Overall | Agatha and the Storm (Agata e la Tempesta) (2004) | Caterina in the City (Caterina va in Città) (2003) | After Midnight (Dopo Mezzanotte) (2003) | Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte) (2003) | The Miracle (Il Miracolo) (2003) | The Wedding Dress (Il Vestito Da Sposa) (2003) | My Brother-In-Law (Mio Cognato) (2003) | Cruelest Day, The (Ilaria Alpi-Il più crudele dei giorni) (2002) | The Spectator (La Spettatrice) (2003) | The Consequence of Love (Le Conseguenze dell'amore) (2002) | Certain Children (Certi Bambini) (2002)

Italian Film Festival 2004 (Box Set)

Italian Film Festival 2004 (Box Set)

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Released 15-Nov-2005

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Overall Package

    This is a very difficult box set to recommend unless you attended the 2004 Italian Film Festival and liked every film that you saw. The movies included here range from very average to quite good, but there are no films here than I would unreservedly recommend or would plan to watch again. They cover such a wide variety of subject areas and styles that I think it would be difficult to find one person who would enjoy all of them. I would look to renting this set if specific films strike your fancy.

    Technically, this is a fairly shoddy production. Any of the films which are available in other regions are available in significantly better editions, most including 5.1 soundtracks and correct aspect ratios along with proper subtitle streams. Many of the films here include sub-par subtitles which for foreign language films is an essential component to being able to enjoy the film. Additionally, there are no extras of any significance and the packaging, although sturdy, includes very little detail about the films. I would like to have at least seen a booklet including details of all the films.

    Unfortunately, I really cannot recommend this set as a whole despite including quite a few quality films.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, August 25, 2006
Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Agatha and the Storm (Agata e la Tempesta) (2004) | Caterina in the City (Caterina va in Città) (2003) | After Midnight (Dopo Mezzanotte) (2003) | Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte) (2003) | The Miracle (Il Miracolo) (2003) | The Wedding Dress (Il Vestito Da Sposa) (2003) | My Brother-In-Law (Mio Cognato) (2003) | Cruelest Day, The (Ilaria Alpi-Il più crudele dei giorni) (2002) | The Spectator (La Spettatrice) (2003) | The Consequence of Love (Le Conseguenze dell'amore) (2002) | Certain Children (Certi Bambini) (2002)

Agatha and the Storm (Agata e la Tempesta) (2004)

Agatha and the Storm (Agata e la Tempesta) (2004)

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Released 26-Sep-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Theatrical Trailer
Gallery-Photo
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Trailer-Respiro, The Last Kiss, Remember Me, Since Otar Left
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 120:07 (Case: 125)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (82:51) Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Silvio Soldini
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Licia Maglietta
Giuseppe Battiston
Emilio Solfrizzi
Marina Massironi
Claudio Santamaria
Giselda Volodi
Ann Eleonora Jørgensen
Remo Remotti
Monica Nappo
Case ?
RPI $24.95 Music Giovanni Venosta


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 (Burned In) Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    First, some housekeeping. This disc is available separately or as the first disc of the Italian Film Festival 2004 Box Set from Fox. The box set contains 11 films spread over six discs. Fairly obviously, they are all Italian films made in the last couple of years.

    This film is a quirky comedy drama from the director of the multi-award winning Pane e Tulipani or Bread and Tulips, Silvio Soldini. This film, Agata e la tempesta or Agata and the Storm, was made in 2004 and stars the same leading actress as Bread and Tulips, Licia Maglietta as the eponymous Agata. She is a middle aged but still very attractive book store owner who begins a relationship with a special male customer who keeps coming back every day to ask for another book recommendation but really just wants to see her again. He is the much younger Nico (Claudio Santamaria) who badly wants her despite the fact that she thinks he is too young for her and he is married. Another story strand involves Agata's brother Gustavo (Emilio Solfrizzi), an architect who is married to a television relationship psychologist Ines (known as Dr Silvestri on TV). A third story strand is that of struggling fashion designer and inveterate womaniser Romeo D'Avanso (Giuseppe Battiston), who is married to the paraplegic Daria. Romeo is a fan of Dr Silvestri's program. The three stories start to converge when Romeo's mother is dying and she asks him to contact Gustavo, who he has never previously met. Romeo's mother asks him to tell Gustavo that she is his real mother and that she wants to see him before she dies. The film then follows their stories as they intertwine and their worlds begin to change.

    This film requires some patience as it is a little long-winded and disjointed, especially early on as you struggle to follow the different characters. Despite that it is certainly enjoyable and cannot be accused of being like anything Hollywood produces. One of the fun quirky ideas in the film was that Agata has some strange power which causes electrical items such as light bulbs to blow just by passing by them. The acting is strong and the eccentricities of the plot will keep you wondering right through to the end and even afterwards.

    If you enjoy quirky European cinema this one may be right up your alley.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good but not without issue, especially in regards to the subtitles.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is probably the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was pretty good but not spectacular.

    The colour was very good with no issues to report.

    There were quite a few film artefacts but they were never really intrusive, including blobs at 13:01 & 103:18, hairs at 34:50, 49:34 & 113:39, specks at 13:46 and white lines at 65:20. Additionally, there was some mild aliasing, such as on a jacket at 19:48.

    There are subtitles in English which are burned in to the picture. They were generally easy to read but as they were white they were quite often lost in the background when there was something white on screen. This meant that sometimes you could not make out the subtitles which was annoying. I am also sure that the fact that the subtitles were burnt in would annoy you if you could speak Italian as there is no way to turn them off. There were no issues with spelling or grammar.

    The layer change occurs at 82:51 and was not noticeable.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is decent but certainly won't stretch your home theatre.

    This DVD contains an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue seemed clear but as I cannot speak Italian I cannot be categorical on this point, and there was no problem apparent with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Giovanni Venosta is fine but does not really stand out, although there was some nice use of Spanish guitar.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

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

Extras

Menu

    The menu was very simple allowing for scene selection and access to extras. It is preceded by an anti-piracy message and studio promos.

