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Movie Renter's Guide

Number 89 - August, 2002

Staff


Now Playing
Divider

Anaconda The Cat's Meow
Cat People Clockstoppers
Con Express Contract Killer
Dinotopia The Great Mouse Detective
In the Bedroom Jackie Brown: CE
The New Guy Pretty in Pink
Pulp Fiction: CE Reservoir Dogs
Return to Never Land Rolie Polie Olie
The Rookie The Sweetest Thing
Van Wilder We Were Soldiers

Divider

Columbia Tristar

2002 (USA), Color, Rated R

1 Hr 43 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16:9 En.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital 2.0

Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Directed by Tung Wai

 

Starring Jet Li, Eric Tsang, Simon Yam, and Gigi Leung.

 

Release Date: 7/30/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

Butt Kicking

Sex

None

Language

Very Minor

"Jet Li: Contract Killer" (Sat sau ji wong)

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Jet Li kicking butt and taking names this time as a hitman out to collect a large reward for finding the King of Killers.

Review

When a Yakuza boss is executed by the King of Killers, his family offers up a large reward for anyone who can capture or kill him. Ah Fu (Jet Li) is just trying to make a living because he has promised his mother a large house. He is living in a small apartment with many others who are all trying to become hitmen.

When Fu learns of the reward money, he attends the briefing by the family. When he is unable to enter without an invitation, he runs into Ngok Lo (Eric Tsang) who has an invitation and invites Fu with him. Lo, himself, is not a hitman so he needs Fu to do the dirty work while he acts as his agent.

Fu and Lo become friends, and Fu makes a promise to Kiki (Gigi Leung) Lo’s daughter, that he will keep an eye on him. Fu spends a great deal of time keeping Lo out of trouble. As the movie progresses, we learn that someone had actually hired the King of Killers to take out the Yazuka boss for something he had done a long time ago.

This is an interesting role for Jet Li because his character is rather inept. While he can fight, he does not know much else. He trusts everyone he meets, and he is always saving his change. While looking at this DVD, I also had the Tai Seng version on hand, which is titled "The Hitman". While the picture on the CTHV release is much better, the soundtrack on the US release is dubbed. We do not get the option of hearing the original Cantonese soundtrack. It is a unique soundtrack because Jet Li is not dubbed. Of course in the US film, everyone is dubbed, including the ones who speak English.

The film itself is another action packed film with Jet Li. If you like his style of action, which I do, you will probably want to take a look at it.

Extras

There is little in the way of extras on this disc. With the exception of a film trailers and filmographies, there is nothing else.

Technical

The film elements used to make this DVD were not in the best condition. There are several nicks and scratches visible, which appears to be common with films coming from Hong Kong. It is an anamorphic transfer, which I feel is a big improvement over the Tai Seng DVD. My gripe, as I stated above, is that we do not get the option of listening to the original Cantonese soundtrack and reading the English subtitles.

MPEG flags seems to be about average.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Every chapter break had a drop to video.

Video (2-2)

There were 23 drops to video. The majority were for 5 MPEG PICs. (10 video fields) The longest drop was for 79 MPEG PICs at the very start.

Film (3-3)

There were 37 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 33 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

Below are samples of the errors marked in red and chapter breaks marked in blue.

Video (2-2)

Film (3-3)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

E 95:41:01 | C 02:18:23
Pic: 06 B:F:P-T
Pic: 07 B:F:PRT
Pic: 08 P:F:P-B
Pic: 09 B:F:PRB
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Starting Chapter 20.
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E 95:42:01 | C 00:00:14

E 03:17:00 | C 03:17:00
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E 03:18:00 | C 03:18:00

E 03:36:00 | C 03:36:00
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E 03:37:00 | C 03:37:00

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Walt Disney Pictures

1986, Color, Rated G

1 Hr 14 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 (16:9 En.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

French Dolby Digital 2.0

Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Directed by Roy Clements, Burny Mattinson, Dave Michener, and Rob Clements.

 

Starring the voice talents of Vincent Price, Alan Young, Val Bettin, and Barrie Ingham.

 

Release Date: 7/30/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

None

Sex

None

Language

None

"The Great Mouse Detective"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

The tale of Sherlock Holmes told once again, this time in animated mouse form and no, we are not talking about Mickey, though if you look hard enough, you will find a hidden Mickey in the film. This is the story of Basil, a little mouse, who happens to live in the home of his idol, the famous Sherlock Holmes. This film is actually based on a children’s book series by Eve Titus entitled Basil of Baker Street.

Review

When a toymaker goes missing, his daughter Olivia searches out the help of Basil. While looking for Basil, she runs into and older mouse named Dawson, and the two of them track down Basil together. Dawson ends up being the Dr. Watson in this mouse fable.

Basil discovers that Professor Ratigan, his arch-nemesis, is behind the mouse-napping of Olivia’s father. Ratigan and his hench-bat Fidget have not only taken her father, but they have also planned to eliminate the Queen.

There is a great deal of character development for such a short film. I guess that happens when you only have a couple of songs in the film. Basil and Ratigan often battle using wits instead of strength, which is a nice change. In fact, we see Basil use science on many occasions during this film.

It was not until Disney released "The Little Mermaid" that the studio's luck turned into their favor. With The Little Mermaid we had great musical numbers that brought back the enjoyment of musical for the younger generation. With all the great Disney films since, such as "Aladdin", "The Lion King", and "Beauty and the Beast", we have almost forgotten about the great ones that came before.

This is the first animated film to use computer graphics even though Beauty and the Beast often gets that credit. This is one of the better Disney films, though it gets very little appreciation. I highly recommend this movie for children and adults alike.

Extras

There are two small features that have some relation to this DVD. One is the 8 minute short The making of the Great Mouse Detective, which is a very short look at some of the voice talents and the artists. There is also a Karaoke from one of the movie's songs.

Also included are a couple of other animation shorts Donald's Crime and Clock Cleaners, neither have anything to do with this film. To round out, there are several trailers for upcoming Disney films.

Technical

I am actually glad it has taken so long for this wonderful film to make it onto DVD. A lot of earlier widescreen Disney animations on DVD are not enhanced for anamorphic displays. Just because a film is a mere 1.66:1 does not mean it should not be presented in the highest available quality. Disney has done this disc correctly by delivering a very clean transfer. Like most animations, this disc looks great.

Since Detective is an older film, Dolby Digital was not in use at the time this film was released theatrically. With that said, it is mainly dialog driven with little surround use. Not a bad mix by any means, but not what we are used to today. Several times during the film, some of the dialog sounded a bit edgy like it was starting to distort.

The MPEG flags are a bit mixed. The drops to video lasted a little longer than normal. On the good side, only 4 chapter breaks dropped to video.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

4 out of the 19 chapter breaks dropped to video.

Video (2-2)

There were 27 drops to video. The really is no average on this one. 6 of the drops lasted for more than 30 MPEG PICs (60 fields).

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

Below are samples of the errors marked in red with the chapter break in blue.

Video (2-2)

Film (3-3)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

E 34:44:00 | C 03:53:42
Pic: 07 B:F:PRT
Pic: 08 P:F:P-B
Pic: 09 B:F:PRB
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Pic: 11 P:F:PRT
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Starting Chapter 9.
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E 34:45:01 | C 00:00:22

E 14:24:01 | C 02:31:35
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Pic: 00 B:F:P-T
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E 14:25:02 | C 02:32:36
Pic: 05 P:F:PRT

E 00:14:00 | C 00:14:00
Pic: 02 I:F:P-T
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E 00:15:00 | C 00:15:00

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Columbia Tristar

2002, Color, Rated PG-13

1 Hr 29 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16:9 En.) and Pan & Scan

English Dolby Surround 5.1

 

Directed by Ed Decter

 

Starring DJ Qualls, Eliza Dushku, Zooery Deschanel, Lyle Lovett, and Eddie Griffin.

 

Release Date: 8/13/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

Teenage Trouble

Sex

Implied

Language

"S" Word

"The New Guy"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

In the last few years, we have been hit with an onslaught of both high school and gross-out films (sometimes they were both). Which one is this? It is a little of each and a lot of neither. You have your typical collection of geeks, babes, and bullies.

Review

Dizzy Harrison (DJ Qualls) has been picked on all his life, but things are going to change because he is now a senior in high school. On the first day of his senior year, he sees Tina (Rachael E. Stevens), the popular girl in school, having car trouble. He figures this is his chance to make an impression. While he does solve her problem, she tells him he is not her type. Later in the day, he approaches Tina in the cafeteria and hits on her again. This time Tina’s boyfriend steps up and things begin to go down hill for Dizzy here. This initial scene made me think we were in for yet another gross-out film.

Because of some unfortunate events, Dizzy must pay a visit to the school guidance counselor, Kiki Pierce (Ileana Douglas), who goes on to misdiagnose Dizzy throughout the rest of the film. She manages to get Dizzy’s father (Lyle Lovett) to sell his home and spend more time with Dizzy.

Through some other events that take place, Dizzy ends up in jail, and this is where he meets Luther (Eddie Griffin) who helps Dizzy to take control of his life. He tells Dizzy he must start over in a new school and take down the toughest kid there, so that he can become popular.

Dizzy manages to get expelled from his current school and moves on to another. With the help of Luther and friends, he transforms into the mysterious new guy Gil Harris and is able to climb to the top at the new school. Here is where he meets Danielle (Eliza Dushku), whom he happens to steal away from Connor (Ross Patterson), the school's bully/tough guy. Dizzy must now make a choice between his old geeky friends or his new popular crowd.

To enjoy this film you really need some serious suspension of disbelief. There is nothing realistic in the film. Dizzy is paired with the toughest inmates for one night because of a small incident? He is then allowed to visit and hang out in the yard with the inmates so that he can get transformed. The entire cast looks too old for high school, and the film is not sure if it is a Airplane style comedy like, “Not Another Teen Movie” or a more serious teen film like “Can’t Hardly Wait”

The film has a few funny moments that stand on their own, it has a good musical soundtrack, and there are lots and lots of cameos. These reasons alone make it a good rental.

There is nothing in the way of supplements except for one music video and a handful of trailers.

Technical

The DVD contains both a widescreen and Pan & Scan presentation on a single side. There were several scenes that contained a fair amount of video noise (possibly compression related). The bitrate during the film bounced between 3-4 Mb/sec, which is fairly compressed. On the audio side, the film had a really good soundtrack.

MPEG flags seems to be about average.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Every chapter break had a drop to video.

Video (2-2)

There were 29 drops to video. The majority were for 5 MPEG PICs. (10 video fields) The longest drop was for 96 MPEG PICs at the very start.

Film (3-3)

There were 40 changes to 3-3 pulldown. Each lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 37 changes to 2-2 pulldown. Each lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

Below are samples of the errors marked in red with the chapter break in blue.

Video (2-2)

Film (3-3)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

E 03:16:01 | C 03:16:01
Pic: 11 P:F:P-T
Pic: 00 B:F:PRT
Pic: 01 B:F:P-B
Pic: 02 I:F:PRB
Pic: 03 P:F:P-T
Starting Chapter 2.
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Pic: 05 P:F:PRT
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E 03:17:01 | C 00:00:48

E 04:15:01 | C 00:58:48
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Pic: 09 B:F:P-B
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E 04:16:02 | C 00:59:49

E 00:22:00 | C 00:22:00
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E 00:23:02 | C 00:23:02

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Columbia Tristar

2002, Color, Unrated

1 Hr 30 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16:9 En.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Roger Kumble

 

Starring Cameron Diaz, Christina Applegate, Selma Blair, and Thomas Jane.

 

Release Date: 8/20/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

None

Sex

Yes

Language

"F" & "S" Words

"The Sweetest Thing"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

How about a comedy from a girl's point of view? Be careful what you wish for because it just came true. This is the story of three best friends who must deal with the age old problem, men!

Review

Christina Walters (Cameron Diaz) has made a life out of not getting too close to any one guy. She commonly hands out the wrong phone number to guys or simply disappears when the time is right. One night, when trying to console her roommate Jane (Selma Blair), who was dumped just prior to her 1 year anniversary with her boyfriend, she happens into the man that might be the one, if she is willing to take a chance, of course!

The initial encounter between Christina and Peter (Thomas Jane) is a bit confrontational. You see Christina just grab his butt in the club and then proceeds to set him and Jane up for a one night stand. While arguing, Jane manages to find her own guy. Getting a second chance that evening, Christina and Peter have a much better second conversation, but then ends when Peter’s brother whisks him away.

