Death at a Funeral (Blu-ray)
DEATH AT A FUNERAL is a good movie. Actually, it’s a very good movie. As a matter of fact, it pains me how good it is. I pride myself in knowing when good movies come out. But, before I was asked to watch this movie, I didn’t even know that the recent DEATH AT A FUNERAL (starring Chris Rock and Zoe Saldana) was a remake. Director Frank Oz (BOWFINGER, DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS) knows how to put together a comedy when it has a strong script (thankfully no STEPFORD WIVES here), and this is no exception. There are so many wonderful little moments; I am going to avoid specifics so you can experience them for yourself.
What happens when a dysfunctional family learns a terrible secret following the death of the family patriarch? How can the family react when they don’t really know how to deal with each other? Tragedy is the perfect setting for farce, and a funeral is the ultimate setting for this story. Another requisite for a film like this to work is a strong cast. I am happy to say that this is a tremendous ensemble – they really feel like a family as we experience this incredible situation with them. Almost every moment is grounded in truth. The subtle looks between siblings or best friends, the arguments, the nipping and sniping at each other – it all just works.
Another reason this film works is the same reason shows like SEINFELD reach such a large audience – lots of little stories playing around a bigger story. Whether it is the disapproval of a daughter’s boyfriend or the entitled son who makes and sells drugs – nothing you learn is without consequence. This cast brings the entire flawed family to life.
Star Matthew MacFadyen, probably better known (sadly) for playing the Sheriff of Nottingham in the recent Russell Crowe adaptation of ROBIN HOOD, wonderfully portrays a milquetoast straight-man and anchor for the story. Peter Dinklage (THE STATION AGENT) is near perfect as the man who comes to the funeral with ulterior motives and kicks the larger story into motion. Ewen Bremner leads the talented supporting ensemble including Alan Tudyk (SERENITY), Kris Marshall (LOVE ACTUALLY), Andy Nyman, and Daisy Donovan.
All in all, I greatly enjoyed this film and would recommend it to anyone who wants to sit back and laugh for an evening. It’s not prohibitively long (running right at 90 minutes) for any evening that you might have some time. Check this out. You won’t regret it.
Video: (1080p/AVC 1.85:1 Widescreen) The transfer is sharp and crisp. It’s got great color and each image is framed really well.
Audio: (English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, French 5.1 Dolby Digital) The audio is nicely done. The score, dialogue, and sound effects play off of each other in a great way to keep the comedy pacing.
Commentary with Director Frank Oz: This commentary is a strange combination of “love-in” – with Mr. Oz talking about how much he loves his cast – and a very technical discussion of making a farce come together. While interesting at times, I wouldn’t recommend it for the casual fan.
Commentary with Writer Dean Craig and Actors Alan Tudyk and Andy Nyman: This is an incredibly entertaining commentary with the writer and two of the standout actors. They don’t go into a ton of detailed information, but it’s so much fun listening to these guys “banter about” that you won’t care. Recommended.
Gag Reel (07:46) Frank Oz talks about how much fun they had making the movie and how hard it was to keep a straight face during many of the scenes and that is evident here. It goes on a bit long for me, but there are plenty of laughs to be enjoyed.