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Before We Go Blu-ray Review

Before We Go (2015) movie poster Before We Go

Theatrical Release: September 4, 2015 / Running Time: 95 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Chris Evans / Writers: Ron Bass, Jen Smolka (story & screenplay); Chris Shafer, Paul Vicknair (screenplay)

Cast: Chris Evans (Nick Vaughan), Alice Eve (Brooke Dalton), Emma Fitzpatrick (Hannah), John Cullum (Harry), Mark Kassen (Danny), Elijah Moreland (Cole), Daniel Spink (Tyler), Alan Cox (Rich Guy), Grim Reaper Q (Mohawk)

Buy Before We Go from Amazon.com: Blu-ray DVD Instant Video

Chris Evans owes much of his film acting career to Marvel. There was the role of Johnny Storm in the two mid-Noughties Fantastic Four films. Since 2011, he's played Steve Rogers, better known as Captain America. In between those iconic multi-film commitments, Evans sent up Nicolas Cage's Ghost Rider in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.
Though Marvel has granted him international fame and seven figure salaries, Evans does not want that comic book universe to define him as an actor. Thus, he has used his clout to take roles in independent films. One such indie film far from the realm of superhero action, Before We Go, also gives Evans' his first directing and producing credits.

Before We Go takes place over the course of one late night in New York City. We open in Grand Central Terminal, where jazz trumpeter Nick Vaughan (Evans) sees Brooke Dalton (Alice Eve) miss the final Metro North train of the night. She's headed for Boston via Connecticut, but she's not going to get there anytime soon because the next train isn't until 5:30 in the morning. With her Prada purse stolen and her cell phone broken, Brooke is out of luck, but Nick is more than willing to help her. He takes her to the bar where her purse was snatched and follows up on a tip from there. He tries to set her up on cabs, buses, and other forms of transportation, to no avail.

Two strangers (Chris Evans and Alice Eve) spend an eventful night in New York City together in "Before We Go."

It is clear early on that these two strangers will not be separating anytime soon. They both have places to be, but she has no way to get there and he isn't sure he's up for making it to his destination. That destination is his ex-girlfriend, who he hasn't seen in six years but is in the city for a wedding. Brooke is guarded at first but opens up enough to reveal her real name, her marital status, and the fact that it could be changing soon. There is a letter she wrote her husband, who is traveling and possibly cheating on her. With him scheduled to return to her possibly still a faithful man, she wants to retrieve the potentially marriage-ending missive.

Do the love life woes of either party matter when you've got these two attractive comparably aged people spending time together in The City That Never Sleeps? The pair crashes a work function, performing an unrehearsed trumpet and vocals performance of "My Funny Valentine" when an organizer mistakes them for members of the tardy band he hired. There are also two encounters with Nick's ex (Emma Fitzpatrick) which paint very different pictures of their reunion prospects.

Before We Go goes easy on the obvious romantic comedy possibilities of the premise, but that outcome looms over the proceedings like an inevitability. We're not particularly rooting for it, since he isn't nearly as charming as he thinks and she isn't nearly as cute as she thinks. He's unrealistically generous and fawning, while she's unrealistically whining and helpless. Their will-they, won't-they encounters play out in a fantastical version of Manhattan that is somehow full of people, activity, and bright lights but completely devoid of mass transportation out of the city. The setting reminds one of the surreal portrait of the city presented in Martin Scorsese's offbeat After Hours, only without the madcap wit and humor.

Backed by Nick's trumpet, Brooke (Alice Eve) sings "My Funny Valentine" to a gathering she doesn't know.

In content, Before We Go models itself after early Richard Linklater works, especially Before Sunrise. That film is hard to recreate with its candor, honesty, and intellectual discussions. Despite four credited screenwriters (including an Oscar-winning scribe of Rain Man), there is little of that here, leaving the movie feeling more like Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist
or some other teenaged girl's dream of single night romance. Cutesy bits like telephone calls to their past selves, a visit to a psychic who can't sleep (John Cullum), and a joint hotel customer satisfaction survey have zero credibility and barely any charm.

So versed in action, Evans feels a little out of place in something that wants to invite comparisons to Linklater and Woody Allen. He acquits himself nicely as a first-time director, though. The biggest misstep may be that the film seems impossibly full of artificial light, although it is actually shot in the real Manhattan. Filming there is cost-prohibitive for many small movies, but Before We Go somehow managed to get it done, even on a very modest budget of $3 million. That budget is likely the biggest reason why this movie, for all its mainstream sensibilities, ended up at the Weinstein Company's niche label RADiUS, which released it on Labor Day Weekend in just 21 theaters to a disastrous $887 per theater opening. The film finished with $37,151 domestic (most of it earned in the first 9 days) and has struggled to book theaters outside of North America, despite Evans having starred in Marvel box office behemoths this year, last year, and 2012.

The movie, which RADiUS actually made available On Demand several weeks before theaters, has another venue to attract some interest with this month's Blu-ray and DVD releases from Weinstein partner Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Before We Go Blu-ray Disc cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 DTS-HD MA (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Extra Subtitled in English
Release Date: November 3, 2015
Suggested Retail Price: $26.99
Single-sided, single-layered disc (BD-25)
Blue Keepcase
Also available on DVD ($22.98 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

Low budget or not, Before We Go still looks perfectly polished in Anchor Bay's sharp and vibrant 1.85:1 Blu-ray presentation. The pretty, well-composed picture is complemented by a lively and tasteful 5.1 DTS-HD master audio soundtrack.

A clean-shaven Chris Evans discusses his first time in the director's chair. Nick and Brooke sit glumly under Christmas decorations in a coffee shop window on the Before We Go Blu-ray's menu.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The Blu-ray's only bonus feature is an HD conversation with Chris Evans (3:31),
in which the star discusses being a first-time director and his attraction to the material.

The disc opens with a trailer for The Last Five Years, the only trailer on the disc and even it's not menu-accessible.

That menu takes the standard approach of looping a montage ending with the title screen. The disc does not support bookmarks or resume unfinished playback.

With Digital HD not included, there are no inserts to be found within the standard blue keepcase alongside the disc whose label adapts the cover art.

With trains no longer running out of Grand Central, Nick (Chris Evans) seeks alternate ways to get Brooke (Alice Eve) back to Boston in "Before We Go."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

Though well-intentioned, Before We Go fails to enter the ranks of endearing one night movies with a contrived storyline we never buy into. Chris Evans makes a competent debut behind the camera, but this unrealistic romance simply proves unable to win us over as designed. Anchor Bay's basic Blu-ray warrants a rental at best and only then for fans of the two leads.

Buy Before We Go from Amazon.com: Blu-ray / DVD / Instant Video

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Reviewed November 15, 2015.



Text copyright 2015 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2015 RADiUS-TWC, Wonderland Sound & Vision, RSVP Entertainment, and Anchor Bay Entertainment.

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