Town & Country (2001)

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Released 8-May-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Menu Animation & Audio
Dolby Digital Trailer-Rain
Scene Selection Anim & Audio
Filmographies-Cast & Crew
Theatrical Trailer-2
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 100:13
RSDL / Flipper No/No Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Peter Chelsom
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Warren Beatty
Diane Keaton
Andie MacDowell
Garry Shandling
Jenna Elfman
Natassja Kinski
Goldie Hawn
Case Soft Brackley-Transp
RPI $34.95 Music Rolfe Kent


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (384Kb/s)
English 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 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

    This is a hard movie to review, for while it is not great, it isn't that bad either. It's a mid-life-crisis comedy, in the style of Woody Allen, which employs a number of comic styles ranging from slapstick to one-liners. The movie also has some very serious moments, and looks at marriage and the consequences of infidelity. Generally the all-star cast deliver solid performances, and there are some genuinely funny moments, but somehow the whole thing appeared a little awkward and even disjointed. Perhaps this was because the studio spent about three years editing, then ignoring, and then re-editing this movie, before it was finally released.

    Porter (Warren Beatty) is a successful New York Architect. He lives with his wife, Ellie (Diane Keaton) and children (Josh Hartnett and Tricia Vessey) in a flashy up-town New York home with a bizarre collection of 'hangers-on'. Porter and Ellie discover that their best friends, Griffin (Gary Shandling) and Mona's (Goldie Hawn), marriage is dissolving, after Mona discovers that Griffin has been having an affair. What Ellie doesn't know is that Porter is also having an affair with a beautiful musician (Nastassja Kinski). While Porter half-heartedly wants to end his affair, he somehow also becomes involved with Auburn (Jenna Elfman) and Eugenie (Andie MacDowell). A bedroom farce eventuates, as Porter's troubles mingle with Griffin's. Griffin also has some surprises for Porter, and the movie starts to resemble a 1970s screwball comedy.

    Gary Shandling is the stand-out performer in this movie, and definitely makes the most of his role. Charlton Heston also makes an appearance, as Eugenie's gun-crazed father, and the right-wing, NRA poster-boy has a lot of fun making light of his public image.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The transfer is occasionally soft or grainy, but it is generally very good.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is generally sharp, but some of the close-ups -- especially of Warren Beatty, are quite soft. This appeared to be intentional. The black level is excellent, and the shadow detail is good, as evidenced by the shot in the cupboard at 17:49.

    The image displays a bright and rich palette of well saturated colours, as seen in the vibrant New York City street scenes. The flesh tones are good, but sometimes the characters' faces appeared slightly brown or orange, but this may have been the makeup and/or lighting.

    There were a few MPEG artefacts, but I had to look very, very closely to spot them. While pixelization was never a problem, there is some very slight posterization at times, as can be see on Beatty's face at 20:29. There is also some very slight macro-blocking on the background walls at 21:48 and 63:50, but I am being very picky in mentioning this.

    There were no film-to-video artefacts to complain of. There was no aliasing during this movie, despite the fact that some of the scenes, such as those with New York City skyscrapers were screaming out for it. There was no telecine wobble either.

    This transfer features a pristine print, and there were virtually no film artefacts at all. An example of one appears at 27:42. It is a tiny speck and totally insignificant. You will be hard-pressed to find any others during the entire movie.

    There was a tiny amount of edge enhancement noticeable at times, such as at 86:07, when slight halos appear. This was never distracting however.

    There are only English subtitles on this DVD, and they are accurate.

    This is not a RSDL disc, and the people who squeezed this movie onto one layer without any real problems are very talented indeed.

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

Audio

    There are two audio options on this DVD: English Dolby Digital 5.1 and English Dolby 2.0 Stereo-Surround.

    The dialogue quality and audio sync are excellent on the default English Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.

    The musical score is credited to Rolfe Kent, and it is your standard orchestral score, augmented by some mainly jazz tunes, such as Louis Armstrong's 'Ain't Misbehavin'.

    The surround presence and activity is very limited, as one might expect of a dialogue-based comedy. While the surround sound mix is quite front-heavy, the rear speakers are called upon in times of traffic and rain, such as the rain at 23:19.

    The subwoofer is hardly called upon, but did add to a few sound effects, such as the thunder at 12:02.

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

Extras

    The extras are slim.

Menu

    An animated menu, presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital stereo audio.

Theatrical Trailer 1

    Featuring plenty of scenes that are NOT in the movie, this trailer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Theatrical Trailer 2

    This appears to be the M-rated version of the above trailer (same scenes but with swearing). It is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1, 16x9 enhanced, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio.

Cast & Crew

    Text-based bios (with photos) of the main cast and the director. Perhaps this extra should have been titled 'Cast & Director'?

R4 vs R1

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

    This title was released on DVD in Region 1 in October 2001.

    The Region 4 DVD misses out on:

    The Region 1 DVD misses out on:

    As our single-layered disc doesn't have any real problems, I cannot see any real difference between the two.

Summary

    Town & Country isn't too bad, and if you're a fan of Woody Allen movies, then you might have a few chuckles. If you fall into that category, then it's worth considering when it gets to the weekly section of your local Video Store.

    The video quality is very good.

    The audio quality is good albeit quite front-heavy.

    The extras are slim.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Brandon Robert Vogt (warning: bio hazard)
Tuesday, April 16, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-535, using S-Video output
DisplayGrundig Elegance 82-2101 (82cm, 16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationSony STR DE-545
SpeakersSony SS-V315 x5; Sony SA-WMS315 subwoofer

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