Night Falls (2000/Fine
Line/New Line/Warner Archive Blu-ray)/Marcel
Pagnol: My Father's Glory
+ My Mother's
(2008/*both Film Movement Blu-ray)/Witness
(1985/Paramount/MVD/Arrow 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray w/Blu-ray)
Ultra HD Picture: B Picture: B- Sound: B- Extras:
C+/B-/B-/C+/C+ Films: C+
are a group of dramas upgraded and restored for your consideration...
Schnabel is not my favorite artist, painter and especially filmmaker,
highly overrated and never made anything I really liked or considered
of any major importance. Before Night Falls (2000) is as
close to anything of his I liked to date, a project he directed, but
Javier Bardem really carries the film as Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas.
The man was openly gay, oppressed by his own government, demonized,
censored and eventually fled to the U.S., trying to be heard and to
biopic trying to be different, it uses more stock footage than
expected, but even not counting that, does not always effectively
recreate the period and the sexuality side of the film seems very
choppy along with the period and everything else that happens here.
The supporting cast includes Olivier Martinez, Michael Wincott,
Andrea De Stefano, Sean Penn and Johnny Depp from the tail-end of his
indie period, all giving a big assist to a film that really needed
it. They save the film from its director who cannot seem to connect
with the material.
a plus is the underrated Carter Burwell's music score. Lou Reed and
Laurie Anderson also contributed to the music. This was backed and
released by the sadly-folded Fine Line Features, an artsy subdivision
of New Line Cinema that all serious film fans badly miss along with
all the other smaller companies making films with low budgets and
ambitious scripts that used to be dubbed 'boutique' distributors.
Hope Warner Archive gets the rest of them out on Blu-ray.
include an Original Theatrical Trailer, artwork by the director, home
movies of the production, excerpts from Improper
interview with Reinaldo Arenas and a feature length audio commentary
track by the director, Bardem, Composer Carter Burwell, Screenwriter
Lazaro Gomez-Carriles and Co-Director of Photography Xavier Perez
Pagnol: My Father's Glory
+ My Mother's
Castle (1990) is a double
feature of another pair of films by legendary screenplay writer Yves
Robert, seeing the huge success with Jean
De Florette and its
sequel, Manon Of The
Spring (a real victory
for now-defunct Orion Pictures) so here he is trying to pull off what
Claude Berri did with those films. Not the biggest fan of that
earlier set, I still thought they had their moments and this set of
films based on the works of the same writer have some too. Being all
based on Pagnol's work, there are going to be common denominators.
this case, all four films managed to capture the spirit of his work,
even if I was not ultimately a fan of all of them. Here, it is a
two-part biography of Pagnol growing up, based on his own
autobiography. Much of this is believable, but that also means some
of this includes scenes we've seen in hundreds of other biopics, even
if they have taken liberties with Pagnol's work. The worst part
would be to do this to make the film more accessible or even somehow
commercial, but one does not need to know any differences to know
what you have seen over and over again.
that mean this has too many cliches? Not necessarily, though the
immediate films to compare to for realism and naturalism would
include Truffaut's best and the likes of John Boorman's Hope
and Glory or Lasse
Hallstrom's My Life As A
Dog, no matter more
specific opinions of said films.
the end, I was slightly disappointed and it is not to say Pagnol had
a boring life growing up, but these just did not stick with made
overall, so only those really serious about sitting through these and
have a great interest should check them out. Otherwise, at least
they are honest if not totally successful, with the actors, locales
and consistent tone all plusses.
video essay by Ludovic Cortade, Associate Professor in French
Literature, Thought and Culture at New York University
Question of Tribe featurette with director Yves Robert's son
Jean-Denis Robert, grandson Martin Drescher, and cinematographer
a high quality 16-page booklet with new essay by filmmaker, producer
and writer Kat Ellinger.
(2008) is the director's first feature film, based on his own short
film about several love triangles among a group of young adults in
their 30s and the results are either more oppression and denial, or
some of them not being able to take it anymore and letting it all
out, telling it like it is.
liked two of his later films we've reviewed, Happy
Of Fortune And Fantasy,
so he is definitely a capable filmmaker and is working to show
something about people and relationships or the inability of people
to connect. The film has some nice shots, a solid cast and a pace
that works, even representing isolation in shots that reminded me of
Antonioni, particularly The
without being shallow or thinly derivative. This might not be as
well-rounded as his later films, but not bad for a first film just
an Introduction by director Ryusuke Hamaguchi and the ''From
Passion to Fortune''
video essay by film and theatre writer Kenji Fujishima.
(1985) is the overrated director's attempt to go more commercial,
leading to more overrated duds like Dead
This is not quite as bad and wrecked as those, but the barely
suspenseful thriller with a young Amish child (the underrated Lukas
Haas in an early child actor role) sees the murder of a man in a
restroom when traveling with his mother (Kelly McGinnis) and when the
killers realize this, intend to hunt him and anyone around him down.
Ford plays the police detective out to find the killers and stop
them. This drags on, is not necessarily the most authentic portrayal
of the Amish and has a ridiculous, 'happy' 1980s 'mall movie' ending
that is as phony as the rest of such bad 19890s films AND phony Weir
films. Enough people bought this to make it enough of a hit, but
then, it is not the highest-budgeted film or its time. At least it
does not look cheap.. much. For hardcore, serious fans only!
(per the press release) a Limited
Edition 60-page perfect bound booklet illustrated by Tommy Pocket,
featuring new writing on the film by Dennis Capicik, Martyn Conterio,
John Harrison and Amanda Reyes, plus....
Two Worlds: five-part archival documentary on the making of the
film, featuring interviews with Harrison Ford, Kelly McGillis, Peter
Weir, John Seale, producer Edward S. Feldman, and actors Lukas Haas,
Patti LuPone and Viggo Mortensen
for playback performance. The 2160p
HEVC/H.265, 1.85 X 1, Dolby Vision/HDR (10; Ultra HD
Premium)-enhanced Ultra High Definition image on Witness
has its moments, especially where color is concerned, but its
flatness has caught up with it and though this is as good as this
will probably ever look, only holds up so well. The 1080p 1.85 X 1
digital High Definition image on the Blu-ray edition is weaker with
more softness and some motion blur. I never did like the look of
this film and never found it too memorable. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix on both disc versions is an
upgrade from the old analog Dolby A-type noise reduction system, only
so much can be done, so this also sounds as good as it ever will.
1080p 1.85 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer on Falls can
also show the age of the materials used, the use of stock footage
notwithstanding, has a little more softness than expected and also
has some good shots, but it can be as mixed as the film itself. The
DTS-HD MA (Master Audio) 5.1 lossless mix is as good as this film
will ever sound, a digital theatrical sound release, but you can hear
the sonic limits of the production at the time, which was
1080p 1.78 X 1 digital High Definition image transfers on Passion
and the Robert films are not bad transfers, but can also show the age
of the materials used, then you also have some detail limits and
slight motion blur here and there. Color is decent in all three
cases, but the new transfers just miss being (style notwithstanding)
as sharp and clear as I was hoping for. This could be anything from
the way the film was shot to the film stocks and their storage,
though the Robert films are new 4K scans. Could he have shot this
very, very slightly extra soft?
three films are here in lossless PCM 2.0 Stereo with the Robert films
also being issued in the old analog Dolby A-type noise reduction
system, but they get lossless Dolby TrueHD (misspelled as 'Tru' on
the Blu-ray disc menus) 5.1 upgrades and they play a little better
than the stereo with Pro Logic surrounds. Passion
was a low budget expansion of a Hamaguchi
student film and did not get any surround treatment.