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Blu-ray Review Danny Collins Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Todd Erwin

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Danny Collins Blu-ray Review

Al Pacino plays the title character in Danny Collins, a melodramatic soap opera about an aging rock star coming to terms with where his life has taken him and where it may have gone after receiving a long lost letter from John Lennon. The film, from writer-director Dan Fogelman (Last Vegas, The Guilt Trip, Tangled), also stars Annette Bening, Jennifer Garner, Bobby Cannavale, and Christopher Plummer.



Studio: Universal

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Rating: R

Run Time: 1 Hr. 48 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy, UltraViolet

2-disc Blu-ray keepcase with outer sleeve

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer), DVD-9 (dual layer)

Region: A, 1

Release Date: 06/30/2015

MSRP: $34.98




The Production Rating: 3/5

Danny Collins (Al Pacino) is an aging rock star, going through the motions and giving his fans what they want to see and hear at a recent concert in Los Angeles at the Greek Theatre. At his surprise birthday party, his agent Frank (Christopher Plummer) presents him with a letter from 1970 that John Lennon wrote to Danny but was never delivered, telling him to stay true to his art and don't let success corrupt you. Danny begins to see his life differently, realizing that his life may have been different had Lennon's letter not gotten lost in the mail. He confronts his twenty-something fiancee, Sophie (Katarina Cas), letting her know that he knows she's been cheating on him. Danny cancels the remaining dates of his U.S. tour and heads to New Jersey, taking up residence at the Hilton, hoping to write some new songs and connect with the son he had with a fan over thirty years ago but has never met.

 

Danny Collins plays like a melodramatic soap opera with enough schmaltz to fill several movies. After arriving at the Hilton, he meets the hotel manager, Mary Sinclair (Annette Bening), who Danny tries his best to instantly charm and eventually melts away the layers to strike up a friendship with her (which is perhaps the most interesting relationship in the movie). When he arrives at his son's house, he meets his daughter-in-law, Samantha Donnelly (Jennifer Garner), and her daughter, Hope (Giselle Eisenberg). Samantha is very pregnant and having complications, while Hope has been diagnosed with ADHD and needs special schooling that the family cannot afford. But Danny's estranged son, Tom (Bobby Cannavale), has wanted nothing to do with Danny, and orders him to leave their home immediately and never return. Danny, not taking no for an answer, returns a few days later and whisks them off to New York City to tour a school specifically for kids with ADHD that Danny offers to pay for. Tom reluctantly accepts Danny's generosity, but Tom has a problem - he has cancer and hasn't told Samantha, hoping that a drug trial he is about to participate in will put him in remission. It is these tragedies upon tragedies that bog the movie down, making the audience to wonder what else could possibly go wrong to the characters in the movie. The performances are very good, particularly Pacino, Bening, Plummer, and Garner, the weakness being the all-too-coincidental plot contrivances of writer-director Dan Fogelman's screenplay, which supposedly was inspired by a true story (we learn during the closing credits that the letter from John Lennon was actually written to English folk-singer Steve Tilston).



Video Rating: 4/5  3D Rating: NA

Universal's 1080p transfer is exceptionally good, but not necessarily something to show off your display's capabilities. Compressed using the AVC codec and retaining the film's intended theatrical aspect ratio of 2.40:1, colors are natural and consistent without appearing over saturated. Contrast levels are decent, providing deep blacks without crushing and bright whites without blooming. Detail is quite good, providing textures in the fabrics and walls, as well as the worn face of its star, Al Pacino.



Audio Rating: 4/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack is front-heavy, something to expect from a dialogue-driven drama, with some frequent use of surrounds to highlight the musical tracks (there are several songs by John Lennon peppered throughout the film) and concert sequences. Dialogue is directed mostly to the center channel, always intelligible and never getting lost in the mix.



Special Features Rating: 2.5/5

Behind the Scenes of Danny Collins (1080p; 3:44): Writer-Director Dan Fogelman, along with Al Pacino and the rest of the cast discuss making the film in this very featurette.

 

Danny Collins - Album Covers Through the Years (1080p): A slideshow of the album covers seen in the movie.

 

DVD Copy: The movie in 480p with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, trailers for I'll See You In My Dreams, My Old Lady, and Pawn Sacrifice, and the same featurettes as on the Blu-ray.

 

Digital HD Copy: An insert contains a code to redeem a digital copy through both Ultraviolet partners and iTunes. The code is subject to expiration, but no expiration date was provided.



Overall Rating: 3/5

Danny Collins was touted by the studio as Al Pacino's comeback after a string of bad movie choices. While this is, perhaps his best work in recent years, it's still not a very good movie. While the audio and video presentation are exceptional, the bonus features are a bit disappointing.


Reviewed By: Todd Erwin


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