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Amos & Andrew (Blu-ray Review)

Amos-AndrewAmos & Andrew features comic turns by Academy Award winner Nicolas Cage (Best Actor, Leaving Las Vegas) and Academy Award nominees Samuel L. Jackson (Best Supporting Actor, Pulp Fiction) and Brad Dourif (Best Supporting Actor, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest).  Written and directed by E. Max Frye (screenwriter of Something Wild andFoxcatcher), Amos & Andrew co-stars Michael Lerner (The Mod Squad), Margaret Colin (Independence Day) and Brad Dourif (One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest).

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Andrew Sterling, a renowned black playwright who has no idea what’s in store when he purchases a home in a predominantly white suburban enclave. Suspected as a burglar while moving in, he finds himself on the receiving end of the law in a show of force more in line with a hostage situation. Realizing what could become a public relations nightmare, the police chief strong-arms hapless car thief Amos into holding Andrew hostage, the outcome of which will ultimately show the town’s true stripes.

I vaguely remember the trailer for this movie, but I did remember the poster.  This film is now very interesting because its right before both Nicolas Cage and Samuel L. Jackson would launch into bigger or more household names.  The next year would see Jackson own his iconic role in Pulp Fiction.  Two years later Nicolas Cage would be hoisting his Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas.  But before all that, the two future superstars teamed up for the forgettable Amos & Andrew.

The film wants to have all the goods of a buddy cop comedy, but is really clunky in getting there.  As a matter of fact, the setup of this movie is damn stupid, its hard to keep going with it once things are sent into motion.  The comedy isn’t really funny and has a hard time letting you know if its trying to play the humor straight or not.  Its a comedy based on unnecessary escalation because of pride and stubbornness, but its comes across as more infuriating and dull than anything else.

Performance-wise, both actors are top notch with pretty subpar material.  Sam Jackson is the main protagonist and complete good guy here.  Much of his work is the straight man.  Cage gets the meaty, fun role.  He’s loose and gets to be goofy when it calls for it.  When called for, he can also turn up the dramatics as well.  And if you’re looking for some classic “Cage-isms” they’re here at times too.

I don’t really think Amos & Andrew is a film anyone really needs to look back on or rediscover.  If someone is, it’d have to be hardcore Nicolas Cage-heads or Team Sam Jackson ‘shippers.  Overall its pretty average, but also kinda tough sticking through a dumb comedy that mostly isn’t too funny.

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Video Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-_5Dexter-0

Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1

Clarity/Detail:  This one looks kind of slightly above average.  Part of its problem I think is that you can tell this film has probably always looked kind of ugly.  Detail is solid, and the sharpness is average, but the stock is probably softer.  A bit murky looking, its still likely the very best the film has ever looked.

Depth:  Average.  Movements are cinematic with extremely minimal blur.  Spacing is decent with background imagery looking okay in well focused areas.

Black Levels:  Blacks are rich. No real crushing noticed, but some detail does get hidden in the shadows.

Color Reproduction:  Colors are kept to a more lifelike look.  They still manage to look bold, with blues looking pretty nice.

Flesh Tones:  Skin tones are natural and consistent.  Details like stubble, wrinkles and blemishes all fare better in close-ups.

Noise/Artifacts:  Grain and some specs/dirt.

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Audio Format(s): English 2.0 DTS-HD MA

Subtitles: N/A

Dynamics:  Amos & Andrew comes with a 2.0 stereo mix that really just gets the job done.  Nothing is really completely stand out or in your face.  There’s a nice balance and the track does the trick.

Low Frequency Extension:  N/A

Surround Sound Presentation:  N/A

Dialogue Reproduction:  Dialogue is clean and clear.

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Extras Dexter-0Dexter-0Dexter-0Dexter-0Dexter-0

Amos & Andrew features no supplemental material.

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Summary Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-_5Dexter-0Dexter-0

An interesting look back in seeing both Nicolas Cage and Samuel Jackson when they were both mere character actors taking on leads in a buddy comedy, but overall the movie is just a bit too vanilla.  Olive Films’ release scoops from the same tub of ice cream.  Its a solid presentation, but nothing to write home about.  There are zero extras as well, making this purely for the big time Amos & Andrew fanclub.

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Writer/Reviewer, lifelong obsessive film nerd. As eager to educate in the world of film as I am to learn. An avid lover of horror, schlock and trash, Brandon hosts the Cult Cinema Cavalcade podcast on the Creative Zombie Studios Network (www.cultcinemacavalcade.com) You can also find more essays on his blog Naptown Nerd (naptownnerd.blogspot.com).

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