Liberty Stands Still (2002)

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Released 5-May-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Main Menu Audio
Audio Commentary
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-4-Way Split Screens
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 92:30 (Case: 96)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (76:22) Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Kari Skogland
Studio
Distributor

Universal Pictures Home Video
Starring Wesley Snipes
Linda Fiorentino
Oliver Platt
Martin Cummins
Jonathan Scarfe
Hart Bochner
Case ?
RPI $19.95 Music Michael Convertino


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.78:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles None Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

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

Plot Synopsis

    The Second Amendment has been in the media of late, especially in America. Unfortunately, too many kids have access to guns and the thought that some parents honestly believe that pre-teens have enough self control to handle them without supervision is nauseating. Liberty Stands Still is a movie that brings the issue of gun control to our attention and tries to do so in a dramatic and moving manner. There are times when the plot seems to lose its way, but for the most part this is a convincing attempt to raise the issue once again, this time from a Hollywood perspective.

    Liberty (Linda Fiorentino) is the Vice President of a gun manufacturer, a company that has been in her family since her Great Grandfather founded it. Together with her husband Victor (Oliver Platt), they are willing to supply arms to anyone without any regard for their actions. In one instance they gave firearms to the police at below cost merely as an advertising stunt. Then they turned around and supplied the drug dealers and street hoods with the same high-powered weapons to even the score. Yeah, a really nice couple.

    Since Victor is keen to sleep with any woman that will help expand his business ventures, Liberty has quietly taken on a boyfriend of her own. While on her way to meet her boyfriend, Liberty drops by the local hot dog vendor for a quick snort of cocaine. Just as she is about to leave, she is contacted on her mobile and is told to return to the hot dog stand and attach her leg to the stand by chain. It takes a bullet to be shot into her handbag before Liberty realises that this is no joke. Once her leg has been chained, she is told that she will help publicise the Second Amendment issue to the press.

    The sniper is an ex-CIA operative known only as Joe (Wesley Snipes), whose daughter was recently killed by a schoolboy wielding the same model rifle that Joe now has trained on Liberty. As an added incentive, he has placed a bomb in the vending stand which will go off if her mobile phone is disconnected . . . or runs out of batteries . . .

    The movie was shot in Vancouver, made to look like L.A., in only 18 days instead of the average 22 days films of this type would take. This becomes apparent with some lines of the script appearing rushed or not fully polished, leaving me with a feeling that the movie was only 80% ready for the public. The actors also had to contend with a whopping 20 - 30 pages of dialogue per day rather than the "norm" of around 3 pages a day. Both of these factors worked against the movie, which was a shame.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.78:1 and is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is acceptable, and for the most part is clear and well defined. Shadow detail is good with deep blacks and good visibility on the subjects in scenes that were in dim rooms or at night. There is no low level noise.

    The colours were true to life and realistic in their presentation. The park where the majority of the filming takes place contains plenty of greenery and the clothing worn by the passers-by was believable in its colouration.

    There was mild MPEG artefacting in the form of mild posterization on some backgrounds shot indoors. Aliasing is very rare and very mild when it does occur. Film artefacts are small in size but unfortunately they are quite common.

    There are no subtitles available on this disc.

    This disc is RSDL-formatted, with the layer change occurring at 76:22. The slight pause was noticeable, but it was nonetheless placed at the most logical spot for a layer change. Either side of this marker there is too much dialogue, which would have made the layer change more noticeable.

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

Audio

     The dialogue portion of the audio is fine, especially when you take into account some of the technical aspects of how the dialogue was captured. In every scene where the actors are talking on the phone, the actual recording was made over the phone to give that realistic sound that is hard to emulate in a studio. However, the added sound effects that were put in after filming sounded fake and were often moving in a direction contrary to the on-screen action (something I will elaborate on later).

    There are three audio tracks on this DVD. The default is an English Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. There is also an English Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded track and an English Audio Commentary track, with Dolby Digital 2.0 sound. I listened to the Dolby Digital 5.1 and Commentary tracks in their entirety.

    The dialogue was clear and easy to understand at all times and, as I mentioned before, recording clear sound from telephone handsets would have been an interesting challenge. Audio sync was not a problem at all with this transfer, and was completely spot on.

    The musical score by Michael Convertino was very unusual and eerie. Personally, I felt that the music did not suit this sort of production at all and rather than add value it simply removed tension from some scenes that would have been far more powerful with fitting music. At other times, the score could be downright annoying. Fortunately, the volume levels of the score did not drown out the dialogue at any point during the movie.

    The surround channels were very aggressively used for music. The few specific directional effects were often mismatched with the on-screen action. At 48:08, the chopper has some good directional sound which suited the scene but at 57:30 and 57:49, it sounded like it was coming from behind and heading towards the front. In contrast, on-screen it moves from left to right.

    The subwoofer was very lightly used, but this type of soundtrack does not warrant heavy subwoofer use.

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

Extras

     A small selection of extras are present on this disc.

Menu

    The menu design is themed around the movie and is shown in the same aspect ratio as the feature. The main menu features a static graphic and Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded audio.

Audio Commentary

    This commentary is by Director Kari Skogland, Producer Gary Pearl and Editor Jim Munro. They all provide interesting information about the feature and Skogland especially is very passionate about not only the subject but also her final product. Definitely well worth a listen if you also enjoyed watching the main feature.

Theatrical Trailer (2:22)

    This is of similar quality to the main feature, and is presented at an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 with Dolby Digital 2.0 surround-encoded sound.

Featurette-4-Way Split Screens (5:25)

    Here we have some scenes from the movie that are shown with 4 different camera angles complete with their time markings. The footage moves between the split screens and occasionally back to concentrating on just one screen for the tenser moments.

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 version of this disc misses out on;

    The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     Both versions are almost identical in their main feature content, excluding the PAL and NTSC formatting differences. Unfortunately, the Region 4 version misses out on subtitles which will be a big factor for some. I was able to find one Region 1 site that referred to multiple camera angles (well, 2 angles) at times during the main feature. The Region 4 version has no menu option to access this nor did my Pioneer DVD player detect the presence of multi-angle content at any stage during the feature. The Region 1 version wins by a nose.

Summary

    This political drama was something that I found interesting and was pleased that I had been given the opportunity to see it. Whist I still feel that it was not finished off properly, it was something that I would recommend at least as a rental. Fans of Snipes or Fiorentino may want to add it to their collection because both do have some solid dialogue to deliver and are the sole reason the film even works at all.

    The video quality is average but the transfer does contain a number of small film artefacts throughout.

    The music was completely wrong for this feature in my opinion and detracted from the message that the director was trying to get across. The few instances of the chopper sound moving one way while it physically went another were distracting at the time.

    The extras are average but the commentary was interesting.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Peter Mellor (read my bio)
Friday, December 13, 2002
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-533K, using S-Video output
DisplayLoewe 72cm. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVR-2802 Dolby EX/DTS ES Discrete
SpeakersWhatmough Audiolabs Magnum M30 (Mains); M05 (Centre); M10 (Rears); Magnat Vector Needle Sub25A Active SubWoofer

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