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Number 94 - January, 2003

Staff


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Divider

Ballistic The Bourne Identity
Easy Come, Easy Go Eye See You
Fun in Acapulco Girls! Girls! Girls!
Italian for Beginners K*19: The Widowmaker
Paradise Hawaiian Style Serving Sara
S1m0ne xXx

Divider

Miramax

2000, Color, Rated R

1 Hr 37 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.55:1

Italian Dolby Digital 2.0

English Subtitles

 

Directed by Lone Scherfig

 

Starring Anders W. Berthelsen, Anette Støvelbaek, Ann Eleonora Jørgensen, Peter Gantzler, Lars Kaaalund, and Sara Indrio Jensen.

 

Release Date: 10/15/2002

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

No

Sex

No

Language

No

"Italian for Beginners"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

The characters Andreas, Jorgen, Finn, Giulia, Olympia, Karen, and the displaced Reverend are introduced in rapid succession at the beginning of the film. I thought the initial introductions seem a little amateurish, especially the succession of similarly unfortunate events that happens to the main characters. However, each develops a comically believable personality, complete with over-the-top traits and concerns. After the introduction, the story is pleasing and mostly believable, though predictable. The six main characters become closer through a few coincidences and a common setting, the night class with the movie’s namesake. Witty conversation, true-to-life issues, and a goofy lightheartedness make this film an open-minded crowd pleaser. Just don’t expect much Italian or the type of polish that the cover would suggest.

Commentary

Director Lone Scherfig weaves an amusing and sweet tale of several everyday people looking for love, or at the very least, a working knowledge of Italian. The movie is a participant in the Dogme movement, which basically means that it has to look like its budget is lower than student projects. Seriously though, Dogme is a niche that was carved out to preserve the viability of authentic and independent movies. An intriguing concept, the full “Vow of Chastity” can be viewed here:

http://www.tvropa.com/tvropa1.2/film/dogme95/menu/menuset.htm

A home theater demo DVD this is certainly not, as the Dogme rules require a single consumer DV cam be used for all shots. Additionally, no tripods or optical filters may be used. All shots must be at found locations, with no set creation. All sounds must come from the shooting environment. Certainly, these rules take their toll on the movie, resulting in distractingly bad shaky camerawork and shockingly abrupt cuts. With production value like this, the viewer focuses on the characters and story as a means of self-defense.

- Ya-Bing Chu -

Technical

This is a fairly bad looking disc, but it is not the encoding that is the problem. It is just what happens when you make a film this way. On a positive note, it is an enjoyable film, and that is what matters most. The only thing worse than the image is the audio quality, so it is a good thing it is subtitled.

The entire film is encoded as video, which is no surprise given how it was filmed. If you are watching this on a flag reading progressive scan player, like an HTPC, you will be unhappy. However, if you have an Genesis/Sage based DVD player, you will see just how good DCDi really is.

As for the MPEG PIC flags, hooray, there is not a single drop to video, but there are a few film 3-3 and 2-2 anomalies.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

N/A.

Video (2-2)

The entire disc is encoded as video.

Film (3-3)

N/A

Film (2-2 / 30p)

N/A

To have a better understanding of what the flags above mean, please refer to our "A Beautiful Mind" review.

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Franchise Pictures
2002, Color, Rated R
1 Hr 31 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16:9 Enh)

Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Alan McElroy

 

Starring Antonio Banderas, Lucy Liu

 

Release Date: 12/31/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Not Tested

Violence

Yes

Sex

No

Language

Yes

"Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

FBI Agent Ecks (Banderas) has retired because his wife's death has turned him into an alcoholic. But, the FBI calls him out of retirement to rescue a kidnapped child held hostage by a Chinese agent, Sever (Liu). He refuses, but they force him to help, saying that they know his wife is alive, and will only tell him where she is if he takes the job.

Commentary

This movie has the necessary requirements for a nice evening, including actors, acting, directing, and great effects, but it is missing one important item, a quality script. It seems to me that if they are willing to spend millions on the production, they could do better than this. I am not sure why the title has Ecks vs. Sever in it. Perhaps there will be a Ballistic II.