Theatrical Trailer (1:47)

    An international trailer with English voiceover and subtitles.

Photo Gallery

    About 10 stills from the film. Whoopee!

Cast Filmographies

    Text filmographies for the six main cast members and the director.

More from Palace Films

    Trailers for Respiro, The Last Kiss, Remember Me & Since Otar Left.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film is available in Region 1 and Region 2. The Italian Region 2 version includes a 5.1 soundtrack but does not include English subtitles. In comparison to the Region 1 version the Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    On this basis the Region 1 is a clear winner.

Summary

    A quirky and eccentric Italian comedy drama.

    The video quality is very good but the subtitles had some issues.

    The audio quality is decent but only mono.

    The disc contains some very minor extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Sunday, January 08, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews
impulsegamer.com - Andrew B

Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Agatha and the Storm (Agata e la Tempesta) (2004) | Caterina in the City (Caterina va in Città) (2003) | After Midnight (Dopo Mezzanotte) (2003) | Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte) (2003) | The Miracle (Il Miracolo) (2003) | The Wedding Dress (Il Vestito Da Sposa) (2003) | My Brother-In-Law (Mio Cognato) (2003) | Cruelest Day, The (Ilaria Alpi-Il più crudele dei giorni) (2002) | The Spectator (La Spettatrice) (2003) | The Consequence of Love (Le Conseguenze dell'amore) (2002) | Certain Children (Certi Bambini) (2002)

Caterina in the City (Caterina va in Città) (2003)

Caterina in the City (Caterina va in Città) (2003)

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Released 15-Nov-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Coming-Of-Age None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 103:21
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Paolo Virzì
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Alice Teghil
Sergio Castellitto
Margherita Buy
Antonio Carnevale
Silvio Vannucci
Federica Sbrenna
Carolina Iaquaniello
Zach Wallen
Martino Reviglio
Claudio Amendola
Flavio Bucci
Paola Tiziana Cruciani
Luigi Grilli
Case ?
RPI Box Music Carlo Virzì


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This film is the second of eleven films in the Italian Film Festival 2004 box set. The films are very different and the only real link between them is that they were all made in Italy in the last couple of years. This one shares the second disc of the collection with After Midnight.

    This film is a coming-of-age drama about a young girl, Caterina (Alice Teghil) who moves from a rural village into Rome with her mother and father. They move into the neighbourhood where her intellectual school teacher father, Giancarlo (Sergio Castellitto) grew up. Also along for the ride is her befuddled mother, Agata (Margherita Buy). Her father signs her up for the school he used to attend and she is immediately completely out of her depth, quickly trying to come to terms with the strong political feelings amongst her classmates. They seem to fall into either a group of strongly left leaning hippies and intellectuals or the right leaning 'smart set'. She is torn between the two groups as they both try to get her to join them for very different reasons. As the film continues her allegiances change back and forth and she realises she needs to be true to herself rather than one clique or the other.

    Basically, this film is teenage angst, Italian style and I did not really warm to it. There's nothing terribly wrong with it, however, the plot is fairly predictable and really doesn't go anywhere. I have seen much better coming-of-age films such as Secondhand Lions.

    Luckily, there are much better films in this set.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is unsatisfactory, especially in regards to the subtitles.

    The feature is presented in a 2.40:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is close to the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

    The picture was fairly soft, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was poor.

    The colour was dull and lifeless. It also seemed slightly overbright which resulted in light colour bleeding including the burned in white subtitles.

    Artefacts included quite a lot of film artefacts including hairs and white specks, aliasing such as on shutters at 9:14 and a door at 14:48 and jagged edges.

    There are burned-in subtitles in English which in addition to the bleeding problem mentioned above were often badly placed on the screen meaning they were unreadable due to a white section of the screen. If that wasn't enough, during the credits the subtitles often disappeared off the side of the screen, meaning you only got part of the line. Just not good enough!

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

Audio

    The audio quality is decent but mono.

    This DVD contains an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue seemed clear and there was no problem with audio sync that my very limited knowledge of Italian allowed me to detect.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu allows only for the selection of which movie to play.

R4 vs R1

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

    This movie has been released on DVD in Italy and as far as I can make out using Google translator it contains some extras such as a behind the scenes doco and interviews. It does not contains English subtitles but does have a 5.1 track. If you can speak Italian, that is the best version, however, I'll assume most of the local audience can't and give this comparison to Region 4.

Summary

    An uninteresting Italian coming-of-age film.

    The video quality is unsatisfactory, especially in regards to the subtitles.

    The audio quality is decent but mono.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, January 26, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Agatha and the Storm (Agata e la Tempesta) (2004) | Caterina in the City (Caterina va in Città) (2003) | After Midnight (Dopo Mezzanotte) (2003) | Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte) (2003) | The Miracle (Il Miracolo) (2003) | The Wedding Dress (Il Vestito Da Sposa) (2003) | My Brother-In-Law (Mio Cognato) (2003) | Cruelest Day, The (Ilaria Alpi-Il più crudele dei giorni) (2002) | The Spectator (La Spettatrice) (2003) | The Consequence of Love (Le Conseguenze dell'amore) (2002) | Certain Children (Certi Bambini) (2002)

After Midnight (Dopo Mezzanotte) (2003)

After Midnight (Dopo Mezzanotte) (2003)

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Released 15-Nov-2005

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 88:13
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Davide Ferrario
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Georgio Passoti
Francesca Inaudi
Fabio Troiano
Francesca Picozza
Silvio Orlando
Case ?
RPI Box Music Daniele Sepe


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English (Burned In) Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This film is the third of eleven films in the Italian Film Festival 2004 box set. The films are very different and the only real link between them is that they were all made in Italy in the last couple of years. This one shares the second disc of the collection with Caterina in the City. They are not available separately in Region 4.

