Never Again (2001)
|Year Of Production||2001|
|Running Time||93:13 (Case: 97)|
|RSDL / Flipper||No/No||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||Eric Schaeffer|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Pan & Scan||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (448Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Never Again is a romantic comedy for the older crowd. It is a very low budget work, having been made for only half a million dollars but it contains some minor league stars nonetheless. Jill Clayburgh plays Grace, an empty-nester in her fifties, who becomes acutely aware of her loneliness once her daughter heads off to college. Her close friends advise her that the best way for her to get over it is to start having regular sex again. Her attempt at internet dating results in a meeting with a dwarf actor, who rejects her advances. There is nothing left for it but to meet up with her girlfriends in the nearest bar...which just happens to be a gay bar.
Christopher (Jeffrey Tambor, The Larry Sanders Show and Girl, Interrupted) is an exterminator by day, and a jazz pianist by night. He has had a string of meaningless relationships with younger women, and is finding that sex in the absence of love is becoming trivial and tiresome. After a homoerotic dream, and suspecting he might actually be gay, he decides to experiment a little. Rather than rushing straight (no pun intended) into a gay relationship, he figures that there must be a half-step he can take. Enter Michael McKean (This is Spinal Tap and A Mighty Wind) in a cameo appearance as Alex, a rather butch transsexual. Unable to consummate the meeting, he heads instead to a nearby bar...which just happens to be a gay bar.
After an hilarious exchange with Grace, whom he mistakes for a really attractive transsexual, the two decide to head out for dinner and so begins a fine romance. Tambor is in fine form and Clayburgh is also quite charming as the lusty fifty-four year old and she puts in a truly bravura performance in her film-stealing scene around 75:00.
Never Again is a hit and miss affair, with some slightly over-the-top attempts at shock humour, but generally it hits the mark more often than it misses. It certainly makes a reasonable way to pass a couple of hours. It will not have you rolling on the floor laughing, but will make you crack a few smiles. It will not have you weeping openly, but may make you feel some sympathy for the plight of the two main protagonists. For those of a certain age, where the fifties are either looming or actually happening - this is quite a sweet film and is certainly passable as a rental. A very pleasant surprise.
The overall video transfer is reasonable.
The movie is presented in a full screen aspect ratio of 1.33:1 which has been altered from the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.
The image is not overly sharp with a fair degree of grain and pixilation evident in some backgrounds - particularly those scenes shot in lower light conditions (for instance at the jazz club around 41:40). This graininess is certainly noticeable, and mildly distracting even on a smaller screen.
Black levels are fairly deep but the shadow detail is sometimes rather limited with a fair degree of pixelisation and low level noise evident (the worst example being at 80:37). Colours are fairly naturalistic, but hardly leap from the screen. The graininess of the film possibly makes the colours feel a bit more subdued than they really are. Solid enough and without colour bleeding they do the job. Skin tones are pretty much natural.
There are no problems with MPEG compression artefacts. There is some edge enhancement present occasionally (for instance around 67:52 or 81:11), but this is not a major distraction on smaller screens. On a larger (projected for instance) image it can be a little disturbing. Aliasing is insignificant. There is evidence of telecine wobble during the title sequences, but it is not troublesome during the actual feature.
The image carries very frequent minor blemishes in the form of film artefacts. Black and white specks flick past fairly regularly, and although small, are common enough to become a little annoying.
There are no subtitles available.
The disc is in a single sided and single layered (DVD 5) format with no layer change present.
The audio transfer is adequate.
The sole English audio track is a Dolby Digital 2.0 mix with the surround flag enabled. It is encoded at a healthy 448 kbps. It is generally free from major defects in the way of hiss, dropouts and pops. The dialogue is usually clear enough, but some of the pillow talk is mumbled and therefore hard to make out (for instance around 49:40). I noticed no problems with audio sync.
Original music is attributed to Amanda Kravat and is generally fairly anonymous. The subtle piano melody fills the gaps between the dialogue, and is reasonably effective in the jazz club scenes.
The front speakers do a workmanlike job but there is little in the way of spread across the front soundstage. The overall feel is fine for such a dialogue driven piece. The surround speakers see some activity, largely in supporting the musical score (for example the jazz piano around 62:30), but nothing significant in the way of directional or localised spot effects.
The subwoofer sees some occasional redirected bass from the backing music in nightclub and jazz club scenes, but there is little else in the way of bass presence in this film.
|Surround Channel Use|
There are no extra features present.
The main menu is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 and is a still photograph of the DVD cover. It offers the options of playing the film or selecting one of twelve chapter stops.
In Region 1 this film is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1, and is anamorphically enhanced. This makes the Region 1 release the version of choice.
Never Again makes for a passable rental when you are in the mood for an adult romantic comedy - particularly if you are the wrong side of fifty. Some of the content requires a little broad-mindedness, but if you are prepared to stick with some of the more gauche moments, this can deliver a surprisingly enjoyable, sometimes funny and overall quite poignant experience.
The video transfer is adequate.
The audio transfer is adequate.
There are no extras.
|DVD||Momitsu V880 upconverting DVI player, using DVI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Onkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES|
|Speakers||JensenSPX-9 fronts, Jensen SPX-13 Centre, Jensen SPX-5 surrounds, Jensen SPX-17 subwoofer|