Arizona 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Review
It doesn’t take while to realize that ARIZONA has no idea what it wants to be or what it wants to say. A few tweaks in any direction and this could have been either a full on horror, a slapstick comedy, an action adventure or even a politically charged drama about the housing crisis. Instead, it’s a bit of a mess, never finding its ground and taking some odd turns that takes it so far off course it never gets back on track.
The film makes it a point to spend the first 15 minutes or so talking about the housing crisis and the bind our characters are in; as if being underwater financially could justify the violence and murder that’s about to ensue. Cassie (DeWitt) is a newly single real estate agent that has moved to the outskirts of Phoenix with her teenage daughter Morgan (Sorenson). While at work, her boss (a quick cameo by Seth Rogen) gets into a heated exchange with Sonny (McBride) and Sonny accidentally pushes him to his death. Afraid of what to do, Sonny kidnaps Cassie and takes her back to his house in an abandoned neighborhood. The rest of the film is Sonny murdering more innocent victims and Cassie trying to escape.
Setting the film in the midst of the housing crisis was a nice choice because it could have played a factor throughout the film. Instead, it served as nothing more than an excuse to get the movie going. The same can be said about the humor and comedy in the film. In the beginning, Sonny was just a hapless loser in over his head. But by the third act, he was a full fledged mass murderer. But maybe where the film failed the most was by including Cassie’s ex husband (Luke Wilson) and his new girlfriend in on the action at all. Every time we cut to them as they were coming to the rescue, it took away from the intensity going on with Cassie and Morgan’s escape. This is yet another plot device that messed with the tone of the film, but it also prevented it from ever reaching it’s full intensity potential.
The casting decisions in the film are also suspect. Danny McBride has two different characters he can play; the bumbling idiot or the tough-guy, obnoxious idiot. He plays both of them here, so if you’re a fan of his brand of comedy, you will be pleased to see him cover his entire range as an actor. It’s Rosemarie DeWitt that needs an apology. She does a great job with what she has, but she was severely miscast in this type of role. She’s too talented for this and her skills as an actress were wasted. The rest of the cast did fine with what they had.
ARIZONA is not a terrible movie. In fact, I might even go as far as to say it’s actually pretty decent. The problem is it could have been more and it can be frustrating to watch as it shifts tones and forgets what it is almost constantly. I can’t see the film appealing to too many people, but it might find a life on late night cable.
4K ULTRA HD BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: It’s hard to decide what kind of scale to judge the 4K presentation of ARIZONA on. On one hand, I was pretty impressed with RJLE’s first HDR disc, mainly because I was expecting another disaster like BAD SANTA 2 (granted, that disc did not have HDR). So when the image came through bright, clear and defined, I was impressed. So if that’s the baseline, fans should be very happy with the disc. But if you’re comparing it to something like the recently reviewed SKYSCRAPER or some of the better 4K titles out there, you’ll be disappointed. You might even be disappointed if you compare it to the Blu-ray since the Blu-ray looks great and the 4K offers only nominal, if any improvements. Personally, I tend to be a little lenient on the title since I love the fact that a smaller studio is jumping into the 4K market.
Audio: The 4K contains the same DTS-MA track from the Blu-ray and it’s actually a really great sounding track.
This title was reviewed using a Sony UBP-X700 with a Sony XBR75X850C TV.
There are no 4K exclusive special features, but it does carry over the special features from the Blu-ray:
The Making of Arizona (8:40): This is just a simple marketing featurette for the film.