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Drinking Buddies Blu-ray Review

Drinking Buddies Blu-ray

While well acted, “Drinking Buddies” is rather uneventful.

In his latest film “Drinking Buddies,” writer/director Joe Swanberg (one of the founding members of the infamous mumblecore film movement) has created a largely improvised tale about life, love, relationships, friendship, and booze. The story primarily revolves around friends Kate and Luke who also happen to be co-workers at a brewery. They seem like the perfect couple, but they’re actually both in other relationships. Kate is seeing a man named Chris while Luke has a fiancée (Jill). After all four of them head out on a weekend getaway, things get a bit complicated after Chris and Jill have a fling while Luke and Kate grow ever closer. From there on out, relationship troubles begin to arise for both couples all while Luke and Kate try to sort out their feelings for one another.

Before I dig into the film, it must be said that ‘Buddies’ boasts a fantastic ensemble cast. The always underrated Ron Livingston (“Office Space”), rising star Anna Kendrick (“Up In The Air” and “Pitch Perfect”), newcomer Jake Johnson (best known for “The New Girl” and “Safety Not Guaranteed”), and one of the best actresses in the biz today (Olivia Wilde) give entirely convincing, naturalistic, and above all REAL performances. This is especially evident given the fact that most of the dialogue is entirely improvised by the cast members. As impressive as the acting and cast chemistry is, however, Swanberg’s improvisational technique leaves “Drinking Buddies” feeling rudderless.

While it’s clear what the intention of the story is, the way the film plays out is ultimately frustrating. For the entire running time, it feels like there should be something more to this film whether it be conflict or action or even a proper resolution. Viewers expecting a tidy ending or closure will undoubtedly be disappointed here as Swanberg opts for a tired, lazy, non-ending (which is an irritating fad these days). I don’t have a problem with thoughtful, open ended conclusions, but it’s insulting to give film fans the run around by not delivering any sort of satisfactory wrap up. Sure, you can make your own conclusions, but shouldn’t a story have a clear beginning, middle, and end?

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.40:1 1080p. How does it look? The film has a very grainy, down to earth style to it so don’t expect a crystal clear transfer here. With that said, this is certainly the best the film has ever looked.

Audio Track: 5.1 DTS-HD. How does it sound? The audio track is perfectly adequate at handling the music and dialogue.

Extras:
* Magnolia trailers and a theatrical trailer for “Drinking Buddies.”
* Interviews with cast members Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, and Ron Livingston.
* “AXS TV: A Look At Drinking Buddies”- If it’s a Magnolia title, you can expect a standard AXS TV featurette.
* BD-Live capabilities.
* A little over 7 minutes of deleted scenes and outtakes with optional commentary by Joe Swanberg.
* “Behind The Scenes At Revolution Brewing”- A tour of the real brewery
* “All Things Drinking With Director Joe Swanberg and “Drinking Made Easy” Host Zane Lamprey”- The two have a drink and a chat about the movie, improv, Swanberg’s cameo, breweries, beer, etc. The best extra on the disc.
* A lively commentary by Joe Swanberg, Andrea Roa and Alicia Van Couvering. The three discuss the dialogue free screenplay, scenes, behind-the-scenes stories, characters, etc.

December 5, 2013 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , , , , ,

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