Reviews written by registered user
jimben2000

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5 reviews in total 
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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Disparity of Versions?, 25 August 2001

I've just viewed the new Anchor Bay 99 minute "extended" version of this film and am quite puzzled.

This is supposed to be the definitive "restored" version of this film?

I also happen to have a mint condition 1988 Magnum Entertainment VHS copy of the "uncut" version which runs 101 minutes and my puzzlement deepens.

Between the VHS and DVD versions I spot one or two variances between the insert shots. Case in point being the first insert of Rowan's photograph when it is received in the police station. In the VHS version it is a full-length view of the entire photo, while in the DVD version it is replaced by a jarringly out of place, very tight close-up of Rowan's face.

Also, is the DVD version guilty of the infamous "false letterbox?" I have played the VHS and DVD side by side and am convinced that the DVD has taken a fullscreen print and simply masked the top and bottom of the image to create a widescreen image. This is based on the fact that the "width" of the VHS image is identical to that of the DVD, while the "height" of the DVD image clearly indicates that portions of the image have been masked.

Notice how many times the tops of people's heads are trimmed throughout the film. Final proof for me came with the establishing shot of the Green Man pub sign, which in the DVD is not-so-neatly cut off top and bottom just at the borders of the sign, while in the 1988 VHS copy, we not only see the sign, but also so decorative metalwork above and bushes below it.

All throughout the film there are countless examples where the composition of the frame suggests the masking of a fullscreen print rather than the transfer of a widescreen image.

Can anyone else out there back me up on this? Or at least offer a reasonable explanation?

4D Man (1959)
2 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
The $1.000.000 Mystery, 19 August 2001

Does anybody know of a publicity gimmick associated with this film which offered a million dollar reward to anyone who could duplicate -in reality- the feats of the 4D Man? I recall seeing such an advertisement many years ago in an old magazine which sticks in my memory because it purported that the feats WERE scientifically possible. Anybody out there know what I'm talking about?

The Others (2001)
TRULY Beyond the Door, 11 August 2001

I've heard it said that the scariest thing you can show in a film is a closed door.

I've never fully appreciated the incipient dread suggested by that premise until I saw this film today. Imagine an entire haunted house movie filled with closed doors -and they make a grand show of telling you that all the doors are closed!

Why? Why close the doors? What's behind them, hmmm?

And THAT's where the real fear factor in this film comes from; there's always something on the other side of that door...or that one...or upstairs...

Never since the chillingly atmospheric -and now utterly forgotten- ghost stories of the 1940's and Val Lewton have I seen a film which relied so much on characters and settings and ACTING to create its terror. Nicole Kidman is perfectly cast as the "modern" 1940's woman battling unseen agents of malice directed against her and her children.

No cheap monsters, no digital wraiths, no dismembered corpses or dripping pools of blood. Just lots of fog, strange noises, closed doors, hallways, empty rooms, candles, darkness and the inexorable terror of what you CAN'T see, what you DON'T see ---and all the horrors which your imagination can create.

An excellent return to what ghost stories should be! BRAVO

Fantasia (1940)
Conspiracy of Silence?, 7 August 2001

Could someone please explain to me why, on the 120 minute laserdisc version the folks at Disney had no problem including the actual voice of Deems Taylor, yet for their "gloriously restored" super-deluxe 125 minute DVD version they have inexplicably "lost" the Deems Taylor vocal tracks?

EXCUSE ME? Reality check here. Am I the only one who finds it inconceivable that somebody at Disney "lost" the Deems Taylor audio tracks? Even if this ridiculous premise is true, why not simply re-master it from the digital tracks used on the laserdisc? Why replace them with an ineffectual -and poorly dubbed- stand-in?

4 out of 4 people found the following review useful:
A great visual archive of rare footage, 26 July 2001
7/10

An innocuous looking video with a treasure trove of rare footage and vintage trailers, offering a rich and unusual look at the history of Frankenstein on the screen. For the serious collector there are two visual treasures early on: the first is an extremely rare makeup still of Bela Lugosi in a test for the 1931 version, and this is followed by a still of an rejected Karloff makeup. Also included are some rare color footage from "Son of Frankenstein."