DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Sideways

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Michael Osadciw, Mar 18, 2005.

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  1. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    Michael Osadciw
    [​IMG]
    FOX SEARCHLIGHT PRESENTS
    SIDEWAYS





    Studio: 20th Century Fox
    Film Year: 2004

    U.S. Rating: R
    Canadian Rating: 18A

    Film Length: 127 minutes
    Genre: Comedy-Drama

    Aspect Ratio:[*] 1.85:1
    Colour/B&W: Colour

    Audio:[*] English Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround[*] Spanish Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround[*] French Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround
    Subtitles: English, Spanish, & French
    Closed Captioned: Yes

    SLP: $19.95






    Release Date: April 5, 2005



    Film Rating: [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Starring: Paul Giamatti (Miles), Thomas Haden Church (Jack), Virginia Madsen (Maya), Sandra Oh (Stephanie)

    Directed by: Alexander Payne


    In search of wine. In search of women. In search of themselves.



    I’ve been sitting at my desk thinking about how to start off this review of a little film called Sideways. I never knew it existed in the theatres, yet the film gained so much popularity in a short period of time. This comedy is recognized as a clear winner in terms of story and writing, scooping up an Academy Award for Best Writing – Adapted Screenplay (and nominated for four others including Best Picture) as well as being nominated for seven Golden Globe Awards and taking home Best Picture and Best Screenplay. Wow! You can bet I was eager to put this DVD in to check it out. Let me tell you: I was not disappointed.

    Director Alexander Payne, popular for his recent films About Schmidt and Election, brings the characters to life in this poignant story of two buddies who take a week together to taste wine, eat fine foods, and golf as they celebrate the single life before marriage. But Miles and Jack share as much in common as a golf club and a bottle of wine. They have a friendship from being freshmen in college, but as years have gone by they are completely different people.

    Miles (Paul Giamatti) is a pill-popping depressed individual; he’s a Grade 8 teacher and has failed attempts at becoming a writer. He is still heartbroken over his divorce that happened two years ago and wallows in his self-pity. He wants to believe being single is all he needs as he enjoys his favourite hobby of wine tasting – and drinking it excessively.

    Jack (played by Thomas Hayden Church) is about to get married. He’s an actor and a voice-actor, young at heart and loves his women. This week-long drive around Southern California is for him to celebrate his last few days as a bachelor. Yet both men find each other butting heads in terms of what they should be doing on this trip.

    Miles wants this trip to be private between the two of them – old buddies getting together and celebrate good times. Jack, on the other hand, is looking for a piece of ass in what he sees as his last week of freedom. Each of them tries to impose their personalities on each other but it doesn’t work. The comically mismatched pair soon finds themselves drowning in both wine and women. As they take on these female companions, they experience travelling up, down, and sideways on the road of life.

    Wonderfully written and brilliantly acted, Sideways is now one of my favourite films this year. No wonder it appeared on over 340 “top ten” film lists of 2004. There is lots of character development in this film; Paul Giamatti and Thomas Hayden Church are so convincing in their roles it felt like I personally knew these guys while watching the film. I can’t imagine any two other actors to fill the roles of these characters. They look like and play such opposites you become convinced these guys are real people. In a sense they are. There is a little bit of both Miles and Jack in most people - or you could feel like you are looking in the mirror. I should also mention that the performances of the two females in this story, Sandra Oh and Virginia Madsen are also equally fantastic.


    [​IMG]VIDEO QUALITY
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    The video quality of this fantastic film has a slightly 1970s look as intended by the director. The warm sunsets over the Californian terrain are strong in their appearance and the film frequently has a look of dusk. Don’t be bothered though, flesh tones and other colours look natural in the dry environment. There has been some tweaking to the image to get this look, and in some instances it makes the image look grainier than it should. Finer details seem to be lost making the image a little softer than other DVDs seen today. White levels never look clipped but black level can be somewhat higher, thus reducing extreme contrast in the image and making it look slightly faded. There are also a few compression artefacts that show up every once and a while. There seems to be very minor edge enhancement in a few instances, but it doesn’t prove to be bothersome throughout. Overall, this is a very pleasing looking DVD but it falls short of some of the better looking discs.

