Reviews of Region 2 discs from Ultimate DVD #05

The Sixth SenseEntrapmentThe Siege

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THE SIXTH SENSE • Back to top Rated: 15
One of 1999’s finest movies is a must-buy on DVD…

The Movie

As the action hero’s graveyard beckons, wily Willis reinvents himself as a character actor in this deservedly smash hit supernatural chiller. He plays child psychologist Malcolm Crowe, a man haunted by a past mistake who puts his marriage on the line to help Cole Sear (Osment), a terrified boy with a secret.

Wisely eschewing special effects (in this movie there are none), director M Night Shyamalan delivers a sublimely performed character piece that mixes nerve-grinding sudden shocks with quietly disturbing food for thought. And, come the final chapter, you’ll be re-appraising the whole experience and looking forward to the 5 stars - Digital Dynamitenext viewing. It really is that good..

The Extras

In a refreshing move away from the standard practise of pulling out featurettes from the library, Buena Vista have commissioned brand new interviews with the director and producers for this DVD which focus on different aspects of the production.

Storyboard to Film Comparison allows us to appreciate Shyamalan’s preparation for the film (he storyboarded every shot) and provides examples for the restaurant scene. The Cast reveals how Shyamalan chose his actors, and a scary-looking Collette (resembling Mel C on a bad day) gives good quote about the script (“It made me feel good about being alive and it made me feel OK about dying”). However, the director insists that “Hayley is our magic” and raves about the Oscar-nominated boy who shines in an “unperformable” role.

The Music and Sound segment is highly enjoyable, as composer James Newton Howard shows just how effective music can be. Not convinced? Check out the film clips that feature muted dialogue, which prove producer Frank Marshall’s claim that “The music and sound effects are also characters”.

Reaching the Audience examines the film’s near Titanic-sized box office, while Rules and Clues is an essential insight into Shyamalan’s basic laws for the narrative. Clever stuff, and you’ll certainly be looking out for the colour red next time you view the film…

The soft-spoken, amiably modest and fiercely intelligent director gets nine minutes in the spotlight in A Conversation with M Night Shyamalan. Topics under discussion include his upbringing, his small role in the movie and his desire to create a “cultural phenomenon”.

Trailers include the theatrical and TV teasers (the former including footage excised from the film). Almost identical to the Region 1 release, this disc does lack an egg hidden in the bonus section. Clicking on the box-shaped icon grants access to Shyamalan’s First Horror Movie, a 90 second clip from one of the director’s teenage home movies. Region 2 viewers are missing nothing: as Shyamalan observes in the introduction, “it’s awful”.

Given the degree of Shyamalan’s co-operation in compiling this release, the lack of commentary seems unusual, but one mustn’t be churlish. Given what’s on offer, together with the fine anamorphic presentation of the film, this will be the 4 stars - Damn fine discDVD hit of 2000. You know it makes sense.

David Richardson

Credits
The Sixth Sense - Buy this at Black Star

Cast • Bruce Willis
Toni Collette
Haley Joel Osment
Director • M Night Shyamalan
Duration • 107 mins
Screen Ratio • 1.85:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 19
Languages • English, Italian
Subtitles • French, Italian, English for hearing impaired
Release Date • May 8
Distributor • Hollywood Pictures

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(20% off orders made before release date)

Highlight

Chapter 17 - Communication
“The answer was ‘every day’. What was the question momma?” Top performances from Osment and Collette, as Cole tells his secret.

 

Four deleted scenes grace the DVD release, and each is introduced by Shyamalan.

1: Toy Soldiers
From Crowe’s initial meeting with Cole, as the boy plays with his toy soldiers in the street – and reveals an intricate back story for each model. Cut for giving away too much information, it features outstanding work from Osment as Cole breaks down in tears.

2: Visit to Mr Marschal
The start of a whole mini sub-plot, as Cole visits the elderly Mr Marschal with a message from beyond the grave, and Crowe makes a deduction. It had to go because “it hurt the movie”.

3: Return to Mr Marschal
The pay-off to that sequence, as Crowe sees how Cole has affected the old man.