Before going, Peter does invite her to a party at the hotel where they are staying. She chickens out that evening, but decides to catch him the next morning, but it’s too late, he has checked out.

Christina’s other roommate Courtney (Christina Applegate) decides to motivate Christina, so they take off on a road trip to find Peter.

I have to be honest; I was not expecting much from this film. I was pleasantly surprised after watching the DVD. It actually turned out to be entertaining. I do think that Christina Applegate stole the show, and upstaged both Cameron Diaz and Selma Blair. However, I did feel that both Camera and Christina had a nice on-screen chemistry together that made you believe that have been friends for a long time.

One of the things that disappointed me about comedies like "American Pie" and its sequel was the one-sided story. Those films dealt only with the guy’s side, and this one tells its tale from the side of the girls. We get to hear the raunchy stories that woman tell and the way they behave outside the company of men.

There is a nice musical number that takes place at chapter 10, which is kind of like the song from "My Best Friend's Wedding", but this song is a little more, well, sexually explicit! Actually, it is like something straight out of "South Park". Not amazing, since the writer of the film, Nancy Pimental, was a staff writer for the popular TV series.

There are two versions of this DVD, and I watched the unrated version of the disc. I am not sure what the differences are or which scenes were added, though I can think of a few. While it feels some of what they were going for was gross-out, it came off much nicer than that.

Extras

The film has a couple of shorts, one which is a behind-the-scenes called, “Politically Erect”, and the other is “A day in the life of Nancy M. Pimental.”

The Day in the life is a pretty entertaining piece. It is an interview with Nancy and her friends about a typical day in her life while writing the movie. While I am sure the friends in this feature are real, the rest is just an amusing story. We learn that Nancy uses poor children to do the writing for her; she spends most of her time admiring her pool boy Tad, who happens to clean her pool 4 times a week. We get to meet the obsessed fan who is the head of the Nancy P. fan club. We also get to meet someone from her high school days who is now back in her life because she is famous.

Technical

The video quality is fairly good on this disc. There is an exterior shot during the opening of the film when some of the former men in Christina Walters’s life are being interviewed, and that scene looks spectacular. It is filled with detail and rivals some of the films I have seen on HD. There are other interior shots that are a bit noisy. The bitrate on this disc bounced between 5-7 Mb/sec, which is a lot less restrictive. It is not as detailed as some of CTHVs Superbit titles (7 - 8 Mb/sec), but does look good. (Remember, the maximum video bitrate for DVD is 9.8 Mb/sec. The maximum combined audio and video is 10.08 Mb/sec.)

This disc also has a wonderful soundtrack. The song during chapter 10 did sound like it was sung in a recording booth, but the rest of the soundtrack worked nicely.

MPEG flags seems to be about average.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Every chapter break had a drop to video.

Video (2-2)

There were 31 drops to video. The majority were for 5 MPEG PICs. (10 video fields) The longest drop was for 66 MPEG PICs and this happened at the very start.

Film (3-3)

There were 35 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 22 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

Below are samples of the errors marked in red with the chapter break in blue.

Video (2-2)

Film (3-3)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

E 21:56:00 | C 04:03:14
Pic: 02 I:F:PRT
Pic: 03 B:F:P-B
Pic: 04 B:F:PRB
Pic: 05 P:F:P-T
Pic: 06 B:F:PRT
Pic: 07 B:F:P-B
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Pic: 00 B:F:PRB
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Starting Chapter 9.
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E 21:57:00 | C 00:00:22

E 16:40:00 | C 00:42:00
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E 16:41:01 | C 00:43:01

E 02:31:00 | C 02:31:00
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E 02:32:02 | C 02:32:02

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Paramount Home Entertainment

2002, Color, Rated PG

1 Hr 33 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16:9 En.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital 2.0

French Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Directed by Jonathan Frakes

 

Starring Jesse Bradford, Paula Garces, Robin Thomas, and French Stewart.

 

Release Date: 8/13/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

Minor

Sex

None

Language

None

"Clockstoppers"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Clockstoppers has quickly arrived on video after its short theatrical run. Like so many films these days, Clockstoppers should be more successful at home on the small screen than it was at the Cineplex. Clockstoppers is an easy to watch, so I would consider it one of those “sit back and enjoy it” rides.

Zak (Jesse Bradford) is your typical high school teenager whose main interests include cars and girls. Zak’s dad, (Robin Thomas) however, is not your typical dad. He is a science professor at a local college. He pays more attention to his students than he does his own son, which causes some family tension.

Zak has worked hard saving up the down payment for his first car, but his dad seems preoccupied with both an upcoming trip and a recent discovery from a former student of his, Earl Dopler (French Stewart). This causes a rift between the two, and Zak’s father leaves on his trip before this issue can be resolved.

Zak stumbles on the “discovery” by accident and unknowingly takes it with him, which happens to be in the form of a watch. Just what is this discovery? It is a device that is capable of speeding up the wearers molecules, which appears to make time stop. In reality, you are just moving a lot fast than everything else.

Meanwhile, Zak notices Francesca (Paula Garces), a new foreign exchange student at his school. While his first attempt to hit on her fails, he does get a second chance and ends up spending the day with her, raking leaves. While in the process of cleaning the yard, he engages the watch's ability and enters what is called hypertime. This takes the bullet-time special effects from "The Matrix" to a whole new level. Zak and Francesca embark on an afternoon of hypertime, having fun with the local town. They also manage to help Zak’s friend Meeker (Garikayi Mutambirwa) in a DJ competition where he otherwise would have embarrassed himself.

And what movie would not be complete without an antagonist? Michael Bean plays Gates, the head of the program that created hypertime. It seems the government wants to shut down the program because they are afraid the technology might fall into the hands of terrorists. What the government does not know is that Gates and his team have already got the technology working. Like all new technology, there are always a few small bugs to work out, and in the case of hypertime, it is aging. The hypertime process ages you if you spend more than a coupe of hours in it. Gates is forcing Dopler to solve this problem. When Dopler informs them he enlisted the help of his former teacher, they tear apart Zak’s house looking for the watch. Dopler manages to escape with the help of Zak, so Gates decides to kidnap his father to complete the work.

Clockstoppers is a Nickelodeon film, which suggests it is intended for kids. However, the film appears to be targeted at a slightly older audience. As I said initially, this film is easy to watch. It requires no mental involvement from you, you can just sit back and enjoy hour and a half ride. It is not great filmmaking, but it is fun and easy to recommend.

Extras

There is a small 10 minute featurette on the making of this film. We get some short insight from the director and the cast members. We also get to see how some of the special effects scenes were created using the Matrix-pioneering bullet-time technique.

There is a theatrical trailer and four promotional spots. We get one with Zak on his own, Francesca on her own, Zak and Francesca, and finally one with Meeker. I don’t recall ever seeing this on TV, but perhaps they were used on Nickelodeon.

And finally there are two music videos. The Smash Mouth, “Holiday in my Head” and Lil’ Jay, “It’s the Weekend.”

Technical

The overall video quality on this disc is excellent. The exterior shots are very clean and detailed. The interior low-lit shots are consistent with the exterior shots in remaining detailed and virtually noise free. The only aspect of the picture quality I would criticize is the lack of detail in facial shots. Perhaps this was the original intent, but I am not sure. All close-ups of faces appear a bit smoothed out.

This DVD contains an aggressive sound mix. The opening credits are a demo scene all on their own, with a strong surround envelopment. I thought the surround mix, while aggressive, was not distracting, and I never noticed any compressed or distorted dialog.

The MPEG encoding on this disc is excellent. There was not a single drop to video in the entire film. There were 25 occurrences of 3-3 flags and 23 occurrences of 2-2 progressive.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

The chapter breaks are perfect, no drops to video.

Video (2-2)

There were 0 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 23 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

Below are samples of the errors marked in red with the chapter break in blue.

Film (3-3)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

E 04:03:00 | C 04:03:00
Pic: 05 P:F:P-T
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E 04:04:00 | C 04:04:00

E 67:43:01 | C 04:57:15
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E 67:44:00 | C 04:58:14

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Universal Studios Home Video

1982, Color, Rated R

1 Hr 59 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16:9 En.)

English Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Directed by Paul Schrader

 

Starring Nastassja Kinski, Malcolm McDowell, and John Heard.

 

Release Date: 8/27/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

Yes

Sex

Yes

Language

"F" & "S" Words

"Cat People"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Irena Gallier (Nastassja Kinski) is finally reunited with her long lost brother Paul (Malcolm McDowell), which she has not seen since she was four. She knows very little about her brother, and before she gets a chance to really know him, he disappears for awhile.

Meanwhile Irena is left to tour New Orleans all on her own. She winds up at a zoo where she is fascinated by a recently acquired black leopard. I guess she lost track of the time because she is still standing there sketching the animal long after closing. How do you suppose no one at the zoo saw her?

Oliver (John Heard), the zoo’s curator, finds Irena while he is closing up shop for the night. Initially she runs away and this is our first shot of her doing something “unusual”. She manages to scale up a tree rather quickly.

Oliver and Irena end up going out to dinner for some tasty oysters, and she ends up with a job working at the zoo in the gift shop.

A little while later Paul shows back up and tries to get Irena in bed, but she manages to escape. This is when the police make a startling discovery in Paul’s basement. There appear to be the remains of human bones and a cage.

The authorities believe Paul is the owner of the black leopard and that he has been feeding the cat some humans. If they only knew the truth!

Irena discovers that Paul has been searching for her his whole life. He tells her that they cannot have sex with anyone but each other or they will turn into a leopard. The only way to take human form again is to kill.

This film is more about sexuality than anything, and this includes incest. The character of Irena is a virgin who has a strong interest in Oliver. Paul is jealous of Oliver because he wants / needs Irena for himself.

I don’t recall ever seeing this film up until now. I guess I was expecting something along the lines of a werewolf type film, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Extras

There is a 25 minutes interview with director Paul Schrader entitled “Cat people: An Intimate Conversation with Paul Schrader”, which was created in 2000. There is also a shorter 10 minute interview with Paul Schrader made during the film entitled “On the set with director Paul Schrader”. He makes a couple of comments that stuck in my mind. First he tells us that he wishes he would not have called the film "Cat People". Too many compared it to the 1942 version. Second was during an interview when he was asked to give a synopsis of the film. He feels that this film is more about imagery, and he would not summarize the film.

He also talks about the provocative ending the film has and how his vision was more skin and less blood. He also discusses the casting of the characters.

Next up is the 11 minute interview with Tom Burman, the special makeup effects designer on the film. This interview discusses how the effects were created and the style that he was going for. We also get to see some of the designs created for but never used in the film.

Following that is a rather scant 3 minute feature from Robert Wise where he talks about producer Val Lewton. Val produced the 1942 version of "Cat People". There are also a couple of short features that includes matte paintings and production photos from the film. We also get the theatrical trailer from the film.

Technical

I have never seen the previously released non-anamorphic version of the film, so I cannot compare this new release to it. The opening of the film is grainy, but fortunately this clears up quickly. I would describe the overall image quality as soft. I would guess that very little time, if any, was spent cleaning up the source for this DVD as there are nicks and scratches throughout.

While the video is now enhanced for 16:9 displays, unlike the previous DVD release, the audio is still only 2-channel. Even so, I obtained very good results when I played back using Pro Logic II decoding in my surround processor. There was a great deal of envelopment from the surrounds, especially with the Carpenter’ish style synthesizer.

While there are only 15 drops to video on the MPEG encoding, some of the drops last for a very long time. The first 6,269 MPEG PICs (12, 538 video fields) or nearly 3.5 minutes are all video. The next big drop happens during chapter 11. This drop lasts for 23, 846 MPEG PICs (47,692 video fields) or nearly 13 minutes. Chapter 14 also has a long drop for 3,230 MPEG PICs.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Only 3 of the 21 chapter breaks had errors.

Video (2-2)

There were 15 drops to video. The majority were for 5 MPEG PICs. (10 video fields) The longest drop was for 47,692 MPEG PICs and this during chapter 11.

Film (3-3)

There were 33 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 35 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

Below are samples of the errors marked in red with the chapter break in blue.

