All About My Mother (Todo sobre mi madre) (Umbrella Ent) (1999)

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Released 10-Mar-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 97:15
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Programme
Region Coding 4 Directed By Pedro Almodóvar
Studio
Distributor
Pathe!
Umbrella Entertainment
Starring Cecilia Roth
Marisa Paredes
Candela Peña
Antonia San Juan
Penélope Cruz
Rosa Maria Sardà
Fernando Fernán Gómez
Toni Cantó
Eloy Azorín
Carlos Lozano
Fernando Guillén
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $29.95 Music Alberto Iglesias


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 silent (192Kb/s)
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 (Burned In) Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    The 2000 Academy Award winner for Best Foreign Language Film All About My Mother from acclaimed Spanish director Pedro Almodovar has previously been released in Region 4 and was reviewed on this site here. In that review ChristineT provided a summary of the plot, which I don’t intend to repeat, and concluded “I found this a very powerful and thought-provoking film, and funny at the same time. Don’t watch this if you are a prude or homophobic, but if you have an open mind and want to be entertained (in multiple ways) this is a very rewarding film.”

     While my experience was slightly different, I can only agree that this is a beautiful, entertaining film. All About My Mother is very much about the female experience; mothers, daughters, actresses and nuns, and about men who want to be women. It is about communication between parents and children, about coming to terms with loss, grief and with who you are.

     All About My Mother is an intelligent, witty and moving film with fantastic performances across all the main roles with Cecilia Roth (Manuela), Penelope Cruz (Sister Rosa) and especially Antonia San Juan (Agrado) worthy of special mention. Fans of Pedro Almodovar will probably already have purchased All About My Mother on DVD. Is this new release from Umbrella worth an upgrade? Go to the summary to get the overview.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     All About My Mother is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1, the original theatrical ratio, and is 16x9 enhanced.

     This is a very good print. Many scenes have a very cluttered background with loud wallpaper or intentional garish primary colours, reds and yellows predominating, but it all looks superb. Sharpness and clarity are excellent, blacks solid and shadow detail fine. Close ups show natural skin tones. There is evident grain in some scenes, but other than occasional aliasing (such as 2:05 or 30:10) artefacts are absent.

     The English subtitles are automatically enabled (there is no menu) and cannot be turned off. They are in an occasionally fuzzy white font without any obvious spelling or grammatical errors except for American spelling.

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

Audio

     Audio is Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded at 192 Kbps that works fine for this kind of film drama. Dialogue is clear, and the surrounds supplied music and some sound effects. My sub did give limited support to the bass in the music.

     Lip sync is fine.

     The music by Alberto Iglesias is a perfect accompaniment to the film.

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

Extras

Theatrical Trailer (1:41)

     The trailer is on the disc but it is very hard to find! There is no menu on the DVD of any sort; hitting disc menu on the remote only recycles back to the feature. I was only able to get to the trailer through title in the display.

R4 vs R1

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

     The US Region 1 version has a minor making of (approx 3 minutes) but does include a 24 min conversation with Pedro Almodovar. It is NTSC, of course, and is 16x9 enhanced with Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0. Region 2 has French and German version with reasonable extras but no English subtitles. The Spanish Region 2 only a trailer and filmographies; it is not recorded if there are English subtitles. A win to Region 1 on the basis of the Pedro Almodovar conversation.

Summary

     The previous Region 4 release of All About My Mother was not 16x9 enhanced, although the review concluded it was not a bad print. This release is 16x9 enhanced, a major improvement and the video does indeed look wonderful. The audio is the opposite; the original release had both Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 options; this release only offers Dolby Digital 2.0. The audio track is fine for a dialogue driven film so this is not a disadvantage. The previous release had a trailer, a behind the scenes (5:57) and cast and crew biographies. We only get the trailer (if you can find it).

     If you already have a copy of the film the 16x9 enhancement is a definite improvement. If you don’t have a copy this film is definitely worth a look. The best version for English speakers, however, remains the Region 1 release.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Saturday, April 17, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S350, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42inch Hi-Def LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

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