Reviews of Region 2 discs from Ultimate DVD #20

Silence of the LambsChariots of Fire
The Family Man

A small fraction of Ultimate DVD's huge Region 2 Reviews section - dozens of new discs every month! - The UK's Biggest Video Store
Search for DVDs & videos, or use links below to buy the discs reviewed
BlackStar give up to 20% discount off all pre-orders!

See issue for details of deleted scenes from Hannibal, and more on Dr. Lector

SILENCE OF THE LAMBS (Special Ed.) Rated: 18

The Movie

Time, Academy acceptability and the seven deadly sins have not diminished the potency of this extremely intense and intelligent thriller. Though plundered by countless film and TV shows since (The X-Files’ Dana Scully is Clarice Starling), The Silence of the Lambs still boasts a level of bravura acting, technical fluency and narrative resourcefulness that may never be bettered within the genre.

Floundering in their attempts to catch serial killer ‘Buffalo Bill’, the FBI send in talented trainee Clarice (Foster) to try to get some clues from Hannibal ‘The Cannibal’ Lecter (Anthony Hopkins), a brilliant intellect capable of some serious skull-shafting. “Don’t let Lecter into your head” warns Jack Crawford (Scott Glenn), but Clarice does, in a handful of riveting ‘quid pro quo’ exchanges that earned both stars an Oscar, as well as the writer, director and picture.

But these are just a part of a tremendously taut adaptation of Thomas Harris’s novel, packed with ultra-black humour (“FBI! You’re Safe!”), exceptional attention to detail and one masterfully directed moment after another, including a nerve-shredding entry in the top 10 of suspense sequences.5 stars - Digital Dynamite Ready when you are, Sergeant Pembry.

The Extras

Though long available on a now-deleted Region 1 Criterion edition, owners should note that this two-disc package contains a new line-up of extras, and even the previous Deleted Scenes have been hugely expanded. As for picture on this new anamorphic transfer – well, the worrying level of grain on the FBI’s grey walls in the opening scenes proves to be an early blip, with the later forays into darkness (of the mind and image) looking very good indeed. Sound is more impressive though, as the film’s unnerving use of amplified FX ambience is fab in DD 5.1, as is Howard Shore’s superb score.

The most succulent of the fresh meat – cue slurpy sound! – is the hour-long Inside the Labyrinth, which is a fairly rigorous overview of the making of the film. From its pre-production (part rights-owner Gene Hackman planned to direct, but was repelled by the script), through the casting (Foster campaigned for Clarice, Hopkins initially thought it was a “children’s bedtime story”), to the joys of moth wrangling and the fun time everyone had whilst filming. No seriously, there were laughs-a-plenty.

There are new interviews with Hopkins, Ted Levine (Buffalo Bill), screenwriter Ted Tally and many of the production crew, but the absence of either the integral Demme or Foster (1991 footage only) gives the documentary less weight and insight than might have been. The director and actress do pop-up in a sketchy eight minute 1991 Featurette, which starts off fairly light in tone and then gets far more serious, as an FBI expert describes the real-life loonies who inspired the screen killers.

The 21 Deleted Scenes, which total approximately 20 minutes (see sidebar), are particularly note-worthy, since they seem to include every shot that wasn’t included in the final cut, illustrated by the compilations of excised moments from all the Lecter/Starling exchanges.

Also on offer are a couple of fun, if brief, additions. There’s around two minutes of Out-takes, as Hopkins prepares to go face-slicing with the voice of Sylvester Stallone and Foster ruins a tense moment with a unintentional gun-brandishing cry of “Put your hands on your hips!” Of similar novelty value is Hopkins’s then answer-phone greeting (you’d assume he’s changed it since), where he invites callers – in Lecter’s voice – to leave a message, or their liver could be on the menu with fava beans. On the more traditional front, there’s a pair of Trailers and two TV Spots, a Hannibal Trailer and eight Still Galleries, housing around 90 interesting shots.

Overall, the absence of input from Demme and Foster (or a Commentary) is a little disappointing. Nevertheless, it is an enjoyable, extensive package that 4 stars - Damn Fine Discdeserves to devour its chart rivals this summer.

Jason Caro

The making
of a monster

Silence of the Lambs - Order this at Black StarBlackstar

Anthony Hopkins
Jodie Foster
Scott Glenn
Jonathan Demme
Year • 1991
Duration • 118 mins
Screen Ratio • 1.85:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 32
Language • English
Subtitles • English, Swedish, Finnish, Norwegian, Danish, Portuguese, Polish, Hebrew, Turkish, Czech, Hungarian, English and German for Hearing Impaired
UK Release •
August 6
Distributor •


Chapter 13
“And senator, just one more thing. Love your suit!”
Chapter 22
The SWAT team discover a wounded Lecter. Or perhaps not.

Deleted Scenes Highlights...

