Plot: What’s it about?
I get a lot of movies for review. A lot. I know its bad to judge a book by its cover (or as the case may be, the cover art for a movie) but in many cases I have to use the tired and true method to get diversity on this site. Case in point: yesterday I received a Blu-ray entitled “The Last Word” starring Winona Ryder (more on her later) and Wes Bentley of “American Beauty” fame. The cover looked interesting and Ryder seemed to be wearing a very low cut shirt, so I figured what the heck and popped it in the player. Yes folks, now you know my steadfast method of reviewing DVD’s! To be fair, I did more then ogle Winona Ryder, I’d heard of the film and Wes Bentley is from my hometown of Little Rock, AR so I figured it’d be worth a watch nonetheless. Ironically enough, the writer/director of the film, Geoffrey Haley, was the videographer on “American Beauty” and was the one who actually filmed the famous plastic bag blowing in the air. Strange. Add Ray Romano to the mix and, well, I was intrigued to say the least.
Bentley plays Evan, a freelance poet who helps people write their suicide notes. A recent “client” of his has recently passed on and while at the funeral, Evan is approached by his sister, Charlotte (Winona Ryder). The two meet up for some informal dates and before long are going steady. Evan lied to Charlotte and told her he was an acquaintance of her brother’s in college, a decision that will come back to haunt him. As their relationship progresses, Evan’s robotic demeanor changes (albeit very slightly). The other focus of the film is with Evan and the nameless character portrayed by Ray Romano. He’s a composer who’s in need of Evan’s services, yet the two form an unlikely friendship. Things do a 180 when Charlotte finds out of Evan’s lies and he must do everything he can to get her back. Will he?
I have to say that “The Last Word” was a bit of an odd choice for me, I don’t know if it was the mood I was in or I just wanted something a bit different but this was most assuredly it. I’ve been a big fan of Winona Ryder for some time now and evidently she’s lost the ability to age. She looks great in this movie and even does a topless scene (from behind, unfortunately). Ray Romano was fairly decent in his performance and it’s a good thing too, since everyone will classify him as a comedian until he gets some good dramatic roles under his belt. The film was a hit at the Sundance Film Festival last year and there are no doubt, legions of fans waiting for this on DVD/Blu-ray. Well, the wait is over ? was it worth it?
Video: How does it look?
This is the first Blu-ray from Image Entertainment that I’ve watched and I have to say that I was expecting the worst. Just because it’s a Blu-ray doesn’t necessarily mean that the transfer will be amazing, but luckily this looks pretty darn good. The 1.78:1 AVC HD transfer looks stellar in some parts, but a bit grainy in others. Granted, this is an independent film and we might not expect a glossy, error-free transfer like those from the major studios but this isn’t that bad. Detail level is pretty good, flesh tones look natural and it gives for an overall good impression.
Audio: How does it sound?
What really surprised me was the DTS Master Audio soundtrack. By and large, this film is dialogue-driven though there are several scenes in which I literally had to turn down my receiver. There?s a scene early on at a night club in which the LFE was so expansive, the floor was literally shaking. Some songs are played throughout and all sound good and yes, believe it or not, there are actually even a couple of explosions thrown in for good measure. I wouldn?t have believed it if you told me, but this is one of the better soundtracks I?ve heard in a while.
Supplements: What are the extras?
On the supplemental front, there’s not a lot here. Six deleted scenes are shown as well as a still gallery and the film?s theatrical trailer shown in 720p.