Extras

Included are The Making Of, Know Your Enemy Challenge, Trailer, and interviews with the stars and director.

 

- John E. Johnson, Jr. -

 

 

 

Divider

Universal Pictures, 2002, Color, Rated PG-13, 1 Hr 59 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16:9 Enh)

DD 5.1

 

Directed by Doug Loman

 

Starring Matt Damon, Franka Potente

 

Release Date: 1/21/03

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Not Tested

Violence

Yes

Sex

No

Language

No

"The Bourne Identity"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Jason Bourne (Damon) wakes up on a boat with two bullets in his back, along with a capsule in his skin that has a Swiss bank account number. Even worse, he can't remember who he is. After docking in a Zurich port, he goes to the US embassy, only to find people trying to kill him.

The bank account number leads him to a box with money and numerous forged passports. He discovers he has remarkable offensive and defensive powers, and enlists the aid of a young lady (Potente) to take him to Paris, where he has an address under one of the passport names. Meanwhile, the American CIA tries to either bring in their wayward agent, or liquidate him.

Commentary

Although the story is vintage Robert Ludlum, Damon seems out of place in this film. Perhaps he just looks too young to have the skills and assignments that Bourne has had in the past. Even though Harrison Ford is a little old to play this part, it would have looked more appropriate.

Extras

Included are Alternate Ending, Deleted Scenes, an Interview with Doug Loman, The Making Of, and Games.

 

- John E. Johnson, Jr. -

Divider

Paramount

1962, Color, Rated G

1 Hr 38 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 16x9 enh

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital Mono

French Dolby Digital Mono

 

Starring Elvis Presley and Stella Stevens.

Directed by Norman Taurog

 

Release Date: Jan, 2003

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

*

Violence

No

Sex

No

Language

No

"Girls! Girls! Girls!"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Elvis plays a charter-boat skipper who loves his simple life.  But when his boss decides to retire and sell the gear, all he can think about is buying the sail boat.  To help raise cash, he agrees to work as a singer at the local club even though that means going up after his old girlfriend.

He also tries being a fishing boat captain, but that turns out to be less than lucrative.  Good thing he finds a new girl with plenty of money, though she doesn't want anyone to know she has it.

Commentary

This is actually not a bad story in and of itself, but it feels really cheap.  As with all these "quickie" Elvis movies, everything in the script is really just an excuse to jump into a song.  When Elvis is on the fishing boat, one of the crew says something off handed about shrimping in Louisiana, and bang, Elvis can sing "Here come da shrimp boat".  Elvis is actually not a bad actor, but there just wasn't anything for him to do here.

Extras

There are no extras whatsoever beyond some period trivia on the DVD case.

Technical

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a bit of a fooler:  Its not really a 5.1 remix.  The soundtrack is as mono as mono can be until a song comes on and then suddenly we are two channel stereo.  It doesn't really work though because if you are off center, you'll only hear the music from the speaker to the side you are on.  On the other hand, the 5.1 track is much much cleaner in the hiss and noise department as compared to the also included "Restored Mono" track.  So, use the 5.1

The video, though 16x9 enhanced, is a pretty sore sight.  Edge enhancement and ringing are abundant, to a distracting extent.  There is often an excessive amount of noise and compression artifacts are plentiful.  About the one thing we can say is that the film is pretty consistent in its look from start to finish.  Contrast has been dialed in with blacks and shadow detail that aren't half bad, but perhaps is a little over done.

The MPEG PIC flags.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Chapter breaks were clean.

Video (2-2)

There were no drops to video.

Film (3-3)

There were 27 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 44 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 to 5 MPEG PICs (4 to 10 video fields)

Interestingly, as you can see, the encoding of the PICs is on the better side, suggesting that this film was sourced from a raw interlaced master with perhaps no tampering or editing at all.

- Brian Florian -

Divider

Paramount

1963, Color, Rated G

1 Hr. 30 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 16x9 enh

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital Mono

French Dolby Digital Mono

 

Directed by Richard Thorpe

 

Starring Elvis Presley, Usula Andress, and Paul Lukas

 

Release Date: Jan, 2003

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

No

Sex

No

Language

No

"Fun in Acapulco"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

This time Elvis starts out as a boat hand who gets fired while stopped in Acapulco.  With no money and no way home, he lands a job as a life guard at a hotel by day and lounge singer at night.  A young local boy acts as his manager, driving up the price at all the hotel night clubs for him.  The local female bull fighting champion takes an interest in the new boy on the block, as does the social director at the hotel he works at (played by Andress).  Oh dear:  Elvis has to juggle two women.

