1. Guest,
    If you need help getting to know Xenforo, please see our guide here. If you have feedback or questions, please post those here.
    Dismiss Notice

DVD Review HTF Review: The Number 23

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Neil Middlemiss, Jul 5, 2007.

Tags:
  1. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2001
    Messages:
    3,242
    Likes Received:
    674
    Real Name:
    Neil Middlemiss
    [​IMG]
    The Number 23




    Studio: New Line Cinema
    Year: 2006
    US Rating: Unrated and R Rated Versions (Violence, Disturbing Images, Sexuality & Language)
    Film Length: Theatrical Version - 98 Mins, Unrated Version 101 Mins
    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
    Audio: English Dolby Digital EX
    Subtitles: Optional English Subtitles




    US Release Date: July 24, 2007

    The Film - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    "I once read that the only philosophical question that matters is whether or not to commit suicide... I guess that makes me a philosopher.”

    The ordinary life of Walter Sparrow (Jim Carrey) drifts into a paranoia fueled tailspin when he begins to read a strange little book given to him on his birthday. As he reads, he finds similarities between himself and the troubled character, Fingerling, in the book. With the uncanny resemblances to events from his life growing up and the insidious power of the number 23, a ‘dangerous’ number that turns up with surprising frequency and ominous coincidence, he begins to suspect the number is a curse on his life. As he fights the rampant persistence of the number and a growing disparity with the calm of his family life, Sparrow travels a dark road of obsession and a fixation on the enigmatic power of a number.

    With ringing overtones of the gritty 8MM, Director Joel Schumacher creates some fascinating cinematic worlds in this film. First is that of the ordinary, seemingly happy world of the Sparrow family followed by the changing, distorted and noir-esque worlds of the narrated book within the film. Working from a script by first time screenwriter Fernley Phillips, Schumacher demonstrates a great sense of the material and the characters that become embroiled in the ‘mythic’ peculiarity of the number ‘23’. The storytelling of The Number 23 takes on a couple of forms, shifting between voice over narration as Sparrow reads the book (imaging himself and those in his life as the characters within that book with interesting visual sequences) and a more typical approach for Sparrows real life that allow the film to effect its.

    Working with Jim Carrey for the first time since the semi-successful Batman Forever, this genre hopping director of such notable films as The Lost Boys and Tigerland creates in Carrey a central figure that offers a humanity and ‘regular’ guy dashed with the spears of paranoid suspicion and obsession. He also crafts a grindingly murky alter-ego for Carrey to play, that of Fingerling, the strange main character that exists within the confines of the books. Jim Carrey explores all levels of the emotional spectrum in this film, flexing considerable dramatic muscles, proving that he can stand shoulder to shoulder with those individuals that more readily spring to mind when you think of serious actors. Playing opposite Carrey is Virginia Madsen, wife and emotional anchor to Sparrow. Her Agatha Sparrow character and her ‘character’ in the book, Fabrizia, are remarkably focused, driving equally taut counterpoints to each other, much like Carrey. So good are the performances from Carrey and Madsen that they easily help this film stand out from the crowd of recent thrillers.

    While The Number 23 is an excellently crafted film, there is one element of concern and that is with the stylistic approach adopted. Perhaps it is the result of style-saturation from filmmakers such as Tony Scott and the like, who take the fast flashing and sharp editing techniques to ever-discombobulating levels, but Schumacher doesn’t seem to totally commit to this more kinetic, frenzied technique, leaving some sequences with an unfinished quality, lacking that ‘style’ follow through. Again, I could be lulled into an expectation of style-overload by more recent trends, but at times it feels like a ‘tried and almost achieved’ approach to certain scenes.

    There is a great deal to appreciate in this clever paranoiac thriller, especially the noir detective elements and Jim Carrey’s totally believable, fearless and electric performance. The Number 23 is a refreshingly original film, thrilling and entirely re-watchable. Multiple viewings will allow the peeling away of the layers and a further appreciation of the performances, production design and even Harry Gregson-William’s perfectly suited score.




    The Video - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    New Line Cinema’s infinifilm release of The Number 23 continues a long line of great releases from this company. The 2:35.1 original aspect ratio image is very good, blacks are deeply saturated and the overall picture quality is sharp. There is a beautiful clarity to the image and the muted colors that are part of the palette of the film and story.

    The Number 23 is a dark film, not always perfect but the contrasts in the film, between the real world and the scenes in the book are strong, the whites especially during the ‘suicide blonde’ scenes are gorgeous.
    There is a little softness in the image, but it is halo free and there are no obvious signs of edge enhancement.




    The Sound - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Presented with a delicious Dolby EX soundtrack, the brooding bass rumbles through the sub-woofer during the opening credits and stays with the film all the way through. The surrounds are active and directional surround is nicely handled. The dialogue is clean and the score creates a thrilling and convincing ambience.

    I love a strong DD EX or DTS ES track and this one delivers wonderfully.




    The Extra's - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    All Access Pass:

    Audio Commentary with Director Joel Schumacher – Commenting that this film was actually his 23rd direction job, Joel Schumacher provides a relaxed, comfortable and informing commentary for his deeply interesting film. While he drops off a little shy of the ending, he manages to remain interesting and constantly appreciative of the talents of both his cast and crew and of the art of filmmaking.

    16 deleted + Alternate scenes (included an alternate opening and ending) - (14:28) – This collection of scenes excised from the final cut (and even the unrated version) offers a little more explanation in to how Sparrow was able to take so much time to become obsessed with the book and the number, as well as a little more fleshing out of the lighthearted nature of his character. Most of them are superfluous to the core of the story and, while some are curious, most are not missed in the final presentation.