    This film is an interesting and quirky romantic comedy involving a young woman from the tough part of Turin, Amanda (Francesca Inaudi), who goes out with a car thief and gangster known as The Angel (Fabio Troiano). He doesn't treat her very well and fairly obviously is not overly faithful to her. She works until midnight at a fast food restaurant near Turin's museum of cinema, the Mole. Her boss is an annoying pig who gives her a hard time. She shares a flat with Barbara (Francesca Picozza), who has plans on The Angel herself. Every night, a shy & quiet young man, Martino (Giorgio Passotti) comes into Amanda's restaurant to buy his dinner, not because he likes the food but because he is attracted to her. She really doesn't know he exists until one night after doing something foolish she runs into him entering the Mole where he works, and begs him to hide her from the police. He is the custodian of the museum and agrees to allow her in. He lives in the museum and he introduces her to his world of old news footage and silent comedies such as Buster Keaton. Due to the police being after her she hides in the museum for a number of days and slowly her affection for him grows. But what will The Angel do when he finds out?

    This film is quite enjoyable despite a little bit of a slow start. It is part romantic comedy and partially a homage to silent movies. The acting is strong from all the main cast and the plot is interesting and intelligent. It is certainly not like any film you have seen from Hollywood, which is definitely a strength. The title refers to the fact that most of the film's action takes place in the hours after midnight.

    Fans of European cinema will enjoy this one.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is close to the original aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

    The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was very good which was essential considering that most of the film's action took place at night.

    The colour was very good with no issues to report.

    The only noticeable artefact was some aliasing such as on a grille at 64:14 and a shirt at 69:50.

    There are burned-in subtitles in English which were clear and easy to read, a first for this box set.

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

Audio

    The audio quality is quite good.

    This DVD contains an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 mono soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue seemed clear and there was no problem with audio sync that my very limited knowledge of Italian allowed me to detect.

    The music was well chosen and consisted of Italian Pop songs and classical music.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu allows only for the selection of which movie to play.

R4 vs R1

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

    This movie has been released on DVD in Italy and as far as I can make out using Google translator it contains some extras such as a behind the scenes doco and interviews. It does not contain English subtitles but does have an Italian 5.1 track. If you can speak Italian, that is the best version, however, I'll assume most of the local audience can't and give this comparison to Region 4.

Summary

    An interesting and quirky romantic comedy from Italy.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is fine.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, January 25, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Agatha and the Storm (Agata e la Tempesta) (2004) | Caterina in the City (Caterina va in Città) (2003) | After Midnight (Dopo Mezzanotte) (2003) | Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte) (2003) | The Miracle (Il Miracolo) (2003) | The Wedding Dress (Il Vestito Da Sposa) (2003) | My Brother-In-Law (Mio Cognato) (2003) | Cruelest Day, The (Ilaria Alpi-Il più crudele dei giorni) (2002) | The Spectator (La Spettatrice) (2003) | The Consequence of Love (Le Conseguenze dell'amore) (2002) | Certain Children (Certi Bambini) (2002)

Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte) (2003)

Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte) (2003)

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Released 15-Nov-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 102:22
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Marco Bellocchio
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Luigi Lo Cascio
Maya Sansa
Roberto Herlitzka
Pier Giorgio Bellocchio
Giovanni Calcagno
Paolo Briguglia
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI ? Music Riccardo Giagni


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.66:1
16x9 Enhancement
Not 16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    This film is the fourth of eleven films in the Italian Film Festival 2004 box set. The films are very different and the only real link between them is that they were all made in Italy in the last couple of years. This one shares the third disc of the collection with The Miracle. They are not available separately in Region 4.

    This one is certainly the best movie of the box set so far. It is very different to the other films as it is based on real life events from Italy's turbulent political history. In 1978, Aldo Moro, the President of the Christian Democratic Party in Italy and a former Prime Minister, was kidnapped by the Red Brigades who demanded the release of several imprisoned terrorists in exchange for not killing Moro. The government refused to negotiate and despite many letters written by Moro from captivity including one to the Pope, he was killed and his body was found on May 9 after 55 days in detention. Strangely, Moro did not hold any public office at that stage of his career despite still being a behind the scenes power in Italian politics. Since his death all sorts of rumours about why he was not rescued have come to light, mostly to do with political rivals. An excellent rundown on his story can be found on Wikipedia.

    This movie tells the story of the kidnapping from the perspective of the brigade members including a young woman, Chiara. The film focuses on the internal conflict between her communist beliefs and her lack of desire to see Moro dead. She works in a government ministry and has rented an apartment in Rome with a fake husband, Ernesto, which is then used as a place to hide the kidnapped Moro in a small cell built behind a bookshelf. As the film plays out the tension between the brigade members increases as they come closer to needing to make the final decision about Moro's future. Besides Chiara and Ernesto there are two other members of the Brigade, Primo, her real boyfriend and their leader. These are pretty much the only characters in the film, along with Moro himself. The title refers to a screenplay found amongst Moro's papers for a film to be entitled 'Good Morning, Night'.

    This is quite a tense, emotional and sometimes harrowing film which is very well made, building tension throughout. It is certainly an interesting approach to virtually entirely base the action within the confines of the small apartment where they keep the prisoner. This adds significantly to the tension and gives a very claustrophobic feel to the film, especially as tensions within the group rise. The acting is strong and some of the music used makes an excellent impact, especially bursts of Pink Floyd. The film also makes excellent use of news footage from the time including footage of Moro's funeral. Despite the obvious ending, the film handles it surprisingly well.

    An interesting political/terrorist thriller.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is good.

    The feature is presented in a 1.66:1 aspect ratio non 16x9 enhanced which is reasonably close to the original ratio of 1.85:1.

