A Simple Favour on Blu-ray – The DVDfever Review

A Simple Favour
A Simple Favour (or A Simple Favor for those who don’t know how to spell) is one of those films for when I want to try and prove myself wrong, and since I’ll want to see as many films as I can, this sometimes involves this sort of challenge.

Blake Lively can’t act, Paul Feig makes dire ‘comedies’ like Bridesmaids and the Ghostbusters reboot, and there’s always a chance that Anna Kendrick might sing, so… let’s throw them all into the drama cooking pot and see if we might get the perfect storm where it all works out for a change.

Right at the very start, Emily (Blake Lively) has gone missing, and after she asked Stephanie (Anna Kendrick) for a simple favour to pick up her son from school. So, does that mean Ms Lively is never in it? No, because it cuts to flashbacks to tell the story.

Stephanie is very annoying and makes cooking vlogs for this film’s faux-Youtube channel, but she’s in awe of Emily, a woman who seems to have it all, with a big flashy house, but then life often does that as you see someone else’s life and think it’s more amazing than yours… when chances are, it’s not at all.

Emily’s deep in love with her husband, Sean (Henry Golding), and both the two ‘moms’ are best of friends until the rich one shows her true self when Stephanie takes her picture for the yearbook, without permission, causing Emily to take great exception.

Stephanie wishes she’d never bought Apple…

A Simple Favour is very twisty-turny, as Stephanie tries to get to the bottom of what’s happening, and it’s the kind of twists and turns which you won’t second-guess if you’re like me and just switch off and let a drama unfold before you. A film that’s part-drama and part-hilariously silly, but it works and it’s surprisingly good.

I was put off a little in one scene where the use of green screen was way too obvious. Without giving any spoilers, it was fairly late on in the film, and the two characters were having a conversation where part of it looked like it WAS set in that location, while for the most of the time, it was green-screened and with a prop or two, so they could be constantly against a bright background. You’d think they could just go ahead and film in the location without question, but US studios do this a lot as it’s just easier and saves applying for permits and so on, as well as banking on the right weather.

So, despite my initial, expected thoughts, the two female leads are both brilliant, and I liked the use of MC Solaar’s Nouveau Western, as heard playing in Emily’s house, approximately 47 minutes in.

As for the film itself, it’s shot in the rather odd 2.00:1 ratio which has become the norm for a lot of TV dramas these days, whether for Doctor Who or with a lot of Netflix dramas. However, I’m not sure how it would’ve been shown at the cinema, since cinemas either have 1.85:1 or 2.35:1 screens. If it’s the former, then fine, but if it’s the latter, then it could be like when I saw Tomorrowland: A World Beyond at the Odeon Trafford Centre. That film had a 1.90:1 ratio (Jeez, just stick to one or the other for the cinema!) and the print had the film in a 1.85:1 ‘container’ (so it was treated like a film in that ratio) and so it was windowboxed with black bars all around. There seems to be no option to ‘zoom in slightly’ so there was no way out of it for the cinema, and it’s the studio who states (at least for an opening weekend) which films are shown on which screens, purely by the number of seats available, so the screen ratio is of zero concern to them.

Blake Lively in “Good acting shocker!”

There’s a great stack of extras on this disc:

  • Special Features Introduction by Paul Feig (0:17): Brief, and with no apology for 2016’s Ghostbusters.

  • Gravestone Martinis (19:40): I won’t give the relevance of the title of this if you haven’t seen the film already, but this is a behind-the-scenes piece mixing clips from the film with chat from the two ladies, Feig, a number of crew members, and Linda Cardellini (who should be leading a ton of films herself)

  • More Featurettes: There’s another seven which follow the same trend, but go into more detail about various other elements of the film:

    • Suburban Noir: The Style of A Simple Favour (12:26)
    • Dapper Director Diaries With Paul Feig (10:34)
    • Love Triangle (6:11)
    • Style By Paul (4:46)
    • Flash Mob Making Of (5:23)
    • Dennis Nylon (4:55)
    • A Simple Playdate (4:33)

  • Flash Mob: Alternate Ending (5:57): Includes an optional intro from Feig, and while he wanted to include this dancing ending as the end credits played out, it didn’t work out in test screenings. Watching it now, I’m glad they didn’t include it as it’s cheesy and distracts from everything you’ve seen in the previous two hours, especially when it’s a very dark drama.f

  • Gag Reel (3:30): The cast crack up while making the film.

  • Deleted Scenes (11:49): Again, with an optional Feig intro, there are ten scenes but none that need to go back into the main film.

  • Audio commentaries: THREE of them:

    • 1. Paul Feig
    • 2. Paul Feig, Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Bashir Salahuddin and Jean Smart
    • 3. Paul Feig, writer Jessica Sharzer, producer Jessie Henderson, cinematographer John Schwartzman, customer designer Renee Ehrlich Kalfus

The menu features a short piece of composer Theodore Shapiro’s Start From The Beginning on a loop, set against clips from the film.

Subtitles are in English only and there are a bog-standard 12 chapters.

A Simple Favour is released today on Blu-ray, 4K Blu-ray, Amazon Prime and DVD.

MC Solaar – Nouveau Western


Detailed specs:

Running time: 117 minutes
Year: 2018
Distributor: Lionsgate
Cat.no: LIB95634R0
Released: January 21st 2019
Chapters: 12
Picture: 1080p High Definition
Sound: DTS HD-MA 5.1
Languages: English
Subtitles: English SDH
Format: 2.00:1 (DXL RAW (8K))
Disc Format: BD50

Director: Paul Feig
Producers: Paul Feig, Jessie Henderson
Screenplay: Jessica Sharzer
Novel: Darcey Bell
Music: Theodore Shapiro

Stephanie Smothers: Anna Kendrick
Emily Nelson: Blake Lively
Sean Townsend: Henry Golding
Dennis Nylon: Rupert Friend
Detective Summervile: Bashir Salahuddin
Diana Hyland: Linda Cardellini
Margaret McLanden: Jean Smart
Nicky Nelson: Ian Ho
Miles Smothers: Joshua Satine
Mrs. Kerry: Glenda Braganza
Darren: Andrew Rannells
Stacy: Kelly McCormack
Davis: Eric Johnson
Sona: Aparna Nancherla
Sona’s Daughter: Jiah Mavji
Lulu: Ava LaFramboise
Chris: Dustin Milligan
Grace (Stephanie’s Mom): Danielle Bourgon
Valerie: Gia Sandhu
Margaret (Sean’s Mom): Lila Yee
Officer Blanco: Zach Smadu
Sergeant Molloy: Andrew Moodie
Kiko: Patti Harrison
Diego: Jason Oliveira
Beth T.A.: Melissa O’Neil
Dennis Nylon Receptionist: Sugenja Sri