HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Last Vegas
HTS Overall Score:82
We’ve all grown up with films where aging men try to act out and defy their age, proving to themselves and everyone around them (but mostly to themselves) that they are only as young as they feel. Walter Matthau and Jack Lemon made a killing of it in “Grumpy old Men” and now we have a uniting of an ensemble cast to prove it once more. Ensemble films can be tricky and usually end up wasted as most of the budget is spent on attracting all the stars and the direction takes a turn for the worst with all of the stars trying to grandstand. It worked for “The Expendables” series to a certain extent in the first and then took off and now we have new ensemble team, albeit a bit less “expendable”. Going into the film I honestly didn’t know what to expect, but the trailers didn’t reach out and “grab me” so to speak. Luckily my fears were laid to rest, or at least partially so. “Last Vegas” was sweet, funny and poignant, with a mix of mediocre writing to bring it down from a WOW, to just “that was fun”.
Billy (Michael Douglas), Paddy (Robert DeNiro), Sam (Kevin Kline) and Archie (Morgan Freeman) have been friends for almost 60 years. As young ones, they were inseparable and even during the maturing years of their life they managed to stay friends. While Billy and Paddy have sort of fallen away, the crew is back for one more round of friendly fun as Billy is getting married to a woman he could easily be a father to. Billy is still the problem starting and pokes and prods his friends into a bachelor party in Vegas, even though the 4 musketeers are running on stroke medication and artificial joints. Tricking Paddy into coming along the 4 are united once more and plan to live it up BIG time. Not only are the cadre up to have a little fun, but to prove to themselves that they “still got it”. Paddy is grieving over the loss of his wife a year earlier, Billy is the slick, rich socialite who just wants to have fun, Archie is living with a son who barely lets him out of the house as they over care for him and wants to live it up and Sam wants to “live it up” Vegas style in an effort to prove that he’s still alive.
Now usually these sort of 4 pronged stories tend to fail as the movie doesn’t have the runtime to accommodate the stories, but the film does a solid job of keeping these 4 men’s Vegas journey close knit and intertwined with each other as both Billy and Paddy start to fall for a stage performer who happens to be their own age. It seems that Paddy and Billy were both in love with the same woman in their youth and that woman just so happens to be Paddy’s now dead wife. The same issues are dug up again as they both start to fall for ANOTHER woman at the same time. Billy comes to the realization that he can’t hold on to an old flame, and that his new wife is just another way for him to escape his age rather than face it head on.
All this going on as Archie and Sam party it up on the strip (along with winning $102,000) adding some great humor and hijinks along the way. Strangely this film was way better than it honestly should have been. The script itself was decent, but rather pedestrian, giving the same old clichés that we’ve known for decades about “aging men” an even the witty dialogue SHOULD have fallen a bit flat. What really saved the film is the thing that usually tanks an ensemble film….the ensemble cast. Kline, DeNiro, Freeman and Douglas literally pull the film up by its bootstraps and give the film a good one two punch to get it going. The 4 men literally are having the time of their lives and the chemistry and gusto is infections as they joke and rib each other about aging while having the time of their life. Jokes that should have fallen flat rang true and situations that should have been cheesy were pulled out of mediocrity as the cast literally lifted up the entire movie. Not to say that the film was inherently, bad, but that it was nothing special, the 4 musketeers here were what was truly special and the rest of the film just reflected the luster of their camaraderie.
Rated PG-13 on appeal for sexual content and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=14296[/img]“Last Vegas” is another Sony new releases, and as such, it is just as stunning as can be with a near perfect 2.40:1 AVC encode. Color pop off the screen, with rich shades of greens, blues, browns and reds saturating every scene of the movie and accentuating the lavish style of Las Vegas. Detail is every bit the shown runner here, letting is see the every flaw and detail throughout the film. The hairs on DeNiro’s rugged and aging face are crystal clear, and I swear Morgan Freeman has more freckles than before. Black levels are inky and deep, the club scene giving a nice contrast of colors to the rich blacks surround it and giving plenty of shadow detail to oooo and ahhh over. Contrasts are spot on perfect and the only scene or so that I have anything at ALL to complain about was the first scene where there was some intentional softness and a yellow color grading to imitate the 1950s of their childhood. Otherwise this was another spit and polished Sony encode that they normally put out.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=14297[/img]Now the 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track is nearly as good as the video encode. I’ll say this upfront, I was really torn about giving the film a 4/5 or 4.5/5 and finally settled on a 4/5 NOT because I felt there was a real deficiency, but just due to the fact that a dialogue driven film like this, you’re going to be limited in LFE and surround usage. The Film is very heavily front driven, with some great surround usage, but the usage is limited to the bustling sounds of Vegas and other ambient noises with little bursts where it would light up all 6 speakers during the club scenes and the bachelor party scenes. Dialogue is crystal clear and very well balanced, giving the film a solid base to lock onto and the dynamic range was smooth, with a wide range of effects whether it be the soft sound of a shoe on carpet to the roaring of a bachelor party at full throttle. LFE is limited, but very effective, adding a soft low end to the film and roaring into life during the Vegas night life. Excellent in all that it sets out to be, the 5.1 DTS-HD MA track is perfect for the film and has no real deficiencies besides the limitations of the genre for audio.
• Directors Commentary
• It's Going to Be Legendary
• Four Legends
• The Redfoo Party
• The Flatbush Four
• Supporting Ensemble
• Shooting In Sin City
“Last Vegas” isn’t a blockbuster hit, but it’s a cute and funny story about men coming to grips with their age and still being able to be men, Never going above and beyond into the TOTALLY ludicrous, they battle their own inner demons about age as well as show that aging gracefully isn’t about genetics, but about how you handle the years. The excellent audio and video from Sony is icing on the cake and the solid set of extras is nothing to sneeze at. I’d certainly recommend a watch and even hovers on must buy for some. I like to be pleasantly surprised and this one was definitely a pleasant surprise. Recommended.
Starring: Robert Deniro, Michael Douglas, Kevin Kline, Morgan Freeman
Directed by: Jon Turteltaub
Written by: Dan Fogleman
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Studio: Sony Pictures
Blu-Ray Release Date: January 28th, 2014
Buy Last Vegas Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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