Lonesome Jim (2005)

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Released 9-Jun-2006

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-Tom White, My Life Without Me, Russian Dolls
Trailer-Beat My Heart Skipped
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2005
Running Time 87:43 (Case: 91)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Steve Buscemi
Studio
Distributor
InDigEnt Films
Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Casey Affleck
Liv Tyler
Mary Kay Place
Seymour Cassel
Kevin Corrigan
Jack Rovello
Rachel Strouse
Sarah Strouse
Mark Boone Junior
Jake La Botz
Jude Barger
Pam Angell
Michael Buscemi
Case ?
RPI $34.95 Music Evan Lurie


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.75:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

In the past year or so there have been a number of films centred on male protagonists in their late 20s returning to their eccentric families in obscure towns, seeking refuge after experiencing ‘failures’ in the big city. Some examples are Zach Braff’s Garden State (2004), which was mostly a comedic drama tinged with sadness, but full of hope provided by the character Sam (Natalie Portman). Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown (2005) saw suicidal Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) rescued by Claire Colburn (Kirsten Dunst). Both these films saw the characters return to their roots as they attended the funeral of a parent, but in Steve Buscemi’s Lonesome Jim (2005), the title character returns home to have a nervous breakdown.

Jim left the isolated Indiana for the bright lights of New York and Manhattan in the hope of a successful writing career but was left walking dogs or working as a waiter. Almost 30 years old he has returned to his family penniless, depressed and without the desire for anything. His overbearing mother (Mary Kay Place) couldn’t be happier to see her son and is endlessly proud of him despite his failure to live out his dream. Jim’s father (Seymour Cassel) is disappointed that his son expects to drift through life without any motivation while Jim’s older brother Tim (Kevin Corrigan) is also at his wit's end as he is 32, divorced with two pre-teenagers and lives at home and works for his mother. The isolated Midwestern landscape does have its gem in Anika (Liv Tyler), a young single mother who takes a shine to Jim.

In a significant scene Jim and Tim compare their wasted existences. Tim, believing he is worthless, is found in a coma after a failed suicide attempt. Guilt-ridden, Jim is forced to take on his brother’s life, working in the family business and becoming an existent figure in his niece’s lives. As Jim tries to have a ‘normal’ relationship with Anika, he is also forced into a situation by his drug dealing uncle, which leaves not only the family business in jeopardy but also his mother's well being.

Casey Affleck is excellent as the Lonesome Jim of the title; he is monotonous and deadpan yet increasingly likeable, reminiscent of Bill Murray’s Don Johnston in Broken Flowers (2005). Equally good is Liv Tyler as a young woman unsure whether or not she should let someone like Jim into her life and the life of her impressionable young son. Buscemi lends a sense of poetic realism to the production with the lingering scenes of secluded wide landscapes and minimal soundtrack.

There is hope for Jim in the very end in the most unlikely set of circumstances and there is a certain warmth and charm to the depressing situations presented in the film. This a commendable film in which Steve Buscemi, who is also a wonderful actor, shares his fondness of characters who are full of doubts, insecurities and purposelessness as shown in Trees Lounge (1996) and now in Lonesome Jim (2005).

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Transfer Quality

Video

The film is presented in 1.75:1 widescreen and is 16x9 enhanced. The production was filmed with Digital cameras but interestingly it has been transferred to 35mm film stock. The result of this is heavy grain which is intentional and is unique to the concept of the film. The transfer besides the intentional grain which at times can look like heavy MPEG compression is very good with no major defects. Colour and shadow detail are well defined.

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

Audio

The soundtrack is composed by Evan Lurie who is the brother of John Lurie and is of Lounge Lizards fame. The score is unobtrusive, loose and melancholy and suits the mood and sensibilities of the film incredible well. The English Dolby Digital 2.0 score is also well suited to the picture which is based on dialogue and as expected is mostly effective in the front soundstage.

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

Extras

Theatrical Trailer

Trailer

A selection of other releases from Palace films such as Tom White, My Life Without Me, Russian Dolls and The Beat My Heart Skipped.

R4 vs R1

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

The film had a limited cinema release in the US in March 2006 and as a result it is unreleased on DVD in R1 as yet.

Summary

A wonderful film made with warmth and affection and filled with miserable characters who are on the path towards a better attitude and a better existence. With a likeable cast and a script which is steeped in misery and sadness but maintains a sense of humour and commendable direction, the film is thoroughly appealing. The DVD is a rental and as a result is bare-bones and the presentation of the film is unremarkable.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Vanessa Appassamy (Biography)
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-1910, using DVI output
DisplayPanasonic PT-AE 700. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationYamaha DSP-A595a - 5.1 DTS
Speakers(Front) DB Dynamics Polaris AC688F loudspeakers,(Centre) DB Dynamics Polaris Mk3 Model CC030,(Rear) Polaris Mk3 Model SSD425,(Subwoofer) Jensen JPS12

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