BLU-RAY/DVD REVIEWS

003797Reviews & Counting
SEARCH BY TITLE # A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
By the Sea
BLU-RAY disk
08.24.2016 By: Chris Bumbray
By the Sea order download
Director:
Angelina Jolie

Actors:
Brad Pitt
Angelina Jolie

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

star Printer-Friendly version
comment
WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
After fourteen years of marriage, a couple (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) travel to an idyllic French seaside hotel with the hope of patching up their troubled relationship.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
Angelina Jolie’s BY THE SEA was roundly criticized by critics upon it’s late-fall release, and any hope distributor Universal Pictures had of this possibly being an awards contender, like Jolie’s previous directorial effort, UNBROKEN, were dashed following the first festival screenings. Audiences stayed away in droves, despite the proven drawing power of Pitt and Jolie. I myself had it sitting on a pile of awards screeners for months and now that I’ve finally gotten around to it, I can say that yes, this is an ego-driven vanity project for the couple. But…

While BY THE SEA isn’t a good movie, its heart is in the right place. To me, the behind-the-scenes featurettes on this disc were more interesting than the movie itself, as any student of film will immediately see what Jolie’s hopes are with this project. Basically, she wants to turn herself and Pitt into another John Cassavetes/Gena Rowlands-style couple, capable of juggling mainstream work with the occasional, deeply personal pet project – which is what this is.

Basically, this is her attempt to do Cassavetes’ WOMAN UNDER THE INFLUENCE all over again, albeit under the guise of a sleek studio art-house project. It’s not so much bad as it is misguided. Jolie and Pitt are trying to make a relevant story of a troubled marriage, but neither can let go of their movie star vanity. Jolie (or Jolie-Pitt as she’s billed here) walks around like a zombie, playing someone clinically depressed, but she looks so absolutely gorgeous throughout that it’s almost funny. The same goes for Pitt, who’s supposed to be disillusioned and dissolute, but for the most part he just nurses a drink and has philosophical talks with the hotel barman (Niels Arestrup) which seems less a reflection on the psychology of the character, but more just an attempt for Pitt to demonstrate his flair for the French language. Yes, the characters are supposed to be suffering, but throughout it feels like they’re nudging us in the ribs saying, “you see how cool we look?”

THE EXTRAS
Deleted Scenes: About eleven minutes worth of deleted scenes, including one where Pitt gets to out-macho a local drunken Frenchman.

Gena Rowlands: An Inspiration: Now this is interesting. Here, Jolie talks about how much Rowlands and Cassavetes have influenced her work and how she hopes once day her and Pitt could do the kind of work they did. Part of this is an appreciation, part of it consists of Rowlands' (generous) thoughts on the film.

Making By The Sea: A behind the scenes look. I especially liked the touch of Pitt and Jolie doing some of the interviews sitting in bed.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
While I can’t really recommend BY THE SEA, it’s still kinda fascinating in that Pitt and Jolie took a big swing, and the failure of this film is actually somewhat endearing, as it proves neither are infallible (you see- they’re human after all). And, even if the premise is misguided, it looks pretty, with great locations and a pleasant soundtrack. It’s nice to look at – just like the stars. But both are capable of much more – they just need someone to tell them no every once in a while.
Strikeback
Not registered? Sign-up!
Or

Best Selling

| March 2017 More Best Selling
  • 1
    Fantastic Beasts
  • 2
    Sing
  • 3
    Moana
  • 4
    Doctor Strange
  • 5
    Fifty Shades Darker

Featured Youtube Videos

Views and Counting