Another month, another remake, director Phil Alden Robinson’s The Angriest Man in Brooklyn is a remake of a 1997 Israeli film The 92 Minutes of Mr. Baum. Both films deal with the idea of anger and mortality. The new version has a recognizable cast of Robin Williams, Mila Kunis (who is also an Executive Producer), Melissa Leo, and Peter Linkage. The story deals with a bitter Henry Altmann (Robin Williams) who is bridled with anger and has to cope his life choices when a bitter and mentally beaten down medical professional (Mila Kunis) accidently gives him an incredibly small time table to live. The film takes you on what could be Henry’s final moments in life while the people who care for him are scrambling to find him in Brooklyn.
I recall years ago when listening to David Fincher on his commentary for Fight Club, that if a studio has little faith in a film, their beginning credits sequence will only be white text with a black background. I held on to that nugget to give me an expectation of a film. Well, The Angriest Man In Brooklyn is a film that has credits that start with white text on a black background.
It opens with Henry Altmann narrating his morning and talking about the things he hates in his routine; i.e. everything. He is going through the motions to go to his doctor appointment. But unfortunately, for Henry, the doctor, and us, Henry’s regular doctor is out of town and his replacement Dr. Sharon Gill (Mila Kunis) is covering his patients. Sharon is also already having a very bad day, with her cat dying, by suicide. So once she meets in the office with Henry and provides the diagnosis for a brain aneurism, Henry starts to get hot tempered and yells at Sharon. In a panic when Henry asks for a timetable of death, Sharon blurts out 90 minutes and Henry gawks and storms out threatening her. Essentially it sets up a plot for Sharon to try and get Henry to calm down and go back to the hospital. While Henry in a mad dash tries to tie up some loose ends.
While the idea that you have 90 minutes to live and what you do in that time can be a novel plot for a film. It just doesn’t work here, because it’s pretty ridiculous and medically impossible for him to do the things he did in that time frame. The story moves along because the plot needs it to, and there are reasons why Henry is as angry as he is that the film divulges throughout but… it still seem unjustified. The film is trying too hard to make Henry unlikeable that even when he eventually starts showing signs of being decent, he still is just a jerk. Also, there is no way that Henry can do as much as he does in 90 minutes with New York City traffic.
The cast is great, but not in this. Robin Williams just seems like he forcing himself through the film, Mila is charming but brings nothing new. Peter Dinklage isn’t given enough material to shine. Melissa Leo actually makes the most of her screen time, but still isn’t enough to be compelling. There are a few nice cameos but they really amount to nothing more than just quick gags, that don’t really work for me. It’s a film that’s forgettable, not because of the on screen talent, but because the directors and screenwriters are bringing nothing new or enticing when there are other better films that deserve our attention.
- Encoding: MPEG-4 AVC
- Resolution: 1080p
- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Clarity/Detail: It looks incredibly clear and crisp. So much so that the scenes that were green screened are very noticeable and distracting. But when the film is outside and in the city scapes you really immerse yourself with the comings and goings of the background.
- Depth: It’s pretty standard, nothing that really makes your jaw drop. It’s a smaller story and what some characters lack in depth so do the film visuals.
- Black Levels: Not much black in the film, but what is shown is rich and dark.
- Color Reproduction: The film is shot right in the middle of Brooklyn. There isn’t a big selection of color to choose from but when you see the yellow of a taxi or the greenery of the trees in the background. It’s not the most impressive I have seen, but still a good job.
- Flesh Tones: Nothing blends into one another and you can see all the little details in the actors faces, whether they like it or not.
- Noise/Artifacts: None to be found.
- Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
- Subtitles: English, Spanish
- Dynamics: For a film that doesn’t have any major car chases or action scenes it does have a really nice audio track.
- Low Frequency Extension: Nothing worthwhile to write about at length.
- Surround Sound Presentation: It’s a 5.1 mix for a Dramedy. It’s good but nothing that going to knock your socks off.
- Dialogue Reproduction: There is a lot of yelling involved in the film, and it all came in crystal clear.
In addition to an UltraViolet Digital HD copy, the special features only include the following two selections.
- The Making of The Angriest Man in Brooklyn (1080p; 6:17) – This is a run of the mill EPK, nothing special.
- Gag Reel (1080p; 2:51) – For a gag reel it wasn’t very funny. When actors mess up lines it can be funny, but other times it just irritating. This one was irritating.
In some cases when a film goes on a very small limited theater run it’s because those filmmakers never got a chance to really breakout. In this case, the assembling of a pretty big name cast but not follow through, really hurts it and will make it forgettable years down the line. I wouldn’t recommend the film as a blind buy. It has no idea what it wants to do and it really waste the arsenal of talent it has at its disposal. But if you are still interested, at least the Blu-ray technical aspects are near top notch, if only the writers and editors put in that much care. It’s a film that can’t find it’s place, which is fitting because I also can’t find a place for this film on my shelf.