds the film together. The emotions are real, the story one that can hit home easily and the film itself is well placed and directed. I Recommend giving 'The Company Men' a viewing, even if it throws a bit too much Hollywood optimism to a situation we are still in, with no immediate end in sight...
Rated R for language, some sexuality/nudity, violence and brief drug use.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
'The Company Men' are hired. Attention to detail is a commodity and this is 'The Company Men's best asset. From fabric, walls, facial features...every person, place and thing are strongly defined. Colors and fleshtones look right on, never too hot or cold, and black levels are deep with nice definition. This is an impressive filmic Blu-ray with a nice level of depth and a healthy little grain showing its roots. Audio-wise, this DTS-HD MA 5.1 Surround Sound is a nice companion but not reference quality like the video portion. Dialogue, which is the films main focus, comes across clear and positioned correctly in the sound-stage. Music did widen the stereo field, but at times, had a boxy sound. Besides that qualm, this track did its job, having a natural ambiance in the effect channels, and the LFE sounded decent and tight with the musical passages.
- Audio Commentary With Writer And Director John Wells
- Alternate Ending
- The Making of The Company Men
- Deleted Scenes
Final Thoughts:'The Company Men' was better then I anticipated, considering its limited release and silent marketing campaign. A few parts of the story felt a bit forced for the sake of drama, but that being said, it was still enjoyable, with great performances that accentuated this real look into the economical and social climate of the 'workers' in corporate America. Anchor Bay's Blu-ray is a highly defined, yet filmic looking transfer that is as good a it gets. unfortunately extras are all in 480p, and the commentary was rather dull, being just the writer/director. I recommend a rental before a blind buy, but recommended none the less.
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews
Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-X3 3D 1080p 3D High Definition Front Projector
Screen Innovations Solar HD 1.3 120" 2.40:1 CinemaScope Screen
Marantz AV7005 Pre/Pro
Sunfire Cinema Grand Five 200 Amplifier
Sony PS3 Slim Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sunfire Cinema Ribbon Trio On-Wall (5.1)
Sunfire True Subwoofer EQ Solitaire 10"
Lee, I was really interested in reading your comments on the audio aspect of this movie. The whole time I watched it, I kept looking at my amps to see if they had gotten messed up or something, and the channels had shut off. It seemed like all of the audio came out of the center speaker! The only time it didn't seem this way was during the rare scenes where there was music, and I don't mean the soundtrack, as there really wasn't much of 1. But audio from like a boom box the characters were listening to or whatever. Did it seem that way to anyone else also? 1 of the worst audio tracks I've ever heard from a big budget movie.
I really enjoyed the movie though.
Actually it did make it on the big screens but was on a very limited release so it wasn't shown on as many theaters as a lot of people hoped for. I for one missed it but after reading this review i'll be picking this up.
It's funny, cause it hit home for me in a lot of ways. I grew up with a father who was Mr Corporate America. He was known as the "problem solver" for Xerox and we were transferred from city to city about once every 2-3 years. I saw him do one hell of a job providing for us and giving us a very stable, affluent childhood, but one where, as I got older, I really questioned his lifestyle. The guy was typically off on the weekends, but M-F he was a 60 hr worker. The first time it changed from "transfer" to "termination", it just left a huge impression on me. The corporate world is very cold and unfeeling. It can throw you aside like a rag doll at the drop of a hat and not think twice about it. I saw my dad go through this several times again after that first layoff from Xerox, and it basically helped me to know that that lifestyle was not for me.
My dad and I don't have the best relationship, but it's probaby closer now than it's ever been. He has a lot of faults, and during all those years growing up he allowed his stress and frustrations to affect our family. My dad had a huge ego and wanted to have all sorts of toys, big houses, and fancy cars...and for the most part, he did. But that effort also provided a pretty incredible childhood for my brother and I.
He wasn't on board with the decisions I made with my career initially, because I just wasn't interested in going down the same path as he was. I'm stability motivated, not money/power motivated. I felt that if I was going to spend allllll that time away from my family, working for someone else, my work would have meaning behind it. Meaning that would allow me to feel as if every single minute I spent working was in some way doing good for others, too.
A lot of the themes that have been a part of my life were on display in this movie. As much as I give Benny Affleck a hard time, his character was the most interesting to me. I enjoyed seeing the way his decisions affected his family, and the way they adapted to the situation both as individuals and as a family unit. The time he spent with Kevin Costner were life changing for him, and I could relate to that quite a bit.
Like most things, this film came down to relationships. Some good, some bad. Some successful and enduring, some not as much. Very interesting contrasts and dynamics throughout, and I thought it was both structured and acted very well.
Thumbs up from me!
All I Really Need to Know I Learned in
I'm not surprised this had a limited release. Unfortunately, too many movie goers today need to have explosions and bloodshed or else they are bored and the studios know this, but I say give me a good character-driven drama any day. There used to be a lot of Hollywood films about businesses and executives ( think 1954's Executive Suite ) and their troubles and tribulations. I love that type of film and can't wait to add The Company Men to my collection.
Or maybe people just wanna get disconnected from their own lives,that maybe looks very much that of this film portrays, and just want to escape a bit.
|Company Men Blu Ray , Marantz Av7005 Pre Processor|