DVDSleuth.com is your source for daily Blu-ray Disc & DVD news and reviews
Warner Home Video
Blu-ray Disc Released: 4/7/2015
All Ratings out of
Review by Mike Long, Posted on 4/3/2015
Many directors want their films to be set in the present (that being the "present" of when the film was made), so they go out of there way to alter costumes or props. These films look like a product of their time, and can often look dated very quickly. Other movies purposely attempt to capture a moment in time. They have a specific look and feel which is meant to document a specific style, trend, or period in life. Did Cameron Crowe purposely set out to take a snapshot of Seattle's Grunge scene with Singles? Whether or not it was intentional, the film does just that and plays like a time capsule when seen today.
Singles takes place in Seattle, circa 1992, and focus on the lives of several twenty-somethings. Steve (Campbell Scott) works as a city planner and dreams of brining a "super train" to Seattle. He meets Linda (Kyra Sedgwick), who is reluctant to get involved due to the many bad relationships which she's had in the past. Janet (Bridget Fonda) works as a waitress, and she's saving money to go to architecture school. She has an on-again/off-again relationship with Cliff (Matt Dillon), who is far more interested in getting has band, Citizen Dick, off of the ground. Debbie (Shelia Kelley) is a young go-getter who is determined to find the man of her dreams, even if she has to turn to video-dating. We learn that most of these characters live in the same apartment complex and we watch how they attempt to navigate romance and support one-another.
With his directorial debut,Say Anything..., Crowe showed that he enjoyed exploring quirky takes on modern love and that he has also liked having music in his movies. (Of course, this was obvious from his screenwriting debut in Fast Times At Ridgemont High.) With Singles, he's veered away from a traditional narrative slightly and divided the film into vignettes, each of which focuses on a specific character or couple. The other characters move in and out of these segments, but each one has a definite target. While this some talk of careers and financial struggles, the movie's primary focus is on relationships, and Crowe works hard to examine things from both a male and female perspective. In a world of random hook-ups, Steve is actually looking for a relationship. Janet fears that she can't hold Cliff's attention, and questions her appearance. Linda is terrified of commitment. Crowe shows us how the concept of "boy meets girl and they fall in love" is very passť and that modern love can be a challenge.
But, Singles is one of those movies which never quite gets there. There is definitely something missing, but itís difficult to define. The characters are well-drawn, likeable and believable. The situations ring true, except for possibly Debbieís story. And yet, the movie is not satisfying. Could it be the structure? Singles feels like a series of short films at times, and while this offers a variety of stories, it also robs the film of focus, despite the fact that the vignettes all dwell on the same topic. There is also a certain lack of dramatic tension here. There are two stories in which the characters must make important decisions, but Crowe is unable to wring any suspense out of it. Things get wrapped up all nicely at the end, and you walk away not hating the movie, but you certainly arenít fulfilled. There are a few laughs, maybe a tear, but one gets the feeling that Crowe could have gone a little darker or a little more gritty to make something which would really stick.
All of that aside, I will always have a soft-sport for Singles due to the music involved in the film. Itís great seeing Alice in Chains and Soundgarden (worst concert that Iíve ever been to) perform. And who canít resist seeing Eddie Vedder, Stone Gossard, and Jeff Ament from Pearl Jam as the other members of Citizen Dick? (The scene in which they watch the bee documentary is a classic.) Yes, despite the fact that I lived 3000 miles away from Seattle, I was knee-deep in the Grunge scene and while Singles may miss the mark as a story, it perfectly captures the sounds and looks of that era. Now, if only loud guitar-driven music like that could make a comeback...
Singles is huge in Belgium on Blu-ray Disc courtesy of Warner Home Video. The film has been letterboxed at 1.85:1 and the Disc contains an AVC 1080p HD transfer which runs at an average of 2.0 Mbps. The image is sharp and clear, showing only slight grain and no defects from the source materials. The colors look good and the image is never overly dark or bright. The level of detail is acceptable, but the picture is somewhat flat. The Disc carries a DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 track which runs at 48 kHz and an average of 2.0 Mbps. The track provides clear dialogue and sound effects. The music sounds fine, but it would have sounded so much better in surround sound. The stereo effects pop up from time to time, mostly to highlight sounds coming from off-screen.
The Singles Blu-ray Disc contains a few extras, most of which are extra footage. We begin with a 3-minute GAG REEL. The "Complete Live Performances" for "Birth Ritual" by Soundgarden, and "It Ain't Like That Anymore" & "Would?" by Alice in Chains are included here, as we only sit snippets in the film. The Disc contains 25 DELETED/EXTENDED SCENES which offer no "Play All" option, so I don't have a total running time on these. The final extra is the THEATRICAL TRAILER for the film.
Review Copyright 2015 by Mike Long