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Movie Renter's Guide

Number 91 - October, 2002

Staff


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Divider

Big Trouble A Knight's Tale (SB)
Enough Footloose
Grease Joyride
Lucky Break Mask of Zorro (SB)
Monsters, Inc. Mr. Deeds
Raw Heat Say Nothing
Snatch (SB) Sorority Boys
The Sum of All Fears Swingers: CS

Divider

Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment

2001, Color, Rated PG-13

2 Hr 12 Min

 

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

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English DTS 5.1

 

Directed by Brian Helgeland

 

Starring Heath Ledger, Rufus Sewell, Shannyn Sossamon, Paul Bettany, Mark Addy, and Alan Tudyk.

 

Release Date: 8/27/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

Yes

Sex

Miled

Language

No

"A Knight's Tale (Superbit)"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

In 14th century France, William Thatcher (Ledger) would like to enter jousting matches after the death of the knight he serves, but they are restricted to Nobility. So, with the help of his friends, including one Jeffery Chaucer (Bettany), they draw up forged documents and enter matches all over Europe.

Count Adhemar (Sewell) vies not only for the same championships, but for the affections of Jocelyn (Sossamon) who prefers William, much to the Count's irritation.

Although set in the time of Arthur, the music is modern rock. At first, I was put off by this, but soon came around and found it to be quite enjoyable.

- JEJ -

Extras

This is a Superbit disc with no extras. Superbit means that the bit rate approaches the maximum that DVD can handle (10 Mb/sec) and it is all devoted to the movie rather than extras. If there are extras, they are put on a second disc.

Technical

The movie is mostly shot outdoors in wooded areas. There is a lot of high frequency (fine detail.) It is evident in the trees, the wood that make up the platforms/bleachers, and the armor the knights wear. This is a good looking film. The extra detail is a result of the improved horizontal resolution that all Superbit DVDs have.

The soundtrack is very dynamic from the small Foley effects during the joust to the high impact rock music soundtrack. Dialog is always intelligible when spoken. I do not recall any audible distortion in the soundtrack.

Like all other Superbit DVDs, this DVD-9 (dual layer) is encoded with a seamless layer break.

The flags are typical of CTHV. There are a number of drops to video, including chapter breaks. Their MPEG encoding is about average.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Every chapter break had a drop to video.

Video (2-2)

There were 33 drops to video.

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

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment

1997, Color, Rated PG-13

2 Hr 1 Min

 

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

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English DTS 5.1

 

Directed by Martin Campbell

 

Starring Anthony Hopkins, Antonio Banderas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Stuart Wilson, and Matt Letscher.

 

Release Date: 9/17/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

Yes

Sex

No

Language

No

"Mask of Zorro (Superbit)"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

In 1821, Californians rebel against Spain, wanting their independence, and Governor Don Rafael Montero (Wilson) refuses to relinquish power. Instead, he gives the state to his Dons, before going into exile.

Upon his return, and California belonging to Mexico, he urges Californians to declare their independence from Mexico, and he will lead them. Unfortunately, this entails slave labor in the gold mines, the spoils of which he plans to pay General Santa Ana in exchange for independence.

Zorro (Hopkins) has been unmasked 20 years before as Don Diego de la Vega, and imprisoned. He escapes to find cruelty all around, but he is now too old to do anything about it. He takes a young bandit, Alejandro Murrieta (Banderas) into his confidence, and trains him to do as he would if he were younger.

The plan is complicated by the presence of Don Diego's daughter Elena (Zeta-Jones) who was kidnapped by Montero when Diego was imprisoned. Both Alejandro and Montero's henchman, Captain Harrison Love (Letscher) vie for Elena's affections, and the story comes to a ripping climax as Zorro et al. try to save the peasants at the gold mine when Montero et al. decide to blow it up so that evidence will be destroyed.

The movie is great fun, and, IMHO, one of the best Zorro films ever made. Be sure also to rent the Tyrone Power version from the last century.

- JEJ -

Extras

This is one of the Superbit deluxe editions. The main disc itself is only the movie and the second disc contains all of the extras. This is the same second disc that is included with the previous Zorro special edition.

First up is the 45-minute documentary entitled “Unmasking Zorro.” This feature covers the origins of the Zorro character. It also talks about the origins of this version of the film. It goes on to explain the casting decisions and provides good insights into the production. Overall, it was an enjoyable feature.

There are two deleted scenes including on the disc the first is called “Wallet” and the second is “Resolution”. The quality of the deleted scenes is poor. They are shown in letterbox, and they are not enhanced for 16:9 displays. I really wish studios would do a better job with the extras so that users do not have to keep changing the aspect ratio on their display. Most extras appear to be designed for 4:3 displays.

Up next is the promotional spots, which include a teaser trailer, the theatrical trailer, and 12 TV spots. There are also several stills that include 21 actor publicity portraits, and 8 conceptual costume designs.

What disc would not be complete without a music video? Included is the video from Marc Anthony for the song “I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You”.

And finally is the standard cast and crew bios, including the films they have been in.

Technical

Like the majority of the Superbit releases, the same original master was used for this new disc. The difference is in the MPEG encoding. Halos are still visible as they were before, but they have been reduced in amplitude.

In keep with tradition, there is an improvement in horizontal resolution and the DVD-9 (dual layer) is now encoded with a seamless layer break so those of you with DVD players that are a bit slowing at changing layers will enjoy the uninterrupted flow of the film.

The improved horizontal resolution lends itself to defining fine detail.

The soundtrack is very dynamic. The surrounds are active most of the time but never distract your attention away from the on-screen action. The soundtrack is filled with a lot of low frequency (a.k.a. bass) information that will keep your heart racing. Dialog remains intelligible at all times and I noticed no audible distortion present.