Second Meeting: Excerpts
“Smile Clarice, we’re going to be partners.”
Crawford and Clarice: Excerpts
Travelling in the car, Crawford ironically reveals that Dr Lecter has been used as an expert witness in murder trials.
Third Meeting: Excerpts
A theatrical, but very eerie gliding long-take of Hopkins, as the low lighting cranks-up to a demonic red.
Jack Crawford at Johns Hopkins
Scott Glenn plays hardball with a non-forthcoming doctor, in a scene that shows a tougher side to his quiet personality.
Lecter’s Escape
The ambulance swerves dramatically, as driver Lecter laughs like a nutter
Clarice Gets Suspended
The FBI heads give Clarice a major bollocking and Crawford is ordered to take leave
Clarice’s Decision
A suspended Starling vows to continue her search for Bill. Crawford gives her cash and moral support
Lecter’s Phone Call
Hannibal’s plane lands as he tells Clarice, “For you, there will always be other lambs on other nights.”

Buy this DVD @BlackStar: 10% off pre-orders

from Ultimate DVD #20


Leaving the other competitors behind

The Movie

The film that warned the Academy that “The British are coming” back in 1981, Chariots of Fire (executive produced by one Dodi Fayed) is an undisputed masterpiece that regains its sheer power on DVD.

Set in a country recovering from the horror of World War I, it follows the true plights of two athletes, Scottish missionary Eric Liddell (Charleson) and Jewish Cambridge student Harold Abrahams (Cross), as they set their goals on gold at the 1924 Olympics in Paris. It’s a rousing, unaffected study of the glory of winning and the despair of defeat, as one man competes for his religion, and the other for his race.

Gorgeously photographed on location in Cambridge and Scotland, and accompanied by an anachronistic – but somehow wholly appropriate – soundtrack by Vangelis, this is a fine tribute to two of our greatest sportsmen. It’s also a reminder of the work of two fine actors, Charleson and Davis, both of whom have since 5 stars - Digital Dynamitetragically died of AIDS-related illnesses.

The Extras

An anamorphic transfer but the print is riddled with 0 stars - Digital Disasterartefacts. Fox give up in the extras race.

David Richardson

Chariots of Fire - Order this at Black Star

Ian Charleson • Ben Cross
Nigel Havers • Brad Davis
Hugh Hudson
Year • 1981
Duration • 118 mins
Screen Ratio • 1.85:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 2.0
Chapters • 24
Language • English
Subtitles • Czech, Danish, Finnish, Hebrew, Hungarian, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Swedish, English (Hearing Impaired)
UK Release •
August 6
Distributor •
20th Century Fox


Chapter 20
Abrahams’s finest moment experienced twice – once in real time and once in inspiring slow-mo.

Buy it @BlackStar: 10% off pre-orders

This review from Ultimate DVD #20

THE FAMILY MAN • Back to top Rated: 15

The Movie

Your classic tale of a lonely and selfish man who yearns for a different way of life, yet fails to realize this until somehow he is magically whisked into an alternative reality, where what begins as an existence from hell, soon becomes the life he’d always dreamed of. While this synopsis is nothing new, it’s the great performances, especially by Cage, which enhance this movie, giving it a credibility that could have so easily turned out to be saccharin-sweet nonsense. A worthy successor to the likes of Sliding Doors and Scrooged and a welcome 4 stars - Damn Fine Discreturn to form from leading man Cage.

The Extras

A 20-minute Featurette lets all involved praise each other for their commendable work, revealing that even though director Ratner was late for his first meeting, his outstanding enthusiasm won him the job. Discover more of the same in the Soundbites section, with individual interviews with Cage, Leoni, Don Cheadle, Jeremy Piven and director Ratner. It’s here that we discover that Cage and co-star Piven had a problem with keeping a straight face during shooting, something you’ll appreciate when viewing the Out-takes section. On several occasions the two spend take after take cracking up at each other, presenting a nice human side to the increasingly likeable Cage, who is often known for his intensity.

Thirteen minutes of Deleted Scenes await (see below), while Seal warbles his movie melody This Could be Heaven along with the clips-heavy Music Video. There are also two Easter-eggs, one which presents an alternative opening sequence, and the other which compiles every time someone uttered the word Jack. 4 stars - Damn Fine DiscSome people have far too much time!

Grant Kempster

Family Man - Buy this at Black StarBlackstar

Nicolas Cage
Téa Leoni • Don Cheadle
Director • Brett Ratner
Year • 2000
Duration • 120 mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 16
Languages • English
Subtitles • English
UK Release • July 2
Distributor • Entertainment

Chapter 08 – Welcome to Earth
The adorable Annie susses that Jack isn’t her real Dad and presumes that he must be an alien replicant.

Deleted Scenes Highlights...

A Tape for Jack • Kate gives Jack a specially made tape at the Airport.
The Customer is Always Right / Sidney Potter • Jack tries to learn his new trade from one of the floor-men, he also meets a possible new customer played by Paul Sorvino.
Jack Rings the Bell • Another attempt to summon the angel who got him into this mess with the bicycle bell.
Also included:
Jack on the Football Phone, Extended Dog Walk, Kate Gets Ready, Annie Help, Alan Mintz vs Jack Campbell, Annie Practices Violin and Arnie Doesn’t Know Jack.

Buy this DVD @BlackStar

from Ultimate DVD #20

Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2001. Not for reproduction

UltimateDVD footer