The Holiday (HD DVD) (2006)

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Released 2-May-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 135:35
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Nancy Meyers
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Cameron Diaz
Kate Winslet
Jude Law
Jack Black
Eli Wallach
Edward Burns
Rufus Sewell
Miffy Englefield
Emma Pritchard
Sarah Parish
Shannyn Sossamon
Bill Macy
Shelley Berman
Case Amaray Variant
RPI ? Music Hans Zimmer


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital Plus
French Dolby Digital Plus
German Dolby Digital Plus
Italian Dolby Digital Plus
Catalan Dolby Digital Plus
Japanese Dolby Digital Plus
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
French
Italian
German
Catalan
Japanese
Swedish
Danish
Finnish
Dutch
Norwegian
Portuguese
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, online search engines, couriers, electronics.
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    English journalist Iris (Kate Winslet) has the enviable job of covering prominent local weddings for her newspaper but is yet to be married herself, admitting openly that she is in misery with her current squeeze, Jasper (Rufus Sewell). The relationship is up and down and riddled with uncertainty, however she spends her time hanging on to his every word while he leads her along. To Iris' surprise, she is allocated the task of covering Rufus' shot-gun wedding to one of her colleagues, and is understandably distraught at the prospect.

    Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, Amanda (Cameron Diaz) is a successful business woman with a talent for editing movie trailers, doing so from an editing suite installed in her house. Clearly a prissy Paris Hilton-type workaholic, she accuses her neglected defacto of sleeping with his receptionist, and turfs him out. She's physically unable to cry, and hasn't done so since her teens- a fact that she is finding more troublesome than her dire relationship issues. Has she become emotionally sterile? Burnt out, she decides to go on a holiday away from men in general and hits the internet, finding a home exchange website with a listing in Surrey, England- belonging to Iris. Amanda initiates contact, and the two recently single women agree to switch abodes for a fortnight. Triumphant, Iris exchanges her quaint cottage in Surrey for an elaborate Los Angeles pad in an estate full of rich socialites. Neither of the women is looking for love, but you know they'll find it eventually.

    Once she arrives in L.A., Iris closes the shutters and retreats from existence, but she soon befriends half the suburb, including Arthur (Eli Wallach), her elderly Jewish neighbour, and Miles (Jack Black), a strictly monogamous film-composer who works with Amanda. In England, Amanda meets Iris' elder brother Graham (Jude Law), a single book editor who happily skips from one partner to the next. Amanda is unimpressed by England and is ready to leave, but considers Graham's appearance a bonus and jumps at the chance for a quick, anonymous shag. Foreplay? Overrated, apparently! Next morning they're still friends, and she slowly changes her mind about the place. Both are surprised when romance develops.

    In my recent review of Hitch, I stated that chick movies are not usually my cup of tea, and that still stands. Being a fan of Jack Black I gave this film a try, and I'm happy to say The Holiday actually surprised me a lot! Director and writer Nancy Meyers has done a great job of twisting the typical rom-com formula into a surprising, entertaining experience. Diaz's character Amanda often sees movie trailers in her head whenever a crisis appears, which is quite clever. The screenwriting is involving, with interesting relationship contrasts between the couples. All of the performances are great, particularly Jude Law and Kate Winslet. I have a feeling the first cut of the film could have easily gone for four hours. This is one romantic comedy that creeps up on you and, despite its length, is consistently entertaining. I recommend it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

Disclaimer: Please note that this disc has a video resolution of 1080p. It has been reviewed on a display device with a maximum native resolution of 720p. More information can be found here.

    This video transfer is pretty average, in HD terms.

    The 1080p transfer is framed in the film's original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1, with thin black bars top and bottom.

    The overall transfer is soft and lacks the vibrancy that makes other HD transfers leap off the screen. There are nice textures to be found, such as the knitted beanie at 10:00, but the look of the film is far too flat to make for stunning, HD, big-screen viewing. Some scenes have a surprisingly high degree of blooming in brighter areas of the image (56:42, 58:30), which may be part of the Director's vision. Black levels are strong when need be, and shadow detail is excellent.

    Most colours are bold and rich, however there are some exceptions. The differing continents are contrasted by applying a light sepia tone in Los Angeles, whereas England is slightly muted and drab. Skin tones appear realistic.

    VC-1 video compression has been applied, with not a single visible glitch to be seen. The transfer is similarly free of film artefacts, although a very slight, inconsequential wash of film grain can be seen in some scenes.

    English subtitles are provided and follow the dialogue closely, but I did note a few Americanisms in the text.

    The disc is a dual layered, HD-30 type. I didn't note any pause or interruption to the feature resembling a layer-break. The feature is split into 28 chapters.

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

Audio

    The default soundtrack is determined by the viewer's selection in an initial language-setup menu. I listened to the film's original English soundtrack, which has been encoded in Dolby Digital Plus. A number of foreign language dubbed soundtracks are included.

    The English dialogue is sometimes a bit lost in the mix, and I found myself straining to follow the spoken word in some scenes. I'm not sure why this is the case, but I ended up cranking the volume way beyond my normal listening level in an effort to follow what's being said. The ADR seems fine and audio sync is great.

    Being primarily a dialogue-driven film, the surround channels aren't given a lot of work to do. Some convincing party noise and atmospherics spring from the rear channels at 4:25, while outdoor scenes often utilise the surrounds for weather effects such as wind. Voices are generally confined to the front centre channel.

    The score by Hans Zimmer suits the playful nature of the film and compliments the differing moods very well. The compositions are quite jazzy in places, as well as the usual symphonic interludes. There are bursts of contemporary rock and pop to be found, featuring Aussies Kylie Minogue and Jet.

    The subwoofer adds a little bottom end to the score, and that's it. There isn't a lot of call for LFE activity as far as I can see.

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

Extras

    There are no extras to speak of. Having enjoyed the film, I would have liked to see some additional material, so this is disappointing.

Menu

    The menu page is animated with scenes from the film, along with an audio clip from the score. The menu structure is generic, along the lines of other Universal HD DVD releases, preceded by an initial language select menu. I was surprised to find that after allowing three rotations of the menu, a silent screensaver loaded with an attractive, metallic Universal logo that glides about the screen.

    The disc is also coded with a handy progress bar that appears across the bottom of the screen when the viewer presses pause or skip during the feature. The disc is equipped with the standard popup menu that avoids interrupting the feature.

R4 vs R1

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

    The North American Blu-ray release (Region A) by Sony includes the following specifications:

     If your BD player is Region A capable, the above looks like the version to go for. Be aware that reviews I've read of the BD disc also make mention of the slightly underwhelming transfer. The Region 1 SD disc includes the same meagre supplements.

Summary

    The Holiday is a surprisingly entertaining, above average romantic comedy, but may prove a little drawn-out for some.

    The video transfer is soft.

    The audio transfer is serviceable.

    No extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Rob Giles (readen de bio, bork, bork, bork.)
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba HD-D1, using HDMI output
DisplaySanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR3806
SpeakersOrpheus Aurora lll Mains (bi-wired), Rears, Centre Rear. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Centre. Mirage 10 inch sub.

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