The MPEG flags are on par with previous CTHV DVDs. Every chapter break drops to video for approximately 5 MPEG pictures.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Every chapter break had a drop to video.

Video (2-2)

There were 38 drops to video.

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

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Paramount Home Entertainment

1978, Color, Rated PG

1 Hr 50 Min

 

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

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital 2.0

French Dolby Digital 2.0 (Stereo)

 

Directed by Randal Kleiser

 

Starring John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing.

 

Release Date: 8/27/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

No

Sex

Implied

Language

Yes

"Grease"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

This is the successful film that was based on the popular musical. It stars John Travolta as Danny and Olivia Newton John as Sandy, and if you have never seen it, then you must be living in a cave and can’t possibly be reading this review now.

How does one review "Grease"? By now most people have seen it, and we are happy it has finally arrived on video. The film opens with two kids saying goodbye on the beach. Sandy is on her way back to Australia after her summer vacation, while Danny is off to finish his last year of high school.

Both Sandy and Danny are surprised when they are reunited back at school. While trying not to look foolish in front of his friends, Danny comes off as being a jerk. The rest of the film is spent with the two of them going back and forth.

You can't talk about "Grease" without talking about all of the great songs in the film. Each song tells its own story. How many of us cannot sing along with this movie? We all have specific memories of our childhood, good or bad. One of those memories is when I received the soundtrack to "Grease" on LP. It was many, many Christmas's ago, and it was a gift from my aunt and uncle. I remember hearing the songs, especially Grease Lighting, and not having any idea what it was talking about. The subject matter of that song is adult oriented, and my dad just laughed as I sang them.

At long last the film is finally available on DVD. The weekend I received the disc, it was also on TBS. The TBS version was in Pan & Scan and there was much information missing from the sides. The video quality was superior to the presentation on TBS, so as unhappy as I am with the overall quality of the DVD, it is the best it has ever looked on video.

Extras

There is little in the way of extras on this DVD. In fact the only thing on the DVD is a 20th anniversary special where we get to hear from some of the cast on what it was like to bring the popular musical to the big screen. Of course, we are way beyond the 20th anniversary, which goes to show this content has been sitting on the shelf for a few years waiting to be released.

Technical

Both the audio and video on this disc are disappointing by today's standards. The image has visible mesquito noise and a fair amount of edge enhancement. It is, however, a noticeable improvement over the previously released laserdisc. Because it is a 2.35:1 transfer, the anamorphic enhanced DVD really benefits from the extra vertical resolution. There is visible line twitter and moiré on the LD version that is not there on the DVD.

The soundtrack itself is dated. It is pretty obvious when they are lip-syncing, and it is also thin sounding at times. The surrounds are rarely used. They also included the original two-channel soundtrack if you don’t like newly re-created 5.1 mixes.

As with most Paramount DVDs, the MPEG encoding on this disc is virtually perfect. You should encounter no problems at all with flag based progressive scan DVD players.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

No chapter break had a drop to video.

Video (2-2)

There were 0 drops to video.

Film (3-3)

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

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 49 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

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

- Stacey Spears -

Divider

Buena Vista Home Entertainment

2001, Color, Rated G

1 Hr 39 Min

 

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

4:3 (Full Frame)

English Dolby Digital 5.1 EX

 

Directed by Peter Docter and Lee Unkrich

 

Starring the voice talents of John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, James Coburn, and Jennifer Tilly.

 

Release Date: 9/17/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

Minor

Sex

No

Language

No

"Monsters, Inc."

Synopsis

Plot Overview

How does Pixar keep creating such great films? "Toy Story" was just a great idea that we could all relate to, but when "A Bug's Life" was announced, I wondered how a film about bugs could be entertaining, but it was! Next up was "Toy Story 2", which was an obvious hit, but then the idea of Monsters? Come one, could it really work? Well yes, it could, and it did.

Monsters, Inc. is the story of two monsters, Mike and Sulley, whose day-to-day job is to scare children and collect their screams. The screams are used as power that keeps the city of Monstropolis alive and running.

A couple of problems arise. First, it is becoming more difficult to scare children. Kids are becoming desensitized to violence on TV and in video games, and they are staying up later, which appears to make them sleep through the monsters' tactics.

The second problem is that one child accidentally ends up in Monstropolis. The deal here is that all monsters are actually afraid of children because of all the horrible diseases they carry. There is even a monster quick reaction force in place to take care of any close encounters a monster may have with a child.

Somehow, a child slips through the system and ends up in the care of Mike and Sulley. Sulley quickly falls for the cute child and must now find a way to return her home safe. There is an obstacle in the way, namely Randall, a chameleon-like monster who is competing with Sulley to be the top scarer.

As I said at the opening, Pixar just keeps hitting home runs with their films. While the first three films were all directed by John Lasseter, this project was headed up by Peter Docter. David Silverman and Lee Unkrich are credited as co-directors.

Extras

Disney has released a nice two-disc set of "Monsters, Inc." By far the best extra on this disc, for me anyway, was the tour of Pixar studios. This section is introduced by John Lasseter himself, and is made up of seven segments but can be viewed as one continuous piece. At the end, there are even some hidden sections, but are easy enough to find. This documentary is located under the “Human World” section of the disc.

The extras are pretty much broken into two sections. There is a "Human World" and "Monsters World", and each have their own goodies to delve into.

The last two Pixar films have used the same formula. On initial theatrical release, they just had the film. A few months later, around Thanksgiving, they added some outtakes to the film. This seems a like a dirty tactic to increase the film's gross income. All of those outtakes are included on the second disc and are not part of the film itself. Of course, the outtakes are just more computer animation, but they are incredibly clever and enjoyable. The outtakes on the second disc are not as enjoyable as those found on "A Bugs Life" or "Toy Story 2", but they are still a treat to watch. The last outtake is actually the play that Mike made up during the film while trying to hide the child. They even included an entire program for the play. They really went all out for such a small piece.

