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California Solo [DVD]

Robert Carlyle , Alexia Rasmussen , Marshall Lewy    Suitable for 15 years and over   DVD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
Price: 14.53 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Actors: Robert Carlyle, Alexia Rasmussen, Kathleen Wilhoite, A. Martinez, Danny Masterson
  • Directors: Marshall Lewy
  • Producers: Mynette Louie
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Soda Pictures Ltd.
  • DVD Release Date: 29 July 2013
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00D48ZQAE
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 81,845 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Product Description

Drama starring Robert Carlyle as an expat musician living in America who's suddenly forced to confront his past. Lachlan MacAldonich (Carlyle), former guitarist with Britpop band 'The Cranks', now happily wiles away the days working on a farm on the outskirts of Los Angeles. But he soon finds his world imploding when, in the wake of a drink-driving charge, he's threatened with deportation by the authorities after they turn up an old drugs offense. Now, only able to stay if he can prove his banishment will cause hardship to a blood relative, Lachlan is forced to contact his ex-wife Catherine (Kathleen Wilhoite) and try to build bridges with Arianwen (Savannah Lathem), the daughter he barely knows.


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good movie! 31 Aug 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
It's nice to have a really realistic movie without hollywood utopia special effects for a change. This one is certainly a wonderful quiet film about a man and his journey. Very recommendable. I love the ending as well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carlyle on top form 10 Aug 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
This film is set across the backdrop of a small farming community in the USA. Robert Carlyle plays a troubled former pop star from the UK. He is an alcoholic who spends his days working as a farm labourer, and spending his nights drinking at the local bar. During one of his sessions he drives home and is caught drink driving by the police. Facing deportation, Carlyle's character resorts to every trick in the book to avoid being sent back to his native (and hated) homeland.

This sets up the rest of the film for periods of anger, darkness and ultimately self acceptance.

Robert Carlyle appears in every scene of this film, and delivers his best performance since his glory days of the 1990's.
Its a slow burning affair and has the look and feel of an indie movie. This is no bad thing, because after Carlyle's previous US television work of the last few years, which for many has been disappointing, he really gets his teeth into this role as Lachlan from Kilmarnock, Scotland. I enjoyed the film and while it may not be on repeat play, I found it enjoyable and rewarding, I will watch it again.

No spoilers here, but the synopsis on the dvd cover is somewhat misleading as it claims Lachlan is in love. My interpretation of the film was that he is not.

I really hope Robert gets his movie career back on track, because he is one of our best actors. Fingers crossed for Begbie in Trainspotting 2.

5 stars
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great 24 Dec 2013
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Fast shipping and low prices. I thought it would be harder to get it since I live in Sweden, but there wasn't so I will buy more stuff for sure.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A lovely wee film 28 Oct 2013
By Jay
Format:DVD
Just a wee gentle film about a Scots musician who has made his home in the US. Nice backstory and well played, especially by Robert Carlyle and a fine turn from A. Martinez.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  25 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars California Solo: A Melancholy Character Study with a Stunning Lead Performance 15 Jan 2013
By Barbara Barnett - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
In the press notes for California Solo, writer-director Marshall Lewy defines "FEAR" as an acronym that can mean either: "f*** everything and run" or "face everything and recover." Perhaps, more than anything, that is the underlying theme of his new movie California Solo. Starring Robert Carlyle in a mesmerizing performance, California Solo traces the first steps of one faded former Britpop rocker from once sense of fear to the other.

When we meet the movie's central character Lachlan MacAldonich, whom Carlyle infuses with equal portions of self-loathing and charm, he is living a comfortably numb existence. Carlyle is perfectly cast as Lachlan, the Scottish former lead guitarist in a "big deal" `90s British rock band, the Cranks. The band's real "big deal" was Lachlan's older brother, the Cranks lead singer Jed, who died tragically of a drug overdose years earlier in L.A.

By night, Lachlan hosts a rather morbid podcast called Flameouts, honoring the world's great musicians, tragically dead before their time: from T-Rex's Marc Bolan, to that most tragic of composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. But, the one flameout Lachlan's not yet profiled is Jed; the memory of his brother's death is still too keen and raw, even more than a decade later, as Lachlan feels responsible (with good reason) for the overdose that killed him.

