A Beautiful Mind (SE)/ A-, A
Universal/2001/136/ANA 1.85

     A Beautiful Film! The combination of Akiva Goldsman's economical screenplay and Russell Crowe's stunning performance as Nobel Prize winning mathematician John Nash create a powerful, moving experience. The raw power of the film overcomes any minor flaws.
     A Beautiful Mind
is a journey through the life of the brilliant but troubled Nash, who traveled a classic character arc. As a Princeton graduate student his original work garnered him recognition as one of the greatest mathematical minds of his time; and then slowly everything fell apart as questions about his mental stability systematically destroyed his career and life. Finally, in his twilight years Nash received the Nobel Prize for Economics. Uniquely, the prize was awarded almost fifty years after the seminal work was published. The film takes us from Nash's first day as a Princeton graduate student to his Nobel award in 1994.

Nash takes up the challenge. ©Universal

     While A Beautiful Mind is loosely based on the real life story of the genius mathematician, don't go into the theatre expecting an accurate biography. The film is a fiction that captures the essence of Nash's life. Screenwriter Goldsman wisely pares down Nash's experience to create a thoughtful and honest emotional narrative,  with some thriller elements to create an interesting twist. Although Goldsman's screenplay may over-simplify Nash in removing many of the awful aspects of his history it effectively keeps focus on the central theme.
     Any gaps in character are filled in by Russell Crowe’s Oscar© caliber performance. He is Nash, not Russell Crowe playing Nash. Through speech patterns and mannerisms, he captures a Nash trapped by both his own sense of superiority and frustrated by his lack of social eloquence. It’s a stirring performance that forces audience empathy despite the obviously disagreeable aspects of Nash’s personality. Indeed, above anything else, the film is a one-man tour-de-force by Crowe, once again proving why he is one of the most talented actors in Hollywood today. Jennifer Connelly gives a good performance as Nash's wife Alicia, although there isn't enough meat to the role to really test her mettle. The rest of the cast plays their parts well, but their characters are only devices to advance the journey into Nash's mind.
     Much as he did in Apollo 13, Ron Howard injects tension beyond reasonable expectation. You may know the outcome of this fact-based film, but Howard cranks up excitement and keeps the audience on edge without sacrificing the human aspect. In A Beautiful Mind he weaves a love story, a history, and a thriller into a complicated web. Each aspect is respected yet blends together to enhance the film as a whole. Similarly, Howard uses an interesting special effect (nicely done by Digital Domain) to illustrate Nash's mathematical revelations, and with a subtle twist is able to use this effect to illustrate both a sense of wonder, and later in the film, a sense of horror, creating a nice parallel to how Nash's gift became his curse.
     A Beautiful Mind
is a touching film to experience. It's one of those rare features that envelopes you so much in the mind of the central character, that you come away feeling that you know, at least somewhat, what it must have been like to be him.----------Alex Kobak

     A beautiful transfer! The vision of Ron Howard and his filmmaking team comes to DVD with stunning care.  A Beautiful Mind  is always sharp enough to penetrate deep into the performance of Russell Crowe. Every production detail is perfectly resolved. There are no discernible artifacts. Straight lines are rock-solid stable. The image has consistently grand depth. No sign of high peak transition edge artifacts either. The color and lighting are wonderful. Fully saturated and accurate tones capture Howard's thematic moods. The warmth of remembrance and the shadows of doubt are illuminated with precision. All the luster of virgin theatrical presentation is replicated on the DVD. Lots of light output and terrific contrast make the picture jump off the home theater screen. Shadow detail is captured accurately. Blacks are produced with lustrous results. James Horner's score get a rich presentation with music floating in grand space on the Dolby Digital 5:1 tracks. Surround information creates a live ambiance with details precisely. 
     Universal has packaged A Beautiful Mind as a 2-DVD special edition. On disc one separate feature commentary is provided by director Ron Howard on one track and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman on another. Howard is generous and comfortable in expanding on the material, explaining what's been left out, and the decision making process. He also explains how some of the visual aspects of camera try to tie ideas together.  Goldsman's and Howard's commentary overlap information but they have different voices. A 27-minute treasure chest of  18 deleted or expanded scenes with or without commentary by Ron Howard is also included on disc one. Disc two is broken down into numerous themes short that focus on varied production aspects. A Beautiful Partnership runs about five minutes and Development of the Screenplay eight minutes, Meeting John Nash eight minutes includes some video of Nash working math on a blackboard caught by producer Todd Hallowell. A two minute segment Accepting the Nobel Prize in Economics was recorded at the 1994 Stockholm award ceremony. Casting Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly runs almost six minutes. The Process of Age Progression seven minutes, a thirty second Storyboard Comparison explanation introduces five stacked storyboard/film comparisons. Creation of the Special Effects runs a little more than ten minutes , Scoring the Film six minutes, a general documentary Inside A Beautiful Mind is 22 plus minutes. -----SJK


Selections from the Feature Archive include articles on Akira KurosawaFrank Darabont, Blonde Bimbos, Hollywood Street Gangs, or Vietnam: The Hollywood Pariah, and many more....
Screen Voices  

Screen Voices
and style of delivery often stamp an actor's screen image indelibly. Click the lips to read more.

Manufacturer of computer-video interfaces, switchers, distribution amplifiers, computer-video scan converters, and high resolution cable. Found in many high end home theater systems.

doesn't sell movies! We just tell you where to get them for the best price! DVD reviews, giveaways and more.

The DVD Forum is an international association of hardware manufacturers, software firms and other users of Digital Versatile Discs (the "DVD Format"), created for the purpose of exchanging and disseminating ideas and information about the DVD Format and its technical capabilities, improvements and innovations.

The Cinematheque is a cultural, arts organization that programs year-round specialty film series at the newly renovated, landmark 1922 Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard! 

Have you visited Home Theater Talk lately? One of the friendliest places on the Net for Home Theater and DVD discussion, you can get help for installation problems or simply share your opinions with other Vidiots.

The home of John Tisch's invaluable Poster Price Almanac. Every serious poster collector uses the Almanac as a reference.

Happy Dave by DS BerkhamIt rains a lot in Portland, so DVDcorner.net provides an umbrella of entertainment with lots of DVD reviews and DVD news. Check out the monthly give-a-ways too!.

The  Movie Poster Archive includes extensive poster images from the films of stars like Susan Hayward, Kirk Douglas, Katharine Hepburn and many more. Our featured star is Tyrone Power.

Click on the DVD MIA symbol for profiles of DVDs missing in action. 
  Add films to the DVD MIA Master List by filling out a simple form. Click Here

To Kill a Mockingbird (SE)/ A,A

From the great novel by Harper Lee, this tale of growing up in the 1930s South is splendidly evocative of place and period. Gregory Peck is splendid. Direction impeccable.