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8-Bit Laser Page 2


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.

English Patient/B+/A-

      Elegant filmmaking is at a premium these days and The English Patient certainly fits into that category. The sweeping romantic drama traverses two continents and more than a couple romances under the artistic guidance of director Anthony Minghella.englishpatient.jpg (7651 bytes)
     While this is a very good film, I found it difficult to get involved with most of the characters. They were cold and less than compelling. The exception is the magnificent Juliet Binoche playing Almasy's nurse Hana. She is all passion and brings this amazing reality to her role, garnering a well-deserved Academy Award.
     The extensive Special Edition is another example of the Voyager Company's passion for creating laser disc perfection. The transfer of the film captures the pulchritude of director Minghella's camera. The many extras include audio commentary from Minghella, producer Zaentz, and author Ondaatje.


     Arthur Miller's The Crucible works best when viewed as an allegory of the modern American Hollywood  witch hunts of the late forties and fifties. The horror of the Salem witch hunts is that much more horrifying when viewed through the magnification of modern history.
     Winona Ryder plays a single woman infatuated with  married man Daniel Day-Lewis. She conjures  the powers of darkness in an vain attempt to realize her lust and the evil spreads over the community like a suffocating blanket. Day-Lewis is powerful in the tortured role of one of the accused and Paul Scoffield as the chief judge is positively frightening in all his self-righteousness. Joan Allen is icy cold as Day-Lewis' wife. The Crucible isn't always an easy film to watch.crucible.jpg (3114 bytes)
     The laser disc captures the cold palette of director Nicholas Hytner. Some of the dark scenes are soft due to the nature of the source material, but otherwise it's a fine looking presentation.The THX certified disc has an exciting Dolby Digital score.

After the Fox/C+,B

     Broad farce written by Neil Simon that takes a swipe at the pretensions of arty Italian films. Peter Sellers plays Aldo Vanucci, a criminal known as the Fox, who puts together a plan to take delivery of smuggled gold through the ruse of making a movie. Sellers, as always, has his inspired moments, but the biggest delight is Victor Mature playing the aging leading man, poking funafterthefox.gif (33202 bytes) at movie stars with a smile affixed to his face. The film is uneven but worth seeing for several of the bits and the stars.
     MGM’s Image widescreen laser disc of After the Fox is very sharp with little or no marking. The color, while thoroughly acceptable, seems slightly washed out. Music and dialogue are cleanly rendered in Mono sound.

Mona Lisa/B+/B+

     This is a strange little 1986 movie from director Neil Jordan. Capturing seamy settings on the fringe of the London underworld, Jordan examines the relationship between a small time hood just released from prison and a call girl he’s hired to protect.
     monalisa.jpg (2959 bytes)Bob Hoskins is simply terrific as the no-nonsense hood George. Cathy Tyson is illusive as the prostitute Simone and Michael Caine has some nice moments as George's boss.
     The transfer of this atmospheric movie is solid, but the dark textures of Jordan's vision are not easy to replicate. The disc could have had a bit more gloss to highlight the grunge of George's world. Colors are good and the image is sharp and clean. The big bonus is an audio commentary from Neil Jordan. There's no question that Jordan loves this movie, which adds to the pleasure of his commentary.