Since Jed's death, Lachlan hasn't been home to the U.K.--never faced family, friends, and fans. Nor really himself. Now an expat with a green card, in this self-imposed exile, hiding from his past and himself in Antelope Valley, California, Lachlan works on an organic farm owned by Warren (A Martinez in a gentle, sympathetic performance as Lachlan's patient boss).

That "comfortably numb" existence, and a steady diet of beer and Scotch, seems to be the only way Lachlan can live with himself, getting drunk nightly alone in his tiny hovel of a home or at the local bar. On one such night, Lachlan is pulled over and charged with a DUI; his problems are only just beginning.

A barely-remembered marijuana possession charge from years earlier threatens him with deportation unless he can prove himself valuable to someone--anyone--who is a U.S. citizen. As Lachlan confesses, "I can't think of anyone who would give a toss whether I'm here or not.", Lachlan reluctantly turns to his estranged ex-wife Catherine (Kathleen Wilhoite) and daughter Arianwen (Savannah Lathem)--whom he hasn't seen since she was three years old--as his last desperate hope against facing the music back home. It's a tricky path for him to take, full of emotional landmines, and, ultimately, there are no easy answers for him.

There is also an ongoing flirtation between Lachlan and Beau, a farmer's market customer. It would have been easy to take the relationship to its logical end and land them in bed. But it really rings true that it doesn't wind up that way. Lachlan is clearly so screwed up at this point and so self-destructive at this point, it's hard to imagine him pursuing it, even though he might desire it. It's an interesting narrative choice, but it makes a lot of sense, even though it might contradict conventional wisdom (and frustrate those of us more romantic souls).

And in the end, as well, the film's resolution doesn't necessarily go where the audience might expect either. There are no neat bows to tie up the shattered remains of Lachlan's life, yet it's not completely bleak. There are no pat answers; it's a hopeful, yet truthful. Lewy leaves filmgoers with a sense that he's evolving and that he is going to go face his past.

California Solo, more than anything, is a carefully drawn character study of a middle-aged man stuck in a 15-year old nightmare much of his own making. To say that Robert Carlyle's performance is stunning is not hyperbole; it's simple fact. He's in nearly every frame of the 97-minute film; we can't avoid getting pulled into the chaos of his life. One moment, we feel terrible for him; at another, we want to shake him and tell him to grow up, for heaven's sake!

We want him to find some peace, even as he refuses it in a self-destructive downward spiral intensified by his current problems with immigration. And whether he is wallowing in a drunken stupor of self-pity, raging about his immigration situation, shyly and ineffectively courting a beautiful young woman, or trying to reconnect with a daughter he barely knows, it's all there played out behind Carlyle's soulful eyes. He hits every emotional beat true and natural in a brilliant performance.

The actor always manages to find the humanity and vulnerability in every character he plays, but California Solo gives Carlyle the opportunity to exhibit the full range of his mastery. He doesn't miss a beat; none of it feels forced. It is gorgeous, naturalistic acting at its finest.

Ultimately, California Solo should be appreciated for the beautiful character study it is at its core, and the exquisite, heartbreaking performance of its lead actor. Not a huge, raucous rock movie, but rather a melancholy and not-too-sweet ballad of a film.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Understated Character Piece Featuring A Great Robert Carlyle Performance 13 Mar 2013
By K. Harris - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
As a great showcase for underrated actor Robert Carlyle, Marshall Lewy's character study "California Solo" gives him one of his most fully realized roles in years. Truly, I am a fan of Carlyle. Sometimes, though, I forget just how good he can be. This low-key indie really lets Carlyle tap into the depths of the central character. There is no big plot or major drama in this modestly scaled picture, just one man shaken from routine and apathy to look at the life he's chosen and the one he's left behind. Carlyle is so natural, so believable, and so comfortable in the skin of a former British rocker living a quiet life in America! And it's this easy performance that carries "California Solo" to success. The screenplay develops a realistic situation and Carlyle sells it at every turn. There is no artifice in this understated presentation, just a compelling reflection of a life lived.

