H D - S E L E C T

A view on HD DVDs by Yunda Eddie Feng

 

Introduction: Hello, Beaver readers! I became a serious cineophile in 1994 when I saw Schindler's List on my birthday. I realized that movies weren't just for fun--they could be serious art, too (even mainstream popcorn flicks if they're made with skill). Although I have a BA in English, I went to grad school for an MA in Film Studies. There, I met my mentor Dr. Warren Buckland, who shares my interest in Steven Spielberg's artistry (Spielberg and art aren't mutually exclusive). I helped edit Dr. Buckland's book Directed by Steven Spielberg: Poetics of the Contemporary Hollywood Blockbuster. I also contributed a chapter to Dr. Buckland's forthcoming anthology of essays about "complex storytelling" movies--movies that avoid classical linear storylines in favor of temporal disruptions, unreliable narrators, metatheatrical/"self-aware" references, etc.

Eddie's Home Theatre:
Sharp 30-inch LCD TV (1280x768 resolution)
Toshiba HD-A2 HD-DVD player
Oppo OPDV971H SD-DVD player
Pioneer 7.1 DD/DTS receiver
Harmon Kardon speakers (5.1)

(I'm using the HD-A2's optical audio connection to obtain DTS 5.1 downmixes.)

Yunda Eddie Feng

 

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In Good Company HD-DVD

(Paul Weitz, 2004

 

Universal (USA)

1.85:1 1080p

110 minutes

Audio: DD Plus 5.1 English, DD Plus 5.1 French

Subtitles: Optional English SDH, French

Extras: audio commentary by director Paul Weitz and Topher Grace; deleted scenes with optional audio commentary; “Stars”; “Youth”; “Getting Older”; “Real Life”; “New York Locations”; “Editing”; “Story”; My Scenes

Released: 24 July 2007

HD-DVD case

20 chapters

 

Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

 

Written and directed by Paul Weitz, In Good Company is a gently revisionist fairy tale about good versus evil set on the battlefield of contemporary corporate culture, a site of our leading blood sport.  Mostly, though, the movie is about men.  Men without fathers, men without sons, men with wives who work and make them feel like less than a man and men with wives who, like Dan’s wife, Ann (Marg Helgenberger), give them the gift of both an exquisitely preserved figure and a fertile womb.  For Dan, who rises at 4:30 a.m. to go to work so he can sustain his beautiful family in their beautiful home, who conducts business with a firm handshake and a squared jaw, being a man isn’t a roll of the genetic dice, an accident of birth; it’s a calling.

In many respects, In Good Company is very much of a piece with Mr. Weitz’s last feature, About a Boy, which he directed with his brother, Chris Weitz.  (The two produced this new film themselves.)  Based on the Nick Hornby novel, About a Boy traces the long-delayed maturation of a single man who, having resisted adulthood and all that it implies (namely, the steady love of one woman), is suddenly forced into caring for a young boy.  A similar dynamic drives In Good Company.

...

In Good Company lacks both the emotional sting and the bright pop-culture snap of About a Boy, as well as Mr. Hornby’s carefully cultivated irony, but it makes for an agreeable solo directing debut.  Mr. Weitz has an easy commercial style that entertains without insult, and on the evidence of both this and his last film he has found a theme (masculinity and its complaints) that fits him like a glove.  If the screenplay veers toward the overly schematic, with Dan and Carter’s lifelines forming geometrically calibrated parallel tracks, Mr. Weitz makes certain that the precise architecture of the story neither imprisons his characters nor dampens his sense of play.  I don’t believe for a single second how Mr. Weitz ends his fairy tale, but I mean it as a compliment to say that I wish I did.

Excerpt from Manhola Darghis review at the NY Times located HERE

 

Video:

The 1.85:1 1080p video transfer is naturally bright and open.  The color palette is on the cheery side to emphasize an “all’s well that ends well” feeling.  There are some minor specks and dust on the film print, but they are not major problems.

 

Audio:

The DD Plus 5.1 English track has some fun with music cues, and there is a sudden traffic accident near the beginning of the movie that can be jolting.  Otherwise, this is a dialogue-driven story with aural activity taking place mostly in the front center channel.

 

You can also watch the movie with a DD Plus 5.1 French dub.  Optional English SDH, French, and Spanish subtitles support the audio.

 

Extras:

Director Paul Weitz and Topher Grace contributed a pleasant, good-humored audio commentary.  It seems like the shoot was a pleasant one, though In Good Company is by no means a ground-breaking feature, so don’t expect golden nuggets of insight.

 

The experience continues with some deleted scenes accompanied by optional Paul Weitz audio commentary.

 

 

“Stars”, “Youth”, and “Getting Older” are featurettes that focus on the actors’ experiences.  “Real Life” takes a look at real-world businessmen.  “New York Locations” showcases the authenticity of actually shooting in NYC instead of pretending that Canada is America.  “Editing” and “Story” are self-explanatory.

Finally, you can bookmark your favorite clips with “My Scenes”.

--Miscellaneous--

An insert advertises other Universal HD-DVDs.

Summary:

This is a decent package that includes the previously-released R1 extras.  This is how HD-DVDs should be done, though once again, Universal has neglected to include the movie’s own theatrical trailer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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