Hanging Up (2000)
Dolby Digital Trailer-City
Featurette-Making Of-HBO Making Of:Getting Connected,The M/O Hanging Up
Biographies-Cast & Crew
Isolated Musical Score
|Year Of Production||2000|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (60:10)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4||Directed By||Diane Keaton|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Isolated Music Score Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||1.78:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Played mainly for laughs, the actual movie is not as dramatic as all that. Written by Delia and Nora Ephron, the pair who modernized the romantic comedy subgenre with When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle, and You've Got Mail, this latest offering again employs the winning combination of snappy dialogue and neurotic characters, although far less effectively. Diane Keaton (who also directed) plays the gushy publisher/icon older sister Georgia, while Lisa Kudrow (Friends) is typecast as the brain cell-challenged soap star. Needless to say, Meg Ryan turns in a photocopy of her previous roles as a quirky, vulnerable, but likeable Modern Chick, and Walter Matthau is superb as Lou, the doddering, acerbic father -- one of the few real people in the movie.
Yes, the Ephron formula is wearing thin. This semi-autobiographical tale assumes that the world gives a d*** about how the Ephron sisters dealt with their father's death. To me it seems that Nora and Delia have lost the critical objectivity that should have consigned this project to the office shredder. But what else can you do when Hollywood wants to turn every word you write into a movie?
Framed at 1.85:1, the 16x9 enhanced transfer image looks fine, although it lacks the vibrance of Columbia Tristar's reference quality efforts.
Sharpness was good except in a few isolated instances. The worst example occurred on a close-up of Meg Ryan smiling at 27:46, who on freeze frame displayed a rather unflattering array of baby teeth as I scribbled the counter time. It is hard to believe that such amateur hour cinematography survived the editing process, but that possibility is more plausible than a foul-up at the esteemed Sony DVD Centre. An attempt to minimize a slip in Ms Ryan's bankable facade may be the culprit. Did anyone see this problem on release prints?
Shadow detail was terrific, although at the expense of solid blacks. The technicians at Sony probably made a judgement call about trading one for the other when given less than ideal source material to work with. The result is totally acceptable, great even, but the low contrasts are largely responsible for keeping Hanging Up out of the topshelf ranks.
Predictably, the colours were saturated and natural looking, but without that lustrous quality. Pumping up the colour level on my Loewe slightly helped to lend more life, while the default levels were perfectly serviceable for a character-based melodrama. Flesh tones were excellent and colour bleed was not a problem.
The only kind of film artefact I noticed was a grainy sky at 2:40 as Eve drives over a bridge, and mild film grain was apparent under close scrutiny. Aliasing, compression artefacts, scratches, and speckles were absent.
Hanging Up swaps layers at 60:10 without disrupting the flow of the narrative too much. With a dialogue-intensive film such as this, opportunities to break would be scarce.
Most importantly, the continuous dialogue sounded clear, distortion free, and in synch.
David (Shine) Hirschfelder's piano compositions, which left no lasting impression, were delivered with good fidelity and separation across the front stage. More notable was the inclusion of two songs: Singalong Junk by Paul McCartney, last heard in Jerry Maguire four years ago, and Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow by Dean Martin, the song that plays at the end of the first two Die Hard movies. These choices betray either laziness, poor judgement, a short time frame for securing the rights for the real songs requested by the film makers, or complete ignorance of where they were used before. At any rate, the songs also had a bold presence.
The surrounds were used most prominently to accent flashbacks to Eve's past. Putting my ear up to the rear speakers during the brief runs of original music revealed a whisper that came through to create a limited soundfield. My B&W subwoofer got bored very early on and decided to go offline to address some personal matters.
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
Columbia Tristar's DVD features an excellent video transfer that just falls short of legend status, while the modest sound design is captured adequately by the Dolby Digital track. The extras do add much needed value to the DVD, since Hanging Up is the kind of stinker I used to dread back in my VHS rental days.
|DVD||Marantz DV-7000 (European model), using Component output|
|Display||Loewe Ergo (81cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital decoder.|
|Amplification||Arcam AV50 5 x 50W amplifier|
|Speakers||Front: ALR/Jordan Entry 5M, Centre: ALR/Jordan 4M, Rear: ALR/Jordan Entry 2M, Subwoofer: B&W ASW-1000 (active)|