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No Frills DVD Review: HEAVENLY CREATURES

 
 
ddmcd
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      09-06-2003
No Frills DVD Review: HEAVENLY CREATURES

Once more DVD technology comes through by making available an older film
no longer in general theatrical release, this time Peter Jackson's 1994
HEAVENLY CREATURES. What I find admirable about this intelligent and
engrossing film is the balance Jackson achieves with the elements of
madness and love that form the foundation of the film. He could have
played up the "homosexual" aspects of the girls' relationship in a
pandering way by emphasizing sexuality. But he doesn't. And somehow he
presents their magical fantasy world not in realistic terms - it is
anything but. Instead he shows it as a natural extension of the
"reality" that they build around themselves as they move toward the
murder at the end of the film.

This movie could have veered off in many bad directions and turned into
a Hollywoodish bloodfest or sexual obsession film. But it doesn't. And
the fact that it doesn't is a testament to the wisdom and maturity of
the creative forces behind the film.

I had a similar reaction to re-watching scenes from Jackson's THE TWO
TOWERS dealing with preparations for the Battle of Helms Deep. Many war
films focus on pre-battle jitters and veer into mawkish sentimentality
or drumbeat patriotism. TWO TOWERS somehow manages to combine
sentimentality, bravery, self-doubt, fear, and humor in a way that
generates a real emotional response while building up to a realistic and
horrific battle among humans, elves, dwarves, and non-human orcs. Pretty
good for a fantasy film!

I think it's clear that Jackson is a masterful director. But another
factor that is common between these two films is the involvement of his
wife Fran (Frances) Walsh as a screen play writer. (One of the
interesting aspects of the special features of the FELLOWSHIP OF THE
RING special edition DVD was that it actually devoted a significant
amount of time to the literary sources of the story as well to the
development of a screenplay that captures the essence of the Tolkien work.)

What this suggests to me is that an important element of Jackson's
success is his close relationship with and understanding of the
screenplay process. HEAVENLY CREATURES' dramatic quality is, I believe,
evidence of this. It's too bad that the HEAVENLY CREATURES DVD does not
have a commentary track, though; hearing about the creative process
behind it would be a real treat.

http://ddmcd.home.mindspring.com/DVD/

 
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madkevin
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      09-06-2003

"ddmcd" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:3mn6b.5833$(E-Mail Removed)...
> No Frills DVD Review: HEAVENLY CREATURES
>
> Once more DVD technology comes through by making available an older film
> no longer in general theatrical release, this time Peter Jackson's 1994
> HEAVENLY CREATURES.


Yeah, it's too bad rep cinemas, broadcast television, and videotape rental
outlets never did that.

==================
"Heavenly Coglianos"


 
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ddmcd
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      09-07-2003

>
>Yeah, it's too bad rep cinemas, broadcast television, and videotape rental
>outlets never did that.
>
>
>


I agree with you 100%. The quality and wide availability of DVD
significantly improves upon the narrow availability of rep cinema,
censored broadcast tv, and low quality rental VHS.

 
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Jay G
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      09-07-2003

"ddmcd" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote...
> >Yeah, it's too bad rep cinemas, broadcast television, and videotape

rental
> >outlets never did that.
> >

> I agree with you 100%. The quality and wide availability of DVD
> significantly improves upon the narrow availability of rep cinema,
> censored broadcast tv, and low quality rental VHS.


DVD might make the film more widely available than rep cinema
showings, and at higher quality than VHS or TV, but the way you
phrased your original post made it seem that you were claiming
that this film hadn't been available *at all* since it's original theatrical
release.

Also, you made the fact that this DVD made available
"an older film no longer in general theatrical release" sound
like it was remarkable to you, when DVD releases of older
films no longer in general theatrical release happen
*every single week*.

What you should've wrote is that the DVD is the first time the
original uncut version of the film had been made available in
the US.

