Sideways (2004)

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Released 22-Aug-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary-Paul Giamatti & Thomas Haden Church (Actors)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Deleted Scenes-(7)
Web Links
Easter Egg-Production Still Gallery
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 121:44
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (60:01) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Alexander Payne
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Paul Giamatti
Thomas Haden Church
Virginia Madsen
Sandra Oh
Marylouise Burke
Jessica Hecht
Missy Doty
M.C. Gainey
Alysia Reiner
Shake Tukhmanyan
Duke Moosekian
Robert Covarrubias
Patrick Gallagher
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Rolfe Kent


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
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

    Sideways is a unique comedy of relationships from About Schmidt Director Alexander Payne. The story is an hilarious blend of friendship, lies and laughter, all set among the beautiful vineyards and landscape of California.

    Miles (Paul Giamatti) and Jack (Thomas Haden Church) are a pair of middle aged friends who have been close since their college days. With Jack's wedding only a week away, the two embark on a trip together to see out the demise of his bachelorhood in style. Miles plans an elaborate week of visiting vineyards, wine tasting at the cellar door, a few holes of golf and some fine food, but Jack's intentions are entirely different. Despite his commitment to his fiancée, Jack is openly on the hunt for female company from the outset and is convinced that Miles could use a bit of fun to lighten up as well. Although he is intelligent and funny on the exterior, Miles is a quietly troubled man suffering from depression, anxiety and nursing deep wounds from a failed marriage. To make matters worse, Miles is bored with his career as an English teacher and pours his remaining energy into a novel that represents his life's work, however his recent efforts to have it published have been met with denial after denial.

    Things begin to look up when the men meet local waitress Maya (Virginia Madsen) and her friend Stephanie (Sandra Oh). Jack and Stephanie hit it off instantly and spend a great deal of time together, while Miles and Maya find a common bond; both being very keen on wine and recently divorced. Miles begins to resent Jack spending time with Stephanie on their week together and reminds him regularly of his wife-to-be, much to Jack's frustration. A lot can happen in a week and this pair might manage to live through it, but will love and romance prevail?

    There are so many rewarding facets to this film. The screenplay is a magnificent piece of work and relays the motivations of the characters and subtle metaphors with great fluidity. Giamatti and Church are an hilarious on-screen pair who make their mismatched friendship natural and believable. I can't say enough positive things about the film, but I have to close by saying: "See it!". You won't be disappointed.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is 16x9 enhanced and presented in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. This is a good, clean transfer as we would expect for such a recent film.

    The transfer as a whole is a little soft, which is apparently the director's intention. This point is discussed in the commentary and featurette, as the director was seeking a dated feel. One scene that contradicts this is Myles' drunken phone call, which features some very sharp, detailed facial close-ups. I haven't got any problems with the look of the film, besides it being the director's intention, the result is quite filmic and attractive. Shadow detail is problem free, although there are very few dark scenes in the film with which to gauge this. There was no low level noise evident in the transfer.

    The film's colour scheme is rich and vibrant, with no oversaturation or inconsistency present. The landscapes in particular are very refreshing and lifelike.

    Thankfully the transfer is free of MPEG compression artefacting. Film grain is very mild when it does become visible and artefacts such as dirt and scratches are absolutely minimal and inconsequential. Jagged edges and aliasing are also absent.

    Two English subtitle streams are included; one for the feature audio and another for the commentary. Both abbreviate dialogue a little, but are otherwise easy to follow.

    This disc is dual layered, with the layer transition placed half-way during the feature at 60:01. The location of the pause is completely unobtrusive.

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

Audio

    There are two soundtracks included, one of which is a commentary from two key cast members. The default soundtrack is English Dolby Digital 5.1, encoded at 448Kb/s. Being a dialogue driven piece with no special effects or such, there isn't a lot to report as far as surround activity goes.

    Most importantly, the dialogue is always distinct and easy to discern in the mix. The film's ADR performances are completely natural and seamless. Audio sync is perfect at all times.

    This soundtrack is almost entirely frontal, with only the most minimal and subtle use of the surround channels. The soundtrack score and location audio is panned actively across the front soundstage, with voices generally confined to the front centre channel. I noted a tiny bit of the score spilling to the rear channels now and then, but otherwise this soundtrack is completely frontal (and perfectly adequate, I might add). There is plenty of depth present and there are no inconsistencies to speak of.

    The score by Rolfe Kent is absolutely outstanding and has a laid back, jazzy feel parallel with the visual nuances of the film. The compositions are completely instrumental and feature highlights by guitar, saxophone and piano, with a shuffle-style drum and bass backing. I enjoyed this soundtrack immensely.

    The LFE channel is used to assist the low-range portions of the soundtrack score, but is otherwise silent. There is little call for low frequency effects in this film.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu page is static and 16x9 enhanced, accompanied by a music clip from the film's excellent, jazzy score. Prior to the main menu loading, you must skip through an anti-piracy advertisement, then your player is locked for five seconds by a still screen advising you of the anti-piracy website. This is followed by a poor quality Fox promo reel and the Fox Home Entertainment Fanfare.

Audio Commentary-Actors Paul Giamatti & Thomas Haden Church

    This is an excellent commentary track, featuring the two very funny lead actors from the film. Church has directed a film of his own in the past, and offers a few insights into Alexander Payne's intentions as far as the film's look is concerned. The two men joke around quite a bit and share a few amusing anecdotes relating to the film's production, the locations and cast. Even though I've seen this film many times, these guys pointed out subtle things in the picture that I hadn't noticed before, and that alone makes this worthwhile.

Featurette-Behind the Scenes (6:34)

    This is nothing more than the typical electronic press kit fare you might download from a website. There are brief contributions from key cast members and Director Alexander Payne, discussing how pleasant the production was, but nothing too revealing. This is presented in 1.33:1.

Deleted Scenes (16:29)

    There are seven deleted and alternate scenes available, each with a short text introduction from the director and playable individually or via a play all function. All scenes also include a lead in and lead out to help provide a context for the scene's placement in the film. Most of these are short and were cut for pacing reasons. All are presented in letterboxed 1.85:1, without 16x9 enhancement.

Weblink

    A simple page promoting the Fox Movies website. The URL is not active via a PC.

Easter Egg (3:18)

    A scrolling montage of stills from the film's production, set to more great music by Rolfe Kent. You'll find the egg hidden in the scene selection menu - highlight the image of scene 15 and press your left cursor to reveal the hidden wine bottle, and press enter. These stills are particularly interesting as they offer a glimpse of Miles' deleted dream sequence which is mentioned in the commentary, but strangely not included in the deleted scenes on this disc.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 disc includes the theatrical trailer and additional soundtracks and subtitle streams in French and Spanish. The Region 2 release includes some additional trailers. This Region 4 title is only available for rent at the moment and there is no compelling differences between regions, so if you choose to wait for a local release you won't be missing anything major.

Summary

    Sideways is a beautiful, hilarious and rewarding film. It has received a good transfer to DVD.

    The video transfer is good.

    The audio transfer is frontal, but suited to the film.

    The extras are a little lightweight, but the commentary is the most worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Review Equipment
DVDDenon DVD-3910, using DVI output
DisplaySanyo 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 DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
Your ratings? - Pendergast (Why not take a look at my bio, you might think it stinks.) REPLY POSTED
Sell Through Status - MN
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Easter Eggs - james_C