Also included on the disc is the wonderful short that was shown before the film in the theater, entitled “For the Birds.” This is a mini silent film, and it goes to show how body language really can be used to tell a story. There is also the new short entitled “Mike’s New Car.” This is not half as enjoyable as “For the Birds”, but I did get a good laugh out of the 6-wheel drive car.

There is actually a lot more on the disc with a lot of small features. This is not a DVD you will want to rent; it is a must own, so go and buy and enjoy the discovery process yourself.

Technical

This is a good looking disc! It is not as good looking as past Pixar discs, but it is a treat to look at. They crammed both the widescreen and Pan & Scan (actually a re-formatted 4:3.) version of the film on the same side of a DVD-9 (dual layer). The average bit rate appears to be pretty low. (A low bit rate might be 4 Mb/sec, a high rate might be 6 Mb/sec, and Superbit might be 9 Mb/sec.)

There is visible mosquito noise, and overall the image is a bit soft. This disc was used all over at the recent CEDIA trade show. If they were not showing HD, they were showing the DVD of Monsters, Inc. While it is not the best transfer or even as good as the past Pixar films, it still looks great.

The soundtrack surpasses the image quality in every way. Like all animations, every sound has to be created from scratch. The surrounds are actively used and envelope you in a 3D world of audio. This disc is encoded as Dolby Surround EX, and they even included an EX effects-only mix. The soundtrack is very dynamic with a lot of good low frequency rumble. There were a couple of times that I could hear audible clipping, which is most likely is a result of microphone preamp clipping and not the encoding.

I was surprised that such an old MPEG encoder was used. The progressive frame flag toggles on and off during the film. This is a trait of the C-Cube encoder. Now the fact that most MPEG decoders are aware of this and can deal with it makes it a non-issue, other than MPEG encoders have matured and a newer MPEG encoder can encode at lower rates with higher quality. So, I believe this disc could have been better visually at the same bit rate if a newer MPEG encoder had been used. On a good note, there were no extended drops to video on any chapter breaks.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

No chapter break had a drop to video.

Video (2-2)

The progressive_frame flag toggled on/off during the entire film.

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 -

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Buena Vista Home Entertainment

2002, Color, Rated PG-13

1 Hr 25 Min

 

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

English Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld

 

Starring Tim Allen, Omar Epps, Dennis Farina, Ben Foster, Janeane Garofalo, Jason Lee, Rene Russo, Tom Sizemore, and Stanley Tucci.

 

Release Date: 10/08/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

Yes

Sex

No

Language

Yes

"Big Trouble"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

An impressive cast was assembled for this latest Barry Sonnenfeld film. I am not sure where to begin because there are so many things happening in the film. There are several characters who are brought together by a few small actions. We have a corrupt business man, a hired hit man, an ex-writer, an unhappy housewife, two cops, a pair of FBI agents, some Russian smugglers, two idiots, a nosy dog, and a toad.

The cast includes Stanley Tucci, Dennis Farina, Tim Allen, Rene Russo, Janeane Garofalo, Patrick Warburton, Tom Seizmore, Johnny Knoxville, Heavy D, Omar Epps, and Jason Lee.

The quick version is that Arthur (Stanley Tucci) has upset his employers who have in turn brought in a hit man named Henry (Dennis Farina) to take care of him. When the first attempt fails, Arthur goes to see a couple of Russians looking for a missile. At this point, a couple of complete morons decide to kidnap Arthur and his new silver suitcase. Things just get more complicated as time goes by.

It was a rather short film, but then so have other recent films from Sonnenfeld. Stanley Tucci and Dennis Farina both did great jobs in their roles. Stanly played a complete jerk and Dennis was just plain funny. He did not even have to speak in some scenes, and I busted out in laughter.

The film has some funny moments, and the characters are enjoyable. It is confusing at times with so many characters, but it is easy to recommend as a rental.

Extras

There is not much in the way of extras expect for the 5-minute version of the film, which is actually a little over 7-minutes in length. This segment plays through most of the main scenes and is probably Barry’s shortest work to date.

Technical

The image quality is very good and is on a par with previous released from Buena Vista. Both the interior and exterior shots are free of any visible noise and are detailed. I don’t recall any obtrusive ringing in the image that would distract from the story.

The audio soundtrack, while subdued, is done well. The surrounds are used, but unless you turned them off, you might not know they were there. For most of the film, they provide you with ambient information, and when bullets fly, they come to life. There is also some surprising bass that shakes the sub whenever the silver suitcase is tossed around.

There are 93 total drops to video, and they last an unusually long time. There are a large number that last over 20 MPEG pictures with some in the 100 and 200 range. Surprisingly, none of the chapter breaks caused a drop to video.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

No chapter break had a drop to video.

Video (2-2)

There are 93 total drops to video.

Film (3-3)

There were 27 changes to 3-3 pulldown.

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 121 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

Buena Vista Home Entertainment

2002, Color, Rated R

1 Hr 33 Min

 

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

English Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Wallace Wolodarsky

 

Starring Barry Watson, Michael Rosenbaum, Harland Williams, and Melissa Sagemiller.

 

Release Date: 10/15/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

No

Sex

Yes

Language

Yes

"Sorority Boys"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Sometimes you have to wonder how such a film got made. I am generally a fan of high school and college films, but "Sorority Boys" was a little dry. It feels like it tries real hard to be like another "Animal House" with a little "Tootsie" action thrown into the mix.

The basic premise is simple. Someone has set up three college guys who are in charge of the fraternity funds. When they fraternity discovers the money is missing, they get kicked out. Adam (Michael Rosenbaum) has a hidden video camera pointed at his bed that he uses to video tap sex with girls. It just so happens that his bed is next to the safe where the money is kept. So, Adam, Dave (Barry Watson), and Doofer (Harland Williams) dress up in drag to try and sneak back into the room to retrieve the tape.