Commentary

This movie is one of the more entertaining of the Elvis pictures of the period, showing the original "playa" that Elvis was.  As usual, many elements exist simply as an excuse to break into a certain song, and as such the film feels a little cheap, but man the tunes are catchy.

Extras

There are no extras whatsoever beyond some period trivia on the DVD case.

Technical

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a bit of a fooler:  Its not really a 5.1 remix.  The soundtrack is as mono as mono can be until a song comes on and then suddenly we are two channel stereo.  It doesn't really work though because if you are off center, you'll only hear the music from the speaker to the side you are on.  On the other hand, the 5.1 track is much much cleaner in the hiss and noise department as compared to the also included "Restored Mono" track.  So, use the 5.1

The video, though 16x9 enhanced, is a pretty sore sight.  Edge enhancement and ringing are abundant, to a distracting extent.  There is often an excessive amount of noise, and compression artifacts are plentiful.  About the one thing we can say is that the film is pretty consistent in its look from start to finish.  Contrast has been dialed in with blacks and shadow detail that aren't half bad, but perhaps is a little over done.

The flags...

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Chapter breaks were clean.

Video (2-2)

There were no drops to video.

Film (3-3)

There were 446 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 39 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

To have a better understanding of what the flags above mean, please refer to our "A Beautiful Mind" review.

- Brian Florian -

Divider

Paramount

1966, Color, Rated PG

1 Hr 30 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 16x9 Enh

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital Mono

French Dolby Digital Mono

 

Directed by Michael Moore

 

Starring Elvis Presley and Suzanna Leigh

 

Release Date: Jan, 2003

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

No

Sex

No

Language

No

"Paradise Hawaiian Style"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Elvis plays an ex-airline pilot who's trying to start a charter helicopter business in Hawaii.  In order to get customers, he promises affections to the various social directors on each of the islands, while his heart is actually captured by the secretary he's hired for his company.  What will happen if they all meet?

Commentary

I can just imagine the conservative folks of the day thinking this is the most awful picture, showing a man who literally has a girl on every island.  There is no other reason for the PG rating.

That's Elvis for you!

The plot is less interesting than the other "quickie" Elvis pictures of the era, and will only interest die hard fans of the king.  There are a few good tunes you'll be tempted to tap your feet to though.

Extras

There are no extras whatsoever beyond some period trivia on the DVD case.

Technical

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a bit of a fooler:  Its not really a 5.1 remix.  The soundtrack is as mono as mono can be until a song comes on and then suddenly we are two channel stereo.  It doesn't really work though because if you are off center, you'll only hear the music from the speaker to the side you are on.  On the other hand, the 5.1 track is much much cleaner in the hiss and noise department as compared to the also included "Restored Mono" track.  So, use the 5.1

The video, though 16x9 enhanced, is a pretty sore sight.  Edge enhancement and ringing are abundant, to a distracting extent.  There is often an excessive amount of noise, and compression artifacts are plentiful.  About the one thing we can say is that the film is pretty consistent in its look from start to finish.  Contrast has been dialed in with blacks and shadow detail that aren't half bad, but perhaps is a little over done.

The flags...

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Chapter breaks were clean.

Video (2-2)

There were no drops to video.

Film (3-3)

There were 41 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 36 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

To have a better understanding of what the flags above mean, please refer to our "A Beautiful Mind" review.

- Brian Florian -

Divider

Paramount

1966, Color, Rated PG

1 Hr 34 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 16x9 enh

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital Mono

French Dolby Digital Mono

 

Directed by John Rich

 

Starring Elvis Presley, Dodie Marshall, Pat Priest, and Pat Harrington

 

Release Date: Jan, 2003

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

No

Sex

No

Language

No

"Easy Come, Easy Go"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Elvis plays a Marine diver on shore leave who decides to investigate the potential for buried treasure in a sunken ship he found while disarming water mines.  A local hippy go go dancer just happens to be a descendant of the ship's captain so of course Elvis has to go to work on her.  At the same time, a yacht full of bosomy girls and a fit dude decide they'd like to get to the treasure first.

