The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Overture/Anchor Bay - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 99 Minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.40:1
Audio Format(s): English Dolby TrueHD 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Luke Wilson, Radha Mitchell, Adriana Barraza, George Lopez, Cheryl Hines, Rachel Seiferth
Directed by: Mark Pellington
Written by: Albert Torres
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: January 20, 2009
"Changing his attitude will take a miracle"
Henry Poole is Here stars Luke Wilson as Henry Poole, a disillusioned man who attempts to hide from life only to discover he cannot escape the forces of hope. Shattered by circumstances beyond his control, Henry Poole (Wilson) settles in to suburban isolation, but his nosy neighbor (Academy Award® Nominee Adriana Barraza of Babel ), destroys his exile when she discovers a mysterious stain on Henry's stucco wall that is seen to have miraculous powers. With the help of the beautiful young divorcée next door (Radha Mitchell of Finding Neverland ), and her daughter Millie (Morgan Lily), Henry finds himself gradually drawn back towards life as he realizes his plan to live out his days in quiet desperation is going to be much harder than he ever imagined. Cheryl Hines (Curb Your Enthusiasm), and George Lopez (The George Lopez Show) also star in this modern day tale about the unexpected wonders of the everyday
This was different type of film that wasn't what I expected. I guess I mean that in a good way. It is a film about hope and how one man desperately needs something to believe in. Henry Poole (Wilson) is a pessimist who feels that the world is a black and white place. He moves into a small but nice house in a relatively quiet neighborhood. He insists on paying the asking price for the house even though the realtor tells him that the house is in need of a few repairs and that he can probably pay less. His life turned upside down by circumstances beyond his control, Henry settles in to his indulgent isolation with a case of vodka and all the junk food he can eat. His well-meaning busybody neighbor named Esperanza drops by with a plate of homemade tamales and a bunch of questions. Despite his desire for solitude, Henry can't help but notice Dawn (Mitchell), his attractive divorcee neighbor next door and her 8 year old daughter Millie. Millie hasn't spoken a word since her father left but has taken to using a tape recorder to eavesdrop on the conversations of others. Henry's quest for peace is shattered one day when he finds Esperanza standing in his yard staring at a water stain on the outside stucco wall of his house. Esperanza sees the stain as a sign because it is in the shape of the savior. She then begins telling others about it which brings exactly the kind of attention that Henry doesn't want. Henry is overtly resistant to the idea that there is any significance to the wall however after a series of unexplained occurrences Henry begins to find himself being drawn into the idea that perhaps there is something left in life that is worth believing in and hoping for.
This was an abstract yet charming story that was built around the character of Henry Poole. I like Luke Wilson but as an actor he basically has one speed. Fortunately that worked for him in this role and I felt that this is the best that I have seen him. He played the tormented Henry with conviction and as much feeling as I think he is capable of. The story touches lightly upon faith but more so upon the importance of having something in life to aspire to or believe in. The script isn't perfect and there are some unanswered questions in the story. I wouldn't say that they are prerequisites to understanding what is happening or to its eventual outcome but they are simply the type of things that go unexplained. In looking at the deleted scenes in the bonus features there were two that were cut that offered more personal background on Henry. They should have remained as they provided a bit more on his character and added two characters that were completely cut from the film. Regardless of his demeanor Henry is a fallible yet likeable guy who is somehow sympathetic. Once the truth about what has transpired comes to light it is clear why it's easy to feel for Henry. I feel that this is the kind of film that will benefit from a second viewing so I intend to give it another spin the first chance I get.
The rating is for thematic elements and some language.
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:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Henry Poole is here comes to Blu-ray Disc from Overture/Anchor Bay Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 mbps and lossless Dolby TrueHD 5.1 channel audio that has an average bitrate of 2.6 mbps.
This video presentation featured crisp, transparent detail that disclosed subtle minutia in close ups and gave discernible depth with appreciable texture to mid level and wide angle camera pans. The video made dynamic use of contrast so that images were bright and punchy with resplendent colors that were visually engaging. Flesh tones were a little washed out but well delineated which mated well with the visual style of the video. Blacks were not especially deep but I thought that they appeared dark enough that they stood out nicely when onscreen with mixed content. I could clearly make out details in and around Henry's backyard during the darkened dinner scene as well as in the low lit confines of his house. Grain was intact and appeared naturally rendered throughout. The film is shot using some near field, tight camera angles and fly on the wall perspectives which I felt were enhanced in high definition. The Dolby TrueHD sound quality was solid and offered a one dimensional, frontal perspective that was highlighted by the film's great music which sounded silky smooth, tonally neutral and exquisitely detailed. Dialogue was centrally focused and lucid with distinguishable intonation and requisite clarity. Surround activity was limited to subtle ambience that occasionally offered some spatial dimension that extended the depth of the sound field.
- Making of Henry Poole is here - 15 minute featurette
- 12 Deleted scenes with optional commentary
- (HD) All roads lead home music video
- Theatrical trailer
- BD-Live Access
Final Thoughts:Henry Poole is here is a film with a message that at some point in everyone's life could very well speak to them. Its story probably isn't as cohesive as it could be but its abstract delivery makes it an interesting watch nonetheless. Its high definition audio/video presentation on Blu-ray Disc from Overture/Anchor Bay Entertainment is a good one. The bonus supplements are on the slim side but offer a decent making of documentary and Blu-ray Disc Live Access. If your in the mood for a dramedy with a different kind of flavor give this film a rental.
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Giz, you will have to post back with your impressions after you have seen it.
Thanks for the insightful review.