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Table for Five

Blu Ray

  • Score
    57
    from 2 reviewers
    Review Date:
  • Table for Five: scenic but routine, with solid performances & tech, yet emotionally uneven.

    Table for Five Blu-ray Front Cover

    Disc Release Date:

  • Video
    60
  • Both films suffer from aging transfers, lacking in detail and vibrancy, with noticeable wear and inconsistencies in color and contrast, detracting from the viewing experience.

  • Audio
    62
  • The 2.0 DTS-HD MA sound mixes exhibit minor age wear and a lack of natural voice appeal, with some definition loss but adequate mood capture in music and atmospherics, while maintaining intelligibility throughout conversational content.

  • Extra
  • The disc lacks additional content, featuring only trailers for 'Coming Home' (SD, 2:03) and 'Ulee's Gold' (HD, 1:56), without any supplementary materials.

  • Movie
    67
  • Table for Five, a melodrama inspired by the success of Kramer vs. Kramer, features Jon Voight as a detached father reconnecting with his kids on a trip, navigating clichés and emotional depth amidst criticism and acclaim.

    Video: 60

    The Blu-ray presentation of "Table for Five," with its AVC encoded image boasting a 1.78:1 aspect ratio, leaves much to be desired, echoing sentiments of an aging master struggling with the film's softly shot cinematography. This results in a video that feels outdated, with filtering overwhelming the image and erasing delicate details essential for the movie's poignant moments. The depiction of the cruise ship and various global settings suffers due to a lack of texture and definition, making these potentially vibrant scenes appear dull and monotonous. The color palette is notably subdued, failing to deliver the natural vivacity one would expect, further hampered by occasionally overly red skin tones and indistinct shadow delineation, which introduces a milkiness in darker scenes. Additionally, the presence of pixelation and a moderate amount of physical wear on the source, including scratches and speckles, cannot be overlooked.

    In terms of overall video quality, the film experiences an inconsistent transfer that could be likened to a hazy melodrama, bouncing between moments of high definition clarity and prolonged stretches of overly soft imagery lacking in detail. This presentation choice may contribute to the film's intended dreamlike atmosphere, yet it detracts from the expected sharpness and richness of close-ups and mid-shots. However, it's not all lacking; the colors retain a natural tone that suits the era of the film well, with flesh tones appearing genuine and primary colors slightly muted but present. While black levels and contrast vary - some scenes achieving satisfactory depth and others appearing washed out - the film print's condition is decent, showing only minor signs of age during transitions like the opening credits. In summary, while the video quality offers moments that shine, they are overshadowed by significant issues that hinder the overall visual experience, delivering an outcome that is adequate but falls short of expectations for a remastered HD presentation.

    Audio: 62

    The audio presentation of "Table for Five" on Blu-ray is provided through an English DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono track that, while reasonably effective for the film's requirements, presents both strengths and weaknesses inherent in its age and design. The 2.0 DTS-HD MA sound mix confronts some age-related challenges with occasional mild hiss and pops that punctuate the listening experience, slightly detracting from its overall clarity. Dialogue, predominantly crisp despite a tendency towards shrill highs and passable lows, remains intelligible throughout, though occasionally voices seem somewhat subdued, lacking a bit of their natural warmth and presence. This slight burial of vocal tones does not significantly impact the narrative's understandability but may require an attentive ear at times.

    The track performs adequately in delivering the film's scoring, capturing its mournful moods with satisfactory instrumentation despite a lack of sharp definition. Sound effects and atmospherics are present and contribute to the setting's believability, especially in scenes on the ship where the hustle of hallways and dining rooms is effectively conveyed, as well as during cultural tours that appropriately evoke a sense of community activity. These elements are subtly executed, aimed more at enhancing naturalism than showcasing audio dynamism. However, there are moments where audio can feel somewhat artificial or "canned," likely due to post-production dubbing, though these instances are few and do not overly detract from the experience.

    In terms of audio spatiality, the presentation is largely front/center focused, reflecting its mono origin with limited imaging that restricts a sense of movement or auditory expansiveness—even in scenes with significant activity or mobile characters. This focus aligns with the film's conversational nature, supporting the dialogue-driven narrative without striving for auditory spectacle. Overall, while not dynamic or particularly immersive, the audio track suits the subdued and introspective nature of "Table for Five," offering a workable if unspectacular auditory complement to its visual counterpart.