    The picture was quite clear and sharp throughout, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was pretty average with scenes being fairly murky in low light. There is very light grain throughout.

    The colour was very good with no major issues to report. The colour scheme is quite dark with very little use of bright colours.

    Artefacts included moire on a lot of the stock footage used such as at 7:30 and 37:30, mild aliasing at 7:49 on some blinds, 27:27 on a jacket, 46:24 on a jumper and 52:57 on a jacket. There were also some tape tracking errors in the old news footage.

    There are burned-in subtitles in English which were clear and easy to read, but did have some issues. At 2:30 there seemed to be a word or part of a word missing, some subtitles flashed by too quickly to read although this was rare and the title of the film came up a few times seemingly for no reason.

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

Audio

    The audio quality is quite good.

    This DVD contains an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue seemed clear and there was no problem with audio sync that my very limited knowledge of Italian allowed me to detect.

    The music was excellent, minimalist for most of the film, however was impactful when used. Some bursts of Pink Floyd from Dark Side of the Moon really worked well.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu allows only for the selection of which movie to play, with not even scene selection available.

R4 vs R1

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

    This movie is available in the UK (Region 2) in a significantly better edition than this one. The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 2 UK version of this disc misses out on;

    On this basis if you want this film only, get the Region 2.

Summary

    A taut, engrossing political/terrorist thriller based on real events in Italy.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is quite good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, February 02, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add)
UK Region 2 soundtrack - REPLY POSTED

Overall | Agatha and the Storm (Agata e la Tempesta) (2004) | Caterina in the City (Caterina va in Città) (2003) | After Midnight (Dopo Mezzanotte) (2003) | Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte) (2003) | The Miracle (Il Miracolo) (2003) | The Wedding Dress (Il Vestito Da Sposa) (2003) | My Brother-In-Law (Mio Cognato) (2003) | Cruelest Day, The (Ilaria Alpi-Il più crudele dei giorni) (2002) | The Spectator (La Spettatrice) (2003) | The Consequence of Love (Le Conseguenze dell'amore) (2002) | Certain Children (Certi Bambini) (2002)

The Miracle (Il Miracolo) (2003)

The Miracle (Il Miracolo) (2003)

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Released 15-Nov-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 94:32
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Edoardo Winspeare
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Carlo Bruni
Stefania Casciaro
Claudio D'Agostino
Anna Ferruzzo
Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.45:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This film is the fifth of eleven films in the Italian Film Festival 2004 box set. The films are very different and the only real link between them is that they were all made in Italy in the last couple of years. This one shares the second disc of the collection with Good Morning, Night.

    This time around we have an angsty and dramatic story of a young boy, Tonio, who despite his father's warning goes out riding on his bike and ends up in hospital after being run over by a car. The car, driven by a bitter and twisted young woman called Cinzia, drives off without giving him assistance, despite the protestations of her boyfriend. Tonio's father, Pietro, is an angry, stressed and bitter man who is having problems with his property development business. After Tonio wakes up in the hospital he seems to have developed special powers to perform miracles which enable him to save the life of an elderly patient in the hospital. His father refuses to believe that he has any gift at all but his mother sets up television interviews. Despite knowing that she drove off without helping him, Tonio develops an unlikely friendship with Cinzia who was deserted when she was young by her mother. The mother has now come back into her life. As the film develops, Tonio's abilities are tested by various means as people try to seek his help.

    I am sure this film is very worthy, however I found it slow, lacking in entertainment value and more than a little depressing. Technically, this film featured some nice cinematography.

    This is not the film from this box set that I would recommend you watch first or in a slightly depressed mood. People who enjoy this style of filmmaking may get more from this film than I did.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is poor despite being quite sharp.

    The feature is presented in a 2.50:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is close to the original aspect ratio listed on IMDB of 2.35:1.

    The picture was quite sharp and clear, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was poor. There was grain throughout.

    The colour was quite good although it seemed dull at the beginning - this may have been an artistic decision. There is some colour bleeding from light colours but this is not too bad.

    Artefacts are plentiful, especially aliasing which is constant throughout the running time - even the credits alias! Everything you can think of from water to books to jackets all get in on the act. This is probably the second worst transfer I have seen for aliasing after Exodus. This one slips ahead because the individual spots of aliasing are not quite as severe as they were on that film. There were also lots of jagged edges. There were also lots of film artefacts, telecine wobble in the credits and jumps at 18:30 and 59:01 which were a sort of sideways wobble. Basically, pretty bad from an artefacts perspective.

    There are burned-in subtitles in English which are clear and easy to read and mostly off the picture which is nice. Obviously the very skinny aspect ratio makes this possible.
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is OK but quite flat and lifeless.

    This DVD contains an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue seemed clear and there was no problem with audio sync that my very limited knowledge of Italian allowed me to detect.

    The music is quite haunting in parts but doesn't stand out generally.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu allows only for the selection of which movie to play.

R4 vs R1

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

    I cannot find any evidence of this film being available outside of Region 4.

Summary

    A slow, depressing and angsty drama about death and miracles.

    The video quality is poor despite being quite sharp.

    The audio quality is decent.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, February 07, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Agatha and the Storm (Agata e la Tempesta) (2004) | Caterina in the City (Caterina va in Città) (2003) | After Midnight (Dopo Mezzanotte) (2003) | Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte) (2003) | The Miracle (Il Miracolo) (2003) | The Wedding Dress (Il Vestito Da Sposa) (2003) | My Brother-In-Law (Mio Cognato) (2003) | Cruelest Day, The (Ilaria Alpi-Il più crudele dei giorni) (2002) | The Spectator (La Spettatrice) (2003) | The Consequence of Love (Le Conseguenze dell'amore) (2002) | Certain Children (Certi Bambini) (2002)

The Wedding Dress (Il Vestito Da Sposa) (2003)

The Wedding Dress (Il Vestito Da Sposa) (2003)

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Released 15-Nov-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 101:51
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Fiorella Infascelli
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Andrea Di Stefano
Case ?
RPI Box Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This film is the sixth of eleven films in the Italian Film Festival 2004 box set. The films are very different and the only real link between them is that they were all made in Italy in the last couple of years. This one shares the fourth disc of the collection with My Brother-in-Law.

