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THE LAST KISS (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)

April 10, 2009 by  



“A film that is honest and captures a certain perspective of many people in similar relationships.  Wonderful performances by the many talents in this film and overall, a film worth recommending on Blu-ray!  ‘THE LAST KISS’ is packed with special features and looks and sounds great via High Definition!”

Images courtesy of © 2009 DreamWorks LLC and Lakeshore Entertainment Group, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

TITLE: THE LAST KISS

DURATION: 103 Minutes

BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p, Color, Audio:  5.1 Dolby Digital, Dolby TrueHD 5.1, English SDH Subtitled , English Subtitled , French Dubbed & Subtitled , German Dubbed & Subtitled , Portuguese Subtitled , Spanish Dubbed & Subtitled

RATED: R (For Sexuality, Nudity and Language)

COMPANY: DreamWorks Pictures/DreamWorks Home Entertainment

RELEASE DATE: April 14, 2009

Directed by Tony Goldwyn

Based on the film L’Ultimo Bacio by Gabrielle Muccino

Screenplay by Paul Haggis

Written by Gabrielle Muccino

Director of Photography: Tom Stern

Produced by Tom Rosenberg, Gary Lucchesi

Producers Andre Lamal, Marcus Viscidi

Executive Producers: Gabrielle Muccino, Eric Reid, Terry A. McKay, Harley Tannebaum

Production Designers: Dan Leigh

Editor: Lisa Zeno Churgin, A.C.E.

Costume Designer: Odette Gadoury

Music by Michael Penn

Casting by Tricia Wood, C.S.A. and Deborah Aquila, C.S.A.

Cast:

Zach Braff as Michael

Jacinda Barrett as Jenna

Casey Affleck as Chris

Rachel Bilson as Kim

Michael Weston as Izzy

Eric Christian Olsen as Kenny

Marley Shelton as Arianna

Blythe Danner as Anna

Tom Wilkinson as Stephen

Harold Ramis as Professor Bowler

Lauren Lee Smith as Lisa

David Jones as Mark

Cindy Sampson as Danielle

Zach Braff (Garden State, TV’s Scrubs) stars in this hilarious, irresistibly genuine comedy about love, life, temptation and other stuff that seriously masses with your head.  Facing this double whammy of his 30th birthday and the prospect of marriage, Michael is at a crossroads.  But just as he’s about to kiss his freedom goodbye, he meets a sexy, free-spirited young woman (Rachel Bilson, TV’s The O.C.) who could be his last chance at excitement… or his first step into an emotional free-fail zone.  From the Oscar-winning wirter of  Million Dollar Baby, the Last Kiss is “a smart, witty, sexy take on the perils of becoming an adult…” (Jessica Reaves, Chicago Tribune)

Getting married or even having a child are life changing experiences.  Some people welcome the change which is forever but many are scared to know that their lives will change and to what will change to, it’s fear that can cause many people to do unfortunate (or for some…”fortunate”) things.

“THE LAST KISS” is a film released in US theaters in 2006 and is based on a popular 2001 Italian film titled “L’ultimo Bacio” (originally directed and written by Gabriele Muccino).  The film is directed by actor Tony Goldwyn (“Ghost”, “The Last Samurai”, “Bounce”) and a screenplay by Paul Haggis (“Million Dollar Baby”, “Crash”) and features a talented young cast.

The film focuses on the lives of Michael (Zach Braff) and his girlfriend Jenna (Jacinda Barrett), a couple who have been dating since they were in college and now several years into their relationship, they are having a baby.

For Michael, having a baby is a big step for their relationship and feels his life has been planned out.  Going to college, finding a girl, getting a job, having a child, getting house, marriage and living happily ever after.  But he feels that his life has been ho hum with no surprises.

Michael and Jenna meet up with Jenna’s parents who have been married for 30-years.  Anna (Blythe Danner) and Stephen (Tom Wilkinson) may seem like a perfect couple but deep down, Anna is unhappy.  In fact, she’s quite jealous with the life that her daughter has.

Meanwhile, his friend Mark (David Jones) is getting married to his perfect girl but for his friends, it’s a totally different situation.  His friend Izzy (Michael Weston) has been dumped by his high school sweetheart and is having a hard time dealing with it, his friend Chris (Casey Affleck) is having difficulties in his relationship and so he and his girlfriend have a child in hopes that their relationship will improve but it has been quite the opposite.  Things are much worse.  And for his friend  Kenny (Eric Christian Olsen), still living a laid-back lifestyle with no commitments to any woman.  But for Michael, having a baby with Jenna is life changing and is feeling a bit scared about his life.

