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Around the Bend
DVD disk
Feb 24, 2005 By: Quigles
Around the Bend order
Director:
Jordan Roberts

Actors:
Christopher Walken
Josh Lucas
Michael Caine


Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
When a dad (Walken) returns to his son (Lucas) and father (Caine) after having left for many years, four generations of the Lair family have finally been brought back together (including Jonah Bobo, who plays Lucasí kid). So here we have a humorous chicken-loving great grandpa, a sad self-loathing granddad, an uptight and tense father, and lastly, an adorable and happy kid. Itís not long though before the eldest family member passes away, but there are still secrets to be uncovered. Enclosed in a number of bags, letters, and post-it-notes are instructions that lead the family across the US, where they are told to scatter some of the great grandpaís ashes at each stop. A story about understanding, redemption, and family, unfolds.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
As a ďlittleĒ film, this movie does wonders, but on a grander scale of things, there isnít much to look at. Although a little complicated to figure out at first, the plot doesnít have too much going on. Itís basically a light drama with plenty of humorous scenes thrown into the mix. Then again, it isnít supposed to be an intense thrill-ride of a movie. It does exactly what you expect it to, and I cannot say I was bored with what was presented. This is mainly due to the acting, which is easily where the movie shines the most. I could sit for three hours staring at Christopher Walken simply blink, and still find a way to connect with him emotionally. I felt his pain the whole way through, and was grateful for the experience (thatís odd, I never thought Iíd be thankful for pain). We also have Michael Caine, another acting veteran, who although only being on screen for the first half hour, still presented a deep and funny enough character to connect with even after heís gone. Lucas also does fine here as the troubled father and son (despite getting annoying every once in awhile due to his complaining). Lets not forget Jonah Bobo though, who plays the youngest member of the Lair family, who was surprisingly great at acting for a six-year-old. The contrast of actors is perhaps the most interesting thing about AROUND THE BEND, and definitely serves as one of the more noteworthy reasons to see the flick.

You wonít find many scenes that take your breath away, or even ones that are very memorable, but the movie does have its moments. Thereís a great blend of humor and drama that makes you feel all the right emotions at all the right times. That said, I should also mention that when I say ďhumorĒ, I mean there were merely scenes that I chuckled at, and when I say ďdramaĒ, I mean I felt hints of sadness and understanding. Nothing surprising really happens, so donít be upset when the build-up towards the finale doesnít really lead to anything more than a predictable ending. Just be prepared to relax while you enjoy some honest and gentle filmmaking brought to us by Roberts. You can get the picture by now; itís a decent, forgettable movie with great acting, plus plenty of themes involving family and the like. Itís not terribly exciting, nor is it boring. It does what itís supposed to do with flair, and with a movie like this, thatís usually enough.
THE EXTRAS
Although we get very few extras, the ones we do get are pretty darn good.

Commentary (from writer/director Jordan Roberts): A great informative commentary track that answers a bunch of questions I had, not to mention answering plenty I didnít. The only annoyance is quite a few long pauses.

Itís a Good Day: Making of ďAround the BendĒ (50:43): A great collection of mini-featurettes that compiled together build into one awesome and deep making-of. Not your standard boring clip-show being called a ďmaking-ofĒ; this is the real deal.

Deleted Scenes (15 of them; with optional commentary): Each scene is worth viewing. The reason they were cut was due to pacing or timing. The commentary on these is also great.

We also get the Theatrical Trailer and a Soundtrack Spot.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
For a small indie movie, the extras were surprisingly decent. Theyíre pretty much on par with the movie, which is also decent, but not phenomenal. We get a few funny scenes, a bunch of dramatic ones, and a whole lot of character developing build-up. Some may find themselves bored with the film, and others may find themselves entranced because they can completely identify with it. But this is certainly not the type of movie I can imagine buying, although does works as a definite rental. If youíre somebody who only wants a drama when it can drive itself deep into your heart, this movie probably wonít work for you, but if you can easily enjoy a simply and heartfelt movie, you should check this one out.
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