Reviews for region 1 discs From Ultimate DVD #08

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Just two selections from Ultimate DVD's region 1 Reviews section.

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Or to order these titles, just use the links: Stephen King

A deeply affecting film about a living miracle

The Movie

To clarify: while The Green Mile is based on a novel by Stephen King, is set in a prison and directed by Frank Darabont, it is no Shawshank Redemption. Nor should it be: defined by a unique spirit, this four-time Oscar-nominated celluloid treasure takes the prison story into supernatural territory, as death row guard Paul Edgecomb (Hanks) gradually realizes that accused child-killer John Coffey (Duncan) is a living, breathing miracle.

It’s an atypical King tale in the sense that the psychic powers strand is very much played down. The Green Mile is a story about people, and Hanks, Morse and the breathtakingly brilliant Duncan lead viewers into a magical, sprawling and emotionally devastating experience. Ignore the critics who dissed the three hours plus duration; every second of Darabont’s exquisite script counts, as even the most mundane plot points enrich the lives and deaths of these wholly rounded characters.

In a nutshell: a fully-fledged, 5 stars - Digital Dynamitefive-star example of film-making.

The Extras

A soporific menu accompanied by the gentle score is punctuated by a startling ‘psychic burst’ when a selection is made. The movie’s presentation (anamorphic widescreen, Dolby 5.1) gets top marks, but extra features are rather scant.

We’ll forgive Darabont and Hanks for not wanting to partake of a three-hour commentary, and even shrug off the lack of deleted scenes. However, besides the charmingly representative trailer, there’re just bios for four cast members plus King and Darabont, and a 10-minute behind the scenes piece. The latter, entitled Walking the Mile, is hardly insightful but does favour on-set footage above movie clips.

There is film of King visiting the set on his birthday, some humorous shots of rodent cast member Mr Jingles, plus some truly amazing work from Duncan. Oh, and we’re privy to the shooting of a pivotal scene – so 3 stars - Worth a Watch no peeking before watching the film.

David Richardson

The Green Mile - order it from below

Cast • Tom Hanks
David Morse
Bonie Hunt
Michael Clarke Duncan
Director • Frank Darabont
Duration • 188 mins
Screen Ratio • 1.85:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 53
Languages • English
Subtitles • English, French
Release Date • June 13
Distributor • Warner


In association with


Chapter 31 – Haywire
A nauseating, troubling but necessary segment, in which Darabont presents an uncompromising view of an execution gone wrong.

Chapter 48 – In Heaven
One character is granted his greatest wish, while another will be left emotionally scarred for life.


Murder, deception and all that jazz

The Movie

Identity – or the lack thereof – is the main thrust of this film which follows Tom Ripley (Damon) as he insinuates himself into the lives of affluent young couple Dickie and Marge (Law and Paltrow) leading a carefree life in 1950s Italy. But Ripley isn’t content to be a part of their life, instead he wants to be Dickie and that’s when the murders begin.

The ensemble cast does an excellent job of bringing Minghella’s adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novel to life, especially Damon. The actor plays Ripley as an empty vessel desperate to be filled, but still somehow sympathetic regardless of the evil things he does. The screenplay is well-crafted, complemented by direction that makes ample use of visual metaphors to 4 stars - Damn good discbring home the story’s themes.

The Extras

Atypical for a Paramount release, The Talented Mr Ripley includes a nice package of extras comprising teaser and release theatrical trailers, cast and crew interviews, and a couple of music videos derived from two of the many jazz sequences in the movie.

For deeper contextual information, there is a 25-minute making of the movie featurette (Inside The Talented Mr Ripley) and Minghella’s director’s commentary.

Reflecting the emphasis the writer-director places on music and the way it shapes the themes and moods of the film, there is also a behind the scenes piece on the score’s creation and how important jazz is to establishing 4 stars - Damn good discthe ambience of place and time.

James E Brooks

The Talented Mr Ripley - order it from below

Cast • Matt Damon
Gwyneth Paltrow • Jude Law
Cate Blanchett
Director •Anthony Minghella
Duration • 138 mins
Screen Ratio • 1.85:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 25
Languages •English, French
Subtitles • English
Release Date • June 27
Distributor • Paramount Home Video


In association with


Chapter 12 – Sam Remo
For most of the first half of the movie Ripley is fawning and clinging, but when Dickie delivers the news that he’s tired with his obsequious friend, the worm turns and Ripley becomes a death machine, driven by rejection.

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