In director Lawrence Kasdan's film "Mumford", nothing really happens, and yet the film's characters provide such a warm, engaging atmosphere that I found myself drawn further and further into the movie. The film was absolutely dropped during its theatrical release, and barely did much business before leaving theaters and that's a shame because although it's not perfect, I think it's a very charming little film.
Actor Loren Dean(excellent in small turns in "Gattaca" and "Enemy Of The State") plays Dr. Mumford, a psychologist who sets up shop in a small town of the same name. Soon, he becomes the most popular psychologist in town; rather than asking many questions, he plays a little game of tennis with his patients. He lets them talk and work out their problems, and when he sees that things are begining to slow down, he bounces another question to keep them thinking, analyzing who they are.
We're introduced to the town's locals who have problems; there's Skip(Jason Lee), a young billionaire with his own business; a woman named Sofie(Hope Davis) who is suffering from fatigue; a depressed teen and a wealth of other people who are suffering. "Mumford" doesn't manipulate audiences, although it does get a little overly emotional once or twice. The film mainly is comfortable to let us into the lives of these characters, many of whom are down-to-earth and pleasant people who are very charming to watch for a couple of hours.
Yes, there are secrets and a plot twist or two, but I will not reveal them as to ruin the pleasure of watching this little film. It's nothing grand, but it offers fine performances and well-written characters. It was largely ignored in theaters and that's unfortunate - it's a good film that's definitely worth a look.
VIDEO: This is a beautiful looking transfer from Disney, and although it has a few small imperfections, it ranks along with "The Insider" as one of their better works. "Mumford" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, and the beautiful scenery of the small town looks very, very good here. Images are consistently at least adequately sharp; a few times they look slightly soft, but for the most part, they look pleasing. Detail is also good. Colors are what you would expect from a "small-town" film like this one - very warm and bright, looking well-saturated and natural, with no instances of bleeding or any other problems. Flesh tones are also natural and accurate.
There are a minimal amount of problems: a few slight traces of pixelation, but nothing terribly distracting. No shimmering, and the print used is in excellent condition with the exception of a very small mark or two. It just goes to show that when Disney does things right, they really do a fine job.
SOUND: As expected, "Mumford" remains a dialogue-driven film that offers simply the conversations between the characters as well as a very pleasing score. The score sounds clear and natural, but never really has much of a presence. Dialogue is clear and easily understood. Nothing too agressive, but again, that would be expected here.
MENUS:: Like all other Disney titles, the menus are extremely basic and non-animated.
EXTRAS: A short production featurette and the theatrical trailer.
Final Thoughts: A very enjoyable little film, "Mumford" is deserving of a rental, even if Disney didn't offer much with the DVD.
The Film B+
Video 92/A = (368/400 possible points)
Audio: 85/B = (340/400 possible points)
Extras: 75/C = (225/300 possible points)
Menus: 65/D = (130/200 possible points)
Value: 80/B- = (240/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: B+
DVD GRADE: B