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PLEASE NOTE: Michael D's is currently in READ ONLY MODE. Anything submitted will simply not be written to the database.
Lots of stuff is still broken, but at least reviews can now be looked up and read.
Eulogy (2004)

Eulogy (2004)

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Released 20-Jun-2005

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Trailer-The Extra, You And Your Stupid Mate, Seinfeld Season 4
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2004
Running Time 87:00
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Michael Clancy

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Hank Azaria
Jesse Bradford
Zooey Deschanel
Glenne Headly
Famke Janssen
Piper Laurie
Kelly Preston
Ray Romano
Rip Torn
Debra Winger
Curtis Garcia
Keith Garcia
Rene Auberjonois
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music George S. Clinton

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English 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 None Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    There is a certain sub-genre of family dramas that revolve around the return of various estranged family members for a funeral. Old wounds are opened, squabbles ensue but all is wrapped up in a cosy nutshell by the final reel.

    Eulogy belongs in that sub-genre although it is certainly not a drama. Instead it tries and ultimately fails to pitch itself as a somewhat wacky black comedy.

    The patriarch of the Collins family has died of natural causes. True to genre his family members return to mourn his passing and comfort his widow. Except, as it becomes apparent fairly early, none of the children were particularly fond of their father. He was a salesman and spent frequent time away. In reality, they view the gathering as a family obligation and as an opportunity to renew arguments with their siblings.

    Writer/Director Michael Clancy makes his feature film debut with Eulogy. Somewhat amazingly he has managed to gather a high quality ensemble cast for this production but sadly their talents largely go to waste.

    Eldest son, Daniel Collins (Hank Azaria) has grown up an actor. However, he reached his peak with an annoying but popular peanut butter commercial as a child and has spent his life fruitlessly chasing further success. His brother Skip (Ray Romano) has faired even less well. Largely ignored by his father (who could never remember his name) he has the care of his two young sons for whom the word "satanic" would seem to be the only reasonable description.

    The sisters of the Collins family are no better. The brittle and imperious Alice (Debra Winger) has three children of her own and a husband so brow-beaten he has almost lost the power of speech. The younger sister, Lucy (Kelly Preston) is a long term lesbian who has borne her sister's chagrin for her lifestyle choice for many years. Controversially, as far as her sister is concerned, she brings her life mate Judy (Famke Janssen) to the gathering.

    The only character with any touch of humanity is Daniel's daughter Kate (Zooey Deschanel). The only one who somehow feels an attachment to her deceased grandfather Edmond (Rip Torn), she is charged with delivering the all important eulogy.

    The above description is itself an indication of what is wrong with Eulogy. The film is overstuffed with characters to the point that the script cannot really engage with any of them. In directing his script Clancy produces an unsettling variation of tone backing the film with a jaunty score to muffle the sound of some of the jokes hitting the earth with a thud.

    Widow Charlotte Collins (Piper Laurie) hardly gets a look-in and the sub-plot of her increasingly outlandish suicide attempts is lost amongst the other stories.

    If there are joys to be found in Eulogy it is simply in seeing such a large and talented ensemble cast at work, although it must be said that this is just as productive of sadness to see them labouring at material which rarely works.

    There are some funny moments and some interesting dramatic episodes along the way. It is also pleasing the script does not follow the tried and true fashion of descending into a maudlin spectacle of family reconciliation at the end. However, all in all the film is a letdown and is probably a better weekly rental prospect than a purchase option.

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Transfer Quality


    Eulogy was shot on 35mm film at an original aspect ratio of 1.85:1. The DVD transfer is 1.78:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is quite good. Colours are clean and the picture is reasonably sharp. However, there are some minor artefacts from time to time suggesting that there was little time given to searching for a clear source print.

    There are no subtitles on offer.

    It is interesting to note that the film was shot by Michael Chapman who was responsible for the gritty look of two Scorsese masterpieces (Taxi Driver and Raging Bull). The only exception is the transition from location photography in a moving vehicle to a rear projection shot at approximately 44:77 which is truly awful to behold, however I do not know whether Chapman should be blamed or whether it is a fault of the visual effects supervisor. For a film that had a $10,000,000 budget (it recovered less than 10% of that amount at the box office) a scene where an elderly woman attempts suicide by leaping from a moving car off a bridge (and landing on two other characters) would seem to have been too ambitious.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    The sound for Eulogy is Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s). Given that the core of the film is in its dialogue the absence of a surround sound mix is not crucial. In fact, the dialogue is fairly clear and easy to hear.

    There are no problems with lip sync.

    The incidental music by experienced composer George S. Clinton (not the funk legend) stresses the comedy aspect of the film in a way which seems a little too obvious.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Main Menu Audio & Animation

    The main menu features bobbing heads animated on the characters' bodies - suitably kooky!


    There are three odd trailers on this DVD including a season of Seinfeld and the Aussie comedy You and Your Stupid Mate.

R4 vs R1

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

    According to Rotten Tomatoes the Region 1 DVD features a 5.1 sound track as well as a host of additional material. This includes alternate endings being a script ending and film ending as well as alternate and deleted scenes. There are also some outtakes and behind the scenes footage.

    Finally, it is suggested that there is an audio commentary from the director and cast although it didn't mention which cast members were included on that release.

    I have looked at some reviews of the extra features and it does not appear that the audio commentary is on the DVD. Enthusiasts of this movie should get the Region 1 version.


    Eulogy was an attempt by writer/director Michael Clancy to capture the blackly comic spirit behind shows like Arrested Development. A more sure hand at the helm may have steered the production in the right direction and as it stands the film is really only of interest to those who are dedicated fans of any of the above cast or those who find the premise amusing. For everyone else the film promises only meagre rewards and a host of missed opportunities.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Saturday, July 22, 2006
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo DV-SP300, using Component output
DisplayNEC PlasmaSync 42" MP4 1024 x 768. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-SR600 with DD-EX and DTS-ES
SpeakersJBL Simply Cinema SCS178 5.1

Other Reviews NONE