Commentary

This is a terrible script which is difficult to watch.  Definitely a yawn.  Only Elvis fans will get anything at all out of this one, and at that, chances are it will only be the tunes (not his best either).  Good thing it's easy to skip around a movie with DVD.

Extras

There are no extras whatsoever beyond some period trivia on the DVD case.

Technical

The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is a bit of a fooler:  Its not really a 5.1 remix.  The soundtrack is as mono as mono can be until a song comes on and then suddenly we are two channel stereo.  It doesn't really work though because if you are off center, you'll only hear the music from the speaker to the side you are on.  On the other hand, the 5.1 track is much much cleaner in the hiss and noise department as compared to the also included "Restored Mono" track.  Use the 5.1

The video, though 16x9 enhanced, is a pretty sore sight.  Edge enhancement and ringing is abundant, to a distracting extent.  There is often an excessive amount of noise and compression artifacts are abundant.  About the one thing we can say is that the film is pretty consistent in its look from start to finish.  Contrast has been dialed in with blacks and shadow detail that aren't half bad, but perhaps is a little over done. If you feel deja vu on the previous two paragraphs, it is because all of the Elvis movies reviewed here have the same issues, so Copy & Paste was in order for the html editor.

Notes by JEJ: These old Elvis movies were silly, but I remember them as a lot of fun when I saw them as a youth. I came out of the theater feeling good. Contrast that with today's movies that can leave you shocked and feeling sick to your stomach in some cases. Try and get a production company to make a movie now, with a guy and some girls, and tell them you want it to be rated G. They will laugh and say that they would rather make a movie about families trying to escape nuclear contamination in their homes near Three Mile Island. If you want to get started, they will ask you as producer to find a company to rent you some dummies that look like rotting corpses. You will also need 100,000 rounds for the Kalishnikov AK-47 assault weapons. Then they will say they want to film it in Prague to save production costs.

The flags...

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Chapter breaks were clean.

Video (2-2)

There were no drops to video.

Film (3-3)

There were 27 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 20 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

To have a better understanding of what the flags above mean, please refer to our "A Beautiful Mind" review.

- Brian Florian -

Divider

Columbia Pictures
2002, Color, Rated PG-13, 2 Hr 4 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16:9 Enh)

DD 5.1

 

Directed by Rob Cohen

 

Starring Vin Diesel, Asia Argento, Marton Csokas

 

Release Date: 12/31/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Not Tested

Violence

Yes

Sex

Sensuality

Language

Yes

"XXX"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Action seeker Xander Cage (Diesel) steals one too many cars, and the NSA catches up with him. When he passes a test arranged by the government agency, they (un-credited Samuel L. Jackson) force Xander to make a choice between going to jail or helping the NSA infiltrate a Russian gang in Prague. He takes the obvious selection, and goes undercover in the Czech Republic, under the guise of wanting to buy stolen luxury cars. He uncovers a plot to produce chemical weapons that would be used to launch World War III

Commentary

The movie highlights Diesel's ability to perform all of his own stunts, which I assume, is the reason he is in the film to begin with. It looks like some of it was shot with a video camera, and dark scenes have lots of video grain in the shadow areas. It is non-stop action, and that is actually one of the warnings in the PG-13 rating part of the lead in.

Extras

Included are Director's Commentary, The GTO is Back, Deleted Scenes, Storyboard, Building Speed, and Visual Effects: How To.

