The Hollars (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
November 25, 2016 by Dennis Amith
“The Hollars” is a film that will make you laugh and also will make you cry. It’s a film that feels real and manages to balance comedy and emotion wonderfully thanks to the magnificent performances by Margo Martindale and Richard Jenkins. “The Hollars” is recommended!
Image courtesy of © 2016 Hollars SP, LLC, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
TITLE: The Hollars
YEAR OF FILM: 2016
DURATION: 88 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition, 1:85:1 Aspect Ratio, English and Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English, English SDH, Chinese (traditional), Japanese
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Classics
RATED: PG-13 (Brief Language and Some Thematic Material)
RELEASE DATE: December 6, 2016
Directed by John Krasinski
Written by James C. Strouse
Produced by John Krasinski, Ben Nearn, Tom Rice, Allyson Seeger
Executive Producer: Michael London, Mike Sablone, James C. Strouse, Janice Williams
Associate Producer: Hillary Schoelzel
Line Producer: Kirk Michael Fellows
Music by Josh Ritter
Cinematography by Eric Alan Edwards
Edited by Heathr Persons
Production Design by Daniel B. Clancy
Set Decoration by Gretchen Gattuso
Costume Design by Caroline Eselin
Margo Martindale as Sally Hollar
Sharito Copley as Ron Hollar
Richard Jenkins as Don Hollar
John Krasinski as John Hollar
Anna Kendrick as Rebecca
Randall Park as Dr. Fong
Ashley Dyke as Stacey
Isabela Constine as Constance
Didi Costine as Matilda
Josh Groban as Reverand Dan
Charlie Day as Jason
Mary Kay Place as Pam
A struggling NYC artist, John Hollar (John Krasinski), is forced to return to the small, middle-American town he left behind after learning about his mother’s illness. Back in the house he grew up in, John is immediately swept up in the problems of his dysfunctional family, high school rival and an over-eager ex-girlfriend as he faces impending fatherhood with his NYC girlfriend (Academy Award Nominee Anna Kendrick, 2009, Best Supporting Actress, Up in the Air). John Krasinski’s second feature as a director is a poignant look at the bonds of family and friendship.
In 2016, screenwriter James C. Strouse (“Grace is Gone”, “The Winning Season”, “New York, I Love You”) wrote “The Hollars”, a story based on Strouse’s experiences with his family.
The script would be purchased by actor John Krasinski (“The Office”, “13 Hours”, “Leatherheads”) and would direct the film (his second film).
The film would star Krasinski, Margon Martindale (“Million Dollar Baby”, “August: Osage County”, “The Hours”), Richard Jenkins (“Jack Reacher”, “The Cabin in the Woods”, “Burn After Reading”), Sharito Copley (“District 9”, “Chappie”, “Maleficent”), Anna Kendrick (“Up in the Air”, “Pitch Perfect” films, “Into the Woods”), Charlie Day (“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, “Horrible Bosses”, “Pacific Rim”), music artist Josh Groban, Randall Park (“Fresh Off the Boat”, “The Interview”, “Veep”), Ashley Dyke (“12 Years a Slave”, “Dependent’s Day”, “Hello Ladies”) and more.
“The Hollars” begins with the introduction to the Hollar family. Sally Hollar (portrayed by Margo Martindale) is doing her makeup in the bathroom, Ron Hollar (portrayed by Sharito Copley) is the eldest, divorced son who has moved back home and is trying to get into the bathroom which is occupied. And Don Hollar (portrayed by Richard Jenkins) is the father who catches his son peeing in a jar in the kitchen.
When Don hears a crash, he checks on his wife and finds her laying on the bathroom floor. Thinking that she may have just fallen or playing a joke, Ron sees his mother down and has his father call for an ambulance.
Meanwhile, in New York, John Hollar (portrayed by John Krasinski) is a graphic novelist who is having a difficult time on the job. His pregnant girlfriend, Rebecca (portrayed by Anna Kendrick) comes to his work and tells him that his mother is in the hospital with a possible brain tumor.
She purchases plane tickets for John and John heads back home to the small city in Ohio that he grew up in and reunites with his family.
As John comes back, he sees his family as dysfunctional as ever. We learn that John has stopped contacting his family and is shocked to find out how much things have changed back at home.
