City Slickers (1991)

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Released 25-Mar-2002

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Theatrical Trailer-2:45
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 1991
Running Time 108:56
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (55:08) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Ron Underwood
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Billy Crystal
Daniel Stern
Bruno Kirby
Jack Palance
Helen Slater
Noble Willingham
Tracy Walter
Jeffrey Tambor
Patricia Wettig
Josh Mostel
David Paymer
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music Marc Shaiman


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Auto Pan & Scan Encoded English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
French Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
German
French
Spanish
Dutch
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    City Slickers is about Mitch Robbins (Billy Crystal), and his mid-life crisis. Mitch works as an advertising salesman at a radio station - he sell air-time to advertisers. He's reached that point in his life when he questions the futility of his life and what he's achieved. Because this is not an art-film, but rather an American comedy, this is about all the angst we have to experience.

    Mitch's mid-life crisis is triggered by his 39th birthday (he's an American - he can't wait for his 40th birthday...). His two best friends are Phil (Daniel Stern) and Ed (Bruno Kirby). The three of them have done some silly things together - the previous year they ran with the bulls in Pamplona (we get to see this before the opening credits). This year, Mitch's pals decide to jog him out of his maudlin self-pity with an exciting new experience. Their present for his birthday is a two week holiday in which they will become cowboys. We're not talking dude ranch here, but real working cowboys, driving a herd of cattle from New Mexico to Colorado. In Australia we'd call this droving, but apparently the Americans call it a cattle drive. A crazy way to spend your vacation, but what the heck! Mitch's initial inclination is to refuse, but he gets an ultimatum from his wife - go, find yourself! He goes. And this movie is about what happens...

    The trail boss on this drive is called Curly (Jack Palance - this role is one he was born to play). He is a marvellous character, and important to some of what affects Mitch the most. He has a fabulous entrance, and makes a big impression. He also gets some of the best lines, but his singing voice leaves everything to be desired...

    Helen Slater, as the only woman on the cattle drive, gets less screen-time than I'd like (she is a pretty lady). She's mainly present to set up some of the scenes between the men.

    I don't want to spoil the movie for you. It is an excellent comedy, and you can enjoy as just a comedy. But it has one or two moments of deeper meaning, like all really great comedy, and you can appreciate those as well, if you choose to. I won't tell you more of what happens, but I can recommend it.

    One small complaint - why is it that DVD manufacturers feel obliged to put their logo at the start of the disc at an ear-splitting volume level? MGM DVD is one of the worst at this, but they are far from alone. It is unnecessary, and puts me in a bad mood when I start watching the disc.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced. I believe this to be the original theatrical aspect ratio.

    The image is rather good - fairly sharp, but not so sharp as to induce masses of aliasing. Shadow detail is good. There's no low-level noise.

    Colour is likewise rather good. No over-saturation, no colour bleed, just some good strong colours. The quality of the lighting changes when they arrive at the ranch - brighter light, stronger colours - it's probably intentional.

    There are a few film artefacts (a white blotch at 22:20, another at 51:06, but not heaps more), but they are not troubling. There's no visible aliasing, no MPEG artefacts and no background shimmer - this is an excellent transfer.

    There are subtitles in nine languages. I only checked those in English (I'm no polyglot!). They are easy to read, accurate and well-timed.

    The disc is single-sided and RSDL-formatted. The layer change lies at 55:08, and it is visible, but is not distracting..

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

Audio

    There are four soundtracks on this disc, in four languages. I listened to the English soundtrack.

    The dialogue is clear and comprehensible. There are no signs of audio sync problems.

    The score from Marc Shaiman is fine - it suits the movie well, and is not obtrusive. The choice of Jimmy Durante's Young At Heart for the montage covering the start of the drive was inspired.

    The surrounds and subwoofer are not used by this soundtrack. They aren't missed - this is a dialogue-driven soundtrack, and there'd be few opportunities for them to shine.

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

Extras

Menu

    The main menu is static and silent. It's easy to operate.

Trailer (2:45)

    This is presented widescreen, which is nice. It's a reasonable trailer, and it is presented 16x9 enhanced, which can't hurt.

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 disc has been out for a while. It is quite similar to the Region 4, but the transfer is not quite as good. The Region 1 disc is a bit darker, and exhibits reduced shadow detail, but it is at least as sharp. The difference isn't enough that I'd recommend replacing the R1 with the R4, but it is certainly noticeable. The trailer on the R1 disc is not 16x9 enhanced. The R1 doesn't have subtitles in English, which is odd - if you want languages you're much better off with the R4.

    I recommend buying the Region 4 disc.

Summary

    An enjoyable comedy, on a DVD of quite reasonable quality.

    The video quality is good.

    The audio quality is good.

    The extra is minimal.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Monday, March 25, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-S733A, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

Other Reviews
The DVD Bits - Mark W
DVD Net - Gavin T
region4dvd.net - Darren R (read my bio (fun for the whole family))

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