- John E. Johnson, Jr. -

 

 

Divider

Dej Productions
2001, Color, Rated R
1 Hr 35 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16:9 Enh)

Dolby Digital D 5.1

 

Directed by Jim Gillespie

 

Starring Sylvester Stallone, Tom Berenger, Sean Patrick Flanery, Robert Patrick

 

Release Date: 12/31/02

 

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Not Tested

Violence

Yes

Sex

No

Language

Yes

"Eye See You"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Detective Jake Malloy (Stallone) has a very serious problem. A serial killer is targeting his fellow detectives, and Jake must not only track him down, but deal with the fact that the killer is doing this because Jake tried to catch him in a previous set of crimes. So, Jake's colleagues blame him as part of the problem. When Jake's fiancee is murdered, Jake becomes an alcoholic, and his supervisor talks him into going to a recovery center for policemen, in Wyoming. With sub-zero temperatures and a major snow storm setting in, the patients are dropping one by one, and they must confront the fact that the serial killer is among them.

Commentary

This movie went direct to video rather than to theaters first. It is a bad sign for Stallone's career, but nevertheless, the film is reasonably entertaining. In today's non-stop-action movies, perhaps this film just dwelled too long on the alcoholism thing instead of getting right to the action.

Extras

Included are Deleted Scenes, Actor Interviews, and Trailer.

- John E. Johnson, Jr. -

 

 

 

Divider

Paramount

2002, Color, Rated PG-13

2 Hr 17 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16x9 Enh.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow

 

Starring Harrison Ford, Liam Neelson, and Peter Sarsgaard

 

Release Date: 12/10/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

Yes

Sex

No

Language

Minor

"K*19: The Widowmaker"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

In 1961, Russia launched its first nuclear capable submarine as an act of deterrence against the US during the cold war. The goal was to show the US that they have a boat capable of launching a first strike.

Captain Alexei Vostrikov (Harrison Ford) is brought in to command the boat, taking the command away from the boat's captain, Mikhail Polenin (Liam Neeson). Alexei is a hard nosed captain, and he pushes the crew to their limits. The crew and Mikhail resent the new captain coming in at the last minute. Due to enormous pressure from Russia, they wanted a captain who could get the job done and they felt that Mikhail was not aggressive enough.

While on their mission, the nuclear reactor begins to leak. They must now fix the reactor before it blows ups and kills the entire crew, losing the boat as well. As the reactor leaks, crew members begin to get sick from the radiation.

The US Navy is close by and can provide aid, but that would mean giving up the flagship of the Russian Navy. Alexei must now decide what is more important, the lives of his sailors or the Russian secrets.

Commentary

I was not sure what to expect going into the film because it had a short theatrical run. To me Harrison Ford will always be Indiana Jones, so I was expecting a difficult time with him as a Russian officer.

Once Ford came into the picture, I quickly forgot that he was ever a different character in other movies, and he became the boat's captain. The tension between his character and Neeson’s was believable.

It is a breath of fresh air to have a big budget film that is not all explosions and gun fire. However, this is probably why the film was not a blockbuster. The film is a drama that has a nice pace. No one is happy that Alexei was a last minute replacement, and he wins no one over with his by-the-book approach and countless drills.

I feel that this is some of Kathryn Bigelow's best work to date. It is a well made film, and I think it is worth owning.

Technical

This is another first rate transfer from Paramount. While there is some minor ringing around the image, most noticeable while loading the boat and during the game on ice, overall the transfer is clean. There is very little noise in the image, especially in the darker scenes inside the boat. The colors are a bit muted, but according to the extras, this is the visual style of the film.

The soundtrack is just as good as the video. This film is more of a drama, but the surrounds are effectively used to convey the tight space aboard a boat.

In keeping with traditional of Paramount movies, the only flag errors are the random 2-2 and 3-3 spread throughout the disc. You should have no problems enjoying this film on any flag based DVD player.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Chapter breaks were clean.

Video (2-2)

There were no drops to video.

Film (3-3)

There were 36 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 59 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

To have a better understanding of what the flags above mean, please refer to our "A Beautiful Mind" review.

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Paramount

2002, Color, Rated PG-13

1 Hr 39 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16x9 Enh.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Reginald Hudlin

 

Starring Matthew Perry, Elizabeth Hurley, Bruce Campbell, and Cedric the Entertainer

 

Release Date: 1/28/03

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

No

Sex

Suggestive

Language

Yes

"Serving Sara"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Joe Tyler (Matthew Perry) was once a great process server (a person who hands out notices to appear in court). Recently, he has been down on his luck, with his latest job taking nearly two weeks to complete. His boss Ray (Cedric) is giving him one last chance to succeed with a very important case worth $5,000. His job is simple; serve Sara Moore (Elizabeth Hurley) a set of divorce papers. The problem is that Joe’s co-worker Tony (Vincent Pastore) has been tipping off all of the people Joe is supposed to serve, which is why he has been doing so poorly.

