Life’s A Breeze (Blu-ray Review)

Life's a BreezeLife’s A Breeze is a charming comedy that follows a family struggling to stay afloat and together through hard times. The family is turned upside down when Nan’s (Fionnula Flanagan) unemployed slacker son Colm (Pat Shortt), and his niece Emma (Kelly Thornton) make a well-intended attempt to clean out her house and accidentally trash the mattress where she’s been stashing her life savings. Now they must overcome their many differences to lead their family in a race against time to find a lost fortune.


Life's A Breeze


Life’s A Breeze is a seemingly cheerful (not really) film about a working class family and the misadventures that they get into. The title of the film is catchy for a reason, because it’s playing the ironic angle. Life is anything but a breeze. Back to the family, it’s Nan’s (Fionnula Flanagan) birthday and her family decide on cleaning up her house that she shares with her son, Colm (Pat Shortt), but end up throwing out a worn old mattress into the dumpster that held Nan’s entire life savings – something to the tune of £8oo,000. I reckon that’s wee bit over a million U.S. dollars. That’s what you get for doing something nice for your mum.

Hijinks ensue as they visit pubs, landfills, alleyways, ghettos, etc., in order to track down the fabled mattress that contains all of that money. Now don’t think that Nan’s family is helping out, because they want Nan to have her money back. They’re helping, because there might be something in it for them, as well. That was my biggest complaint about the film. No one, not even Nan, is actually pleasant people. I’ll say Colm is fine but he’s played like a dimwit. There’s nothing redeeming about him and since everyone picks on him and he does nothing about it makes me dislike his family even more.

Once word gets out that the mattress has that much money stuffed inside the rest of the Irish countryside get in on the happenings and start searching for it, too. They do this after Colm goes on the radio circuit to spread the word and then Nan offers up a reward. The folks out there don’t know that there’s almost a million bucks (in any currency) in that mattress and take to tracking it down for the reward money. Something is better than nothing I suppose.

Again, coming back to the family, most of them (well, including Colm and Nan, too) aren’t very likable to begin with. I understand that it’s a cultural thing but in order for me to care about a clan then I need to be able to identify with them in some way or they have to redeem themselves in some way, as well. The film does neither of this in a satisfactory manner for my tastes. Life’s A Breeze is a brisk romp that clocks in at 83-minutes (78-minutes without credits) but feels a bit longer. Still, for those that like films about crabby families that bicker and talk crap about each other then this may satisfy them. I was left indifferent by the whole thing.



Life's A Breeze


Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1

Clarity/Detail: I don’t know what happened when they filmed and/or transferred the image but it’s very ugly. I had to get up and make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me. I like film grain fine just like the next avid film fan but this went beyond grain – it was downright awful.

Depth: Depth was fine especially in those scenes involving the landfills along with shots of the mountainsides and vast roadways.

Black Levels: Black levels remain consistent but I did detect crush here and there, which didn’t do the overall print any favors.

Color Reproduction: The color palette is quite muted, with the exception of a several scenes that re punctuated with a dash of primary or secondary colors. Those scenes tend to stick out (in a good way), because they add color to the drab environment.

Flesh Tones: Everyone looked just peachy – there were no sudden fluctuations in skin tone at all.

Noise/Artifacts: As I mentioned before the grain levels were horrid, and noise, debris, etc., were all over the place. I was quite stunned since Magnolia usually releases near to reference material 99% of the time. I guess Life’s A Breeze is that 1%.


Life's A Breeze


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Dynamics: The audio specs are quite the polar opposite of the video. Life’s A Breeze sounds just dandy in DTS (lossless). It’s a “dramedy” of sorts, so you won’t get gunfire, explosions, or martial arts beating down your home theater – just a nice and pleasant surround sound mix.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE subwoofer kicks in during scenes involving the subway, driving, or when folks are digging around the actual landfills. You can hear machinery in there and the subwoofer adds a bit of zest to the mix.

Surround Sound Presentation: Again, it’s not “that” kind of film. The rear channels are used to reproduce ambiance and background noise and they do a decent job of that.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels are crystal clear – if anything, an accent or two may get through with some bit of jumble but I don’t think it’s the center channel’s fault.


Life's A Breeze


Not a thing.


Life's a Breeze


Life’s A Breeze was too mean for my tastes. By the time the film had its resolution I really didn’t care. The technical specifications on this Blu-ray are also a mixed bag, with the video looking like a DVD or worse, and the lack of a single special feature. I can go the rest of my life without ever having see Life’s A Breeze again and I think I will.



Life’s A Breeze Released on Blu-ray January 20th.





Life's a Breeze


Gerard Iribe is a writer/reviewer for Why So Blu?. He has also reviewed for other sites like DVD Talk, Project-Blu, and CHUD, but Why So Blu? is where the heart is. You can follow his incoherency on Twitter: @giribe

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