- Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
- Video Codec: VC-1
- Resolution: 1080p/24
- Audio Codec: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
- Region: A
- Rating: R
- Discs: 1
- Studio: Magnolia Home Entertainment
- Blu-ray Release Date: February 9, 2010
- List Price: $29.98[amazon-product align=”right”]B002XTXG2U[/amazon-product]
Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures
(Screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG thus are meant as a general representation of the content and do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)
Actress, writer, and director Adrienne Shelly, murdered in November of 2006, has one of her final scripts turned into a film in tribute to her with the film, Serious Moonlight. Actress Cheryl Hines takes the reins in her directorial debut and Meg Ryan and Timothy Hutton step into the leads in what is obviously a heartfelt effort to honor their colleague. Sadly, Serious Moonlight falls short of meeting the standard that Shelly reached with what was her final and strongest film, Waitress.
A dark comedy about the disintegration of a 13-year marriage, Ian (Hutton) has fallen in love with a beautiful younger woman, Sara (Kristen Bell), and is planning on leaving his wife Louise (Ryan). He’s going to tell her in a note he plans on leaving behind at their country house and ditch early before she arrives on a weekend they had planned together. The problem is, she arrives a day early to surprise him while he’s in the middle of preparing a romantic night for himself and his girlfriend and working out the rough draft of his note. He gives the note to Louise anyway and she, naturally, reacts quite badly, knocking him out with a plant pot and duct taping him to a chair. She just refuses to let him go.
And that is the premise of Serious Moonlight — Louise basically assaults and kidnaps her husband and won’t let him go until he’s “in love with her again.” Indicative of the ludicrous plot and poor dialogue is a conversation between Louise and Sara in which she convinces Sara to come back the next morning while Ian and she talk things out. The banter between the two women is so forced and phony it’s painful to watch.
I’d try to argue that this piece of man-hating drivel leaves its male characters as shallow as a puddle of mud, but even the female roles are barely fleshed out in Serious Moonlight. Louise’s motivations for suddenly diving off the deep end and strapping her husband to a chair (and eventually a toilet, as the film progresses) are quite unclear. The woman is supposed to be a levelheaded, successful attorney. Sara, Ian’s mistress, shows up and has one emotional level — childish. As for Ian, well, he is just an unclear mess. Oh, no, wait, he doesn’t feel “needed, in particular.” I really hesitate to think that this screenplay would have made it out the door in this version without first going through several revisions, if at all. Adrienne Shelly deserved to have something better than this be a tribute in her honor, like, perhaps, not having this released.
Serious Moonlight has an inconsistent picture, to say the least. The 1.78:1 VC-1 encoding at times looks sharp and detailed, but the picture has a tendency to sort of “drift,” becoming soft and noisy almost randomly. Flesh tones at times display a bit of red push and overall contrast is a little weak, making the picture look dull. Grain level is not consistent throughout, but the picture does look film-like nonetheless.
Audio is mainly limited to the front three channels in the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit) soundtrack and dialogue is clean and intelligible. There’s a good amount of ambience present in this front-heavy, dialogue-driven mix and it is adequate for the material, but nothing that will amaze you. The few scenes with some musical material sound airy and provide an opportunity for the subwoofer to be put to work.
The supplements are sparse on Serious Moonlight, which only adds to the frustration with this release.
The supplements provided on this release are:
- Commentary with Cheryl Hines (director), Andy Ostroy (producer) and Michael Roiff (producer).
- The Making of Serious Moonlight (1.33:1; 480i/60; 0:12.21)
- HDNet: a look at Serious Moonlight (1.78:1; 1080i/60; 0:04.40)
- Also from Magnolia Home Entertainment Blu-ray
The Definitive Word
Skip this poorly written, badly directed “comedy” (those quotes are on purpose) and rent something else — please. Serious Moonlight is nothing more than a poorly constructed piece of man-hating drivel that trivializes domestic violence. Pass.
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