Scenes of a Sexual Nature (2006)

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Released 17-Oct-2007

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Drama Featurette-Behind The Scenes-(07:48) Candid camera, no narration, rough and interesting.
Theatrical Trailer-(01:45) Same quality as feature.
Audio Commentary-Director and writer reveal all about production.
Interviews-Cast & Crew-(13:11) Very brief - six cast, three production team.
Theatrical Trailer-Ask the Dust (02:24)
Theatrical Trailer-Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (02:00)
Theatrical Trailer-Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont (02:33)
Theatrical Trailer-The Last Trapper (01:57)
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 88:06
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (35:14) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ed Blum
Studio
Distributor
The Works
Madman Entertainment
Starring Aschlin Ditta
Holly Aird
Eileen Atkins
Hugh Bonneville
Tom Hardy
Douglas Hodge
Adrian Lester
Andrew Lincoln
Ewan McGregor
Gina McKee
Elle Mckenzie
Sophie Okonedo
Eglantine Rembauville-Nicolle
Case Amaray-Opaque
RPI $29.95 Music Dominik Scherrer


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes, One or two instances.
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Establishing shots around Hampstead Heath.

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

Plot Synopsis

   

 "Once you commit yourself to something, however bizarre it may seem to other people,
you kind of owe it to yourself to enjoy the experience."


    This line from the film is unfortunately more interesting than the film itself. Scenes of a Sexual Nature is a well intentioned exercise by sincere novice filmmakers, but it is not a success. Nevertheless it does deserve consideration as a work from a director and a writer who may produce something with a little more substance in the future.

   The episodic nature of the structure of this film is not necessarily a fatal flaw. What we are given is a series of vignettes, all talking place one Summer afternoon on  Hampstead Heath in the centre of London. We are given seven stories and seven couples ranging from the "elderly" Dame Eileen Atkins and Benjamin Whitrow to the considerable younger Tom Hardy and his various female - and canine - encounters. Stories and lives are revealed, and occasionally collide, and the result is this ragbag collection of characters wandering around a park in London, on a blissfully lovely afternoon, having terribly, terribly meaningful conversations. What we, the audience, have to endure is pages of pretentious dialogue delivered in the best drama school mode - dramatic pauses galore - with absolutely no semblance of reality or honest dramatic impact. It is astonishing that in this age of truly excellent dialogue in TV series - generally from the US - that this grossly unrealistic verbage can be dished up as natural dialogue. Sorry, Aschlin Ditta. Hopefully your next work will be a little more rooted in truth, and less on drama school "improv".

    The commentary and behind the scenes information on this disc reveal that the two major creators, director/producer Ed Blum and writer Aschlin Ditta, are sincere and dedicated young filmmakers. Bravo! Learn from your mistakes here. These two young men are to be commended on their enterprise and drive in getting their film made and distributed. One of the ironies is that such an "indie" film can today look so mainstream. Image and sound are excellent - although the sound on the Region 4 release is only two track - and on a par with major product. It is only when their commentary informs us that the production was limited to a few days filming, with no sets, no props and no costume changes that we truly appreciate what a "little" production this is. The extras were actually the crew doing double duty !

    Performances are generally strictly on a level of The Bill or comparable BBCTV fare, with the aforementioned Dame Eileen Atkins at her very worst. This is acting with a capital "A". The sole survivor of this really tiresome troupe is Ewan McGregor, who manages to give some credibility to his gay character whose heart yearns for parenthood, but whose body lusts after the Speedoed hunk in the shrubbery.

    There are distant echoes here of Ingmar Bergman and Woody Allen, but they are barely audible. The title is tantalising, but misleading. Watch Shortbus instead.

    I am afraid that there is little I can say to recommend this film to anyone. Make a note of the names of the director and the writer and watch for what they do next.

Don't wish to see plot synopses in the future? Change your configuration.

Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer of this movie is excellent.
    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced.
    The transfer is extremely sharp and clear throughout. Detail is excellent with the majority of the film shot in brilliant sunlight. Shadow detail is not a consideration. There is no low level noise.
    Colour is most attractive with the park setting looking most attractive.
    Skin tones are very good.
    There were no MPEG or film artefacts.


