Touchstone/1998/171/WS 1.85,

       Ghost story, love story, long story, cold story, Beloved plods along at a lugubrious pace. Directed by Jonathan Demme and photographed by Tak Fujimoto, it's a very good looking film, but it's rather too arty in style for my ghost sensibilities.
     I enjoy good, clean storytelling, and there's a story in Beloved, but I felt there were huge gaps chopped out of the lives of these characters which made Beloved difficult for me to embrace.      Beloved is Sethe's story, an abused slave who runs away from her Kentucky plantation to neighboring Ohio. Many years after her dramatic flight, Paul D., a friend from that former life, arrives at the Ohio farmhouse to rekindle Sethe's links to Sweet Water, the plantation that continues to haunt her. Sethe embraces Paul D. with great love while her daughter Denver is initially suspicious. But Paul D.'s arrival unlocks more than just memories and Sethe must once again find a way to survive.


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Oprah Winfrew as Sethe with Thandie Newton as Beloved. İTouchstone

     I do admire the performances. Oprah Winfrey's Sethe provides a grand center for the film. She's the strong black woman who against all odds somehow holds it together. Winfrey remains dignified in almost every circumstance. Playing her daughter Denver, Kimberley Elise crafts an interesting reflection of her mother, though I thought some of her early gloomy continence was overdone. Danny Glover does lots of smiling and brings an easy breezy style to Beloved, yet lacks the complexity that might bring to life the history of this character. But by far the most controversial and difficult performance is from Thandie Newton playing Beloved. Was it Thandie's interpretation or the scripting or the direction of Jonathan Demme that made this character so hard to bare on the screen.
     The various photographic schemes are well served on this DVD. Desaturated hues of blue that dominate the supernatural powers surrounding the Ohio farmhouse contrast with the grainy almost solarized look back at the forest scenes where grandma Baby Suggs preaches at her unusual pulpit. This is a sharp DVD with slight edge enhancement evident in high contrast transitions. Visually, Beloved is often a stunning DVD. The sound is handled to great effect. Sounds of the forest reverberate through the surround channels in this Dolby Digital 5:1 mix, but the best moment, which fills the home theater, comes when the ladies of the community bring a prayer meeting to the front of Sethe's home. Their singing fills the air with great spiritual power, clean rich voices challenging the fear and horror that confronts them.


































































































Home Theater Reference System

Laser discs and DVDs are evaluated on the following current home theater equipment:   Stewart 6' x 11' Videomatte 1.33 Gain Screen, 2 Runco 980 Ultra Projectors stacked, Faroudja LD100 Line Doubler, Lexicon DC1 Surround Processor/Switcher, 2 Pioneeer Elite CLD-97 Laser Disc Players with AC-3 Modification, Sony 7000 DVD Player, Toshiba SD-3006 DVD Player, Total Media Systems Reference Home Theater Suite, LR Fronts, Center, LR Sides, LR Rears, 2 Velodyne F1500R Subwoofers, Sunfire Cinema Grand5 Channel Amp, Sunfire 2 Channel Amp, Lexicon RF Demodulator, Lexicon T-500 System Remote Control, Speaker Wire and Interconnects by Straight Wire. 


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Tilting at Hollywood

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Robert Harris is part of the dynamic duo that restored Lawrence of Arabia, Spartacus, My Fair Lady and Vertigo. Harris rides a white horse into the battle to preserve our film legacy. Click on the image to read more.

Check out the  Movie Poster   Archive for short bios and images of Susan Hayward, Kirk Douglas, Katharine Hepburn and many more. This month's featured star is  John Wayne. The Feature Archive has articles ranging from Akira Kurosawa to Blonde Bimbos and John Ford

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Click on the image of The Heistmasters for an interesting feature on the tough guys that pull off the big jobs.