As the friends celebrate Mark’s wedding, Michael notices a woman staring at him.  While taking a walk, he runs into Kim (Rachel Bilson), a lively college student and the two talk and automatically they have chemistry.

But things start to change for Michael and Jenna.  Jenna’s mother Anna leaves her father and we learn that she has had an affair with an old flame, Izzy and Kenny want to travel to another country and get away, Chris knows he wants to break off his relationship with his girlfriend but the fact that he has a young child gives him second thoughts.  But knows his relationship has to end.  For Jenna, it’s a shock that everyone around them is having relationship problems and in her heart, she’s just happy that things are good between her and Michael.

As for Michael, he slowly becomes tempted by Kim that he goes to meet with her.  He ends up meeting up with her and driving her back to her dorm and nearly misses his Jenna’s sonogram.

As for Jenna’s mother Anna, separating from her husband may not have been a good choice.  She realizes that the man she has had an affair with has married a 35-year-old and have a young child and living alone has proved to be much more difficult.  So, difficult that she goes to visit her home and see her husband who is not doing to well without his wife and misses her so much.

As relationships start to falter around Michael and Jenna, Michael receives a call from Kim to go out clubbing with her.  Michael succumbs to temptation and says yes.  He tells his best friend to cover for him and if Jenna calls, to tell her that he is out with him.  Chris knows immediately that Michael is cheating on Jenna and tries to stop him but Michael has made up his mind.

While out with Kim, Michael and Kim have a great time and the chemistry is very good and they start kissing.  But Michael realizes it’s the wrong thing to do and can’t believe how far he has went.  And cuts her off.  Meanwhile, Izzy’s father has died and all the friends go to give their condolences.  Jenna realizes that Michael is not out with Chris and because Chris is not a good liar, tries to get the truth out of him and realizes that Michael is cheating on her.

When Michael arrives back home, he continues to lie that he was out with Chris but Jenna confronts him and Chris reaches Michael by phone and tells him that she knows the truth.  Michael tries to convince her that it was one kiss and it didn’t matter but Kim calls him on his phone and Jenna is even more furious and kicks him out of the house.

Temptation to do something much more reckless comes to Michael’s mind as he goes to Kim’s dorm and the two have sex.  Afterwards, Michael realizes that he just did something ultimately wrong and discovering that he really loves Jenna.  But did Michael cross over the line with what he did and will he confess to Jenna that this fling he had with Kim was not just a last kiss but something more than that.

VIDEO & AUDIO:

“THE LAST KISS” gets the High Definition treatment with a Blu-ray release.  One of the first things you notice when comparing to the DVD is the amount of sharpness and color vibrancy.  Reds come out striking and beautiful, and since the film features a lot of outdoor scenes throughout Madison, Wisconsin, the blue skies, the blue lakes and overall, the colors really pop.

As for the audio, you get a Dolby TrueHD 5.1 which is front heavy and the film is primarily dialogue but there is some subwoofer usage during the musical segments throughout the film.  For a film based on relationships, it’s primarily an audio-driven film.  I didn’t recall anything special coming from the rear surrounds but overall, the music really comes out quite nicely through the film’s soundtrack and dialogue is easily heard.  There is Dolby Digital 5.1 dub tracks in French, Spanish and German.

Subtitles are featured in English, English SDH, French, German, Portuguese and Spanish.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

“THE LAST KISS” features the following special features in Standard Definition:

  • Commentary: Commentary by Zach Braff and director Tony Goldwyn – A more straightforward commentary by Goldwyn and Braff.  Where the other commentary is fun and chaotic, this commentary track is just straightforward, humorous and informative.  One of the fun interesting tidbits from the film is during the first driving scene with Braff and Bilson and how they were followed by 40 young hardcore fans of Rachel Bilson’s “The O.C.” character and were screaming for her.
  • Commentary: Commentary by Zach Braff, Tony Goldwyn, Jacinda Barrett, Rachel Bilson, Michael Weston and Eric Christian Olsen – Possibly one of the most lively commentaries with the talent just having fun, talking dirty, having conversations and just having a great time discussing certain scenes.  Of course, with everyone excited and talking over each other, it’s actually a very fun commentary track.
  • The Last Kiss – Filmmakers’ Perspective – (2:33) Interview with Producer Gary Luchessi and how he came to hiring Tony Goldwyn and interviews with Tony Goldwynn and how both men enjoyed the original Italian film “L’Ultimo Bacio”.
  • The Last Kiss – Getting Together – (26:44) Interviews with producer Gary Lucchesi, screenwriter Paul Haggis, the casting of each talent, interviews with the talent and differences from the original Italian film and the US version.
  • The Last Kiss – Behind Our Favorite Scenes – (8:26) Tony Goldwyn talks about his favorite scenes in the film and certain differences from the original script and the final cut.  Scenes include the wedding scene, visiting Jenna’s home and when Jenna’s mother Anna secretly observes her husband and observes what he is doing during the evening.
  • The Last Kiss – Last Thoughts – (3:29) In this featurette, the cast of “THE LAST KISS” give their thoughts on what the film is about and how people can relate to it.
  • Music Video – Cary Brothers “Ride” performance version with Zach Braff Intro – A music video directed by Zach Braff.  Featuring a pretty cool acoustic guitar driven music video by the Cary Brothers.
  • Deleted Scenes: Around 14 minutes of deleted scenes which include the following extended and deleted scenes.  The most notable are the two alternate endings which were filmed.  One which features the character of Michael (Braff) playing with his daughter.  The second featuring what happens to Michael’s friends Kenny and Izzy and similar ending to the alternate ending #1.