    
    This is an RSDL disc, with the layer change occurring at 35:14, between Chapters 5 and 6. The change is undetectable.

    
    There are no subtitles.

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

Audio

    This is a very good audio experience, though limited by the absence of 5.1 surround.
    There are two audio tracks, English and the commentary track. Both are in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded at 224  Kbps.
    The extensive dialogue was clear and easy to understand.
    There was no problem with audio sync with the transfer, all of the sound appearing to be recorded "live" on location. There was one moment when a cigarette lighter sounded like a flame-thrower, no doubt due to the placement of the microphone.
    Dominik Scherrer's musical score was attractive if at time a bit too "quaint" . The music was very nicely recorded.
    Given the limited nature of the audio provided, surround channels were used extensively, particularly with the music, to provide a pleasantly immersive aural experience.
    
    

    

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

Extras

   

Menu

    The Main Menu is presented 1.85:1, and is 16x9 enhanced. Then screen is a still from the film with music from the score. The options are :

    Set-Up : Dolby Digital 2.0 sound 
                  Audio Commentary by director Ed Blum and writer Aschlin Ditta.
                  Scenes : 12 thumbnails, no audio
                  Extras : No audio . Details are;


Interviews : (13:11)
 This is the best of the bunch of extras. Presented 1.85:1, not enhanced, each talking head is seated in a cinema seat and responds to unheard questions/prompts from an unseen interviewer. Responses all seem to be truncated. The "heads" belong to :

    Ewan McGregor : (02:56) - talks about Guys and Dolls and Hampstead Heath.
    Adrian Lester (02:26)
    Hugh Bonneville and Gina McKee (02:07)
    Tom Hardy and Sophie Okenedo (00:43)
    Ed Blum (03:21)
    Aschlin Ditta (00:34)
    Suran Goonatilake (01:04) : Executive producer.

Behind the Scenes : (07:48)
     
    This is a candid camera look behind the camera - no narration and with poor sound of the sequences being filmed. It is raw, rough footage but very interesting.
    There is also footage of the recording of the music for the film.
    This featurette has a very abrupt end.

Theatrical Trailer : (01:45) 
    
    Quality as for the movie.


Madman Propaganda :
    
 
    Piracy Warning : (00:31)
    Trailer : Ask the Dust (02:24) : Aspect ration1.85:1, no enhancement.
    Trailer : The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada (02:00) : Aspect ratio 2.35:1, no enhancement.
    Trailer : Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont (02:33) : Aspect ratio 1.85:1, no enhancement.
    Trailer : The Last Trapper (01:57) : Aspect ratio 1.85:12, 16x9 enhanced.

Commentary :
        
This is an entertaining stereo commentary by the director - right speaker - and the writer - left speaker. At times it becomes a bit wearing, their enthusiasm and disposition to find each other madly humorous wearing thin after fifteen minutes. Nevertheless, this is an interesting insight into the trials and tribulations of mounting, financing and distributing an independent product, and for their dedication and effort these two enthusiastic young filmmakers deserve full marks.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 release of this title misses out on :

    Spanish Subtitles
    English Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired  
    Featurette : If We Build It They Will Come : The Making of Scenes of a Sexual Nature. This featurette sounds to be very comprehensive and includes the snippets of    
                        interviews included on the Region 4 release, in addition to quite a bit of other informative material. For admirers of the filmmakers and their first feature I would certainly
                        explore the desirability of the Region 1 release.

Summary

    Scenes of a Sexual Nature is an unsatisfying movie experience. Credit must go to first-time feature makers, but this is one that is very dull indeed, with the commentary and extras providing more entertainment than the film itself. The images and sound are most attractive.
    

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Garry Armstrong (BioGarry)
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Review Equipment
DVDOnkyo-SP500, using Component output
DisplayPhilips Plasma 42FD9954/69c. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080i.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to DVD player. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS777
SpeakersVAF DC-X fronts; VAF DC-6 center; VAF DC-2 rears; LFE-07subwoofer (80W X 2)

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