SISTERS & BROTHERS (Blu-ray)
Anchor Bay / 2011 / 86 mins / R
Sisters & Brothers focuses on four separate stories of different siblings with dysfunctional relationships. Two brothers deal with one being more famous, two sisters try to mend their relationship on a road trip, a sister deals with her brother's mental problems and a spoiled teen discovers she has a half-sister. The segments are only connected by the theme of family and comic book style transitions (which don't really make much sense for the motif of the film outside of looking mildly appealing).
The stories are a mixed bag, floating between interesting scenarios and flat characters. Right from the start, you can already tell how most of these segments will play out. The jealousy between successful celebrity Justin (Dustin Milligan) and his less successful brother Rory (Cory Monteith) plays out almost exactly how you'd expect. Likewise, the rocky relationship between Nikki (Amanda Crew) and Maggie (Camille Sullivan) reaches its logical conclusion on a road trip to Hollywood with a questionable television producer.
The challenging bond of Louise (Gabrielle Miller) to her mentally ill brother (Ben Ratner) is interesting to watch, but hardly goes anywhere outside of uncomfortable outbursts. The only story that feels somewhat unique is the story of Sarah (Kacey Rahl) dealing with her single lesbian mom and discovering her half-sister.
Aside from the comic book transitions, the strangest added element are the interviews with the characters in sort of a documentary format. This makes the film all the more confusing in what exactly it's aiming for. Was it trying to be a documentary style dramedy with a comic book linking device or were these bits only included to seem more hipster and cool? Either way, these are mostly useless segments that add nothing to the film.
The only part of the film that is actually effective is the acting. Most of the cast delivers great performances for what seem like very simple and loose roles they could really dig into. Unfortunately, some of them go a little over the top to really sell the emotion. Then again, I don't blame them too much given the lukewarm scripts they had to work with. At least they're appealing enough where you can't take your eyes off their performances. They save this film from being a complete waste of 86 minutes.
Anchor Bay has delivered a decent Blu-ray, but hardly a showcase title. The video transfer isn't terrible, but there are some inconsistent grain levels. The TrueHD 5.1 audio is somewhat better, but there are not a whole lot of moments in the film to show it off.
No extras are included on the disc.
Sisters & Brothers has a noble theme, but it's a mess of odd direction that almost negates the solid performances. There are a few scenes worth watching for if you can get over the strange editing and some uneven acting. It's a bit disheartening that the film is trying too hard to look cool since most of these stories could've been entertaining without all the forced quirkiness. It's a rental at best.