The three of them end up in dog catcher's net on the front step of the DOG Sorority. Leah, the head of the sorority, takes them in and offers them a place to stay. The three guys decide to stay at the sorority until they can get the tape back.

Of course, the three guys get to know the women of DOG well and begin to realize that some of their past actions in the KOK fraternity were not right.

There were a few funny parts in the film, which include the great Wookie impression from Doofer.

Extras

For the extras, they attached a mini camera to several key members on the film crew. They did this for three scenes in the film. You can watch that scene from the crew member’s perspective. I have not seen this done before. Perhaps if the film had been better, I might have enjoyed the extras more.

Technical

From a technical standpoint, it is a good looking DVD. The colors in this film stand out. You can see saturated colors in the bright colored women’s attire that the three guys wear, the Powder Puff Girl room accessories, and the hot pink outfits the Tri Pis wear in the football game. There is also a lot of detail, and the images are free from any distracting ringing.

The soundtrack is not earth shattering, but it is very clean and free of any audible distortion. There was not a lot of surround activity, but what was there, was well done.

The MPEG encoding on this disc is excellent. There are no drops at all to video.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

No chapter break had a drop to video.

Video (2-2)

There are 0 drops to video.

Film (3-3)

There were 34 changes to 3-3 pulldown.

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 39 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

Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment

2002, Color, Rated PG-13

1 Hr 37 Min

 

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

English Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Steven Brill

 

Starring Adam Sandler, Winona Ryder, Peter Gallagher, and John Turturro.

 

Release Date: 10/22/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

No

Sex

No

Language

Yes

"Mr. Deeds"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Adam Sandler has starred in several films recently, and they have all done pretty well at the box office. I have found a few of his recent films to be disappointing, including "The Water Boy" and "Little Nicky". In both films, Adam played a downright annoying character. He has also done some enjoyable films like "The Wedding Singer" and "Big Daddy". "Happy Gilmore" was not too shabby either. I was on the fence when it came to watching "Mr. Deeds". As of this writing, "Mr. Deeds" is the 12th highest grossing film of 2002, bringing in just over $125 million.

In his latest film, Adam plays Longfellow Deeds, a sort of small town hero and the owner of a pizza shop. He soon learns that he had an uncle who died, leaving all that he owns, including control of his empire, to Deeds. Deeds takes a trip to New York City so that he can sign some papers and sell control of the company to the present CEO Chuck Cedar (Peter Gallagher).

Babe (Ryder), a reporter for a local news show, fakes a mugging to get in close with Deeds. What she never plans on is falling for Deeds, and the feelings are mutual. She makes up who she is on the fly with a fake home town and house. Well, Deeds decides to surprise her one day and not only does that town exist, but so does the house she said she lived in. I guess you could consider this a spoiler, but you can see it coming from a mile away!

This is one of the more enjoyable Adam Sandler films. It is based on the 1936 film “Mr. Deeds Goes to Town.” While it is not a great film, it did make me laugh. I do prefer it when he plays a more down-to-earth friendly character and does not annoy you with some stupid voice throughout the entire film. I would make this a rental.

Extras

There is a full length feature commentary. There are five deleted scenes, and most deserved to be cut from the film. The most enjoyable was the jokes between Deeds and the Elevator man.

Also included are three short features. The first feature is 18-minutes long and is entitled “From Mandrake Falls to Manhattan”, the second feature is 6-minutes and is entitled “Spare No Expense”, and the final feature is also 6-minutes long, entitled “Clothes Make the Man.”

There is a music video by the Dave Matthews Band, called “Where are you going”.

There is a short set of outtakes from the film that is just over 1-minute long.

And finally is a set of greeting card poems. I suppose I forgot to mention that Mr. Deeds wants to write greeting cards and each week he writes one and reads it to the town members. He keeps sending cards off to Hallmark in hopes of getting published one day.

All in all, this disc has a nice bunch of extras.

Technical

There are two version of this disc out, and we reviewed the widescreen version of the film. The transfer is very clean. There is virtually no ringing to be found, and there is a lot of fine detail. The colors are also saturated and sort of pop-out at you.

The film is predominantly dialog driven, so don’t expect to much to come form your surrounds. I did not notice any clipping or distortion in the soundtrack. You will find most of the sound to come from your center channel speaker.

There are 28 total drops to video, which is not bad at all. The downside is that there is a drop at every chapter break for 5 MPEG pictures.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Every chapter break had a drop to video.

Video (2-2)

There are 28 drops to video.

Film (3-3)

There were 26 changes to 3-3 pulldown.

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 27 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

1984, Color, Rated PG

1 Hr 57 Min

 

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

English Dolby Digital 5.1

 

Directed by Herbert Ross

 

Starring Adam Kevin Bacon, Lori Singer, John Lithgow, and Dianne Wiest.

 

Release Date: 10/08/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

Mild

Sex

No

Language

Yes

"Footloose"

Plot Overview

If you don't know the basic plot of this movie, we have to ask where you were in the 1980s because you could not have been awake.  

Big town boy Ren McCormick moves with his mother to small town Bowmont to find a repressed community for whom the word "conservative" would be an understatement.  Dancing and rock and roll music are actually illegal, and the one most craving to break free of the preacher's gaze is his daughter Ariel.

What could be more pedestrian as a plot?  Who the frig cares.  While men may try to deny it, we've all seen this picture more times than possibly any other single feature.  At the time of its theatrical release, the local Odion was still running movies old style: you paid once and could stay all day.  I believe for one week solid I forked over my spare cash and sat with friends, all of us toe tapping and head bopping to every single tune, over and over.