Video (2-2)

Film (3-3)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

E 02:30:00 | C 02:30:00
Pic: 01 B:F:--T
Pic: 02 I:F:--T
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Pic: 14 P:F:--T

Starting Chapter 2.
Pic: 00 B:F:--T
E 02:31:00 | C 00:00:02

E 04:56:01 | C 02:25:03
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Pic: 05 P:F:PRT
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Pic: 08 P:F:P-T
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Pic: 11 P:F:PRB
Pic: 00 B:F:P-T
Pic: 01 B:F:PRT
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Pic: 04 B:F:P-T
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E 04:57:01 | C 02:26:03

E 07:29:02 | C 01:21:38
Pic: 04 B:F:P-T
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Pic: 08 P:F:P-T
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Pic: 11 P:F:PRB
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Pic: 04 B:F:P-T
Pic: 06 B:F:P-B

Pic: 07 B:F:PRB
Pic: 08 P:F:P-T
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Pic: 11 P:F:PRB
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E 07:30:01 | C 01:22:37

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Buena Vista Home Entertainment

2001, Color, Rated R

2 Hr 10 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16:9 En.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

French Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Todd Field

 

Starring Nick Sissy Spacek, Tom Wilkinson, Nick Stahl, and Marisa Tomei.

 

Release Date: 8/13/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

Yes

Sex

Implied

Language

"F" & "S" Words

"In the Bedroom"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

The story takes in a small New England town. Frank Fowler (Nick Stahl) is having the time of his life, dating the lovely Natalie (Marisa Tomei). He gets along great with her two children. And he is happily working on a lobster fishing boat.

While it is hard to gauge the exact age of Frank, he appears to be just out of high school. Natalie is in her thirties and has two children. While Frank’s parents like Natalie, they can’t help but feel she is holding him back. Both Matt (Tom Wilkinson) and Ruth (Sissy Spacek) Fowler are college educated and they want the same for Frank. While Matt feels Frank is free to make up his own mind, Ruth is very much the opposite and tries to control Frank’s decisions.

Frank’s parents are not the only ones who are unhappy with him dating Natalie. Richard Strout (William Mapother), Natalie’s soon to be ex-husband, is hoping to get back together with her, but Frank is in the way. Richard continues to make an appearance at all the wrong times.

The more we get the know Frank, the more it looks like he is going to put college on hold for Natalie. In one scene Natalie is not happy with this decision, but she never really fights to make him change his mind and go off to college.

The rest of the story is spent dealing with the tragic events that take place. While there is much I would like to say, at this point it is best just to pick a copy of the DVD and see it for yourself.

This film did receive 5 Academy Award nominations, which should be enough to peak your interest.

Extras

This disc is lacking in the extras department. With the exception of some trailers for other Miramax films, there are no extras on this disc, which is surprising given all of the Academy Award nominations this film received.

Technical

This is another nice video transfer from Miramax. Like "Behind the Sun", this disc has a great deal of detail in the image. The interior and night scenes contain a little noise, but this appears to be from not filtering the video, which I consider a good thing.

The soundtrack is mainly dialog driven with a strong center channel presence. There were no audible distortions in the soundtrack.

The MPEG encoding on this DVD is excellent. There are 0 drops to video during the film.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

There are no errors on the chapter breaks.

Video (2-2)

There were 0 drops to video.

Film (3-3)

There were 45 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 51 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

Below are samples of the errors marked in red with the chapter break in blue.

Film (3-3)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

E 64:39:01 | C 01:16:31
Pic: 03 B:F:P-B
Pic: 04 B:F:PRB
Pic: 06 B:F:PRT

Pic: 07 B:F:P-B
Pic: 08 P:F:PRB
Pic: 09 B:F:P-T
Pic: 10 B:F:PRT
Pic: 11 P:F:P-B
Pic: 00 B:F:PRB
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Pic: 02 I:F:PRT
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Pic: 05 P:F:P-T
Pic: 06 B:F:PRT
Pic: 07 B:F:P-B
Pic: 08 P:F:PRB
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Pic: 10 B:F:PRT
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Pic: 00 B:F:PRB
Pic: 01 B:F:P-T
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E 64:40:02 | C 01:17:32

E 02:07:00 | C 02:07:00
Pic: 00 B:F:PRT
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Pic: 00 B:F:P-T

Pic: 01 B:F:PRT
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Pic: 03 B:F:PRB
Pic: 04 B:F:P-T
Pic: 05 P:F:PRT
Pic: 06 B:F:P-B
Pic: 07 B:F:PRB
Pic: 08 P:F:P-T
Pic: 09 B:F:PRT
Pic: 10 B:F:P-B
Pic: 11 P:F:PRB
E 02:08:00 | C 02:08:00

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Artisan Entertainment

2002, Color, Made for TV

4 Hr 0 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 4:3

English Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Directed by Marco Brambilla

 

Starring Nick Tyron Leitso, Wentworth Miller, Katie Carr, David Thewlis, Jim Carter, and Alice Krige.

 

Release Date: 7/30/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

Yes

Sex

None

Language

None

"Dinotopia"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

When "Jurassic Park" was first released, the special effects were state of the art and something only a big budget film could take advantage of. Well, special effects have come a long way, and the cost to create those dinosaurs has become inexpensive, so we are now seeing these creatures on TV.

"Dinotopia" has much more onscreen Dino time than "Jurassic Park". The film is four hours long and filled with lots of great special effects. The reported budget for this TV mini series was a whopping $85 million, which is the highest ever for a TV production.

This is the story of two brothers who, while on a trip with their father, are involved in a plane accident and end up on a mysterious island. They did not grow up together and do not really get along very well. Karl (Tyron Leitso) and David (Wentworth Miller) have the same father, but different mothers. It turns out their father was not the most faithful man.

When they arrive on the island, they first encounter Cyrus Crabb (David Thewlis) who is out on an archeology dig. Cryus takes them to the local village and suggests they catch a ride to Waterfall City. When they first arrive to the small village with Cyrus, they meet Marion, who will become an important part of their lives. At the same time they get their first encounter with Dinosaurs when Marion must administer a little dental work.

Karl and David catch a ride with Marion the next morning to Waterfall City. Along the way, they run into a little T-Rex trouble and they discover that the Sunstones are having some technical problems. Sunstones are used to provide power to all of the villages.

When they arrive in Waterfall City, they receive a warm welcome from Marion’s father (Jim Carter), the local Mayor. It turns out it has been many years since the last time new people arrived in Dinotopia. The two are asked for a little update on the outside world like how WWII was going. They also learn that they will never leave Dinotopia. While this appears to sound good to David, it does not sit well with Karl.

In the short term, the two are temporarily been given a place to stay with Zippo, a Stenonychosaurus who runs the library. The brothers are soon assigned their jobs in Dinotopia, and neither is happy with the assignment. Karl ends up trading services with Cyrus so that he can leave Dinotopia.

Soon enough, everyone is in trouble as the Sunstones begin to fail. Karl, David, Marion, and Zippo must trust Cryus in hopes they can find new Sunstones and save Dinotopia.

I watch a lot of TV, but unless I have it programmed into my TiVo, I don’t see it. I missed Dinotopia when it aired back in May, 2002, but thanks to DVD I watched the entire miniseries a few months later. I also got to enjoy it at the higher quality DVD offers and commercial free. Because the film is 240 minutes long, it is spread out over two DVDs. They even include the last chapter from the first disc as the first chapter on the 2nd disc, but the film will actually start at chapter 2.

I highly enjoyed this miniseries and wish it could have been longer.

Extras

There is an 18 minute feature hosted by Zippo called “Evolution: The Making of Dinotopia.” The feature starts out with executive producer Robert Halmi. He goes on to tell us the issues of bringing this film to life with real humans and digital dinos. We also hear from the three main stars where they tell us a little about the story and the characters they play. There is a short section that takes place at the Jim Henson Creature shop. Verner Gresty, the Technical Director shows us an animatronics dinosaur. There is much more in this feature.

There is the Dinotopia encyclopedia, which includes nine dinosaurs and stats on them including how they sound. There is an animated photo gallery that takes you through several scenes of the movie.

There are two deleted scenes. One of them begins the film a little earlier, and we see Karl trying to sneak a bottle of Jack Daniels past customs. This gives you a bit more insight on how close they really aren’t. The second scene takes place when Karl is at the hatchery and is looking for something to do at night.

There are several trailers on the disc for other Hallmark shows including Jack & the Beanstalk, Snow White, Stranded, and Snowqueen, along with Dinotopia.

There is a trailer or preview for the Game Boy game which is based on the film. There is also a DVD game called 26’s Maze game, but I have personally never been a fan of these.

Technical

Because this was made for TV, the film is 4:3 but at $85 million, you think they might have shot it widescreen like some of the other TV miniseries that are on DVD. With that aside, the image quality is good. There was no imposing edge enhancement to distract you from the image.

The audio on this disc is only two-channel. I played the DVD using Pro Logic II decoding and it was enjoyable. There was good use of surround effects and even some low bass activity.

The MPEG encoding on this disc is 100% video. If you plan to watch this on a progressive scan player, it had better be cadence based or you will lose 50% of the vertical resolution during the entire film. A Sage or Silicon Image based progressive scan DVD player is a must.

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Artisan Entertainment

2002, Color, Unrated

1 Hr 34 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16:9 En.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Directed by Walter Becker

 

Starring Ryan Reynolds, Tara Reid, Tim Matheson, and Tek.

 

Release Date: 8/20/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

No

Sex

Implied

Language

"F" & "S" Words

"Van Wilder"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

It has been a while since National Lampoon has put out a film. While Vacation appears to be one of their most popular franchises I believe their most successful film is "Animal House".

National Lampoon goes back to the college campus for their latest film. In fact, one of the original Animal House alumni is back. Tim Matheson plays the small role of Van Wilder’s father.

Van Wilder (Ryan Reynolds) is entering his seventh year of college. He is the most famous student on campus. The film begins with Van interviewing students for the position of his new assistant. At the end of the day, he hires Kal (Taj Mahal Badalandabad) as his assistant. I laughed hard when Kal was interviewing for the job.

Meanwhile Gwen Pearson (Tara Reid) is writing for the school paper, and her editor gives her a new assignment. He wants a special interest piece on Van Wilder. At this point, Gwen has no idea what she is in for. She makes a few attempts to interview Van. When each attempt ends with Van making a date with her, she gets fed up and tells her editor no on the story.

Van’s father learns that he is still in college after seven years and decides to stop paying his tuition. Van must now come up with the $32,000 to stay in school. Van ends up helping the local geek fraternity throw a party to improve their social status in exchange for a fee. Gwen ends up at the party and finds her story as she overhears the two head-geeks praising Van for improving their lives.

As soon as Gwen’s article is published, Van becomes known as the party liaison. While he is not happy that everyone knows he was paid, the inrush of party requests is his ticket to pay for tuition.

As time goes by, Van begins to fall for Gwen. Of course Gwen has a boyfriend who becomes jealous of the two, and he attempts to get Van kicked out of school.

While "Van Wilder" may never achieve the cult status of "Animal House", it is fun on its own. Van spends must of the film helping out others. While he does it for the money, it is clear that he would have done it for free if he was not in a financial bind.

Like most current films, what movie would be complete without some sort of gross-out scene? This film has one that is pretty sick, and it involves Van’s dog and doughnuts. At times Tara Reid comes off a bit hard, but overall does a decent job. At least she has more screen time than in all the American Pie films combined.

Extras

While not an extra in the traditional sense, the unrated version of the film comes with an unrated menu option. By default, on the unrated disc, Naomi is wearing a t-shirt with the menu options. When you select an option, she takes off her shirt and puts on another with additional menu options. As she takes her shirt off, a big “Censored” logo appears over her chest. Should you select the unrated or uncensored menu option, the logo does no appear, and we are presented with our own private peep show. I thought this menu concept was very original, though I would have thought the unrated version of the disc would have this option on by default.

This DVD has a lot of goodies on it, which are all contained on a second DVD. There are two items which are exclusive to the unrated DVD and that includes the above mentioned uncensored menus and a topless tutor deleted scene.

There is a comedy central special called “Reel Comedy: National Lampoon’s Van Wilder”. There is also Burley Bear TV content, which includes “Half Baked, “Imposter”, and “Movie Junkie”.

Also included on the DVD is the Sugarcult music video “Bouncing Off the Walls.”

Technical

The feature film is on one DVD with all the extras on a second. The problem is they shoved two versions of the film, the Widescreen and Pan & Scan, onto the same disc (Widescreen in title 5 and Pan & Scan in title 4). This means they had to apply a lot more compression, and some of that shows through in the film. In the scene just after Gwen spanks Van in a mini-hockey match, they are sitting on the bleachers, and the white banister in front of them is a live with sparklies (the best way I can describe the artifact). With the exception of some isolated artifacts, the transfer is very colorful and detailed.

