Monday, March 21, 2016

Sisters: Unrated Edition Blu-ray Review

Comedy superstars Tina Fey (“30 Rock,” “SNL”) and Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation,” “SNL”) reunite in Sisters, the uproarious hit from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment. When the Ellis sisters, the always-responsible Maura (Poehler) and impossibly hotheaded Kate (Fey), receive word from their retired mom and dad that their family home is on the market, they discover they have one weekend left to clean out the old junk in their bedroom. As they comb through the artifacts of their teen years, Maura and Kate’s trip down memory lane leads them to a seemingly crazy plan. Looking to recapture their glory days, the sisters throw one final ”Ellis Island” blowout for their classmates, resulting in the cathartic rager that a bunch of ground-down adults really need. The Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD versions feature even more of Tina and Amy’s outrageous shenanigans in a new Unrated Version, as well as over an hour of deleted and extended scenes, gag reel and more!
Film (3 out of 5 stars)
Kate (Tina Fey) and Maura Ellis (Amy Poehler) are very close sisters but they couldn’t be more different. Maura is a nurse who buys sunscreen for homeless people. She has been divorced for 2 years and spends her time off with her dog, Polenta. Kate, the irresponsible sister, jumps from job to job frequently disappointing her teenage daughter, Haley (Madison Davenport). Unhappy with Kate’s life choices, Haley won’t tell her where she is spending the summer before college.

Just as Kate gets kicked out of her most recent housing arrangement, Kate asks her to come home to Orlando. Their parents (James Brolin and Dianne Wiest) need the girls to clean out their shared bedroom. Maura is aware that her parents want to sell the house, but they are both shocked to see a sold sign in the front yard.

After a night in their old room, Kate convinces Maura to throw one more raging party. In high school they used to call them Ellis Island parties. As “adults” they call their party Ellis Island Revamped. Maura’s high school journals talk about the grit on her rock tumbler. For the party, Maura asks Kate to be the party mom so she can finally let loose and “let her freak flag fly.”

Everyone from high school is invited to the big party. Dave (John Leguizamo), local loser, happily accepts the invitation. His mobile town house “got ate by a sinkhole” so he’s got time on his hands. Alex (Bobby Moynahan) is the guy who is always on and never misses a party. Other party goers include Samantha Bee, Kate McKinnon, Jon Glaser and Rachel Dratch. Brinda (Maya Rudolph) is the one person who desperately wants to come to the party and isn’t invited because of an old feud with Kate.

Writer Paula Pell based the story on her own life and her relationship with her sister. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler play very convincing sisters. It was probably hard to decide who would be the boring sister because they both could have nailed the role of Kate. When I saw the film in the theater I remember thinking it had a few laughs but wasn’t as funny as I’d hoped. Lowered expectations definitely help because watching it a second time on Blu-ray I judged it a lot less and laughed more.

The film contains a lot of Saturday Night Live alumni. If that isn’t your type of humor this film probably isn’t for you. In the unrated cut they drop the f-bombs more but you won’t see any nudity or anything crude.
Video (4 out of 5 stars)
Sisters is presented on Blu-ray in 1080p high definition with a widescreen 2.40:1 ratio. Color was used to make other locations pass for Orlando so get ready for the pinks and greens you would expect at a Florida retirement village. Detail is excellent, and the damage to the house shows great texture in broken drywall and insulation. In the bright sun, with inside party lighting or at night on the street the image is clear and skin tones are accurate.
Audio (4 out of 5 stars)
Sisters’ DTS HD-Master Audio track really shines when the girls start to party. The music intensifies as the night gets crazy and the soundtrack is immersive at that point. The first half of the film is mostly dialogue, which is intelligible and consistent throughout the film. 
Extras (4 out of 5 stars)
The Blu-ray contains a lengthy list of special features, more than I could get through in one sitting. The following bonus content is found on the Blu-ray disc:
  • Deleted Scenes – Available with play all function or individually: The Dan and Kim story, The Cover Charge Runner, Arrival at the Parents’ condo, Kate’s Tale of Woe, Maura Pushes too Hard, Brinda Wreaks More Havoc, The Geernts get Theirs, and Maura Takes a Last Look.
  • Extended Scenes – Shopping with Brinda, Hae-Won Arrives, Uh-Oh – It’s a PoPo, Kate has Party-Mom Kelly, Kate and Alex go Downhill, Maura and James Review High School, Hae-Won and Kate Reminisce, Brinda Gets the Sale, and Be That You.
  • Gag Reel (3:18) – The cast acknowledges that their film released the same day as Star Wars, has trouble with lines, props and other funny moments caught on film.
  • The Improvorama (8:38) – Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, Maya Rudolph and the actress that played Hae-Won all improve and provide multiple line alternatives.
  • How to Throw a Party (1:32) – A string of suggestions from the lesbians on having a successful party.
  • Grown Up Parties Suck (5:18) – Talking, not dancing, Facebook, Pinterest, the downside of aging and other reasons that adult parties often fail.
  • The Alex Chronicles (2:50) - Bobby Moynahan’s “always on” character and his never ending jokes.
  • The Kate and Pazuzu Chronicles (2:04) – Watch Kate come on to Pazuzu in nearly every imaginable way.
  • A Teen Movie…For Adults (10:27) – A behind the scenes featurette with cast and crew interviews. Writer Paula Pell’s influence is discussed in addition to filming, locations and shooting the party sequence.
  • The Original Sister (6:43) – Writer Paula Pell explains the connection to her own life and sister. The cast reads from Paula’s diaries, uncovering her love for Sylvester Stallone.
  • Pool Collapse VFX (:50) – See how the sink hole/pool collapse came to be.
  • Feature Commentary – Director Jason Moore, Star/Producer Tina Fey, Star/Executive Producer Amy Poehler and Writer Paula Pell provide feature length audio commentary. As you can expect there are plenty of laughs throughout the commentary with lots of information about Long Island doubling for Orlando.
Summary (3 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Tina Fey and Amy Poehler act like sisters in real life. Even though they look nothing alike its believable that they are related. It is only slightly less believable that Dianne Wiest and James Brolin are what their parents would look like, but that doesn’t take anything away from the film. If you enjoyed the stars on "Saturday Night Live," you’ll probably like the film which includes much of the SNL cast. Just like on "Saturday Night Live," some of the jokes go on too long but the film does have more heart than I expected. The film will hit closer to home for anyone with a close sister, especially those with a sister that has a very different personality than their own. They’ll understand loving someone when you don’t always like them.

Order your copy today!

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