Year of the Dog (2007)

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Released 7-Feb-2008

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Being Molly Shannon
Featurette-Mike White Unleashed
Featurette-Special Animal Unit
Featurette-Moviephone Unscripted
Deleted Scenes
Outtakes-Gag Reel
Outtakes-Insert Reel
Audio Commentary-Mike White (writer/director), Molly Shannon (Peggy)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2007
Running Time 92:58
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (54:18) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Mike White
Studio
Distributor
Paramount Vantage
Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Molly Shannon
Laura Dern
Regina King
Thomas McCarthy
Josh Pais
John C. Reilly
Peter Sarsgaard
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI ? Music Christophe Beck


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/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
Dutch
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    Peggy (Molly Shannon) is a 30-something year old pet lady. Her life is shattered when the love of her life, her little dog named Pencil, gets into her neighbours garage and eats something suspicious which kills him. The grieving process is hard on poor Peggy, but her friends and family are in the eager to help. Her best friend Layla (Regina King), her brother and his wife (Thomas McCarthy and Laura Dern) all agree that it is probably time to find a man.

    With some questionable judgement Peggy goes out on a date with her neighbour Al (John C. Reilly), yes that one, but can't get over the fact that deep down she blames him for killing her dog. It probably doesn't help that Al would rather be shooting animals to mount their heads on his wall than patting them.

    She has more luck when she goes out with Newt (Peter Sarsgaard), who helps out at the local animal Hospital. Like Peggy, Newt is an animal lover. Newt is particularly sensitive to the plight of captive animals and spends much of his time campaigning for animal rights. Peggy steadily becomes more obsessed with the suffering of animals, even adopting a troubled mutt and turning vegan, to the point that the obsession takes over her life and she descends into what most people see as madness.

    Molly Shannon is best known for her countless bit parts as the comic relief in Hollywood fodder. It is good to finally see her taking the lead in something worth watching. The supporting cast are all great in their respective roles as well. Each manage to enhance the slightly awkward script significantly with their character portrayals.

    Year of the Dog is a low-key indie comedy that largely succeeds due to the unusual warmth of its characters and its upbeat outlook, which has become somewhat of a trademark for writer/director Mike White (School Of Rock, Orange County, The Good Girl).

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The film is presented in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, close enough to the theatrical 1.85:1 aspect ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The video quality is good for the nature of the film, but certainly not reference quality. The film's low-budget production is obvious from the look of the video, which adds to the film's warmth rather than detracts from it.

    The video is reasonably clear and sharp. A mild level of film grain is noticeable, but at no point distracting.

    The colour is very natural, not as bright and bold as most mainstream productions. Contrast levels are good.

    There are no obvious compression-related artefacts in the video. Very small film artefacts are visible on occasion, but never distracting.

    The movie features both plain English subtitles and English for the hearing impaired. Both tracks appear to be accurate and well timed, based on the portion I sampled.

    This is a RSDL disc. The layer break occurs at 54:18 but was not noticeable on my equipment.

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

Audio

    The movie features a single English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kbps) audio track.

    The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. It appears to be well synchronised to the video.

    The film makes good use of music, employing an eclectic range of simple instrumental backing to set the mood in scenes.

    The film makes very little use of the surround field and subwoofer.

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

Extras

    Silent, static menus precede a sizeable range of extras, although it is a bit of a case of quantity over quality.

Audio Commentary with Mike White and Molly Shannon

    A rather laboured and patchy commentary track. Mike White drives the track, with only the odd supporting comment form Molly Shannon. There are quite a few dead spots in the track, which make it a difficult listen at times. The track is fully subtitled, which may be the best way take it in.

A Special Breed of Comedy Making Of Featurette (16:16)

    A rather routine press-kit 'Making Of' that serves more to sell the movie than explain its production.

Being Molly Shannon Featurette (4:09)

    A short featurette about the star Molly Shannon, largely her history and personality. This is really little more than an extension of the 'Making Of' cut into a separate featurette.

Mike White Unleashed Featurette (4:15)

    A short featurette about the writer/director Mike White. It glosses over his style as a director and his approach to writing. This is really little more than an extension of the 'Making Of' cut into a separate featurette.

Special Animal Unit Featurette (3:41)

    The movie features lots of animals. The crew featured several animal handlers and trainers. Filler really. Again, this is really little more than an extension of the 'Making Of' cut into a separate featurette.

Deleted Scenes Featurette (11:45)

    7 deleted and extended scenes with optional commentary with director Mike White. None of these are gems, mostly cut for pacing or because they labour a point a little too much, but the commentary makes them an interesting watch.

Insert Reel(1:48)

    A series of assorted "insert" shots (short shots to bridge scenes and fill gaps in the film) chopped together for no apparent reason. Skip it.

Gag Reel (3:04)

    A gag/blooper reel with no particularly memorable whoopies. Skip it.

Moviefone Unscripted with Molly Shannon and Mike White Featurette (6:45)

    Shot for the online Moviephone site, this is a Q&A session with the star and write/director. Some of the questions are a bit mundane, but the answers are generally amusing and occasionally insightful. Well worth a look.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 1 and Region 4 editions are identical save for PAL/NTSC differences.

Summary

    An entertaining, heartfelt indie comedy about a pet lady who loses the plot when her little doggy dies unexpectedly.

    The video and audio are both of a good standard, though they highlight the low-budget nature of the production.

    The extras are plentiful, but trivial.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Thursday, April 03, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
Display Samsung 116cm LA46M81BD. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 576i (PAL).
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX-D512. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, and a 100W centre and 2 surrounds, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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