There were many times during the film where the dialog would distort briefly. It did not happen all the time, but enough to draw attention to itself. The music from the soundtrack was open and enveloping.

There were numerous MPEG flag errors on this disc. As a reminder, this only matters if you are watching in progressive scan. There were a total of 619 drops to video during the film. The longest drop was for 590 MPEG PICs (1,180 fields of video or 19 seconds), which happened around chapter 5. Interestingly enough 13 of the 24 chapter breaks did not have encoding errors.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

13 of the 24 chapter breaks had errors.

Video (2-2)

There were 619 drops to video. The longest drop was for 590 MPEG PICs (1,180 fields of video or 19 seconds), which happened around chapter 5

Film (3-3)

There were 24 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 34 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

Below are samples of the errors marked in red with the chapter break in blue.

Video (2-2)

Film (3-3)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

E 10:15:01 | C 06:19:24
Pic: 06 B:F:--T
Pic: 07 B:F:--T
Pic: 08 P:F:--T
Pic: 09 B:F:--T
Pic: 10 B:F:--T
Pic: 11 P:F:--T
Pic: 12 B:F:--T
Pic: 13 B:F:--T
Pic: 14 P:F:--T

Starting Chapter 3.
Pic: 00 B:F:--T
Pic: 01 B:F:--T
Pic: 02 I:F:--T
Pic: 03 B:F:--T
Pic: 04 B:F:--T
Pic: 05 P:F:--T
Pic: 06 B:F:--T
Pic: 07 B:F:--T

Pic: 08 P:F:PRT
Pic: 09 B:F:P-B
Pic: 10 B:F:PRB
Pic: 11 P:F:P-T
Pic: 00 B:F:PRT
Pic: 01 B:F:P-B
Pic: 02 I:F:PRB
Pic: 03 B:F:P-T
Pic: 04 B:F:PRT
Pic: 05 P:F:P-B
E 10:16:00 | C 00:00:41

E 12:17:00 | C 02:01:41
Pic: 03 B:F:PRB
Pic: 04 B:F:P-T
Pic: 05 P:F:PRT
Pic: 06 B:F:P-B
Pic: 07 B:F:PRB
Pic: 08 P:F:P-T
Pic: 09 B:F:PRT
Pic: 11 P:F:PRB

Pic: 00 B:F:P-T
Pic: 01 B:F:PRT
Pic: 02 I:F:P-B
Pic: 03 B:F:PRB
Pic: 04 B:F:P-T
Pic: 05 P:F:PRT
Pic: 06 B:F:P-B
Pic: 07 B:F:PRB
Pic: 08 P:F:P-T
Pic: 09 B:F:PRT
Pic: 10 B:F:P-B
Pic: 11 P:F:PRB
Pic: 00 B:F:P-T
Pic: 01 B:F:PRT
Pic: 02 I:F:P-B
Pic: 03 B:F:PRB
E 12:18:01 | C 02:02:42

E 66:08:01 | C 00:29:10
Pic: 09 B:F:PRT
Pic: 10 B:F:P-B
Pic: 11 P:F:PRB
Pic: 00 B:F:P-T
Pic: 02 I:F:P-B

Pic: 03 B:F:PRB
Pic: 04 B:F:P-T
Pic: 05 P:F:PRT
Pic: 06 B:F:P-B
Pic: 07 B:F:PRB
Pic: 08 P:F:P-T
Pic: 09 B:F:PRT
Pic: 10 B:F:P-B
Pic: 11 P:F:PRB
Pic: 00 B:F:P-T
Pic: 01 B:F:PRT
Pic: 02 I:F:P-B
Pic: 03 B:F:PRB
Pic: 04 B:F:P-T
Pic: 05 P:F:PRT
Pic: 06 B:F:P-B
Pic: 07 B:F:PRB
Pic: 08 P:F:P-T
Pic: 10 B:F:P-B

E 66:09:00 | C 00:30:09

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Miramax

1994, Color, Rated R

2 Hr 34 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16:9 En.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English DTS Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

 

Starring John Travolta, Samuel L. Jackson, Uma Thurman, Ving Rhames, Bruce Willis, Tim Roth, Amanda Plummer, and Harvey Keitel.

 

Release Date: 8/20/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

Very Violent

Sex

Rape

Language

"F" & "S" Words

"Pulp Fiction: Collector's Edition"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

I can still recall the first couple of times I saw this film theatrically. About two weeks prior to opening, a local movie theater in the Westwood Village was going to have the KROQ screening. My friend Carl was the manager of that theater and received the print a day early. He invited a couple dozen of his closest friends and we had our own sneak peak midnight showing the day before the KROQ screening. As it turns out Carl still had the film the day after the screening, so this time 6 of us sat down for another midnight showing of "Pulp Fiction".

While many feel this is the film that re-kindled John Travolta career, I like to think of it as the film that made Samuel L Jackson a household name. By now, I imagine that you have seen the film, but in case not, here is a short intro.

The story begins with two hit men having a colorful conversation about the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder with cheese. Vincent Vega (John Travolta) had just returned from Amsterdam and was filling in Jules Winnfield (Samuel L. Jackason) how in Europe they use the metric system so no one knows what a Quarter Pounder is and so they referrer to it as the Royal with cheese.

The two are on a job to recover a suitcase for their employer Marsellus Wallace (Ving Rhames). In the process of retrieving the suitcase something happens that Jules believes is some sort of divine intervention. He believes this is a sign that it is time for a career change.

Later that evening, Vincent goes out with Mia (Uma Thurman), the wife of Marsellus, for a fun filled evening of burgers, shakes, drugs, and even an overdose. Vincent freaks out because he knows his life depends upon her wellbeing.

There is also another storyline happening that runs in parallel to the hit men and involves Butch Coolidge (Bruce Willis). Marsellus pays Butch to take a dive in boxing match. When Butch doublecrosses Marsellus, the fit hits the shan. This is where "Pulp Fiction" goes S&M for a few disturbing minutes.

There are other great characters and mayhem that follows with Vincent’s drug dealer Lance (Eric Stoltz) and his wife Jody. (Rosanna Arqeuette). Harvey Keitel plays a small but important role as the cleaner.

This film contains a lot of violence and drug use. The dialog is cleverly written, and I can watch it over and over again. The film itself is shown out of order, which some people seem to have a hard time following. I say just watch it a few more times, and it will all become clear.

Extras

This is the manner in which a special edition should be done, with lots and lots of extras. Some of the extras like the deleted scenes and Charlie Rose interview were available on the previous released Criterion Laserdisc.

Instead of having a running commentary with the film, there is a trivia track. If you turn this on, it uses subtitles to present you with facts about the film. I found this to be a unique and enjoyable approach. Also included on the main disc is another navigation point into the film, and this is based on the soundtrack. The film itself has a great mix of songs. You can actually go straight to a scene in the movie based on the song.

There are four features on this disc, and they include the 30-minute "Pulp Fiction: The facts, Behind-the-Scenes Montages" which is done in two parts. The first part is just over 4-minutes long and is about Jack Rabbit Slim’s. The other part is 6-minutes and is when Butch hits Marsellus. There is a 6-minute production design featurette, and finally the Charlie Rose show from the Laserdisc, which is nearly an hour long.

There are five deleted / extended scenes that are introduced by Tarantino. He goes on to explain why each scene was not included. Also included is the Tarantino Generation special that aired on the Siskel & Ebert show. Siskel and Ebert analyze the film, and it is a great addition to this DVD package. There is also a short interview with Tarantino, Samuel Jackson, and Lawrence Bender (Producer). And finally we get to see the acceptance speech from the Cannes Film Festival. If you recall the original trailer for the film, it opened with the Palme d’Or award before the action began. Next up is your usual theatrical trailers section along with TV spot and Stills gallery. And, on this disc are reprints from a number of printed reviews.

This disc is a true collector’s addition that every movie lover should own.

Technical

This video quality on this disc is superior to the original non-anamorphic DVD released. It appears to be identical to the recently released Region 3 DVD from Korea. I compared a couple of dozen scenes, and they look the same.

Right away you will notice that the extra vertical resolution from the anamorphic transfer helps out. The opening scene with Tom Roth and Amanda Plummer have them sitting in the diner with blinds behind them. The blinds twitter due to lack of resolution in the original non-anamorphic release of the DVD. They are more stable in this special edition. There simply was not enough vertical resolution in the previous release to define the blinds. When you play back on a progressive scan player, the blinds are as solid as they are going to get.

Unfortunately, there is a fair amount of ringing in the image. This can be seen as slight halos around all objects. It is there everywhere you look. Some of the new digital displays may even exaggerate the halos because of their increased edge sharpness compared to a CRTs more rolled-off edge.

It takes a bit of work to have ringing and be soft at the same time. The image is noticeably soft and the flesh tones in people’s faces often lack detail. A horizontal low pass filter was most likely employed to make encoding easier due to the long running time of the film.

The film includes both a Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 soundtrack. I listened to a few scenes in DTS to compare against the DD counterpart. I noticed no differences once I matched the levels. I watched the entire film using the DD 5.1 soundtrack.

The soundtrack sounds like the previously released special edition Criterion Laserdisc. There is very little surround use, as most of the information comes from the front soundstage. If you one who must hear your surround channels when you watch a movie, you can feed 2.0 into your processor and play back using Pro Logic, but then you are not hearing what Tarantino wanted you to hear.

There is no dynamic range at all in the soundtrack. It is as if some form of radio station type audio compression was used.

The MPEG flags errors are listed below in the table. It has a lot more 3-3 type errors than we have seen in the past. They also last for a longer period of time.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

25 of the 27 chapter breaks had errors.

Video (2-2)

There were 130 drops to video. The longest drop was for 16,415 MPEG PICs (32,830 video fields or 9 minutes) during chapter 26. The other remaining 129 drops were all much shorter and lasted either 1 or 5 MPEG Pics.

Film (3-3)

There were 167 changes to 3-3 pulldown. The longest was for 109 MPEG PICs (327 video fields) The other drops were shorter in length but longer than other DVDs we have looked at.

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 48 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

Below are samples of the errors marked in red with the chapter break in blue.

Video (2-2)

Film (3-3)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

E 08:43:02 | C 02:37:53
Pic: 07 B:F:P-T
Pic: 08 P:F:PRT
Pic: 09 B:F:P-B
Pic: 10 B:F:PRB
Pic: 11 P:F:P-T
Pic: 00 B:F:PRT
Pic: 01 B:F:P-B
Pic: 02 I:F:PRB
Pic: 03 B:F:--T
Pic: 04 B:F:P-T
Pic: 05 P:F:PRT
Pic: 06 B:F:P-B
Pic: 07 B:F:PRB
Pic: 08 P:F:PRT

Pic: 09 B:F:--B
Pic: 10 B:F:P-B
Pic: 11 P:F:PRB
Pic: 00 B:F:--B
Pic: 01 B:F:--B
Pic: 02 I:F:--B
Pic: 03 B:F:--B
Pic: 04 B:F:--B

Pic: 05 P:F:P-B
Pic: 06 B:F:PRB
Pic: 07 B:F:P-T
E 08:44:01 | C 02:38:52

E 00:01:01 | C 00:01:01
Pic: 00 B:F:--T
Pic: 01 B:F:P-T
Pic: 02 I:F:PRT
Pic: 03 B:F:PRB
Pic: 04 B:F:PRT
Pic: 05 P:F:PRB
Pic: 06 B:F:PRT
Pic: 07 B:F:PRB
Pic: 08 P:F:PRT
Pic: 09 B:F:PRB
Pic: 10 B:F:PRT
Pic: 11 P:F:PRB
Pic: 00 B:F:PRT
Pic: 01 B:F:PRB
Pic: 02 I:F:PRT
Pic: 03 B:F:PRB
Pic: 04 B:F:PRT
Pic: 05 P:F:PRB
Pic: 06 B:F:PRT
Pic: 07 B:F:PRB
Pic: 08 P:F:PRT

E 00:02:02 | C 00:02:02

E 06:28:02 | C 00:22:53
Pic: 05 P:F:P-T
Pic: 06 B:F:PRT
Pic: 07 B:F:P-B
Pic: 08 P:F:PRB
Pic: 09 B:F:P-T
Pic: 10 B:F:PRT
Pic: 11 P:F:P-B
Pic: 00 B:F:P-B

Pic: 01 B:F:PRB
Pic: 02 I:F:PRT

Pic: 03 B:F:P-B
Pic: 04 B:F:PRB
Pic: 05 P:F:P-T
Pic: 06 B:F:PRT
Pic: 07 B:F:P-B
Pic: 08 P:F:PRB
Pic: 09 B:F:P-T
Pic: 10 B:F:PRT
Pic: 11 P:F:P-B
Pic: 00 B:F:PRB
Pic: 01 B:F:P-T
Pic: 02 I:F:PRT
Pic: 03 B:F:P-B
Pic: 04 B:F:PRB
E 06:29:02 | C 00:23:53

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Paramount Home Entertainment

1986, Color, Rated PG-13

1 Hr 38 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 (16:9 En.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital 2.0

French Dolby Digital 1.0

 

Directed by Howard Deutch

 

Starring Molly Ringwald, John Cryer, Harry Dean Stanton, and Andrew McCarthy.