    This film is difficult to categorise and its plotline could be offensive to some people. The story concerns a young beautiful woman, Stella, who lives in the Italian countryside near a decent size town or city. At the beginning of the film we see her approach the back of a parked car and search around in the boot for something. Instead of what she is looking for she finds a burlap sack which has a smell about it which reminds her of something which happened some months before. The film then goes into a flashback, and we see her attending the final fitting for her wedding dress with her dressmaker, Franco. After she leaves she meets up with her fiancé, Andrea, in the woods, where he has been walking his dog. After he leaves for a business appointment she remains behind to study for her veterinarian course. Shortly after this she is set upon by a gang of four masked men, who brutally rape her after putting the sack over her head. She is not aware that the gang of rapists includes Franco. As the story develops she slowly recovers from the rape, which has turned her life upside down. She spurns Andrea, forgets about her studies and eventually starts a relationship with Franco, without knowing his secret. The story follows their relationship back to the first scene I mentioned above and its after-effects.

    Your level of interest in this film will probably be directly related to your ability to cope with its central premise of someone falling in love with her rapist even though she is not aware of his crime. Leaving aside the premise, this is a well made film with strong acting, especially from the female lead Maya Sansa, who has a very difficult role. The cinematography and direction are also of good quality. The film was directed and written by a female director, Fiorelli Infascelli.

    This is a difficult film to recommend wholeheartedly and is certainly not for all audiences, especially considering that it is this film which earned the box set an R rating from the OFLC.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is quite good, a rarity for this set.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was reasonably sharp and clear, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was quite good. There was some light grain.

    The colour was very good without being spectacular.

    Artefacts were restricted to a fair bit of edge enhancement, such as at 10:15 on a tree and some small hairs and specks here and there.

    There are burned-in subtitles in English which are clear and easy to read. One of the better subtitles sets in this box set.

    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is quite good.

    This DVD contains an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue seemed clear and there was no problem with audio sync that my very limited knowledge of Italian allowed me to detect.

    The music is mostly English language pop songs and light orchestral music which seemed jauntier than the subject matter.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu allows only for the selection of which movie to play.

R4 vs R1

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

    I cannot find any evidence of this film being available outside of Region 4.

Summary

    An interesting and well made Italian film based upon a premise which some may find offensive.

    The video quality is quite good.

    The audio quality is quite good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Saturday, February 11, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Agatha and the Storm (Agata e la Tempesta) (2004) | Caterina in the City (Caterina va in Città) (2003) | After Midnight (Dopo Mezzanotte) (2003) | Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte) (2003) | The Miracle (Il Miracolo) (2003) | The Wedding Dress (Il Vestito Da Sposa) (2003) | My Brother-In-Law (Mio Cognato) (2003) | Cruelest Day, The (Ilaria Alpi-Il più crudele dei giorni) (2002) | The Spectator (La Spettatrice) (2003) | The Consequence of Love (Le Conseguenze dell'amore) (2002) | Certain Children (Certi Bambini) (2002)

My Brother-In-Law (Mio Cognato) (2003)

My Brother-In-Law (Mio Cognato) (2003)

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Released 15-Nov-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy None
Rating Rated R
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 87:19
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Alessandro Piva
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Sergio Rubini
Luigi Lo Cascio
Mariangela Arcieri
Alessandra Sarno
Luigi Angelillo
Carolina Felline
Vito Cassano
Case ?
RPI ? Music Ivan Iusco


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This film is the seventh of eleven films in the Italian Film Festival 2004 box set. The films are very different and the only real link between them is that they were all made in Italy in the last couple of years. This one shares the fourth disc of the collection with The Wedding Dress.

    This one, My Brother-in-Law, is a bit of an odd little film, which although not a bad film by any stretch of the imagination is also not overly good either. It starts out like it's going to be a buddy comedy, but then nothing very funny happens, and considering the ending it cannot be considered anything but a drama, unless it's meant to be a black comedy. If it is meant to be a black comedy then I just didn't 'get it'. However, this categorisation difficulty does not preclude this film from being reasonable entertainment, although it is never really compelling.

    The story involves Toni (Sergio Rubini), an arrogant, loud-mouthed and loudly dressed insurance broker and his very straight and naive brother-in-law, Vito (Luigi Lo Cascio) who is married to Toni's younger sister, Anna. They don't get on particularly well and the film starts on the occasion of the christening of Toni's son, Ivan. Toni organises a reception for the family at a seaside eatery in Bari, where they live. Vito parks his boring car near Toni's flashy Saab convertible but it is Vito's car which gets stolen and a lemon left in its place. Vito, following his normal instincts, reports the theft to the police expecting that the insurance arranged for him by his brother-in-law will result in an easy payout. Unfortunately, to save money, Toni has only arranged for collision insurance, planning to adjust the policy if the car is stolen before reporting the theft. When Vito finds out he is naturally angry and demands that Toni help him find the car. It is here that the movie really begins as we begin to understand that Toni, aka ' The Professor', may be more than just an insurance broker and that the car theft may be more than bad luck. The film follows the pair's adventures during the night as they search for the car using all of Toni's criminal contacts and slowly develop some mutual respect.

    This film does a reasonable job of telling the story it has to tell, however, I was left with the feeling that very little actually happened and that the ending was a little strange and more than somewhat unfair. On the plus side, you certainly would not get the ending in a Hollywood film, which means that at least the film is original. The lead actors both do a good job of portraying their characters.

    Passably interesting but hardly a film to run out and tell everyone you know to see.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good, and is one of the best transfers in the box set.

