The Party's Over (Last Party 2000) (2001)

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Released 24-Feb-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Documentary Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Philip Seymour Hoffman And Rebecca Chaiklin (Dir/Prod)
Additional Footage-Interviews: Michael Moore, Eddie Veder, Billy Baldwin
Theatrical Trailer
Trailer-The Corporation, Bowling For Columbine, Safe, Letters To Ali
Trailer-Amandla!, Owning Mahowny, Osama
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 89:34 (Case: 93)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (51:21) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Rebecca Chaiklin
Donovan Leitch
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Philip Seymour Hoffman
Ben Harper
Noam Chomsky
Harold Ford Jr.
Tim Robbins
John Sellers
Susan Sarandon
Christopher Shays
Bill Maher
Rosie O'Donnell
Melissa Etheridge
Courtney Love
Antonia Novella
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI ? Music Didi Gutman
Sabina Sciubba


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio Unknown Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

     The year is 2000, the place is the United States of America and election fever has gripped the air. In one of the most controversial elections in the history of the nation, George W Bush and Al Gore duked it out to the wire. It was interesting watching this film at this time, since the 2004 election result has very recently been announced. There were all manner of points of deja vu in watching this, not only because of recent events, but also because presenter Philip Seymour Hoffman's delivery is so reminiscent of another rather dishevelled heavyweight of political commentary, Michael Moore, who has sprung to prominence in the interim. But this film was made before Bowling For Columbine, indeed, before the terrible events of September 11 unfolded, and before the groundswell in voter awareness had burgeoned in "the world's greatest democracy."

     This film tries to open the political vision beyond the scope of the two major parties, featuring the Shadow Conventions that provide some alternative visions for America's future. In particular, it focuses on Ralph Nader who tried to broaden the issues beyond the narrow scope of the main players. Ironically, while this film almost iconises Nader, and indeed features Moore as one of his major supporters, it was Nader who was later blamed for ruining Gore's chances for presidency, and became a figure of pillory after the campaign. There are some fascinating interviews in this film, none more so than from the champion of free thought, Noam Chomsky, who as usual provides a thoughtful and insightful perspective into the machinations of mainstream politics.

     When watching this film it's pertinent to remember that this was presented to the world just before the new wave of documentaries started to break all over the globe. Whilst now we have a culture that has developed an appetite for informative film, this predates that period, and in truth, probably did not expect a massive audience. It's almost impossible not to compare this film with Mike Moore's work as there are so many parallels in both content and style. Certainly, it looks as though Hoffman took a leaf from Moore's wonderful The Awful Truth series in his delivery style. But perhaps it tends to highlight the fact that actors are good when they act, but they may not be so entertaining when they're just themselves. Whilst Moore has a biting wit and a flair for theatricality, Hoffman's delivery is so downbeat as to be almost bland.

     Nevertheless, I found this to be a very interesting piece of social history and very much worth a look. If you have an interest in world politics, and the undercurrents that propel it, you may find this worthy of your time. It is unashamedly liberal in its attitude so your response to it may be coloured by whether or not you share the political views of the film makers, but I found it an interesting cinematic time capsule.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     This disc is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, not 16x9 enhanced.

     The presentation is relatively sharp but it looks like pretty low budget stock. There is some low level noise and there are significant grain levels in places.

     The colour range is rather variable, depending on the lighting conditions, but skin tones are acceptable for the most part.

     You will find some of the motion blur can make one a little giddy at times and there is some aliasing and moiré, but transfer problems are not unacceptable.

     This is an RSDL disc, but the layer change at 51:21 is without any major problems.

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

Audio

     The soundtrack is delivered in English Dolby Digital 2.0 with an Audio Commentary in Dolby Digital 2.0.

     The dialogue is crisp, clean and easily audible, with only minor audio sync problems. There are no subtitles.

     The soundtrack feels quite appropriate for the piece and includes some interesting and witty choices.

     The surround speakers provide little in terms of direction, and there is no subwoofer activity.

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

Extras

Menu

     The menu is static with theme music from the film.

Audio Commentary - Philip Hoffman and Rebecca Chaiklin (Co-Director)

     Some of their comments are very interesting - particularly their treatment by the police in various states!

Additional Interviews with Michael Moore, Eddie Vedder and Billy Baldwin.

     Some interesting comments, particularly by Moore, made even more interesting with the developments of the ensuing years.

Trailer

Madman Propaganda

    Trailers for The Corporation, Bowling for Columbine, Safe, Letters to Ali, Amandla!, Owning Mahowny, and Osama.

R4 vs R1

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

     The Region Four disc misses out on:

       The inclusion of this particular extra would tip the scales to R1.

Summary

     An interesting review of the past few years in American politics that acts as something of a primer for the wave of documentaries to follow. Somewhat more even-handed than Moore's approach, but somewhat lacking in spice because of it. Fascinating viewing nonetheless.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Mirella Roche-Parker (read my bio)
Friday, November 19, 2004
Review Equipment
DVDSinger SGD-001, using S-Video output
DisplayTeac 76cm Widescreen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationTeac 5.1 integrated system
Speakers fronts-paradigm titans, centre &rear Sony - radio parts subbie

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