 

Release Date: 8/20/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

None

Sex

Implied

Language

"S" Word

"Pretty in Pink"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Would you believe this is my first time seeing "Pretty in Pink"? I am not exactly sure how I missed it back 1986. This film pretty much covered my high school years.

The film takes place in high school where your social status is your identity. Andie Walsh (Molly Ringwald) lives at home with her father (Harry Dean Stanton) who gets by in life by working many part time jobs. Her mother walked out on them three years prior, and her father has basically been stuck in a state of depression every since.

Andie has been friends with Phil ‘Duckie’ Dale (Jon Cryer) for most of her life. Duckie is deeply and madly in love with Andie, but to her, Duckie will always be a “friend”. Both Andie and Duckie fall into the lower-class social category in high school based solely on their family’s income and housing location.

Andie works for Iona (Annie Potts) at a local record store. Iona is the hip older boss who is always there for Andie. Of course she has her own love life issues and fashion sense to deal with.

On the other side of the tracks are the upper social class kids. Steff McKee (James Spader) drivers around in a Porsche and throws wild parties at his parents' place while they are out-of-town. He also considers himself above the lower class. He has personal distaste for Andie because she refuses to go out with him. Blane McDonough (Andrew McCarthy) is Steff’s best friend. Unlike Steff, Blane has no problems co-mingling with the lower-class and actually has a strong interest in Andie.

Andie and Blane attempt to cross the social barrier, with each paying a visit to the opposite side of the track. Neither has very much luck, as both groups of friends would prefer to keep the classes segregated. This puts stress on the budding relationship, and they each have to make some important decisions.

If you look close enough in the film, you will see a young Gina Gershon making an appearance as well as a young Andrew Dice Clay, who plays the bouncer outside of the club where Andie hangs out.

John Hughes had several hits in the 80s, and I am sorry it took me so long to see this film. The dialog and acting is somewhat believable for the time. It brings back a lot of memories from my time spent in high school in the late 80s. Of course I am happy to be out of high school, and while social classes mean a lot less later in life, some of the prejudice still takes place.

Extras

Extras? We don’t need no stinking extras! Actually the disc has zero extras on it.

Technical

Paramount has done another fine job. They have been cranking out a lot of older films lately, and the quality is consistently high. The film itself does look dated, but there is very little ringing or EE (Edge Enhancement) in the image to distract. Like all of the previous Paramount DVDs, this disc does contain below black video information. If you watch this on a DVD player where below black is not visible, you will see a loss in shadow detail. If your player is capable of displaying below black, you will see the shadow detail. In the past, many have claimed that below black is only needed for display setup, but Paramount DVDs prove otherwise. They are not alone in this, but they are consistent.

On the audio side, they have presented us with a 5.1 soundtrack. Most of the film's soundtrack seems to be locked to the front three channels, mainly the center, for the dialog. About the only time the surrounds are used is for the music. There are no audible distortions with any of the dialog even when the music is blaring in the club scenes.

This is another Paramount DVD with 0 drops to video on the MPEG encoding. This studio has been consistently delivering some of the best authored DVDs from an MPEG encoding standpoint.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

There were 0 errors.

Video (2-2)

There were 0 drops to video.

Film (3-3)

There were 45 changes to 3-3 pulldown. The longest was for 6 MPEG PICs (18 video fields) The average drop was for 2 MPEG PICs. (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 50 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

Below are samples of the errors marked in red with the chapter break in blue.

Film (3-3)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

E 04:12:00 | C 04:12:00
Pic: 02 I:F:PRB
Pic: 03 B:F:PRT

Pic: 04 B:F:P-B
Pic: 05 P:F:PRB
Pic: 06 B:F:PRT

Pic: 07 B:F:P-B
Pic: 08 P:F:PRB
Pic: 09 P:F:PRT

Pic: 00 B:F:P-B
Pic: 01 B:F:PRB
Pic: 02 I:F:PRT

Pic: 03 B:F:P-B
Pic: 04 B:F:PRB
Pic: 05 P:F:P-T
Pic: 06 B:F:PRT
Pic: 07 B:F:PRB

Pic: 08 P:F:P-T
Pic: 09 P:F:PRT
Pic: 00 B:F:PRB

Pic: 01 B:F:P-T
Pic: 02 I:F:PRT
Pic: 03 B:F:PRB

Pic: 04 B:F:P-T
E 04:13:01 | C 04:13:01

E 00:07:00 | C 00:07:00
Pic: 02 I:F:PRT
Pic: 03 B:F:P-B
Pic: 04 B:F:PRB
Pic: 05 P:F:P-T
Pic: 06 B:F:PRT
Pic: 07 B:F:P-B
Pic: 08 P:F:PRB
Pic: 09 B:F:P-T
Pic: 10 B:F:P-T
Pic: 11 P:F:P-T
Pic: 00 B:F:P-T
Pic: 01 B:F:P-T
Pic: 02 I:F:P-T

Pic: 03 B:F:PRT
Pic: 04 B:F:P-B
Pic: 05 P:F:PRB
Pic: 06 B:F:P-T
Pic: 07 B:F:PRT
Pic: 08 P:F:P-B
Pic: 09 B:F:PRB
Pic: 10 B:F:P-T
Pic: 11 P:F:PRT
Pic: 00 B:F:P-B
Pic: 01 B:F:PRB
Pic: 02 I:F:P-T
E 00:08:00 | C 00:08:00

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Buena Vista Home Entertainment

2002, Color, Rated G

2 Hr 7 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16:9 En.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by John Lee Hancock

 

Starring Dennis Quaid, Rachel Griffiths, Jay Hernandez, and Brian Cox.

 

Release Date: 8/27/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

None

Sex

None

Language

None

"The Rookie"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

While trying to motivate the high school baseball team he coaches, he has a bet with himself: he will try out for a professional base ball team if they can win the division championship.

Jim Morris (Dennis Quaid) has loved baseball ever since he saw his first baseball game as a child. When it comes to pitching, he is a natural. The problem for Jim is that his family must continue to relocate because his father is in the military. When the time comes for his father to get a permanent duty station, it happens to be in a town where baseball is virtually non-existent.

The film begins when Jim is a child, and we get to see him move a few times, along with the effect this has on the relationship with his father. His father (Brian Cox) seems pre-occupied with work and never makes it to any of Jim’s games. The film gives us a little glance at the back story. There are some deleted scenes that provide a little more detail in the supplements.

We fast forward from Jim as a child in Big Lake Texas, to an adult still living in the same place. He is the father of three children. Both he and his wife are teachers at the local high school. Along with being a science teacher, he is the coach of the baseball team. Football is clearly the favored sport by all, which is shown by the care and attention given to the football facilities. The baseball field is all dirt, while the football field is very green and lush.

For the last three seasons the baseball team has won one game per year. When Jim starts pushing the kids to do better based on the bet, they do a 1800 turn and begin to win.

The film is based on the true story of Jim Morris. The unique thing about this story is it just happened a few short years ago, and we are already seeing it on film. Jim made a go at the big leagues right out of high school, but several shoulder injuries later, he gave up.

While I knew the outcome of the story, I was still on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. I was really pulled into the film, and I don’t really care for baseball.

Extras

There are seven deleted scenes on the DVD. Each scene is introduced by the director, and he explains why each one was cut in the end. The quality of the deleted scenes is pretty poor. They are non-anamorphic and look like they were scaled up from some really low resolution, as aliasing is visible all over. Quality aside, I felt the deleted scenes really added to the story and made a few more details clear.

There is running commentary with both Dennis Quaid and John Lee Hancock (Director).

Also included is the twenty minute “The Inspirational Story of Jim Morris”. Instead of your usual let's pat each other on the back features, this one spends most of the time talking with the real Jim Morris. He even walks us through the Arlington Stadium and tells us what he felt when on that big day. I enjoyed getting a chance to hear the real Jim tell us his story. The director does concede that not all events are exact, but most are. The writer tells about some of the events that happened that could not be included in the film because he felt people would not believe them due to how far fetched they sounded. In this case they really did happen. This is worth watching, but only after you see the movie.

Finally, there are several baseball tips on catching, pitching, batting, etc. These are cool if you are into baseball and want to improve your game.

Technical

The transfer is very good. Disney has done a great job here. Both exterior and interior shots are free of noise, and they contain lots of detail. I thought the opening shot had a little ringing around objects, but there was nothing objectionable during the film.

The soundtrack is very active with the musical score. There were also scenes that contained a lot of low level detail. I felt immersed in a 3D sound field for most of the film.

The MPEG encoding was about average on this disc. You should be ok if you watch on a flag- or cadence-based progressive scan DVD player.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

3 of the 17 chapter breaks dropped to video.

Video (2-2)

31 drops to video. Longest drop was for 208 MPEG PICs during chapter 16. 9 of the drops were for more than 30 MPEG PICs.

Film (3-3)

There were 50 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 54 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

Below are samples of the errors marked in red with the chapter break in blue.

Video (2-2)

Film (3-3)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

E 20:07:01 | C 12:28:31
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Starting Chapter 3.
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E 20:08:01 | C 00:00:20

E 00:49:00 | C 00:49:00
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E 16:08:01 | C 08:29:31
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E 16:09:01 | C 08:30:31

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment

1997, Color, Rated R

1 Hr 29 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16:9 En.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English DTS 5.1

 

Directed by Luis LLosa

 

Starring Jennifer Lopez, Ice Cube, Jon Voight, Eriz Stoltz, Jonathan Hyde, and Owen Wilson.

 

Release Date: 8/27/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

Snake Attacks

Sex

None

Language

"F" & "S" Words

"Anaconda"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

In 1995 I was working Carole Little (CL), a small fashion company located in Southern California. CL was owned and operated by Carole Little and Leonard Rabinowitz. While I was there, Carole and Leonard had teamed up with Verna Harrah to form a new sister company called Cinema Line. Cinema Line produced one film during its existence and that was "Anaconda". I left CL during pre-production of the movie and until the Superbit copy of the DVD arrived, I never bothered to see it. I suppose this mainly had to do with the poor reviews it received. I do recall speaking with Leonard prior to its premier, and he told me that the test screens had gone really well. They were shooting a few additional scenes with Ice Cube because the audience really liked his character.

"Anaconda" is about a film crew who charter a small boat to take a journey down the Amazon to try and locate a small long-lost tribe. The group is headed up by Steve Cale (Eric Stoltz), who is an anthropologist. Terri Flores (Jennifer Lopez) is the young director on this expedition who hopes that this will be the film that makes her famous.

Other members of the crew include Danny Rich (Ice Cube), Gary Dixon (Owen Wilson), Denise Kalberg (Kari Wuhrer), and Warren Westridge (Jonathan Hyde). Warren is the pompous star hired to stand in front of the camera for the documentary. Gary and Denise are taking care of the sound, while Danny appears to handle everything else.

The film actually opens with a poacher played by Danny Trejo running around his boat scared. At this point we don’t really get to see anything, but since we know this is a movie about a rather large snake, it is a pretty good guess what he is scared of.

While heading down the Amazon, the crew finds a man trapped on his boat in a rain storm. Being the kind people they are, they pick up Paul Sarone (Jon Voight). Paul tells them that he knows of this tribe they are looking for and says he will gladly help them find the tribe.

While diving underwater, Steve gets stung by a poisonous insect, and this forces the crew to turn around. Paul convinces them that they must take a shortcut that will take two days off the trip. Little do they know that Paul does not care about the crew and is only after the big snake.

