Robot & Frank (Blu-ray) (2012)

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Released 14-Mar-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary
Gallery-Poster
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2012
Running Time 89:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up ?
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jake Schreier
Studio
Distributor
Universal Sony Starring Frank Langella
James Marsden
Liv Tyler
Peter Sarsgaard
Susan Sarandon
Jeremy Strong
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI ? Music Francis and the Lights


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Spanish
Swedish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     Every now and then a filmmaker, or in this case two, come out of nowhere and produce a marvellous film which despite being done on a tight budget attracts a top name cast. This is usually driven by the quality of the script. This film by first time feature director Jack Schreier and his film school friend, screenwriter Christopher Ford, is an excellent debut creating an entertaining, heartfelt, moving and amusing experience for the audience. It was made with a budget of only $2.5 million, however it attracted a great cast of Frank Langella, James Marsden, Liv Tyler & Susan Sarandon. It did well at a few film festivals, winning an award at Sundance and made its budget back at the box office. It is now being released on home entertainment formats here in Australia by Universal Sony Home Entertainment.

     The film is set in upstate New York, sometime in the near future. An old man, Frank (Frank Langella) lives alone and is losing his memory. In his younger days he was a cat burglar and spent some time in jail for it. His children contact him regularly, however they do not live close by. His daughter, Madison (Liv Tyler) is travelling the world doing charity work and his son, Hunter (James Marsden) a successful businessman, lives in the city a few hours’ drive away. Frank has been divorced for many years. He struggles to keep up with the housework and generally speaking lives in a mess and eats whatever he can find around the house, like cereal. One of his joys in life is visiting the local library, to borrow books but also to chat up the librarian, Jennifer (Susan Sarandon), who he has taken a shine to. His son is concerned about him living alone and struggles to make the time to visit Frank every week considering the time it takes away from his own family. Accordingly, Hunter decides that he needs live in help and buys him a domestic assistance robot which is also programmed to assist Frank with his mental health, by watching his diet and keeping him busy. Frank resists this idea but slowly begins to warm to the robot's presence in his life, involving him in various schemes. When the local library is being transformed into a digital experience centre, Frank decides to take action.

     This is a really well done film, well written, different and entertaining with an undercurrent of feeling and emotion. Without being too obvious about tugging your heartstrings, it leaves you with a good feeling tinged with some mild melancholy. It is no great surprise that the quality cast do good jobs with their characters and the Robot certainly has a presence in the film too. Despite obviously being shot on a low budget with no special effects this film looks good and the camera work is assured. This is quality independent cinema, something there should be more of.

     Very entertaining and well worth a look.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The video quality is very good but not quite up to the best of Blu-ray, revealing its low budget roots.

     The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 1080p HD encoded using the AVC codec.

     The picture was clear and sharp throughout without being as crisp as bigger budget films. Shadow detail was good.

     The colour is very good without bursting off the screen.

     There were no noticeable artefacts.

     There are subtitles in English, English for the Hearing Impaired and 5 European languages which are clear and easy to read.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The audio quality is very good, perfectly suited to a film of this nature.

     This disc contains an English soundtrack in DTS HD-MA 5.1 plus a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 track and an Audio Commentary in Dolby Digital 2.0. The track includes great ambiance and atmosphere for what is a very low key film.

     Dialogue is clear and easy to understand throughout.

     The score by Francis & the Lights is orchestral combined with electronica. It certainly suits the film.

     The surround speakers provided significant ambiance and atmosphere such as during rainfall and insects buzzing. The music also added to the immersive quality of the soundtrack.

     The subwoofer added bass to the music mostly.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

     A small set of extras are included.

Menu

     The menu includes scenes and music.

Commentary - Director Jake Schreier & Writer Christopher Ford

     A high quality and interesting commentary which covers development, editing choices and challenges, casting, story pacing, whether the film is a comedy or drama, back stories and lots of other worthwhile information. Definitely worth a listen.

Robot Campaign Gallery

     A collection of posters promoting the robot in the film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    There does not seem to be a US Region A version of this Blu-ray. Buy local.

Summary

    A gentle and heartfelt independent comedy drama.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    The extras are small in number but the commentary is worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSONY BDP-S760 Blu-ray, using HDMI output
DisplaySharp LC52LE820X Quattron 52" Full HD LED-LCD TV . Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt into amplifier. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationMarantz SR5005
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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