Smart People (2008)

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Released 19-Nov-2008

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 91:05
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Noam Murro
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Dennis Quaid
Sarah Jessica Parker
Thomas Haden Church
Ellen Page
Ashton Holmes
Christine Lahti
Case ?
RPI ? Music Nuno Bettencourt


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0
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 for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

    Smart People is a low-key, indie-style dramedy which features a good cast and some witty dialogue but suffers from a less interesting premise than it needed to make it a better film. It is reasonably entertaining and reasonably well made, however, leaves you without any strong feelings about it.

    Lawrence Wetherhold (Dennis Quaid) is a US college professor with a reputation for being difficult and fairly uninterested in his students. He is a sarcastic widower who lives with his teenage daughter, Vanessa (Ellen Page) who has taken a leaf from his book and despite being smart and pretty is very serious and sarcastic. His teenage son, James (Ashton Holmes) is somewhat estranged from him due to his attitude towards him. Lawrence's loser adopted brother, Chuck (Thomas Haden Church) arrives on the scene looking to borrow some money but then admits that he really has nowhere to live. After Lawrence has an accident followed by a seizure, he is banned from driving for six months. This gives Chuck an idea that he can offer to drive Lawrence in return for Lawrence letting him move in. An uneasy truce is formed between the two. Whilst in hospital Lawrence meets a pretty female doctor, Janet Hartigan (Sarah Jessica Parker) who also happens to be an ex-student of his. He doesn't remember her but she remembers the crush she had on him while she was his student. They start to form a tentative relationship which is complicated by his attitude, Chuck's presence and Vanessa's attitude towards Janet. Other subplots include Lawrence trying to get a book published, Vanessa making moves on Chuck and Lawrence trying to get the department head's job at the university where he works.

    The highlight of the film is Thomas Haden Church as the annoying and juvenile Chuck who corrupts Vanessa and encourages Lawrence to pursue Janet. He is amusing and easily the best thing about the film. Ellen Page is also very good. The rest of the cast are fine but don't really stand out. The music by Eighties guitar hero, Nuno Bettancourt (Anyone remember Extreme?) is acoustic and quite enjoyable. There are also some songs featuring Aussie band, Baby Animals. This is the first feature from Noam Murro, an award winning director of commercials. He has another feature in the works which hopefully will improve on this one.

    This film will work reasonably well for lovers of indie drama comedies but will not win any new converts.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is good but nothing special.

    The feature is presented in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio which is the original aspect ratio. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The picture was reasonably clear and sharp throughout but is some way from the best transfers in this regard. Shadow detail is good but unspectacular which may be related to the source.

    The colour was pretty good with no colour artefacts.

    There were no noticeable artefacts.

    There are English subtitles for the Hearing Impaired. They're clear and easy to read.

    There was no noticeable layer change. For some reason I could not get this review disc to work in my computer so cannot confirm its location.


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

Audio

    The audio quality is good.

    This DVDs contain two audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 stereo soundtrack. I cannot confirm bitrates due to the test disc not working in my computer. This style of movie really doesn't need a 5.1 soundtrack as it is mostly dialogue based.

    Dialogue was generally clear and easy to understand however some lines were muffled meaning the subtitles were useful. The music sounded good and was really the only thing which utilised the surrounds and subwoofer.

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

Extras

    No extras are included! It is possible that this is a rental only version as the film is not released to retail until November.

Menu

    The menu was simple including audio options, scene selections along with some motion and audio.

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 release includes some extra subtitle options along with an audio commentary, making-of featurette, deleted scenes and bloopers. The Region 2 is the same as ours. Region 1 is the clear winner. A Blu-ray version is also available in the US.

Summary

     An average indie dramedy featuring a good cast.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The disc has no extras.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
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) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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