Anaconda is a little over 5 years old now, but it has an impressive cast. This is an early film for both Jennifer Lopez and Owen Wilson. Both are much bigger stars today. I was hoping for more from Owen. He knows just how to deliver the one liner, but he is underused in this film. Speaking of underused, Danny Trejo only has a bit part in the beginning. Jon Voight’s character is way over the top.

The snake looked like a big rubber snake to me in the close-ups and like a digital snake during the chase sequences.

Extras

This is a Superbit DVD so there are no extras on the disc.

Technical

The image quality, like all Superbit discs, is very detailed. This is noticeable in all the foliage found along the Amazon as well as the detail in the faces. There are some noticeable nicks and scratches on the print, but those aside, the image is reference quality. I do not have the original Anaconda to compare against.

The film contains both a Dolby Digital and DTS soundtrack. I listened to the Dolby Digital track during my viewing. The surrounds are used well during the rain and jungle sequences. The rest of the time is really spent on dialog, which is always clean and free from distortion.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Every chapter breaks dropped to video.

Video (2-2)

33 drops to video. Longest drop was for 66 MPEG PICs during chapter 1. The average drop was for 5 MPEG PICs

Film (3-3)

There were 37 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 40 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

Below are samples of the errors marked in red with the chapter break in blue.

Video (2-2)

Film (3-3)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

E 03:00:02 | C 03:00:02
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Starting Chapter 2.
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E 03:01:02 | C 00:00:45

E 10:06:00 | C 00:01:38
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E 10:07:01 | C 00:02:39

E 00:24:00 | C 00:24:00
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E 00:25:02 | C 00:25:02

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Lion's Gate Films

2002, Color, Rated PG-13

1 Hr 52 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16:9 En.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Peter Bogdanovich

 

Starring Kirsten Dunst, Eddie Izzard, Edward Herrmann, Cary Elwes, Joanna Lumley, and Jennifer Tilly.

 

Release Date: 8/20/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

Gun Shots

Sex

Implied

Language

PG-13 language

"The Cat's Meow"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

This is another tale from Hollywood based on historical events that surrounded the untimely death of Hollywood mogul Thomas Ince in November of 1924. Thomas Ince was an actor, writer, and director. He was involved with over 150 films during his life. In 1911 he headed to California to make westerns and built up a pretty large empire, but by 1924 things were falling apart for him and he needed help.

In November of 1924, William Randolph Hearst (Edward Herrmann), or WM for short, planned a small birthday get together on his yacht for Tom. Tom plans to use this little trip to ask WM to merge their companies together. WM is located on the east coast, but Tom feels WM could use someone to manage his company in Hollywood. In reality Tom is desperate for help.

Taking part in the birthday celebration is Marion Davies (Kirsten Dunst), Charlie Chaplin (Eddie Izzard), Elinor Glyn (Joanna Lumley), Louella Parsons (Jennifer Tilly), Margaret Livingston (Claudia Harrison), Didi (Claudie Blakley), Celia (Chiara Schoras), and a few more friends of WM.

Marion is an aspiring young actress and the mistress of WM. Charlie is the famed movie star and director who just so happens to be in love with Marion. Elinor is a writer of steamy romance novels. She is most famous for her book “Three Weeks”, which was banned at one time in both the US and Great Britain. Louella is one of the first Hollywood gossip columnists who also happens to work for WM. Margaret is the mistress of Tom and is also an aspiring actress. Didi and Celia are two more actresses who rather enjoy partying and do so every chance they get. The other couple worth mentioning are the Barham’s. They are not part of the Hollywood crowd, and Mrs. Barham takes offense to just about every conversation she has.

The story really revolves around a love triangle between WM, Marion, and Charlie. WM has his suspicions Marion and Charlie, which is further fueled by an upcoming article in the paper and inside information provided by Tom. Tom is trying to use their affair as leverage with WM. He convinces WM that he can keep an eye on Marion in Hollywood if they are partners.

Initially I had a really hard time with Jennifer Tilly, as she was loud and just did not fit in. This is inline with her character. She is just in awe at Hollywood and wants to be part of it. By the time we reach the end of the film, her character has grown and she takes full advantage of the situation.

Eddie Izzard is a funny stand up comic and did a good job portraying Charlie. Charlie is infamous for his affairs with women on the set. He does not give up on trying to get Marion into bed with him. Things get a bit steamy when they team up with a game of charades.

Extras

There are a lot of extras on this disc. This includes an episode from the Sundance channels Anatomy of a Scene. This episode takes a look at the birthday scene on the yacht. They really break the scene down and go through it step-by-step. There is a also Charlie Chaplin short included on the disc. This, like a lot of the other extras that have been dug up, is in poor shape but entertaining none-the-less.

There is an interview section, which follows the same formula found on the "Bully" DVD. They interviewed the director, Edward Herrmann, Kirsten Dunst, Eddie Izzard, and Jennifer Tilly. The interviews all took place at different times, judging by the location where each one was. They were also asked the same questions. From the DVD menu, you select the interview topic, and then it plays out with each person talking about it. Jennifer Tilly was rather loud in the interview, much like her character in the film. However, she does bring up a few points that make sense. Back in the early 1900s, you knew very little about those involved in films. From the public perspective they were all angles. The truth is much of what went on was hidden from the public. Nowadays, a celebrity is better off with a little dirt.

There is also a 20 minute feature, including all of the cast members above. They talk about how they chose the location of Greece to film because it is supposed to have perfect weather. Of course they arrive in the middle of a storm, not that you would know it during the film.

And finally there is a feature called News Real. This is mostly clips of VERY old footage that is in poor condition. It is all black and white and the whites in a lot of it are clipped. I suppose the clips are in the best possible condition given their age.

Technical

The image quality was excellent. I hate to say this because it sounds cliché, but blacks looked very good. The black on all of the clothing was jet black. There might have been a bit of crushed blacks, but I am not sure if that was by design. EE was virtually non-existent. The colors were a bit muted, but again this appears to be by design to match the period the film was taking place.

The audio, while not as active as an adventure film, was free of mic-preamp clipping (distortion) that is evident on so many DVDs. The film is mainly dialog driven. There are a few numbers that involve music and dancing which create a nice believable sound field.

This is another DVD that has the alternating Progressive_Frame flag. Most MPEG decoders are aware of this issue and should have no problem dealing with it. The only issue you are likely to encounter are the chapter breaks. A Minerva (C-Cube) based MPEG encoder was most likely used on this film. I encountered no deinterlacing artifacts on my reference Sage based DVD player.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Every chapter breaks dropped to video.

Video (2-2)

The Progressive_frame flag toggles on/off during the entire film, except on chapter breaks where it drops for a number of frames.

Film (3-3)

There were 2 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 25 MPEG PICs (75 video fields) each.

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 0 changes to 2-2 pulldown.

Below are samples of the errors marked in red with the chapter break in blue.

Video (2-2)

Film (3-3)

E 04:38:00 | C 04:38:00
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Starting Chapter 2.
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E 04:39:00 | C 00:00:18

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E 00:01:01 | C 00:01:01

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Buena Vista Home Entertainment

2002, Color, Rated G

1 Hr 15 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 4:3

English Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Starring the voice talent of James Woods.

 

Release Date: 8/13/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

Mild Cartoon Violence

Sex

None

Language

None

"Rolie Polie Olie: The Great Defender of Fun"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

If you don't have a child between 3 and 6, you probably have no idea what or who Rolie Polie Olie is, and if you do have a child that age, I'm not sure you need to read this review. Your child is already tugging on your sleeve, asking you to go to the video store right now to get it. Hold up a second, though - you may want to know a few things about the film first.

Rolie Polie Olie is a character created by William Joyce, a children's-book author and illustrator who has created some of the best, most consistently innovative picture books in the world. Ask any children's-book collector or children's librarian - William Joyce is all that and a super-size fries. The TV show doesn't really have the same spark and zest of Joyce's best books, and is far more homogenized, at times verging on preachy. Compared to the rest of kid's TV these days, though, it's positively avant garde.

Rolie is a robot child who lives with his robot family in Rolieville. There he plays with his friends and robot dog, and has mildly diverting adventures that usually revolve around learning to share, learning that he doesn't need to be afraid, and the usual kidvid staples.

The movie, however, diverges quite a bit from the TV show formula in bringing in an actual villain: Gloomius Maximus, a space pirate who spends all his time tooling around the galaxy in his robot-powered space galley, taking the fun out of life and making people listless and gloomy with his De-fun-erator beam. Gloomius is voiced by the ever-capable James Woods, doing a cockney snarl that is quite different from Hades, the character he voiced in Disney's Hercules.

Gloomius tries multiple times to de-fun-erate Rolie's home planet, and is always rebuffed by Rolie and his pals. In the end, I don't think I'm giving too much away when I tell you that Gloomius is gloomy because, well, he never had any friends (sniff), and he really just wants to be loved. And everyone lives happily ever after.

The overall story is fine, if a bit episodic. One gets the idea that the writers are used to creating 10-15 minute stories, because there isn't much of a through line. Gloomius attacks, Rolie saves the day. Repeat 4 or 5 times, crescendo, and curtain. The animation is every bit as good as in the TV show, which is very good. It's computer animated, but it's not Pixar. The production design is excellent, for which credit must go to the aforementioned Mr. Joyce.

Where the film stumbles a bit is that, unlike the TV show, there are some genuinely scary moments. Gloomius is a malevolent character who stomps around and yells a lot. One of his gloom beams is described as making people "sleep forever" which really did not go down well with my 5-year-old son. Perhaps he's just over-sensitive, but in general he thought this film was much scarier than the TV show, and I would have to agree.

Extras

There are a few extras on the disc, the best of which is the Galaxy Map, which shows all the planets and locations shown in the movie, as well as many from the TV show. When you highlight a planet and hit select, a short description of it is shown. There are two "interactive games." They're both designed to be played with the DVD remote, which severely limits the options for "interactivity." They're both well-done technically, just not a whole lot of fun. My son found them interesting for a few minutes each, and then we were done with the disc.

Technical

The movie looks and sounds good. The sound is mixed in 5.1 Dolby Digital, and while it's not an audio showcase, it's perfectly fine for what it is. The film is framed at 4:3, which is its native aspect ratio. It would have felt more like a movie if they'd framed it at 16:9, but I suppose most kids would prefer that it look like the TV show. The image was clean, and there were no obvious distracting artifacts.

There were a large number of drops to video, even though the drops were not very long. The show may have been animated at 30 frames per seconds (2-2 / 30p), but have been transferred as video so the encoding is a bit messy. If you watch this DVD in progressive scan, we recommend you use a cadence based progressive scan player equipped with either the Silicon Image or Sage chip set. You should have no problems if you watch it on an interlaced display with any DVD player.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Every chapter breaks dropped to video.

Video (2-2)

569 drops to video. Longest drop was for 297 MPEG PICs during chapter 16. There were only a few that last for over 100 MPEG PICs.

Film (3-3)

There were 30 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 582 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 3 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Below are samples of the errors marked in red with the chapter break in blue.

Video (2-2)

Film (3-3)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

E 05:20:01 | C 05:20:01
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Starting Chapter 2.
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E 05:21:01 | C 00:00:18

E 00:17:00 | C 00:17:00
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E 00:18:01 | C 00:18:01

E 00:41:01 | C 00:41:01
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E 00:42:01 | C 00:42:01

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

- Don Munsil -

Divider

Artisan Home Entertainment

2001, Color, Rated R

1 Hr 35 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 4:3

English Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Directed by Terry Cunningham

 

Starring Sean Patrick Flanery, Arnold Vosloo, Ursula Karven, and Tim Thomerson.

 

Release Date: 7/23/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

A lot of violence w/ little blood

Sex

Brief breats

Language

"F" & "S" Words

"Con Express"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

A motley crew of Russian convicts and miscellaneous accomplices want to sell some extremely poisonous gas to the highest bidder. When the gas is seized and sent to government HQ via a cross country train (only to be retaken by the Russians), our hero and his shapely Teutonic sidekick jump into action to save the day.

Review

This is a video release that might catch the eye of a movie renter based on the boosted Q rating of Arnold Vosloo. The movie starts out with a short primer on the dangers of Sarin gas (some Japanese terrorists/religious freaks used it in a subway a few years ago). The movie warns us that a drop of the stuff can kill a man, which seems like enough tension to drive this movie. However, more than a few elements combine to relegate this movie to the B bin. It makes me wonder if there should be a C bin.

