No Reservations: Collection 3 (2008)

Genre(s): Documentary
Image Entertainment || NR - 540 minutes - $24.98 || January 6, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-04-14


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.
Video

.:: A U D I O ::.
Audio

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: NA
Writer(s): NA
Cast: Anthony Bourdain


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
    None


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Widescreen (1.78)
  • English (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: None

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.::THE FILM::.

When "No Reservations" arrived at my doorstep, I was hoping for something similar to that of a ďHellís KitchenĒ or another show that centers mainly on eating food. While a picky eater myself, I am always looking to break that habit by trying to find new items that donít make me sick to my stomach when I look at them and thus want to try them out. I was hoping for a great show, but what I got in return was something I didnít expect; a boring and tedious season of visiting countries with little emphasis on food.

Host and best-selling author (according to the back of the DVD case, I canít confirm or deny that claim) Anthony Bourdain journeys to different countries and continents to find exotic food that sets him apart from other hosts. He travels to areas such as Russia, New York, Brazil, and other various places to try out different foods and hang out with a few of his friends from past seasons. Note, this is season three and I havenít seen the others to comment on them, but the show to me seemed to focus on more about touring the locations rather than the food itself.

Take for example the first episode of the season, Russia. After a twenty or so minute intro about Russia, Anthony meets up with a friend from a past season who wronged him in the past by making him do something or eat a horrible dish, along those lines. He wants to get some payback, but first he goes shopping with some random rich girl, tries on pairs of shoes he canít buy and even takes a jab at the production people for not giving him enough money too. Note to people wanting to get on television: never criticize how much youíre being paid, thatís a good way to not get paid again.

So he tries like three dishes while in Russia, but then continues his quest yet again to get his friend back. Meanwhile theyíve visited some sort of strip club type area in Russia, shopped for a Bentley, but still have time to get revenge. So he takes his friend to get electrocuted by some machine for a long time because he thinks itíll be painful, which it turns out itís not really a big deal. The two then decide to go fly airplanes and Bourdain gets a bit airsick and that pretty much ends the episode for Russia. I think there may have been food on the screen for possibly three minutes the entire time, although I could be off by a minute or two.

The rest of the season isnít as bad as the starter episode; some of them are actually entertaining and stray a bit from the first format. Singapore is a beautiful area (although the cuisine isnít for me), and the Tuscany one is also a highlight for those looking to see which episodes to check out.

Iíd also like to point out that this show really isnít for a younger audience, which can be seen at first by the ďnot ratedĒ portion. The reason is because of constant inappropriateness that plagues some of the episodes (such as the Russian strip club dancers) that honestly I donít think needed to be there. Itís a show on the Travel Channel, why not edit those scenes out to build up an audience? Thatís just my opinion though, but I could have done without numerous things such as the aforementioned problems.

Here are the areas visited for season three: Russia, Los Angeles, New York, Shanghai, Hong Kong, French Polynesia, Cleveland, Brazil, Argentina, Singapore, South Carolina, Berlin, Tuscany.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

I was hoping for a commentary by the producers, or even Anthony himself, but alas we get zilch.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

While the show takes place in several beautiful locations such as Brazil and Argentia, the picture fails to be as perfect as the spots are in real life. Colors in some of the episodes appear a bit faded and outdated, but in others they look phenomenal. The Russia one for example is phenomenal looking, but the Los Angeles episode suffers from contrast issues as well as the color not being as bright and vibrant as it probably should be. As mentioned, the contrast is a problem in many of the episodes which distorts the picture a bit. This isnít a bad transfer by any means, but itís not as good as it should be.

Normally I would complain about the fact that this is only a pitiful 2.0 Dolby Digital track, but I doubt any sort of increase would help it. The only person talking throughout most of the episodes is Anthony and for the most part his voice is loud and boisterous. But the problem lies with the fact that his levels are somewhat louder when he does the voice over, but when he actually talks his levels are lower and not as crisp and clear. But come on companies, its 2009, canít we mandate that all DVDís come with 5.1 tracks?



.::OVERALL::.

I went into this show thinking that it was about food from different countries and areas, and was partly right. The show takes a different turn and talks way too much about the history of the locations visited, and the host sounds a bit too much like another celebrity whose name escapes me for some reason. If youíre a fan of the show (already in its fifth season) then you will probably buy this no matter what. Anyone interested though should probably rent it first. This is one show to take reservations on purchasing, sorry Anthony.