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® 2002 Films on Disc  Stuart J. Kobak ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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8-Bit Laser Page 6

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.

Chasing Amy/B+,A


     One of the nicest aspects of Chasing Amy is that it is a thoroughly modern romance. It's a different twenty-somethings than we are used to seeing and director Kevin Smith exhibits a good amount of restraint and a great deal more polish than with his abysmal second  film Mall Rats. This is even an order of magnitude better than the excellent low profile Smith debut film Clerks.
     Ben Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams star as Holden and Alyssa confused lovers with Jason Lee in the very funny role of Affleck's cartooning partner, Banky. Smith creates the world these characters inhibit in concise confident film strokes. Laughs may dominate the film, but the material leaves room for the actors to stretch into serious territory.

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Smith and crew.

This beautiful special edition from Voyager as part of The Criterion Collection is presented widescreen 1.85. The color is extremely fine with accurate flesh tones and saturated comic book stills.  Detail is consistently revealing and NTSC artifacts are at a minimum. The Dolby Digital 5:1 sound is excellent making a dynamic platform for the entertaining music soundtrack. There's a weath of extras on the 2 disc set, including audio commentary from Smith and company, deleted scenes and outtakes. A real steal at a list price of $49.95.    

A Simple Wish/B-,A


    Young Mara Wilson is a delightful child actress. She delivers her dialogue with a sense of gravity and charm and has made movies like Mathilda that much better for her presence. A Simple Wish is another example of how her presence improves the picture.
     It looks like young Anabel's life is about to change unless her Dad can get a break as an actor. She needs help and it arrives in the presence of Murry(Martin Short), her eccentric fairy "Godmother." The chief obstacles in Anabel's way are Murry's bumbling, an ex-fairy Godmother turned witch(Kathleen Turner)and the typical politics of the entertainment business. Some of the adventure is a bit over the top and the more precious moments involve Turner and her sort of faithful assistant played with terrific energy by Amanda Plummer.

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Wilson, Turner, and Plummer.©Universal

     This stunning disc is presented widescreen 1.85:1. Terrific colors and sharp images push laser to the limits, delivering consistently beautiful images. The Dolby surround is very active with a great deal of punch.

Tortilla Flat/B,B

     Watching Spencer Tracy and John Garfield play the simplistic characters of John Steinbeck's novel Tortilla Flat is a reminder of what these great character actors could get away with. Tracy's easy-going charm makes the "paisano" Pilon a delight to watch, and Garfield, normally the big city brooder in movies,  finds a patch of darkness along the California coast in which to assay Danny with equal parts of wonder and dismay. Gorgeous Hedy Lamarr proves up tot he challenge of her male co-stars.
     Set along the Northern California coast where Mexican immigrants deal with levels of poverty, Steinbeck's  affectionate portrait comes to life on the screen. Big changes are in store when Danny gets an inheritance. Pilon schemes, Danny caves in and there are good-natured laughs all the way.

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Pilon and the Pisanos©MGM/UA

     This is a solid laser transfer. Contrast could have been pushed a little harder, but the images are very clean. There are many dark scenes in Tortilla Flat, but the shadowy corners of the image compositions are clear. The mono sound is all right.

Hard Eight/B,B

Columbia Tristar/1996/101m

     Before the much ballyhooed Boogie Nights, director Paul Thomas Anderson made this unusal, lean film about losers in Las Vegas. The hypnotic quality and hard edge of Anderson's debut feature in many ways surpasses the confused satire of Boogie Nights.
     John is down and out after losing his meager stake in Las Vegas. Sidney finds him outside a roadside diner somewhere outside of Las Vegas. Like a guardian angel, he rescues John from the brink of despair, brings him back to the city of glitter and teaches him to be a successful gambler.
     Along the way to "comped" hotel suites, John finds Clementine and the ressuraection becomes more complex. The film never fails to be surprisiong and original. The stars, Philip Baker Hall as Sidney, John C. Reilly as John and Gweneth Paltrow as Clementine are all very convincing.

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Sidney and John get ready for another gamble.©Columbia Tristar

The widescreen 2.35:1 images are sometimes slightly soft, be this may be due to Anderson's shooting style. Color is accurate and captures the glitz of the casinos where the story plays out. Hard Eight has a solid if unspectacular Dolby surround mix. 


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Laser Disc Ratings

12 Monkeys Special/A-,B+ 

12 Monkeys/ B+,B

1941 SE/ C-, B-

a la Mode/B+,B+

A Pure Formality/C,B

After the Fox/C+,B


Albino Aligator/C+,B



American President/ B+, B+


Apocalypse Now/A-,A-

Apollo 13 SpecialA,A

Apollo 13//A,A



Bad and the Beautiful, The/A,B+


Bend of the River/ B, B+

Belle Epoque/B+,A-

Bhagdad Cafe/B,B

Big Country/ B, C

Big Deal on Madonna Street/B,B

Big Picture, The/B,B

Big Trees, The/C+,C+

Bingo Long and His Traveling All-Stars/B+,A

Blood and Wine/B,B

Blue Kite/B+,B


Bordello of Blood/C-,A-



Brazil Special Edition/B+,A-

Bride Came COD/B-,B

Bringing Up Baby/A,B

Brute Force/B+,B+


Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid/B,A-

Call Nothside 777/B+,C+

Camille Claudel/ A, B+

Canterville Ghost/C+,C+

Caro Diario/A-,A-
Captain from Castile/B,B+

Casino/ C+, B


Cause for Alarm/C,B-

Celestial Clockwork/B+,B-

China Moon/B+,A

Christmas in July/A,B+

Christopher Columbus(1949)/C,C

Come and Get It/B,B+


Courage Under Fire/B,A


Crimson Tide/A-,A

Crossing Guard, The/B,B+

Cutthroat Island/C, A

Dante's Peak/B-/B


Dead Man Walking/C+,B+

Dead Man/C+,A-

Dead Presidents Special/ B+,A

Dersu Uzala/B+,B


Diary of Ann Frank/ A-,B

Dodes'ka-den/ B+, B+

Double Happiness/ B+,B+



Earrings of Madame de.../ B+, B+

Enemy Below/ B, B

Englishman Who Went..../C,B

English Patient/B+,A


Escape from LA/B-,A

Everybody's Fine/C+,C+

Executive Decision/B+,A

Eye for an Eye/B,B+


Family Thing/B,B+
Farewell My Concubine/A-,A

Far Country/ B-, C+

Field of Dreams Special/A-,B+

Field of Dreams/ A-, B

Fierce Creatures/B-,B+

Fires on the Plain/B+,B


First Knight/ C-, B+

First Wives Club/C+,B+

For Whom the Bell Tolls/B-,B+
French Kiss/B-,B+

Frankie Starlight/B+,B


Free Willy 2/B-,B+

Funny Bones/A,A

Get Shorty/ A, A

Goldeneye/ B, A

Ghost Story/B,B

Great Escape(MGM)/A-,B-

Great Expectations/A,B+

Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan/B+,C

Grosse Point Blank/A-,A-

Grumpier Old Men/B-,B+

Gun in Betty Lou's Handbag, The/B,C-

Happy Gilmore/ B-, A-

Hard Boiled/B-,B+

Hard Eight/B,C+

Harriet the Spy/B,A

Haunting, The/A,B+

Head Above Water/D+,B


Heaven and Earth/B+,A-

Helen of Troy/C+,B+

Henry V/A,B


Hoop Dreams/A,A

Horseman on the Roof/B-,B

Innocent, The/ C, C

Innocents, The/ A, A-

Interrupted Melody/C+,C

Into the West/A,B+

Inventing the Abbots/B-,B+


Jean de Florette/ A-, B-

Jumanji/ B+, B+

Kansas City/D+,C+





La Dolce Vita/ A, B

Last Dance/B,B+

Last Man Standing/C,B

Last Supper, The/B-,B+

League of Gentlemen/B,B

Leave Her to Heaven/B+,B+

Les Miserables/ B, B+

Liar,Liar Special/B+,A


List of Adrien Messinger/B,B+

Lonely are the Brave/A-,A-
Lord of Illusions/B,A-

Love Jones/B,A-

Mi Familia/A-,A-

Miracle of Morgan's Creek/B,B-


Mission Impossible/C+,B+

Mona Lisa/B+,B+


Mulholland Falls/C+,B

Muriel's Wedding/ B, B+

My Name is Nobody/C,C

Mystery of Rampo/ A-, B

Natural Born Killers/B,B+


Net, The/ C, B+


Nothing Sacred/B,C

Old Man and the Sea/B,B


Peeping Tom/A-,A-
Raw Deal/B+,B
Red Firecracker,Green Firecracker/B+,A


Richard III/A,A


River Wild/B+,A-

Romy and Michele's High School Reunion/B,B

Room at the Top/A-,B



Seven SE/ B+, A

Shawshank Redemption/A-,A

Shining Through/C+,B

Silence of the Lambs/A,A
Sling Blade/A,B+


Something to Talk About/ B-, B+

Spartacus Special Edition/A,A


Star Trek: First Contact/C+,A-

Stars Fell on Henrietta/ C+,B+

Stealing Beauty/B,B

Strange Days/ C+, B+


Sudden Death/ B, A-

Sullivan's Travels/B+,B

Surviving Picasso/C,B+


That Old Feeling/B-,A-

That Thing You Do/B,C+

They Drive By Night/B,B

Thieves(Les Voleurs)/B,B

Things You Do in Denver When You're Dead/D+,B+

This Sporting Life/A-,B+

Timemaster/ D, C

Tom and Viv/B-,B-

Tortilla Flat/B+,B


Trees Lounge/B-,B-

Trigger Effect/B-,B+

Two Bits/C,B


Umbrellas of Cherbourg/B+,B


Usual Suspects/ B-,C+

Valdez is Coming/C+,B-

Vengeance Valley/B,C+


Virtuosity/ C+, A

Wait Until Dark/B,B-

Walk in the Clouds, A/ A-,


Waterworld/ B+, B

White Man's Burden/ B, B+

White Squall/ B,A

Whole Wide World/B,B

Wicked City/ B, C+

Wild Bill/ C+, B

Window to Paris/ B,B

Wonderful,Horrible World Life..../B+,B

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 Films on Disc 1999  Stuart J. Kobak , all rights reserved.