Last Chance Harvey (2008)

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Released 15-Jul-2009

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Romantic Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2008
Running Time 89:00
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Joel Hopkins
Studio
Distributor
Icon Entertainment Starring Dustin Hoffman
Emma Thompson
Eileen Atkins
Kathy Baker
Liane Balaban
James Brolin
Richard Schiff
Tim Howard
Case ?
RPI ? Music Dickon Hinchliffe


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 No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes

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

Plot Synopsis

     There is no doubt that quality casting and acting can take a slight premise and turn it into an entertaining and memorable film. This is one film which proves my first statement to be correct. This films stars two excellent actors, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson and is to all intents and purposes a two hander. There are other cast members but none of them are overly important to the plot. They only exist to influence the mood and thoughts of the two main characters.

    The two main characters are Harvey Shine (Hoffman), a struggling jingle writer in New York who really wanted to be a jazz pianist and Kate Walker (Thompson), a middle aged woman who has never been married and has basically given up hope of a relationship. Kate lives in London and has a job collecting statistics at the airport from inbound passengers. As the film begins Harvey is heading to London to attend the wedding of his estranged daughter, Susie. There is no real animosity between them just a lack of contact and true feeling. His ex-wife has remarried and basically seems to have just gotten sick of Harvey and his vaguely embarrassing ways rather than there having been a major bust up. His job is under serious threat as his recent work has not been up to scratch. Kate has a difficult mother who annoys her about finding a man and imagines her neighbours to be mass murderers.

    When Harvey arrives at the airport in London, he is tired and irritable, causing him to be rude to Kate when she approaches to ask him for information. The body blows continue for Harvey when he finds he has been booked into a different hotel than everyone else at the wedding and then his daughter tells him that she wants her stepfather to give her away. After attending the ceremony he decides to rush back to the airport to get back and try to save his job, only to find he has missed his plane. Of course, he meets up with Kate again and this time they get to talking. Can Harvey and Kate find happiness and will Harvey be able to find a way to get back into his daughter's life?

    This film is basically a romantic drama with some gentle comedic elements. It carries a slightly melancholic tone which is suitable to the story but somewhat dampens the comic elements of this film. Both characters are quite sad at the beginning of the film, disappointed with their lot and it takes most of the film for them both to even be ready to be happy let alone actually seem to be so. Despite this the film is heart-warming and and enjoyable and entertaining to watch.

    As I mentioned at the top of this review it is the quality of the main cast and their performances which raises this film to a higher level than the story probably merits. The movie was written and directed by young helmer, Joel Hopkins in his third film. It was shot on location in London and makes it seem like a sunny and outdoorsy style of city.

    Recommended for audiences looking for a mature romantic comedy rather than the usual silly ones.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video quality is good but unspectacular.

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

    The picture was reasonably sharp and clear throughout without being as crisp as the best modern transfers. Shadow detail is very good.

    The colour was good but seemed somewhat dull.

    There were some signs of the MPEG conversion to be seen including a very small amount of MPEG grain and there was some minor pixelization around fast moving characters.

    There are subtitles in English for the hearing impaired which were clear and easy to read.

    There is no noticeable layer change during the feature.

   
    

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

Audio

    The audio quality is good without being exciting. It is perfectly suitable for the film.

    This DVD contains two audio options, an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack and an English Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo soundtrack. I cannot confirm the bitrates as this test disc will not load in my computer.

    Dialogue was mostly easy to understand and clear, however, some scenes were a little difficult to catch.

    The score is by Dickon Hinchcliffe and features a piano theme and some light orchestral sections. It is a very fitting score to the film and adds to the gentle melancholy of the piece.

    The surround speakers were really only used for mild atmosphere.

    The subwoofer was not used in any overt way.

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

Extras

     No extras here. The few available have been kept for the Blu-ray release.

Menu

    The menu is functional, featuring motion and music.

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 DVD release of this film includes an audio commentary, 18 minute making of and the theatrical trailer which obviously makes it the version of choice for SD buyers. The film is available on Blu-ray locally and in Region A.

Summary

    A gentle romantic dramedy featuring quality acting and a melancholic tone.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The 'last chance' for the extras was inclusion on the Blu-ray rather than the SD release.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Daniel Bruce (Do you need a bio break?)
Thursday, July 02, 2009
Review Equipment
DVDSony DVP-NS708H upscaling to 1080p, using HDMI output
DisplayLG Scarlet 42LG61YD 106cm Full HD LCD. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Ultimate DVD Platinum.
AmplificationPioneer VSX-511
SpeakersMonitor Audio Bronze 2 (Front), Bronze Centre & Bronze FX (Rears) + Sony SAW2500M Subwoofer

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