The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Bold Films Films- 2008
MPAA Rating: R
Feature running time: 95 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 SDH, Spanish
Starring: Anton Yelchin, Eva Amurri, Susan Sarandon, Willa Holland
Directed by: John Stockwell
Music by: Ferraby Lionheart
Written by: Michelle Morgan
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: July 13, 2010
"Life without a road map..."
From the director of Blue Crush comes Middle of Nowhere, a witty, warm-hearted comedy about two precocious teens and their unusual families. A pair of co-workers at a small-town water park—restless troublemaker Dorian and the tightly wound Grace – form an unlikely bond when Dorian cooks up an illicit plan to earn big money.
My Take:'Middle of Nowhere' stars Anton Yelchin (Star Trek and a personal favorite, Showtime's Huff) as Dorian, a troublemaker from a filthy rich family. After a few too many incidents at home he is shipped to his uncles for the summer where he gets a job at a water park and meets Grace. Grace (Eva Amurri) has been a doormat for her mother, played by Susan Sarandon. Her mom has racked up such terrible credit card debt under her name that she is not able to get a student load to get into college. After a little bit of trickery, Dorian convinces her to drive him around as he sells pot to all the locals. They get to know each-other, open up about their family lives, push each-other to do things that is out of their character and, almost on a subliminal level, help them find out what they are made of. I am usually a fan of Anton Yelchin but (to me) he is almost always walking a thin line of becoming annoying in every role. Unfortunately in 'Middle of Nowhere' he was the latter. He came off as a whinny, spoiled know-it-all and drove me crazy most of the film; it was not the best role for his mannerisms and voice. Susan Sarandon was typically good as the role of the flighty mother fit her style to a tee. Actor (Cougar in Top Gun) turned Director John Stockwell (Turistas, Blue Crush) was technically competent with the source material, but there really wasn't much to work with.
When preparing this review I realized what this movie's big problem was. As I plugged in Comedy/Drama into its statistics I thought, 'Middle of Nowhere' was hardly dramatic and rarely delivered a laugh. The selling weed sub-plot had no pseudo-hip sense of adventure or danger; it was just sort-of there, much like the film itself. At best it was a halfway decent a coming of age story of two totally different teens with completely different but equally screwed up families. Nothing original here. Add in a dash of a 'Weeds' type of sub-plot and there you have it. Nothing more, maybe something less.
Rated R for drug content, some teen drinking and sexual material.
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:
'Middle of Nowhere' comes to Blu-ray Disc from Image Entertainment featuring 1080p VC1 encoded video that has an average bitrate of 22 Mbps and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound that has an Average bitrate of 2 Mbps.
What I love about Blu-ray is that even OK movies like this are watchable when they look good. 'Middle of Nowhere' was colorful and alive, it had a rich but never over-bearing color palette. Skin-tones had a bit of an orange tinge at times, but it was small enough an issue that it could almost be attributed to lighting. There was no real style to the look of the film, but that didn't detract as there was no real call for it. The big drawback was a heavy layer of grain, showings its 16 mm roots in its full glory. Details were visible, especially on close-ups and at times on environmental surroundings. The DTS-HD Master Audio track sounded great with the soundtrack's 2 channel music and was pretty on the mark with with dialogue. Surround channels were used, but almost as if they are a prerequisite. They had an echo of the front sound-stage and some ambient sounds. I am a fan of a great front sound-stage and feel effect channel use is only needed in moments where things are whipping in and out, front to back, or there really are things happening all around--thankfully 'Middle of Nowhere' kept it to a minimum as there was no real need for them. There were a few moments where things got squashed and dynamics seemed leveled; it was rare but I noticed it 2 or 3 times. Listening to the bass-drum in the title song and a few moments of the film, the low end had a nice thump and was articulate. Overall it was a really good sounding mix that suffered from a few moments where instead of opening up it went a bit flat.
- (HD) Making of Featurette
- (HD) Deleted Scenes
- (HD) Cast and Crew Interviews
- (HD) Trailer
'Middle of Nowhere' really is the perfect title for this release. It's a middle of the road movie that really goes nowhere. It's not bad, it's just not good (sounds like a break up!--"Its not you, its me"). I know it feels like a cop-out but I cant tear the movie apart. It's another straight to video release that felt like a made for TV movie. Image Entertainment gives us a good looking Blu-ray with pretty good sound that would serve as a rental if you have exhausted all other options.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS35 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Pioneer SC27 Receiver (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Pioneer Elite BDP-23FD Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer