Idiot Box (1996)
Main Menu Audio
Interviews-Cast & Crew
|Year Of Production||1996|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (57:01)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||1,2,3,4,5,6||Directed By||David Caesar|
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Screen, not known whether Pan & Scan or Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.85:1||Miscellaneous|
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
This movie seems a bit confused. It wants to be a comedy and a drama, and doesn't really succeed at either.
The central characters (hardly heroes) are Kev (Ben Mendelssohn) and Mick (Jeremy Sims). They are dole bludgers. Or, should that be economically disadvantaged members of the non-working classes? Or occupationally-challenged? (I have trouble keeping up with the latest PC terms) Of course, they are victims of a callous society - that's why we see them lying about their attempts to get work. Sorry, these two are dole bludgers, young adult delinquents, and vandals.
The cover of this DVD quotes Rolling Stone as saying: "...hits you with maximum impact, snapping your head back...outstanding" - sounds like they were watching Once Were Warriors, rather than this film. I think that's the root of my problem with this disc - when someone gears you up for Die Hard, or The Thomas Crown Affair, and you get the Two Stooges, you're bound to be disappointed. This is a lightweight effort, for all that the participants seem to think that they are making high art, judging by the extras.
Kev and Mick lounge around, watching TV, playing air guitar (or air bass), visiting the video arcade if they have money, buying beer if they have money, and generally wasting their time. Their only big appointment is their trip to the dole office to tell lies to justify the continuation of their dole.
Their descent into crime starts with grabbing a donations bucket from a guy in a koala outfit (I thought the koala suits were collecting for Wilderness, not Athletics). They are a bit disappointed in their take, though. The step from that to robbing a bank is (apparently) a small one. They spend a long time planning their robbery.
In parallel with this we follow a number of other threads: a real bank robber and his drug-addicted wife, two detectives (Graeme Blundell and Deborah Kennedy - they get the most amusing material) who are after this bank robber, and a small-time drug dealer. The most sympathetic character is Mick's girlfriend (Robyn Loau) - she works in the bottle shop where they buy their beer.
Mick is a reasonable bloke, but Kev is a bit of a nutcase - he is filled with anger (why do I think I'm going to be told that he is filled with anger at his situation and the iniquities society has inflicted upon him?). This anger comes out at the least provocation. It comes out as bad language at first, then violence - Kev is a ticking time bomb. There's an awful lot of bad language in this film.
It's not a terrible film, but it is far from what it might have been with a better script.
The DVD is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced. As far as I can discover, the theatrical aspect ratio was 1.85:1 - this looks like it's pan and scan, but there's no definitive answer; it could be open matte. To be honest, it doesn't really matter how they butchered the original image to get it into a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, it is not the way the picture was intended to appear.
The picture is soft, but not bad. Shadow detail is rather good. There's no low-level noise.
Colour is good, with no oversaturation and no colour bleed. There are some nice colours to be seen - a gorgeous blue sky, for example - but there's a lot of dull colours around, too.
There is a lot of aliasing on display, and the occasional moment of moire. There are a few film artefacts (like the circular mark top centre at 73:58), but they are not troubling. There's a little bit of mosquito noise. Overall, the transfer is reasonably clean.
There are no subtitles.
The disc is single sided and RSDL-formatted. The layer change comes at 57:01, in a scene showing the lights of a suburb at night - it is barely noticeable, save for the pause in the sound.
The soundtrack is presented in English, in Dolby Digital 2.0, surround encoded. That's all there is.
The dialogue is sometimes a little hard to make out, but it is generally clear. There are no visible audio sync problems.
There is no one person responsible for the score - it is mostly contemporary songs, but there is one credit for additional compositions - Tim Rogers. The music is a bit loud and discordant, reflective of the characters involved.
The subwoofer is unused. The surrounds get nothing significant to do.
|Surround Channel Use|
The menu is static, with music.
This trailer is presented in widescreen, not 16x9 enhanced - irritating for a movie that's not presented in widescreen. The sound level on this trailer is higher than on the rest of the disc - it sounds compressed, like an advertisement (wonder why?).
The menu lists this as "a 4 minute promo doco" - clearly they didn't check their facts, because it is rather longer than that. However, it is a classic promo piece - full of mutual admiration.
The questions aren't easy to hear, but the answers are interesting enough. A lot of this material is repeated from the featurette - sometimes I wonder if they think we won't watch both, or if they think we have a 20 second memory span.
This is one of the shortest extras I've seen.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
The R4 version of this disc is missing:
The R1 version of this disc is missing:
I suspect that the R1 version is not 16x9 enhanced, but even so I favour the R1 because the DVD should show the intended aspect ratio.
Idiot Box is a mediocre film on a DVD in the wrong aspect ratio.
The video quality is reasonable.
The audio quality is fairly good, but the dialogue is not always easy to make out.
The extras are not bad (what there is of them).
|DVD||Pioneer DV-S733A, using Component output|
|Display||Sony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Speakers||Front Left, Centre, Right: Krix Euphonix; Rears: Krix KDX-M; Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5|