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Clear History - Blu-ray Review

{2jtab: Movie Review}

Clear History - Blu-ray Review

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3 stars

This just in: Larry David has quit his job and lost a fortune (along with his razor)...

Not really.  It’s just a movie.  The partnership between HBO and Larry David (Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm) continues with Clear History.  And so do the dark themes of greed and misguided revenge.  The material might be a little thin and more accessible than the humor on Curb but that doesn’t mean that David has lost his edge.  There are moments in the movie that are downright genius as one man attempts to atone for his error in judgment through vengeance.

Most agree that his second feature is better than his debut film, Sour Grapes (from 1998) and while the film feels more complete in that “NOW, THIS IS A MOVIE” sense, the humor is not as consistently fresh or rewarding as it was in his first attempt at making a movie.  David recycles a lot of material from his much better television show and uses it here, leaving it feeling, at times, like an extended episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Directed by Greg Mottola (Superbad), Clear History is the story of a marketing genius – who looks a lot like Gandalf – played by David and his big mistake involving an electric car that costs him plenty of money and notoriety.  Offended by his Fountainhead-loving boss Will Hanley (Jon Hamm) choice in names for a new car, David quits his job and walks off the project, buying back his share in the stock.  The Howard (that’s the car) takes off without him and he soon finds himself the butt of many a joke.

Time to shave, change his name, and retire to Martha’s Vineyard.  Time passes slowly and he adjusts to his life as a nobody…until his ex-boss arrives on the island to set up a residence.  Suddenly, David finds himself involved with some locals (played by Danny McBride, Bill Hader and Michael Keaton) in a half-baked idea to blow up his ex-boss’ house and steal his wife, Rhonda (Kate Hudson).

For one, some of the usual layers found in David’s comedy get stretched thin by the length of the film.  He is better at 30-minute programming.  That doesn’t mean the film isn’t funny.  It is.  And it is sure to please fans of his particular brand of humor.  Unfortunately, the film’s length is a bit more trying than it ought to be and undercuts some of the biting comedy of the picture with a single serving of fairness.  Something Curb never does.

Mottola has also dulled some of David’s sharper edges with a broader stroke to the comedy.  David’s still confrontational but the other characters are your garden variety of stock characters.  Keaton might be hilarious as the bumbling backwoods idiot (and, yes, he still can play Beetlejuice if you were wondering) but he’s not typical of David’s material.  Gone are the endless arguments about nothing.  Mostly.  We get plot points instead.

David definitely has a purpose with Clear History.  He’s telling a story from beginning to end and, while it is not as fresh as it could have been, he succeeds in getting some laughter - even if we’ve seen some of the bits before.

While we wait – patiently – for a 9th season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Clear History is a nice one-off project to let us know that Larry David is still in the game.

{2jtab: Film Details}

Clear History - Blu-ray ReviewMPAA Rating: This title has not been rated by the MPAA.
Runtime:
100 mins
Director
: Greg Mottola
Writer
: Larry David, Alec Berg
Cast:
Larry David, Bill Hader, Philip Baker Hall
Genre
: Comedy
Tagline:
A story of wealth, fame, power... and this guy.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Nobody's going to buy a car named Howard"
Distributor:
HBO Pictures
Release Date:
August 10, 2013
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
November 5, 2013

Synopsis: A disgraced former marketing executive plots revenge against his former boss, who made billions from the electric car company they started.

{2jtab: Blu-ray Review}

Clear History - Blu-ray Review

Component Grades
Movie

Blu-ray Disc
3 stars

2 stars



Blu-ray Experience
2.5 stars

Blu-ray

Blu-ray Details:

Available on Blu-ray - November 5, 2013
Screen Formats: 1.78:1
Subtitles
: Spanish, English, French
Audio:
English (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Single disc

This is a very bright transfer. It’s almost sports car red with intensity. The colors are pretty flashy with high orange operating at all levels throughout the film. I’m sure the difficulty in shooting underwater has its limitations. While this is a pretty strong 1080p transfer, those limitations make themselves known in the underwater scenes. There is banding throughout giving this transfer a “vintage” sort of flavor. Unintended, I’m sure but it does add to the overall flavor of this retro horror schlock. The female skin tones are perfectly tan and supple, so that’s a plus. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack bares its teeth as well as the monsters of this film and will severely tear into your stereo speakers with fierce chomping.

Supplements:

Commentary:

  • None

Special Features:

Does a digital copy, downloadable in iTunes and UltraViolet formats with the directions and unique redemption code found inside the unslipcovered blue keepcase count?  If so, then you get one.

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