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The Rambler BD [Blu-ray]

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Product Details

  • Actors: Dermot Mulroney, Lindsay Pulsipher
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region A/1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: R
  • Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada
  • Release Date: June 25 2013
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • ASIN: B00BUQ14O4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #88,027 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x99d90438) out of 5 stars 20 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98e0f54c) out of 5 stars THE RAMBLER Rambles Incessantly June 23 2013
By Edward L Zimmerman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Dermot Mulroney is one of those faces we've seen in scores of film and TV products. It's likeable enough. It's honest enough. It's even wholesome enough. It's a face we can easily see attached to almost any kind of project - big studio stuff and/or indie flicks - and he has the kind of presence audiences can easily embrace. We want to root for the guy. We want him to succeed at whatever he's doing. We want to see him make it big.

And, yes, I'd have to say that's probably the biggest and best reason to sit through THE RAMBLER, clearly an attempt at some experimental narrative written and directed by Calvin Reeder. While some might try to convince you that THE RAMBLER is the bee's knees (Google it, kids!), I'd have to go the other way and say that aside from some small, independent moments wrapped up in the greater film there really isn't all that much to get excited about here. That's a disappointment, but sometimes a film is a film is a film ... I'm not sure what this is. Or was.

(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and characters. If you're the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then this ain't it! I'd encourage you to skip down to the last three paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you're accepting of a few modest hints at `things to come,' then read on ...)

The Rambler (played by Dermot Mulroney) was just released from prison, and, once he realizes he's living no life at all back home with his unfaithful `gal pal' and his trailer-park-trash `buddies.' Seeking out something better, he launches out on a cross-country journey to re-unite with his long-lost brother, but, along the way, he'll encounter an increasingly bizarre cast of characters that impart their own unique version of wisdom and life lessons.

Unfortunately, the principle problem with THE RAMBLER is that it presents itself as a macabre road movie, one where our narrator - the unnamed Rambler himself - appears to be on some personal quest. Heroes who go on such a soul-searching must have first and foremost a goal that doesn't only translate to a destination but also something that resembles a personal revelation or epiphany. For all the freakishly weird stops along the way, the Rambler really makes none. In fact, the only epiphany he experiences is in the final frames, and it's something the audience knew all along. Given that narrative framework, then we should've seen him progressing naturally toward this understanding along the way, but writer/director Calvin Lee Reeder serves up his central protagonist/antagonist in too deadpan a presentation for us to really `feel' much less `identify' any growth.

Instead, Mulroney takes the viewers on what more closely resembles a bad drug trip, complete with paranoid delusions and hallucinations. Little of this makes any sense - as I suspect was intended - and there are plenty of indications early on that it was never intended to be. There's plenty of visual and audible trickery present early on, and, since it comes without any context, the audience must make up its own mind about what it all means. But the big giveaway for me was in a scene that takes place outside the pawn shop where the Rambler finds employment; two ladies are `testing out' a sawed off shotgun that fire - gets this - four times without a single reload. From that point, I knew well and good that what I was about to see was entirely fictional - a dreamworld captured on celluloid. Sure, the crackling and static screens were early indicators, but outright silliness showed me that none of this was real.

When you can see the seams, then what you're watching comes apart pretty quickly. "Have you ever seen Frankenstein?" (It's a line of dialogue from late in the picture.) Precisely. With Frankenstein, you could always see the seams.

THE RAMBLER is produced by Also Known As Pictures, Brooklyn Reptyle Films, WindowLight Pictures, and XYZ Films. DVD distribution is being handled by Anchor Bay Films. As for the technical specifications, this indie snooze looks and sounds actually very impressive; there's a wealth of sequences in here that - in all seriousness - might be worth further study by students of films or even folks thinking about getting started on some experimental video project. (As is often the case, I can see there was talent behind and beyond the camera; I'm just immeasurably disappointed that this one didn't add up to anything more significant.) Sadly, there are no special features to speak of ... not Cliff Notes to explain what it all meant ... nor a director's apology.

(MILDLY) RECOMMENDED. If you're watching closely, then it becomes apparently real soon that THE RAMBLER is little more than a filmmaker's experiment with narrative: it starts with little meaning, it continues losing cohesiveness as the film plods from one stark experience to the next, and it ends pretty much where you figured it would, all symbolizing nothing or - some academic would have you believe - exactly what you think it does. Don't look for it to make any sense (or stick whatever meaning you want in there!), and you might find something to enjoy, though I'd be hard pressed to suggest what that is. Aside from some impressive visuals and a clearly David Lynch inspired story, I thought THE RAMBLER only rambled on for far too long.

