UK / USA 1997
It’s nearing the end of the decade, and I can now safely say that “The Search For John Gissing” is one of the funniest comedies I’ve seen since the millennium began. Here is a movie that has its rough edges, but in a way that’s good because the film makes you laugh at the American Way versus the British Way and how a whole stack of interesting, fully developed characters bounce off one another. It also solidifies writer/director/actor Mike Binder (whose last film was the criminally underrated “Reign Over Me”) who has had a solid career in comic and dramatic filmmaking and is at the top of his game here. If anything, he’s channelling Blake Edwards circa the 1970’s in the film, and that’s a good thing if you ask me.
Theatrical Release: November 11th, 2001 - AFI Film Festival
DVD Review: Anchor Bay / Starz - Region 1 - NTSC
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|Distribution||Anchor Bay / Starz - Region 1 - NTSC|
Average Bitrate: 6.63 mb/s
NTSC 720x480 29.97 f/s
NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.
|Audio||English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0)|
• Deleted Scenes (20:51)
This has been available for more than a year at Mike Binder's website - but is no longer orderable there. This edition does not seem to have the commentary with Mike Binder and editor Roger Nygard but does have 2 audio options.
Strangely dual-layered but non-anamorphic this Anchor Bay / Starz DVD transfer is weak at times showing some artifacts and cue blips (reel change markers) are frequently visible. If you watch it on a widescreen TV the image will be pictureboxed due to the lack of 16X9 enhancement. It is very clean but not detailed and audio gives two options - an underused 5.1 and a 2.0 - in the time I sampled both I didn't find much difference.
The supplements include about 20 minutes worth of deleted scenes and 2 minutes of amusing outtakes. I can't speculate on the reason the commentary was not included, but it adds yet another head-scratching black-mark to this transfer.
I was very keen to see this film and it reminded me of a cross between the satire/screwball humor of early Woody Allen with a dash of the corporate backstabbing in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. It does get quite silly though. This DVD is disappointing in that in 2008 - a modern widescreen film-to-DVD is not anamorphically enhanced ?!?! despite the frugal roots of the project - it's still very surprising. The film is worth seeing (Garofalo is always amusing!) but this Anchor Bay DVD is extremely overpriced for what they are offering digitally.