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HannibalFinding Forrester

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Hannibal Rated: 18

The Movie

Scott's filming of Thomas Harris's The Silence of the Lambs follow-up could almost be re-titled 'The Talented Dr Lecter', since this operatic, leisurely-paced movie is closer in content to Anthony Minghella's psychological thriller than either of the previous Hannibal-related adaptations. Polished, solidly performed and extremely watchable, although bereft of much fear or suspense, this sees Lecter living with a new identity in Florence, and sought by hideously disfigured millionaire Mason Verger (Oldman at an all-time-ham-high).

Hopkins is good fun as a slightly camper killer than previous and Moore makes a reasonable stab at Clarice Starling's single-minded strength, but the movie is quietly stolen by Giancarlo Giannini as a very edgy Italian detective who cottons on. Both the black humour-laced dialogue and one outrageous gore effect are audience-pleasers, though this oddly romanticized film may prove too subdued for those expecting a heart-pounding frightfest. 3 stars - Worth a WatchServiceable, rather than memorable.

The Extras

Along with David Fincher, Scott's association with a DVD release is fast becoming a seal of quality, and this two-disc set rivals Gladiator for breadth of features and quality of presentation.

The first disc features a high-pedigree transfer, with both John Mathieson's handsome photography and Hans Zimmer's evocative score impressively reproduced (also in DTS). Scott's highly-detailed Commentary proves invaluable, as he intelligently analyzes character motivations, plot developments and the problems of translating a 600-word novel into a 130-minute film. Amongst his insightful observations are that "action sequences are a cheap solution to occupy the audience's attention" with character scenes far harder to do, and surprisingly, for a man whose films have been criticised of form over content, he seems uninterested in the film's visual approach.

Disc two is quite something, as the five Featurettes and 14 Deleted Scenes with optional commentary (see sidebar) alone total nearly two hours. The interview-led Development section covers the bringing together of the cast and director and is notable for its candour (Hopkins felt the book was "over-reaching and so bizarre") and for everyone's different interpretations of the film's themes.

Production encapsulates numerous areas, from the Florence press conference announcing the project, to the training of the 'carnivorous' hogs and despite a haphazard structure, few stones are left unturned. Music has one of Zimmer's orchestral tracks being recorded and the composer speaking about his relationship with Scott, which will be chiefly of interest for soundtrack aficionados. Special Make-up Effects does exactly what it says on the tin, revealing the animatronic tricks used to do unpleasant things to Verger's minions and one of the main cast members, as well as their "non-zombie" aims when creating the Verger look. Last and weakest is Reaction, with unexciting footage of celebs at screenings and the audience response to the 'dinner party' scene.

That under-used facility, the 'angle' button, comes into play in three user-friendly vignettes. There's Anatomy of a Shoot-out (very dull until it kicks-off six minutes in), Ridleygrams (Scott discusses his own storyboards, matched to the finished product), and Title Design (multiple combinations of video and audio for the opening sequence, plus plenty of pigeons). Less entertaining to access, but no less interesting, are two Trailers, 19 TV Spots, over 60 Poster Concepts (the simplest got used) and several hundred photos covering just about every possible area of interest.

An eight-course home cinema banquet. Liver, anyone?5 stars - Digital Dynamite

Jason Caro

Dr Lecter:
Silent no Longer

DVD OF THE MONTH

Credits
Hannibal - Order this at Black StarBlackstar

Cast
Anthony Hopkins
Julianne Moore
Gary Oldman
Ray Liotta
Director
Ridley Scott
Year • 2001
Duration • 126 mins
Screen Ratio • 1.85:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1 / DTS
Chapters • 32
Language • English
Subtitles • English, Turkish, Danish, Hindi, Hebrew, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Norwegian, Swedish, Icelandic, Arabic
UK Release •
August 20
Distributor •
Columbia Tristar

Highlights

Chapter 29
Hannibal proves his skill at getting into people's minds.

Deleted Scenes Highlights...

Return to the Dungeon
Clarice revisits Lecter's old institution. Spooky.

"Dear Clarice..."
Hopkins plays his own piano composition in a "warmer" montage of Hannibal's letter.

Il Mostro Case
A compilation of excised Florence embellishments, including another serial killer.

Lecter in Florence
Evading Verger's minion, Hannibal is distracted by a beautiful window display.

Coveting Clarice
Additional Starling jogging and a steering wheel licking.

Alternate Ending
A less melodramatic version of the final kitchen face-off, plus a slightly creepier extension of the airlilne nibble.

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from Ultimate DVD #21

Finding Forrester Rated: 12

The Movie

Black teenager Jamal Wallace (Brown) wants to be a writer but hides his prodigious abilities from his basketball-playing peers. For a dare, the boy breaks into the apartment of a sinister loner, but is surprised during the raid and drops his rucksack. The bag is later returned and Jamal finds that his writing notebooks have been read and critiqued. The recluse is writer William Forrester (Connery) who disappeared into obscurity after his first and only book won the Pulitzer prize. The writer recognizes the boy's talent and befriends Jamal, encouraging him to accept a private school scholarship. Through their relationship, both lives are changed.

This is a dream role for Connery as the eccentric literary lion with a heart of gold, and he works well with talented newcomer Brown. The trouble with the film is its coziness - all problems are solved either by Forrester's genius or Jamal's basketball-playing abilities.

Director Gus Van Sant creates a nice sense of mystery in the early scenes, and brings a coy eroticism to the basketball sequences, but it's unclear who the film is pitched at. The cultural divide between elderly Scotsman and black teen is barely addressed, as is any suggestion of homosexuality in the relationship, or how Jamal can still relate to his basketball buddies when he has gone upstate to school. Connery and Brown are always watchable, however, making 3 stars - Worth a Watchan enjoyable film that could have benefited from being more grown-up.

The Extras

Featured are two Documentaries - one 'behind-the-scenes' and another about the providential casting of the young lead - both are sickly examples of press-kit puffery. Also included are two deleted choir seque3 stars - Worth a Watchnces, the Trailer and Filmographies of the cast.

David Miller

Credits
Finding Forrester - Order this at Black StarBlackstar

Cast
Sean Connery
Rob Brown
F Murray Abraham
Director
Gus Van Sant
Year • 2000
Duration • 136 mins
Screen Ratio • 2.35:1
Anamorphic • Yes
Audio • Dolby Digital 5.1
Chapters • 28
Language • English
Subtitles • English, Dutch, Bulgarian, Polish, Czech, Hungarian, Icelandic
UK Release •
August 20
Distributor •
Columbia Tristar

Highlight

Chapter 23
Jamal trounces Professor Crawford (Abraham) in a battle of wits by correctly identifying every quote the furious English teacher throws at him.

This review from Ultimate DVD #21

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