Now, almost two decades later, after actively avoiding the saturation of it on TV, we finally have a copy we can add to the library.  In retrospect, it's even worse, and better, than I remembered.  Airel's big hair and Ren's short spike don't look so cool, but as I watched last night with my wife, both of us started to bop in our seats.  I saw a side of the story I just could not appreciate before.  Improbable and incomplete as it is, the simple undertone lessons of compromise, acceptance, and compassion are there, and I hope the next generation of teenagers will get as much out of it as we did.

Noteworthy is a young Sarah Jessica Parker as Ariel's friend Rusty and Sean Penn's brother Chris as Ren's friend Willard.

Extras

What Extras?  There are no extras.  Not even a copy of the theatrical trailer.  Nada.  It would be interesting to know what the projected sales of the DVD were and how that translated into doing NOTHING special with what is obviously an important piece for a large demographic.

Technical

Theatrically released with a Dolby Stereo soundtrack, "Footloose" somewhere along the way has been transposed to Dolby Digital 5.1.  Subjectively sounding much like the original matrix track, the audio is virtually all up front with little or no ambiance in the surrounds.  Music is spacious, dynamic, and punchy, but is curiously lean in bass content.  Dialogue is clean and intelligible, with fidelity corresponding to the median of its day.

The overall video quality barely makes par.  The film shows signs of wear and tear, not to a distracting extent (for some it imparts nostalgia), but you do feel like you're watching a print that's been in the projector for a couple of months.  Colors are consistent but laid back, and select dark scenes are wanting for more detail.  There is some edge enhancement, but it is not as harsh as many of today's titles.  One scene where the preacher's wife is in profile against a bright window, one notes minor ringing at an unusually far distance from the real edge.  Odd, really.  Thank heavens at least it is 16x9 enhanced.

As for MPEG Pic flags...

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

There are no drops to video on any chapter breaks.

Video (2-2)

There is one long drop to video at the beginning of the movie, coincident with the opening title sequence.

Film (3-3)

There were 38 changes to 3-3 pulldown.

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 38 changes to 2-2 pulldown.

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

- Brian Florian -

Divider

Paramount Home Entertainment

2002, Color, Rated PG-13

1 Hr 48 Min

 

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

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Directed by Peter Cattaneo

 

Starring Christopher Plummer, James Nesbitt, and Olivia Williams.

 

Release Date: 10/22/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

Mild

Sex

No

Language

Yes

"Lucky Break"

Plot Overview

Jimmy (James Nesbitt) and Rudy (Lennie James) have been friends since they were young, and they have been getting into trouble for just as long. The two set up what they believe will be the big job that sets them up for life. When the bank robbery goes horribly wrong, they really do get set up for life, in the big house.

When James initially arrives, Rudy wants nothing to do with him because he left him locked in the bank. The two eventually make up as they plot to escape from prison.

The warden of the prison (Christopher Plummer) happens to be a former actor/play write. James soon learns that the location where the plays used to take place is also the best place to escape from. James gets the warden to throw a play, and he gets Rudy and a few other inmates to create a foolproof escape plan.

Two problems arise. One is the prison's psychologist Annabel (Olivia Williams) who James begins to fall for, and second is a returning inmate that everyone is afraid of. When he learns of Jimmy’s plan, he steps in and changes it.

This film has its moments, and I believe it will make a good rental. It is not as funny or original as "The Full Monty". I also had a difficult time buying the relationship between Jimmy and Annabel.

Extras

The only extra on the disc is the theatrical trailer.

Technical

Paramount has another nice transfer on its hands. The image has excellent shadow detail. There is just a moment or two where you could see visible ringing around objects, but it is minor and does not distract from the film.

There is a lot of detail in the long shots, but some of the close-ups look a bit soft. It looks like a horizontal filter was used to improve MPEG compression, and it removes some of the detail visible in faces.

This is not a very active soundtrack, but it is free of any audible distortion, and the dialog always remains intelligible. Most of the sound comes from the center channel.

There were 4 total drops to video with 3 of them taking place in chapter 14. This is not bad at all, and the longest was for 35 MPEG PICs.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

There are no drops to video on any chapter breaks.

Video (2-2)

There are 4 drops to video.

Film (3-3)

There were 32 changes to 3-3 pulldown.

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 24 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 PG-13

1 Hr 59 Min

 

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

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Digital 2.0

French Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Directed by Phil Alden Robinson

 

Starring Ben Affleck, Morgan Freeman, and James Cromwell.

 

Release Date: 10/29/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

Mild

Sex

No

Language

Yes

"The Sum of All Fears"

Plot Overview

This is the fourth film based on the Tom Clancy character Jack Ryan. It is also the third actor to play the part of Jack himself. In the book, this story takes place just after "Clear and Present Danger". Many people often comment on films not holding true to the book, and the only thing this film has in common with the book are the title and the main character. The rest is not even close. If you are going to compare this film to the book, you will be disappointed. On its own, the film is highly entertaining.

This film is about a young Jack Ryan; he has no kids and is single, but is dating a possible future Mrs. Ryan. He is also an analyst for the CIA, but appears to be very green. The film takes place in present day.

When the Russian president drops dead, a new man is quickly put into place. Ryan had written a paper earlier predicting that this new man would be the next president. Ryan is called upon by the deputy director of the CIA because of his knowledge about the new president.

While on a visit to Russia, to inspect their nuclear disarmament, they discover that three scientists are missing. While Ryan and Clark are searching for the missing scientist, they learn that a nuclear bomb has been built and they must now not only figure out who had the bomb built, but where it is headed.

The film does very well on its own. Ben Affleck did a great job as the young Jack Ryan, and I look forward to future films with him as Ryan. Tom Clancy is currently working on books based on a young Ryan.