    I reviewed the enhanced widescreen disc of the 1.85:1 film. There is a separate 1.33:1 full screen version available as well.


    [​IMG]AUDIO QUALITY [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    There is a nice jazz soundtrack in this film setting the mood perfectly as these two buddies wine and dine across southern California. This is a dialogue driven film and sound effects are adequately placed to give the impression of environment. Thankfully none of the effects are exaggerated as they are in other movies. The dialogue is accompanied by distortion once and a while and it is more forward than I’d like it to be. In some scenes, the mid-bass in dialogue is prominent making it sound chesty and closely mic’d. Surround information is very modest in this soundtrack encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1. It’s used only to expand the front soundstage in several scenes. Don’t expect the LFE to do much either. Actually, I’m glad it doesn’t because there is no purpose for it in a movie like this.


    [​IMG]SPECIAL FEATURES [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] / [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]


    I absolutely LOVED the commentary on this DVD. Spoken by actors Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church, it’s about as funny and interesting (if not more amusing) than the film itself! I had a hoot listening to these two guys joke away at everything. By listening to this commentary, you can tell these two guys really click together as a pair when working together. This gave great on-screen chemistry as two buddies. When Thomas Haden Church speaks, he sounds just like his character on screen…it’s as if he played himself. I kept thinking: “I already know this guy…”

    There are eight deleted scenes that were cut by the director late in the editing process just to speed up the film. There is a written introduction to all of the deleted scenes by Director Alexander Payne, and then an intro to each specific scene (I caught two typos, someone better proof-read a little better). The scenes are presented in 1.85:1 widescreen but aren’t enhanced for widescreen TVs. The look finished and as good as the film in its final form. They also include a moment in the film before and after the deleted scene for context. The deleted scenes add up to a little over five minutes. I still the Miles hits a dog was a great scene…they should have left it in!!

    Next is a 6-minute behind the scenes featurette that talks briefly of what the film is about. I wouldn’t call it a good behind the scenes featurette because it has lots of clips of the movie in it as the story is being explained. I like to see a little more “behind the scenes” rather than repeated portions of the movie I’ve just watched.

    Don’t forget to look for three easter eggs, and I can’t forget to mention that the theatrical trailer is included too.


    IN THE END…

    Great movie! Highly recommended! A winner of Academy and Golden Globe Awards, the judges weren’t wrong for nominating Sideways in many categories. This is an excellent story that is wonderfully performed by the cast. Still playing in some theatres, I’m glad it’s quickly available on DVD. So raise your wine glasses high and make a toast to Sideways. A winner to be watched!!

    Michael Osadciw
    05.03.18
     
  2. Rhoq

    Rhoq Supporting Actor

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    Saw it in the theater and absolutely loved it. Easily the funniest film of 2004. It's not too often that you find an adult-oriented comedy. I'm really looking forward to getting htis on DVD. Thanks for the early review. [​IMG]
     
  3. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I watched this film twice in the movie theater and always thought it wouldn't make a great looking disc compared to other films.






    Crawdaddy
     
  4. PaulP

    PaulP Producer

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    No Payne commentary? He did one for all his other movies, I believe...
     
  5. Colin Jacobson

    Colin Jacobson Producer

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    Nope - no commentary for About Schmidt...
     
  6. Jeff D Han

    Jeff D Han Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the review, Michael.[​IMG]

    I was going to buy this DVD anyway, but it's
    nice to hear that the commentary track is worth
    listening to.
     
  7. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    This is my favorite film of 2004, and if I had my way it would have won all the Oscars it was nominated for (and Best Actor as well - how Giamatti was not nominated is the Oscar mystery of the year to me). But that's just my opinion... [​IMG]

    I agree with Crawdaddy - this was not the best looking film in its theatrical presentation, and based on Michael's review (and others I've read), it sounds like the DVD is pretty faithful to that presentation, warts & all.

    Nice review, and I can not wait to pick this up!!
     
  8. TheLongshot

    TheLongshot Producer

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    Actually, just saw this in the theater. Great film. As for the comment of the quality, it wasn't the greatest looking film on the big screen either, so I'm not surprised that the DVD looks that way.

