Nurse Betty (1999)

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Released 5-Apr-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Audio Commentary-Neil LaBute, M. Freeman, R. Zellweger, C. Rock, G. Kinnear
Audio Commentary-Director and Crew
Featurette-Soap Opera Segments x 10
Deleted Scenes-x 6
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 1999
Running Time 105:40
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (70:47) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Neil LaBute
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Morgan Freeman
Renee Zellweger
Chris Rock
Greg Kinnear
Aaron Eckhart
Crispin Glover
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music Rolfe Kent


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (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
Italian
English Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
English Audio Commentary
Italian Audio Commentary
English
Italian
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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Plot Synopsis

    Nurse Betty is a film about a waitress that suffers a severe emotional shock and seeks refuge in the television soap that she is obsessed with.

    Betty Sizemore (Renee Zellweger) works as a waitress in a small Kansas town diner and is married to Del (Aaron Eckhart), a local used car dealer. She is obsessed with a daytime television soap opera, A Reason To Love, that is set in a hospital and she hopes to become a nurse herself one day. After witnessing the brutal murder of her husband by two hitmen (Morgan Freeman and Chris Rock), Betty withdraws into the artificial world of the soap opera and heads to Los Angeles to find the show's main character, Dr. David Ravell (Greg Kinnear).

    Despite winning a Cannes screenplay prize and receiving critical acclaim this movie was not well publicized when released theatrically and consequently was missed by many movie goers. This is initially surprising when looking at the cast but is likely due to the slightly confusing distribution and ownership history of the film and because it does not easily fall into a standard category, such as action or drama. With its excellent performances by the main actors and the interesting script I would definitely suggest that viewers take a look at this film.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is presented at an aspect ratio of 2.35:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The film is extremely sharp throughout and excellent levels of detail are always visible. During the darker scenes in the movie excellent levels of shadow detail are always present. No low level noise was detected at any time during the transfer.

    The transfer displays accurate reproduction throughout. During the opening sections of the film, the colour palette is intentionally reduced to almost monochromatic but this changes as the film progresses. During a number of night scenes and indoor shots the lighting produces obvious yellow and blue tones but this works well and is never distracting to the viewer.

    No MPEG artefacts were detected during the transfer.

    A small number of aliasing artefacts are seen during the transfer. Some examples of these may be seen at 2:35, 3:05, 3:26, 4:06 and 4:58. These artefacts mainly occur during the early part of the transfer and are only slightly distracting to the viewer.

    A small number of tiny film artefacts may be seen during the transfer. Typical examples of these may be seen at 4:17, 8:19, 10:21, 20:06 and 20:42, and are all very small flecks and not a distraction.

    Four subtitle streams are provided for the main feature. A complete set of English and Italian subtitles are provided for the film. A cut down set of English and Italian subtitles are also provided for the small number of short scenes where Spanish is spoken. These subtitles are automatically engaged depending upon the language selection made by the viewer. The subtitles appeared to be consistently accurate throughout.

    The layer change occurs at 70:47 part way through chapter 22. This is between scene changes and is not distracting to the viewer.

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

Audio

    English and Italian Dolby Digital 448 kbps 5.1 audio mixes are provided for the movie. I listened to the English track in full and briefly sampled the Italian track.

    The dialogue is always clear and easy to understand.

    No dropouts or problems with audio sync were detected at any time during the transfer.

    The musical score by Rolfe Kent is effective and fits the on-screen action well. Each of the main characters have their own theme and this is subtly continued throughout the film.

    The surround channels are used effectively to create an enveloping mix that fits well with the action on-screen while never distracting the viewer. The subwoofer channel is used effectively to support various effects such as gunshots.

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

Extras

Menu

    The basic non-animated menus are presented at an aspect ratio of either 1.78:1 or 1.33:1 depending upon player setup.

Feature Length Commentary 1

    This commentary features director Neil LaBute and actors Morgan Freeman, Renee Zellweger, Chris Rock and Greg Kinnear. During the scene specific track they discuss how they came to the project, locations, casting and performances. It is clear from how each participant interacts that they found making this film an enjoyable experience. An English and Italian subtitle stream is provided for this commentary.

Feature Length Commentary 2

    This commentary features Neil LaBute (director), Rolfe Kent (music), Gail Mutrux (producer), Steve Golin (producer), Lynette Meyer (costume) and Jean-Yves Escoffier (cinematographer). This track was recorded the day after the first commentary and the crew discuss their various roles in making the film as well as how the film was financed and publicised. An English and Italian subtitle stream is also provided for this commentary.

Soap Opera Segments (24:56)

    This is the complete set of soap opera segments that were shot for use in the movie. This is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack. English and Italian subtitle streams are provided.

Deleted Scenes (16:28)

    This is a collection of six deleted scenes. These scenes are presented with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 and are not 16x9 enhanced. As commonly seen with deleted scenes, the image quality displayed is quite low. English and Italian subtitle streams are again provided.

Trailer (1:36)

    This trailer is presented with a Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack at an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and it is not 16x9 enhanced.

R4 vs R1

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

    The Region 4 rental version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;

    The R1 release of this film includes a deleted scene and an episode of A Reason to Love as Easter eggs. These items are included in the standard bonus materials section of this disc. As this is a rental only release at this stage we cannot determine the specs of the consumer R4 version, but due to the quantity of extras provided on the disc I suspect that the same version will be released for retail. If that is the case, my slight preference would be for the R1 version due to the inclusion of the TV spots and DVD-ROM material.

Summary

    Nurse Betty is an overlooked but highly entertaining film that has both excellent performances and script.

    The video transfer is of very high quality and displays no significant artefacts.

    The 5.1 surround audio mix is of high quality and suits the on screen action.

    The collection of extras included provide some interesting insight to the film and should be of interest to many viewers.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Anthony Kable (read my bio)
Thursday, February 14, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDToshiba 1200, using S-Video output
DisplaySony KP-E41SN11. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationFront left/right: ME75b; Center: DA50ES; rear left/right: DA50ES; subwoofer: NAD 2600 (Bridged)
SpeakersFront left/right: VAF DC-X; Center: VAF DC-6; rear left/right: VAF DC-7; subwoofer: Custom NHT-1259

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