    The feature is presented in a 1.85:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was quite sharp and clear, better than most on this set, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was reasonable. There was some light grain.

    The colour was very good with no issues to report.

    Artefacts were restricted to some aliasing which was mostly minor and included spots at 20:18 on a grille and 80:28 on a car.

    There are burned-in subtitles in English which are clear and easy to read. One of the better subtitle sets in this box set despite not actually being a subtitle stream.

    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is quite good.

    This DVD contains an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue seemed clear and there was no problem with audio sync that my very limited knowledge of Italian allowed me to detect.

    The music is light orchestral and modern dance music and did its job adequately.

    The surround speakers provided some mild atmosphere and the subwoofer was not used.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu allows only for the selection of which movie to play.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film is available on DVD in Italy (Region 2) and includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, English subtitles, some deleted scenes, a behind-the-scenes featurette and some sort of commentary as far as I can make out using Google translator. On that basis the Region 2 version is the pick if you want this film.

Summary

    A passably interesting Italian film about two brothers-in-law and their overnight adventures amongst the criminals of Bari.

    The video quality is quite good.

    The audio quality is good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Sunday, February 12, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Agatha and the Storm (Agata e la Tempesta) (2004) | Caterina in the City (Caterina va in Città) (2003) | After Midnight (Dopo Mezzanotte) (2003) | Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte) (2003) | The Miracle (Il Miracolo) (2003) | The Wedding Dress (Il Vestito Da Sposa) (2003) | My Brother-In-Law (Mio Cognato) (2003) | Cruelest Day, The (Ilaria Alpi-Il più crudele dei giorni) (2002) | The Spectator (La Spettatrice) (2003) | The Consequence of Love (Le Conseguenze dell'amore) (2002) | Certain Children (Certi Bambini) (2002)

Cruelest Day, The (Ilaria Alpi-Il più crudele dei giorni) (2002)

Cruelest Day, The (Ilaria Alpi-Il più crudele dei giorni) (2002)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 15-Nov-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 94:21
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ferdinando Vicentini Orgnani
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Marcello Fois
Ferdinando Vicentini Orgnani
Vincenzo Albanese
Eugen Ban
Barbara Begala
Luca Biagini
Erika Blanc
Francesco Carnelutti
Dino Censky
Robert Dawson
Laura Devoti
Branko Djuric
Abi Gani Duale
Case ?
RPI ? Music Paolo Fresu


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.70:1
16x9 Enhancement
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

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

Plot Synopsis

    This film is the eighth of eleven films in the Italian Film Festival 2004 box set. The films are very different and the only real link between them is that they were all made in Italy in the last couple of years. This one shares the fifth disc of the collection with The Spectator.

    Like Good Morning, Night (also from this box set), this film, The Cruelest Day is based upon a true story from recent Italian history. In 1993/94 a young Italian investigative journalist, Ilaria Alpi, was investigating a story involving western countries dumping toxic waste in third world countries under the cover of aid programs. The trail of money lead her to Yugoslavia during the civil war and also to Somalia during the war and unrest there. Her investigations were uncovering the involvement of senior Italian government figures and during a visit to Somalia she was assassinated, along with her cameraman, Miran Hrovatin, whom she met in Yugoslavia. The film opens with the sounds of the assassination from behind a stone wall and then shows the aftermath, before cutting back in time to earlier in the process of the investigation. The film jumps between Somalia, Yugoslavia and Italy and backwards and forwards in time. This device could possibly be confusing, however it is very well handled here, turning what could be an obvious plotline into a very interesting film, and one of the best included in this set.

    This film was also the only one in the set to feature actors well known outside of Italian cinema including Rade Serbedzija playing Miran Hrovatin (who I remember from Snatch), Amanda Plummer and Tony Lo Bianco. The lead role of Ilaria is played by an Italian actress, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, who certainly does a good job of portraying the determined journalist. This is a well put together film which I found interesting and entertaining.

    An interesting film about a little known (outside of Italy) true story about the perils encountered by investigative journalists.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good but there are subtitle issues.

    The feature is presented in a 1.72:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which looks right although I have no information about how this film was shown theatrically. It was recorded digitally.

    The picture was quite sharp and clearly better than most in this set, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was quite good. There was some very light grain.

    The colour was very good with no issues to report.

    Artefacts were restricted to some edge enhancement such as at 57:00 and a couple of large splodges at 51:03 and 84:12.

    There are burned-in subtitles in English which are mostly clear and easy to read although they were slightly cut off at the bottom of the screen, especially the bottoms of y's and g's. Another annoying problem with these subtitles was that when English was being spoken on screen, Italian subtitles were burned-in in a different font, which I found distracting. When a language other than English or Italian was being spoken both sets of subtitles appeared, but luckily not in the same spot. It all seems a bit slack to me - why can't we just have two subtitle streams, one in English and one in Italian, or at the very least get rid of the Italian ones for a local Region 4 audience?

    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue seemed clear and there was no problem with audio sync that my very limited knowledge of Italian allowed me to detect.

    The music by Paulo Fresu is one of the ingredients that really makes this film work. It is very dramatic, featuring rumbling percussion.

    The surround speakers were surprisingly well used, featuring sounds of gunfire and trucks when played with Dolby ProLogic II.

    The subwoofer added bass to the music, which is obviously a function of my amp's bass management rather than the soundtrack directly.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu allows only for the selection of which movie to play.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film is available on DVD in Italy (Region 2) and includes a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack, a behind-the-scenes featurette and at least a trailer as far as I can make out using Google translator. It does not, however, feature English subtitles so the local version is probably the best if you can't speak Italian.

Summary

    The true story of Italian journalist, Ilaria Alpi, who died while investigating a major Italian government scandal.

    The video quality is very good but has some subtitle issues.