In the interests of fairness, I'm pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Anchor Bay Films provided me with an advance DVD copy of THE RAMBLER by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98e0f5a0) out of 5 stars Good For Me, but a holding pattern from first feature. Dec 20 2014
By michael moodgroove - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I enjoyed it. Mulroney was great. But perhaps this will leave some viewers cold. Strangely, I found the rougher, lower-budget, THE OREGONIAN more original and striking. This movie is literally a doppelganger plotwise to that film. What you get here is a continuous series of "Weird America" vignettes strung together in a hazy, grimy, brutal pall. It runs from the darkly humorous to the outright grotesque. Dermot Mulroney holds the whole film together. He is one of the most underrated actors in america. But even he couldn't transcend the David Lynch aping, which seemed much more prominent here than in Reeder's first feature. I found on a few occasions a "weird for weird's sake" ethos creeping into the film without having any underlying concept or logic the way David Lynch would demand of himself. So some of the dreams, repetitions and odd segues start to seem like padding than something that was well thought out. Less open minded genre fans might have qualms with the movie's equal emphasis on Road Movie, Horror Film, and Western - so if you're looking for just one genre, you might not care for it. There still was a lot to enjoy - I have to say the song Reeder wrote for Mulroney to sing at the end of the film is a GREAT song. I wanted an Mp3. And I thought Lindsay Pulsipher was quite luminous with the little dialogue and scenes she was featured in. I hope she gets more roles. There is a yucky, vomiting scene that goes on for a long, LONG, long time. I think Reeder was testing the Comedy = Tragedy + Time theory!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98e0f87c) out of 5 stars Real Movie News review June 19 2013
By Ryan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Blu-ray
This sophomore feature from filmmaker Calvin Reeder solidifies his stature as a blatant David Lynch copycat. From the jarring editing and a nonsensical narrative to the surreal characters and dream-like situations, The Rambler doesn't just seem to borrow from films like Mulholland Dr. and Lost Highway as much as poorly imitate. Like The Oregonian, Reeder's first feature, The Rambler is purposefully confounding in both narrative and the unconventional yet intentionally jarring manner in which the story is presented. Even the worst of Lynch was more interesting and more coherent than this muddled misstep, but fans of experimental horror may enjoy the unsettling images and editing compiled in The Rambler. Others may find that this 99 minute film feels much, much longer.

The basic plot of The Rambler seems impossibly simple, and perhaps this is because the feature film is actually based on a 12 minute short that Reeder completed in 2008. Dermot Mulroney stars as the nameless rambler, on his way cross country to work with his brother on a horse ranch after being released from prison early for good behavior. He makes a brief appearance back home, but after discovering the unfaithfulness of his wife and the bleakness of this existence, he makes plans to join his brother for a peaceful existence in Oregon.

This peace is not easily found, as the rambler quickly discovers how quickly random violence occurs on the road. As he hitches rides across the country with his guitar in tow, rarely seeming to lose his hat and never parting with his sunglasses, this expressionless traveler comes across a cornucopia of quirky characters that range from harmless to homicidal. Oddly combining both of these attributes is the film's more compelling character, a mad professor played by James Cady. He has a device which is said to copy dreams onto VHS, but it has a bad habit of exploding the subject's heads instead.

This type of shock gore occurs randomly throughout The Rambler, as it did in Reeder's debut, but I would not place in the category of horror. It seems an appreciation of horror may be necessary to enjoy this film, however, if enjoyment is indeed intended. There is a sincerity missing from Reeder's material, which makes it difficult to tell whether this film is intended to have meaning or simply meant to aggravate and infuriate the audience. Or perhaps the filmmaker has no clue what any of it means, choosing to stylistically steal from other directors without figuring out what any of it means. Honestly, I could care less either way. Sincere or not, I didn't enjoy The Rambler, but that has less to do with the gore or confounding filmmaking. By the end I was just bored. This material was better suited for 12 minutes.

The Blu-ray is void of special features, though there are technical aspects of the filmmaking which are inarguably enhanced by high definition. You don't have to like it to appreciate the talent that went behind the nonsense.


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98e0fd98) out of 5 stars Waste of time. April 20 2014
By stacy g clark - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
Worst movie I have ever seen. I wish I could get my money back. I thought the brown bunny was bad, but this is much worse.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x98e0fdb0) out of 5 stars Repulsive and pointless waste of fake blood Aug. 7 2014
By Keith Nichols - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
I found no point to this film, in which Dermot Mulroney participates aimlessly and impassively in scenes of real or perhaps hallucinatory gore involving physical torture, mayhem, and human distress and abuse, many replayed as flashbacks to heighten their repulsive effect.

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