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directed by Chris Hegedus and Jehane Noujaim
USA 2001

 

It seemed like a great idea at the time. They'd build a place online where people could go to pay their parking tickets. "Startup.com" tells the story of two longtime friends who go into business together, create a Web site, raise millions, and at one point are worth $12 million--apiece, I think, but it makes no difference, since by the end of their adventure they have lost everything. The movie's story arc is like "Charly" or "Awakenings," in which the heroes start low, fly high and crash.

The friends are named Kaleil Isaza Tuzman and Tom Herman. Their idea is so compelling that Tuzman quits a job at Goldman Sachs to move to the Internet. The story starts in May 1999, when instant Web millionaires were a dime a dozen, and ends in January 2001. The documentary's last shots were filmed only three weeks before it premiered at Sundance, still wet from the lab. As an inside view of the bursting of the Internet bubble, "Startup.com" is definitive. We sense there were lots of stories more or less like this one.

Excerpt of review from Roger Ebert located HERE

Poster

Theatrical Release: May 25th, 2001

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DVD Review: Artificial Eye - Region 2 - PAL

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Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:42:52
Video

1.33:1 Original Aspect Ratio
Average Bitrate: 5.18 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
Subtitles None
Features Release Information:
Studio: Artificial Eye

Aspect Ratio:
Fullscreen - 1.33:1

Edition Details:
• Production Notes
• Filmographies
• Theatrical Trailer

DVD Release Date: February 25th, 2002
Keep Case

Chapters 26

 

Comments

Before we launch into the review let's get two points out of the way. First, although I knew that this disc was out of print going in to the review, a little bit of investigation seems to show that there are no in-print copies in any region. It's a shame since this is a truly fascinating documentary. Second, there seems to be a bit of a discrepancy with the cover art. The edition that I have, and the edition pictured above appears to follow the pre-2008 motif of the gray background and picture. For some reason the inside of the cover art contains the image used on both the theatrical posters (also pictured above) and the region 1 release. For whatever reason it's this latter picture that's used on amazon.uk and most other etailers, but don't be confused, as they're the same release.

Now, let's talk about the disc. Artificial Eye did a very good job with this release. The film itself provides us with an unforgettable look into late 20th century capitalism, a time when many thought that internet companies were the quickest way to make an easy buck. Unfortunately for those involved in govworks.com, the website whose initial success and ultimate failure is documented here, the money wasn't easy enough and we see the company and friendships end in excruciating detail. The whole process is fascinating an certainly worth watching.

The film was shot on digital video to provide as unobtrusive of a look into the lives of its protagonists as possible. Unfortunately this means that image has all of the limitations of digital video and oftentimes has a murky appearance that lacks clear definition. This is obviously not the fault of the production company, but merely the result of the original recording process. Given these limitations, the image looks about as good as one could expect it to. On a side note, the package claims that the film is presented in 1.85:1. This is a mistake, as the image here is definitely 1.33:1 full frame.

The audio here is competent, if unremarkable. The Dolby stereo track certainly lacks any discernible problems, but for obvious reasons, I doubt that it sounds as impressive as the 5.1 mix found on the North American release. However, as another reviewer pointed out, for a film like this, surround sound is likely unnecessary. Unfortunately, the release has no subtitles.

Even more unfortunate is the fact that this release lacks the extras of the impressively stacked region 1 edition. There we had both a commentary track and "making of..." documentary. Both are missing here and instead we get the theatrical trailer along with director filmographies and production notes. The notes are good, but I would have much rather had either of the missing extras from the region 1.

Overall this isn't a bad choice for those who want to pick up the film. At the time of writing this it's currently a little pricey on amazon.uk, but if you can find it at a decent price, it's worth the purchase. Recommended.

 - Brian Montgomery

 



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Distribution

Artificial Eye

Region 2 - PAL

 

 




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