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For No Good Reason (2014) - Blu-ray Review

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For No Good Reason - Blu-ray Review

3 stars

Filmmaker Charlie Paul’s documentary For No Good Reason isn’t as sharply focused as it could have been.  Steadman, who famously illustrated Hunter S. Thompson’s most famous works, is a fascinating artist and, as he continues to churn out some seriously mesmerizing art, offers Paul’s camera an insight that is very unique to his creative process.  The film is not quite gonzo enough, though.

The film begins with Johnny Depp (who is the voice and narrative guide of the documentary) approaching Steadman’s fog-surrounded home in Maidstone, Kent.  Steadman meets him outside and the two are filmed strolling the grounds.  The inquiry begins with softball questions.  Surrounded by his original prints (he rarely sells them), Steadman appears healthy and fully engaged as Depp begins the journey through his life as Thompson’s wingman. 

Steadman takes us on a journey through his creative process and allows Depp a chance to start his next ink-splotch work by flicking black ink to an empty canvas.  Unfortunately, that’s as deep as Depp gets.  Steadman dares to ask himself questions about getting old – especially in light of the questioning around Thompson’s suicide – but Depp doesn’t continue the line of thought.  In fact, Paul doesn’t spend much time outside of Steadman’s association with Thompson.  And Steadman, with several books of original material under his belt, is so much more than the highs of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.

There is mention of only one of Steadman’s books.  Leonardo, in which Steadman writes as Da Vinci himself, is the highlight of this branch of questioning and while other books are shown in the background, Paul rarely allows a moment to go by without a mention of Thompson or Gonzo journalism.  Even the title is Thompson-inspired.  While the film is a close companion to the Gonzo: The Life and Work of Hunter S. Thompson documentary from several years back, Steadman’s own philosophy is so much richer than the film ever lets on.  After all, he is still alive.    

It’s the nearsightedness of the Thompson-worshipping in For No Good Reason that keeps the documentary from ever truly taking flight.  Even though archival footage shows that Thompson and Steadman were always at odds with each other, Paul and Depp refuse to really pursue the reasons why and fail to produce the definitive documentary over their subject. 

There’s good Steadman information throughout the documentary but it’s all For No Good Reason.

For No Good Reason - Blu-ray Review

MPAA Rating: R for language, some drug content and brief sexual images.
Runtime:
89 mins
Director
: Charlie Paul
Cast:
Ralph Steadman, Johnny Depp, Hunter S. Thompson
Genre
: Documentary
Tagline:
For no good reason.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Are you ready for this, because it might just lead somewhere."
Distributor:
Sony Pictures Classics
Official Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2112152/externalsites?ref_=ttco_ql_3
Release Date:
April 25, 2014
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
September 2, 2014
Synopsis: Johnny Depp pays a visit to Ralph Steadman, the renown artist and the last of the original Gonzo visionaries who worked alongside Hunter S. Thompson.

For No Good Reason - Blu-ray Review

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - September 2, 2014
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
: English, English SDH, French
Audio:
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); DVD copy
Region Encoding: A

Sony is delivering For No Good Reason as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD copy but no digital copy.  The 1080p transfer is good but not perfect. The art looks great though, especially the animation sequences.  Black levels are strong thoughout.  The colors don’t pop but they are serviceably vivid.  The same goes with the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track.  It is definitely a solid track but also doesn’t get very challenged with this dialogue driven film.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • Director Charlie Paul and Producer Lucy Paul provide a decent enough commentary for die-hard fans.

Special Features:

Since this film took over a decade to complete, I was really hoping the special features would be jam-packed.  It isn’t.  There are still some decent content including the Toronto International Film Festival Q&A with Ralph Steadman and Charlie Paul.  There is a reading of “Cherrywood Cannon”, animated version of Steadman’s book.  Lastly there are a few extended interviews with Bruce Robinson, Richard E. Grant and Terry Gilliam and a few deleted scenes included.

  • Toronto International Film Festival Q&A (28 min)
  • Cherrywood Cannon (7 min)
  • Extended Interviews with Bruce Robinson, Richard E. Grant and Terry Gilliam (18 min)
  • Deleted Scenes (17 min)
  • For No Good Reason Theatrical Trailer

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