The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Image Entertainment - 2008
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 98 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: Alessandro Nivola, Sharon Stone, Christopher Walken, Dean Cain, Peter Coyote, Amanda Peet
Directed by: Nigel Cole
Music by: Alex Wurman
Written by: Neal H. Dobrofsky & Tippi Dobrofsky
Region Code: A
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 24, 2010
"Relationships don't come cheap!"
Christopher Walken is hilarious as Nat, an eccentric con-artist and deadbeat dad dying to reconnect with his troubled son, Flynn (Alessandro Nivola, The Eye, Laurel Canyon). Diagnosed with a terminal illness, Nat shanghais his reluctant son into driving him cross-country for experimental medical treatment. Low on cash, they pull off increasingly ridiculous and embarrassing schemes along the way to reach their destination spending only $5 a day.
When Flynn (Alessandro Nivola) gets a message that his long lost dad (Nat- played by Christopher Walken) is dying, he has to decide weather or not this is another one of his dads lies or scams. The fact that the message was delivered by his girlfriend (Amanda Peet) as she is moving out on him, gives him the motivation to throw caution to the wind and go visit his dad. After being convinced to go on a cross-country journey to Arizona for an experimental cancer treatment, Flynn must come to terms with who he really is, his feeling for his dad and whether or not this is another elaborate scam. Nat says he wants to spend only $5 a day so they have to 'grift' some petty cons along the way, scamming meals, places to crash and most every need.
$5 A DAY is a cute movie, at best. Not original, not intriguing and not too captivating. It is a fluffy Sunday afternoon affair. It's saving grace is a wonderful cast. Christopher Walken's 'Christopher Walken-ness' is perfect for this part and he shines as always. The familiar faces of its supporting cast works quite will, and helps us not get too bored as they pop-up during Nat and Flynn's cross country trip. Sharon Stone is the stand-out in a small but potently funny roll as Flynn's old babysitter. Her fans will get a kick out her here! Dean Cain, Peter Coyote, and Amanda Peet help sell the film a bit more each time I was about to write it off. Too bad it's grifts are not too tricky and the journey gets a bit long winded. If this was about 15 minutes shorter I think it might have flowed a bit better. In the last moments the movie finally gets some emotion. The lead-up subliminally worked enough that I cared, had a choked up moment then a good quick laugh...but that was literally in the last 90 seconds.
Rated PG-13 for sexual content, brief nudity and 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:
$5 A DAY comes to Blu-ray Disc from Image Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 23 mbps and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 Surround Sound that has an average bitrate of 2 mbps.
$5 A DAY is quite the a disappointment video-wise. It is very inconsistent, at times having have a rampant amount of grain that is borderline distracting. Long shots are up-converted DVD soft, and even close-ups leave something to be desired. There were the times the extreme close-ups' rendered fine details, but that was rare. Banding can be seen, especially in brighter scenes and the skyline. At least the colors seemed natural, but did go from under-saturated to over-saturated scene-by-scene. Flesh-tones can be a little on the brown and pinkish side at times, but that is the least of this lackluster encodes faults. It is best described as 'flat'. The DTS-HS MA audio is a fair amount better. The clattering of coins from a slot machine, the sibilance of Walken's voice, and detail of sticks on cymbals are clear and crisp. If there was more excitement to the film, this track might have showed more weight. But as it is, besides some nice atmospherics and low end in the soundtrack, $5 A DAY does all that is asked of it, to let us clearly hear the dialogue.
- Director and Cast Interviews
- Still Galleries
Image Entertainment's Blu-ray release of $5 A DAY looks pretty terrible. If it looked better I would have suggested a rental. As it is I suggest passing and checking it out on cable. Even the limited special features looked really bad. They were blurred enough where there was hardly any real detail. Now if we go on the movie alone and not the transfer, it was cute, a little bit edgy and fun enough to suggest a rental. If you can forgive the video quality, give it a shot if intrigued, you just might get a kick out if it.
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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