-Jay


 
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madkevin
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      09-08-2003

"ddmcd" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:GQw6b.8395$(E-Mail Removed)...
>
> >
> >Yeah, it's too bad rep cinemas, broadcast television, and videotape rental
> >outlets never did that.
> >
> >
> >

>
> I agree with you 100%. The quality and wide availability of DVD
> significantly improves upon the narrow availability of rep cinema,
> censored broadcast tv, and low quality rental VHS.


More films - by which I mean a larger number of titles - have been released on
VHS than on DVD to date. That may or may not change in the future, but as of
right this second, VHS has been "making available...older film[s]
[which were] no longer in general theatrical release" for a couple of decades.
So, what were you saying again?

===============
"Cogliano Fidelity"


 
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ddmcd
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      09-08-2003


Jay G wrote:

>"ddmcd" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote...
>
>
>>>Yeah, it's too bad rep cinemas, broadcast television, and videotape
>>>
>>>

>rental
>
>
>>>outlets never did that.
>>>
>>>
>>>

>>I agree with you 100%. The quality and wide availability of DVD
>>significantly improves upon the narrow availability of rep cinema,
>>censored broadcast tv, and low quality rental VHS.
>>
>>

>
>DVD might make the film more widely available than rep cinema
>showings, and at higher quality than VHS or TV, but the way you
>phrased your original post made it seem that you were claiming
>that this film hadn't been available *at all* since it's original theatrical
>release.
>

That was certainly not my intent, but to be honest, even if it had been
available on VHS (or laser disc) I would still prefer the dvd because of
the quality improvement (and of course the fact that it was priced so low).

>
>Also, you made the fact that this DVD made available
>"an older film no longer in general theatrical release" sound
>like it was remarkable to you, when DVD releases of older
>films no longer in general theatrical release happen
>*every single week*.
>

Actually, I do find this fact somewhat remarkable. I remember when DVD
technology was first becoming commercialized. There were real fears that
Circuit City and DIVX would manage to detsroy the market before it
developed. Also, we still ocasionally hear rumors that "sell through"
pricing on some titles will be abandoned initially for rental pricing.
Even now there are reports of a "disposable DVD" experiment which, if
you want to think this way, is another attempt to destroy the low-priced
sell through distribution model that is now supporting the re-issue of
high quality versions of films like HEAVENLY CREATURES, SOYLENT GREEN,
and FLIGHT OF THE PHOENIX on standard DVD.

Does it concern me that there are many VHS titles that will probably
never be converted over to DVD? Well, it sort of reminds me of the
situation we have with audio recordings; there were many "records"
issued on LP that may never see the light of day on CD or any other
format. That's just the way it is; I'm encouraged, though, that DVD has
been so commercially succesful that DVD is not just being used for
expensive or blockbuster titles.

>
>What you should've wrote is that the DVD is the first time the
>original uncut version of the film had been made available in
>the US.
>


I was not aware of that. Makes me wonder what was "cut" in prior
releases. Which is why it would be great if a"with commentary" version
was released.

>
>-Jay
>
>
>
>


 
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Steve(JazzHunter)
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      09-08-2003
On Mon, 08 Sep 2003 12:50:22 GMT, ddmcd <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>
>
>Jay G wrote:
>
>>"ddmcd" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote...
>>
>>
>>>>Yeah, it's too bad rep cinemas, broadcast television, and videotape
>>>>
>>>>

>>rental
>>
>>
>>>>outlets never did that.
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>I agree with you 100%. The quality and wide availability of DVD
>>>significantly improves upon the narrow availability of rep cinema,
>>>censored broadcast tv, and low quality rental VHS.
>>>
>>>

>>
>>DVD might make the film more widely available than rep cinema
>>showings, and at higher quality than VHS or TV, but the way you
>>phrased your original post made it seem that you were claiming
>>that this film hadn't been available *at all* since it's original theatrical
>>release.
>>

>That was certainly not my intent, but to be honest, even if it had been
>available on VHS (or laser disc) I would still prefer the dvd because of
>the quality improvement (and of course the fact that it was priced so low).
>
>>
>>Also, you made the fact that this DVD made available
>>"an older film no longer in general theatrical release" sound
>>like it was remarkable to you, when DVD releases of older
>>films no longer in general theatrical release happen
>>*every single week*.
>>


>Does it concern me that there are many VHS titles that will probably
>never be converted over to DVD? Well, it sort of reminds me of the
>situation we have with audio recordings; there were many "records"
>issued on LP that may never see the light of day on CD or any other
>format. That's just the way it is; I'm encouraged, though, that DVD has
>been so commercially succesful that DVD is not just being used for
>expensive or blockbuster titles.
>
>>
>>What you should've wrote is that the DVD is the first time the
>>original uncut version of the film had been made available in
>>the US.


