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8-Bit Laser Page 5

 

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.

Face-Off/B+,A

Paramount/1997/140m

     Finally, an American John Woo film that captures the feeling of his best Hong Kong work. The skill which Woo brings the table in creating intricate shoot-outs and massive explosions combines with his ability to lead actors into skillful portrayals. That's what makes Face-Off a cut above the better action movies; the acting is very good and can almost be overlooked in the technical displays of Woo movie making.

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High tech surgery. Paramount

What a beautiful laser disc. Deep, rich colors and images as sharp as the medium can deliver. Contrast is perfectly in balance and though the 2.35 transfer gives up lots of lines of resolution blown up widescreen, it does not have excessively prominent line structure. The sound is ferocious. Explosions tax the power handling capacity of your system and you cab bet there are more explosions per buck here than in a year's worth of other movies. Deep bass, precise location of shots, the Dolby Digital recording is a splendid sound treatment.    

Green Mansions/C+,B-

MGM-UA/1959/104m

      Audrey Hepburn is Rima, a  jungle girl, in this tepid adaptation of the the W.H. Hudson novel.   Anthony Perkins plays Abel, the the son  of an executed South American politician. When he flees to the jungle in search of gold to fund his desire for revenge, he mixes it up with Indians and ultimately falls in love with Hepburn, affectionately referred to as"the bird girl" in Green Mansions. His chief obstacles are Henry Silva as the corrupt son of the Indian chief and Lee J. Cobb as the doting grandfather of Rima. Though filmed "largely on location," some of the sets look like they could be the local Polynesian restaurant. There's very little action but plenty of overacting to make up for it. It's not great movie-making but there's a fair amount of fun to be found amongst the spreading Banyan trees.

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Rima, the bird girl.  MGM-UA

The 2.35:1 transfer is reasonably clean but suffers from some softness of image. Contrast could have been stronger and colors are slightly faded. The stereo is not aggressive but the sound is clean.

Dune/C+,B+

Universal/1984/137m

 

     Presented in a hansom new widescreen version from Universal, Dune is still as muddled a screenplay as ever. The complex, epic nature of Frank Herbert's novel, at least in David Lynch's adaptation, proves impossible to bring to life in 2 1/2 hours of movie time. Lynch's choice to have characters expressing their thoughts throughout the film is difficult to bring off and the result is stiff characters bound by their inward observations. All of the actors seem like they are making pronouncements rather than interacting.

     Much of the set and costume design is imaginative and this injects some excitement, but Dune is not an effects driven story and bells and whistles do not make up for lack of character development.

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The sound's the star. Universal

    While the image is excellent in the newest Dune laser, it is the sound that is the star. The Dolby Digital remastering brings an incredible range of detail and explosiveness. The bass rumblings of desert worms could well shake the floorboards of your home.

Scream/B,A

Dimension/1996/111m

     Masters of the horror film genre  have one thing in common: an extraordinary sense of style. In the case of Wes Craven, a modern horror legend, the director has added smile to his style. This is the second time Craven has placed his tongue definitively in his cheek to produce an entertaining permutation of horror film. His first attempt, Wes Craven's New Nightmare took direct aim at his own Nightmare on Elm Street series and was highly imaginative in execution. This time around Craven, with energetic genre-laden banter in a screenplay from Kevin Williamson, succeeds in poking fun at the entire genre. His cast of young players is fun to watch and Craven's timing is near perfect. Photography and music are in tune with Craven's knowing smile.

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One of many screams. Miramax

This beautiful laser disc extracts the last ounce of perfection from the format. Bright colors and sharp images are balanced to provide the best image. The Dolby Digital sound is outstanding, with aural surprises exacerbating the visual bloodletting.