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Boulevard Blu-ray Review

Boulevard (2015) movie poster Boulevard

Theatrical Release: July 10, 2015 / Running Time: 88 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Dito Montiel / Writer: Douglas Soesbe

Cast: Robin Williams (Nolan Mack), Kathy Baker (Joy Mack), Roberto Aguire (Leo), Giles Matthey (Eddie), Eleonore Hendricks (Patty), Bob Odenkirk (Winston), Henry Haggard (Dan Beaumont), Gary Gardner (Lionel Mack)

Buy Boulevard from Amazon.com: Blu-ray DVD Instant Video

Comedy may have brought Robin Williams fame and fortune, but he was also a highly proficient dramatic actor.
He demonstrated that talent again and again, especially in the years that followed his Best Supporting Actor Academy Award for Good Will Hunting. Since winning that honor in 1998, Williams worked more in drama. He also wowed more in that genre, as his willingness to tackle dark, complex characters in movies like Insomnia and One Hour Photo was revelatory and easier to admire than effortless turns in less than graceful farces such as Old Dogs and RV.

Williams' shocking death last August left us with just three unseen films of his. The first two followed shortly: the drecky direct-to-video A Merry Friggin' Christmas and another supporting role in the final Night at the Museum adventure. That left Boulevard, an independent drama released to very few theaters in the summer of 2015 and now on Blu-ray and DVD.

The independent drama "Boulevard" stars Robin Williams as a 60-year-old banker who has kept the fact that he's gay secret his entire life.

Williams plays Nolan Mack, a hard-working Tennessee banker of 60. Nolan has his routines: coming home to his longtime wife Joy (an excellent Kathy Baker), a night school ESL teacher; sleeping in a different bedroom than her; having dinner with his best friend, college English professor Winston (Bob Odenkirk). Nolan also has a secret. He is gay and has been his whole life. The evidently first person informed of Nolan's orientation is Leo (Roberto Aguire), a young male prostitute Nolan accidentally bumps with his car.

Nolan takes Leo to an hourly hotel and pays him for his time, but nothing sexual transcends. Our initial impression is that the depressive Nolan needs someone to talk to. Leo becomes his unlikely confidant, but he's clearly not comfortable providing the affection Nolan is looking for instead of the meaningless sex acts he's selling. As Nolan approaches a promotion to regional manager and also checks in on his dying, catatonic father (Gary Gardner), he begins exhibiting erratic behavior. His dubious excuses and explanations do little to ease the concerns of his wife, whose interest in going on an ocean cruise he does not share.

Nolan (Robin Williams) develops strong feelings for a young male prostitute named Leo (Roberto Aguire).

Boulevard is not a movie that Williams would have made prior to Good Will Hunting.
This small, melancholic film is almost altogether devoid of humor and yet Williams serves it well with his overflowing humanity. The accomplished actor shot the film in a little over a month back in the spring of 2013, shortly before returning to television on CBS's short-lived sitcom "The Crazy Ones", a project whose failure has been linked to the state with which Williams left this world.

By his early sixties, Williams did not have to convince anyone he was more than just a funnyman. Still, the days of him carrying wide release movies on his back had passed. Old Dogs, with John Travolta, was really the last vehicle to rely on Williams' star power. It was decimated by critics and did not perform well with audiences. While Williams surely continued to have his choice of offers, and better than most in his age bracket, he repeatedly gravitated towards small movies that would speak to him whether or not they connected with moviegoers. Boulevard is that kind of film and while it will not supplant your favorite Williams movies (which is likely to include some combination of Hunting, Aladdin, Mrs. Doubtfire, Hook, Dead Poets Society, Awakenings, and Good Morning, Vietnam), you can appreciate the actor selecting something challenging and emotional like this over bigger, easier paychecks with less to say.

Boulevard is the fifth film directed by Dito Montiel, who has failed to recreate the warm reception afforded his debut, 2006's A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, adapted from his own memoir. Boulevard is Montiel's third consecutive film to struggle to secure a double-digit theater count, following his widely-released sophomore slump Fighting.

As small as this film is, it appears to be the biggest to date from screenwriter Douglas Soesbe, whose filmography stretches back twenty years but whose few credits are comprised largely of woman-led made-for-TV thrillers. As you can surmise, Boulevard is his most autobiographical work to date, Soesbe himself being a long-closeted gay man in his sixties.

After grossing an eighth of a million from a maximum theater count of eleven this summer, Boulevard has now reached DVD and Blu-ray from Anchor Bay Entertainment, the home video arm of theatrical distributor Starz.

Boulevard Blu-ray Disc cover art - click to buy from Amazon.com Blu-ray Disc Details

2.40:1 Widescreen
5.1 Dolby TrueHD (English)
Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, Spanish
Not Closed Captioned
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Suggested Retail Price: $26.99
Single-sided, single-layered disc (BD-25)
Blue Keepcase
Also available on DVD ($22.99 SRP) and Amazon Instant Video


Boulevard may be a low-budget affair, but that doesn't mean it looks any less than terrific on Blu-ray.
The 2.40:1 presentation is sharp and agreeably detailed, showcasing the agreeably creative compositions with the highest quality. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack also warrants no concerns.


Nary an extra, not even a trailer for other Anchor Bay titles, accompanies the film on Blu-ray.

The menu loops film clips in various rectangles along with a score excerpt.

No inserts accompany the full color disc in the standard keepcase, meaning no Digital HD is included here.

The long-chilly marriage of Joy (Kathy Baker) and Nolan (Robin Williams) faces a crossroads in "Boulevard."


Boulevard is not a film that Robin Williams will be remembered for, but there are plenty of those. What this, his final released film, demonstrates yet again is that this extremely entertaining comedian was also a tremendously powerful dramatic actor. The movie would move at any time but as the last work of his we'll ever see, it seems extra poignant and worth a look, even in this sharp but completely barren Blu-ray.

Buy Boulevard from Amazon.com: Blu-ray / DVD / Instant Video

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Related Reviews:
Robin Williams: World's Greatest Dad A Merry Friggin' Christmas The Night Listener Dead Poets Society Good Morning, Vietnam
Robin Williams (continued): Lee Daniels' The Butler Old Dogs License to Wed Mrs. Doubtfire Night at the Museum Popeye
Kathy Baker: Jesse Stone: No Remorse Take Shelter Saving Mr. Banks
Bob Odenkirk: Nebraska Breaking Bad: The Complete Second Season Operation: Endgame
New to Blu-ray: The Runner Two Days, One Night Strangerland Citizenfour Mad Max: Fury Road

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Reviewed September 4, 2015.

Text copyright 2015 DVDizzy.com. Images copyright 2015 Starz Digital, Camellia Entertainment, and Anchor Bay Entertainment.

Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.