I have the rather good quality widescreen laserdisc of "Heavenly
Creatures." I'd like to see what was cut myself...

Steve .
>>

>
>I was not aware of that. Makes me wonder what was "cut" in prior
>releases. Which is why it would be great if a"with commentary" version
>was released.
>
>>
>>-Jay
>>
>>
>>
>>


 
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ddmcd
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      09-08-2003

>More films - by which I mean a larger number of titles - have been released on
>VHS than on DVD to date. That may or may not change in the future, but as of
>right this second, VHS has been "making available...older film[s]
>[which were] no longer in general theatrical release" for a couple of decades.
>So, what were you saying again?
>
>




I'm not sure what the question is - of course I'm aware of the longevity
and popularity of VHS. Being the first on my block with a portable
stereo VHS recording system helped me survive my son's infancy through
zillions of rental movies.

But once DVD came along I never looked back. My time for viewing is
limited and I prefer DVD video and sound quality. The fact that we have
as many DVD titles now despite the relative "youth" of the technology is
nothing but positive in my book. Now when given a choice between
watching a movie from VHS, or not watching it -- I skip it, there's so
much good stuff available on DVD now.

Meanwhile, my old VHS machines sit next to my old audiocassette
machines, gathering dust.

 
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madkevin
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Posts: n/a
 
      09-08-2003

"ddmcd" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:Mi27b.13989$(E-Mail Removed)...
>
> >More films - by which I mean a larger number of titles - have been released

on
> >VHS than on DVD to date. That may or may not change in the future, but as of
> >right this second, VHS has been "making available...older film[s]
> >[which were] no longer in general theatrical release" for a couple of

decades.
> >So, what were you saying again?
> >
> >

>
>
>
> I'm not sure what the question is - of course I'm aware of the longevity
> and popularity of VHS. Being the first on my block with a portable
> stereo VHS recording system helped me survive my son's infancy through
> zillions of rental movies.


Regardless of the quality of the films - and god knows I'm not suggesting that
VHS is somehow superior than DVD in terms of quality - VHS has been releasing
older films no longer in general release for a couple of decades. Your post made
it sound like this amazing fact was somehow the providence of DVD only, which is
completely untrue. When I called you on it, you refered to the quality of the
releases, rather than the availability, and proceeded to compound the error. The
simple fact is that, currently, more titles from back catalogs have been
released on VHS than on DVD. Thus, DVD actually has a *narrower* availability
than VHS to date.

In other words, what you wrote was false. Geddit?

===================
"Curse Of The Cogliano"


 
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ddmcd
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      09-08-2003
Look, I really enjoy the civility of your responses, which is refreshing
given the "**** you" comments so many people provide in this newsgroup.
But I cannot see where in my original review, or in my subsequent posts,
I EVER suggested that VHS has not been around longer or has not provided
more releases on a numeric title by title basis.

All I am attempting to say is that I really enjoy the fact that older
films are being made available on DVD now, older films that I enjoy.
That's great and I don't have to deal with poor VHS quality, lack of
theatrical release, my lack of time for going out to movies, the gfact
that both of my old VHS units don't work, or whatever. I AGREE THAT MORE
TITLES ARE AVAILABLE ON VHS.

But I just don't care. So I apologize. Here's what I said in my review:
"Once more DVD technology comes through by making available an older
film no longer in general theatrical release, this time Peter Jackson's
1994 HEAVENLY CREATURES.."

Sigh. By the way, did you enjoy HEAVENLY CREATURES as much as I did?



>
>


 
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