Bottle Rocket/B+,B+

Columbia/1996/92m/ANA 1.85, FS 1.33

        Ineptitude in the right hands often manages to be charming. Bumbling players capture our sympathy. Such is the case in Bottle Rocket, a small movie that moves in a winsome arc. It opens on a slyly humorous escape from  a mental institution and ends at another institution. 
       Movies about disaffected young people searching for a path through life appear in clumps like mushrooms after a storm. They often disappear in a few days.
Bottle Rocket breaks the mold with its singular voice. Anthony and Dignan are buddies living in a Texas desperately trying to find out who they are.  Dignan, with a seriously limited outlook, convinces Anthony and Bob Maplethorpe, another buddy, to take up a life of crime. The first job is Bob’s own home. Next is a local book shop and the threesome wind up on the road and on the run with the limited loot in their pockets. At a motel on the road, Luke falls for a maid and the trio finds they have different priorities.  Before Bottle Rocket finishes exploring the relationships in its own distinctive voice, the guys reunite and join a local crime boss at Dignan’s insistence. Count on a bungled heist in fine comic style. 

Dignan's master plan. .©Columbia

     The players are very appealing. Luke Wilson gives Anthony that combination of innocence and sincerity that can’t miss. Luke’s brother Owen Wilson, who co-wrote the screenplay, gives the kind of quirky, itchy performance that bodes well for a diverse acting career. He’s unpredictable, and despite the elements of nastiness is his character, Dignan provokes those secret crooked smile that audiences can’t contain. Robert Musgrave is hopelessly inept as Bob and James Caan adds some nice pedigree as the crime boss.
Wes Anderson who co-wrote and directed
Bottle Rocket is a comer. His follow-up film, Rushmore, parlayed his unusual perspective on life into another successful film. Anderson shows a comfortable style and confidence in his own voice. Bottle Rocket moves at a natural pace, a sense of timing organic to the characters. Anderson maintains a strong visual appeal with his storytelling abilities.  
    Another delicious anamorphic transfer from the Columbia Tristar team, Bottle Rocket is a prize in the Crackerjack box. There’s a nice balance between detail and enhancement. Feint edge ringing is noticeable only if you strain your eyes. The colors are consistently pleasing, from the yellow jumpsuits worn in the “big bungle,” to the gray stone interiors of Bob Maplethorpe’s palatial home. The Dolby Digital 2-channel matrixed sound is clean and effective







































































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  Humphrey Bogart

 The Feature Archive has articles ranging from Akira Kurosawa to Blonde Bimbos, The Heistmasters and John Ford. 
Click on the image of  for a candid interview with Shawshank Redemption director Frank Darabont, Redeeming the Writer

Venerable Internet Magazine is making a big growth spurt adding veteran home theater writers to their editorial and review staff. Look for many new hardware reviews in the coming weeks.

Classic Movies
Brad Lang movie site continues to be a great tool for Internet surfers and movie lovers. As usual, he's found some interesting links. Check out the link for a fine Japanese site on Kurosawa films.


Home Theater Reference Reviewing System
projectors.jpg (2611 bytes)

When you read a DVD review it's of utmost importance to know what equipment is being used to evaluate quality. Click on the projectors to find out more.