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|Category||Comedy||Audio Commentary - Edward Norton
(Director/Producer) and Stuart Blumberg (Writer/Producer)
Deleted Scenes (10)
Biographies - Cast and Crew
|Running Time||124:02 minutes|
|Start Up||Language Selection, then Menu|
Warner Home Video
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||No||English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384
Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1, 384 Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary (Dolby Digital 2.0, 192 Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes, during credits|
And so it was that I sat down to review Keeping The Faith. To be honest, I was not expecting too much here as about the only reason why I stuck my hand up for the DVD for review was the presence of Jenna Elfman. So when you go into a review expecting not too much, you usually end up being pleasantly surprised with the result. To a large extent, that is the situation here.
So let me tell you about the rabbi and the priest... yes I know, rather clichéd but pretty much what the film is about actually. Jake Schram (Ben Stiller) and Brian Finn (Edward Norton) and the rabbi and the priest and this is the story of their lifelong friendship, and a young lady by the name of Anna Reilly (Jenna Elfman). Their friendship came into being through rescue from attack by Anna and they became an inseparable trio - at least until Anna moved away from New York with her parents. As childhood moved to adulthood, Brian and Jake may have had dissimilar religions but had very similar faith - and marital status. They also happen to have rather successful careers in their respective churches and have been very successful in drawing the crowds back in. Out of the blue, Anna returns to New York and the trio rekindles the old friendships. Anna has changed somewhat of course - a very successful workaholic who also happens to have grown from a tomboy into a beautiful woman, a woman whose feelings are progressively changing. And just to throw a little more cliché into the mix, we have the usual Jewish guilt and Catholic doubt.
Whilst the story is not exactly the most original you are ever likely to see, there is just enough originality to elevate this totally above the banal. However, what really lifts the film is the performances. Ben Stiller plays his usual Jewish guilt trip to the hilt and adds a nice little twist into the life of a rabbi. Edward Norton does a similar job of the Catholic priest and they have a decent, if not spectacular, relationship here. But the standout for me is Jenna Elfman who really does a decent job as the tomboy grown up. The direction from Edward Norton is decent enough and there are some genuinely funny moments here. However, there were a few occasions when a couple more moments went begging. Still, the overall effect was pretty decent and the result is a watchable film, just not a classic.
Quite worth the effort of a rental on this one to see whether it might be to your taste. I certainly have no complaints.
The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and it is 16x9 enhanced. The theatrical aspect ratio was 1.85:1, so its is very close to the mark.
Okay, nice and very simple this time. Generally extremely sharp and detailed throughout, plenty of definition, generally terrific shadow detail (other than those scenes intended to be lacking in this regard) and no real indication of grain. The only slight downer was a little overenthusiastic use of edge enhancement at times. The transfer at times demonstrates the sort of sharpness and glossy clarity of an anamorphically filmed effort, even though this is not one of those films. Overall, a very nice looking transfer indeed.
Colours are generally excellent throughout, beautifully vibrant but still quite natural looking. The colours have a nice degree of depth to the tones and the primary colours at times are extremely vibrant. Some of the greens here are terrific. The true stature of the colours though are perhaps seen in the very nicely detailed night-time scenes of New York. I don't think that I have seen New York look quite this good before. The blacks have a really nice depth and solidity to them. There is no problem with oversaturation in the transfer. There are no problems with colour bleed in the transfer.
There are no significant MPEG artefacts in the transfer. Unfortunately, there were a couple of instances of film-to-video artefacts in the transfer that just detracted a little from the overall excellence. There were a couple of instances of relatively minor telecine wobble at 3:07 and 23:45, whilst there were a few instances of aliasing here and there. This was mainly evident in the chain link fences, an example being at 8:50. None of the instances were really poor. There were quite a few film artefacts present throughout the transfer but they were mainly of the black variety and therefore not really disruptive to the show.
This is an RSDL
formatted DVD with the layer change coming at 78:42.
This is a rather typical example of the sort of lack of thought that seems
to be displayed at times in mastering of DVDs. The change comes just after
seeing Jenna Elfman moving through a door that is reflected in a
mirror, and the pause is slightly unnaturally long in the overall flow
of the scene before she reappears in camera. As a result it is a bit obvious.
However, not more than five seconds earlier, just at the scene change there
was a shot of a mirror with nothing reflected in it - a perfect place to
insert the change mid-scene as it would not have created an unnatural pause.
Even better, given that the film and extras package is not that long compared
to the capacity of a DVD, there was a perfectly natural fade to black scene
change at 59:50 that would have been
ideal for hiding the layer change. I would have thought it not impossible
to arrange the material to accommodate such a placing.
The dialogue comes up very well in the transfer, apart from a couple of minutes in the bedroom scene with very, very low level dialogue. Apart from those few odd minutes, it is a very easy to listen to soundtrack with no problems in understanding at all. There did not appear to be any problems with audio sync in the soundtrack.
The soundtrack comes form the rather prolific pen of Elmer Bernstein, and I found this to be a curiously understated effort indeed. At times, I certainly felt the lack of background musical accompaniment. This is not necessarily a bad thing, for rather too little than too much, but it was a very rare occasion that it was so noticeably lacking. Overall, I felt the soundtrack to be a good one without being especially memorable.
This really is a heavily dialogue based film and
it shows in the soundtrack. Whilst there is certainly some presence in
the surround channels and the bass channel, it sure is not much at times.
Indeed, the bass channel hardly gets any workout at all here and is generally
missing in action, even though it is to be admitted that there are not
a huge number of opportunities for it to come into play. Rear surround
channel action is also not especially wonderful and given the setting in
one of the liveliest cities on Earth, the lack of really substantial ambience
at times was sorely missed. Other than that, the front soundscape is pretty
decent and certainly the overall feel is of a nicely open and quite well
|Surround Channel Use|
© Ian Morris (have
a laugh, check out the bio)
5th April, 2001
|DVD||Pioneer DV-515; S-video output|
|Display||Sony Trinitron Wega 80cm. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in|
|Amplification||Yamaha RXV-795. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Energy Speakers: centre EXLC; left and right C-2; rears EXLR; and subwoofer ES-12XL|