4: Extended ending
“My saddest cut in the movie,” says the director. “It was my favourite moment of writing.” Yet, for this reviewer, the video message from beyond the grave just seems a little too corny…

 
from Ultimate DVD #05
 

ENTRAPMENT • Back to top Rated: 12

In which Catherine Zeta-Jones falls for an older man

The Movie

Sean Connery, exotic locations, beautiful women, incredible gizmos? It’s a Bond film, right? Well, Entrapment comes off more like 007 in The Crystal Maze, in which each challenge is three minutes with an automatic lock-in.

With the amount of squirming bottoms in your face, it’s also reminiscent of a week’s snooker, though it has to be said that Zeta-Jones has a marginally better rear than Steve Davis. Connery is ace thief Mac, who becomes involved with insurance agent Gin (Zeta-Jones), pretending to help him to pull off a job. Or is she? Or is he? Is this film sponsored by question-mark makers? Probably.

It depends almost entirely on gizmos and gadgets which a viewer has no idea about, and it’s all amazingly uninvolving stuff. If it wasn’t for the soundtrack, we’d have no idea if putting a cable in socket A is more important than socket B. The multiple locations become a bit wearing; long sequences watch like a travel agent’s catalogue. And a big hand for that usual London cliché that you can actually park in the streets.

Connery and Zeta-Jones are both fine individually, but the chemistry between them is too father/daughter to be truly romantic. Ultimately it watches like one of those overblown ’70s movies where a Hollywood star comes to 3 stars - Worth a WatchBlighty to patronize everyone.

The Extras

The 2.35:1 picture is sharp, though the greys and blacks of some sequences in Mac’s castle waste this. The front-end menu contains the film’s soundtrack and animated transfers to each page. On offer is the trailer in 1.85:1 which looks and sounds like a Bond movie.

Twenty four chapters are presented in nifty interlocking graphics. The 14-minute full screen ‘making of’ feature stresses that “things are not always what they seem” though the cast have clearly been told to reveal nothing, so you have lots of references to ‘someone is doing something’. Director Jon Amiel, Zeta-Jones, Connery and Ving Rhames all contribute, and there is some nice footage of the film’s stuntwork. The video of Seal’s Lost My Faith is included in fuzzy 16:9, with Zeta Jones wriggling in a 2 stars - Disappointingcatsuit amongst film clips.

Ian Atkins

Credits
Entrapment - Buy this at Black Star

Cast • Sean Connery
Catherine Zeta-Jones
Director • Jon Amiel
Duration • 108 mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 24
Languages • English
Subtitles • Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Portuguese, Hebrew, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Icelandic, English for hearing impaired
Release Date • May 15
Distributor • 20th-Century Fox

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(20% off orders made before release date)

Highlight

Chapter 18 – System Breach
Things finally get exciting when the plan goes wrong and a rapid escape from the world’s tallest building is needed

 
 
 
 
from Ultimate DVD #05

THE SIEGE • Back to top Rated: 15

The Movie

Denzel Washington and Annette Bening pull on their worthy acting hats and Bruce Willis turns in a suitably Willis-style cameo in an incredibly heavy piece which looks at what would happen if New York was placed under martial law.

It’s a very deserving film, but so solemn and devastatingly depressing that you’ll be needing a stiff drink by the time the credits roll. Then again, you’d expect nothing less when you’re dealing with the very real threat of middle-east terrorism, but that shouldn’t stop you from watching. There are some very fine performances and despite the plot being incredibly thick and not entirely easy to follow, it is nonetheless gripping and once it gets rolling 3 stars - Worth a Watchyou’ll have trouble turning away.

The Extras

There’s a 13-minute featurette which delves behind the ideas that brought the film to the screen (rather than just have the actors gush over their roles). There is also the theatrical trailer to 2 stars - Disappointingsupport an excellent transfer.

Grant Kempster

Credits
The Siege - Buy this at Black Star

Cast • Denzel Washington
Annette Bening, Bruce Willis
Director • Edward Zwick
Duration • 111 mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 30
Languages • English
Subtitles • Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, Finnish, Portuguese, Hebrew, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Icelandic, English for hearing impaired
Release Date • May 1
Distributor • 20th Century Fox

Highlight

Chapter 5 – Sharing with the CIA
An immensely powerful scene and the most heart-wrenching explosion you’ll see on film.

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from Ultimate DVD #05

Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction

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