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99 Homes (Best Buy Exclusive) ( Blu-ray Review)

99 HomesIn  this timely thriller, when single father Dennis Nash (Golden Globe nominee Andrew Garfield) is evicted from his home, his only chance to win it back is to go to work for Rick Garver (academy Award nominee Michael Shannon), the charismatic and ruthless businessman who evicted him in the first place. It’s a deal-with-the-devil that provides security for his family; but as Nash falls deeper into Carver’s web, he finds his situation grows more brutal and dangerous than he ever imagined. 

99 Homes

Film Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-_5

This past holiday season the big deal in movies was the 4th wall-breaking film dealing with the Stock Market crash of 2008: The Big Short. Released in limited theaters earlier in 2015 was another film dealing with the impending and subsequent real estate market disaster around the same time. The gist of the disaster was that folks would apply for home loans even if they could not verify their incomes. Granted, one should know better about getting in over their heads in that regard but it was the folks representing the lenders that misrepresented the borrowers and tons of folks lost their homes due to bad and sometimes illegal decision making by those that owned the homes – mainly the banks.

Rick Carver (Michael Shannon) is a ruthless businessman and owner of many properties that have fallen underwater to foreclosure. Carver basically waits until a homeowner loses their home and evicts them with the local Sheriff in tow. He’s a middleman of sorts; because once the tenant is gone he remodels the home and sells it as fast as he can for a major profit. He does this in bulk and exploits certain government loopholes in doing so.

Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) is one of these folks that has met with Rick Carver and is given the boot. Nash is a single father of one and his mother lives with him and runs her small business from the home. This is also South Florida and they’re in a working class neighborhood. Nash basically loses the home due to not being able to pay the mortgage and Carver swoops in to evict him and his family and to collect his home and put it with the rest.

Essentially homeless Nash and his family move into a motel where more folks of the real estate collapse now spend the rest of their days. Nash needs to start making money to support them and find a solution to the problem. When Nash suspects one of Carver’s men stole some of his tools he confronts the worker before being offered work by Carver. Seeing that he has no options Nash takes Carver on his offer and begins working for him doing home remodeling and fixing things here and there. Nash gets in good with Carver and begins doing more of the dirty work that Carver usually does. That’s the basis of the story in 99 Homes – how far would this family man go in order to regain his home and family’s respect? Will Nash lose his soul in the process?

I watched 99 Homes with an open mind and I’m obviously no real estate expert but some of the stuff depicted in the film is just downright heartbreaking. One scene that almost gets me every time is the scene of an older man being evicted from home. The elderly gentleman has no family and is basically thrown out into the street. It’s terrible and feels real all at the same time. Watching Shannon work is always great whether he’s playing a bad guy or a good guy. Andrew Garfield as the “everyman” also does some of the better work of his career.

I mentioned The Big Short earlier in my review and feel that if you want the full scope of what went on during the great recession of 2008 then this may be a double feature you may want to check out. The Big Short focused on what went on in Wall Street and 99 Homes focuses on what went on in the street. It’s a fly on the wall journey through darkness. It’s definitely a tough subject matter but 99 Homes handles it well and Shannon and Garfield bring the chops to the yard. 99 Homes is one of the best films of 2015.

99 Homes

Video Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0

Encoding: AVC/MPEG-4

Resolution: 1080p

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Clarity/Detail: 99 Homes is set in Florida and looks bright and sunny, generally speaking, but mutes itself out in a few instances – as if a swamp haze envelops certain scenes. No, there’s nothing wrong with the image, because there are plenty of scenes that take place outside of the neighborhoods in blight that look stupendous.

Depth: The visual aesthetic of the film can take on a bright look one minute before turning drab in another instant. Keep calm – there’s is nothing wrong with the picture – it’s supposed to look like that.

Black Levels: Black levels are crush-free. I did not spot any compression artifacts.

Color Reproduction:  The color wheel is rich and vibrant, with only minor instances of drab.

Flesh Tones:  Flesh tones looked natural and balanced.

Noise/Artifacts: I did not detect any noise, debris, or artifacts.

99 Homes

Audio Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-_5

Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Dynamics: The lossless surround soundtrack keeps up with the dramatic happenings of 99 Homes – it’s a primarily dialogue driven film, with a few instances of action outbursts. The soundtrack is fairly balanced and sounds terrific.

Low Frequency Extension: The LFE channel was used sparingly – there’s a party scene and a couple of scenes involving construction work and helicopter flyovers that utilized the subwoofer.

Surround Sound Presentation: The ambient noise levels were really cool, because during certain scenes involving tenants living in a motel – you could hear folks in the background having their own conversations. It was a neat touch.

Dialogue Reproduction: Dialogue levels were spot on – I had no trouble hearing what was being said even during scenes of commotion.

 

99 Homes

Extras 

The pickings are slim on this release – all we have is a workman-like audio commentary track by co-writer and director Ramin Bahrani and a “specially selected deleted scene” after the film. I’ve never seen that before but oh well. I wish we had more supplemental materials but we’ll take what we can get.

  • Audio Commentary
  • Deleted Scene (HD)

 

99 Homes

Summary Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dex-1Dexter-0

99 Homes is a powerhouse of a film – how much if it is based on fact or fiction is not for me to say. The film entertains, asks questions, and delivers on everything it sets out to. The video and audio specs are terrific. I wish there were more special features in place – we only get the by-the-books-commentary track and an oddly placed deleted scene AFTER the film ends. In any event – 99 Homes is a great film and pairs well with The Big Short. 

 

 

99 Homes is released on Blu-ray as a

BEST BUY EXCLUSIVE February 9th.

ORDER NOW! 

99 Homes

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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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