Extras

There are two screen commentary tracks included. The first track is with the director and cinematographer, and the second track is the director again this time accompanied by Tom Clancy.

There are 7 features on this DVD. The features are broken out into two sections, “A Cautionary Tale” and “Visual Effects.”

A Cautionary Tale – There are two features within this section. The first one is around 13-minutes long and is about the casting of the film. The second feature is a bit longer, running 17-minutes and is about the production of the film.

Visual Effects – The remaining five features are in this section, and they involve all of the cool effects that took place during the film. The first feature is nearly 9-minutes long and covers The Carrier Attack. The second feature is just over 6-minutes long and is called A-4. The third feature is the just under 4-minutes and is called The Hospital. The fourth feature just under 4-minutes and is The Motorcade, and the final feature is just under 5-minutes and is The Helicopter.

On their own, the features sound a bit short, but they total nearly an hours worth of extras. All of the extras are 16:9 enhanced, so if you are watching a widescreen TV, they will not be geometrically distorted.

And finally is the theatrical trailer.

Technical

This is another great looking DVD from Paramount. There is excellent shadow detail. There is a bit of ringing visible in the image. It is noticeable around all on screen credits. It is also visible around the wings of aircraft and the ropes on the ships. Other than those particular objects, you rarely see it anywhere else in the film.

The soundtrack is very dynamic. The surrounds are used effectively, and the score helps to build the tension. The surrounds, while active, never draw your attention from the on-screen action. There were no audible distortion at all during the film that I can recall, and the dialog always appeared to be intelligible.

Keeping with Paramount tradition, the flags are impeccable on this disc.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

There are no drops to video on any chapter breaks.

Video (2-2)

There are 0 drops to video.

Film (3-3)

There were 44 changes to 3-3 pulldown.

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 49 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

Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment

2002, Color, Rated PG-13

1 Hr 51 Min

 

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

4:3 Pan & Scan

English Dolby Digital 5.1

French Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Directed by Michael Apted

 

Starring Jennifer Lopez, Billy Campbell, Juliette Lewis, and Noah Wyle.

 

Release Date: 10/08/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

Abuse

Sex

Implied

Language

Yes

"Enough"

Plot Overview

While working at a diner, Slim (Lopez) gets hit on, but before that can go anywhere, another patron (Campbell) of the diner intercedes and protects Slim from being the victim of a cruel bet.

Fast forward several years, Slim and her hero are married and have a young daughter. When Slim returns a phone call on her husband’s beeper, she learns that he has been sneaking around behind her back. When she confronts him, he slaps her and tells her how it is going to be.

Slim quickly decides that she is not willing to take a beating, so she grabs her daughter and hits the road. Her husband has no plans to let her get away with their daughter so he sends people out looking for her.

When Slim figures out that this may never end, she decides to take matters in her own hands and learns to defend herself. She sets up an elaborate plot to take back control of her life.

Their relationship started out so well and then several years down the road it does a complete 1800. Campbell does a great job playing a man who intends to get what he wants the way he wants it.

Extras

Because the film takes up two layers of the DVD, there is little in the way of extras. Included is the theatrical trailer and a music video by Jo Lo herself called "Alive."

Technical

There are two versions of this film on a single side. The widescreen version is on one layer and the 4:3 is on another.

CTHV releases rarely disappoint. The widescreen presentation is fairly detailed and has little in the way of ringing. The image is free of noise in both the well lit scenes and in the dark scenes.

The soundtrack is surprisingly active. While most of the film is mainly dialog driven, the surrounds are put to good use. There were a couple of times that information coming from the surrounds did pull my attention off-screen. With the exception of few short distractions, the dialog is always intelligible, and there is never any distortion from mic preamp clipping.

The MPEG encoding is not bad by any means, but there are drops to video at every chapter break.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

There is a drop to video on any chapter breaks.

Video (2-2)

There are 39 drops to video.

Film (3-3)

There were 39 changes to 3-3 pulldown.

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 28 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

Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment

2000, Color, Rated R

1 Hr 44 Min

 

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

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English DTS Digital 5.1

French Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Directed by Guy Ritchie

 

Starring Del Toro, Dennis Farina, Vinnie Jones, Brad Pitt, Rade Sherbedgia, and Jason Statham.

 

Release Date: 9/17/02

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

Strong

Sex

No

Language

Strong

"Snatch (Superbit)"

Plot Overview

We don't have near enough space here to give you a proper synopsis of this movie. There is a jewel thief, a jewel dealer, and a jewel buyer. Their little endeavor gets mixed up with an illegal boxing match organizer, an illegal boxing match fixer, and a gypsy boxer who just wants a new caravan for his mum. But that's not all. We cant forget the two pawn shop owners, the Russian gun dealer, and the dog with the squeaky toy. Somehow it all comes together for a fun couple of hours. Just watch the movie.

Snatch is another hip, energetic, high octane ride from director/writer Guy Ritchie. The pace is frenetic, and the dialogue (though riddled excessively with the F word) is always witty. The characters are all funny in a cartoonish way, and the integration of the music is intoxicating. Snatch is simply a brilliantly executed caper film.

Extras

This is a Superbit deluxe title, which means disc 1 is just the film, and disc 2 contains all of the extras. These are the same extras that are found on the original 2-disc release.

Disc 2 begins with the proverbial making of featurette. In a style that almost mimics the film, it is a schizophrenic montage of sound bites and on-set shots, giving a decent glimpse into the motivation behind the picture. It is 16:9 enhanced.

There is a collection of deleted scenes which you can view "raw" or with the directors commentary, helpful if you want to understand why each segment was not in the final cut.

The story board section is pretty interesting. You can view the images provided on their own or watch them "split screen" along side the finished scene to see how the artwork translates into what we see in the movie.

The requisite collection of trailers and filmographies is also provided.

