The Oranges (2011)

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Released 13-Feb-2013

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2011
Running Time 86:49
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Julian Farino
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Ian Helfer
Jay Reiss
Leighton Meester
Hugh Laurie
Catherine Keener
Oliver Platt
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Klaus Badelt
Andrew Raiher


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (256Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     The Oranges is the debut feature film for director Julian Farino (who previously had directed episodes for the TV series, Entourage). It was written by Ian Helfer and Jay Reiss (Wet Hot American Summer) and it deals with suburban life, midlife crises, and the desire to regain one's youth. (Sounds like a re-working of Sam Mendes' American Beauty, right?) The film stars former 'House, M.D.' Hugh Laurie, Catherine Keener, Oliver Platt, Allison Janney, Adam Brody and Leighton Meester, who also performed in House for two episodes.

     The plot revolves around Laurie who plays David Walling, a middle-aged man in a dormant marriage with wife Paige (Catherine Keener), and things haven't been going well for quite a while. The Wallings are uniquely close with their neighbours (like family relatives) from across the street Terry and Carol Ostroff (Oliver Platt and Allison Janney, respectively), with whom they share dinners, jogs in the morning and other neighbourly activities. The Wallings have two children, Vanessa (played by Arrested Development co-star Alia Shawkat) and Toby (played by Adam Brody), while the Ostroffs have one child, Nina (played by Leighton Meester). The story focuses on the negative consequences of David's relationship with Nina by highlighting their sudden affair rather than the breakdown of David's marriage. The film doesn't try to present Nina's character as a pixie belle, rather she's portrayed as a younger, female version of David who is similarly lost, disenchanted and directionless in her life

     While the film tries to combine dramatic elements while being at the same time a comedy, it fails to manage to be successful at either genre. Also, with a running time of less than 90 minutes, there isn't enough time to develop the ensemble cast, we only have time for David's and Nina's unconventional relationship. The plot is introduced and advanced with voice-over narration by Alia Shawkat (Vanessa). This fact becomes somewhat ironic later on, as it would be logical that Shawkat's character should be more prominent. Just what Vanessa, a recent college graduate and unemployed designer, feels about this whole situation is confusing also; it would have been better to narrate the story from Nina's or David's point of view, as other scripts would have done.

     Sadly, the plotline never develops. There's some interesting sideline elements such as the Ostroff's sexual intimacy problems or Paige's infatuation with Christmas and the introduction of Roger (Tim Guinee) as Paige's new love interest. While the film mainly revolves around the age difference of David and Nina and their potential long-term relationship, The Oranges simply can't overcome underdeveloped subplots and characters who have little chemistry between them. By the time we get to the third act the tone of the film is set. It's as if the overall theme is that the pursuit of happiness (written into the American Declaration of Independence in 1776) is a foolish goal and that people should make the most of the circumstances they find themselves in. The story seems too convinced of this point, especially in its ending, and so it finally comes off as just sad.

     The Oranges never rises to the heights it aspires to find, considering the quality of the cast and the suburban themes it addresses. Having said this, it's not dreadful either. It's an average film that won't leave much of an impact or lasting impression.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The film was shot digitally using Red Cameras.

     The aspect ratio is 1:85:1, 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

     The film comes on a 4.14 gb single-layered DVD with an average bitrate of 5.85 m/b per sec, which is slightly below standard for DVD.

     Colour is consistent and realistic-looking.

     The image transfer contains film grain and is slightly soft overall, perhaps this was done for artistic reasons to make the film look more like an independent feature.

     There are subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired.

     There is no RSDL change as the film is presented on a single-layered DVD.

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

Audio

     The Oranges is a dialogue-heavy movie without much in the way of notable music or sound effects; in other words the soundtrack doesn't aim to bring attention to itself.

     The main audio track is a Dolby Digital English 5.1 track encoded at 448 kbps. A Descriptive Audio track is available in English for the hard of hearing in Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo, encoded at 256 kbps.

     The dialogue is clear and easy to understand.

     The music score by Klaus Badelt and Andrew Raiher includes several Dean Martin Christmas standards. The score mainly gets action across the front speakers, with only a little action in the rears.

     The surround sound uses the rear channels only sporadically.

     The subwoofer is utilised with the rear channel mix occasionally, mainly for scenes that are (or attempt to be) comedic.

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

Extras

    Apart from the initial start-up trailers for The Intouchables and Safety Not Guaranteed, there are no extras unfortunately!

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 United States and Region 2 United Kingdom DVDs are similarly barebones releases with the Region 4 Australian DVD, without extras.

Summary

     The Oranges isn't a dreadful movie, rather it suffers from a genre that is tiresome and old-hat; that is, the study of American suburban mid-life existence and its related clichés. This is a shame as the quality of the cast is great, but ultimately they were wasted on this script.

     The Oranges comes recommended for rental only.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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