5 Star Day Blu-ray Review
As a filmmaker, you aspire to make the next great movie – the one that touches people, the one that sends a message or makes people laugh, or maybe you aspire to make the next big event movie. Whatever your fancy, you generally have to start small. Simple stories with few characters. Stories that come from somewhere within you, that mean something to you. What I’ve always enjoyed, both as a former actor, student filmmaker, playwright, writer, and now as a reviewer, is watching a director, writer, or actor emerge from the ‘independent’ world with some great idea. But there is a fine line between enjoyable independent films and completely pretentious and self-aware independent films. While the new to Blu-ray 5 STAR DAY starts with a mildly interesting concept and some decent casting (for such an obviously low budget affair), it crosses this line too many times.
5 STAR DAY is the story of a young man named Jake Gibson (Cam Gigadnet, who you might recognize as James from TWILIGHT). Jake enters his birthday knowing that it is an astrological five star day… a perfect day. So, of course, everything that could go wrong does. Everything. He’s fired from his job, his apartment floods, his relationship falls apart, blah, blah, blah, blah. One of the problems with the way everything is introduced is that we meet young Jake on the evening of his birthday – not knowing who he is or why he’s a bit of a lunatic.
When Jake’s day falls apart, he decides that he is going to bring down astrology single-handed. This is meant to serve two purposes – to make up for all of the people who have been jilted by inaccurate horoscopes (and apparently to help him pass his ethics class – though this is really poorly set up). It doesn’t sound heavy-handed, and if the movie had been just a tiny bit less pretentious and more relaxed, it might have gone to some interesting places. Instead, we’re left with a poorly paced and generally poorly acted movie featuring characters and a story we don’t care about.
The film does have a couple of things going for it. First, Gigandet is actually a fairly interesting person to watch on screen. I didn’t think I would like him and he plays everything a little bit too cool for me, but there are moments when he actually relaxes and lets us in. The other real surprise of the film is a small section featuring actor/singer Max Hartman. He has a few nice scenes and an incredible voice… he’s probably more comfortable on stage than on screen, but he does some nice work here.
But in the end these positives just can’t keep things going any better. A good example is learning about symbolism in High School English – just because red CAN mean blood or death, it doesn’t mean that it SHOULD. The filmmakers would do well to remember that idea here. Additionally, Jena Malone (SUCKER PUNCH) is the ‘star’ in this indie, but she doesn’t add anything of value, and the whole angle using Jake’s ethics class feels tacked on and is really poorly developed and explained. Finally, all of the bad days feel unreal – they’re just too perfectly terrible and the disdain is too simple. Nothing works out this way in real life, good or bad, but when it does it results in one of the worst movies I’ve seen in a long time.
Video: (1080p, 2.35:1 Widescreen) The video is might as well be a DVD. It’s clean but 5 STAR DAY just doesn’t FEEL HD. The colors lack vibrancy and feel forced (like so much else here).
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) 5 STAR DAY’s audio is ably done but there isn’t anything special here.
Commentary with director Danny Buday and cinematographer Jason Oldak (01:37:42) These two film school friends give a commentary that is uneven but considerably stronger than their project. They weren’t in the room together and there are some issues with the iChat used – some digitized moments and a terrible mix make this hard to listen to and annoying. Still, the commentary is good if you want to hear a couple of young filmmakers talk about their work on 5 STAR DAY on their first commentary track.
Behind the Scenes Featurette (12:30) Not exactly what I would have posed as a “featurette,” this is handicam footage from on-set. The only thing I learned from this is that there were apparently scenes that made 5 STAR DAY even more pretentious in the original script.
Deleted Scenes (07:16) The deleted scenes presented here are (like 5 STAR DAY) terrible. There is an issue with the transfer making everything appear choppy and it’s just unwatchable.
Short Film by Danny Buday: DEPENDENCY (22:30) Buday’s short film is decent if a bit cliché. The story of a young up-and-coming pop star battling drug abuse. Like 5 STAR DAY, this is just too pretentious.
Photo Gallery (03:20) An unnecessary slideshow of stills from 5 STAR DAY.
The Blu-ray disc also features the Theatrical Trailer (02:03) and the trailers for other Breaking Glass (the studio presenting 5 STAR DAY) films.