The Grand

January 28, 2012 5 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

The Grand is the ultimate tournament in the world of indoor poker, with a ten million dollar prize to a single winner. That kind of cash attracts the best of the best, which means that to win The Grand, you have to beat the world’s elite and eccentric poker players one after another. This year’s field boasts an impressive field of players, from brother & sister card sharks Lainie (Cheryl Hines) and Larry (David Cross) Scwartzman to the eerie & ice cold German (Werner Herzog) to human computer Harold Melvin (Chris Parnell) to poker legend Deuce Fairbanks (Dennis Farina), plus countless other professionals, internet standouts, and folks just looking to share a table with the best. But the talk of the tournament is Jack Faro (Woody Harrelson), who is battling to save his casino, but as good as he is, can he overcome this stacked field at The Grand.

As soon as I learned Zak Penn had directed a new film, I couldn’t wait to check out The Grand. I loved Incident at Loch Ness and I hoped Penn’s follow up could maintain that level of entertainment. As it turned out, The Grand isn’t in the same class as Incident, but it is a decent movie. The humor is inconsistent and misses a lot more than it should, but there are still some good laughs and fun to watch performances. The cast here is rather imposing, with a lineup that includes both impressive leads and cameo roles, so the star power is good. But The Grand just never finds its groove, so it tends to run off kilter, with some effective scenes and others that just fall flat. I did enjoy the movie and I am glad I checked out, but it just wasn’t the home run I expected. Even so, it has memorable scenes and if nothing else, should be seen for Gabe Kaplan’s hilarious moments. The Grand is no comedy masterpiece, but it is fun and is well worth a rental.

Video: How does it look?

The Grand is presented in 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This is a rock solid transfer, with no issues to mention, but at the same time, it never hits the visual depth seen in elite level presentations. The vibrant Las Vegas landscape looks as bright and bold as you’d expect, as colors shine and stream across the screen. I didn’t see any contrast issues either, as black levels are well balanced and never waver. The detail shown is solid, but does have a soft presence in a number of scenes. That kind of fits in with the tone of the movie however, so no worries. Good work from Anchor Bay on this one.

Audio: How does it sound?

This Dolby Digital 5.1 option is good, but the material has basic audio demands, so don’t expect much. This movie is driven by dialogue, so there isn’t much call for power or presence. Especially given the intended documentary feel, so the audio sound live and as it happens. The music is the exception, as it is mixed in with a higher volume than the other elements, which causes some problems hearing all the lines. This is never a massive concern, but it does distract the viewer at times. Overall though, a decent audio presentation. This disc also includes a 2.0 surround option.

Supplements: What are the extras?

An audio commentary track is up first, as director Zak Penn, writer Matt Bierman, and actor Michael Karnow sit down to talk about The Grand. The track is a fun one, but it often veers off target, so expect numerous off topic discussions. Still a decent track however, one that fans will want to give a spin. You can also listen to scene specific comments from stars Ray Romano, Cheryl Hines, and Woody Harrelson, who share their memories of the production. This disc also includes player profiles, alternate endings, and some deleted scenes.

Disc Scores