Housesitter Bluray

housesiter-bluray

Studio: Universal Pictures
Distributor: Shock Entertainment
Video/Aspect Ratio: 1:85:1 AVC 1080p/24
Audio: Linear PCM 2.0 @1.5mbps
Running Time: 102 Minutes


Steve Martin has always been one of those comedic actors I have enjoyed watching and he’s also been one of those comedic actors that has been able to shift between genres, be they drama or comedy without too much difficulty unlike other “typecast” comic actors.

Directed by Frank Oz, Housesitter has for many years been one of my more enjoyed Steve Martin films, second only to the previous Oz/Martin collaboration Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

Newton Davis (Steve Martin) is a fledgling Architect, as the film opens we find Newton presenting his girlfriend Becky (Dana Delany) a house that he has designed and had built as a wedding proposal gift. Unexpectedly, Becky refuses his proposal which Newton doesn’t take too well. As we shift forward several months, a drunk Newton has a one night stand with Gwen (Goldie Hawn) a free sprited waitress at a party Newton attends.

That night Newton mentions a dream house that he had built for Becky in his home town but doesn’t get to use. As life carries on for Newton, Gwen decides to find this dream house and live in it without his knowledge. Gwen finds and moves into the house and pretty soon Gwen invents the story that she and Newton are married and the town slowly begins to accept her as one of their own, including Newton’s parents!

This release of Housesitter comes from independent Australian label Shock Entertainment who have licensed the title from Universal. Housesitter is one of the many catalogue releases that has yet to see the light of day from Universal. Of course, Universal are not the only studio who are reticent about releasing older catalogue titles on physical media in this digital streaming world, so it’s good to see third party companies coming to the party as it were.

There are upsides and downsides to titles being licensed from the original studio. Of course the upside is seeing a title released on bluray that may not necessarily have been released otherwise. The potential downside is these releases are generally not restored or in any way.

Housesitter is presented at 1080p in it’s original aspect ratio of 1:85:1 using the AVC codec. Housesitter is clearly derived from an older HD master as there are slightly noticeable specks, marks and occasional flicker in the image, but this is to be expected from a twenty-five year old film without any restoration. Like previous Universal catalogue releases, use of DNR has been applied to this release, but in the case of Houesitter, there hasn’t been overly excessive use of DNR and an organic layer of grain is still present. Slight deficiencies in the original transfer aside, this is the best Housesitter looked since I saw this as at the theatre as a 15 year old and easily surpasses the previous DVD, Laserdisc and VHS releases.

Shock have paired the AVC encoded video with a 1.5mbps Linear PCM 2.0 audio track which faithfully reproduces the original Dolby Stereo sound mix from 1992, it is a front heavy presentation, but is suitable for the job. There is minimal ambient use of the surrounds as originally encoded on the Dolby Stereo mix.

Housesitter only contains six chapter stops for it’s 102 minute run time. Six! Personally I prefer the use of at least 10 chapter stops per hour. The use of minimal chapter stops is something that has become more and more frequent as the decline of physical media continues and remains a personal bug bear for modern bluray releases

There are no supplements on this disc and the menu is minimal with only “play film” and “scene selection” as the only selection options.

Housesitter is an enjoyable comedy that is particularly well suited to Steve Martin’s comic style presented on a middle of the road bluray. It has been released with little fanfare by a third party distributor with no supplements, minimal chapter stops and a transfer that isn’t restored. It is however the best that the film has looked in the home environment since it’s theatrical release. At this budget price of only $15 it is well worth a look.

Film: 3.5/5 –  Bluray: 3/5

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Dumb And Dumber To

Within thirty seconds of the opening credits involving a joke utilising a urine bag, you know two things about Dumb & Dumber To. One, it’s a Farelly brothers film and two, you’re in for nearly two hours of low brow humour.

Following on twenty years after the original film, Lloyd is a patient at a mental hospital who has been faking a catatonic state all for a practical joke, meanwhile Harry needs a new kidney and is rather shocked to find out that he is adopted by his Asian parents. Of course the idea of a compatible Kidney from his “parents” is now flush down the toilet like this script should have been. Devastated by this turn of events and with few options, Harry & Lloyd are given a bunch of old letters which show Harry has a child with a long lost flame. With a long lost daughter given up for adoption, Harry & Lloyd go on a cross country journey to find her  as she may be Harry’s only viable option for a new kidney.

It’s been twenty years since the last film, it appears that the script, is about the same vintage as well as it feels like portions of the script were written not long after the successful run of the original film, put into a drawer and just forgotten about until recently, until the producer remembered that this bilge was there, so the script was dusted off and a few minor changes made to adjust for the twenty year difference between films. This is not entirely a bad thing as there are one or two really funny jokes in the film, but they are few and far between and there are more cringe worthy ones that good ones.. Chemistry between Carrey and Daniels still holds up, in fact Daniels steals the show on this occasion from Carrey and this is not a bad thing. Most of the cast in the film fit into their very simply written roles well, my only dislike is Rob Riggle. I just cant figure out how on Earth this boorish oaf wiggles his way into films, he is a charisma vacuum who spoils any movie I’ve seen him in.

Is this sequel unnecessary? YES! Does is pale in comparison to the original, YES! But this doesn’t mean that the film should be crucified for these reasons, in fact there are many other sequels which are worse than this. Dumb & Dumber To is plainly a Farrelly brothers film, it’s crass, stupid and low brow, but in comparison to their previous abomination Movie 43, Dumb & Dumber To is almost Citizen Kane in comparison. If you’re a fan of the original film, you should still get a few kicks out of this second adventure for Harry & Lloyd, for everyone else, your mileage may vary.

2.5/5