    The audio quality is very good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Monday, February 13, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Agatha and the Storm (Agata e la Tempesta) (2004) | Caterina in the City (Caterina va in Città) (2003) | After Midnight (Dopo Mezzanotte) (2003) | Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte) (2003) | The Miracle (Il Miracolo) (2003) | The Wedding Dress (Il Vestito Da Sposa) (2003) | My Brother-In-Law (Mio Cognato) (2003) | Cruelest Day, The (Ilaria Alpi-Il più crudele dei giorni) (2002) | The Spectator (La Spettatrice) (2003) | The Consequence of Love (Le Conseguenze dell'amore) (2002) | Certain Children (Certi Bambini) (2002)

The Spectator (La Spettatrice) (2003)

The Spectator (La Spettatrice) (2003)

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Released 15-Nov-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2003
Running Time 97:58
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Paolo Franchi
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Barbora Bobulova
Andrea Renzi
Brigitte Catillon
Chiara Picchi
Matteo Mussoni
Case ?
RPI ? Music Carlo Crivelli


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.70:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.66:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This film is the ninth of eleven films in the Italian Film Festival 2004 box set. The films are very different and the only real link between them is that they were all made in Italy in the last couple of years. This one shares the fifth disc of the collection with The Cruelest Day.

    The Spectator is another interesting film from this set, which once again takes a very different approach to a relationship drama than you would ever see from Hollywood. This film is set in Turin and Rome and focuses on the title character, Valeria (Barbora Bobulova), who is a beautiful young simultaneous translator who is painfully shy and somewhat depressed and lonely. She becomes obsessed with a man who lives opposite her, Dr Massimo Alfieri (Andrea Ranzi), whom she can see in his apartment from her apartment. One day his dog dies and she helps him without ever really making herself known to him. He is a drug company pharmacologist who decides to move to Rome to take up a lower paid but more rewarding job and to be with Flavia (Brigitte Catillon), a criminal law professor. In a flurry, Valeria decides that she also need to move to Rome to follow Dr Alfieri, despite the fact that he does not know she exists. It is here that she turns into a bit of a stalker, following him to where he works and staging an accident with Flavia in order to meet her. Eventually she makes friends with Flavia, thereby finding a way into Dr Alfieri's life.

    Based on the plot description above, this sounds like a set up for a stalker thriller with lots of creepy music and scary scenes followed by violence, however, this film is nothing like that at all. Despite her obvious stalker tendencies, Valeria is not dangerous - she just thinks she is in love with someone she really doesn't know. The film is a relationship drama which has lots of human emotion and feeling and tells an interesting story with a very different ending. The film is very nicely shot and the acting is high quality.

    Certainly one of the more interesting films in this set and unconventional when compared to American films.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is pretty good but not without issue.

    The feature is presented in a 1.71:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is close to the original aspect ratio of 1.66:1.

    The picture was quite sharp and clear, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was quite good.

    The colour was quite good although there was some mild bleeding from light colours.

    There was some minor aliasing to be seen, such as at 44:21 on a screen and 72:30 on a shirt. Edge enhancement was also regular but not overly intrusive. Camera pans seemed more blurry than usual in this film and there were also occasional film artefacts such as at 60:50. Additionally, there were two spots of pixelization which were not resolved by a thorough clean of the disc. These occurred at 2:08 and 18:12 and were accompanied by an audio dropout.

    There are burned-in subtitles in English which are generally clear and easy to read, although there are still some issues with them. Firstly they are slightly cut off at the bottom of the picture with the lower halves of y's and g's missing. Also, some of the subtitles flash by too quickly and others include literal translation with grammar and/or spelling issues. Lastly, as with some other films in this set, when English or another language is spoken (other than Italian), two sets of subtitles appear, one in English and one in Italian. This really should have been two proper subtitle streams.

    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is reasonable.

    This DVD contains an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue seemed clear and there was no problem with audio sync that my very limited knowledge of Italian allowed me to detect. As mentioned above audio dropouts occurred at 2:08 and 18:12 accompanying pixelization.

    The music by Carlo Crivelli is one of the highlights of this production consisting of angular modern classical music and jazz songs.

    The surround speakers and subwoofer were not used.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu allows only for the selection of which movie to play.

R4 vs R1

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

    I cannot find any evidence of this film having been released in any other region.

Summary

    An interesting and quite different relationship drama from Italy.

    The video quality is pretty good but not without issue.

    The audio quality is reasonable.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Wednesday, February 15, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Agatha and the Storm (Agata e la Tempesta) (2004) | Caterina in the City (Caterina va in Città) (2003) | After Midnight (Dopo Mezzanotte) (2003) | Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte) (2003) | The Miracle (Il Miracolo) (2003) | The Wedding Dress (Il Vestito Da Sposa) (2003) | My Brother-In-Law (Mio Cognato) (2003) | Cruelest Day, The (Ilaria Alpi-Il più crudele dei giorni) (2002) | The Spectator (La Spettatrice) (2003) | The Consequence of Love (Le Conseguenze dell'amore) (2002) | Certain Children (Certi Bambini) (2002)

The Consequence of Love (Le Conseguenze dell'amore) (2002)

The Consequence of Love (Le Conseguenze dell'amore) (2002)

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Released 15-Nov-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating ?
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 100:03
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Paolo Sorrentino
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Toni Servillo
Olivia Magnani
Adriano Giannini
Antonio Ballerio
Gianna Paola Scaffidi
Case ?
RPI ? Music None Given


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None No Audio Data available for this title
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 None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This film is the tenth of eleven films in the Italian Film Festival 2004 box set. The films are very different and the only real link between them is that they were all made in Italy in the last couple of years. This one shares the last disc of the collection with Certain Children.

