Soapdish (1991)

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Released 4-Dec-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer-2:25
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-4:29
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 92:30
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (55:00) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Michael Hoffman
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Sally Field
Kevin Kline
Robert Downey, Jr.
Whoopi Goldberg
Elisabeth Shue
Carrie Fisher
Cathy Moriarty
Teri Hatcher
Garry Marshall
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Alan Silvestri


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles Turkish
English
English for the Hearing Impaired
German
Swedish
Danish
Norwegian
Dutch
French
Italian
Spanish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement Yes, Pepsi
Action In or After Credits Yes

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

I was fully prepared not to enjoy this film a corny American attempt at satire which is a genre American film rarely handles well. (Yup, that's prejudice!) I was wrong. I guess I overlooked the fact that what they were satirising was American day-time soap opera, so a certain lack of subtlety was required.

What this film is is a soap-opera set around a soap opera. The soapie The Sun Also Sets (by the way, that's the title of a 20 minute film made by Ed Wood in 1951 how appropriate...) has been running for decades, and for most of that time the star has been Celeste Talbot (Sally Field) she's just won her 8th Schmeggy (the Emmy equivalent for day-time TV). Her only friend is the show's head writer, Rose Schwartz (Whoopi Goldberg). The two supporting actresses both have it in for her, but Montana Moorehead (Cathy Moriarty) is conspiring with producer David Barnes (Robert Downey, Jr) to sabotage her. They try a variety of ideas, including trying to get her character to kill a homeless person (Elisabeth Shue) that backfires badly. So they decide to bring back the first love of her life, Jeffrey Anderson (Kevin Kline), whom she had booted off the show years ago.

This film gets better and better as it progresses so often films start off well and then fall apart. This one runs the other way. As the story unfolds, things really become more credible, and the characters get multi-dimensional. And it moves from being somewhat farcical to being genuinely funny. The climactic scenes are very funny indeed.

There are some rather fun performances in some of the smaller parts: Carrie Fisher handling casting, Kathy Najimy in charge of costumes, and Garry Marshall as the big boss. But it is Sally Field and Kevin Kline who carry the film. There's a delightful scene with Sally Field coaching Kevin Kline on how to act naturally.

Grab some snacks and a drink, and settle in for some mindless silliness this is fun.

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Transfer Quality

Video

The original theatrical aspect of this film was 1.85:1. This DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 (close), and is 16x9 enhanced. This is a very good transfer, with next to no artefacts.

The image varies somewhat between fairly sharp and very sharp; at all times, it's sharp enough to make things beautifully clear. Shadow detail is rather good, but not as deep as it might be, especially on some dark fabrics. There's no serious grain in the film and there is no low-level noise.

Colours are very good. They are well-saturated, with no colour-related artefacts.

There are more than a few film artefacts, but they are all tiny specks and flecks there are none large enough for me to bother noting. There's no moire, no significant aliasing (a bit here and there in backgrounds, but you have to be looking for it), and the only MPEG artefact is some very light background shimmer in a few places.

There are lots of subtitles, including both English and English for the Hearing Impaired. I watched the English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles they are easy to read, fairly accurate (but not word-perfect), and well-timed, but they don't make much mention of sound effects; then again, there are no effects that are important to the plot.

The disc is single sided and dual layered, formatted RSDL. The layer change is at 55:00 in between scenes, but it is very obvious.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

The soundtrack is provided in five languages, but I only listened to the English. It's a Dolby Digital 5.1 effort, but I cannot see why they bothered it might just as well be a 3.0 soundtrack, because the only speakers that get anything worthwhile to do are the fronts: left, right, and centre. Given that this film was released in Dolby Stereo, that's not overly surprising.

The dialogue is clear, even the sotto voce lines. There are no audio sync problems.

Alan Silvestri's score is beautifully apt, complete with lush strings underscoring some emotional moments it's a delicate send-up of soapie scores.

The subwoofer gets basically nothing to do and the surrounds are not used for anything significant.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

The menu is static and silent.

Theatrical Trailer (2:25)

This is a standard trailer, and like all trailers, gives away too much of the plot don't watch it before you've seen the movie.

Featurette Behind the Scenes (4:29)

A classic EPK fluff piece. This is rather poor quality, complete with hiss in the soundtrack.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

The Region 1 version of this disc sounds essentially identical to this one, except that it has far fewer soundtrack and subtitle languages. The only real difference is that the Region 4 disc is a lot cheaper the prices are about the same, but the R1 is in US dollars, while the R4 is in Australian dollars...

Summary

Soapdish is a movie that starts a little slowly, but gets very funny. It has been given a good transfer to DVD.

The video quality is very good.

The audio quality is very good, but totally frontal.

The extras are fairly minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Monday, December 30, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS905V, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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