Flashbacks of a Fool (2008)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
|Year Of Production||2008|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (73:25)||Cast & Crew|
|Start Up||Ads Then Menu|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Baillie Walsh|
Walt Disney Studios Home Ent.
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||
English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||Yes|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
Joe Scott (Daniel Craig) is an ageing A-List Hollywood star whose life is falling apart due to his excessive partying. He has rubbed up half of the town (proverbially and otherwise) and few have been rubbed the right way in recent times. As he struggles to impress the latest hot director in town, Joe receives word that a childhood friend Jack has passed away and jets back to the place he ran away from 20 years earlier, but not before recalling his coming-of-age tale.
Young Joe (played by Harry Eden) grew up by the beach in a seaside town with his caring mother Grace (Olivia Williams) and younger sister. While Grace spends her days cooking with her nosey elderly neighbour (Miriam Karlin) and bored young housewife neighbour Evelyn (Jodhi May), Joe and his best friend Jack get caught up in a love triangle with newcomer Ruth Davies (Felicity Jones) as they bond over glam rock. Things become ever more complicated for Joe when Evelyn takes a fancy in him during her long, dull days.
Keeley Hawes and Claire Forlani pop up as grown up versions of Joe's sister and Ruth, respectively.
Flashbacks of a Fool is well acted throughout and features an impressive ensemble, but alas that is about all it has going in its favour. The story is a muddle. It doesn't really go anywhere or reveal anything particularly interesting as it meanders about, and the connection between the present day story and the flashback story is particularly flimsy. None of the characters are likeable or engagingly dislikeable. Most viewers will be well beyond caring by the time anything much happens to them, so much so that many of the moments that should have been particularly emotional come off as amusing. Despite an interesting premise and great cast, it is hard to recommend any aspect of Flashbacks of a Fool.
The film is presented in its theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio and is 16x9 enhanced.
The video looks good on first impression. The image appears bold, sharp and clear. Not long into the film, however, numerous disruptive digital artefacts spoil the presentation entirely. At various points throughout the film the MPEG encoding of certain objects in the frame appears to be jumbled. At 31:53 the pixels around Jack appear to jumble about for about half a second, at 39:35 the same encoding error makes a jumble of Evelyn and her immediate surroundings. This list goes on throughout the film and with a disappointing regularity. On top of this, a mild degree of marco blocking can be seen throughout. On the upside, there are no film artefacts to be seen, although that is but a small mercy. It is hard to imagine how this transfer passed any sort of quality control.
This is an RSDL disc, with a layer change between scenes at 73:25. The layer change was not noticeable on my equipment.
The film features an English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kbps) audio track and an English descriptive audio track for the visually impaired, which is in Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kbps).
The audio is clean and clear. The dialogue is easy to understand. The audio appears to be well synchronised to the video, save for a few obvious overdubs.
The film features a great rock score by Richard Hartley, which evokes the dirty side of instrumental glam rock. Sadly, it is about the only thing that the film can be recommended for.
The surrounds get used to reasonably good effect throughout, although there really isn't a single scene in the film that warrants particularly impressive audio. Likewise, the subwoofer channel does a good job, though in no more than a workman-like fashion.
|Surround Channel Use|
The disc opens with five trailers for other Disney movies, all of which can be skipped, before presenting a striking main menu featuring a lengthy clip of the film's score in the background.
Half a dozen deleted and extended scenes, none of which really add anything to the film.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The Region 1 edition of the film misses out on the Deleted Scenes and Descriptive Audio soundtrack found on the local edition, but in their place includes about 2 minutes worth of cast and crew interviews, a Trailer and a TV Spot for the film. In pure volume terms, the Region 4 edition is the winner by a nose, although neither edition features particularly noteworthy extras. That said, given the poor video encoding on the Region 4 edition it may be worth chancing the Region 1 edition on the off chance it does not have the artefacts that plague the Region 4 edition (sadly we do not have the Region 1 edition for direct comparison).
A weak coming-of-age film bookended by a handful of equally bland scenes starring flavour of the month Daniel Craig. Best leave this one on the shelf for the trainspotters, particularly given the terrible video transfer.
|DVD||Sony 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 Decoder||Pioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub|