No Reservations (2007)

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Released 4-Jan-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romance Featurette-Unwrapped
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 100:00 (Case: 91)
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Scott Hicks
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Catherine Zeta-Jones
Aaron Eckhart
Abigail Breslin
Patricia Clarkson
Jenny Wade
Bob Balaban
Brian F. O'Byrne
Lily Rabe
Eric Silver
Arija Bareikis
John McMartin
Celia Weston
Zöe Kravitz
Case ?
RPI ? Music Philip Glass


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    I am constantly amazed by how different films are to their trailers. For some reason known only to studio bosses in Hollywood, they constantly spend lots of money making a film and then spend lots more money marketing it as something different to what it is. This film is quite a good case in point because before reviewing this DVD I had only seen the trailer of this film. If the trailer was to be believed you would think this was a wacky comedy romance whereas, in fact, it is much more of a light romantic drama than a wacky comedy. Despite this somewhat bizarre marketing this is quite a good film which is certainly worth watching.

    No Reservations tells the story of intense and uptight head chef, Kate (Catherine Zeta-Jones), who works in a ritzy New York restaurant. She tightly controls her kitchen environment and clashes constantly with the restaurant's owner, Paula (Patricia Clarkson) and some of the customers. Despite this she is successful and enjoys somewhat of a cult status in the restaurant scene. Her sister and niece are on their way to visit her when they have a car crash resulting in her sister's death. By previous agreement, the niece, Zoe (Abigail Breslin) comes to live with Kate which turns her controlled and work focused life upside down. Meanwhile, her boss has demanded that she undergo therapy in order to control her worst excesses. Struggling with her new responsibilities, Kate takes some time off work and in her absence Paula hires a new sous chef to replace the current one, who is having a baby. The new sous chef is talented newcomer to the restaurant scene, Nicholas Palmer (Aaron Eckhart). As the story unfolds, Kate realises that she needs more in her life than just the restaurant and she warms to both Zoe and Nicholas.

    I was surprised by the depth and sensitivity that this film showed whilst managing to avoid cloying sentiment. All three main cast members showed restraint and give very good performances. Abigail Breslin was surprisingly good as the young girl who ends up living with her aunt she barely knows. She mostly manages to avoid the usual clichés and brings out realistic emotions from her character. I am certainly keen to see her Oscar nominated turn in Little Miss Sunshine. There were certainly some clichés in the film itself especially in the seemingly ever-present montages. On the other hand, one of the strengths of this film is the excellent score by Philip Glass along with the various song choices. There are also some comedic moments in the film but these are less common than the trailer would have you believe. The film was directed by Adelaide's Scott Hicks, of course the Oscar nominated director of Shine. Overall, the film strikes me as well made, well acted and entertaining romantic drama without being among the best of recent films.

    The screenplay for this film was based on the screenplay for a multiple award winning 2001 German film, Mostly Martha (Bella Martha). Our review of the DVD for that film can be found here.

    Recommended for fans of the genre.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is reasonable but is encumbered by a low bitrate.

    The feature is presented in a 2.39:1 aspect ratio, 16x9 enhanced, which is close to the original aspect ratio of 2.35:1.

    The picture was reasonably clear and sharp although not at the level you would expect for such a new film. The foregrounds tend to be fairly detailed but backgrounds are afflicted by grain and sometimes mild macro-blocking. The bitrate hovers between 3 and 4 megabits per second for most of the running time. The film is only on one layer. This is a bit poor for a new major release. The shadow detail was very good.

    The colour was very good with no major issues to report.

    Artefacts included some mild patches of aliasing such as at 18:02 and some edge enhancement such as at 42:56.

    There are subtitles in English and English for the Hearing Impaired. They were clear, easy to read and very close to the spoken word.

        

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

Audio

    The audio quality is good.

    This DVD contains two audio options , an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack encoded at 384 Kb/s and an English Audio Descriptive Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo soundtrack encoded at 192 Kb/s. You don't need to be concerned about the sub-optimal bitrate of the 5.1 rack as this is a very front and centre focused soundtrack.

    Dialogue was very clear and easy to understand and there was no problem with audio sync.

    The score of this film by Philip Glass is certainly a highlight, full of rich atmosphere. The song choices are also very suitable including some famous opera arias and Michael Buble.

    The surround speakers added just some mild atmosphere.

    The subwoofer added some bass to the music but little else was going on.

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

Extras

    Pretty Slim Pickens, I'm afraid.

Menu

    The menu design is simple, including music and a still from the film.

Unwrapped (21:03)

    This is an episode from US cable network 'The Food Network' which previews the movie, interviews the cast and introduces the real chefs involved in helping the cast prepare. It is quite repetitive but OK.

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 not yet available in Region 1 as far as I can tell.

Summary

    A light romantic drama which offers intelligent and touching viewing.

    The video quality is reasonable.

    The audio quality is good.

    There is only one extra.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Friday, December 14, 2007
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
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Yamaha YST SW90 subwoofer

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