Beerfest (2006)

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Released 31-Jan-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Audio Commentary- by Kevin Heffernan, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske
Audio Commentary-by Jay Chandrasekhar and Steve Lemme
Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Party Foul
Featurette-Beer 101
Featurette-Frog Fluffer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 111:40
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (55:59) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Jay Chandrasekhar
Studio
Distributor
Legendary Pictures
Warner Home Video
Starring M.C. Gainey
Paul Soter
Erik Stolhanske
Cloris Leachman
Jürgen Prochnow
Cameron Scher
Owain Yeoman
Tom Tate
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $34.95 Music Nathan Barr


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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 English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Danish
Finnish
Norwegian
Swedish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    After the funeral of their beer loving, German restaurant owning grandfather Johann (a brief, but hilarious cameo from Donald Sutherland) Jan and Todd Wolfhouse are asked to take his ashes to the "old country" and place them in the family plot. Any hesitation is quickly set aside when the pair realise that they will be in Germany for Oktoberfest - a fitting farewell for grandpa!

    Things go awry for the Wolfhouse men at Oktoberfest when trying to compete with some Aussies at singing beer drinking songs. The real problem being that the yanks don't have any beer drinking songs and coming up with one on the fly is a little harder than expected. Thankfully, they are rescued from the ensuing chaos by their German contact, who is to take them to where they have to lay their grandfather's ashes. Things go from bad to worse when it turns out that the ashes are to be laid at a secret annual beer drinking competition called Beerfest - think the Olympics meets Fight Club, only with beer.

    It comes as a surprise to nobody except the Wolfhouses that the only country without representation at Beerfest is the USA. An even bigger surprise is that their grandfather was the illegitimate child of the late Baron von Wolfhausen, and their great grandmother had fled Germany with not only their grandfather but also the secret von Wolfhaus beer recipe - a recipe that the "real" von Wolfhausen family, headed by the evil Wolfgang von Wolfhausen (Jürgen Prochnow), will stop at nothing to get back!

    After being internationally shamed at Beerfest, the Wolfhouse men head back to the USA and recruit a diverse team of old friends to train all year as Team USA in order to redeem themselves at the next Beerfest. Prior to the feature starting, the audience is warned that the will die if they attempt to drink the volumes of beer drunk in the movie. They aren't kidding!

    Beerfest is the latest movie from the Broken Lizard comedy troupe. Broken Lizard had a surprise hit a few years ago with the hilarious Super Troopers, but managed to ruin their good standing shortly after with the dismal Club Dread. Thankfully, Beerfest is a solid return to form.

    The concept may sound like a grab for easy laughs, but the writing does a good job of steering clear of worn material (which is somewhat of a mean feat when you consider how frequently Animal House has been plagiarised for similar themed material). There's not a projectile vomit joke in sight! It's certainly not high-brow stuff, but anyone going to see a movie called Beerfest looking for high art deserves the reality check they will get. If the title itself appeals, there's a very good chance you will enjoy Beerfest.

    It does run a little long, but keeps a fairly steady stream of laughs and will have you rolling on the floor at times. Best enjoyed over a few beers, Beerfest is well worth checking out.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio.

    The image is quite sharp. Contrast levels are good and there is a good level of detail in dark areas. There is a fair amount of grain and low level noise on dark colours throughout the film. This is not too noticeable on lower resolution screens, but is fairly noticeable (and occasionally mildly distracting) on high resolution displays.

    The colour levels are quite bold and consistent throughout the feature.

    There are no film artefacts noticeable throughout the feature. Mild macro blocking is occasionally noticeable in darkly lit scenes, but never distracting. There are no other MPEG compression related artefacts.

    The white English subtitles are quite clear and appear to be well timed.

    This is a RSDL disc. The layer break occurs mid scene at 55:59 but was not noticeable on my equipment.

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

Audio

    There is one English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384 Kbps) audio track.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. It appears to be well synchronized throughout.

    The music is quite fitting, but nothing special.

    There is moderate surround usage throughout the movie, primarily by music and environmental effects. Similarly, the subwoofer channel is used sparingly but appropriately. This is not the sort of soundtrack you will want to show off to your friends, but it is adequate for this kind of movie.

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

Extras

Menu Audio

    Static menus with audio from the film.

Commentary by Kevin Heffernan, Paul Soter and Erik Stolhanske

    A fairly dry commentary form 3 of the stars/writers. The commentary mainly discusses the writing process and production anecdotes. It's occasionally amusing and occasionally interesting, but mostly rather ho-hum. There are a few too many long pauses in this one. I can't see anybody wanting to listen to this one more than once.

Commentary by Jay Chandrasekhar and Steve Lemme

    More of the same, this time with 2 more of the stars/writers, one (Jay Chandrasekhar) also being the director. The anecdotes are different, but the tone and style is far too similar to the other commentary track. Like the first commentary track, there's some good stuff here but there are a few gaps of dead air (though not as many as the other track) and a lot just seems like going through the motions.

Deleted scenes (27:04)

    A good deal of Beerfest was improvised and with that sort of thing comes a lot of deleted scenes. There are a dropped subplots, alternate versions of sections of the movie and plenty of snipped lines. A number of these scenes are very funny and appear to have only been dropped for time reasons.

Party Foul featurette (9:30)

    A mixture of behind the scenes footage mixed with interviews with the cast/writers telling their examples of "party fouls" AKA drinking accidents. There are some funny stories here, but not enough to bear repeat viewing

Beer 101 featurette (15:05)

    A comical look at the history of beer and drinking games by the five "professors of beerology" behind Beerfest. Visually, the history is told with a mixture of clips from the movie and flash-style animations that re-enact many of the historical stories.

Frog Fluffer featurette (4:41)

    One particular gross-out scene of the movie involves a character whose job is to "encourage" frogs to donate sperm. To prove to any critics doubting the science behind this job, star Steve Lemme visits a real genetics lab and learns how to "fluff frogs".

R4 vs R1

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

    The only difference between the Region 4 release and Region 1 "unrated" version is in the subtitles available on each release. Both releases feature standard English subtitles. Region 1 features Spanish and French subtitles. Region 4 features Dannish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish and English for the Hearing Impaired subtitles.

    There is also an R-rated (US) cut available in Region 1.

Summary

    A very funny ensemble comedy about beer. The disc is loaded with extras, but more commentary than is really needed.

    The video presentation is reasonable, but a touch grainy. The audio is good, but fairly basic.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDLG V8824W, using S-Video output
DisplayLG 80cm 4x3 CRT. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-D512
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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