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REVIEWS WANTED: Apocalypse Now and Chinatown

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REVIEWS WANTED: Apocalypse Now and Chinatown

Old 05-01-00, 12:13 AM
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Just give me the all-around review, if you please. Thanks in advance.
Old 05-01-00, 12:06 PM
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I'll second mcifani's transfers comments - these both look great, especially considering their ages. Both also have pretty good special features. AN has both endings, where it cuts to just the credits and the Kurtz compound destruction, and the latter has Coppola's commentary. Chinatown has about 20 mins. of interviews with Polanski, Robert Towne, and even Robert Evans (producer) that are very interesting. And of course the flicks themselves are outstanding, so these are must-haves.

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Old 05-01-00, 02:54 PM
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Haven't I seen some talk of a new even fancier Apocalypse set coming out sometime soon? Do a search for it. I have the current disc and it is great, but will be a little sore if an even cooler one comes out so soon after the first one.

As for Chinatown, simply beautiful.

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Old 05-02-00, 06:33 AM
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Apocalypse Now is a pretty good DVD considering the age of the film. The colors are incredibly vivrant and crisp, and the sound is pretty well done with some effective use of the rear surrounds. There aren't that many extras on it, but there is an interesting deleted scene and some production notes.
The movie itself is very surreal with some great performances by Martin Sheen and Marlon Brando (who isn't on screen that much, but has a great presence). Basically, Martin Sheen is on a mission to find Marlon Brando (a colonel gone AWOL in the jungle). It's a film with similar aspects to Deliverance. A man goes into unknown territory and discovers a frightening nightmare world. Very reflective, passionate, and deep, this film leaves you thinking. Definitely one of the greatest films ever made. Don't watch this movie expecting a "war" movie. There are a few "battle" scenes, but the main focus is on the nature of man and humanity, and in certain aspects, sanity. I'd highly recommend this is you want something thought provoking.

I would also recommend Heart of Darkness if you are looking for some supplementation. It is basically a film (documentation) of the filming of Apocalypse Now.

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Old 05-02-00, 03:55 PM
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Hearts of Darkness isn't available on DVD... And I believe the VHS is out of print. Great documentary on one of my all time favorite films... The DVD looks and sounds great. Highly recommended.
Old 05-02-00, 06:50 PM
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Wouldn't it have made sense if they had included the Hearts of Darkness documentary with Apocalypse Now to make one great 2-disc DVD?
Old 05-02-00, 11:23 PM
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From www.jmreview.web.com:

Although Roman Polanski’s 1974 Chinatown probably wouldn't make my top 10 films of all time list (foreign films included), it would definitely make my top 25. Put simply, Chinatown is a masterpiece. Chinatown was Polanski’s first film after the Manson murders at his home, which probably accounts for the film’s pessimism. In Chinatown we have what appears to be a film noir detective story with a tough private investigator, a beautiful woman, and a powerful millionaire. But these people are far from cardboard characters. Polanski, not so subtlety, shows us their flaws, but we have to be bright enough to realize what they mean. Chinatown is, in fact, closer to Hamlet than Hammett and Chandler.

Paramount did an incredible job on the DVD release of Chinatown. The menus are elegant without being gimmicky. They maintain the look of the film, and Jerry Goldsmith’s score plays over them. The special features, although only a trailer and a retrospective, are well done, and the optional mono soundtrack is a nice touch. The transfer on this DVD is nothing short of astonishing. There are almost no artifacts or grain. The film was never sharp looking, as it wasn't supposed to be, but the DVD retains the magnificent green color palette perfectly. The film looks incredibly filmlike, which is the highest complement I can pay. The 5.1 soundtrack is a subtle masterpiece. The music sounds about as good as it does on the Varèse Sarabande CD, and dialog is reasonably clear. Foley effects are in no way disappointing either, and the surround channels add a subtle, but appreciated ambiance. (During the outdoor scenes at the river, you hear the wind blowing behind you.) Considering the age of the film, I must give the sound and transfer of Chinatown my highest ratings. This is a DVD that should be in every person’s collection, as Chinatown must be watched multiple times to fully realize its greatness.

Content: *****
Audio: *****
Video: *****
Extras: ***


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Old 05-04-00, 11:50 PM
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Can't say much about AN as I don't have the DVD. However, Chinatown is a must own. A great film with a great transfer. Pick it up!
Old 05-07-00, 12:42 AM
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From WSR Review
quote:<HR>
Apocalypse Now

Action Adventure

Picture 5 / Sound 5

Special Notes:

This edition of “Apocalypse Now” was transferred in a non-theatrical aspect ratio at the request of the cinematographer.

DVD Picture:

The anamorphically enhanced DVD exhibits images that are sharper and more finely detailed, with superb background delineation. Colors are more naturally rendered with full saturation and accurate hues. Occasional edge enhancement is apparent, as well as pixelization and artifacts, but these instances do not distract from the experience and overall this is a superb rendering of this film in all aspects. The picture sometimes appears "digitized." Under the supervision of cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, AIC/ASC, the DVD has been reframed in a 1.97:1 aspect ratio, anamorphic and letterbox.