    Unfortunately, the plot summary for this film will need to be very short as otherwise the central premise of the film will be spoiled. All I can really tell you is that this dramatic, intriguing and stylish film is set in Switzerland, although most of the important characters are Italian. The most important character is an insomniac chain smoker from Salerno, Titta De Girolamo, who has been living alone in a Swiss hotel for 8 years. He is a middle aged man who obviously has quite a lot of money and tends to mostly sit in the hotel bar watching the world go by. It is not until 70 minutes into the film that you find out who he is and what he is doing there. Also living at the hotel are Carlo and Isabella, an older Italian couple who used to own the hotel but who have been reduced to living there due to Carlo's reckless gambling.

    This film certainly keeps you guessing right to the end and it has a very different and poignant finish, although certainly not an ending which a director would get to keep in Hollywood. It is very interestingly and quite beautifully shot and features quality acting.

    That's about all I can tell you but if you enjoy interesting and intriguing films which are out of the main stream, this one is certainly worth watching.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was very sharp and clear, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was quite good.

    The colour was very good although the colour scheme did not lend itself to much bright colour.

    Artefacts were restricted to some edge enhancement such as at 6:44, 53:47 & 90:03 and a few jagged edges.

    There are burned-in subtitles in English which are clear and easy to read, something different for this box set. Due to the aspect ratio they were mostly in the black bar rather than within the actual picture which is a good thing.

    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is very good.

    This DVD contains an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue seemed clear and there was no problem with audio sync that my very limited knowledge of Italian allowed me to detect.

    The music by Pasquale Cantalano is very well used and the film uses the device of loud music compared to silence in a very powerful way.

    The surround speakers added significant atmosphere when played with Dolby ProLogic II.

    The subwoofer added bass to the music, which is obviously a function of my amp's bass management rather than the soundtrack directly.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu allows only for the selection of which movie to play.

R4 vs R1

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

    This film is available on DVD in Italy (Region 2) and the UK (a different Region 2 release). Both include a Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and English subtitles for the feature (in a subtitle stream). Both also include extras, however, only the UK version allows for English speaking people to watch the extras, so this is the one to go for.

Summary

    A fascinating and stylish suspense thriller.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is very good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE
Overall | Agatha and the Storm (Agata e la Tempesta) (2004) | Caterina in the City (Caterina va in Città) (2003) | After Midnight (Dopo Mezzanotte) (2003) | Good Morning, Night (Buongiorno, Notte) (2003) | The Miracle (Il Miracolo) (2003) | The Wedding Dress (Il Vestito Da Sposa) (2003) | My Brother-In-Law (Mio Cognato) (2003) | Cruelest Day, The (Ilaria Alpi-Il più crudele dei giorni) (2002) | The Spectator (La Spettatrice) (2003) | The Consequence of Love (Le Conseguenze dell'amore) (2002) | Certain Children (Certi Bambini) (2002)

Certain Children (Certi Bambini) (2002)

Certain Children (Certi Bambini) (2002)

If you create a user account, you can add your own review of this DVD

Released 15-Nov-2005

Cover Art

This review is sponsored by
BUY IT

Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama None
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 91:17
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Andrea Frazzi
Antonio Frazzi
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Gianluca Di Gennaro
Carmine Recano
Arturo Paglia
Sergio Solli
Rolando Ravello
Case ?
RPI ? Music Almamegretta


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 None Smoking Yes, including children
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    This film is the last of eleven films in the Italian Film Festival 2004 box set. The films are very different and the only real link between them is that they were all made in Italy in the last couple of years. This one shares the sixth disc of the collection with The Consequence of Love.

    Certain Children is a very difficult film to enjoy. It is a gritty drama about the life of neglected children on the streets of Italy. Interestingly, although Certain Children is the literal title translation, the subtitles actually translate it as Stolen Childhood, which is a better title to my mind. It tells the story of a young boy of 11, Rosario, and his friends. Rosario has been left as the only person to care for his elderly and very dotty grandmother. He survives on the streets by stealing for a pervert named Casaluche, who also takes sexual advantage of the children who steal for him. The film follows him as he embarks on a train journey to an unknown destination. As he travels on the train he remembers specific situations in his troubled young life such as robberies which went wrong, getting on the wrong side of the law and the local mafia and other such unpleasantness. His only pleasant memory seems to be his time spent with Caterina, a 20 year old girl who lives in a group home for wayward girls.

    As you might expect this film is somewhat depressing and has a rather confronting conclusion at the end of Rosario's train journey. Technically, the film includes some excellent cinematography and quality acting however, for me, the subject matter makes it a very difficult film to recommend.

    If you like gritty and depressing dramas about neglected children, this one is certainly powerful and confronting.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is very good and the best on this set.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio 16x9 enhanced which is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture was very sharp and clear, with no evidence of low level noise. Shadow detail was also very good.

    The colour was excellent throughout.

    There were no obvious artefacts.

    There are burned-in subtitles in English which are clear and easy to read. Other than being burned in there are no issues with the subtitles.

    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is quite good.

    This DVD contains an Italian Dolby Digital 2.0 surround soundtrack encoded at 224 Kb/s.

    Dialogue seemed clear and there was no problem with audio sync that my very limited knowledge of Italian allowed me to detect.

    The surround speakers added quite a bit of atmosphere, but the subwoofer was not used.

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

Extras

    None.

Menu

    The menu allows only for the selection of which movie to play.

R4 vs R1

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

    I cannot find any evidence of this film having been released in any other region.

Summary

    A depressing story about neglected children trying to survive in Italy.

    The video quality is very good and the best in this box set.

    The audio quality is quite good.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, February 16, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV667A DVD-V DVD-A SACD, using Component output
DisplaySony FD Trinitron Wega KV-AR34M36 80cm. Calibrated with Digital Video Essentials (PAL). This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL)/480i (NTSC).
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersBose 201 Direct Reflecting (Front), Phillips SB680V (Surround), Phillips MX731 (Center), Yamaha YST SW90 (Sub)

Other Reviews NONE
Comments (Add) NONE