Reviews for region 1 discs From Ultimate DVD #14

The Cell
Hollow Man

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THE CELL Rated: R
Fantastical take on the serial killer genre

The Movie

When serial killer Carl Stargher (D’Onofrio) goes into a coma before he can reveal the location of his latest victim, FBI agent Peter Novak (Vaughn) asks psychologist Catharine Deane (Lopez) to enter the murderer’s mind to get the information. Using technology designed to reach ‘normal’ comatose patients, she is assaulted with a bizarre mixture of dream and nightmare imagery.

‘Visual’ is the watchword for this movie which reads rather like Manhunter on acid. Director Singh overwhelms a spare but decent script with an all-out assault of dream imagery, colour, and sharply-rendered images of sado-masochism. Not for the faint of heart nor for the easily jaded, The Cell is a movie that reaches its entertainment goals.3 stars - Worth A Watch

The Extras

There’s a lot included in this release, some of it interesting and some just eye candy. To get the eye candy out of the way first, the extras include a Personality Test which consists of a series of 10 questions to help you find out what your ‘emotional IQ’ is. There’s also a section called Brain Map that analyses some of the structural and behavioral aspects of the human mind.

The documentary is difficult to watch because it’s so cloyingly worshipful. If you believe the cast and crew interviewed, then Tarsem must have walked on water to get to the set everyday. Thankfully, the director himself doesn’t seem to buy into it as evidenced in the deleted scenes which include his commentary. Singh wears his heart on his sleeve and his heart is consumed with film. His commentary in the excised scenes and for the movie itself is fast; so fast at times that you nearly miss what he’s saying. Although his singular frame of reference seems to be movies, his lack of Angst at having material removed is refreshing. Most of the deleted scenes were removed less for narrative flow than gross-out factor, including a particularly graphic depiction of just exactly what Stargher does with the bodies before disposing of them.

The Cell is also one of the few releases to take advantage of a DVD’s ability to shift between different angles within the same stream of programming. In this case, you can use your remote’s ‘angle’ button to shift between on-set video, interview, and storyboard elements, 5 stars - Digital Dynamiteall of which parallel each other.

Credits
The Cell DVD

Cast
Jennifer Lopez
Vince Vaughn
Vincent D’Onofrio
Director • Tarsem Singh
Year • 2000
Duration • 107mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 22
Languages • English
Subtitles • English
Release Date •
December 19 2000
Distributor •
Warner Home Video

 

Highlight

Chapter 12 - The Mind of a Killer

A stupendous if rather horrific visual feast awaits Catharine Deane as she enters the serial killer’s mind for the first time.

James E Brooks

From Ultimate DVD #14

HOLLOW MAN Rated: R
The invisible - and very nasty - man

The Movie

This retelling of the durable Invisible Man tale (adapted as only Verhoeven could) updates the concept, casting Kevin Bacon as an egotistical genius whose need to retain the spotlight pushes him to become the first human subject for his own experiment. The result may not be visible to the naked eye, but it quickly turns ugly as ego turns to megalomania and finally homicidal mania. Freed of the social restraints of visibility, he turns irredeemably evil, revealing a dark and lascivious side.

As with all Verhoeven films, there is an undercurrent of something deliberately unseemly here – a dark and brutal sexuality that reveals how thin our civilized veneer is. Although Shue is nominally the main character, Bacon dominates the picture, demonstrating his talent by keeping the audiences with him even as his 4 stars - Damn Good Disccharacter grows increasingly repellant.

The Extras

Sony weighs in with a jam-packed parcel of extras which lean heavily towards the movie’s special effects. A broad context of the film is offered in a single commentary track with Verhoeven, Bacon, and screenwriter Andrew Marlowe. It’s a lively discussion, driven by Verhoeven’s bottomless enthusiasm. There’s even a commentary and isolated score from composer Jerry Goldsmith.

A 15-minute featurette gives a taste of the bulk of the disc’s supplementary material by providing an overview of the film’s extensive CGI work. For a closer look at individual aspects of making Bacon fully and partially invisible there are 15 – count ‘em, 15 – five-minute video pieces. They range from creating muscles and bones for transition scenes to how Bacon spent most of filming in green, blue, or black bodysuits to the ways in which smoke and water were painted in to suggest the actor’s form – some with audio commentary.

The lead piece, Paul Verhoeven: Hollywood’s Mad Scientist, offers a humourous look at the free-spirited director, including his off-screen performance as a raging gorilla. Three deleted sequences are included as well as picture-within-picture raw and finished footage comparisons. The usual trailers and text-based credits for the cast and director are overshadowed by the other features as well as the impressive interactive menu transitions. For fans of Hollow Man and its director, this is the 5 stars - Digital Dynamitenext best thing to a Criterion Edition.

James E Brooks

Credits
Hollow Man DVD

Cast
Kevin Bacon
Elisabeth Shue
Josh Brolin
Greg Grunberg
Kim Dickens
Joey Slotnick
William Devane
Director • Paul Verhoeven
Year • 2000
Duration • 113 min
Screen Ratio • 1.85:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 28
Languages •
English, French
Subtitles • English, French
Release Date • January 2
Distributor •
Columbia Tri-Star

 
 

Highlight

Chapter 4 – The Reversion
You can’t help but be amazed at the CGI wizardry as a test gorilla returns to visibility from the inside out.

 
 
 
From Ultimate DVD #14

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