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AND NOW LADIES & GENTLEMEN

Review by Chastity Campbell

Starring: Jeremy Irons, Patricia Kaas
Director: Claude Lelouch
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital, Surround
Video: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Studio: Paramount
Features: See Review
Length: 128 Minutes
Release Date: January 13, 2004

Film **

And Now Ladies & Gentlemen for your entertainment, I will show you something amazing.  Something so wonderful, youíll want to see it over and over again.  With a wave of my hand, and flick of my wrist, I push play and this movie comes forth!

Valentin is a con artist, and thief who is extremely good at what he does.   His life of double play and debauchery has gotten old, and but can he truly escape his colorful past?

Jane Lester is a nightclub singer suffering from heartache and depression.  She longs to escape the realities that define her life, but will she be up to the challenges presented when she sets sail toward a new beginning?

This movie is a beautifully written look at the human condition through suffering.  Whether it be suffering of the mind or the heart, this movie delves deep down into the meaning of life, love and happiness to define a new meaning beyond what you think is possible.

Jeremy Irons is deadly serious as the crooked conman Valentin.  At the same time though, his character has to be one of the funniest and most creative I have ever seen.  He lets a jeweler know that there is going to be a robbery while pretending to be a police officer, then robs the man himself, and goes back to visit him later on.  That has got to be one of the most tragically funny scenes I have ever witnessed. 

Irons as an actor is very easy to watch onscreen, as well as on DVD for that matter.  He is very handsome and charismatic, which seems to transfer easily into the characters he chooses to play.  I didnít realize until I watched this DVD, and sat down to write this review why Mr. Ironís voice sounded so familiar.  I recently watched Disneyís The Lion King, and when I popped in this DVD, I realized that he voiced the character of Scar, Simbaís despondent and power hungry uncle.  He also starred opposite Guy Pearce in Simon Wellís adaptation of his grandfatherís work, The Time Machine.  He played the very grotesque, and scary looking Uber-Morlock, bent on the destruction of all humans.   In the end, Jeremy Irons is a name any filmmaker would be privileged to have in his credits.

The other star of this film is Patricia Kaas.  She has got one of the most beautiful singing voices I have ever heard, not to mention how beautiful she is herself.  She is very believable as the lonely, lost wanderer searching for hope, in a life clouded by heartache and pain.  This is my first outing with Ms. Kaas but I would definitely like to see more from her in the future.   She plays all of her characterís emotions right out there on her sleeve, and you can truly see & feel everything that she is going through.   

This movie wasnít the best movie I have ever seen, but it was very powerful and beautiful to watch.  I enjoyed this one from start to finish, and if you give it a chance, I know you will too.  And Now Ladies & Gentlemen, I bid you farewell, and goodnight!

Video ****

This 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen transfer is one of the cleanest and most vivid I have every come across.   The colors and images are so vivid you expect them to burst off the screen at any moment.  The attention to detail where the lighting and shading are concerned is absolutely brilliant.  There is no doubt in my mindís eye that this DVD is one of the best visually to come around my way in a long time. 

I was very pleasantly surprised to notice that there was no dirt or graininess visible with this transfer.  You typically have a certain percentage of dirt that makes it through the transfer process, but not on this DVD.  Itís crisp, clean images maintain a clear projection all the way through to the end.

Audio ***

The clarity of the 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround on this DVD was among the best I have ever heard.  All of the dialogue, whether dubbed or original, had a very crisp, clean sound to it.  The music beds and real life sound effects were balanced very nicely against the dialogue so as to create a harmonious audible blend.   In my opinion this disc could teach movie studios everywhere how to do it, and do it right.

Features *

And Now Ladies & Gentlemen, I present the extra features for this DVD!

This DVDís extras consisted of movie trailers for The Fighting Temptations, Northfork, and Mostly Martha.

You can choose to listen to this DVD in English, or French.  And you also have the option of French, or English subtitles.

Scene selection brings this DVDís extras to a close.

Summary:

With a beautiful visual presentation, and very nice audio this DVD doesnít suffer much from the lack of extra features.  The story develops a bit too slowly, but itís otherwise a decent story, and a nice disc.