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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The Wedding Date HD-DVD

(Clare Kilner, 2005)

 

Universal (USA)

1.85:1 1080p

90 minutes

Audio: DD Plus 5.1 English

Subtitles: Optional English SDH, French

Extras: audio commentary by Debra Messing; A Date With Debra; deleted scenes; My Scenes

Released: 10 July 2007

HD-DVD case

20 chapters

 

The Wedding Date has obvious echoes of My Best Friend’s Wedding, starring Julia Roberts and Dermot Mulroney.  For starters, Mr. Mulroney also appears in The Wedding Date.  For the main course, Mr. Mulroney and Debra Messing effect a ruse to get another man to fall in love with Ms. Messing, just as Ms. Roberts does in her movie.  Amy Adams plays a blonde ditz ala Cameron Diaz.  British accents abound, multiplying the “posh” effect that Rupert Everett had on My Best Friend’s Wedding.

 

Does formulaic bother me?  Yes, and no.  There’s nothing wrong with following a formula as long as you can bring a spark to the proceedings.  With some movies, it’s obvious that the actors are thoroughly bored with what they’re doing (Ocean’s Thirteen comes to mind).  With The Wedding Date, the cast is energetic, winsome, flirty, and “real”.  They sold me on an improbable (and potentially unsavory) premise--he’s a professional fake boyfriend.  The script throws in just the right amount of real-life unpleasantness to keep the characters grounded.  These things all have happy endings, The Wedding Date made me believe that an unhappy ending was entirely possible.  Against many odds, I actually enjoyed this little gem.

 

Video:

The Wedding Date is a recent movie, so the 1.85:1 1080p video transfer is very sharp and highly detailed.  However, there are some print defects (light debris and film damage), and some scenes have a lot of video noise.  For a movie that is not even three-years-old, this HD-DVD leaves much to be desired in the video department.

 

 

Audio:

The only audio track on this HD-DVD is a DD Plus 5.1 English mix.  As expected with a rom-com, the audio is center-channel heavy.  The front mains and the surrounds are used primarily for music and a few directionality effects.  Also as expected, the subwoofer doesn’t show up to the party much except when moving vehicles zoom back and forth across the screen.

Optional English SDH and French subtitles support the audio.

Extras:

With the TV series Will & Grace ending with the 2005-2006 season, Debra Messing tried to launch her big-screen career with this movie.  As made obvious by her audio commentary, she had a lot of fun during production and wound up with a lot of fond memories.  However, The Wedding Date did not make megabucks at the box office even with a release timed for Valentine’s Day.

 

“A Date With Debra” is a brief interview with the actress.  There are a few deleted scenes, though none are particularly memorable.

Finally, the “My Scenes” feature allows you to bookmark your favorite moments.

--Miscellaneous--

An insert advertises other Universal HD-DVDs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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