Thanks to Tony, Joe has a difficult time tracking down Sara, so Ray gives the assignment to Tony. It is not over for Joe, as he knows Tony's ways, and he sends Tony on a wild goose chase while he serves Sara her papers.

After being served, Sara convinces Joe to help her serve her husband a set of papers instead, so she can walk away from the marriage with a nice sum of money. She offers Joe a percentage of the take, which is equal to about 1 million dollars.

And so the chase begins.

Commentary

Matthew Perry is one of the few cast members of "Friends" who has really done well on the big screen. He is great slapstick comedian, though he is looking a bit worn out lately. For the last few seasons of Friends, it feels like he is simply phoning in his performance.

The film is fairly predictable, but there was one moment that caught me off guard. While in one scene, Perry must help a bull, they have pretty much stayed clear of gross-out humor that seems to be the norm in feature films today. Thank you!

All in all, this film will make an enjoyable rental on a Friday or Saturday night, but not necessarily on Tuesday.

Technical

There are some highly saturated colors in this film. The suit that Cedric is wearing initially is at the same level of saturation you might find in animations like "Toy Story". His socks are very blue, and his suit if very red. If your player has the chroma bug, you will see it during this scene.

While there is a lot of detail in the image on long shots, some of the fine detail you expect up close is not there. If you look at the close-ups of Perry, his face will appear rather soft. It looks like a horizontal filter has been applied to help in compressing the video. I did not see the film while it was at the theater, so this may be part of the style, but I doubt it. This is rather common among DVD films from Paramount.

The soundtrack makes little use of the surrounds other than the usual ambience. Most of the soundtrack is up front and center focused. This film is dialog driven, so it is what you would expect from a romantic comedy. There was no noticeable mic preamp clipping, and the dialog was always intelligible.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Chapter breaks were clean.

Video (2-2)

There were no drops to video.

Film (3-3)

There were 25 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 29 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields) Two lasted for 66 MPEG PICs. (132 video fields.)

To have a better understanding of what the flags above mean, please refer to our "A Beautiful Mind" review.

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

New Line Cinema
2001, Color, Rated PG-13
1 Hr 57 min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16:9 Enh)

Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Andrew Niccol

 

Starring Al Pacino, Rachel Roberts

 

Release Date: 1/21/03

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Not Tested

Violence

No

Sex

Sensuality

Language

Yes

"S1m0ne"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Viktor Taransky (Pacino) has just about completed his latest film, when the star (un-credited Wynona Ryder) quits. Rather than scrap the project, Vik takes a computer graphics program and creates Simone (Roberts), and replaces the original star with Simone in all her scenes. This revives Vik's career, as Simone is an instant hit, even though his movies are not very good. Everyone wants to meet Simone, assuming she is a real person. Knowing that his career as a director is over if he reveals Simone is only bits and bytes, he maintains the illusion with more movies, and tells everyone Simone is a recluse who refuses to meet her public. When Vik sees that the whole thing is spinning out of control, he tries to destroy Simone's popularity by putting her in ridiculous movie plots, but this just endears her to the audiences even more.

Commentary

The story is not complimentary to anyone. Movie stars are portrayed as spoiled brats, but who can be replaced by computer images, studio executives are sycophants who pander to the spoiled actors, and the audiences are shown as fantasy driven fools that idolize people who don't even exist. In this case, however, the producers cheated a bit, because Simone is a real person (actress Rachel Roberts) whom the programmers just down-converted to images that look computer generated. The DVD jacket calls Simone a delirious comedy, but it is funny only now and then. The rest is all angst, not the least of which is making sure the computer does not glitch during her interviews. If Simone is a comedy at all, it is a very dark one.

Extras

Included are Deleted Scenes, Cyber Stardom Directory, Special Effects Documentary, and Trailers.

- John E. Johnson, Jr. -

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