- Brian Florian -

Technical

This is one of the better looking Superbit DVDs. The transfer is the same one that is used before, but the ringing that was rather intrusive last time has been greatly reduced. There is also a lot of fine detail that is visible in this release that was not as defined in the previous release.

The soundtrack is very dynamic, which was a pleasant surprise for a film of this type. At times, the surrounds become very aggressive, but like any good soundtrack, they do not distract your attention away from the on-screen action. With the exception of Brad Pitt's character, the dialog is always intelligible. For those who would like to know what Brad is saying, you can turn on the last subtitle track which is for Brad's character only.

While the Superbit DVDs offer some of the best video quality, they have lots of room to improve in the encoding area. The drop at chapter 25 is very long. If you are using a flag reading progressive scan player, you will see a loss of vertical resolution plus the possibility of moiré.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

There are no drops to video on any chapter breaks.

Video (2-2)

There are 28 drops to video. There is a long nasty one during chapter 25 that lasts for 34,891 MPEG PICs.

Film (3-3)

There were 24 changes to 3-3 pulldown.

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 24 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

Artisan

1996, Color, Rated R

1 Hr 32 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 4:3

English Dolby Stereo

 

Directed by Quinton Peeples

 

Starring Tobey Maguire, Amy Hathaway, Wilson Cruz, and Christina Naify.

 

Release Date: 9/24/2002

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

Yes

Sex

Yes

Language

Yes

"Joyride"

Plot Overview

Tobey Maguire plays a young man with no life beyond helping his dad run a dive of a motel. One of their long term guests is a father who forces his hot chick daughter into sexual acts as part of black mail gigs.

One night, a boy and girl steal the the car of a hit-woman staying at the motel, only to discover a dead body in the trunk. After doing a poor job of disposing of the corpse, they find themselves in a pile of trouble between the hit woman who wants her car back and an aloof detective played by Benico Del Toro.

Commentary

I'm not sure which is a more relevant question: How this movie got made, or why it got made. The filming is horrible. It's as if there were no story boards or planning at all. The dialogue is outright drivel and feels forced.  And it's a shame, because the story could have actually made for a decent film. The movie starts off so bad I almost stopped watching.  Then De Toro comes on the scene and makes things slightly interesting but not enough for me to recommend this picture.

Extras

There are no extras.

Technical

Calling the soundtrack "Dolby Stereo" is one step away from lying. I can count on one hand the times the sound broke free of the center speaker.  Even the music is mono-center most of the time. On the one or two occasions we do get ambient environment sound in the surrounds, it seems too strong and out of place. Dialogue, while intelligible, has at times an over-processed unnatural feel to it.

The 4:3 aspect ratio is in fact the OAR for this film. The picture is so soft that we had a hard time finding any other comment to make. One has a hard time seeing compression artifacts or even edge enhancement when a picture is this soft. Very little detail at all. On top of that, the transfer seems abnormally dark.  So dark that we checked the black level calibration of our set up to see if anything was wrong (which there wasn't).

The progressive frame flag toggles on and off during the entire film. This is a trait of the old and outdated C-Cube encoder.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

No chapter break had a drop to video.

Video (2-2)

The progressive_frame flag toggled on/off during the entire film.

Film (3-3)

There were no changes to 3-3 pulldown.

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were no changes to 2-2 pulldown.

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

- Brian Florian -

Divider

Artisan

1991, Color, Rated PG-13

1 Hr 32 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 4:3

English Dolby Stereo

 

Directed by Jerry London

 

Starring Pierce Brosnan, Jobeth Williams, and Virginia Masen.

 

Release Date: 9/24/2002

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

Mild

Sex

Suggestive

Language

No

"Raw Heat"

Plot Overview

Williams plays a psychologist who finally meets a great guy (Brosnan) at a friends party. He's a little mysterious and at first is reticent to be seen in public with her. Her most unstable patient (Madsen) relates the details of her troubled relationship with a man who's wife died one year ago.  Gradually the two men begin to sound like one and the same. Did he kill his wife or is the patient making it all up?

Commentary

Although it starts off making you really, really bored, the story quickly takes a turn for the better about half way when the triangular relationship of the characters is brought into the audience's view. Jobeth Williams' performance as the lead feels somewhat stale, but not only does Pierce's debonair presence save this film from the gutter, but Madsen plays a fantastic mentally unstable type.

On the whole, this has a nice thriller story underneath, but poor production values and lack luster performances prevent me from recommending this film. Life is too short. Spend it watching something more worthwhile.

Extras

There are no extras.

Technical

The jacket labels the DVD has having a "2.0 Digital Stereo" soundtrack.  While it is carried by a two channel AC-3 bitstream, there is nothing stereo about it. Pro Logic decoded, you will find the entire track, start to finish, in the center channel. There is nothing categorically wrong with a mono track and we take no points off it, but I wish they would not stretch the truth. More to the point, fidelity in this film is among the worst I have ever heard on DVD. The dialogue and music often distort and break up quite badly. Moreover, the whole thing seems band limited with a curtailed treble and non-existent low end, rendering both music and dialogue lifeless and stale.

The 4:3 aspect ratio is in fact the OAR for this film. The picture does show some good detail, and the darker scenes are nicely rendered, but an overall distracting presence of video noise and edge enhancement simply spoil any other positive qualities.

The flags on this movie are among the worst we've seen yet. Schizophrenic in nature, they constantly switch every few seconds from video to film with all sorts of irregularities in the mix.  For the record:

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

Every chapter break was in video. A couple caused the drop but the rest just occurred while already in video.

Video (2-2)

There were 1472 drops to video, each lasting anywhere from 5 to 2574 pics (85 seconds).