The entire movie is told through Sean Patrick Flannery’s recollections during an interview with some agency big wigs. Mr. Flannery is the B-movie equivalent to Brad Pitt (he played the Young Indiana Jones in the TV series), and could use a healthy dose of hair conditioner. The agents interviewing our hero look like heavies, but too soft and sensitive. It’s a recurring flaw in this flick, as the heavies just aren’t convincing.

Riding the coattails of his Mummy success, Imhotep (Arnold Vosloo) adds an almost believable degree of evil to the movie. He gives a similar impression that Clint Eastwood does. Steely looks with minimal dialog. He gives the best performance of anyone in the film.

The dialog is forced…kind of like the stuff that Tom Clancy writes. The swearing seems to be thrown in for the hell of it; the words just don’t sound convincing coming out of the actors mouths.

The Russian accents are a mix between Spanish, English, and German. The sultry vixen agent is played by Ursula Karven (with no effort to hide her German accent, but I suppose its close enough to serve as Russian for this movie.)

If you like action sequences, there are a few here, but nothing novel. They never really help ratchet up the tension of the movie. Here are a few examples:

  • Snowmobile chase

  • Gunfights (remember that for authenticity’s sake, long steady streams of bullets are much better than controlled bursts and aiming is optional)

  • Out of control jet (shake the camera…it makes it look like your airplane is moving)

  • Out of control train (no brakes…who’d have thunk it?)

Bottom line: How do movies like this find backers? I suppose it sounded better on paper than in its realization. Don’t buy it…if you have seen everything else or have a relative who had a bit part, rent it.

Extras

The only thing included on this DVD is the trailer to the film.

Technical

This is a direct-to-video release, and the entire film has been is MPEG encoded as VIDEO. If you plan to watch this in progressive scan, you will need a cadence based DVD player with either the Silicon Image or Sage chipset. The film is also presented in the 4:3 format. While I did not notice any real severe ringing the the image, it was a bit on the noisy side. The soundtrack is also only 2-channel. I got some pretty good envelopment using Pro Logic II, but there were some occasional distortions most likely cause by mic-preamp clipping.

- Evan Upchurch -

Divider

Miramax

1997, Color, Rated R

2 Hr 34 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16:9 En.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English DTS 5.1

 

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

 

Starring Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster, Bridget Fonda, Michael Keaton, and Robert De Niro.

 

Release Date: 8/20/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

Strong Violence

Sex

Yes

Language

"F" & "S" Words

"Jackie Brown: Collector's Edition"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

This is the follow-up film to the highly successful "Pulp Fiction" from Quentin Tarantino. I originally saw Jackie Brown back on Christmas Day in 1997 while I was in California visiting my family for the holidays. It was at a rundown theater in Modesto called Festival Cinemas. Thankfully the theater has since been torn down, but I blame the quality of this theater and my high expectations based on previous Tarantino work with my overall disappointment in Jackie Brown.

About a year and a half ago, I got the chance to revisit Jackie Brown when a friend in Japan picked up the DVD at a local video store for me. While it has been out in Japan for a while, it has never been released in the USA. I found that I enjoyed the film much more the second time around. This time I knew what the plot was, so I just sat back and enjoyed the characters. I also no longer compared it to Pulp Fiction. What I did find was more natural, while not as colorful, dialog. The characters were more mature and developed than those in Pulp Fiction. While I have found new love for the film, I still consider Pulp Fiction a more entertaining film.

It has been a long time coming, but it was worth the wait. The new collector's edition of Jackie Brown includes a new transfer that is superior to the region 2 DVD, and it also has a wealth of supplements.

Jackie Brown is based on the Elmore Leonard novel "Rum Punch". It is about a middle aged woman aptly named Jackie Brown (Pam Grier) who while running money for the local gun runner, Ordell Robbie (Samuel L. Jackson), is busted by the FBI.

Enter the bail bondsman, Max Cherry. (Robert Forster). Ordell hires Max to bail Jackie out of jail. Ordell fears that Jackie may turn him in to save herself and figures he should cut his losses. Of course everyone underestimates Jackie, and she has no plans to be "dealt with".

Jackie comes up with a plan to get Ordell's money from Mexico. She also tells the FBI she will help them get Ordell for her own freedom. She then enlists the help of Max to double cross both Ordell and the FBI.

Like Pulp Fiction and Reservoir before, Jackie Brown is filled with terrific dialog and character development.

Extras

This special edition has enough content to keep you busy for days.

The first feature on the disc is the documentary "Jackie Brown: How it Went Down". This includes lots of interviews with several cast members, Tarantino (Director), Lawrence Bender (Producer), and Elmore Leonard (Author of Rum Punch). Some of the Tarantino footage actually comes from the interview, and that is the next feature we will talk about. Both Elmore and Quentin tell us how Quentin was afraid to call Elmore and tell him about the changes made to the story like the main character being black instead of white. Quentin also goes on to explain how the actor was chosen for the specific part.

Next up is the actual interview with Tarantino. This one is nearly an hour long. My gripe with this is that I found it difficult to hear the questions being asked. We never see the interviewer and we barely here her voice. I am not sure when this interview took place, but at the time of the interview Tarantino tells us he has not spoken with Elmore since the release of the film. He assumes he liked it. The item I found most interesting was the discussion around Michael Keaton's character. For those who have also seen "Out Of Sight", you will notice that Michael plays the exact same character. This is pretty rare especially across studios. Tarantino tells us how Miramax wanted to charge the other studio, but he said no, give it to them for free. It is nice to see art take priority over money.

Next up is the full length video of "Chicks who like Guns", which was filmed specifically for the movie, and is the first time we get to see the whole thing. It makes you realize just how much has to be created before you can do the real film.

There are 6 deleted / alternate scenes. Tarantino introduces them all at once before they begin. You get the option to view them on their own or play all. I wish more studios would offer the play all feature.

Like the Pulp Fiction CE, there is the full Siskel and Ebert review of Jackie Brown. Again, this is another cool feature. I would like see this on more DVDs. It would be great to include their bad reviews on films that do well.

There is an MTV special just prior to the premier of Jackie Brown. This is probably my least favorite extra on the disc. Not that the content is bad, but it is just that I don't care for the MTV cast doing the interview. They have always come off as fake to me. There is also the MTV Jackie Brown contest included in this section.

You get a few trailers. In fact, my favorite teaser is included. It is the one where we get to hear Tarantino try the "Pam Grier is...Jackie Brown." I recall this as being the first thing I saw on Jackie Brown. It was back early in the day of Trailers on the Internet.

There is also a trivia track included just like Pulp Fiction. I like this because you don't have commentary drowning out the dialog and music of the film.

There are numerous full reviews and articles on the film. Everything is there, from the Rolling Stones review to the article published on Ain't it Cool News. This will keep you busy for some time. And there are hundreds of photos in the still gallery.

Technical

The image quality is an improvement over Pulp Fiction. It even looks better than the previously released region 2 DVD from Japan. I noticed very little ringing in the image. It had good shadow detail. There is some visible chroma noise throughout, but not enough to be intrusive. Close-up shots are detailed, while long shots get a bit soft.

The audio was free from any audible distortions. Tarantino has a knack for finding the most appropriate music. While the songs don't fit my taste as well as those from Pulp Fiction, they do fit the film well. When the music is not enveloping you, you are left with dialog.

The MPEG flags are about average with what we are seeing on mainstream DVDs.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Every chapter breaks dropped to video.

Video (2-2)

64 drops to video. Longest drop was for 14,344 MPEG PICs during chapter 25. The rest where much shorter and averaged about 5 MPEG PICs per drop. The large drop is near the closing credits.

Film (3-3)

There were 83 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields). There were a few that lasted for over 20 MPEG PICs. (60 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

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

Below are samples of the errors marked in red with the chapter break in blue.

Video (2-2)

Film (3-3)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

E 15:05:01 | C 07:20:53
Pic: 09 B:F:P-B
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Starting Chapter 3.
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E 15:06:01 | C 00:00:33

E 00:01:00 | C 00:01:00
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E 00:02:00 | C 00:02:00

E 03:39:02 | C 03:39:02
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Pic: 00 B:F:PRB
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E 03:40:01 | C 03:40:01

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Walt Disney Pictures

2002, Color, Rated G

1 Hr 12 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.66:1 (16:9 En.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Robin Budd and Donovan Cook

 

Starring the voice talents of Harriet Owen, Blayne Weaver, Corey Burton, Jeff Bennett, and Kath Soucie.

 

Release Date: 8/20/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

Minor Violence

Sex

None

Language

None

"Return to Never Land"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

After kidnapping Wendy’s daughter, Jane, but thinking she is Wendy, the good captain Hook lures Peter Pan to the rescue. The jaded and weary Jane wants to find her way home. With strong themes of betrayal and separation, this movie doesn’t come close to recreating the magic of the original.

Review

This movie clocks in at 73 minutes, and I am glad it didn’t last any longer. Set in the early 40’s in a war-destroyed London, Jane’s father goes to battle, and she learns of her impending relocation to safer parts of England, which will result in separation from her mother. Once spirited to Never Land, Jane is teased by the Lost Boys, and Tinkerbell is brought to death's door by Jane’s puzzling lack of belief in a fairy she can see and touch. Hook convinces Wendy to betray Peter’s trust by locating his stolen treasure, thus buying her way back to her dislocated family. This is pretty heavy material for kids to watch.

I did like two things about the film: the animation and the sound. The animation is spectacular; it’s a seamless combination of CG and standard animation. Hook’s ship in motion with its complex rigging and changing perspective looks great. The sound effects and character voices are all first rate (although Jane sounds like an adult). The low frequency bomb effects were quite amazing.

Bottom Line

I wouldn’t show it to my kids unless you fast-forward past the first 14 minutes where they cover the war and Jane’s separation from her parents.

While the movie closes with a happy ending, it doesn’t make up for the other negative story elements.

It’s Disney, but I have to say that I hate its violent opening. I wouldn’t want my child to see a father going to war and a London bombed to rubble. With the necessity of being evacuated from London, the children are uprooted from their families.

Extras

There is the Disney Story time that will let your kids read along with or to themselves. There is also an interactive DVD game to locate the Lost Boys inside the pirate ship.

There are two deleted scenes, which is the highlight of the extras on this disc. The deleted scenes are a mixture of three phases of animation. We see each scene bounce between storyboards, pencil drawings, and the final product. The first scene that was cut was when Jane meets Captain Hook for the first time after he kidnaps her. This actually has some temporary voices until the final actors are in place. The next deleted scene involves a sub plot that was cut from the film. Originally Captain Hook gave Tinkerbell a cake that made her sick. They changed the final story that it was Jane’s lack of belief that made Tinkerbell sick. Both of the deleted scenes are introduced by the producer of the film. One special note is that while the introduction by the producer is 4:3, it has black bars on the left and right side so it will play back correctly on a 16:9 display.

And finally there is Jonathan Brook performing the signature song for the film. She discusses the song’s creation and we see its studio recording. - Evan Upchurch -

Technical

This is reference DVD. The image is clean as can be. There are no edge enhancement halos around any of the objects, nor is there any hint of video noise. The colors are vibrant, and this DVD is simply stunning to look at.

The soundtrack is as every bit as good as the video. The musical score envelopes us and pulls us into the film. As Evan mentioned above about the war scenes, the sounds of bombs may actually scare the younger children, but adults are sure to enjoy.

This is another film that appears to have used the Minerva (C-Cube) MPEG encoder, as the progressive_frame flag toggles on and off with every frame. On a good note, there appear to be no drops to video at any of the chapter breaks. Because most players are aware of the toggling flag problem, this disc should play fine in any progressive_scan player.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

0 chapter breaks dropped to video.

Video (2-2)

The progressive_frame flag toggled on/off with every frame.

Film (3-3)

There were 0 changes to 3-3 pulldown.

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 0 changes to 2-2 pulldown.

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Paramount Home Entertainment

2002, Color, Rated R

2 Hr 18 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16:9 En.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1 Ex

English Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Directed by Randall Wallace

 

Starring Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, Greg Kinnear, Sam Elliot, Chris Klein, Keri Russell, and Barry Pepper.

 

Release Date: 8/20/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

Strong Violence

Sex

None

Language

"F" & "S" Words

"We Were Soldiers"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Initially, I had a difficult time getting started with the film. "We Were Soldiers" has a lot of pretty faces in it, which made it look like another big budget "Hollywood" action flick with the likes of Mel Gibson, Greg Kinnear, Chris Kline, Keri Russell, and Barry Pepper. It is like the casting call consisted of A-list actors only.

