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And While We Were Here Blu-ray Review

And While We Were Here (2013) movie poster And While We Were Here

Theatrical Release: September 13, 2013 / Running Time: 84 Minutes / Rating: R

Writer/Director: Kat Coiro

Cast: Kate Bosworth (Jane), Iddo Goldberg (Leonard), Jamie Blackley (Caleb), Claire Bloom (voice of Grandma Eves), Anthony Migliaccio (Pick Pocket), Salvatore De Vita (Cab Driver), Adamo Galano (Waiter #1), Marco Trofa (Waiter #2)

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Kate Bosworth certainly at least flirted with movie stardom in the first decade of the 2000s. After starring in the surfing drama Blue Crush, Bosworth found leading roles in movies like Win a Date with Tad Hamilton! and Beyond the Sea. Then, she was cast as Lois Lane for Superman Returns, which would appear to be one of those "you've made it in Hollywood!" moments. After that juggernaut failed to meet the sky-high expectations for a nearly $300 million-budgeted tentpole, Bosworth's career kind of trailed off.
The gambling caper 21 was a nice-sized hit in the spring of 2008. Since then, though, her selection of mainstream projects (e.g. The Warrior's Way and 2011's Straw Dogs remake) has resulted in critical and, more significantly, commercial failure.

Bosworth could simply get out of acting, joining the ranks of countless heralded young actresses whose IMDb filmographies just stop. But she's made the more admirable choice to persevere and continue to act in smaller films. Films like And While We Were Here, whose 19-theater count for a single September weekend represented Bosworth's widest release since Straw Dogs, excluding her brief appearance in a segment of the anthology comedy flop Movie 43.

And While We Were Here is the second feature film written and directed by Kat Coiro. Her first was the 2012 pregnancy comedy L!fe Happens, co-written by actress Krysten Ritter, who also starred alongside Bosworth. Coiro, whose filmography began with years of TV guest slots (crediting her as Katherine Cunningham-Eves), does something quite different for her sophomore outing.

In "And While We Were Here", Jane (Kate Bosworth) meets Caleb (Jamie Blackley) while asking for directions in Italian.

This intimate drama centers on Jane (Bosworth), a married American woman from London who is visiting Italy for two weeks with her English husband Leonard (Iddo Goldberg), a viola player who's there on work. While he is away and busy, Jane explores the country some, specifically the island of Ischia. A freelance magazine writer who's long been working on turning her English grandmother's spoken accounts of World War II into a book, Jane's path happens to cross with Caleb (Jamie Blackley), an American celebrating his nineteenth birthday.

After giving her directions in Italian, the talkative teen hangs around, making conversation and cracking jokes about violas. Though uninterested at first, Jane comes to make a connection with the young man that's stronger than anything she's managed to feel lately with her emotionally absent husband. Jane and Caleb take in some sights, dine, and laugh. What seemed like a serendipitous one-time encounter proves otherwise when Caleb runs into both Jane and Leonard the next day.

Before long, Jane is confiding in Caleb, who triggers inside her nostalgia for more carefree days. After some initial resistance, Jane comes to see this relationship for the extramarital affair it is and for fulfilling her in ways her strained marriage has not.

Jane (Kate Bosworth) wants to have a serious talk with her husband, who can't and then won't. Per their arrangement, Leonard (Iddo Goldberg) awaits for his wife on an Italian train platform.

This is a bona fide independent film, the kind whose budget may very well not even extend to a seventh figure. As such, it suffers from some technical limitations. Even viewed on a television and home theater, the very jerky handheld camera work is enough to unsettle and the sound leaves plenty to be desired. Of course, those are the products of a film with passion and storytelling instead of commercial ambitions.
Whereas many bigger films raise the old proverb about "too many cooks", this is clearly the personal work and vision of one individual. It's economically told, too. There are just six speaking parts and only five of them on-camera. The slow end credits scroll wraps up just before the 84-minute mark.

