PictureThe film is presented in an anamorphic 2.35:1 print although it rather confusingly states 16:9 widescreen on the packaging. Image quality is competent but nothing more. There is picture grain throughout especially in dark scenes such as by the lake at night. Edge enhancement is present but not to a disturbing intent. Skin tones are accurate and clean and there is good colour balance. Shadow detail is fair and no digital artefacts were present. It won't win any awards but it won't astound you either.
SoundDolby Digital 5.1 (448kbs) is the order of the day. Being a family drama all the sound is from the front channels except when the score or some on screen music plays. The disco scenes do have a little action in the bass frequencies and the surround channels but not much. Dialogue is focused and clear which is as it should be. Again this is perfectly adequate for the subject matter but nothing more. It does what it says on the tin. If it were an ice cream it would be vanilla.
ExtrasNothing spectacular here. There is a 28-minute making of featurette. It follows the same disappointing trend of many of these by consisting of the actors explaining how wonderful it was to work with each other and how marvellous they all are. This is made worse by the fact that this time most of them are related. It becomes a real family love in. This is followed by a short 6 minute piece entitled “All That Grit” about the movies of Kirk Douglas.
Rounding things out is a feature length commentary by director Fred Schepisi. In this he rehashes some of the tales from the making of documentary, and fleshes these out with technical information on the shoot. I am the kind of person who enjoys technical commentary and therefore enjoyed this. However the lack of actor input will put off many.
VerdictThis movie is a gentle family drama more akin to a soap opera rather than a big screen flick. The story, acting, directing and disc are all adequate but rather bland. It is hard not to see this as a Douglas family vanity piece, despite protestations from Michael Douglas that this was not the case. If family comedy dramas are your thing then you should be watching The Royal Tenenbaums, which has all the spirit, insight, and direction that this film sadly lacks. It made $8M at the US box office and has not seen the light of day in the U.K. It probably never will. But no one will miss it.
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