Arthur Newman (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
August 23, 2013 by Dennis Amith
“Arthur Newman” is a smart and entertaining film. It may not be too deep or complex but it’s a film about running away from life while finding oneself through self-discovery. It’s a style of film that you don’t really see in today’s cinema and it features strong performances from Colin Firth and Emily Blunt. If you are looking for a film on Blu-ray that is not too deep, but smart and entertaining, “Arthur Newman” is a film worth watching.
TITLE: Arthur Newman
FILM RELEASE: 2012
DURATION: 93 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0
COMPANY: New Video/Cinedigm
RATED: R (Sexual Content, Language and Brief Drug Use)
Release Date: September 3, 2013
Directed by Dante Ariola
Screenplay by Becky Johnston
Produced by Mac Cappuccino, Becky Johnston, Brian Oliver, Alisa Tager
Executive Producer: Lisa Bruce, Andy Cappuccino, Helen Cappucino, Eric M. Greenfeld, Natalie G. Hill, James A. Holt
Music by Nick Urata
Cinematography by Eduard Grau
Edited by Olivier Bugge Coutte
Casting by Francine Maisler
Production Design by Christopher Glass
Art Direction by Qito Cooksey
Costume Design by Nancy Steiner
Emily Blunt as Mike
Colin Firth as Arthur Newman
Anne Heche as Mina Crawley
Sterling Beaumon as Grant
David Andrews as Fred Willoughby
Nicole LaLiberte as Silverlake
Autumn Dial as Charyl
Steve Coulter as Owen Hadley
Natalia Volkodaeva as Ludmila Hadley
Written by Academy Award® nominated scribe Becky Johnston (Seven Years in Tibet), ARTHUR NEWMAN follows the mid-life travails of sad sack Wallace Avery (Colin Firth). Refusing to face a life he hates, he stages his own death and buys himself a new identity as Arthur Newman. However, Arthur s road trip towards a new life is interrupted by the arrival of the beautiful but fragile Mike (Emily Blunt), who is also trying to leave her past behind. Drawn to one another, these two damaged souls begin to connect as they break into empty homes and take on the identities of the absent owners. Through this process, Arthur and Mike discover that what they love most about each other are the identities they left at home, and their real journey begins.
From director Dante Ariola and award-winning writer Becky Johnston (“Seven Years in Tibet”, “The Prince of Tides”, “Under the Cherry Moon”) comes an independent film starring Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”, “Love Actually”, “A Single Man”), Emily Blunt (“Looper”, “The Adjustment Bureau”, “The Devil Wears Prada”, “The Young Victoria”), Anne Heche (“Donnie Brasco”, “Seven Days, Seven Nights”, “Wag the Dog”) and Sterling Beaumon (“Lost”, “Astro Boy”, “Four Christmases”).
Screened at the Tokyo International Film Festival in 2012 and released in theaters in April 2013, “Arthur Newman” will be arriving on Blu-ray + DVD courtesy of New Video.
“Arthur Newman” revolves around Wallace Avery (portrayed by Colin Firth), a former golfer who had a promising future but has a problem of choking. Tired of his life working for FedEx as a floor manager in Florida, having had a failed marriage and try to keep up a relationship with his girlfriend Mina (portrayed by Anne Heche) who doesn’t seem too interested in him and having a teenage son named Grant (portrayed by Sterling Beaumon) that he is estranged from.
A man that would never kill himself because he is depressed, he decides to runaway by taking on a new life and getting a fake ID. He fakes his own death by drowning on a deserted beach, leaves Florida and starts his new life as Arthur Newman, a former professional golfer heading to Terra Haute, Indiana.
While checking in at a local hotel, he hears a ruckus outside as an angry man is yelling at a young woman who stole his car. He witnesses a young woman being arrested. While trying to get some sleep, he sees the young woman drunk and laying on a chair near the pool.
Fearing for the young woman’s safety, he brings the woman named Michaela “Mike” Fitzgerald to the hospital to get help and found out that she tried to overdose. He ends up staying at the hospital and ends up picking her up when she is released.
As the two stop at a convenience store, she breaks into his golf bag and finds his ID as Wallace Avery and becomes interested in why this man is going by a fake name and going to Terra Haute, Indiana. She decides that she will go with him to that area.
Meanwhile, Wallace’s son Grant starts to look into his father’s life by visiting his home and learning more about him through Mina.
So, the two take a road trip to Indiana and despite many attempts that Mike has to steal from Wallace, she is shocked about how he continues to treat her with kindness and decides to stick with him.
And during their road adventure, both get to learn more about each other and the real life they are trying to escape from. What will the two learn while they spend time with one another?
“Arthur Newman” is presented is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1). For the most part, the film looks good. Great detail on closeups of the characters, while outdoor scenes look very good, indoor scenes are well-lit. I didn’t notice any major artifacts or any banding.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Arthur Newman” is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0. Dialogue and music are crystal clear but for a film that is more drama and more about communication, there is not really much use of the surround channels. If anything, the lossless soundtrack is center and front-channel driven.
There are no English subtitles.
“Arthur Newman” comes with the following special features:
- Behind-the-Scenes – (30:27) Interview with director Dante Ariola, writer Becky Johnston, producer Mac Cappuccino, production designer Christopher Glass and more.
- Trailer – (2:16) The theatrical trailer for “Arthur Newman”.
“Arthur Newman” comes with a Blu-ray and DVD version of the film.
I know that “Arthur Newman” may not have had the best release in theaters and experienced mixed reviews from film critics, but watching the film, there is a part of me that felt that enjoyed it because it was not banal and it was an unusual movie to see both Colin Firth and Emily Blunt take part in.
I suppose that I never imagined the two to be paired together, let alone play characters that have a sexual relationship but within the context of the film, part of the enjoyment is because they are actually roleplaying. Playing different people to escape their own reality.
Wallace Avery is a man who had experienced quite a number of failures in his life. A golfer with talent but yet chokes up when it’s time to go for the win. He failed as a husband, he failed as a father, failing as a boyfriend and now disenchanted with his life, while not the type to end his life through suicide, he just wants to start over and become a different person. The complete opposite of Wallace Avery and so, he becomes Arthur Newman.
Meanwhile, Michaela “Mike” Fitzgerald is actually Charlotte Fitzgerald, a woman falsely using the identity of her paranoid-schizophrenic twin sister and fled her home in Durham, North Carolina.
And as these two individuals find it convenient to live their new lives and travel the road together to Indiana, while breaking into homes to partake in roleplay sex, Wallace’s son Grant, who has been estranged from his father tries to learn about him through his father’s girlfriend, Mina. And both discover how Wallace really thinks about them but probably discovering how they feel about him.
It’s a film about growth but also self-discovery and that these two individuals, who have run away from their real lives, but needing each other to fill in those pieces and discovering that they could only runaway from their problems for so long.
As for the Blu-ray release, you get both a Blu-ray and DVD version of the film. Picture quality and cinematography for this film by Eduard Grau was very well-done as with the music by Nick Urata. There is only one special feature but you do get a half-hour behind-the-scenes featurette (and a trailer).
Overall, “Arthur Newman” is a smart and entertaining film. It may not be too deep or complex but it’s a film about running away from life while finding oneself through self-discovery. It’s a style of film that you don’t really see in today’s cinema and it features strong performances from Colin Firth and Emily Blunt.
If you are looking for a film on Blu-ray that is not too deep, but smart and entertaining, “Arthur Newman” is a film worth watching.
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