He finds out that his father’s business is not doing very well and near bankruptcy and may lose the business.
John also finds out that his brother Ron has been spying on his ex-wife and kids and regrets leaving his family and Ron is very jealous that his ex-wife Stacey (portrayed by Ashley Dyke) is with Reverend Dan (portrayed by Josh Groban). And his father and Ron are not getting along well.
John also finds out that his ex-fiance Gwen (portrayed by Mary Elizabeth Winstead) married his former classmate now nurse, Jason (portrayed by Charlie Day).
As the family learns that Sally Hollar has a huge brain tumor that she may have had for the last 15 years and she and her father had ignored the symptoms and thought it was weight related.
The family must band together to support her mom who needs emergency surgery (as she doesn’t want to go through with it).
Meanwhile, the family think that John and his girlfriend are not doing well because he hasn’t married her. But in truth, John is scared because of his uncertainties of his current job and he will soon become a father.
What will John discover as he stays with his family for the week?
“The Hollars” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1). Overall picture quality shows amazing detail during closeups. Skin tones are natural, black levels are nice and deep. Many outdoor shots and for the most part vibrant, the film looks very good in HD!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
As for the lossless audio, “The Hollars” is presented in English and Japanese 5.1 DTS-HD MA.
The lossless audio for “I Saw the Light” features crystal clear dialogue and music. Surround sound usage is primarily for ambiance.
Subtitles are in English, English SDH, Chinese (Traditional) and Japanese.
“The Hollars” comes with the following special features:
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary by director and actor John Krasinski and actress Margo Martindale.
- The Family Trust: Inside the Hollars – (17:37) Behind-the-scenes on the making of “The Hollars”.
- Persistent Vision: Margo Martindale – (6:03) Featuring interviews with actress Margo Martindale and cast discuss working with her.
- LA Film Festival Q&A – (18:54) Featuring the Q&A for “The Hollars” at the Los Angeles Film Festival.
- Theatrical Trailer – The original theatrical trailer for “The Hollars”.
“The Hollars” comes with a slipcover and an UltraViolet code.
Often a few may watch a film and be remind of their own family. “The Hollars” is one of those films that may not be a financial blockbuster, but its story and its characters are endearing, compassionate, funny and its a story that really hit home for me and I found it to be delightful.
The film revolves around New York-based graphic novelist John Hollar, a man who is uncertain about his job and the stress from that, but also because his girlfriend Rebecca is pregnant and is expected to give birth soon.
And if John is feeling stressed, he receives news that his mother is in the hospital and has a brain tumor.
As John returns home, we learn that not only hasn’t he had much communication with his family, he pretty much has been out of the loop on what is going on with his family members.
He learns that his older brother Ron has moved back home and was fired by his father. Ron, who ended his marriage with his wife Stacey, has been spying on her and the kids when he finds out that she is dating the youth pastor in town.
Meanwhile, John finds out his father is nearly bankrupt as the family business is now in danger of shutting down.
But as John is primarily there for his mother and being there to support her as she must prepare for an emergency surgery to remove the brain tumor, he spends precious time with his family, seeing former friends including his ex-fiance but also discovering the more important things in life and how he really feels about his current girlfriend, Rebecca.
What touched me about the film is to see the humor among the family members, as humor plays a big part in the relationship of the Hollars, despite being a dysfunctional family (what family isn’t?). But also the feeling that many men feel when working a job and not sure about their future, especially their financial future and the beginning of family and responsibilities.
These are all natural feelings that many can relate to with John, but also many people can related to the hardships of the Hollars, especially for those who have had a loved one in the hospital and have experienced the emotional high and lows.
The acting by Krasinski, Copley and Kendrick was good but the two that really made this film so fantastic is actress Margo Martindale and actor Richard Jenkins. Not only do these two have great chemistry onscreen but both nailed the varying emotional states of their characters during a difficult time.
As for the Blu-ray, picture quality is good as details are great on closeups, while lossless audio is primarily dialogue and musically driven throughout the film. There are also a few special features including an insightful commentary, a Q&A from the Los Angeles Film Festival and more.
Overall, “The Hollars” is a film that will make you laugh and also will make you cry. It’s a film that feels real and manages to balance comedy and emotion wonderfully thanks to the magnificent performances by Margo Martindale and Richard Jenkins.
“The Hollars” is recommended!
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