The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: 2008 - Magnolia Pictures
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 84 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: VC1 (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Starring: Meg Ryan, Timothy Hutton, Kristen Bell, Justin Long
Directed by: Cheryl Hines
Music by: Andrew Hollander
Written by: Adrienne Shelly
Region Code: Free
Blu-ray Disc release Date: February 9, 2010
"a love/hate comedy."
After she arrives at her country home for a romantic weekend getaway, things don't go exactly as planned for high-powered Manhattan lawyer Louise (Meg Ryan). First, her husband of 13 years, Ian (Timothy Hutton), tells her that he's leaving her for a younger woman (Kristen Bell). Then, one thing leads to another, and pretty soon Ian finds himself held captive by an oddly cool Louise who explains that she won't release him until he professes his love for her and commits to working on their marriage.
Written by the late Adrienne Shelly,'Serious Moonlight' was to be her follow-up to 2007's promising 'Waitress'. Shelly's husband, Andy Ostro produced. 'Curb Your Enthusiasm's' Cheryl Hines, who was in 'Waitress' made her directorial debut. Hines was comfortable in the director's chair and this material resonated with her.
When Louise (Meg Ryan) is told her husband Ian (Timothy Hutton) is leaving her for a younger woman (Kristen Bell) she nonchalantly ends up taking him hostage. Telling him she will not release him until he loves her again, Meg Ryan is perfected as the calm and twisted Louise. The Film feels more like a play, having very limited locations. Most of it takes place in a Bathroom where Ian is duct tapped to a toilet. I found 'Serious Moonlight' dark, with a bent sense of humor and a realistically frightening take on a woman doing what it takes to make her man fall in love with her...again. Things get a bit more complicated when a thief (Justin Long) notices the captive Ian in the window. He decides to rob Louise and Ian and ends up taking them hostage in their own home.
'Serious Moonlight' is not for most. I enjoyed it while one person I was watching with left the room, feeling it lacked any connection and character development. I felt that was its strongest feature. We were to find out more and more about each character as there moods, opinions and feelings changed due the unnatural circumstance's they are put in. It has a very unstable feeling, going from sweet and lovey one moment to pretty cruel violence the next. I can see this turning a lot of folks off as its far from your standard fare. It's a strange female perspective into infidelity that is mostly dialogue driven (some of the dialogue is a bit silly). It’s sad, brutally honest, very darkly comedic and one of the more interesting idea's I have seen lately. A nice twist at the end leaves the viewer guessing. I found that last challenge made the whole movie worthwhile. Even though Cheryl Hines did a fantastic job, I can only imagine what would have happened if Adrienne Shelly was alive to direct her script. 'Serious Moonlight' is certainly a bitter pill.
Rated R for pervasive strong brutal violence 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:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
'Serious Moonlight' comes to Blu-ray Disc from Magnolia Home Entertainment featuring 1080p VC1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21.7 mbps and lossless DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 3.7 mbps.
Filmed in 35mm, 'Serious Moonlight' has a lovely bit of grain with no offensive noise to be seen. The Transfer seems true to what was filmed. It has standard cinematography, with mostly brighter interiors that look real but somehow lack the level of fine detail I would expect. It’s a bit flat and softer than I like to see. Black levels are sufficient, and there are not many dark moments to really test them out. The color pallet fits the films mood well, its dreary and depressing. There really is nothing terrible about the video quality, it’s just not very inspiring either. The DTS-HD Master Audio track does a decent job with the material. All dialogue is crisp, clear and in-your-face. There is not much activity in the surround channels, nor would I expect there to be. It sounds like 2 people talking in a bathroom...and that's exactly with it is. I must admit that the score was a bit annoying, though it did sound nice. There is nothing thrilling or too offensive here, both the audio and video get their respective jobs accomplished.
- Commentary with Director Cheryl Hines and Producers Andy Ostroy and Michael Roiff
- (HD) HDnet: A Look at Serious Moonlight
- Making of Serious Moonlight
I think I enjoyed this more than most will. The packaging will trick some into expecting a romantic comedy, boy will they be in for a surprise. They need to pay attention to the word "serious" in 'Serious Moonlight'! Magnolia's Blu-ray is a bit light on the supplements and has average sound and video production. It is completely watchable...just nothing noteworthy. I can't recommend this as a great movie; however, I did find enjoyment in its 80 minute runtime (though I can't imagine it being any longer). If its legacy or cast interest you, I say give 'Serious Moonlight' a rental.
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