Film (3-3)

There were 11 changes to 3-3 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (6 video fields)

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were 16 changes to 2-2 pulldown. They lasted for 2 MPEG PICs (4 video fields)

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

- Brian Florian -

Divider

Artisan

2001, Color, Rated R

1 Hr 34 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 4:3

English Dolby Digital 5.1

English Dolby Stereo

French Dolby Stereo

 

Directed by Allan Moyle

 

Starring William Baldwin, Nastassja Kinski, and Hart Bochner.

 

Release Date: 9/24/2002

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

N/A

Violence

Yes

Sex

Yes

Language

Yes

"Say Nothing"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Grace Needham (Kinski) is having a hard time. Her husband is between jobs and is too proud to take anything less than a high paying position. As their relationship spirals down, Grace decides to take a vacation in the sun.  At the resort she meets Julian Grant (Baldwin) and commits adultery. By the time she gets home, her husband has an amazing new job. His boss:  Julian Grant. At first it's all chalked up to innocent coincidence, but gradually Grace begins to see Julian's desire to posses her . . . at any cost.

Commentary

While by no means a knockout picture, I've seen worse. Although reeking with that feeling of "made for cable", the production values are sufficiently high, and with the exception of Hart Bochner's performance, the acting is actually pretty decent. Kinski is as hot as ever, though the peek we get at her nude torso seems like an awfully cheap shot.

Extras

Supplemental content includes basic, static production notes and bios of the film's key talents. There is also the requisite trailer.

Technical

The soundtrack is par with modern 5.1 digital audio. While it does not challenge the audio pallet, dialogue is clean, music is dynamic and punchy, and environmental ambiance is successfully created. At times, the voices and foley take on an over processed nature though, and on occasion the surrounds felt neglected.

The 4:3 aspect ratio is in fact the OAR for this film. The picture is generally sharp with good dynamic range between dark and light, almost to the point of the whites peaking out though. There is an overabundance of edge enhancement, which is a shame, as this is one of the few transfers that has video noise under control.

This disc is unique in that it is the first we've encountered which our software cannot dump the MPEG PIC flags from. Close examination of the video behavior strongly suggests though that this is one of the many titles where the progressive frame flag toggles on and off during the entire film. This is a trait of the old and outdated C-Cube encoder.

- Brian Florian -

Divider

Miramax

1996, Color, Rated R

1 Hr 36 Min

 

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (16:9 Enh)

English Dolby Digital 2.0

French Dolby Digital 2.0

 

Directed by Doug Liman

 

Starring Jon Favreau, Vince Vaughn, Ron Livingston, Patrick Van Horn, and Heather Graham.

 

Release Date: 9/24/2002

 

 

0

5

Entertainment

*

Video

*

Audio

*

Extras

MPEG Flags

Violence

No

Sex

mild

Language

Strong

"Swingers: Collector's Series"

Synopsis

Plot Overview

Writer Jon Farveau plays what is widely regarded as himself in the character of Mike Peters, the burgeoning actor trying to make it in LA. Unable to mentally let go of a long term relationship which has been over for 6 months, his circle of friends, led by Trent (Vince Vaughn), drag him into the neo-lounge club scene where they obsess over the minutia of the modern courting ritual. How many days before you call a girl back? A day? Is that a day from now or a day after tomorrow morning? As fate would have it, right when Mike gets the call from his ex he's been waiting so long for, he finds someone new.

Commentary

At the time of its release, this was one of the freshest, slickest films on the block, and today it remains a favorite of movie lovers everywhere. Though unquestionably guy oriented, the pallet of characters is sufficiently diverse that everyone can find something they identify with.

The dialogue is incredibly witty, at times outright hilarious. If someone tells you, "You're so money and you don't even know it", you can be sure they are a fan of this picture. Seemingly one of several funny homage's in the movie to Tarantino, the excessive insertion of the F word can unfortunately be a tad distracting.

The cinematography has a raw, "Indy" feel, but is technically perfect, lending just the right feeling for the subject matter. The choice of music and its integration is intoxicating. And Heather Graham, while appearing only briefly, somehow manages to capture the essence of what crushes are made of, the kind of girl and potential relationship we've all dreamed about at one time or another.

- Brian Florian -

Extras

This is the best reason to purchase this new version of "Swingers". While the picture quality is a little better, the extras are a great addition.

First up are two commentary tracks. Track 1 features the Director and Editor of the film. The second track features Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn.

Next up is the four part documentary that is 45-minutes long. This was my favorite part of the extras. Here is where we learn about what it took to make the film and how many of the characters are really based on the actors who play them. It also explains how Doug became the director.

Next stop deleted / extended scenes. There are five scenes to look at in this section, and they are very low quality. These scenes really make you appreciate the final film. I really did not like the scene here between Jon and Heather. The final version in the film is MUCH better.

There is also a short trailer for a mock film called "Swing Blade". This is a cross between "Swingers" and "Sling Blade".

Technical

This collector's addition, while boasting an anamorphic transfer, is still just ok. It is soft, has a lot of ringing in the image, and is a bit on the noisy side. The film was low budget to begin with, so it is probably the best it will ever look on home video.

The soundtrack comes across as sub-par. Theatrically released with only an analog Dolby Stereo track, the DVD equivalent exhibits fidelity and a sound space which feel dated and fails to exploit the surround pallet. While always clear, never distorting, dialogue and foley sound band limited with a curtailed high end. This leaves some scenes sounding less than natural, seemingly coming from the TVs internal speaker, and not our substantial center channel speaker.

On the MPEG encoding side, this is using the older C-Cube encoder that toggles progressive_frame on and off during the film. Good news is no drops on chapter breaks.

Error Type

Comments

Chapter Break

There are no errors on chapter breaks.

Video (2-2)

The progressive_frame flag toggled on and off with every frame.

Film (3-3)

There were no changes to 3-3 pulldown.

Film (2-2 / 30p)

There were no 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

© Copyright 2002 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity
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