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Cth's DVD Buys

or

Ever Wanted To Review DVDs?  Now you can!

or

Malkovich, Malkovich.. malkovich, malkovich?

by Cth (cth@clickcom.com)

 

  This Week's DVD selections were brought to you by:

The letter "Malkovich" and the number "Malkovich"

What you can expect from this review:

- Evaluation of the "extras"

- General synopsis of movie with comments

- Overall presentation (menus, layouts, ease of use, innovation, etc)

- Cover evaluation

What will not be covered in this review:

-Sound options [Dolby 5.1, etc, unless someone is willing to sponsor my purchase of such a setup ;) ]

DISCLAIMER

As always, if there's a DVD you'd like me to review, I'm always willing to do so, just send it my way and I'll return it to you when finished with my review.  You will get credit in the review for providing the loan, and can help contribute in promoting something cool for everyone to see.  Go ahead, force me to watch your worst DVD. Do your worst!   And remember, these reviews are my opinions, feel free to use this in assisting your decision, but not to supplant them.

Let's shift gears a bit, and look at one of the more interesting films in Cth's collection.

It's an oldie, but a goodie, my first DVD purchase ever.

Being John Malkovich

Cover:                 4/5  (Eye catching; Better than movie poster; Draws the viewers eye in)

Direction/Story    5/5  (Bizarre; Innovative; Experimental; Against the normal casting)

DVD Layout        3/5 (Easy navigation; Animated menus)

Extras                 4/5 (Needs a commentary track badly; Full length features included)

OVERALL           4/5  (Great story and cast as well as direction; An essential DVD to get))                 

COVER

The design focusing on the door grabs the casual glancer's eye and pulls you in, focusing your attention on the actor and actresses.  The mood of the film is captured well too with the color choices.  A much better decision to go with this picture than the movie poster which was flat and two-dimensional.

 

DIRECTION

Spike Jonez is one of the up and coming directors to keep your eye out for.  Like David Fincher, he brings something to film that hasn't been seen before, and like Fincher, comes from the music video circuit.

From his decision to dirty up Cameron Diaz (no makeup, frizzy 70s hair, etc) to the long, greasy haired, scraggly bearded John Cusack, Jonez has proven he's willing to take chances with strange scripts and run with it.  It says a lot when a director can take you inside someone's head and make it believable.

And for him to draw out the performances from all the players in this film, says something else about the type of director he is.

STORY

Every 100 or so years, a human vessel is born.  A doorway into this vessel also exists.  One such vessel is actor John Malkovich.  Craig, a puppeteer, unsatisfied with his boring, unsuccesful life and in desperate need for a paying job, goes job hunting at his wife's insistence.  He applies for a job on the 6 1/2 floor as a file clerk.  While there, he discovers a small hidden doorway behind some cabinets.  He enters only to find himself transported into the mind of actor John Malkovich.   He can only stay for 15 minutes before he finds himself ejected onto the side of the New Jersey turnpike.  Craig falls for one of his coworkers, and begins a business venture with her to sell time in John Malkovich's mind.  Craig's wife tries out the John Malkovich ride and realizes she has lesbian tendencies and considers sexual reassignment surgery.  Both Craig and his wife make advances on the coworker, but she's uninterested unless they're occupying Malkovich's body.  Hilarity ensues when Malkovich enters his own vessel which raises existential issues and gives us the most bizarre minutes of any film ever filmed. Craig, in an attempt to keep his wife from seeing her, locks her in a cage and runs off with his coworker.  Craig through practice can stay longer and longer in Malkovich's body and decides to take over his life.  Malkovich drops out of acting and becomes a full time puppeteer.  The time is rapidly approaching when Malkovich will ripen and the society that has been tracking him in hopes of prolonging their own lives will try to enter the body.  To do so, they kidnap Craig's new wife (the coworker) and blackmail him into leaving the body.  Craig's old and new wife then proclaim their love for one another and announce who the true father of the baby is. Craig, despondent, goes into the body of the new vessel (her baby), but is trapped inside without control.

LAYOUT

Fairly easy to navigate, and yes, the animated menus are there :)   Supposedly there's an Easter egg there, but I couldn't get it to work.

EXTRAS

Even though they're featured for 30 or so seconds in the movie, full-length features are on the CD.

One is an A&E Special on John Malkovich's journey into puppetry from acting.  Some other great behind the scenes exist, such as extras who are supposed to drive by on the Jersey turnpike but can never get it right.  Oh, and Spike Jonez throws up during a semi-interview.  The poor guy was in the middle of 2 or 3 movies and barely had the time and it shows.  The only drawback again, is the lack of a commentary track by Cusack, Diaz, Keneer, Malkovich, or Jonez.

DON'T MISS              

When Malkovich enters his own body.  Also, Malkovich's brilliant performance as John Cusack puppeteering his own body. It truly shows his acting abilities off, he gets Cusack's mannerisms and speech patterns down perfectly.

FINAL WORD

This along with Fight Club and American Beauty were the best films released this year.  You owe it to yourself to check out this bizarre film.  It has its funny moments, its serious ones, and it makes you think.  Films like these don't come along too often, and even then, without being done as professionally as this one has.  

Copyrightę2000 Cth