Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Featurette-Frank T.J. Mackey Seminar
Music Video-Save Me
Featurette-Making Of-Magnolia Diaries
|Year Of Production||1999|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Dual Disc Set
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Paul Thomas Anderson|
Roadshow Home Entertainment
Philip Baker Hall
Philip Seymour Hoffman
William H. Macy
John C. Reilly
|Case||Village Roadshow New Style|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (320Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Subtitles||English for the Hearing Impaired||Smoking||Yes|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Performances here are uniformly excellent, from Tom Cruise's mysogynistic 'seduce and destroy' seminar stud, to Julianne Moore's unfaithful wife to a dying man. I was most moved by Philip Baker Hall's masterful portrayal of a game show host, attempting to make it through a taping as cancer infiltrates his bones.
Paul Thomas Anderson is an interesting director, as he's one of the few out there that will fight to the death to have his vision communicated to his audience. This insistence upon complete creative control doesn't always work in his favour, though; I wasn't alone in finding his last film, Boogie Nights, meandering and overlong. Flawed as they may be, however, his intelligent scripts, superb casting choices and obvious compassion for humanity make his films required viewing for the movie buff.
From the opening titles of Magnolia, it is apparent that Anderson is maturing as a director and as a storyteller - gone are the show-off camera tricks and prolonged scenes, replaced with a steadier, more confident grasp of pace and style. Though the film is over 3 hours in length, it sucks the viewer in and manages to stop time for virtually the entire length of the picture. Anderson still has to learn to accept constructive criticism about his films (even his cast were telling him in advance that Magnolia was overlong), but after watching it, I'm eagerly anticipating his next picture.
The original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 is preserved, with 16x9 Enhancement.
The Panavision process provides fantastic detail, and the transfer reproduces it faithfully. However, I noticed occasional artificial edge-enhancement that detracted from the otherwise excellent picture. Shadow detail is very good, and I noticed no obvious noise or grain.
Colour is very rich, but not over-saturated. The cinematography borrows from the Boogie Nights school of heightened reality here, and is quite exceptional.
I noticed no film artefacts, and only occasional aliasing, which is to be expected from a transfer as sharp as this one.
The RDSL layer change is at 97:40 and is a little jarring, coming milliseconds after a character finishes a sentence.
Dialogue is clear, natural and intelligible at all times except for the start and end of the film, where the accompanying music is at such a high level that it nearly drowns out the centre channel dialogue. This doesn't occur to quite the same extent in the stereo mix. It appears to be an artistic decision rather than a transfer flub.
Audio sync is fine.
The soundtrack consists of a score from Anderson compatriot, Jon Brion, and songs by Aimee Mann. The score is great, with recognizable motifs running throughout the film. Mann's songs crop up at key moments in the film, and even form the foundation of a scene midway through the picture, when the majority of the cast sing along to the song, Wise Up.
The surrounds are used in a manner consistent with drama, that is, subtle score envelopment, appropriate environmental cues and minimal directional pans.
The LFE channel is used sparingly. There are a couple of extremely dynamic moments in the film, and the suddenness of the sound increases the perceived volume immensely (to approximately 1,000,000dB, if the amount I jumped is any indication).
|Surround Channel Use|
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The video quality is close to reference quality.
The audio quality is very good.
The extras that are here are reasonable, but the film deserves much more. The dual-disc presentation leads you to expect far more than you receive.
|DVD||Pioneer 103S DVD-ROM with Hollywood Plus decoder card, using S-Video output|
|Display||Mitsubishi DiVA (78cm). Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver.|
|Speakers||Front L/R: Richter Excalibur SE, Centre: Richter Unicorn Mk 2, Surrounds: Richter Hydras|