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Criterion Collection: Something Wild [Blu-ray]  [US Import]
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That Jonathan Demme's Something Wild is compelling from first to last is down to the chemistry between Melanie Griffith (Lulu) and Jeff Daniels (Charlie). She's bad, trashy and into handcuffed sex with strangers in motel rooms: she even manages to look sexy in a black bobbed wig. He's Mr Ordinary, with suit and steady job and--apparently--a wife and kids. Lulu has him mesmerised from the very start, as she offers him a lift back to the office but instead drives to Pennsylvania for her high-school reunion, stealing from garages along the way. Passing Charlie off as her husband, they run into problems when she meets her real one--the greasy, violent Ray, recently out of jail (Liotta, superb here)--and Charlie bumps into a guy from his office. Ray is not about to give up Lulu and pursues the couple relentlessly back to New York, the chase culminating, inevitably, in violence. It's a most unlikely love story, but as Charlie discovers he's less of a grey man than we all first thought, and a softer side of Lulu is revealed, it seems possible that we could be looking at a happy ending. This is a film that seems as fresh today as when it first appeared and remains one of Demme's finest achievements.
On the DVD: Something Wild is a pretty basic DVD package. There are no extras beyond the bog-standard trailer and scene-selection options. The picture quality itself is fine, though it's not as pristine as you'd find with more recent films. The spoken languages and subtitles are restricted to English and Spanish. --Harriet Smith --This text refers to the DVD edition.
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The sticker on the font says "Director Approved" which some might believe to think it has been pain-stakenly restored to a pristine , glowing restoration like many other past Criterion titles lavishly released over the years..
It is very clear to see as the opening credits roll , that very little restoration has been applied..
(if your TV setting are correct with contrast and brightness levels)..and the marks on the lens are still very present and the odd flicker of residue on the film itself are as sharp as the actual picture it-self..
But , don't be put off by this..
The image is sharp and vibrant , and the newly scanned print has a depth of picture that knocks the original DVD image out off the colour pallet..
The colour pallet Director Johnathan used is inspired , and it resonates deeply in the 1st 30 minutes of the film with Lulu's character wardrobe and car furnishings..
The 16:9 picture is rich and the blacks are ink-like and solid , and the skin tones on the faces are pure to the point of seeing the brush marks on the stage make-up through all close-up shots..
The detail is delightful and New York in the 80's looks as vibrant then as one might imagine at a time of a "New Wave" scene , and the clothes and soundtrack take you back to a somewhere "up-beat" , and the 1080 picture quality we see is also as up-beat as the films time period itself.
The Sound too has a beautiful up-grade to add the texture of the whole package of a great movie..
The new formatted DTS master is lavishly mixed to spilt dialogue and music tracks crisply and sharply , with the ambient sounds in the background there for all to enjoy.
"Something Wild" is a film rarely shown on TV networks these days , as fashions and PC attitude changes , so to have this gem given a make-over to its best presentation is , for those a fan of this Movie , been a delight to enjoy in High Definition..
Aside from a little grain here and there , the transfer is perfect and the colour and sharpness alone make this a stand-out film next to may other 1080 picture formatted titles that fail to impress..
The Bonus content could have been better as it has just two short interviews , one with Director The "late" Johnathan Demme who takes us though his memories of making "Something Wild" with many facts that are interesting..
The other interview is with script writer/editor that wrote the original story about the two character's s that met in a Diner..
Its a great shame there is not more to dig into as Criterion excel at finding material of interest to all fans of this style of film , and it would have been fabulous to have had the actors input about their experience , or better still a Commentary track talking though the film filled with anecdotes
..or even to have found just a few humours "out-takes" of which at the time of filming there much have been many..
The Blu-ray is a gem , although not the best value , its content is solid and the best you will probably ever see of this print ..
Nothing added or taken away , ..no tweaks or fiddling , ..
Its , by far the BEST version there is to see , will remain testament to those who adore Johnathan's fabulous work..
Something of a cult hit these days, Something Wild (directed by Jonathan "Silence Of The Lambs" Demme) has that nice trick of being able to pull us in early for the comedy, and then take us down a darker, but still comical, road. Daniels is always an affable and easy to watch actor, and nothing changes here, but it's Griffith and an early Liotta turn that steals the show. Griffith is a ball of sexuality, and she looks fabulous into the bargain. Her Audrey (AKA Lulu) has a few layers that need to be peeled by Griffith and she does it with style. Liotta serves notice of what was to come four years down the line when a certain Mr Scorsese came calling. Menacing yet fun into the bargain, it's very much the perfect Liotta role. Demme paints an interesting picture as he blends yuppiedom with rebellious excess, the result being a quirky little number that, save for an inevitability that comes with the finale, is a rewarding, time fulfilling experience. Margaret Colin, Tracey Walter, Su Tissue and Charles Napier join the principals in the cast, while the zippy 80s soundtrack contains cuts from some of the decades luminaries like New Order, Fine Young Cannibals & UB40. 7/10
The story may at first sound predictable but the approach the film takes is full of delicious suprises, with endless pleasure to be found in the details and strange but believable characters. With fantastic cameos from a whole cast of cult figures including Tracey Walter, Charles Napier and John Waters, the film revels in the quirky underside of America, but with obvious joy and affection, rather than cynicism or contempt.
Daniels is excellent, and Griffiths, who I am not a fan of, is suprisingly good, but the real plaudits most go to Ray Liotta, tearing up the screen as Lulu's psychotic ex-husband.
An absolutely terrific, often overlooked gem, arguably a career high for many of those concerned.
DVD sadly short on extras, so 2 out of 5 for minimal package, but 5 out of 5 for the movie itself.
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It includes Greek captions as stated!