    Extra:

    The Blu-ray release of "Table for Five," unfortunately, offers a very lean package when it comes to supplementary content, catering only to enthusiasts of film trailers. The extras consist solely of two trailers for other films, "Coming Home" and "Ulee's Gold." While the inclusion of these trailers might intrigue those interested in exploring more cinematic offerings, for fans looking for insights, behind-the-scenes features, or any content directly related to "Table for Five" itself, this release will likely be a disappointment. The trailers provide a brief glimpse into the thematic and cinematic style of their respective movies, but do not add value to the main feature on the disc. The professional and direct presentation of these materials follows suit with standard expectations but leaves much to be desired for a more enriching viewing experience.

    Extras included in this disc:

    • COMING HOME TRAILER: A brief preview of the movie.
    • ULEE'S GOLD TRAILER: A high-definition preview of the film.

    Movie: 67

    In "Table for Five," a 1983 melodrama directed by Robert Lieberman and featuring a post-Kramer vs. Kramer inspired Hollywood intrigued by the familial drama surrounding divorced fathers, we find J.P. Tannen (Jon Voight), a former professional golfer turned aspiring real estate magnate embarking on an ambitious yet questionable journey to rebuild his relationship with his children through a European cruise. The film ventures into familiar territory, charting the bittersweet experiences of an absentee father grappling with fatherhood and the ramifications of his past life choices. Lieberman, together with screenwriter David Seltzer, navigates this emotional landscape with a mixture of formulaic storytelling peppered with genuine moments of heartbreak and introspection, notwithstanding its occasional lapse into TV-melodrama territory.

    "Table for Five" delves into the complexities of fractured families through the lens of J.P.’s half-hearted attempts to connect with his children: Tilde, Truman, and Trung - each bearing unique emotional scars and personal struggles due to their disjointed family situation. While J.P’s escapades as a carefree bachelor clash against his newfound responsibilities, the film articulately explores themes of redemption, the nuances of parental duties, and the quest for familial reconciliation. Through Voight's committed performance and his dynamic with the child actors, the film often succeeds in touching on genuine emotion, despite its penchant for melodramatic exaggeration. The subplot involving J.P.’s late realization of his parental responsibilities and the ensuing custody debacle with Mitchell brings a complex, albeit predictable layer to this family drama.

    Crafted in a period when Hollywood was enamored with the narrative of single fathers navigating the tumult of family life, "Table for Five" embarks on this journey with mixed results. While its approach can feel contrived, the performances lend it a semblance of authenticity that keeps it engaging. The movie's exploration of adult relationships through the lens of familial bonds and personal growth, contrasted with occasional heavy-handed sentimentality, presents a poignant if overly familiar reflection on what it means to be a family amidst turmoil and transformation.

    Total: 57

    The Blu-ray presentation of "Table for Five," a drama that oscillates between moments of emotional depth and certain narrative simplicities, offers a nuanced experience that is both visually striking and slightly underwhelming in its story complexity. Featuring Jon Voight in a central role that demands a high level of emotional engagement, the film navigates the challenges of sudden parenthood amidst the backdrop of visually captivating locations such as Rome, Greece, and the pyramids of Egypt. These grand locations, coupled with the high technical proficiency of editing by Michael Kahn and cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond, ensure that the visual aspect of the film remains compelling, even when the plot encounters moments of predictability or fatigue. The nuanced portrayal of parenthood and the attempt to inject earnest emotional weight into the narrative attest to the film's merits beyond its occasional clichés.

    On the technical front, Kino Lorber's release of "Table for Five" on Blu-ray is competent, if not exceptional. The audio-visual (A/V) presentation is described as workable, suggesting that while it may not push the boundaries of what contemporary home media technology can achieve, it does justice to the film's scenic and directorial strengths. However, potential buyers might find the lack of substantial extras, apart from trailers for other films, a missed opportunity to provide added value or deeper insights into this cinematic piece.

    In conclusion, "Table for Five" emerges on Blu-ray as a product of mixed qualities. Its strengths lie in the compelling performance by Voight, the scenic grandeur captured with technical finesse, and an attempt at profundity in exploring themes of unexpected parenthood and personal growth. However, its narrative simplicity and the bare-bones nature of the Blu-ray extras suggest that this release might appeal more to dedicated fans or collectors than to newcomers. It's a film worth renting for those intrigued by its premise or star performance but perhaps not a priority purchase for the casual viewer or those seeking depth in both storytelling and special features.