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Tom Hanks portrays suburbanite Ray Peterson, whose plans for a peaceful vacation are disturbed by a creepy new family on the block, in this outrageous suspense-comedy directed by Joe Dante. To the disappointment of his wife Carol (Carrie Fisher), Ray decides to spend a relaxing week at home, and soon gets into trouble with his neighbors - a hefty busybody (Rick Ducommun), a freaked-out ex-soldier (Bruce Dern), and a spacey teenager (Corey Feldman) - as they observe the strange happenings next door at the Klopek'sbizarre residence. When a neighboorhood grouch suddenly disappears, the men are convinced the ramshackle house hides some hideous clues. Armed with assault rifles, high-powered binoculars and a shovel, they decide to see for themselves exactly what is going on in the Klopek place. Set in an average neighborhood that is anything but average, The 'Burbs blends slapstick comedy and spine-thrilling mystery with the type of humor that has made Tom hanks one of today's most popular stars.
Ray Peterson (Tom Hanks) would like nothing better than to spend a quiet week's vacation in his suburban home, drinking beer and watching TV. But, spurred on by his two friends' spinning of boyish paranoid fantasies about their reclusive neighbors, the Klopeks, the usually down-to-earth Ray begins to suspect his idyllic neighborhood has been invaded by an evil force, to the point where he and his friends become psychotically nosey. You see where this is going, and you see it from a mile off. Only the general surface-thin plot is somewhat offset by director Joe Dante's fine sense of the absurd, and a host of engagingly played neighbor-types, namely Rick Ducommun as Ray's best friend who's always proposing bad ideas, and Bruce Dern as a sometimes wild-eyed ex-vet who'd love some action. Dante and crew seem to have a knack for keeping these broad characterizations light enough that you don't mind their superficiality. But the best jokes in this unprepossessing film come from composer Jerry Goldsmith's score; Bruce Dern's presence, for instance, is announced by the theme from Patton, and the boys' first approach to the Klopeks' for a meet-and-greet is buttressed by classic strains from Sergio Leone spaghetti Westerns. Kudos to the Klopeks, for their evil ways are ably embodied by Henry Gibson, Courtney Gains, and Brother Theodore. In particular, any suburb that finds it's inhabited by the likes of Brother Theodore is in dire need of new zoning laws. But Carrie Fisher's role as Ray's amiably long-suffering wife is thankless, and she deserves better. --Jim Gay
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I had held off on purchasing this title on Blu Ray because the previous edition was a bare-bones situation with poor reviews on various blu-ray sites. However, when I saw Shout was releasing the title, I decided to go for it. I'm very happy I did. I am a fan of Shout/Scream Factory because they've released so many titles which wouldn't be availible otherwise. That said- the quality can vary from film to film and some transfers are much more impressive than others.
The 1080p transfer of The 'Burbs is absolutely exquisite. I cannot believe this movie (which didn't look bad to begin with) has been improved to this degree. The finest of details pop like I've never seen before- In one particular scene where Ray and Art are having a conversation while standing in a garage, you can clearly read the time on Art's wristwatch. That's just one example of how much care has been put into cleaning up and remastering this print. However, the image does not look overly processed and enough grain remains to leave it still looking like a movie.
This isn't a movie that demands a hi-def transfer to be enjoyable and unless you really love it, I'm sure the DVD will suffice. If, like myself, this movie holds a special place in your heart, I believe you will be highly satisfied with this release.
This somewhat unknown, very early 1990's flick is a classic! If you're happening upon this having never seen it before, prepare to be amazed at one of Tom Hank's best movies. It's not so much the acting, as it's the plot and the lines in the movie. There are dozens of lines that you will be reciting for decades to come, one of which is above. This movie has a ton of great actors who went on (or had already done) very popular movies and roles. The movie itself is reminiscent of a time in Hollywood where quality, fun, unique, family-oriented, humorous movies were produced. There is no cursing, no political message being sent, no trendy social justice cause being promoted. This is an innocent, timeless movie that catches your attention, and will have you questioning your neighbors if you happen to be lucky enough to live in the 'burbs today. A must see!!
I guess from a psychological standpoint this film is designed to satiate fears, anxieties and confirm suspicions about those that live next door to us out in the sub-urban areas of cities. What does your neighbor do next door? Why do they rarely come out of their home? How come you only ever see them once in a while? What are they doing in there?!?!?!
Truth be told most people don't care who lives next door, but busy bodies and nosey neighbors need their fears confirmed and vented, and that's kind of what movies are all about, sadly enough.
The story is pure 80s Hollywood (maybe 90s), and stars a lot of actors notable from the 70s and 80s who give really good comedic performances. It's got that 80's Hollywood gloss to it as well, and even though it's not one of the more memorable comedies from that era, it actually does deliver the goods in terms of humor and laughs. It's not a rip-roaring wall to wall classic screwball comedy, but it's a pretty decent film.
Check it out and enjoy.