Please Give (2010)

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Released 20-Jan-2011

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Drama Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2010
Running Time 86:24
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Nicole Holofcener
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Rebecca Hall
Elizabeth Keener
Elise Ivy
Catherine Keener
Josh Pais
Sarah Steele
Case ?
RPI $39.95 Music Marcelo Zarvos


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/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 for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

     New York writer/director Nicole Holofcener has made a career out of directing smart, thought inspiring comedies set in her home city with an emphasis on believable, rounded female characters. After having directed some Sex and the City episodes (she would also direct a couple of Six Feet Under) she achieved a measure of acclaim with her film Lovely and Amazing and 2006s Friends With Money. Aside from the New York milieu the films also featured her muse, actress Catherine Keener. Please Give is the latest Holofcener work, also featuring Keener. Depending on your ability to tolerate angsty New Yorkers this is either a miss or a chance to revel in clever scripting and sharp performances. For Holofcener fans this is another triumph.

     In Please Give Keener plays Kate, a middle aged woman married, pretty happily it seems, to Alex (Oliver Platt). They have a teen daughter who is obsessed with her acne and that $200 pair of jeans that she just-can't-live-without! In short, a typical teenager. The family live in inner city New York and earn a trade in an unusual fashion - buying up furniture from the families of the recently deceased elderly. It's a good trade. They routinely snap up supposedly worthless furniture for a song then parade it on the shop floor for a wildly increased price. Kate and Alex also own the apartment adjoining theirs but, out of common decency, have not turfed out the old lady who lives there. Her grand-daughters, the good girl nebbish mammogram technician Rebecca (Rebecca Hall) and the fake tan, blunt, beauty technician Mary (Amanda Peet), know that the minute granny passes the neighbours will have knocked down the walls before she is wheeled out of the building. Trouble is, Kate has a conscience. An over-developed conscience. As apparent atonement for her rapacious behaviour she is determined to give back some good. Kate gives out money to street bums willy-nilly and offers her time, with a depressing lack of success, as a volunteer. Kate can't ever see the upside of the damaged lives the less fortunate lead and is prone to burst into tears instead of lending a robust hand.

     Please Give is a sometimes savage study of contemporary mores with a dig at those, like Kate, who don't understand that charity begins at home. Complications ensue after a birthday party for the elderly neighbour when Jake and Mary flirt and the old lady manages to insult just about everyone. This is a clever comedy with enough dramatic heft to give it some weight and staying power above the comedic effect. Everything is helped by the acting. Miller and Peet are ideal contrasting sisters and refuse to overplay their characters. Keener is a phenomenal actress who understands Kate deeply. Her key scenes with Miller are a delight. Oliver Platt looks like he is having the time of his life and special mention must go to the oldest and the youngest - Ann Morgan Guilbert as the nasty old lady, True Blood's Lois Smith as one of Rebecca's patients who gets her to date her grandson and Sarah Steele as a very convincing teenager. This is a superior comedy and one that belongs on the shelves of any fan of intelligent, witty humour.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Please Give was shot on 16mm film blown up to 35mm for cinematic release. It was projected at a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. The original aspect ratio has been preserved for the DVD release. It is 16x9 enhanced.

     Blowing up 16mm film once meant a higher level of grain and a loss of sharpness but the advent of digital intermediates means that these films, such as last years Oscar winner The Hurt Locker, can almost look like native 35mm films. Please Give is a pretty average to good looking film without being a visual showcase. The flesh tones are accurate. The colours are life-like and well presented without evidence of bleeding. The film grain is light and I saw no instance of aliasing or edge enhancement. There is, however, a general softness of the image which doesn't detract from the overall effect.

     There are descriptive subtitles in English for the Hearing Impaired which give a good account of on-screen action.

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

Audio

     Please Give carries two prime English Dolby Digital soundtracks - a 5.1 track running at 448Kb/s and a 2.0 track running at 224Kb/s. There is also a Descriptive Narration for the Visually Impaired which gives some explanation of the action and nuances of the film.

     The 5.1 track is to be preferred for the higher bit-rate but, in truth, this is not a film where surround sound plays much of a part. There are a few restaurant and crowd scenes where some ambience comes into play but generally this is all front and centre. That is not a criticism. Dialogue can all be heard clearly.

     Experienced composer Marcelo Zarvos contributes a thoughtful score and there are a few indie tracks thrown in for good measure including the comedic opening number, accompanied by multiple breast images, from The Roches.

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

Extras

Theatrical Trailer

     The only extra on this DVD is the theatrical trailer. This is a disappointment as it would have been nice to get some more information about the film, preferably from the writer/director, though to be fair no Region currently has a commentary track from Holofcener.

R4 vs R1

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

     This film is available in other Regions on DVD and Region A Blu-ray: The other Regions include the following extras:

     Take your pick on other Region.

Summary

     Please Give is another great Nicole Holofcener film. Fans of her movies should pick it up straight away. Detractors will probably not find anything here to change their mind.

     The DVD quality is not great but won't disappoint any fans. The lack of extras is a real disappointment though.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Trevor Darge (read my bio)
Thursday, February 10, 2011
Review Equipment
DVDCambridge 650BD (All Regions), using HDMI output
DisplaySony VPL-VW80 Projector on 110" Screen. Calibrated with Video Essentials. 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 SC-LX 81 7.1
SpeakersAaron ATS-5 7.1

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