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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • English: DTS 5.1 Surround
  • English: Dolby Digital Stereo
  Subtitles
    English
  Extras
  • Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Audio commentary
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • 2 Featurette
  • Production notes

John Q.

Roadshow Entertainment/Roadshow Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 111 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Denzel Washington puts in another patented Denzel Washington Performance© in this movie about Denzel Washington trying to get a replacement heart for his son, Denzel Washington, Jnr. When his son suddenly needs a new heart or he'll die, Denzel Washington discovers his medical insurance won't pay for the transplant because of the low hours he works at the local factory. At the desperate urging of his wife, Denzel Washington does what anyone in the same situation would do - he calls A Current Affair...

Actually, Denzel Washington (played brilliantly and with great righteousness and humanity by Denzel Washington) goes bananas and holds a hospital emergency room hostage. Hmm... that doesn't sound right - holding a hospital emergency room hostage. "All right, if any of you bedpans move, the defibrillator gets it!". I guess I should say that he holds a hospital emergency room full of people hostage, until the hospital guarantees him that they’ll get his son a new heart and the Pokemon card he needs to complete his set.

During the course of reviewing this DVD, I found that if you play it backwards and listen closely to Denzel Washington's dialogue, you can clearly hear the words "I deserve another Oscar for this performance." Further investigation found that you could hear these words during all his previous movies. I even found some films that didn’t star Denzel Washington that still had these words hidden in the dialogue. Weird.

But it's not all Denzel Washington's film. Just mostly. Hoping some of the Denzel Washington magic will rub off on them are: Robert Duvall (played by Denzel Washington's forehead), Anne Heche (played by Denzel Washington's penis), Ray Liotta (played by Denzel Washington's crazy eyes) and James Woods (played by Denzel Washington's facial tic). There are other actors who play the young child and Denzel Washington’s wife, but they’re not important.

But as much as I enjoy writing the words “Denzel Washington”, I have to admit that “Denzel Washington” has a strange sound to it after a while. It's like the first name doesn't belong with the last name. Try it yourself: “Denzel Washington, Denzel Washington, Denzel Washington, Denzel Washington”. See? It starts off okay, kind of of rolling off your tongue, but then around the third repetition the words trip on your teeth, then slip on the saliva on your lips to go tumbling to the floor in a flurry of consonants and vowels. Maybe he should change it to Denzel Furfurrgarten, or Boris Washington? I think they sound better. Don't you?

On a positive note, let me just say that this DVD is Denzel Washington, and you should rush out to your nearest Denzel Washington, slap down some hard earned Denzel Washington's and make this Denzel Washington part of your Denzel Washington today.

  Video
Contract

Typically, Village Roadshow = “Knock your socks off”, but here, I’d draw the line at “Slowly pull my socks down to my ankles and then leave the room.” Sure, it’s another great looking transfer, initially. But something seems not quite right. The problem is that the finer details, such as facial lines, patterns and textures, often aren’t resolved very well, with the slightest movements blurring them. Compressing the film down to fit on DVD just looks a tad overdone on far too many scenes and takes a toll on the stability of the picture. This manifests itself too many times to mention, but can be seen when figures pass in front of brick walls, patterned walls, a closeup on a talking face, etc. You might perceive these issues a little less harshly than I have, but even so you’ll probably think the picture looks a bit too soft at times and maybe a bit “off” for want of a better word.

The picture tends to be dark, particularly in the hospital, which was an intentional decision (as revealed in the commentary) and blacks are a bit overwhelming because of this at times, and it explains the slight lack of depth to darker areas. Also, the aspect ratio is 1.85:1, not 2.35:1 as stated on the cover, and of course it is 16:9 enhanced.

  Audio
Contract

The story is set predominantly in a hospital, and is mostly a gabfest with a few action-lite pieces accentuated with alternately a dramatic score or ill-fitting songs, so the clarity in the dialogue is most important, and to this end it is perfect.

Where it goes a little beyond the call of duty is how it makes good use of the soundstage. It can often envelope the room with effects to draw the viewer into the environment, be it the cavernous sound of a parking garage or the manic streets surrounding the siege, while the soundstage broadens and contracts well with the various settings.

The results are very similar whether listening to the 448kbps DD5.1 or 768kbps DTS 5.1 audio track. Feel free to pick either one knowing that you get a good result regardless. There's a DD2.0 stereo mix on here as well, so have a listen to that as, well, because I'm sure it gets lonely.

  Extras
Contract

You want extras? We got extras. Let’s skip the mumbo-jumbo and dive right in.

Audio Commentary with director Nick Cassavetes, actress Kimberley Elise, writer Jim Kearns and DoP Rogiers Stoffers.
I liked this one commentary for some reason. It’s not particularly riveting as such, but it contains enough small titbits about about the shooting, a few little anecdotes and some personal motivation behind the story which gives a better understanding of probably why the story seemed a little overcooked to me. DoP Rogiers Stoffers has a very thick accent, so he can be a bit hard to understand every now and then, but he still has a few interesting things to say from the perspective of shooting the film. It’s a fair mix of scene specific content and general related commentary, with the bulk coming from Cassavettes and Kearns. If I can lay fault anywhere, it’s that it can contain a little too much adulation of its stars.

Feature: Fighting For Care (34:26)
While more relevant for the American system, this still opens your eyes to the problem of organ transplants upon the hip-pocket. The sky high costs for the operation itself, and then the follow-on care as revealed here, are simply ridiculous and expose what must be an existence of ”pay or die” for far too many people. If anything, this feature makes me want to learn a little bit more about the failings of our own health care system here in Australia – something which I hope doesn’t scare me as much as some of the content in here did.

Feature: Behind the Scenes of John Q (16:54)
I didn’t find this as interesting as the above feature, but for 16 minutes it does cover a bit of ground, typically leaving you wanting more as these short things do.

6 Deleted/Alternate Scenes with/without Commentary (20mins)
Mostly extensions of existing scenes, Cassavettes has valid reason for them, but realises that there was good cause as to why he had to cut them to keep the message focussed and the running time tight. Theses scenes wouldn’t have added anything new to the film had they been kept.

Original Theatrical Press Kit
Good text notes on the production and only brief bio info for the cast and crew.

Theatrical Trailer (2:15)
Next...

Not an extra, though I thought I’d mention it, the chapter selections have a brief description of what occurs at that particular point in the film, giving you an easier way of knowing which chapter you want to replay at a later point. Useful? Who knows? I just thought I'd mention it.

  Overall  
Contract

Regardless of what I say in my waffle at the start of the review, there was no way that Washington was ever going to be up for another Oscar based on this film. The big problem is that many times throughout the film you get the weird feeling you’re watching a made for television movie. Some of the filming, the dialogue and the plot sinks to television level and takes you out of big screen drama mode, temporarily ruining the illusion of a worthy experience.

On the positive side, there are enough tugs at the heart strings to make it emotionally draining viewing, even if they do drive home the problems of the state of health care a little too hard to be comfortable.

This DVD is certainly a well rounded release, especially for Washington fanatics, with a good but flawed picture, fine sound courtesy of similar DD 5.1 and DTS5.1 mixes, and a swag of extras which expand on the concepts in the film while entertaining and educating.


  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=2035
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      And I quote...
    "A well-rounded release with a good but flawed picture, fine sound courtesy of similar DD 5.1 and DTS 5.1 mixes, and a swag of extras which expand on the concepts in the film while entertaining and educating."
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB1070
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale WH-2
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
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