Mar 012016

Spotlight might not be at the top of my best of 2015 list but it’s still a well made film all around from the efficient direction, tight writing and brilliant performances (save for Ruffalo in the one scene) so I have no qualms with its recent win for Best Picture and say it’s well worth purchase.





The Movie
| Special Features | Video Quality | Audio Quality | Overall

Genre(s): Drama
Universal Studios | R – 129 min. – $34.98 | February 23, 2016

Date Published: 03/01/2016 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by:
Tom McCarthy
Writer(s): Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy (written by)
Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James, Stanley Tucci, Billy Crudup, Jamey Sheridan, Paul Guilfoyle
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: Blu-ray, DVD
Number of Discs: 2
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 38.8 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A, B, C

THE MOVIE – 4.25/5

Meticulous. That’s the one word I would describe Spotlight, a well made drama chronicling the story behind one of, if not the worst cover-up of sex abuse within the Catholic Church.

The plot focuses on a pool of reporters working for the Boston Globe’s Spotlight division, a sector specializing in long-term, in-depth stories. At helm is Walter ‘Robby’ Robinson (MICHAEL KEATON) who oversees Sacha Pfeiffer (RACHEL MCADAMS), Mike Rezendes (MARK RUFFALO) and Steve Kurkjian (GENE AMOROSO). When the paper receives a new editor out of Florida, Marty Baron (LIEV SCHRIEBER), who doesn’t share the same Boston loyalty as the others, suggests Spotlight drops their current investigation and go after the Catholic Church and their cover-up of priests moved from perish to perish after molestation charges and settlements off the books, which were negotiated by Eric Macleish (BILLY CRUDUP).

Despite the number of characters and a fairly intricate plot, it is a simple enough summary but where Spotlight stands out is with the writing from Josh Singer and Tom McCarthy, a meticulous look at how journalism works which has a lot of leg work, hunting down sources and anyone reluctant you stay on it as demonstrated by the working relationship between Rezendes and Mitchell Garabedian (STANLEY TUCCI), a lawyer representing some of the Church’s victims, in the hopes of interviewing them. Meanwhile, Robinson gets in on the investigation which leads him to confront old friends played by television veterans Paul Guilfoyle (“CSI”) and Jamey Sheridan (“Law & Order: Criminal Intent”).

There were a few things that kept Spotlight from being a phenomenal film, though I have zero qualms for it taking home the Best Picture award. For one, as good of a performance Mark Ruffalo gave, and I think he’s one of the better and perhaps underrated actors working today, his one scene (which was used for his nomination package) was way over-the-top and not nearly as powerful or dramatic as he, and I suppose, others thought it was. Don’t get me wrong, for the rest of the film, he was fine, great even, but that one scene screams “NOMINATE ME FOR AN OSCAR FOR GOD’S SAKE!” than anything natural. I felt Liev Schreiber turned in a better, and low key, performance that was worthy of recognition.

The second, I never quite found myself engaged. Yes, the story the movie is about, the cover-up of the sex abuse by not only the Catholic Church but those of faith within the Boston community who failed to speak up, media included, not to mention some victim family members, yet at the same time I wasn’t emotional invested. That being said, it’s a story that needed to be told and filmmaker Tom McCarthy — who is primarily an actor with only a few movies under his directorial belt (The Station Agent was his debut) — does a fantastic job telling it helped by the impressive cast.

The cast, outside of Ruffalo whom I already spoke of, each carry their weight. Michael Keaton has several great scenes and a character with a surprising revelation toward the end, Rachel McAdams continues to turn in quality work and is decent within the ensemble and Stanley Tucci in a smaller role plays an eccentric character yet also truly concerned for the victims.

In the end, Spotlight is a well made flick, worthy of its Best Picture victory. The performances were mostly well done and McCarthy’s direction nicely efficient putting together an entangled story that not only shines a light on the child abuse scandal but the methodical work that goes into journalism. This is a movie I have no reservations saying is worth watching.



This release comes with a matted, title-embossed, slip cover. Inside is the regular DVD Copy and a redemption code for the Digital HD copy.

Uncovering the Truth: A Spotlight Team Roundtable (6:33; HD) is an all-too-short featurette with the real-life folks as they recollect the story.

Spotlight: A Look Inside (2:30; HD) is a basic behind-the-scenes featurette with EPK interviews with the cast.

The State of Journalism (3:14; HD) – This is another short featurette made more to advertise the film than provide any in-depth insights.


VIDEO – 4.5/5

Universal Studios Home Entertainment releases Spotlight shown in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio and given a 1080p high-definition transfer. As with most Universal releases, I’ve noticed their transfers, or at least the films they release, are on the warm on the scale so colors are fairly vibrant with natural looking skin tones and detail is relatively sharp throughout and there were no major instances of dust marks but the noise can be a tad heavy at times.


AUDIO – 4.0/5

The movie comes with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track and considering this is a drama, there’s not a whole lot to it. However, dialogue levels do sound crisp and clear and whenever the score, by master composer Howard Shore, kicks in, there is some depth present, but it is limited. The bulk of the sound seems to come from the center channel while the rear speakers were relegated for ambient noises such as the sounds of the city.


OVERALL – 3.5/5

Overall, Spotlight might not be at the top of my best of 2015 list but it’s still a well made film all around from the efficient direction, tight writing and brilliant performances (save for Ruffalo in the one scene) so I have no qualms with its recent win for Best Picture and say it’s well worth purchase or, if you’re still on the fence, a Redbox/Netflix rental. The Blu-ray itself is a tad disappointing; while the video and audio transfers were good, the bonus features were light.





Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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