The Brass Teapot Blu-ray Review
“Dark” comedies and the enjoyment of said comedies have always, to some degree, eluded me. It’s not that I don’t find them funny, or that they can’t be incredibly entertaining. But somewhere along the line I tend to get caught up in the bad thing that’s happening, and spend the entire movie feeling very uncomfortable about the whole situation (don’t you know I’m a sensitive flower?). THE BRASS TEAPOT, recently released on Blu-ray, certainly qualifies as a dark comedy… the kind that is so dark at times it’s hard to find a laugh. But the premise is so interesting, and weird, and the filmmaking so simple and yet flawless, it might just be your cup of tea.
This is the story of a young, down-on-their-luck couple. Alice (Juno Temple) has just finished her undergraduate degree but refuses to take an entry-level job and John (Michael Angarano) just doesn’t seem capable of success. They are struggling with bills like most young couples in today’s world and are on the brink of losing everything when they discover a beautiful brass teapot in an antique store. Alice is deeply drawn to the teapot and steals it from the shop, keeping it close to her. Soon the couple discovers the teapot has a strange power – it literally generates money for whoever is close to it if they are hurt. This results in some funny situations early in the film but quickly loses its luster both for the couple and for the viewer.
Alice and John struggle with their newfound freedom. They give up on their friends, assuming they should be happier with the wealthy people who are now their neighbors. But the magic of the teapot starts to slow, giving less and less and they have to figure out how to keep their flow of money coming. Alice and John quickly start to lose their grasp on reality, falling deeper and deeper under the spell, which they learn has destroyed the previous possessors of the teapot. Juno Temple is both beautifully innocent and terrifyingly twisted as Alice, a girl who loses her naiveté just WAY too quickly for comfort. Michael Angarano is equally good as boyfriend/loser John, giving him just enough likability that you really are rooting for him and cheering him on.
Everyone has heard the old cliché “money can’t buy happiness” and The Beatles sang a similar sentiment in the hit Can’t Buy Me Love. There have been myriad movies, books, and other forms of entertainment covering the topic but it still seems to resonate with people. THE BRASS TEAPOT is a movie that explores the very nature of money, happiness, and pain. Real pain. Like the kind of pain that’s funny at first and then a little bit weird and then finally pretty scary. But I suppose the fact that I cared at all says something for the film. In terms of filmmaking, Ramaa Mosley may be new to feature films but I can’t wait to see what she has up her sleeve next. There is a minimalist beauty to THE BRASS TEAPOT keeping everything running in time, at least for the first two acts.
As a dark comedy, THE BRASS TEAPOT works fairly well, but I found it far more interesting when considering the social commentary on our society obsessed with money and possessions. I am, honestly, terrible with money and initially the thought went through my head that I wish something like this could be possible, but the film certainly doesn’t skimp on the negatives associated with finding a treasure like this – and in the end that’s kind of the problem. Instead of going all the way with the potential satire the script wanders farther into left field until things are just out of control. Instead of being interested I just got turned off.
I want to like this movie. I want to like it much more than I do. Like I said – I love the filmmaking. I love the concept. I love the actors. But I couldn’t feel more “blah” about the final package than I feel about this one – I just can’t give it a solid recommendation. If you know the actors, if you like their work, you’ll probably enjoy yourself… but be prepared for a bumpy third act that might tint your opinion of the entire film.
THE BRASS TEAPOT BLU-RAY REVIEW
Video: (1080p, 2.40:1 Widescreen) THE BRASS TEAPOT is beautifully shot with a wonderful color palette that will show off your home theater without being showy. It’s a very unique world, beautifully shot.
Audio: (5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio) The audio track for THE BRASS TEAPOT is simple but well done. There isn’t much flash but everything sounds nice.
Audio Commentary with Director Ramaa Mosley and Executive Producer P. Jennifer Dana (01:41:28) An interesting commentary but Mosley seems a little off-kilter from time to time. There are some interesting tidbits in the commentary that enhance the historical context and mythology created specifically for this project. She does pick up steam toward the middle of THE BRASS TEAPOT and it is much more enjoyable.
Prologue/Alternate Opening (03:09) An interesting opening adds to the historical context of THE BRASS TEAPOT but also introduces far too many production elements. Smart move to get rid of it, this sequence would have been an extremely confusing start to the film.
Deleted Scenes (12:21) What was originally my favorite feature on DVDs has become my least favorite Blu-ray feature. I appreciate putting them all on one track but unless you’re a BIG fan of THE BRASS TEAPOT I wouldn’t recommend watching. There are a few extended scenes and others that were all pretty obviously deleted to keep the story flowing well.
Uncovering: THE BRASS TEAPOT (26:38) A faux-documentary about the history of the brass teapot throughout history. Self-indulgent, too serious, and WAY not funny enough. A bad mark on THE BRASS TEAPOT Blu-ray, this is far too long and too slowly paced to be interesting in the slightest way.
Interview with Director Ramaa Mosley (07:24) Mosley talks (in a weird closeup with bad lighting) about the process of creating the story and the mythology. She’s very passionate about it but it isn’t enough to save THE BRASS TEAPOT from mediocrity. Best tidbit – she originally approached the writer (it was based on a short story) about making a comic book out of his work, which they did before the movie was released.
Interview with Michael Angarano (06:02) Shot in the same close-up and lighting as the director’s interview, Angarano talks about the story and his role and how he became involved in THE BRASS TEAPOT. He’s not nearly as charming during the interview as I thought he would be.
AXS TV: A Look at THE BRASS TEAPOT (04:50) A new feature on Magnolia releases, this is a montage/trailer from THE BRASS TEAPOT and interview footage featured elsewhere on the disc. Not really worth it if you check out any of the other special features.
THE BRASS TEAPOT Blu-ray also features the Theatrical Trailer (02:12) and some sneak peaks at other films coming soon from Magnolia Home Entertainment.