Reviews of Region 2 discs from Ultimate DVD #14

Se7en (Special Edition)
BraveheartHouse!

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SE7EN – Special Edition • Back to top Rated: 18
Scrubbed up as a two-disc Special Edition

The Movie

Few films can affect the viewer’s frame of mind as completely as David Fincher’s Se7en. The story of a serial killer (Spacey) who gruesomely despatches his victims according to the seven deadly sins, it’s an unrelentingly murky, often unpleasant, but always absorbing experience that has since been much imitated. Scary (though much is left to the imagination), bold and a true original, it’s also a powerful hate letter to the modern urban nightmare, and one that at times 5 stars - Digital Dynamitefeels far too close to home.

The Extras

Time to chuck out that nasty non-anamorphic DVD from a couple of years ago (you know, the one with eight – why not seven? – chapters). This new two-disc release boasts a glorious remastered anamorphic transfer, with a remixed 5.1 soundtrack replacing the previous pro-logic, presented in a whopping 37 chapters. As well as the film, disc one contains an amazing four commentary tracks (see sidebar), while disc two has all the rarities.

Have the remote control ready for Exploration of the Opening Title Sequence, which uses three angles and six audio options to display the different stages. Visually, we have storyboards, the intermediate version and the finished print, which can be complemented with different mixes and the choice of two commentaries. A number of deleted scenes (see sidebar) demonstrate Fincher’s good judgement in editing, while a gallery of evocative production designs (presented, thankfully, in 1.85:1) lasts for nine minutes and includes a commentary by production designer Arthur Max.

The disc lacks both a documentary and a featurette, although the theatrical electronic press kit (6 mins) fulfils the same functions. The trailer includes snippets of the deleted opening scene, and ends on the gift of a line “Have you ever seen anything like this?”

Still not convinced by this special edition? Then Mastering for Home Theatre should sway the vote. Divided into three sections (Audio, Video and Colour Correction), it displays how the soundtrack and picture were remastered for DVD, allowing Fincher’s use of the Bleach Bypass process (which accentuates the blacks) to hold up on the format. Multi-angle functions allow us to compare and contrast on three different scenes, and the difference is astounding. It’s also rather amusing to observe the technicians at work on the movie’s climax, as they muse, “We’re gonna have to fix that sky”. 5 stars - Digital DynamiteAnd we thought only gods had that power…

David Richardson

Credits
Seven - Buy this at Black StarBlackstar

Cast
Brad Pitt
Morgan Freeman
Gwyneth Paltrow
Kevin Spacey
Director • David Fincher
Year • 1995
Duration • 118 mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 37
Language • English
Subtitles • TBC
UK Release •
February 19
Distributor • Entertainment

For details of eight deleted scenes, plus director David Fincher on Se7en, see the issue...

 

Highlight

Chapter 36 –
Envy and Wrath

An uncompromising end to an uncompromising film.

 

Note: The review copy provided was not the final version, which may contain some very minor differences.

 

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This review from Ultimate DVD #14

BRAVEHEART • Back to top Rated: 15
A two-disc Special Edition that really hasn’t scot all it should have...

The Movie

William Wallace is a Scottish hero. He stopped at nothing to win his country’s freedom back from the English, triumphing in some major battles against the odds and weaving a legend that would last for centuries.

This is an epic movie of which actor/director Gibson, along with all involved, should be eternally proud. Braveheart is a sweeping romanticized take on the legend of the great Scotsman, driven along at a cracking pace while at the same time producing some intensely moving and naturally spectacular scenes. All of this accompanies James Horner’s haunting score which plucks slowly at the heartstrings, while Gibson’s direction reaches in and just yanks them right out of your chest.

Wallace’s screenplay does take huge liberties with the real-life events – the French queen, for instance, was just a child when all this took place, and she certainly never would have met William. But Gibson best defends this during his commentary when he says “We stuck to history where we could, but hyped it up with legend lettuce”.

Part fact, part fiction, 5 stars - Digital Dynamitebut wholly enjoyable.

The Extras

Considering Fox have bravely deemed to release this as a two-disc set (the Region 1 version managed it on just one), the additional value is pretty thin on the ground. In fact, the only extra on the redundant second disc is a 30-minute documentary. It is a good one though, with some nice behind the scenes footage and facts about the real Wallace, but there’s just too much else missing.

During Gibson’s reserved yet informative commentary – in which he tells us that, upon completion, he “really needed to be in a rubber room to drool for a while” – he also tells us of the intricate storyboards which were created for the immense battle and the 15-20 minutes of footage which was cut to get the time down. So where are they?

The commentary, although a little sparse, works well but this lavish yet disappointing Special Edition is marred by being overpriced 3 stars - Worth A Watchand incredibly under equipped.

Grant Kempster

Credits
Braveheart - Buy this at Black StarBlackstar

Cast
Mel Gibson
Sophie Marceau
Patrick McGoohan
Director • Mel Gibson Year • 1995
Duration • 171 mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 22
Languages • English
Subtitles • Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, Czech, Danish, English
UK Release • January 29
Distributor • 20th Century Fox

 

Highlights

Chapter 10 – Are You Ready For War?
Wallace canters back and forth along the front lines of his immense Scottish army, delivering a rousing speech. This scene will be enough to get you cheering at the TV, and dropping your trousers to moon at the neighbours.

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from Ultimate DVD #14

HOUSE! • Back to top Rated: 15
Eyes down, look in

The Movie

A film that puts the glamour back into bingo, House! recalls the quirky humour of Australian greats like Strictly Ballroom and Muriel’s Wedding. The place is La Scala, a dilapidated old hall where most seats are empty, the prize money is thin and the star caller’s jokes are saucy. The opening of a nearby mega-Bingo threatens to end its 100-year reign, but usherette Linda (Macdonald) has a scheme – one that relies on her uncanny ability to predict the winning numbers…

A no-lose tale of small people with big overdraughts and even bigger dreams, House! is a delight right from its senior citizen title sequence through to the climactic bingo bonanza finish. Short in duration yet big on plot (the script balances the battle of the bingo, a love story and the dark history of Linda’s family), it’s also unexpectedly creative in the visual department, with an entrancing interactive flashback sequence that’s worthy of a round of applause in itself.

Fanciful, outlandish yet still credible, this 5 stars - Damn Good Discis a fine British comedy with balls.

The Extras

A criminally bland menu screen leads to six trailers (‘Get lucky tonight!’), plus Suckers, a monochrome short by Kemp (in 1.33:1). It’s a fun, flippant yet slightly dark look at the art of door-to-door salesmen, that’s obviously made on no budget but remains vastly entertaining. As with the main feature, Kemp’s ability to stick his camera in unexpected places never ceases to amaze.

Finally, a commentary track finds the self-professed DVD fan and director in a good mood (“Hello!” he yells as the titles roll), and talking of deleted scenes (where are they then?), the art of bingo calling (“it’s a serious business”) and the amazing shooting locations (“what you’re seeing is really what we found”).3 stars - Worth A Watch

David Richardson

Credits
House! - Buy this at Black StarBlackstar

Cast
Kelly MacDonald
Freddie Jones
Miriam Margolyes
Director • Julian Kemp
Year • 2000
Duration • 87 mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 14
Languages • English
Subtitles • none
UK Release • December 4
Distributor • Pathé

 

Highlights

Chapter 10
“You said you wanted a drop of water”

 

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from Ultimate DVD #14

Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2001. Not for reproduction

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