DVD Soundtrack:

The Dolby® Digital discrete 5.1-channel an impressive remastering that restores the sound for a film which marked a milestone in filmmaking. The soundtrack was one of the first films released in Dolby Stereo 70mm magnetic six-channel sound with split surrounds. This was also, arguably, the film from which the concept of sound design came about - Walter Murch oversaw all creative aspects of the sound production. What is truly remarkable about this film's sound is that the overall fidelity holds its own with today's digital sound technology. Many films reissued during the same time period sound noticeably dated, but Apocalypse Now is definitely the exception. The opening sequence of the film, with full-360 panning of a helicopter's whirling blades, clearly delineates the innovative creativity with sound effects and dimension. The audio is loud and aggressive, sometimes strident, but overpowering. Martin Sheen's narrative is legendary,sounding close-miked, but never chesty. (Theclose-miking was actually intentional). The soundfield is always spacious, though generally biased towards the screen channels, and when appropriate, energized to transport the listener into the intense battles of war. The spaciousness of the surrounds is sometimes further enhanced through the use of a back surround channel decoder, such as the SMART Devices Center Surround 3X adapter. Deep bass is powerful and explosive, extending to 25Hz. The intelligibility of dialogue in the midst of intense sounds, such as during Chapter 7, is particularly noteworthy. The more quiescent scenes in the jungle are cornerstones in the creative use of ambient surround sound. The dialogue sounds somewhat dated but is clear and understandable.

When compared to the LaserDiscs reviewed in Issues 1 and 25, the anamorphically enhanced DVD exhibits images that are sharper and more finely detailed, with superb background delineation. Colors are more naturally rendered with full saturation and accurate hues. The DVD is often considerably darker than the LaserDisc, but the LaserDisc colors are often overly bright and unnatural with orange fleshtones. Occasional edge enhancement is apparent, as well as pixelization and artifacts, but these instances do not distract from the experience and overall this is a superb rendering of this film in all aspects. Scenes on the LaserDisc appear plugged-up and unnatural, and while the DVD corrects this appearance, the picture appears "digitized." Under the supervision of cinematographer Vittorio Storaro, AIC/ASC, the DVD has been reframed in a 1.97:1aspect ratio, anamorphic and letterbox.

The Dolby® Digital discrete 5.1-channel soundtrack, identical to the previously issued LaserDisc, is an impressive remastering that restores the sound for a film which marked a milestone in filmmaking. The soundtrack was one of the first films released in Dolby Stereo 70mm magnetic six-channel sound with split surrounds. This was also, arguably, the film from which the concept of sound design came about - Walter Murch oversaw all creative aspects of the sound production. What is truly remarkable about this film's is that the overall fidelity holds its own with today's digital sound technology. Many films reissued during the same time period sound noticeably dated, but Apocalypse Now is definitely the exception. The opening sequence of the film, with full-360 panning of a helicopter's whirling blades, clearly delineates the innovative creativity with sound effects and dimension. The audio is loud and aggressive, sometimes strident, but shouldn't be overpowering. Martin Sheen's narrative is legendary, sounding close-miked, but never chesty. (The close-miking was actually intentional). The soundfield is always spacious, though generally biased towards the screen channels, and when appropriate, energized to transport the listener into the intense battles of war. The spaciousness of the surrounds is sometimes further enhanced through the use of a back surround channel decoder, such as the SMART Devices Center Surround 3X adapter. Deep bass is powerful and explosive, extending to 25Hz. The intelligibility of dialogue in the midst of intense sounds, such as during Chapter 7, is particularly noteworthy. The more quiescent scenes in the jungle are cornerstones in the creative use of ambient surround sound. The dialogue sounds somewhat dated but is clear and understandable. The, matrix Dolby Surround PCM on the LaserDisc is also impressive, but the Dolby Digital version is much preferred for being faithful to the original discrete sound, mix. By all means, if you're a fan of this film, or of film sound, or both, this is definitely one for your catalog of reference DVD titles.


Chinatown

Drama

Picture 3.5 / Sound 3.5

DVD Picture:

The anamorphically enhanced DVD viewed in component video exhibits fine detail and clarity into backgrounds. Colors are subtle and natural, with accurately rendered fleshtones and deep blacks. The 2.32:1 anamorphic and letterbox DVD is quite solid, with only minor artifacts and occasional pixelization.

DVD Soundtrack:

The remastered Dolby® Digital 5.1 discrete soundtrack is a dramatic improvement over the monaural sound (also available on the DVD). Much effort has been made to provide a multidimensional soundfield consistent in sonic character and spaciousness with the visual environments. The result is a holosonic listening space. The success of this is in large part due to the judicious utilization of split surrounds to dramatically enhance the aural sensation of space. The fidelity is dated, and there is some low level background hiss. Stereophonic music has been incorporated into the mix.
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