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Gary, an actor who plays a cop on television, uses too much lighter fluid when he burns his ex-girlfriend's things, then he drinks and drives, uses crack, and crashes his car. He sobers up in jail and is placed under house arrest and the watchful eye of a publicist, the cheery and tough-minded Margaret. She moves him into the empty house of a writer who's away in Canada on a shoot. Gary meets Sarah, an attractive and seemingly-willing neighbor. His friendship with Margaret blooms and strange things happen: he finds notes he doesn't remember writing, he hears noises, and he seems to bump into himself in the kitchen. Two remaining chapters reveal what's going on.
For more about The Nines and the The Nines Blu-ray release, see the The Nines Blu-ray Review published by Martin Liebman on May 21, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 2.5 out of 5.
Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Melissa McCarthy, Hope Davis, Elle Fanning, David Denman, Octavia Spencer
Director: John August
» See full cast & crew
The Nines Blu-ray Review
Imagine what Gary would think if this was set during Herman Cain's Presidential run.
Reviewed by Martin Liebman, May 21, 2013
The best of all possible worlds.
Know anyone who has ever become so absorbed in something that it became reality, it pushed aside responsibilities, relationships, even their own mental and physical well-being? What happens when that false reality takes on a life of its own, expands, becomes something more than the artificial and, at least to the user, a very much tangible place, thing, time? Can hours, days, weeks, months, years, more evolve the fake to the physical, the imaginary to the believable, the believable to something not only inseparable, but eventually indistinguishable, from life? Can something made of other than flesh and blood not only take on the characteristics of flesh and blood, but replace flesh and blood? These are some of the questions explored in The Nines, a unique picture that subtly explores choices, realities, truths, lies, and everything in between. It's a movie that doesn't always make sense, but that's the beauty of it. It's a movie in which truth is false and falsehoods are true, where every line is blurred and nothing seems certain, but it's all played smartly and evenly, not force-fed for entertainment value. It's an odd journey but one that will enrich the mind and open up new avenues of thought and possibilities about the meaning of life, where it all comes from, and how it can be altered or destroyed in, literally, the blink of an eye.
The Nines' three-part structure begins with Ryan Reynolds portraying a has-been Action star named Gary. He's placed under house arrest following a night of binge drinking, drug abuse, and totaling his vehicle. He's not to leave the house or invite anyone over. He must answer the telephone when it rings or be hauled off to prison. He moves into a luxurious loaner house with the help of Margaret (Melissa McCarthy), a public relations guru who is determined to keep him in check. He settles in well enough, but he finds himself taken aback by the advances of his next door neighbor, Sarah (Hope Davis), a desperate housewife and mother of an infant child. Her interest in him may be more than neighbor friendly, leading to an ugly spat of sorts between Margaret and Sarah over Gary's well-being. Meanwhile, Gary develops a sense of unease in the house, bumps into the word "knowing" more and more frequently, and encounters the number "9" more often than the laws of statistics say he should.
Part two sees Reynolds playing Gavin, a Hollywood writer whose big television idea, a show he's called Knowing, is on the fast track to becoming the next big hit. He's also the subject of a personal documentary chronicling his journey towards Hollywood stardom. He's pegged Actress Melissa McCarthy for the lead role in his show. Focus groups generally like the show, but the one common complaint is McCarthy. Gavin doesn't want to get rid of her, but the network suits want to replace her. His producer, Susan (Hope Davis), encourages him to seek out another star, but there may be more going on behind the scenes than he knows, well beyond television politics, even. Finally, part three features Reynolds as Gabriel, a famous video game designer, husband to Mary (Melissa McCarthy), and father to their daughter, Noelle (Elle Fanning). When their car battery dies in the middle of nowhere, he runs to more open ground, hoping to find a cell signal to call for help. Along the way he meets Sierra (Hope Davis), a young woman who refuses to help him but reveals she's a fan of his work. She chooses to help him after all and, as they journey, she reveals the truth about who he really is.
The Nines enjoys a unique style, not so much visually and, in some ways, not so much even structurally or dramatically, but certainly in the way the movie carries itself. It doesn't necessarily hide the truth, it just portrays it as naturally obscure through the eyes of the Reynolds character(s). It doesn't change its characters through the three segments, it just rearranges their lives. It doesn't rely on cliché but it rather takes its own path towards novelty. The picture plays with varied feels, from the whimsical to the weird, playing on real ideas but presenting them -- and ultimately revealing them -- in a way that's anything but cookie-cutter. It's not so difficult to sort it out, after a time, but it's a movie best left explored on the screen rather than broken down into words. The reward comes in one's ability to sort it out, to try and piece it together, to absorb every little nuance, clue, syllable, sight, and sound and determine how they fit together and why, how the "same" people can be "different" and how and why they change. The beauty is in how the movie blends the simple with the complex, how everything feels full-circle complete but also separate, how the stories run parallel but also how they diverge at the same time. The performances are fantastic; it's clear the three leads have a firm grasp as to what's happening and why, what the movie is trying to do and the best way to get there. It's certainly one of the more uniquely thought-provoking films out there and one that's not to be missed.
The Nines Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Nines' high definition presentation is nothing spectacular, but it holds its own and never falls into anything close to resembling total disrepair. The entire image takes on a fairly warm tint, particularly in the first segment. Colors are less pronounced in the second and a little colder in the third. The overall effect is lower-end acceptable in every one; no colors are particularly vibrant, though it may be said that there's more a lean towards the dull and dim end of the spectrum. Details are adequate, particularly in the bookend segments. General clarity and stability are fine, with only a few shots going excessively soft. Skin and clothing textures satisfy, but don't necessarily impress. Light grain remains. The middle segment sports a shiny, lower end HD video appearance. Details are rarely thrilling, thanks mostly to the obvious limitations of the photographic equipment. Flesh tones, for the most part, favor that warmer end in the first segment but settle down a little in the second and third. Black levels do appear a bit pale and purplish at times. There's not an excess of blocking, banding, or other negative visuals. This is by no means a great transfer, nor is it a bad one by any stretch of the imagination. It's acceptable for an ultra-budget release.
The Nines Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Nines features a fairly dull DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless soundtrack. Though music and effects do stretch off to the sides, the presentation nevertheless feels cramped, limited, not so natural. It lacks precision clarity, richness, and realism. That said, it's certainly not a disaster, but it's far from showing what a top-tier soundtrack can do. Chapter seven nicely replicates some necessarily mushy background music inside a bar/restaurant that does sound fairly realistic in context. Otherwise, the track doesn't do much in the way of really energizing its audience. There are no major sound effects, nothing that really pumps out the beats or works the subwoofer with any sort of aggression. Dialogue does play clearly and accurately from the middle. This is the very definition of a middling soundtrack that passes muster but isn't headed for the record books.
The Nines Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
This Blu-ray release of The Nines contains no supplemental content.
The Nines Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
The Nines may not be the best of the multistory, thought-provoking types, but it's a rock-solid picture that challenges its audience to think deeply but also sit back and enjoy the ride. It's those sorts of contrasting dichotomies that actually define much of the experience, leaving audiences to watch as they choose or watch multiple times from different perspectives and levels of understanding. It's very well put together, smartly acted, and offers a balanced stylization. Mill Creek's Blu-ray release of The Nines features fair video and audio. No extras are included. Recommended.
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