The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: DreamWorks - 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 113 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio, French/Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Starring: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Michelle Pfeiffer, Olivia Wilde, Michael Hall D’Addario
Directed by: Alex Kurtzman
Music by: A.R. Rahman
Written by: Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jody Lambert
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: October 2, 2012
From the studio that brought you the award-winning blockbuster “The Help,” comes an emotional and inspirational story about a young man’s journey of self discovery as he connects with a family he barely knows. Chris Pine, who plays Sam, is a twenty-something, fast-talking salesman whose latest deal collapses the day he learns his father has suddenly died. Against his wishes, Sam is called home to put his father’s estate in order and reconnect with his estranged family. While there, he uncovers a startling secret that turns his entire world upside down — he has a 30-year-old sister (Banks) he never knew existed.
People like us clearly speaks from a personal place. Co-writer/director Alex Kurtzman uses it as a vehicle to tell a story very close to events that transpired in his own life. As such it is a well-meaning story about childhood longing, misconstrued feelings and familial estrangement. Looking at it purely as a dramatic film the script tries a bit too hard to draw us in early on with weighty visions of an angry young man that can’t bring himself to forgive what he perceived as a distant/derelict of a father, even in light of his father’s passing. It gets a bit more interesting once it is revealed that his father had an extra marital affair and out of that had a daughter that apparently holds him in contempt for walking out of her life when she was eight. The story runs off of the rails in the second act when he meets his sister, doesn’t tell her who he is and slowly works his way into her life subsequently forming a bond with her and her troubled preteen son.
While there is substance to be found in their interaction as we learn more about her, her son and the pain associated with her feelings of childhood abandonment, the second act has moments of awkward manipulation coupled with a laborious pace that can be frustrating. What keeps interest going is the desire to see the outcome and the excellent chemistry between actors Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks. The beginning of the third act is quite good and features the film’s most dramatic moment which after a bit of formulaic melodrama is followed by an emotive ending that pulls you back in and satisfies.
I was very impressed with Elizabeth Banks’ performance which paid dividends toward anchoring the story. Chris Pine was fine and about what you would expect. Michelle Pfeiffer had a small but pertinent role which she capably handled but once again my girl Olivia Wilde appears in a role that doesn’t put her onscreen nearly enough (sigh). People like us doesn’t break new ground and yes it has some narrative elements that could have better executed but at the end of the day it gets where it needs to be. I cared about the characters, empathized with them at some level (more her than him) and found satisfaction in the payoff. I came away feeling that it was enjoyable enough to be worth my time.
The rating is for language, some drug use and brief sexuality.
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:
People like us comes to Blu-ray disc from Disney featuring 1080pA VC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 35 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.5 Mbps.
This is a great looking high definition video presentation from Disney. Images are resolved with appreciable detail that reveals plenty of discernible texture during close up camera shots. The exterior pans of the Los Angeles suburbs are clearly rendered while offering lucid long range visual acuity that allows the physical structure of buildings, streets and objects in backgrounds to be discernible. The film doesn’t utilize an extensive chromatic palette but tonal balance is on the money which leaves colors looking quite natural and pleasing. Fleshtones are on the warm side but appear lifelike in depiction. White and black levels are appropriately balanced which provides punchy whites and stable blacks. Grain is apparent and appears in fine, even layers that give the video a film like texture.
The lossless DTS-HD MA soundtrack is above average for a dialogue driven film like this and features lively dynamics, clearly articulated dialogue, in an open sounding and airy presentation. The film’s music is spread over the entire system with primary instrumental focus being delivered by the front three channels with ambient extension bled to the surround speakers. I thought this surround mix was perfectly suited for the film and sounded wonderful.
- (HD) Number one with a bullet: The story behind People like us – 14 minute featurette
- Feature commentary
- Select scene commentary
- (HD) Taco talk – 4 minute extended sequence
- (HD) 5 deleted/extended scenes with optional director introduction
- (HD) Bloopers – 4 minutes
- Bonus DVD
Derived from real events in the life of Director co-writer Alex Kurtzman People like us tells a well-meaning story about childhood longing, misconstrued feelings and familial estrangement. Though not a thoroughly satisfying film experience I found merit in its empathetic characters, rewarding performances and fly on the wall perspective. It comes to Blu-ray Disc from Disney featuring excellent high definition video quality, clear lossless sound and an average supplemental offering that provides insights from Kurtzman along with a glimpse behind the scenes at the production. If you tend to gravitate toward films that revolve around family dramaPeople like us is worth a rental on movie night.
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