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HTF DVD REVIEW: A SERIOUS MAN



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#1 of 1 Timothy E

Timothy E

    Supporting Actor

  • 862 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 20 2007

Posted February 09 2010 - 05:36 AM

http://images.dvdemp...s/1514446.jpg"> A SERIOUS MAN DVD

Studio: Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Year: 2009

Rated: R

Film Length: 1 hour, 46 minutes

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Audio: English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

Release Date: February 9, 2010

The Movie

A Serious Man is the Coen brothers’ meditation upon "the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune." Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg) is an untenured professor in an unnamed midwestern city in 1967. Larry’s brother Arthur (Richard Kind) has moved in with the Gopniks, to the chagrin of his family. Larry’s wife Judith (Sari Lennick) is on the verge of leaving him for another man, his daughter Sarah (Jessica McManus) wants a nose job, and his son Danny (Aaron Wolf) is preparing for his bar mitzvah.

The film opens with a presentation of a Jewish folk tale from the turn of the 20th Century. The characters in the folk tale have no direct relationship to the characters in the remainder of the film, however, the tale sets up certain themes that resonate through the remainder of A Serious Man. A Serious Man follows the trials and tribulations of Larry Gopnik as he suffers through successes and failures.

The Coen brothers have created, in A Serious Man, a meditation upon the meaning of life as it impacts upon faith. Critics have liked this film because it reaches certain universal truths and experiences. The Coens have drawn upon their experiences as children of academics growing up in the midwest in the 1960s. Although there are many religious references in the film, you do not have to be Jewish to understand the joys and frustrations suffered by Larry Gopnik because Larry’s experiences are the same as those suffered by people of every faith and denomination. Like life, there are no final answers at the end of the film, and everything is not tied up into a neat bundle as it is in more conventional (and inferior) films.

Video

A Serious Man appears on DVD in its original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. There are no compression artifacts visible to mar the presentation. Colors are not particularly vibrant but this is more a reflection of the artistic choices reflected in the costume and set design of the period.

Audio


The English Dolby Digital 5.1 track is serviceable if not exceptional. Most audio originates deliberately from the front and center channels with a few exceptions. Like the video presentation, the Dolby Digital 5.1 may not be exceptional but it also seems immune from any defects.

Special Features

The special features are limited to the following:

Becoming Serious (17:04): This short but interesting featurette includes some comments and explanations from Joel and Ethan Coen regarding their artistic intentions on this film, as well as comments from other cast and crew.

Creating 1967 (13:43): A behind the scenes featurette regarding costume and set design for the film. It is interesting to see how digital manipulation occurs invisibly to turn back the clock even in seemingly low budget films.

Hebrew and Yiddish for Goys (2:15): This featurette repeats snippets of the film having Hebrew and Yiddish terms in the dialogue to explain the meaning of the terms for Goys.

Also included are the following trailers which play by default at the beginning of the disc: Pirate Radio, Greenberg, The Big Lebowski, Blu-Ray, Couples Retreat, and Smokin’ Aces 2.

Conclusion

A Serious Man is a fascinating meditation upon faith and the meaning of life. Since there are no easy answers to such profound issues in a film of less than 2 hours, your expectations will determine whether you fall into the camp of people who love this film or people who hate it. If you like every subplot and issue presented in a film to be fully resolved before the final credits roll, then you may be disappointed. On the other hand, if you can accept not having answers to everything, then you will find much to enjoy, in life, and in A Serious Man.
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