The Brass TeapotOverview -
When a couple discovers that a brass teapot makes them money whenever they hurt themselves, they must come to terms with how far they are willing to go.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
I had a chance to see 'The Brass Teapot' earlier in the year and thoroughly enjoyed it. This sadistic dark comedy is one you won't soon forget. With a likable cast, a twisted story, and a great script, it's a must see, even with all of its horrific situations. Writer/Director Ramaa Mosley based this film on a short story of the same name and originally wanted to make it in comic book form, however, she eventually decided that it would be a fantastic movie. She wasn't wrong.
We focus on a young married couple, Alice and John (Juno Temple and Michael Angarano), who love each other deeply, but are struggling financially. Back in high-school, Alice was the prom queen and voted 'Most Likely to Succeed', and was on track to follow in the footsteps of her former high-school friend Payton (Alexis Bledel), who married a wealthy guy and lives in a giant house. Meanwhile Alice and John live in a modest home and are still trying to make ends meet day to day, with John working as a telemarketer so Alice can get her degree in Art History.
One afternoon, Alice and John are involved in a car accident with their old Pinto. And as John is discussing the crash with a police officer, Alice is somewhat hypnotized and drawn to an antique store run by an old lady (Rebecca Darke) across the street. Alice then comes upon an intricate brass teapot in the back of the store, and ends up stealing the teapot without John or the old lady knowing. As we soon find out, the teapot comes from thousands of years ago and spews out cash-money on one condition. Pain.
From here, 'The Brass Teapot' turns into a twisted and dark comedy as John and Alice begin to inflict pain on themselves to earn money from this magical teapot. We see some BDSM roleplay, a brazilian wax, and dental work without anesthesia, and some good ole fashioned pain involving hammers and other tools. Needless to say, the lives of Alice and John are quickly improved as they move into a new house near Payton, throw lavish parties, and pick up dinner checks for their friends. But soon, causing physical pain is not enough for the teapot, as after a while it only spews out a few nickels. However, the teapot begins to pay large sums for emotional abuse. This causes Alice and John to say and admit to some really horrible stuff about their partner. Stuff that even the longest lasting marriages wouldn't survive. And if that wasn't enough, the teapot pays even bigger if you emotionally batter other friends and family.
Meanwhile, John takes the teapot to the show 'Antiques Roadshow,' where the host (Matt Walsh) is unable to figure out when and where it actually came from, but draws the attention of others who are watching. One of those people is a supposed doctor who claims that he is the third or fourth generation of his family who has been looking for this teapot and says it was the property of Hitler at one point. His goal is to retrieve this artifact and destroy it forever, as it clearly carries an evil curse and always destroys the lives it comes in contact with.
It's a downward spiral for the couple until we hope they realize that money is not everything in life. 'The Brass Teapot' borders on silly comedy, and dark sadistic horror, but the two mix very well to give us one hell of a raunchy, twisted black comedy. The script is fantastic with Temple and Angarano having amazing chemistry. Ali Shawkat, Bobby Moynihan, and Jack McBrayer make cameos here as well.
'The Brass Teapot' is a wonderful and original story that is told flawlessly. Sure, there are some painful, perverted, and maniacal situations throughout this film between a sweet couple. But, it's their love and willingness to do good in the end that makes this whole film work. And it begs the question, "What would you do for a large sum of money?"
'The Brass Teapot' comes with a great 1080p HD transfer presented in 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The detail is well defined here as we can see good closeups revealing the actor's facial blemishes. Even the bruises, cuts, gashes, and clothing look amazing here. The colors look great too, and seem to have a muted shade to them, until the couple start bringing in the big bucks, then things get a bit brighter.
The blacks run deep and inky as well, although there are not too many scenes with solid blacks. And it must be noted that when the teapot spews out wads and wads of cash in the air, there are no compression issues or motion blur, which was a delight to see. Banding and dirt are non-existent on this great video presentation.
This release comes with a wonderful lossless DTS-HD 5.1 audio mix. The dialogue is crystal clear and always easy to understand. It's also perfectly situated on the fronts and center speaker. The ambient sounds of people talking at parties and cars driving by sound good from the surrounds, but the big star of the audio mix is the teapot itself.
Every time the teapot spews out money, is touched, or someone is near it, the bass kicks in and rumbles and makes all sorts of noises, coming from all speakers. It's truly mystifying. And not to mention, the painful cries and yelps from out two main characters as well as the actual sound of them inflicting pain is a lot of fun on this soundtrack. Andrew Hewitt provides a good score with some fun songs to add to this quirky film. Great audio presentation here.
- Commentary with Director Ramaa Mosley and Executive Producer P. Jennifer Dana - Mosely and Dana provide a fun commentary, although Mosley is mostly the one talking. We hear about the production of the film and how they saved money by shooting in different places as well as some improv scenes from the actors. A highly recommended commentary track.
- Uncovering: The Brass Teapot (HD, 27 mins) - This is a fun fake documentary about the origins of The Brass Teapot.'
- Deleted Scenes (HD, 13 mins) - Here are around twelve deleted and extended scenes from the film.
- Prologue/Alternate Opening (HD, 9 mins) - Here is an alternate opening that shows a brief history of the teapot that dates back many, many years. This alternate scene was cut early on in production as it was never fully edited. Worth a look though.
- Interview with Director Ramaa Mosley (HD, 8 mins) - Mosley discusses how she got into making the picture and the origins of the teapot.
- Interview with Michael Angarano (HD, 6 mins) - Angarano discusses the general gist of the movie and provides an insight into his and Temple's character.
- AXS TV: A Look at 'The Brass Teapot' (HD, 5 mins) - This is basically a promo spot for the film with interviews.
- Trailers (HD, 12 mins) - The trailer for the film and other movies.
'The Brass Teapot' is a fun and highly entertaining film, even if some scenes are brutal. But Mosely did a great job of mixing the harsh pain with brilliant comedy here. The actors do an amazing job with a well-polished script. The video and audio presentations are top notch with a slew of decent extras. This one comes highly recommended.
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