In Match Point (DreamWorks; Movie •••½, Picture/Sound •••½, Extras: None), Woody Allen creates a Shakespearean tale of ambition, passion, and madness that can only end in tears, and he does so in a uniquely cinematic way. By usual DVD standards, the quality of the picture and sound might seem lacking.
It's amazing how many ways a story can be told. Byron Haskin's 1953 version of THE WAR OF THE WORLDS (Warner; Movie ••••, Picture/Sound ••••, Extras ••••) has a completely different focus and tone than Steven Spielberg's gloomy take on the H. G. Wells fantasy.
First skirmish in the Blu-ray Conflict: martial arts vs. illegal arms. (As with the HD DVD roundup in our previous issue, this is a fair fight, so all ratings are relative to other high-definition discs, not to standard-definition DVDs. All discs were screened using an unmodified Samsung BD-P1000 player.)
She first caught our attention with her spectacular entrance as the goddess Venus on the half-shell in The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. She made even greater splashes as the virginal innocent in Dangerous Liaisons and, the following year, at age 19, playing the complex sexual sophisticate June in Henry & June.
Screenwriter James Lapine and director Rob Marshall’s adaptation of the brilliant Stephen Sondheim’s stage musical (book by Lapine) is a highly entertaining, moving, and inspiring film that, in this Blu-ray’s presentation, makes for great home theater.
The story cleverly weaves together four fairy tales through a plot device centering on a baker and his wife who are unable to have children because of a witch’s curse. In order for the witch to lift the curse, the baker must bring her the cow from Jack (of the beanstalk), Little Red Riding Hood’s cape, Rapunzel’s hair, and Cinderella’s slipper.