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Nobody Walks (2012)
Magnolia Home Entertainment
Blu-ray Disc Released: 1/22/2013
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 2/4/2013
On the whole, I'm typically not a trend follower. If anything, I'm a trend-setter. (Remember the side ponytail? My idea.) However, that doesn't mean that I don't to keep up with what is hot in entertainment. Lena Dunham has been seemingly everywhere this awards season, and as I didn't get a copy of her series Girls to review (Thanks HBO Home Video!), I'm not familiar with her work. But, as someone who likes to judge things for himself (I am a critic after all), I wanted to see something which she had done. If Nobody Walks is any indication of Ms. Dunham's talents, then I have to believe that she is being over-hyped.
In Nobody Walks, New York City artist Martine (Olivia Thirlby) has come to Los Angeles to work on a film project she is doing for a gallery showing. She has made arrangements to work with and stay with Peter (John Krasinski), who does sound effects and music. Peter lives with his wife, Julie (Rosemarie DeWitt) who is a therapist, and their child, Dusty (Mason Welch). Also in the house is Kolt (India Ennenga), Julie's teenaged daughter from a previous marriage. Peter's assistant, David (Rhys Wakefield) is also around. Martine and Peter immediately get to work, adding sound to Martine's images is insects. However, their close quarters creates an attraction between them. Julie picks up on this and it induces friction between she and Peter. As Peter attempts to focus on the work, he finds himself drawn to Martine. Meanwhile, Julie finds that she wants to give into the advances of a patient (Justin Kirk). Has Martine's journey to the City of Angels doomed this family?
Nobody Walks was co-written by Dunham and Director Ry Russo-Young. I'm sure that Dunham's fans and defenders would say that Russo-Young is responsible for the bad parts of the film, which is impossible -- it's all bad. First of all, given that Dunham is this indie darling, I was shocked by how unoriginal this movie is. An outsider's sexual energy threatens to wreck a married couple? Wow, I've never seen that before. Nobody Walks plays like a low-fi/high-brow version of 2002's Laurel Canyon or even better, the Drew Barrymore steamy thriller Poison Ivy. The reason for Martine moving in with Peter and Julie is somewhat original (more on that in a moment), but otherwise, we've seen all of this before. Also, why is everyone so attracted to Martine? We see no less than three men attempt to seduce her and even Julie says she's sexy. I kept waiting for animals to start humping her. Really? Thirlby has been kind of cute in other roles, but she looks awful here and there's nothing about Martine which is appealing. (But isn't this always the case in movies? People are drawn to a character who isn't attractive. The guys in Twilight fight over Bella when you've got Anna Kendrick and Ashley Greene nearby? Talk about fiction!)
Nobody Walks also loses points for being yet another one of those slice-of-life indie movies where everyone is flawed. If films like this teach us anything, it's that no one can or should ever be happy. Martine flirts with a married man. Peter contemplates infidelity, as does Julie. Kolt is mean to her Italian tutor (Emanuele Secci), an older man who is clearly attracted to her. (Is Kolt going to grow up to be like Martine?) Julie's patient is a screenwriter who's new movie is opening, but he's not happy about that. Julie's ex-husband, Leroy (Dylan McDermott), isn't accepting of Peter. Everyone here is so tragically broken that it's almost comical. The only character with which I related was David, for when he didn't have any pressing tasks, he would go swimming. (And why did Peter have an assistant? If you've come time to fool around, you've got time to pick up your own dry cleaning.)
You know you're in trouble when you care more about a character's job in a movie than the story itself. We're never told if he's a sound mixer or a sound editor. I wanted to learn more about what he did, especially the big movie that he was about to work on. This shows just how uninvolving Nobody Walks is. It's great to see John Krasinski wanting to break out of his persona from The Office, but he picked the wrong vehicle for that. Nobody Walks is hackneyed, boring, and never moving or funny. Maybe it's OK that I haven't seen Girls.
Nobody Walks misleads viewers of Suburgatory by implying that Jane Levy is a major character in the film on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Magnolia Home Entertainment. The film has been letterboxed at 1.78:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 34 Mbps. The image is sharp, but it does show a fine sheen of grain throughout, which isn't surprising, as it was shot on Super 16mm. What is surprising are the slightly washed-out colors, as 16 usually produces good colors. This could have been a directorial decision. The image shows no defects from the source material. The level of detail is fairly good, but the picture is flat, not showing the Blu-ray depth too which we are accustomed. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 3.2 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. Being a quite drama, we don't get a lot of dynamic audio effects here. The sound effects from Martine's movie do fill the front and rear channels and some of the sounds used produce a low bass rumble. A party scene shows off some stereo and surround effects which display good separation.
The Nobody Walks Blu-ray Disc contains a few extra features. We get one DELETED SCENE which runs about 2 minutes and shows us that Suburgatory star Jane Levy was in more than one scene. We get to see "Scorpio", Martine's film, in its 5-minute entirety...yes, complete with sound. There are "Interviews" with Director Ry Russo-Young (22 minutes) and Olivia Thirlby (12 minutes), both of whom discuss the story and themes of the film, how they got involved, and how they approached the material. "AXS TV: A Look at Nobody Walks" (5 minutes) is a brief featurette which contains clips and some soundbytes from the above interviews. The final extra is the TRAILER for the film.
Review by Mike Long. Copyright 2013.