And While feels like an older movie, possibly a European one. Coiro seems to have even intended for it to be in black and white, which is how it's presented as a bonus feature. It bandies around some strong themes, like infertility, the end of one's lineage, infidelity, and connections to people, places, and times. The film creates and sustains a mood that's like a scenic romantic daydream with an undercurrent of troubling repression. The end arrives before you expect it and without Coiro satisfyingly resolving anything. That will irritate viewers who feel they have nothing to show for the 80 minutes they invested. But the understated, somewhat open ending seems to befit this underwritten, ethereal journey of self-discovery.

Box Office Mojo estimates that this film sold a grand total of 900 tickets in its one weekend of exhibition. That's a far cry from Superman Returns' estimated 30.5 million tickets. But, for now at least, Bosworth would seemingly rather make this kind of movie than whatever else Hollywood is offering her these days. And she's not disappearing from mainstream movies altogether. She takes the fourth pre-title billing in the wide Thanksgiving Eve-opening thriller Homefront starring Jason Statham and James Franco. Eight days earlier, And While We Were Here hits Blu-ray and DVD from Well Go USA Entertainment.

And While We Were Here Blu-ray Disc cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio (English), Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: English
Not Closed Captioned
Release Date: November 19, 2013
Single-sided, dual-layered disc (BD-50)
Suggested Retail Price: $29.98
Blue Keepcase with Side Snap
Also available on DVD ($24.98 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

And While We Were Here's Blu-ray doesn't look great. The 2.40:1 picture can't hide the low budget or the limitations of cheap digital video. The aesthetic isn't as polished as it could be, the element looking smudgy and not as sharp as even slightly bigger fare. There's even a touch of moiré effect on a couch. Likewise, the 5.1 DTS-HD master audio is hindered by some dialogue being too quiet and much of it being subjected to subpar recordings. Fortunately, Well Go provides English subtitles, which you'll probably need to consult on occasion. I assume the shortcomings are the result of the film's production and not Well Go's Blu-ray mastering, although this represents my first taste of the small studio's output.

An art film is made artsier in the Blu-ray's bonus black and white presentation. A Variety blurb extolls the film while possibly bolstering your vocabulary in "And While We Were Here"'s trailer.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The Blu-ray's main bonus feature is a black and white version of the movie, called the director's original version.
It seems to simply be the same exact film (Technicolor logo and all), presented in HD picture and sound (exhibiting most of the same technical shortcomings), but in black and white. For some reason, it runs 13 seconds shorter than the feature presentation.

The only other extra is And While We Were Here's trailer (2:01), which is automatically followed by the disc-opening trailers for Mystery Road, Slightly Single in L.A., and Not Suitable for Children. The trailers are also individually accessible from a Previews section.

The menu repositions and slightly animates the cover art. Though the disc does not support bookmarks, it does resume playback as it should.

No inserts or reverse side artwork enliven the side-snapped keepcase.

Caleb and Jane take in a scenic view from an Ischian palace in "And While We Were Here."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

And While We Were Here is a decidedly uncommercial venture some will find it difficult to give any sympathy. But this quiet, romantic drama does have some resonance to it. The Blu-ray is less presentable than those holding most new films, but the technical shortcomings seem inherent to this super low budget shoot.

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Related Reviews:
New: Before Midnight • All Is Bright • I Give It a Year • Girl Most Likely • Paradise • As I Lay Dying • Man of Steel • From Here to Eternity
Kate Bosworth: 21 • Remember the Titans (Director's Cut) • Movie 43 | Iddo Goldberg: Run Fatboy Run | Claire Bloom: The King's Speech
To Rome with Love • When in Rome • Nine • Blue Valentine • W./E. • Last Night • Shadows in the Sun

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Reviewed November 15, 2013.



Text copyright 2013 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2013 Well Go USA Entertainment, 1821 Pictures, and Dead Serious Films.
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