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People Places Things DVD Review

People Places Things (2015) movie poster People Places Things

Theatrical Release: August 14, 2015 / Running Time: 87 Minutes / Rating: R

Writer/Director: Jim Strouse

Cast: Jemaine Clement (Will Henry), Regina Hall (Diane Neely), Stephanie Allynne (Charlie), Jessica Williams (Kat Neely), Michael Chernus (Gary St. Gray), Gia Gadsby (Colette Henry), Aundrea Gadsby (Clio Henry)

Buy People Places Things from Amazon.com: DVD Instant Video

Though he made his name in music and on television and works most frequently these days in animation voiceover, Jemaine Clement continues to enjoy a full and healthy career in live-action film. Back home in New Zealand,
he co-wrote and co-directed What We Do in the Shadows, a vampire mockumentary beloved by critics the world over and enjoyed by most who saw it this year. Clement also finds steady work in his adopted home: the United States. It's there that he's worked on such big movies as Men in Black 3, Rio, and Muppets Most Wanted and was cast as a giant in Steven Spielberg's 2016 adaptation of Roald Dahl's The BFG. It's also where Clement starred in People Places Things, an independent romantic comedy from writer-director Jim Strouse (Grace Is Gone, The Winning Season).

Clement plays Will Henry, a graphic novelist more steadily employed as a professor in that art form at the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan. On the fifth birthday of his twin daughters (Aundrea and Gia Gadsby), Will finds Charlie (Stephanie Allynne), the girls' mother and his partner of several years, cheating on him. She is ready to move on and start a new life with portly off-Broadway monologist Gary (Michael Chernus).

"People Places Things" stars Jemaine Clement as a comic book author and professor.

Will enjoys weekend custody of the girls, but the separation leaves him feeling personally and professionally unfulfilled. He begins a casual relationship with Diane (Regina Hall), the mother of one of his students, and helps her develop an appreciation for the art form her daughter (Jessica Williams) is pursuing. But Will's feelings for Charlie linger, even after she becomes pregnant with Gary's child and agrees to marry him.

People Places Things is low-concept filmmaking. Presumably there are some autobiographical elements to the film, but there is virtually no biographical information on Strouse readily found on the Internet. It doesn't matter much either way, because this is one of those films that of the few who see it, many will like it while few will love or hate it. The film earned critical approval in its Sundance Film Festival premiere last January and August release in standard theaters, but it was acquired by The Film Arcade who has yet to secure a three-digit theater count for any of their films, no matter the star power. The film doesn't seem in any position to discover a much larger audience on home video, where it reaches DVD (but not Blu-ray) from little Alchemy rather than TFA's larger sometime partner Paramount.

Will (Jemaine Clement) is not entirely over his children's mother Charlie (Stephanie Allynne).

Most of the film's charm is the direct result of Clement, who has shone brightly even in the atrocious Gentlemen Broncos from the Hesses (with whom he is reteaming on the iffy-looking Don Verdean, acquired by Lionsgate following a Sundance debut). Clement is effortlessly entertaining and likable, even when he's just playing a newly-single dad doing things like scrambling to find a babysitter and struggling to explain his and his ex's feelings for each other to their young daughters. The list of comparably-aged actors who wouldn't imbue this sleepy film with as much personality and pizzazz as Clement is endless. Even many actors who have been perfectly appealing in the right role would fail to make this as watchable as Clement does. He's just that amusing in the same way that his signature work, the sharp, offbeat HBO too-short-lived comedy series "Flight of the Conchords", was.

People Places Things DVD cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com DVD Details

1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned; Extra Not Subtitled
Release Date: October 6, 2015
Single-sided, single-layered disc (DVD-5)
Suggested Retail Price: $19.99
Black Keepcase
Also available on Amazon Instant Video

VIDEO and AUDIO

It's kind of a bummer that Alchemy evidently isn't bothering with a Blu-ray release for People Places Things. The movie looks a bit lifeless in standard definition, though the anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen transfer
doesn't suffer from any specific maladies unusual for the format. Similarly, the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack is not as potent as lossless HD counterparts, but adequate on its own merits.

BONUS FEATURES, MENUS, PACKAGING and DESIGN

The only extra found here is People Places Things' theatrical trailer (2:29), which joins the disc-opening ones for Unexpected, Welcome to Me, and the documentary Meet the Patels on a Previews menu.

The main menu plays clips to score.

The black keepcase holds no inserts and is not topped by any slipcover. At least the disc sports a full-color label.

Will (Jemaine Clement) shares a moment with Diane (Regina Hall) in "People Places Things."

CLOSING THOUGHTS

People Places Things would not likely be worth your time if not for the affability of its leading man Jemaine Clement. This New York comedy is not a barrel of laughs, terribly thought-provoking, entirely different from other low-key movies, or something you'll remember a year from now. But Clement ensures it is an easy and enjoyable viewing you won't regret carving out 90 minutes for.

Buy People Places Things from Amazon.com: DVD / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
Jemaine Clement: What We Do in the Shadows Eagle vs. Shark Muppets Most Wanted Men in Black 3 Dinner for Schmucks
Regina Hall: About Last Night Think Like a Man Think Like a Man Too Death at a Funeral
Stephanie Allyne: In a World... | Michael Chernus: Mistress America
Written by Jim Strouse: New York, I Love You
The Rewrite Coming & Going Austenland The Boys Are Back What Maisie Knew

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Reviewed October 6, 2015.



Text copyright 2015 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2015 The Film Arcade, Alchemy, and Beachside.
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