Blu-ray Review “Inherent Vice”

Actors: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin, Owen Wilson, Katherine Waterston, Reese Witherspoon
Directors: Paul Thomas Anderson
Rated: R (Restricted)
Studio: Warner Home Video
Release Date: April 28, 2015
Run Time: 148 minutes

Film: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1 out of 5 stars

“Inherent Vice” made it on to some critics, top films of the year list…for myself though it made it onto my worst films of the year list. It is rare that I literally turn a film off mid-way through but that was the case here. It took me three sitting to finish it and I was left as bored and confused as a was when I started the first. Paul Thomas Anderson has his specific audience that loves everything he does and I am sure they love this one also but it was not for me at all, plus at nearly 2 1/2 hours long, no thanks. It is a real shame as well when you look at the films cast including Oscar® nominees Joaquin Phoenix (“Walk the Line”), Josh Brolin (“True Grit”), Owen Wilson (“The Royal Tenenbaums”),Oscar® winners Reese Witherspoon (“Walk the Line”) and Benicio Del Toro (“Traffic”), Martin Short (“Frankenweenie”) and Jena Malone (“The Hunger Games” series) doesn’t help either.

Official Premise: When private eye Doc Sportello’s ex-old lady suddenly out of nowhere shows up with a story about her current billionaire land developer boyfriend whom she just happens to be in love with, and a plot by his wife and her boyfriend to kidnap that billionaire and throw him in a loony bin…well, easy for her to say. It’s the tail end of the psychedelic `60s and paranoia is running the day and Doc knows that “love” is another of those words going around at the moment, like “trip” or “groovy,” that’s being way too overused—except this one usually leads to trouble. With a cast of characters that includes surfers, hustlers, dopers and rockers, a murderous loan shark, LAPD Detectives, a tenor sax player working undercover, and a mysterious entity known as The Golden Fang, which may only be a tax dodge set up by some dentists…part surf noir, part psychedelic romp—all Thomas Pynchon.

Warner Bros released “Inherent Vice” as a combo pack with a Blu-ray + DVD + UltraViolet Digital HD included. The film, despite being impossible to watch in one sitting, is well shot thanks to cinematographer, Robert Elswit. The 35mm film looks nicely transfered to 1080p, same goes for the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, which works for the dialogue and film’s music. The special features are terrible like the film itself. There are three short promos included. The first is “Los Paranoias” narrated by Shasta (Katherine Waterston). Next is “Shasta Fay”, which is another promo for Shasta and “The Golden Fang” is another trailer. Lastly “Everything in this Dream” is a deleted/alternate sequence.

Own “Inherent Vice” on Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD and Digital HD on April 28 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment

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Film Review “Inherent Vice”

Starring: Joaquin Phoenix, Josh Brolin and Katherine Waterston
Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
Rated: R
Running time: 2 hours 28 mins
Warner Brothers

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

Paul Thomas Anderson’s seventh feature film is the perfect culmination of a visual and storytelling style that he has been honing to a fine point since his first film, “Hard Eight,” in 1996. “Inherent Vice,” based on the 2009 novel from reclusive author Thomas Pynchon, hits perfectly. With outstanding performances, great music, and stunning – yet unobtrusive – production design.

The only thing I can think of that can be thought of as negative, is that this movie MUST be viewed multiple times. There are layers upon layers, and so many things that are easily missed with a single viewing. This film is definitely not for a passive viewer. I have seen this film several times now and I can’t even say that I completely follow the story. But I trust that all the information is there.

Watching Paul Thomas Anderson make the switch from the 2.35:1 aspect ratio down to the 1.85:1 ratio has been strange; as I have always loved anamorphic widescreen. But Anderson has complete control of his film frame, and no longer has that angsty drive to move the camera constantly. He puts the camera exactly where it needs to be and just lets the actors perform. And perform they do.

Joaquin Phoenix gives another spectacular performance; as does his co-star, Katherine Waterston, who matches him perfectly. Waterston was unknown to me up to this point – even though she is the daughter of Sam Waterston – but she holds her own within this ensemble cast. Her character of Shasta Fay Hepworth is probably the least quirky of all the characters within this story, but she delivers a much-needed vulnerability.

While the story is set in 1970, it doesn’t feel like a period piece. It LOOKS like one, but doesn’t feel like one. The costumes, set decoration, hair styles, and all around general look of this film say 1970 but it doesn’t do it in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way. You are never distracted by the cars they drive, or the fact they use telephones with cords on them. “Inherent Vice” is a period piece with a contemporary feel. Which is a hard thing to pull off. It’s easy to lose a younger audience by showing them a time and technology they never knew.

With a running time of 148 minutes it would be easy to get scared off by the length, but this film is never slow. It runs the perfect line of fast-paced performances offset by long, continuous takes. There are at least two shots within this film that are over five minutes long. And they work!

“Inherent Vice” is an off-beat masterpiece. Its story is as real as the actor’s portraying the characters believe; and they make the audience believe. It is one of the only films I have seen this year that I feel has the potential to have multiple awards consideration. Lead actors, ensemble, score, adapted screenplay and directing. It is a solid film from every angle, and definitely, DEFINITELY worth seeing.

Win Passes to the Kansas City Advance Premiere of “Inherent Vice” [ENDED]

Media Mikes has teamed up with Warner Brothers to give (25) readers and their guest a chance to attend the advance screening of the new film by Paul Thomas Anderson, “Inherent Vice,” when it premieres in Kansas City on January 7, 2015. The screening will be held at the Kansas City Alamo Draft House in downtown Kansas City, Missouri and will start at 7:00 p.m.

All you need to do is head over to: and register. On Monday, January 5, 2015, (25) random entrants will be selected and those chosen will receive a pass for (2) to attend the screening. Winners will be notified by email.

Starring Golden Globe nominee Joaquin Phoenix, Owen Wilson and Josh Brolin, “Inherent Vice” opens nationally on January 9, 2015. Good luck!