Beware of Greeks Bearing Guns (2000)

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Released 16-Jun-2004

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Biographies-Cast & Crew-6
Theatrical Trailer-1:22
Gallery-Poster-1
Gallery-Photo-11
Deleted Scenes-5:06
Featurette-Bowl Me Over
Trailer-The Best Man's Wedding; The Last Kiss; Italian For Beginners
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2000
Running Time 84:55
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (74:52) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By John Tatoulis
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Lakis Lazopoulos
Zoe Carides
John Bluthal
Claudia Buttazzoni
Tasso Kavadia
Case ?
RPI ? Music Mikis Theodorakis


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures Yes
Subtitles English Smoking Yes, lots of cigars
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

Beware of Greeks Bearing Guns is an interesting title. For those without the benefit of a classical education it is a reference to the classic warning "Beware of Greeks bearing gifts", possibly a reference to the story of the siege of Troy. And you thought reading DVD reviews wasn't a learning experience...

This film stars Lakis Lazopoulos. I had not heard this name before, being distressingly ignorant of Greek television. Apparently he is a comic phenomenon in Greece. He plays twin brothers in this movie, one the lugubrious Manos, the other the forceful George. These twin brothers have been raised in a small village in Crete by their grandmother (Tasso Kavadia) since they were 4 years old (their parents died). She has raised them with continual stories of the evil that is Vasilli Philipakis, and how Manos (being the elder twin) must kill Philipakis to complete a vendetta that began when Philipakis killed her husband Alexandro in 1943. Manos is reluctant to play his part in this he is a gentle soul who has become a schoolteacher. George is continually railing against the rule that states that Manos must be the hand of vengeance George would much rather do it, and he is far better suited to the task, being a more violent man.

I was a little surprised that no mention was made of the fact that Alexandro was murdered in a church I would have expected that to provoke comment.

Anyway, the moment of truth arrives. Philipakis is discovered to be in Melbourne (where else?!), in the present day (almost 60 years on from the original event). Manos (now in his late thirties) is sent to Melbourne. He is met by an old family friend, Stephanos (John Bluthal such a brilliant actor), who takes him home. Unfortunately, perhaps, Stephanos shares a house with his granddaughter, Nicki (Zoe Carides), who is far from pleased to see Manos. Nicki's daughter Katerina (Claudia Buttazzoni) is fascinated by their interaction is Manos the father she has never met?

This film is something of a farce, so the presence of twins is a cue for a series of misunderstandings and mistaken identities.

A considerable part of the movie is in Greek, with nice clear subtitles in yellow. I much prefer this over having, for example, Greek people in Crete talking English to one another. If you don't like subtitles, then this movie will only make sense to you if you happen to understand both Greek and English.

The scenery in Crete around the small village contrasts strongly with Melbourne, but it's the people, none of whom are stereotypes, who are really interesting.

I enjoyed this film, and recommend it to you as a pleasant comedy with an interesting ending.

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Transfer Quality

Video

This DVD transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1. It is 16x9 enhanced. I cannot find a reference for the original aspect ratio, but I'd guess it was 1.85:1 judging by the framing.

The image is, I'm sad to say, often quite soft, with a few moments that are quite definitely blurry (see 27:37, for example). Shadow detail is a bit lacking, but adequate. Film grain may account for some of the softness, but far from all. There is no low-level noise.

Colour is a little muted, but that suits the environment. There are no colour-related artefacts.

There are few film artefacts (there are some, such as the circular spot at 45:14), but you would hope that was the case in a movie made in 2000.

Aliasing is intermittent, but frequent, and a bit annoying. There is some very obvious moire on the striped shirt worn by one of the boys (see 8:46, for example).

The subtitles default to on, which is perfectly reasonable for the average viewer. There is only one subtitle track, and it only subtitles the dialogue that's in Greek. If you do understand Greek, you can turn the subtitles off. It's a shame there isn't a full subtitle track for the hearing impaired.

The disc is single-sided (with an attractive picture label), and dual layered, RSDL formatted. The layer change, which comes at 74:52, is really rather dreadful, but it doesn't disrupt the storyline too much (there's a natural break there).

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

Audio

The soundtrack is provided in English or English: Dolby Digital 5.1 or Dolby Digital 2.0 (not surround encoded) I listened to the 5.1, which offers some nice surround envelopment.

The English dialogue is quite clear, and readily understood even though there are some heavy accents (Greek, I believe...). The Greek dialogue sounds clear, but I cannot testify to comprehensibility. There are no audio sync glitches.

The score is marvellous, a blend of Greek and other music from Mikis Theodorakis even if you don't recognise the name, you might have heard of a few other films he scored: films like Zorba the Greek, Serpico, and They're a Weird Mob.

The surrounds are given plenty to do, with score and the occasional environmental sound. The subwoofer comes in and out, but is not completely neglected.

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

Extras

There are quite a few extras here.

Menu

The menu is animated with music it's easy to use.

Cast and Crew Biographies

We get short bios for the key players:

Theatrical Trailer

This is labelled Australian Trailer I'd be curious to see the Greek one..

Posters

The Greek and Australian posters for this film.

Gallery Photo

Eleven photos from the production.

Deleted Scene (5:06)

This scene covers Dmitri's funeral and wake one can readily see why it was deleted.

Short Film Bowl Me Over

This short film has nothing to do with the movie, except that it, too, concerns the interaction between Greek people and Australian society, in this case, a group of Greek widows (all in black) interacting with the Albert Park Bowls Club (all in white). This is a fun little piece. I was surprised and pleased to see Noelene Brown in it.

Trailers More from Palace

These trailers are all for films that are in other languages and subtitled that's about all they have in common.

R4 vs R1

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

This disc has not been released in any other zone yet.

Summary

Beware Of Greeks Bearing Guns is an interesting little comedy about the influence of old ideas and old ways on younger people.

The video quality is not good, but adequate.

The audio quality is rather good.

The extras are interesting, but I'd have really liked a commentary.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Monday, January 27, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, 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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