The film is based on the book "We Were Soldiers Once…and Young" written by Lt. Colonial Harold Moore and Joe Galloway. Once I sat down and got into the film, my preconceived notion started to fade quickly. The initial firefight between the Vietcong and the French really caught me off guard. It had a down and dirty real feeling to it. This also let me know just how graphic the film would get.

We join Lt. Colonial Harold (Hal) Moore (Mel Gibson) as he is relocating his family to Ft. Benning, Georgia, where he has been chosen to lead the new Air Cavalry unit. The first shot we see of Ft. Benning is the trio of 250' jump towers that are located near main post, which are used for Airborne training.

The first act of the film involves Hal training his new officers for battle while his wife prepares the officers' wives for dealing with problems on the home front. Hal also brings along Sgt. Major Basil Plumley (Sam Elliot), a war veteran with lots of experience, to take charge of the enlisted men.

During this time we also get introduced to two young officers. One who is totally gung ho and rides his platoon hard, he is also the only soldier in the film who appears to be Ranger qualified. (But as the saying goes, the tab is just a school; the scroll is a way of life.) The other officer is more sensitive and takes a supportive role to his platoon, for which Chris Klein falls right into the role.

The second act brings us into Vietnam and right into battle. Shortly after arriving in Nam, Hal is given orders to take his unit of 400 soldiers into battle. Neither he nor the command above realized that this location was at the heart of a large Vietcong division of 2000 strong and battle hardened soldiers. Once the first platoons arrive, they are immediately under attack. This is the first battle in the Vietnam War between the US and the Vietcong army.

The battle takes place over the next few days with more and more troops slowly arriving to fight. Joe Galloway, a combat photographer also arrives and takes part in the battle in hopes that he can explain to the folks back home just what is taking place.

Back at home, it seems the Military was not prepared for the casualties and uses the combo of a taxi service and Western Union to notify the wives of their husbands' death. Hal’s wife takes charge and personally delivers the telegrams herself. It is a sad state of affairs when the taxi driver must deliver the bad news instead of the proper military representatives.

The film is very powerful, and the real Hal Moore claims it is the first film to accurately represent what the Vietnam War was like. I don't know if what he says is true or not because everyone had a different experience in different parts of the country, but I enjoyed the film far more than I expected.

Extras

There are not a whole lot in the way of extras, but what is there is good.

There are 10 deleted scenes. My favorite involves the story of just how tuff Sgt. Major Plumley is when they talk about a snot nosed 2nd Lt, ordering his platoon to get in their dressed greens so he can see what awards / medals they have. He feels it is the best way to judge his troops.

There is also a behind the scenes feature called "Getting it Right." This was worthwhile because we got to meet a lot of the real people portrayed in the film. We do get to listen to the real Hal go on about how all of the other Vietnam movies are just Hollywood action flicks and this is the first one to get it right. It seems that each actor spent a fair amount of time with the person they were portraying in order to make their roles more accurate. We also get a quick look at the special effects involved. There is even some older war footage showing where the real battle took place and it looked like what we saw in the film.

Technical

The video quality is excellent. There is very little ringing or edge enhancement visible in the image. The night scenes are just as clean as the day shots.

The audio soundtrack is very active with lots of low frequency effects. The surround are put to good use, and they never distract your attention away from the screen. I did not notice any distortion that is often caused by mic-preamp clipping.

Another excellent MPEG encoding with 0 drops to video. There were 30 3-3 errors and 45 2-2 30/p errors.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

0 chapter breaks dropped to video.

Video (2-2)

0 drops to video.

Film (3-3)

There were 30 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields).

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 45 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

Below are samples of the errors marked in red with the chapter break in blue.

Film (3-3)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

E 01:15:00 | C 01:15:00
Pic: 03 B:F:P-T
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Pic: 06 B:F:PRB
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Pic: 02 B:F:P-T
E 01:16:00 | C 01:16:00

E 81:46:01 | C 00:55:42
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Pic: 11 P:F:P-B
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Pic: 01 B:F:PRB
Pic: 02 I:F:P-T
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E 81:47:01 | C 00:56:42

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Artisan Home Entertainment

1992, Color, Rated R

1 Hr 39 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 (16:9 En.)

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Directed by Quentin Tarantino

 

Starring Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen, Chris Penn, Lawrence Tierney, Kirk Baltz, and Quentin Tarantino.

 

Release Date: 8/27/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Photography

MPEG Flags

Violence

Strong Violence

Sex

None

Language

"F" & "S" Words

"Reservoir Dogs"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

This was the directorial debut (1992) for Quentin Tarantino. The film begins with a very colorful conversation about the meaning behind the popular Madonna song "Like a Virgin". This takes place while the crew is having breakfast prior to the big job (robbery).

A team of professional thieves is assembled by Joe Cabot (Lawrence Tierney) to pull off a diamond heist. The team members themselves do not know each other and are given an alias. This is to prevent anyone captured from turning in the others.

A bloody fight ensues as the cops arrive quicker than expected, which suggests there is a mole in the group. Mr. White (Harvey Keitel) and Mr. Orange (Tim Roth) are the first to arrive back at the meeting place. Orange has been shot in the gut and is begging White to drop him off at the hospital. The problem is White has told Orange his real name. The next to arrive back is Mr. Pink (Steve Buscemi), and he is against taking Orange to the hospital on fear for his own life.

It turns out Pink was able to get the diamonds and has put them in a safe place. Mr. Blond (Michael Madsen) arrives during a heated argument between White and Pink. Blond has brought a gift with him, one of the cops from the shootout, which he plans to torture.

Eddie Cabot (Chris Penn), Joe’s son, arrives on the scene to take control of the bad situation.

While the warehouse scene takes place in the present, much of the story is told in flashbacks. This includes the meeting of the characters as well as the plan to steal the diamonds.

The film literally grabs you by the gut at the beginning and does not let go until the film ends. Steven Wright lends his voice as the DJ K-Billy and introduces each song. Tarantino has done another incredible job of picking out the soundtrack.

Extras

Because this is a special edition, it includes some deleted / alternate scenes as well as interviews with some of the cast members, including Tarantino himself. The extras on this disc are not as large as those found on the other the two Tarantino special editions, but they are worthwhile.

There are three deleted scenes and two alternate scenes for the ear removal. The alternates are from two different angles. The first is from the back left side and you see Michael removing the ear, but you don’t actually see the ear itself. The next scene is from the other side and you see it all.

One of the deleted scenes also gives us a lot more background character on Mr. White as Mr. Orange figures out his real identity and performs a background check.

There are six interviews on the disc. The first one starts with Chris Penn being interview in the back of a moving van. We next meet Kirk Baltz and he talks about the experience of being the tortured cop. Michael Madsen is interviewed at home where we get to see his kids, pets, and action figure. Tim Roth is a poolside interview with some synchronized swimmers in between. Lawrence Bender's interview takes place in the office. Between each question we see the police chase scene from Dogs because Lawrence plays one of the cops. Each showing includes a bit of trivia about him and the other films he has produced. And finally we get to listen to Tarantino talk about the experience of making the film. Is it just me or does Tarantino never look into the camera when he does an interview? All of these interviews are enjoyable to watch.

And finally, the theatrical trailer is included.

Technical

I have some mixed feelings over the picture quality of this new special edition. First, the new anamorphic transfer is more detailed than the previous release. The print appears to be in good condition with no distracting nicks or scratches. The opening scene that circles around the cast at the breakfast table shows some amazing detail in the close-ups. Detail is just popping out of the pores in Harvey Kitel's face.

There are a couple of concerns with this transfer. First is the framing of the film. This version has more visible picture than the previous DVD and Laserdisc. If you compare the trailer to the film on the opening scene, you will see more visible area exposed above the brick wall. It looks like some type of apartment complex behind the brick wall. I am not really sure which is correct, but it is something worth noting.

The second issue is the black level or lack of blacks. Pardon me while I step up on my soap box. I follow the same standards that were established back in 1953 in setting up my display. Brightness is set using a PLUGE pattern, and saturation is set using SMPTE color bars. With my display properly calibrated, the black coats that they gang are wearing are now gray, and the image is washed out. The only way to enjoy this film is to alter the saturation and brightness controls on your display from their one and only proper setting. Because there no included test patterns, like THX Optimode, on this disc you are either going to crush black by setting brightness too low or see details that should not be seen because brightness is set to high. I had to lower my brightness from the calibrated setting of 42 on my display to 34 in order to get the blacks back. I will now step down from my soapbox.

The soundtrack is very good. Tarantino has a created a wonderful soundtrack to go with this film. Steven Wright's voice is just perfect for the DJ who is heard often throughout the film. It does default to the Dolby Digital 2.0 mix, so be sure to switch over to the 5.1 audio track.

The MPEG flags are pretty good on this disc. It is the best we have seen from Artisan to date..

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

0 Chapter breaks dropped to video.

Video (2-2)

12 drops to video. Longest drop was for 719 MPEG PICs during chapter 12. The rest where much shorter and averaged about 15 MPEG PICs per drop.

Film (3-3)

There were 40 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields). There were a few that lasted for over 20 MPEG PICs. (60 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 37 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

Below are samples of the errors marked in red with the chapter break in blue.

Video (2-2)

Film (3-3)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

E 09:37:01 | C 02:10:23
Pic: 09 B:F:--T
Pic: 10 P:F:--T
Pic: 11 B:F:--T
Pic: 12 P:F:--T
Pic: 13 P:F:--T
Pic: 00 I:F:--T
Pic: 01 B:F:--T
Pic: 02 P:F:--T
Pic: 03 B:F:--T
Pic: 04 B:F:--T
Pic: 05 P:F:--T
Pic: 06 B:F:--T
Pic: 07 B:F:--T
Pic: 08 P:F:--T
Pic: 09 B:F:--T
Pic: 10 B:F:--T

Pic: 11 P:F:PRT
Starting Chapter 3.
Pic: 00 B:F:P-B
Pic: 01 B:F:PRB
Pic: 02 I:F:P-T
Pic: 03 B:F:PRT
Pic: 04 B:F:P-B
Pic: 05 P:F:PRB
Pic: 06 B:F:P-T
Pic: 07 B:F:PRT
Pic: 08 P:F:P-B
Pic: 09 B:F:PRB
E 09:38:01 | C 00:00:25

E 00:20:01 | C 00:20:01
Pic: 00 B:F:PRB
Pic: 01 B:F:P-T
Pic: 02 I:F:PRT
Pic: 03 B:F:P-B
Pic: 04 B:F:PRB
Pic: 05 P:F:P-T
Pic: 06 B:F:PRT
Pic: 07 B:F:P-B
Pic: 08 P:F:PRB
Pic: 09 B:F:P-T
Pic: 10 B:F:PRT
Pic: 11 P:F:P-B
Pic: 00 B:F:PRB
Pic: 01 B:F:P-T
Pic: 02 I:F:PRT
Pic: 04 B:F:PRB

Pic: 05 P:F:P-T
Pic: 06 B:F:PRT
Pic: 07 B:F:P-B
Pic: 08 P:F:PRB
Pic: 09 B:F:P-T
Pic: 10 B:F:PRT
Pic: 11 P:F:P-B
Pic: 00 B:F:PRB
E 00:21:02 | C 00:21:02

E 04:41:01 | C 04:41:01
Pic: 05 P:F:P-T
Pic: 06 B:F:PRT
Pic: 07 B:F:P-B
Pic: 09 B:F:P-T

Pic: 10 B:F:PRT
Pic: 11 P:F:P-B
Pic: 00 B:F:PRB
Pic: 01 B:F:P-T
Pic: 02 I:F:PRT
Pic: 03 B:F:P-B
Pic: 04 B:F:PRB
Pic: 05 P:F:P-T
Pic: 06 B:F:PRT
Pic: 07 B:F:P-B
Pic: 08 P:F:PRB
Pic: 09 B:F:P-T
Pic: 10 B:F:PRT
Pic: 11 P:F:P-B
Pic: 00 B:F:PRB
Pic: 01 B:F:P-T
Pic: 02 I:F:PRT
Pic: 03 B:F:P-B
Pic: 04 B:F:PRB
Pic: 05 P:F:P-T
E 04:42:00 | C 04:42:00

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

- Stacey Spears -

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