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Category:    Home > Reviews > Comedy > Drama > Crime > Australia > Malcolm/Death In Brunswick/The Big Steal (Umbrella Entertainment Region Zero/0/PAL DVD Set)

Malcolm/Death In Brunswick/The Big Steal (Umbrella Entertainment Region Zero/0/PAL DVD Set)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: C+/C/C+     Films: C+/C/C+



PLEASE NOTE: This DVD can only be operated on machines capable of playing back DVDs that can handle Region Zero/0/PAL format software and can be ordered from our friends at Umbrella Entertainment at the website address provided at the end of the review.



Three well-known indie productions from Australia have been collected into one DVD set by Umbrella Entertainment and they are not bad.  The comedies fare better than the lone drama, but most people (especially in the U.S., for instance) have not seen them and they are all worth a look no matter what.  It also helps that the comedies have the same director.


Nadia Tass is responsible for Malcolm (1986) and The Big Steal (1990), her films before and after her one crossover success with Rikki & Pete.  I need to see Rikki again, but really enjoyed the two films where the protagonists eventually land up in crime by default.  Colin Friels is Malcolm, a loner and mechanical genius who is about to get fired from his job and land up being taken advantage of by a criminal who will use him to help set up a heist.  An entertaining if somewhat predictable slice of life comedy, it knows when to quit at 90 minutes and has enough fun moments to give it a look.


The Big Steal has Ben Mendelsohn as Danny Clark, a young man who is a victim of the invisible caste system and wants a Jaguar (especially an XJ-6, for which we can all relate) he cannot afford.  But add a sexy woman and fast ideas about everything and you know he’ll be behind the wheel of one whether he should be or not.  It gets worse when he trades the gift Nissan from his dad for an XJ-6 to a no good used car dealer and things really get interesting.  Again, another fun film from Tass, who is underrated.


Death In Brunswick (1991) is a drama about a man (the always reliable Sam Neill) who becomes a cook and lands up in a fatal fight that puts his life in jeopardy.  The film can be flat, uneven and predictable, but his performance and the mod of the film by director John Ruane helps and is a nice change of pace to see.  It is also more proof of how good Neill is as an actor and the supporting cast is decent too.


The anamorphically enhanced 1.85 X 1 image on all the films are about even, with some detail issues, some aged print issues and Steal has some weak Video Black.  At least color is good.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono and 2.0 Stereo on Brunswick are about even as well, with the later a bit compressed and offering no palpable surrounds in this edition.  The theatrical Dolby was old analog A-type and this is a generation down.  Extras include audio commentary tracks for each film (Brunswick has two) by key creators & participants, trailers for each respective film, while Malcolm adds cast/crew profiles/interviews, Popcorn Taxi Q&A, Press Kit, more Malcolm games and interviews at the AFI Awards.  Steal adds original cast audition tapes, cast interviews and Tess + Writer/Director Of Photography David Parker (who do the commentary track) doing on-camera interviews.


All in all, that is a good set.



As noted above, you can order this PAL DVD import exclusively from Umbrella at:





-   Nicholas Sheffo


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