• The Bachelor Party Extended
• The Treehouse Scene Extended
• Izzy & Arianna on the Phone
• Chris & Lisa Fight in the Kitchen
• Kim Chases Michael
• Alternate Ending 1
• Alternate Ending 2

  • Gag Reel – (2:44) Bloopers for “THE LAST KISS”
  • Trailers: Theatrical Trailer – (2:34) The original theatrical trailer

“THE LAST KISS” is a film that is wonderful and intimate film that I really enjoyed.

Typically, there are films that deal with multiple relationships, especially when it comes from the female perspective.  What I enjoyed about “THE LAST KISS” is that it delves into the perspective of men and what you see on screen, is an honest depiction of what many men go through in the next stage of their lives.  Marriage and having children is never easy.  The changes that happen after marriage and children is never easy.  Having decades of commitment is never easy but it all comes down to the individual if they are going to be in it for the long haul or if they are going to succumb towards temptation.

One of the amazing lines comes from Stephen (Tom Wilkinson) who is listening to what Michael (Braff) has to say about why he cheated.  About being scared and having this brunette come to his life and being attracted to him.  But Stephen saying that if you felt that way now, how you can tell it won’t happen again because even though he’s been married for over 30 years, he still has brunettes coming to him and attracted to him.  It’s about how one deals with it.

There are just some moments that I know many men who have watched this film and came away thinking, “that guy is me”.  There are not enough films that deal with relationships especially in the male perspective, so it was quite wonderful to have a film like “THE LAST KISS”.

Zach Braff is just wonderful as Michael.  Your “everyman” who is like your average guy and he plays the part quite well.  Jacinda Barrett, who I remember during the MTV “Real World London” years, is also very good in this film.  Showcasing a wide range of emotions.  In fact, you learn a lot from the commentary of what Barrett was able to bring to the film.  Little things you probably never picked up between the couple in the initial first watch such as the two sitting in a couch and her hand and fingers going near Michael’s crotch.  Little bits of improvisation that brought out these two characters.

Rachel Bilson builds upon what she gave on the television series “THE O.C.”, she did such a tremendous job in her first major film role.  And Casey Affleck, Michael Weston and Eric Christian Olsen also do a great job with their roles.  Affleck for being the man in a troubled relationship, Weston as a man who is an emotional wreck and Olsen who had to do a multitude of nude scenes and love making in the film.  Each did a great job.

And the veteran talent of Blythe Danner and Tom Wilkinson were well done.  I really enjoyed how the film focused on the late-20’s or 30-something type of friendship but to also show a couple who have lasted for 30-years, show that nothing is ever perfect and even a long-lasting relationship has its troubles and how temptation can get the best of anyone, despite their age and how long their relationship has been.  Love is always fragile and can be made strong but with so many years passed, things change and if you let temptation come in or love not showing its importance as it was in a couple’s earlier years, it’s a quick way for love to easily be destroyed.  There is always a gray area and nothing is truly perfect but it’s how a couple tries to overshadow that gray area with their love for each other and trying to keep things fresh and strong and that their is a mutual respect among each other, that is what “THE LAST KISS” tries to show.

As for its Blu-ray release, this latest transfer is probably the best we are ever going to see of this film.  The original DVD came with so many features and two commentaries, that it was a jam-packed DVD release. The Blu-ray offers nothing new in terms of special features and the special features happen to be in Standard Definition.  So, if you own the DVD already, it just comes down to if you want to upgrade to a High Definition version or not.  Otherwise, there is no new content compared to the original DVD release.

For those who have never watched this film and do not own the DVD, “THE LAST KISS” is a film that is worth checking out.  Especially for those who have relationship or marital problems, there is something that you may learn from the film.  Wonderful performances, a well-written script adapted from a magnificent Italian film and overall, a Blu-ray worth having in your collection.  Definitely give “THE LAST KISS” a try!

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