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The Brothers McMullen [Filmmakers Signature Series] Blu-ray Review

  • Aspect Ratio: 1:85:1
  • Video Codec: AVC MPEG-4
  • Resolution: 1080p/24 (23.976Hz)
  • Audio Codec: English Mono DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Mono, French Mono
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
  • Subtitles Color: White
  • Region: ABC (Region-Free)
  • Rating: R
  • Run Time: 98 Mins
  • Discs: 1 (1 x Blu-ray)
  • Digital Copies: N/A
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • Blu-ray Release Date: September 18th, 2012
  • List Price: $29.99

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

Click thumbnails for high-resolution 1920X1080p screen captures

(All TheaterByte screen captures are lightly compressed with lossy JPEG at 100% quality setting and are meant as a general representation of the content. They do not fully reveal the capabilities of the Blu-ray format)

The Film

[Rating:4/5]

The Brothers McMullen, the directorial debut from Ed Burns, tells the story of three different brothers in Barry (Edward Burns), Jack (Jack Mulcahy) and Patrick (Mike McGlone). Each of them are romantically challenged to the say the least, which ends up fueling the film’s plot as the three try to figure out what life has in store. Specifically, Barry is about to break up with Ann (Elizabeth McKay), thus leaving him homeless. Jack is married to Molly (Connie Britton), who recently turned 30 and desperately wants a child. Lastly, Patrick (an overtly Catholic man) finds love with Susan (Shari Albert), a local Jewish girl. Normally this might be fine with the average person, but Susan’s father wants to buy an apartment for the two on the basis that they’ll soon be married. The three now must attempt to understand and, ultimately, decide what path to travel on. What results is a charming look at just what love is all about.

While the subject of love and the impact it has on our everyday lives, has been done countless times before, I never seem to tire of it. Perhaps because love is what defines us and makes us who we are, genre films are just enjoyable. What works here in Edward Burns directorial debut is the connection we have with all three brothers. They each have their own situations to figure out, some easy and some not. Yet, through the highs and lows of it all, we stand by and continue to want them to win. They’re all fighting moral issues, particularly with the character of Patrick who must decide if his religious beliefs will trump what his heart is telling him. It’s this aspect that makes McMullen the kind of movie I personally love, and will wholeheartedly recommend.

Video Quality

[Rating:4/5]

The Brothers McMullen debuts on Blu-ray with a 1:85:1 framed, AVC MPEG-4 encoded transfer, which offers up a solid presentation. Upon initial glances at the opening moments of McMullen, I immediately noticed something odd. The film itself ranged in quality from scene to scene. This made me suspect that Director Ed Burns, perhaps, used different cameras/style methods during filming. After doing a little research, I discovered that Burns shot the film on 16mm (not Super 16 like a majority of the films shot during this era). The end result is a transfer that looks fantastic in one scene, but lackluster in the next.

Now please don’t take that last statement as me labeling this transfer as ‘poor’ or ‘horrible’, as that would be furthest from the truth. Colors are accurate throughout, focusing on a more muted color palette. Grain is heavy at times, but never becomes overly obtrusive where it effects the images quality. Now, with a film of this age, I’m sure Fox could have slobbered a bit of DNR on this one. Luckily they chose the correct path relying on Burns’ intended visual style. What results is an all around fine image, one that I’m sure Burns is pleased with.

Audio Quality

[Rating:3/5]

Featuring an English Mono DTS-HD Master Audio track, this lossless mix is about as good as one might expect from a single channel offering. Dialogue, as one might expect, is well reproduced throughout with no real instance of drop out. Outside of the dialogue aspect, the rest of the track is limited. The film’s use of music, via its Irish tones, does bring us a sense of atmosphere (as well as it can). Even though the mix itself is lacking the extra channels, I still found this to be a fairly effective job by Fox.

Supplemental Materials

[Rating:2/5]

The included supplements are featured in Standard Definition:

  • Commentary by Director Edward Burns – Burns reveals the challenges he faced during the pre and post production of the film, including the goals he wanted to achieve. Throughout the entire chat, Burns remains calm and collected, showing the amount of heart and passion he had with this project.
  • Fox Movie Channel presents Fox Legacy with Tom Rothman – This runs 14:26 and mostly covers how McMullen was the first release under the Fox Searchlight title.
  • Trailer – The film’s trailer (2:01)  is shown.
  • Booklet: 28-page booklet on the making of the film with an in-depth profile of the director and production stills

The Definitive Word

Overall:

[Rating:3/5]

With a subject that really anyone can relate to, Ed Burns’ directorial debut is one that charming simply because it hits all the right notes. Fox’s Blu-ray also succeeds with a fine video transfer, serviceable audio and an interesting commentary track. This one comes well recommended.

Additional Screen Captures

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Purchase The Brothers McMullen on Blu-ray at CD Universe

Shop for more Blu-ray titles on Amazon.com

Overall
[Rating:3/5]
The Film
[Rating:4/5]
Video Quality
[Rating:4/5]
Audio Quality
[Rating:3/5]
Supplemental Materials
[Rating:2/5]

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