Plan B (2001)

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Released 14-Aug-2003

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Trailer-Movie World
Dolby Digital Trailer-Train
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 96:18
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Greg Yaitanes
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Diane Keaton
Paul Sorvino
Maury Chaykin
Burt Young
John Ventimiglia
Anthony DeSando
Bob Balaban
Natasha Lyonne
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Brian Tyler


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Plan B is another in the lengthening line of comedies based on Mob life. In this offering we start off by seeing the husband of Fran Maloni (Diane Keaton) killed by his cousin Joe Maloni (Paul Sorvino) over a loan repayment issue. The meek and mild Fran, thinking it was a drowning accident, ends up working for Mob-boss Joe under the impression he's doing her a favour to help pay off her husband's debts.

    A simple visit to one of his warehouses with Fran turns into a life-threatening situation for Joe, but it seems that she miraculously saves his life by shooting his three would-be killers in the head. Joe believes Fran is a guardian angel sent to protect him, and "promotes" her to hitman with the sole purpose of killing the man that he thinks was trying to kill him. Of course Fran is scared stiff of the whole idea and hates having to kill anyone, but she's bullied into it with threats of the police finding out about the three men she's shot already.

    Being unable to bring herself to kill the man that Joe sends her after, Fran decides on an alternative plan (hence the movie's title) which involves hiding the victim at her brother's house in Florida and pretending she killed him. Things get a little complicated when Joe decides she needs to kill some more men, and eventually also wants to see the bodies.

    The movie has your standard support characters to keep track of, including Joe's idiot sidekick Mario (Anthony Joseph De Santis), Fran's brother James (Bob Balaban), and Fran's "hits" Raymond (John Ventimiglia), Donnie (Maury Chaykin) and Sal (Burt Young).

    Now it's not the worst idea ever for a film, and with some of the above actors involved you'd probably expect something half-decent. Unfortunately, you'd be wrong. One word springs to mind when trying to sum up this movie; "annoying". I found myself being annoyed throughout almost the whole runtime, with Diane Keaton hysterically bumbling and overacting her way through a script that at times I was convinced was non-existent. You really do get the feeling that the actors are just making this up as they go along, and I actually had trouble watching this to its conclusion as I was getting an overload of bad dialogue being badly delivered. Peoples' actions rarely make sense (and this goes far beyond the "well it's a comedy" argument), we have literally no shots fired from the guns that are constantly displayed on screen (besides the initial three killings), and there are times when there are obvious edits removing sections of a conversation.

    There may be people out there that won't mind Keaton's brand of humour (both physical and verbal), in which case this could be worth a rental. That's about the highest recommendation I can give this movie I'm afraid.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    I'm not a true believer in the "bad movie = good transfer" theory, since I think it's just that when a well-presented film is bad it seems to accentuate the good transfer (maybe because we've stopped watching the dreadful film and are just admiring the video). However, this DVD certainly gives proponents of the theory some ammunition, as it has a very pleasing video transfer.

    The movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, which is the original theatrical aspect ratio. The transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness of the transfer is excellent, with textures and details being very clear. Blacks are lovely and solid with no low level noise, and shadow detail is good.

    Colour is also excellent; ranging from vivid greens and blues in the Florida outdoor scenes, to attractive golden lighting in a lot of the indoor shots. Despite the saturated colours in the Florida scenes, there is no bleeding whatsoever.

    Artefacts are also practically non-existent. I expected there to be some aliasing due to the sharpness of the image, but even the prominently featured radiator grille on Fran's car didn't succumb to the dreaded jaggies. I didn't see any film artefacts.

    There is one subtitle stream; English for the Hearing Impaired. I sampled this stream and found the dialogue to be pretty accurate with only the occasional word missed out on. The sound cues were also well placed. However, I found the positioning of the text itself to be rather awkward, in that they've obviously tried to place the text as close to directly underneath the relevant actor as possible. I just found this a bit annoying having to read all over the screen, and it isn't always clear when one character's text stops and another starts (since there are no "-" marks to delineate).

    This is a single-layered disc, so there is no layer change.

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

Audio

    As a companion to the surprisingly good video transfer, we also have an audio transfer that is better quality than what you'd expect for this type of film.

    There is one audio track on this DVD; English Dolby Digital 5.1 encoded at 448 kbps.

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand. For the most part, there are no problems with audio sync, with one exception at 9:38 during some dialogue from Fran. This is a strange little anomaly actually, because not only does the audio not sync with the image, but it also jumps from the left front to the right front speaker momentarily, despite the fact that Fran doesn't move from being on the left side of the screen. I didn't notice anything like this happening again though.

    The music by Brian Tyler was one of the things that helped me stay conscious for the film's duration. It's certainly a highlight, and consists of upbeat brass jazz music with quite a bit of bongo thrown in. If the DVD had a music-only track, I'd be tempted to actually put it back in my player again.

    The surround speakers are much more active than I'd expected for a dialogue-driven comedy. We get excellent immersive sound whenever the score kicks in (such as 18:48), as well as the very rare gunshots (14:10), ambient sounds (31:40), and voices from people behind us.

    Right from the first two minutes of the film we get good use of the subwoofer (and the surrounds). Although not an action film with explosions and earthquakes, the .1 channel really helps out with all engine sounds (19:13) and the bass of the music.

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

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (1:48)

    Trailer for the movie presented in Dolby Digital 2.0, with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and 16x9 enhanced.

Dolby Digital Trailer - Train

    As the heading says. It sure beats the City trailer.

Trailer - Movie World

    You know that really annoying Movie World trailer that gets shown before films at the cinema? Well, they have now seen fit to inflict it upon us via DVD as well. At least you can skip it on a DVD, unlike at the movies.

R4 vs R1

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

    At the time of writing, Plan B is only available in Regions 2 and 4. Why anyone would want to buy this disc is beyond me, but there doesn't appear to be anything extra on the Region 2 edition to make it worth importing.

Summary

    An idea that could have worked, but it is executed poorly with very few redeeming features. The main problem is a lead character that makes fingernails on a chalkboard seem soothing.

    The video transfer is very nice indeed.

    The audio is also very good.

    The only real extra is a theatrical trailer.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© David L (Only my Mum would have any interest in my bio)
Wednesday, October 08, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDOmni 3600, using RGB output
DisplaySony 1252QM CRT Projector, 250cm custom built 16x9 matte screen. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS797- THX Select
SpeakersAccusound ES-55 Speaker set, Welling WS12 Subwoofer

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