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A view on Blu-ray by Gary W. Tooze

Late for Dinner [Blu-ray]


(W.D. Richter, 1991)



Review by Gary Tooze



Theatrical: Castle Rock Entertainment

Video: Kino Lorber



Region: 'A' (as verified by the Oppo Blu-ray player)

Runtime: 1:33:05.621

Disc Size: 20,436,540,596 bytes

Feature Size: 20,337,819,648 bytes

Video Bitrate: 25.92 Mbps

Chapters: 9

Case: Standard Blu-ray case

Release date: April 14th, 2015



Aspect ratio: 1.85:1

Resolution: 1080p / 23.976 fps

Video codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video



DTS-HD Master Audio English 1642 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1642 kbps / 16-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 16-bit)






• None





Description: Late For Dinner is a charming, critically acclaimed old-fashioned romantic comedy that leaps through time into your heart. In the innocent days of 1962, Willie (Brian Wimmer, TV's China Beach) marries Joy (Marcia Gay Harden, Pollock), the girl of his dreams. But the young lovers' hopes are shattered when a sleazy land developer (Peter Gallagher, The Idolmaker) frames Willie and his best friend Frank (Peter Berg, The Last Seduction). On the run from a crime they didn't commit, the two buddies end up caught in the biggest chill ever: guinea pigs in a dangerous cryonics experiment. Frozen Alive! And they don't thaw out until 1991! Willie and Frank haven't aged a day but everything has changed. Even Willie's only love, who's now in her fifties. But if love does indeed conquer all, Willie and Joy will have the chance to share their once-in-a-lifetime romance… twice. The second and final film directed by writer W.D. Richter, the first was cult classic, The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension.



The Film:

W.D. Richter directed this comedy-drama in the spirit of Back to the Future and Peggy Sue Got Married. The film opens in Santa Fe in 1962, where Willie (Brian Wimmer) and Joy Husband (Marcia Gay Harden) are a cute couple living in familial bliss with their five-year-old daughter. When evil land-developer Bob Freeman (Peter Gallagher) tries to turn their bliss into blight, a gun goes off and Willie flees to Los Angeles with his dim-witted brother-in-law Frank (Peter Berg), convinced he has committed murder. They run into crazed scientist Dr. Chilblains (Bo Brundin), who cryogenically freezes the fugitives. Twenty-nine years later they are defrosted, and Willie, who has only aged a day, goes back to Santa Fe with Frank to seek out his wife and daughter, discovering they have aged and gone on with their lives without him.

Excerpt from MRQE located HERE


The time-traveling of Frank and his brother-in-law Willie (Brian Wimmer) is also prompted by a run-in with a corrupt land developer (made very funny by Peter Gallagher). Thinking themselves crime suspects after a confrontation with him, they are eager to escape their 1962 set of problems. The screenplay, by Mark Andrus, sends them straight into the path of a cryonics expert looking for guinea pigs, and the next thing they know Willie and Frank are thawing out in the future. Once there, they marvel at things like fast food, male telephone operators and automatic teller machines ("Willie! That wall here just gave that lady money!")They also decide that rap and heavy-metal music must be playing at the wrong speed.

"Late for Dinner" builds toward a reunion between Willie and his wife, Joy (Marcia Gay Harden), not to mention the daughter (Colleen Flynn) who is now just about her father's age. The film takes a long time to reach this point, and it takes a sharp turn toward sentimentality when it finally gets there. Willie's reunion scene with his long-lost wife, touchingly acted by Mr. Wimmer and especially Ms. Harden, changes the mood significantly by giving the heartstrings an unexpected tug. It is literally at the last minute that this mild, modest film becomes anything more than slight.

Excerpt from Janet Maslin at the NY Times located HERE

Image :    NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were taken directly from the Blu-ray disc.

The early 90's comedy sci-fi, and eventually sentimental, pastiche Late for Dinner has made it to Blu-ray from the Kino-Lorber label.  The single-layered image quality is quite good with a supportive bitrate and a clean print source.  There is some pleasing tightness and depth - I appreciated the pastel colors representing the era (late 50's early 60's). It is transferred in the, authentic, 1.85:1 aspect ratio. I noticed no no noise to speak of. Pretty solid overall. This Blu-ray provides a respectable 1080P presentation without any real areas of dynamic specialty but consistent HD visuals.

















Audio :

Audio comes in the form of a DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel at 1642 kbps and there are a few effects that shine with a smattering of depth via the lossless. The score is by David Mansfield (Heaven's Gate) and helps carry the film nicely for a while. There are no subtitles offered and my Oppo has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.


Extras :




Typically many critics poo-poo'ed this sweet romp. Being the contrarian - I kinda liked it. I will agree with Mrs. Maslin that the mood changes on a dime. But I think this may have been intentional with the light comedy aspects lulling you into being oblivious of the building sentimentality. Yes, it touched by heart-strings and I truly liked the cryogenic premise. If nothing else - it makes you think. Yes, that's Janeane Garofalo - and I like her bit part too! The Kino-Lorber Blu-ray only offer the 1080P presentation -which is quite reasonable, but no extras and some discussion may have garnered even more appreciation on the part of this reviewer. Anywho - I've had worse nights watching film and will probably revisit this cute flic one day. 

Gary Tooze

April 7th, 2015


About the Reviewer: Hello, fellow Beavers! I have been interested in film since I viewed a Chaplin festival on PBS when I was around 9 years old. I credit DVD with expanding my horizons to fill an almost ravenous desire to seek out new film experiences. I currently own approximately 9500 DVDs and have reviewed over 5000 myself. I appreciate my discussion Listserv for furthering my film education and inspiring me to continue running DVDBeaver. Plus a healthy thanks to those who donate and use our Amazon links.

Although I never wanted to become one of those guys who focused 'too much' on image and sound quality - I find HD is swiftly pushing me in that direction.

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