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A downtrodden 17-year-old girl is sent to detention where she must survive a slasher film killer and save the world in time for prom.
For more about Detention and the Detention Blu-ray release, see Detention Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on July 28, 2012 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Director: Joseph Kahn
Starring: Josh Hutcherson, Shanley Caswell, Dane Cook, Spencer Locke, Jesse Heiman, Ron Jeremy
» See full cast & crew
Detention Blu-ray Review
The title is the simplest part of the movie.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, July 28, 2012
This isn't jail, it's detention.
Novelty in cinema is a glorious thing, but filmmakers must tread carefully lest the results end up like Detention, a whacked-out spectacle that combines most every genre and style and references decades worth of pop culture in one ninety minute extravaganza of WHAT? The movie's partially incomprehensible beyond the basics; it's a smorgasbord of style, an avalanche of stuff, characters and a plot that move at the speed of bytes and texts and OMGs and incoherent quips and complex relationships and situations. Calling this a "kitchen sink" movie would be to grossly underestimate all the randomness that efforts to come together into one tale, to coalesce into a nonlinear but lucid entity. Detention never quite gels; it's just too difficult to keep all of the characters, motives, backstories, timelines, ideas, and dialogue straight and make much sense of it. There's so many different elements that even as the story takes a rough shape in the second half, it's too much to process and with any concrete sense of place, time, people, ideas, and themes. Detention earns high marks for effort, an A+ for originality, but a failing grade in cohesion and substance.
Things are a little crazy around the hallowed halls of Grizzly Lake High School. One of their own has been murdered, but it seems everyone is so self-absorbed with their own little microcosms that the big picture isn't quite in focus. Riley Jones (Shanley Caswell) is hobbled by a broken leg. She's something of an outsider who falls asleep in ketchup and french fries and lives with an alcoholic father. Rather than a cheerleader like one-time gal pal Ione Foster (Spencer Locke), she's relegated to playing the school mascot. She has her eye on longtime friend Clapton Davis (Josh Hutcherson), who likes Ione. Their problems come to a head when another student is murdered and the suspects -- including Riley, Ione, and Clapton -- are forced into Saturday detention, on the day of the prom no less. Now, with the help of a student they know nothing about, it's up to them to peg the identity of the "Cinderhella" murderer, which just might take a little more time than they might have believed.
Detention isn't rightly labeled an "experimental" movie, at least not in total. The movie's vastly different from anything ever made, but then again it's mostly a collection of older ideas, styles, and elements blended together into a single entity. But apart from the details, the structure and style are fairly novel; Director Joseph Kahn (Torque) maintains a nearly unmaintainable pace, the picture a kinetic roller coaster of dialogue, visuals, and plot developments. It never slows down; it's always in motion, whether developing characters, working through to the next segment, or engaged in Horror/Sci Fi/Action elements. The movie aims for a near self-awareness, knocking on the fourth wall throughout. The characters exist in a hyper, ultra-modern, cutting edge world where everything is at their fingertips and life and the school experience are shaped by complex relationships, the digital age, and an effort to always stay on the leading edge of life. Some may argue it tries too hard to be a hipster movie and disapprove of its style, while many in the generation it depicts might find it the greatest movie ever made. Reaction will range from hatred to obnoxiousness to entertainment to unabashed love for the project. This is the furthest thing from a "one size fits all" movie, even if Detention builds itself up by copying and intermixing themes and elements from any number of older, safer, more familiar styles and films.
So what, exactly, makes up the bits and pieces that shape Detention? In the broadest sense, the movie is something like Scream meets The Breakfast Club meets Heathers meets Déjà vu. That covers the basics of "high school slasher," "Saturday detention with an eclectic mixture of students," "angry at the world high school whack jobs," and "time travel to save the day" pieces. But Detention is only getting started. There's some mixture of Freak Friday meets Big. The movie features a cast of characters as seemingly random as those in Can't Hardly Wait. There are references galore, to everything from Star Trek to Back to the Future and Minority Report-inspired holographic technology which, even way ahead of its time, the students instinctively know how to operate and never question its presence (then again, they never question that they can time travel from inside an animatronic and anatomically correct gorilla). Then there are references to LaserDiscs and many of the fashions and trends of the past twenty years. The movie offers a history lesson of music over the past two decades, too. Throw in some ridiculously over-the-top gore and backwards scenes, such as when the students aim to prove one another's innocence rather than guilt, and it's easy to see what Detention might be the movie and culture geek's dream come true. It's just too bad there's not a tighter, more coherent movie behind all the stuff that makes it tick.
Detention Blu-ray, Video Quality
Detention's HD video photography sparkles on Blu-ray. Though there are some shots that look noticeably softer than others, the image dazzles, generally, with incredibly brilliant colors and very crisp, accurate details. From the opening moments forward, audiences will note the dazzling array of hues seen in the to-be-murdered girl's bedroom and house. Lavish pinks and reds dominate, but the sum total of the palette sparkles. Clarity is fantastic, and the transfer offers some marvelous details. Faces, clothes, beat-up lockers, well-used locks, and all sorts of school-specific elements appear amazingly detailed right down to the nitty-gritty level that approaches real life. Blacks are deep, perhaps a bit overly so in a few of the darkest shots, but flesh tones appear balanced throughout. There's a hint of banding in places, but no other major eyesores to report. Overall, this is another wonderful transfer from Sony.
Detention Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Detention features the Sony-standard DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack, and it doesn't disappoint. This is a big, spacious, all-in, completely immersive listen. It recreates the hectic 21st century high school setting with uncanny precision, placing all sorts of music and effects all over the soundstage to believable, necessary, and oftentimes sonically intoxicating effect. Whether specific elements or simply the din of a busy hallway or cramped girls bathroom, Sony's lossless presentation manages to find even the most nuanced elements and make them a part of a complete listening experience. The film's diverse range of music, which spans two decades of beats, sounds wonderful. From Hip-Hop to Hard Rock, every note blares, but blares with the utmost clarity, precision, and range, including deep and penetrating lows that only once or twice seem too rattly and distraught at the bottom. This holds true in various flashback sequences or in a party segment where music plays with a deliberately mushy tenor but accuracy for the locale. Dialogue is clear and even, flowing from the center channel with no interruption or competition from surrounding music or sound effects. This is an excellent track that serves this high-energy, nonstop movie experience very well.
Detention Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Detention contains the following extras:
Detention Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Simply put, Detention isn't for everyone. It's a sharp divide sort of movie, one audiences will cherish or despise. It's worth trying if only for the novelty, but chances are a lot of audiences won't be able to get past all of the clutter and hyperactivity. It's quick, sometimes smart, and is commendable for its ability to weave together so many different elements and maintain a fire-hot pace. Yet ultimately it feels a little too busy, seems to be trying way too hard. It's difficult to sort out but the effort is undeniable. Still, this may be the future of cinema; moviegoers wanting to get in on the ground floor or check out a vision from a few years out might want to watch. Sony's Blu-ray release of Detention offers spiffy video and great audio. A few good extras are included. Fans should purchase with confidence, but newcomers should definitely rent before buying.
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Next month, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will bring Detention to Blu-ray. Starring Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games), Shanley Caswell (Bones), Dane Cook (Mr. Brooks), and Spencer Locke (Monster House), director Joseph Kahn's surreal, visually extreme horror-comedy ...
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