Paranoia Blu-ray Review

Do you have any concerns about your privacy, with all of the computers, laptops, tablets, and smartphones that permeate our lives in the 21st century? I’m assuming this is the underlying fear at the heart of new flick PARANOIA, which was just released on Blu-ray. I say that I’m ‘assuming’ this is the fear to which PARANOIA references because the storytelling is so muddied that even the amazing lineup of actors assembled for this project can’t save it or make it any more clear. In fact, in some ways I think they make it worse.

Liam Hemsworth in Paranoia

PARANOIA is the story of a low level techie who works for one of the biggest companies in the smartphone hardware/software world (there are 2, by the way, which bear a WEAK resemblance to Microsoft and/or Google versus Apple). Well, he has worked there for a while but is fired when he insults the President of the company during a presentation. So Adam decides to take his crew out, using his corporate expense card, to give them a good time after getting them all fired. The next morning, though, Adam is in a far worse position than he could have imagined.

Adam is approached quickly by Nicolas Wyatt, his former boss, who wants Adam to go undercover and work for Jock Goddard (Wyatt’s former mentor). Goddard is rumored to be working on something amazing but nobody can figure out what it is… Wyatt wants to beat him to the punch by stealing it. And because of Adam’s situation (a disabled father who depends on him) he’s an easy mark for Wyatt’s schemes. But as he gets deeper into the web of deception and lies, whose side is the right one?

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On its face, PARANOIA has a lot going for it, namely the cast. But sadly all of the actors save Liam Hemsworth and Harrison Ford seem a bit unhappy to be there. Gary Oldman is good but he’s not anywhere near his normal, loose, invisible greatness. The supporting cast do okay as well but most of them are just a little bit too grandiose, like they are starring in a farce rather than a a ‘terse psychological thriller’. Even Harrison Ford is over the top but at least his character seems to call for it.

Liam Hemsworth and Harrison Ford in Paranoia

The casting of Liam Hemsworth in this flick was a natural choice and I don’t have any issues with it. He’s actually pretty good, despite the issues that plagued our more serious (and respected) seniors in this movie. Hemsworth shows his chops, which is sad because people just shouldn’t see this movie and may miss out on his performance because of it. As much as there is a fight for Team Edward and Team Jacob to this day (what, I can’t make a TWILIGHT reference?) I think a much more interesting fight would be Team Liam or Team Chris. Both are serious about their craft, both have parts in major movie franchises, and they both emerged from nowhere a couple of years ago.

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But reasonable acting from Hemsworth and lackluster performances from our two other leading men isn’t good enough and PARANOIA suffers… but to be clear, it is not entirely the fault of our actors. Director Robert Luketic (THE UGLY TRUTH and KILLERS) doesn’t seem to be able to find his stride. His previous films have been wildly uneven; with LEGALLY BLONDE being the only real success and that was primarily due to the talent of Reese Witherspoon. Regardless, though, he continues to find work with great actors and decent storylines and PARANOIA at least is better than KILLERS and THE UGLY TRUTH, so he’s progressing. Should you see this movie? Well, if you really like Liam Hemsworth you’ll probably enjoy it. If you’re interested in tech and stories involving tech, or if you’re just a fan of thrillers, you should avoid this flick.

BLU-RAY REVIEW

Video: (1080p Widescreen 2.40:1) The video on PARANOIA is beautiful HD and you won’t see a single issue. PARANOIA isn’t exactly a movie with stunning effects but you will enjoy the video presentation.

Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) Some really nice video is topped off with the highest quality audio you could want. In fact, possibly more than this movie deserved. Still, I am thankful someone loved PARANOIA enough to put this amount of work into it.

Deleted Scenes (04:48) Four scenes are presented here. They’re not very good but provide more backstory for the gang of friends who worked with Adam at the beginning of the movie.

Scenes include: Cubicle Row, Adam’s Rehired, Adam’s Got a New Job, and Privacy

Privacy is Dead (06:00) Something that wasn’t dealt with clearly and could have made PARANOIA a lot more interesting is the whole idea of privacy and the changing landscape thanks to the internet, smartphones, computers. Sadly the message is lost and PARANOIA suffers for it. It IS presented here, thankfully, and gives some really interesting information.

The PARANOIA Begins (05:50) This feature focuses on the novel that was the inspiration for PARANOIA and how and why it was adapted for the screen. Includes some discussions with the author.

The Players (05:23) Another meager feature, this one focuses on the actors and why they were selected for PARANOIA. It’s a lovefest but if that doesn’t bother you, and you don’t care about losing 5 minutes of your life on TOP of just watching the movie, I suppose you could watch this.

The PARANOIA Blu-ray/DVD Combo package also features the Theatrical Trailer (02:24), sneak peeks of other titles, and an iTunes or Windows Media Digital Copy.

OVERALL 2
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