    Jason
     
  9. Greg Robinson

    Greg Robinson Stunt Coordinator

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    Here's what I'd like to know.... if you liked Sideways, what did you think of About Schmidt? Anyone seen both? How would you rate each? Thanks!
     
  10. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

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    There was a thread in the movie forum covering this very same topic. Sideways by far, although Schmidt is good as well.

    In any case, I am shocked by the lack of activity in this thread about one of the best movies of last year, critically acclaimed, multiple nominations and all that. What gives?

    --
    H
     
  11. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I don't think too many people on this forum have seen the film except those that hangout in Movies. Hopefully, many will be able to make up for that by watching the dvd.






    Crawdaddy
     
  12. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    i dont think i've bought a dvd since the star wars trilogy se, but sideways is a must buy for me.

    probably my favorite film in the last 8 years or so, i thought it was fantastic. as of last night, i have now seen all of alexander payne's films. although i like election the best, if i were to rate them in order of quality, i'd say sideways first, election, about schmidt, and citizen ruth. the story of citizen ruth was great, but ruth was just so awful of a person, i couldnt feel for her at all. good performance by laura dern though.

    anyway, cant wait to hear that commentary, thanks for the review.

    CJ
     
  13. Tino

    Tino Lead Actor
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    I enjoyed this film, but thought it was the weakest of the five nominated and a bit overrated.

    However I will still pick it up since I did enjoy it and my wife is a huge wine enthusiast. I think it will play much better at home.
     
  14. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    Man...if there ever was a film I WANTED to like, but don't its this film.

    I, too, heard all the positive buzz about this, and several people I know saw it and loved it, but I just did not enjoy it at all. The story of drifting away from your friends is one that I have experienced myself. The emotions these guys have of depression, anxiety, clinging onto being single, are all thing I am familiar with, yet, I just did not find this movie entertaining or funny in the least. I actually had to stop the film about halfway through to take a break, so that I could build up enough stamina to finish it.

    Someone, please tell me something that I may have missed that would make me want to watch this again and give it another chance.
     
  15. Mark Bendiksen

    Mark Bendiksen Screenwriter

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    Put me in the camp that thinks the movie is absolutely wonderful. For the record, About Schmidt is also one of my favorite films of the last several years. I also appreciate the brilliant way Payne ended both films. I will not go into spoilers here, but at the risk of sounding overly analytical, in both movies the very final shot is the key to us understanding the culmination of the protagonist's "journey", and in both cases it's extremely well done, IMHO.
     
  16. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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  17. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

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    I haven't seen the DVD yet, but I did see this film in the theater and many of the scenes were very soft and even haloed on film.

    I think this was a deliberate effect designed to draw us into the buzzed/drunken feel of the trip and its activities. 'Course, it's possible the DVD is just fuzzy.
     
  18. Marty M

    Marty M Cinematographer

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    I don't know if I can convince you but, this is a well written and acted movie. I submerged myself in the characters and the great dialogue among these characters.

    Like Lost In Translation, Sideways is character driven with great dialogue. These are the type of movies I personally like. I was going to purchase Sideways without reading any reviews.

    FWIW, I saw at several etailers the SLLLP is $29.95.
     
  19. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    Thanks for the encouragement guys. I did like Lost in Translation. Maybe I just viewed the movie on a day I wasnt in the mood for that type of movie. It happens sometimes. For as good of a movie as Lord of the Rings or Alien is, sometimes Im just not in the mood to watch those types of movies, and perhaps this is another case.
     
  20. ZacharyTait

    ZacharyTait Cinematographer

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    Great review of the DVD. I'll be picking this up!

    Sideways was my #1 movie of 2004 until Million Dollar Baby came out.I too am flabbergasted that Paul Giamatti didn't get an Oscar nomination, although, considering the field, I can understand.

    I'm glad to hear that the look of the film on DVD represents how it looked in the theaters. I shudder thinking what it could have looked if Miri-axe had gotten their hands on this.


    Suggested Low Low Low Price? [​IMG]
     

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