Love Actually (2003)

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Released 19-Apr-2004

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Introduction
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Director and Actors
Music Video-Billy Mack - Christmas Is All Around
Music Highlights-5 Songs, With Introduction By Richard Curtis
Deleted Scenes-10
Featurette-The Storytellers
Trailer-Oxfam, Thunderbirds
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 129:17
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (87:54) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Richard Curtis
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Bill Nighy
Gregor Fisher
Rory MacGregor
Colin Firth
Sienna Guillory
Liam Neeson
Emma Thompson
Lulu Popplewell
Kris Marshall
Heike Makatsch
Martin Freeman
Joanna Page
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $39.95 Music Craig Armstrong
Diane Warren


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 Audio Commentary
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    While movie-going is filled with continual disappointment, such as the recent League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, very occasionally a movie comes along that truly pleasantly surprises me. In my opinion, Richard Curtis' Love Actually was undoubtedly the best film of 2003. While there were many other movies in 2003 that I thoroughly enjoyed, such as Pirates of the Caribbean, LOTR: Return Of The King, and Finding Nemo, I can't recall the last film that so expertly straddled the genres of drama and comedy as well as Love Actually. The cinema audience I watched it with laughed and cried throughout, and then spontaneously erupted into applause at its close (with more than a few cheers). I too found myself enthusiastically clapping. This is one of those very, very rare films that one can truly call art -- bravo!

    Love Actually is written and directed by Richard Curtis. Curtis is no stranger to success. Following co-writing the Blackadder series, Curtis also wrote for Mr Bean and The Vicar of Dibley. Curtis' big-screen writing credits include the brilliant Four Weddings and a Funeral, the clever Notting Hill, and the excellent Bridget Jones's Diary. Curtis makes his directorial debut with Love Actually, and absolutely nails it. With an excellent, and often slightly understated touch, Curtis showcases his gift for dealing with both comedy and tragedy within the same story.

    "General opinion's starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed -- but I don't see that -- seems to me that love is everywhere . . . Often it's not particularly dignified or newsworthy -- but it's always there -- fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and strangers . . . If you look for it, I've got a sneaking suspicion that love actually is all around".

    Love Actually is an extraordinarily well-crafted ensemble piece that contains multiple story lines that occasionally intersect. They all deal with the issue of love, and love in its many forms. Firstly there's the new, young bachelor Prime Minister (Hugh Grant) who falls for a down-to-earth member of his staff (Martine McCutcheon). There's also the hurt and frustrated writer (Colin Firth) who finds love where and when he least expects it. Then there's the biting story of a married couple (Alan Rickman and Emma Thompson) with kids who find that the romance has evaporated from their marriage. I don't want to give anything away, so I'll just add that the other story lines include brilliant acting performances from Keira Knightley, Liam Neeson, Laura Linney and Bill Nighy. Indeed, the acting performances by the entire cast are compelling, and they all make the most of the tight script.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Overall, the transfer is very good.

    The transfer is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The sharpness is excellent, as evidenced by the sharp detail in every scene, such as in the aerial shot of London at 49:18. The shadow detail, black level, and colour are all excellent, and the skin tones are accurate.

    There are no problem with MPEG artefacts. Film-to-video artefacts appear as some slight aliasing, such as the slight shimmer on the stack of CDs at 11:00, and on the computer keyboard at 28:36. A few tiny film artefacts are scattered throughout, but they were not noticeable unless one was looking for them. Occasionally there was also some edge enhancement, but I did not find it distracting.

    The English subtitles are accurate. This is a RSDL disc, with the layer change placed at 87:54, which causes a slight pause, but does not interrupt the flow of the movie.

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

Audio

    The feature only has one audio option: English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s).

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent.

    The delicate musical score is credited to Craig Armstrong, and it contributes enormously to the emotion of the film. There is also the clever use of classic songs throughout, including Joni Mitchell's Both Sides Now and the Beatles' All You Need Is Love.

    This is a heavily dialogue based film, with minimal ambience throughout. The rears are used effectively, however, such as during the wedding scene at 9:39. Due to the nature of the film, the LFE track mainly supports some of the bass-heavy music.

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

Extras

    There are quite a few extras. Unless stated otherwise, all are presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, with the clips from the film presented in their original aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.

Menu

    Animated with audio.

Music Actually

    This contains a music video of the character Billy Mack's Christmas Is All Around (presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1); and another section, Music Highlights, which contains five clips from the movie showcasing the use of music in the film. Each of these segments are introduced by Richard Curtis.

Behind Love Actually

    This sub-menu provides access to deleted scenes, an audio commentary, and a short featurette:

    Deleted Scenes

        There are ten deleted scenes, which can be viewed separately, or together. Each is introduced by Richard Curtis.

    Audio Commentary

        The commentary is presented in English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s). It is surround encoded. The commentary itself is provided by Richard Curtis, Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy and Thomas Sangster. The commentary is screen-specific and obviously unrehearsed. There are many anecdotes and jokes throughout, and Hugh Grant turns up late during the commentary (as he was "held up by traffic"). As an aside, I found it odd that they would use child actor Sangster, as he is not legally old enough to watch the film.

    The Story Tellers

        Running for about ten minutes, this featurette includes short interviews with the producers and cast.

Some Trailers Actually

    There is one television advertisement for the charity, OxFam, and one trailer for The Thunderbirds, the latter being presented with Dolby Surround audio.

R4 vs R1

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

     Love Actually is to be released on DVD in Region 1 on April 27, 2004. From what I can tell so far, the two versions should be much the same, except that R1 will get both a full-screen and widescreen version.

Summary

   Love Actually is a touching, positive, and uplifting film, while also managing to be a great comedy. I thoroughly recommend it.

    The video quality is excellent, except for the occasional aliasing.

    The audio quality good..

    The extras are interesting, and contributed to my enjoyment of the movie.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Tuesday, March 16, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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Comments (Add)
R1 correction -
Crap Actually - matty
Would it kill Universal to use Dolby Digital 448kbs?... - Ben H (My biography. Go on have a read...)
Overated Actually -
Enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours.... actually -
Agree - overrated -
Average actually - Moff Martin (read my bio)
It is what it is Actually! -
Uncut and Edited versions -
Uncut and Edited versions -