Kenny (Blu-ray) (2006)

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Released 31-Aug-2010

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Drama Audio Commentary-In depth commentary with Clayton Jacobson
Audio Commentary-Round-table commentary
Featurette-Making Of
Deleted Scenes-20 deleted scenes
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-10 behind-the-scenes clips
Theatrical Trailer
Short Film-Three bonus short films
Trailer-Four Madman trailers
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2006
Running Time 103:38
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Clayton Jacobson
Studio
Distributor

Madman Entertainment
Starring Shane Jacobson
Travis Golland
Chris Davis
Alf Scerri
Hayley Preusker
Saxon Fuller
Thomas Uerata
Kevin 'The Captain' Roy Ogston
Glenn Preusker
Kevin Roy
Craig Carter
Pete Smith
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Richard Pleasance
Clayton Jacobson
Sean Lander


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English Linear PCM 48/24 5.1 (6912Kb/s)
English Linear PCM 48/16 2.0 (1536Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 1.78:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

†††† Kenny Smyth represents the values of the hard-working, honest blue-collar worker, a man who finds dignity in his job which entails working with human waste. The contradictions and ironies in this film are plentiful. Firstly, when the film first came out most of us believed that Kenny Smyth was a real person, mainly because of Shane Jacobson's promotional work on radio and television to make the Australian public aware of the film. Secondly, this wonderful mockumentary, which doesn't pretend to have a complicated plot, gives us insight into the life of a simple man who is decent, yet used and abused by his ex-wife, taken for granted by his father, mocked hypocritically by snobbish Melbourne Cup patrons for taking his son to work (because he was forced to) and lands a huge sale for his company, Splashdown, due to his unassuming nature despite his disdain for work that involves spending time in an office.

†††† Kenny is the brainchild of the Jacobson brothers. Older brother Clayton directed the film while younger brother Shane played the lead role of Kenny. The project started out as a short film based on the character of Kenny, which was derived from a combination of extended Jacobson family members and people that Shane Jacobson knew at Splashdown, a portable toilet company which caters for special outdoor events with large public gatherings. The scenes in the film where Kenny describes his work and his attitude towards it while driving a truck were the first scenes shot of the film, ad-lib; Clayton Jacobson had arranged to film his brother in character to see what they could make of it.

†††† Due to limited funds, a short film of Kenny was shown at the St Kilda film festival. This produced a favourable public reaction and with Splashdown's owner Glenn Preusker's financial help, the Jacobsons got the money to expand the character and make Kenny into a feature film. The rest they say is history!

†††† This is the first time that Kenny has been released on Blu-ray worldwide and Madman have not held back in promoting it, especially in relation to the extras. This is a memorable Australian film, winner of the best leading actor award at the Australian Film Institute's 2006 award night for Shane Jacobson and it was also responsible for the 2008 spin-off television series, Kenny's World.

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Transfer Quality

Video

†††† Kenny was shot on a portable digital video camera with a minimal film crew, so the quality of the video transfer is consistent with most low-budget documentaries. IMDb lists the original aspect ratio as 1:66:1 when in fact it is 1:78:1 as present here, 16x9 enhanced.

†††† The video transfer uses a 1080p MPEG-4 AVC codec with an average bitrate of 22.37 m/b per sec. Despite this bitrate, the quality of the visual transfer is basic at best. The colour timing can best be described as 'natural-looking'. As there are many outdoor day scenes which utilise natural lighting, the limited budget did not allow for planned shooting with controlled lighting, mainly due to the very small crew.

†††† The main fault with this transfer is the low level noise due to the use of a portable camera. This is evident in night scenes but there are some scenes, such as when Kenny is narrating in his work truck, when the visual quality of the film is very grainy.

†††† Subtitles are available in English for the hard of hearing.

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

Audio

†††† Similarly to the video transfer, the audio transfer is sufficient for this type of film without being reference-quality, which it doesn't pretend to be. The two main audio tracks are both uncompressed so they will sound quite dynamic at your normal volume level for your surround-sound system. The first track is an English Linear PCM 48kHz/24-bit 5.1 track encoded at a massive 6912 kbps. There is also an English 48kHz/16-bit Linear PCM track encoded at a full bitrate of 1536 kbps.

†††† Dialogue is clear and synchronised. Music by Richard Pleasance supports the blue-collar themes of the film and the humorous and ingenuous nature of the main character, Kenny. The surround channel usage is mainly used for Foley effects, that is sounds added in post-production from the natural environment such as car noises. The subwoofer supports the low bass sounds of the sound effects added during post-production.

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

Extras

In depth commentary with director Clayton Jacobson

†††† This audio commentary by director Clayton Jacobson covers the production history of Kenny from start to finish, beginning with the idea to film his brother Shane in-character, to the post-production work which took a year to complete and the promotional work during the film's theatrical release. A common theme seems to be Jacobson's genuine surprise at how Kenny was so well-received by the Australian public. This commentary supersedes the commentary on the 2007 special edition DVD which featured Shane Jacobson in-character as Kenny.

Round-table commentary with director Clayton Jacobson; producer Rohan Timlock; Editor Sean Lander; Glenn Preusker & Shane Jacobson

†††† This is the same commentary as the one found on the 2007 special edition DVD. The commentary here is more anecdotal and humorous than Clayton Jacobson's solo commentary.

Featurette-Making Of (46:29)

†††† The 'making of' featurette was originally made for Channel Ten in Australia, and it includes pauses where scenes fade to black for inserted commercial breaks. Despite this, you get a comprehensive background to the making of this film from all the main players, including director Clayton Jacobson, actor Shane Jacobson, producers Rohan Timlock, Glenn Preusker (Splashdown owner) and even the Jacobson brothers' father and mother who discuss their sonsí interest in acting and drama when they were kids.

Deleted Scenes (24:57)

†††† 20 deleted scenes are included, some of which are merely cuts that were made to lengthier scenes.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes (36:43)

†††† These behind-the-scenes clips come in ten segments. They mainly look at the preparation work done for scenes in the film, with director Clayton Jacobson guiding the action.

Theatrical Trailer

†††† This 1:46 trailer is very funny, don't miss it!

Short Films

†††† Three bonus short films are included, Tanaka (24:26), The Jacobson Cousins (7:42), which looks at real-life Jacobson cousins Bill and Kenny who inspired the character of Kenny and The Trainer (4:17). There is also a short clip for Mordy Kools, a character who is a World War II American fighter pilot blissfully inept or ignorant of the dangers of war. This clip may have been a short pilot for a potential television show which never saw the light of day.

Madman Trailers

†††† Four Madman trailers are presented here for Balibo, Romulus, My Father, My Year Without Sex and Ten Canoes.

R4 vs R1

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

††† This Region ALL Blu-ray release of Kenny is the only version available on Blu-ray at the time of writing this review.

Summary

†††† They say art imitates life and that is certainly true here, as it is revealed in the extras of this Blu-ray that Shane Jacobson worked for Splashdown to make ends meet while Kenny was in post-production for 12 months.

†††† If you are a fan of the film do yourself a favour and pick this up on Blu-ray, not for the video or audio transfer, but rather for the superlative extras included with this fine Madman release.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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