Set in the rural outskirts of Los Angeles, Carlyle (once a famed wild child) lives a subdued existence tending to an organic farm. He still has a certain charm and a way with the ladies, and he enjoys a comfortable numbness in emotional solitude. A drunk driving stop, however, will abruptly end this way of life. Threatened with deportation, Carlyle starts to scramble. His legal woes and precarious position threaten a burgeoning new romance and will have him reuniting with a family long abandoned. The occurrence shakes him from the post-fame ennui that has defined him for decades. But in discovering what he values, might it be a little too late to matter? Again, the film just flows over the viewer in an incredibly subtle way. It gives Carlyle the chance to really open up and it's a fantastic performance.

I appreciated that Carlyle was allowed to be a complex persona. Selfish and unlikable at times, he is never alienating. It would have been easy to make him a complete boor, but there is a real heart beating in "California Solo." You realize he's not a bad guy even if he commits bad acts. And in this new crisis, a form of redemption is possible. But this is not mushy and sentimental and the screenplay doesn't sell Carlyle out for cheap catharsis. I, for one, found this refreshingly honest. If you want a big plot driven movie, this isn't it. But as a quiet character contemplation, this movie has surprising edge and unexpected heart. I never knew quite where Carlyle was going to take me, and so I was fully invested in his journey. KGHarris, 3/13.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Review of DVD - Indie film that revolves around Robert Carlyle as the lead 24 Feb 2013
By Steven I. Ramm - Published on Amazon.com
Format:DVD
This 95-minute film was an "Official" selection at Sundance and probably played many other film festivals. It's definitely an independent film on a small budget. Its 30 locations were shot in an amazingly short 21 days. (You learn this from the "Making of..." featurette in the DVD bonuses.

The one "name" actor is Scottish actor Robert Carlyle (who I must admit has an accent thick enough that I know I missed some of his dialogue. And, there are no "subtitle options", which might have helped). He's well-known but was new to me. His character, Lachlan MacAldonich, was in a UK rock band with his brother but - for reasons you will learn in the film - he left the band (well, it broke up) and has been living in California (outside LA ) for the last 10 years. One think you learn about Lachlan is that he drinks a lot. (If the liquid consumed in this film was real alcohol, a good portion of the budget would have been spent on it.) Writer/Director Marshall Lewy intends for Lachlan's character to be one that some of the audience take compassion for and other see him as a loser. He does make some really stupid moves. I won't go into details that will tell you how the story ends. That would give away too much.

There are other characters in Lachlan's life in the film but they are - in my opinion - thinly drawn. The main one is Beau - who is described on the package as being "a lovely struggling actress". I don't ever remember her "occupation" being mentioned in the film but the central part of the story is that both Lachlan and Beau each have "problems" and may save each other. Lachlan's problem is of course his alcoholism but all we know about Beau is that she has "some bad days". (At least I couldn't figure out what her problems were.). Near the end we meet Lachlan's ex-wife and teenage daughter and the story changes again. I like independent films and gave this one a chance and the time was well spent. But I kept getting the feeling that Director Lewy was so excited to get a "name" actor in his film, that he concentrated on Lachlan so much he left loose ends for the other characters. (He gloats about Carlye signing on to the film in that "Making of ... short".

As noted above there is the nine-minute "Making of.." short as well as A (just one) deleted scene lasting 2 minutes. The theatrical t5railer is there too. That's it for bonuses.

I'll recommend this to those who like to take a chance on American independent films. But it's not perfect.

I hope you found this review both informative and helpful.

Steve Ramm
"Anything Phonographic"
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Work by Carlyle 14 July 2013
By C. Kim - Published on Amazon.com
Very much an "artsy" character piece. Carlyle gives a masterfull performance as a very fallible, burned-out rocker whose life is anything but idyllic. The "feel good" in this movie requires a bit of work to find but it's worth the effort if you enjoy portayals of life as it might be.

A supporting performance by Kathleen Wilhoite also adds a bit of flair in my eyes. I admit that she was one of my favorite parts of "Road House", that '80s Patrick Swayze vehicle.

"California Solo" is definately not your standard Hollywood fare... more like something you'd hear buzz about at Sundance or Telluride. So if you enjoy indy art movies, "California Solo" should be your list of movies to watch.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good flick 20 Jun 2013
By PhilDub - Published on Amazon.com
This was a cool flick. It didn't have the typical mainstream BS yet had the production quality that without, normally makes these smaller movies unwatchable. I enjoyed it.
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