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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - May, 2011

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"Benny & Joon" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Jim Milton

movie-may-2011-way-benny

Synopsis

An oddball love story about a fey loner named Sam (Johnny Depp), who falls in love with the mentally unbalanced Joon (Mary Stuart Masterson), who lives in the care of her protective brother Benny (Aidan Quinn), who sacrifices his personal life for her. This 1993 story is a bit shallow, with its message that love can conquer a brand of mental illness that manifests itself in pyromania: Joon has a bad habit of going a bit around the bend and setting fires, but Sam's tender care apparently has the cure for what ails her. Depp does almost perfect renditions of slapstick routines made famous by Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

Specifications

  • 20th Century Fox
  • Color, Rated PG-13, 1 Hr 38 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • 1080p, MPEG 4
  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0
  • Starring: Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart Masterson, Aidan Quinn
  • Directed by Jeremiah Chechik
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: No
  • Sex: No
  • Language: No

Commentary

A somewhat dated and simplistic story about an older brother who takes care of his younger mentally ill sister. When she is on her meds, she is quirky and eccentric, but when she is off the meds…schizophrenic! Depp comes into their lives as an odd-ball Chaplin wanna-be and Joon eventually falls in love with him. Add a few tense moments and a happy ending and you have an amiable flick to watch with the wife. The Depp-Masterson love scene left me a little unsettled…she being mentally immature and all. Anyway, Depp not withstanding, this film is too slow for the kids, but the teens may find it a light romp and see Depp as an odd, comedic character. Come to think of it, he usually does play odd characters in all of his movies!

Technical

The film has good color saturation and a fair amount of film grain is present in most scenes. Most of the movie exhibits dirt and specks, but they are not too distracting. Sound is DTS-MA 2.0, but dialog is clear. Some of the music comes across with punch and vigor, but very little bass for the rest of the show. Overall PQ is sharp, but a few night scenes are grainy and murky.

Extras

Audio Commentary by Jeremiah Chechik, deleted scenes, costume design, make-up test, stunt reel, a music video and theatrical trailer.