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8-Bit DVD Page 19

Film on Disc has 2-bit, 8-bit and 16-bit reviews. 2-bit reviews include letter ratings only. 8-bit reviews are brief reviews including DVD quality assessment and 16-bit reviews are full length. This is the 8-Bit Review Page. DVD ratings are two part, the first letter representing film content, the second letter for film element , transfer and pressing quality.

Happy Gilmore/B+,B+

2 Days in the Valley/B+,B+


     The home movie used over the credits to Happy Gilmore is enough to make this delightful Adam Sandler outing worth the purchase. The premise is very funny. Would be professional hockey player Gilmore, who can barely skate, discovers that his canon-like puck stroke produces mesmerizing golf drives. Before you can say Bob Barker, Happy's winning a pro golf qualifier and is the newest and most original personality to ever sully the august putting greens of golf's Masters tournament.
     Adam Sandler may never have a script that matches his talent so well. Goofy, earnest, charming, and offensive, Sandler, who co-wrote the script with Tim Herlihy, makes Happy Gilmore extremely likable in almost every situation in this film. Sandler has some help in charming audiences in the fresh, adorable face of Julie Bowen, who has the task as Golf Tour Publicity Director to shepherd Gilmore through his shenanigans without giving the tour an X rating. Christopher McDonald, as the current tour champion, who was excellent as the host in Quiz Show, provides all the competition Sandler needs.    

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Bob meets Happy. Watch out!©MCA-Universal

The full frame transfer is sharp, bright and beautiful and does not seem to be compromised compositionally. Colors literally jump off the screen like Gilmore's drives jump on his golf clubs. The Dolby Digital 5:1 surround is active and the sound of Happy's golf balls flying off the tee adds a dimension of delight.


       There's a beat to 2 Days in the Valley. It never stops. It's like a good pop song. It catches you, gets you tapping out the rhythm on the floor of the car while creeping along in expressway traffic. Writer-Director John Herzfeld uses his players and script elements like members of an orchestra. The fine cast works very well together in this highly entertaining ensemble film. Here's a dark comedy that keeps a good balance between taste and excess blood.
     Ice cold hitman Lee Woods(James Spader in one of his best roles)is hired to off a philandering boy friend. He in turn hires a former killer Dosmo Pizzo(Danny Aiello who works in a pizza parlor to assist. The crime is executed with terrific touches of humor, played right down the middle off-center and then Spader proceeds to set Aiello up as the fall guy.  Another beat finds art gallery owner Allan Hopper losing it to kidney stones while driving his BMW in top down San Fernando valley. Cut to Teddy Peppers(Paul Mazursky), a down and out movie director looking at the last shoot. Hopper's sister runs into Pepper at a cemetery, Pizzo falls into Hopper's backyard after escaping Woods, and Jeff Daniels and Eric Stolz are cops investigating the murder after running into a terrified Terry Hatcher fleeing the crime.

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Danny Aiello as a hitman.©.Rysher

Add a touch of Charlize Theron as Woods' accomplice, a generous helping of Glenn Headley as Hopper's assistant, send them all on a collision course, and 2 Days in the Valley comes to delightful life.
     This is a very sharp DVD, perhaps a dram too sharp as straight lines and edges tend to jump and break up slightly. The night scenes are beautifully lit in the transfer and colors is rich and eye-popping. Transfer elements are in perfect condition. The 2.35 widescreen DVD incorrectly indicates that it is enhanced for 16 x 9. It is most definitely not anamorphic. Too bad. The Dolby 5:1 mix is very directional and adds impact to the presentation.

Devil's Advocate/B-,A



     Just as the Devil seduces our dark side, director Taylor Hackford uses his filmmaking skills to make audiences want to like The Devil's Advocate. This is a very slick production with polished photography, tasteful production design and big star power. The fact that it ultimately falls from its elevated appearance can be laid at two doors. Hackford clearly lets the tone wander from social commentary to horror film to satire. Whether in the script or the editing, an audience is left with an emptiness in that place you are supposed to feel something. The other major problem is that Al Pacino is so far over the top as the Devil, making this a performance show instead of building a character. Me, I think this film would have worked much better with a silkier, less obvious performing Devil. Now, I admit Pacino is often entertaining in his broad mannerisms and one can sense the obvious relish he takes in making devilish pronouncements, but it takes me out of the story.

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You're such a devil Al..©Warner

Starring alongside Pacino is  Keanu Reeves. He plays the hot shot Southern   lawyer recruited by a big city firm for his uncanny ability to pick winning juries. Reeves holds his own against the theatrics of Pacino, acquitting himself nicely in the role. Beautiful Charleze Theron plays Reeves' savvy wife who finds herself out of her league in New York. Her performance is heart rending, though the script is not always cooperative for her.
     The movie succeeds as broad entertainment, touching too many bases. At times, it plays like one big lawyer joke. But, if you don;t expect too much from it, you'll have fun. It is a beautiful looking film.
    The Devil's Advocate is a gorgeous DVD. Presented in anamorphic widescreen 2.35:1, widescreen, and Pan and Scan, there is no evidence of compression artifacts and the image is razor sharp with no undue edge enhancement. The lush production design is captured in rich colors. The Dolby Digital 5:1 surround sound is exciting and bass impact is felt in the bigger scenes. This special edition includes running director's commentary. Hackford, always straight forward, however spends too much time simply describing the action we are watching. The more than 30 minutes of deleted scenes are excellent and the director's commentary more illuminating here. There are also trailers and TV spots. A worthy DVD.


     Hoping to capture the brio of Eddie Murphy's   successful Beverly Hills Cop series, Metro once again has the star playing a smart-alec cop. This time there are few laughs, the flick is much nastier, and little original material surfaces.
    Eddie Murphy as a hostage negotiator? Two minutes with manic Murphy would invariably send a hostage holding psycho over the top. He only gets to do any real bartering at the beginning of the movie and from then on it's standard fare.
     Murphy spends time training new sharpshooting partner Michael Rappaport while on the trail of a psychopathic criminal who takes hostages at the drop of a plot need and seeks revenge like a movie amateur. A lot of time is spent in defining the Eddie's relationship with an off again on again girl friend merely setting up the dramatic confrontation that has echoes of a bad silent movie.

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Runaway cable car.©Touchstone

Metro is a very sharp DVD trans- fer. The wide- screen 2.35 aspect ratio film features bright colors and excellent overall luminosity. Night scenes feature deep, pure blacks and defined shadow detail. There is too much electronic enhancement resulting in exacerbated edge jumpiness. The 5:1 surround mix is outstanding.

aphies and production notes.