    The Making of The Number 23 – (22:17) – With interviews with the producer, screenwriter, director and some of the cast. This is a good set of conversations dissecting the film and the characters. The screenwriter explains some of the creative evolution the story took from the page to the screen also.

    Creating the World of Fingerling – (11:08) – This feature covers the look of the film, especially that of the narrated world of ‘Fingerling’. Covering the art concepts, lighting and effects used, this is a good little discussion on the ‘why’, not just the ‘how’.

    Trailers:
    The Number 23 Theatrical Trailer (2:28)
    Sneak Peaks:
    Mr. Woodcock
    Fracture
    Snakes on a Plane
    Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning
    The Butterfly Effect 2
    Pan’s Labyrinth
    The Hard Easy

    Beyond The Movie:

    "The Number 23 Enigma" Documentary – (25:00) – This is a pretty interesting feature, adding dimension to the ideas raised by the film. It feels a little like a sci-fi pseudo documentary at times, exploring the myths and oddities associated with the number 23. It also covers a lot of ground, from the mathematical magic associated with numbers to the wealth of ideas associated with numerology that have been raised and discussed for thousands for years. This is good stuff and a perfect companion to the film.

    “How to Find Your Life Path Numbers” Featurette – (11:01) – A little odd at times, but fun none-the-less as we are given an explanation to the meaning behind life path numbers and how to figure out your own ‘life-path’ number.

    Fact Track Trivia – This feature, which plays along with the infinifilm feature, provides a subtitle track of trivia at various points during the film. It’s a little bit like VH1’s Pop-Up Video, but without the sense of fun and tongue in cheek mockery.


    Final Thoughts

    The Number 23 is an impressive and engrossing thriller. The highly original story is complimented by wonderful performances; most notably Jim Carrey’s emotionally laid bare Sparrow/Fingerling portrayal.
    This is a dark tale of obsession and paranoia that carefully adds layers of mystery and intrigue with literary flights of darkness into the narrated world of Fingering. The tight script, exemplary performances and the muted look and feel of the film all come together to form an exciting and unconventional thriller.

    This infinifilm release from New Line Cinema is well worth your investment, weaving valuable special feature materials through the film with the infinifilm access.

    A great thriller, with superb performances and a fantastic DVD presentation, I certainly recommend The Number 23.



    Overall Score - [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG] out of [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]



    Neil Middlemiss
    Kernersville, NC
     
  2. donnie_d

    donnie_d Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    0
    thanx for the review man.can you confirm that the DVD comes with this beautiful red slipcover as pictured?
     
  3. donnie_d

    donnie_d Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    0
    5 reasons why i want to blind buy this DVD:

    1-i love Jim Carrey's serious roles.
    2-the movie sounds good to me.
    3-i love Joel Schumacher.
    4-the DVD is loaded with extras.
    5-.GREAT slipcase artwork.


    but there's one problem,it's 8% over rottentomatoes:

    http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/the_number_23/

    lol, is it that bad?????
     
  4. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 1999
    Messages:
    3,151
    Likes Received:
    0
  5. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2001
    Messages:
    3,242
    Likes Received:
    674
    Real Name:
    Neil Middlemiss

    The version I was sent did indeed come with that great looking slipcover!
     
  6. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2001
    Messages:
    3,242
    Likes Received:
    674
    Real Name:
    Neil Middlemiss

    Wow, there's a real lack of love for this film at RT. I have often wondered whether some people there post there just have fun tearing something up because it is easy and, well, fun. I like the movie, thought it was very good and really intriguing. Just my cup of tea!
     
  7. Jordan_E

    Jordan_E Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2002
    Messages:
    2,233
    Likes Received:
    0
    Myself, I can't stand Jim Carrey, but this movie looks interesting enough for me to want to grab it blind.
     
  8. Holadem

    Holadem Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2000
    Messages:
    8,972
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, RT merely tabulates the consensus of critical evaluations nationwide.
    8% means that roughly 92% of critics thought it sucked [​IMG].

    --
    H
     
  9. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2001
    Messages:
    3,242
    Likes Received:
    674
    Real Name:
    Neil Middlemiss

    Ah. Happy to be in the minority on this one, then [​IMG]
     
  10. Jon Martin

    Jon Martin Cinematographer

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2002
    Messages:
    2,219
    Likes Received:
    1

    How good is it? Well, reading this review, I couldn't even remember the film, and I saw it theatrically.

    I see that I gave it 2 stars out of 5, and reading my review, remember it a bit more. But, it is quite forgettable.

    I wouldn't recommend a blind buy. You might watch it, and then forget where you left it.
     
  11. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 1999
    Messages:
    38,556
    Likes Received:
    382
    I caution a rental for this movie.
     
  12. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Producer

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 1999
    Messages:
    3,151
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a new system for myself. Since I have too many DVDs, I have to be more careful. I go by IMDB ratings. If it’s under 7.0, it’s definitely a rental. Above 7.0 is buyable and above 8.0 is a blind buy! Only if I had thought of this ingenious system before! [​IMG]
     
  13. cafink

    cafink Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 1999
    Messages:
    3,045
    Likes Received:
    36

    I've never cared for RT's method of tabulating reviews. It tries to make everything black and white, when that's simply not the way things are. Some reviews are decidedly middle-of-the-road, and RT makes a decision to classify them as either "positive" or "negative"

    I much prefer Metacritic method of aggregating reviews. They normalize each numerical rating to a hundred-point scale, and average all the ratings together. I think this gives a much more accurate picture of the general consensus on a film. And while Number 23 still has "generally negative reviews," it's score is boosed from 8/100 to 24/100 using this technique.
     
  14. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2001
    Messages:
    3,242
    Likes Received:
    674
    Real Name:
    Neil Middlemiss

    I tend to trust the ratings (generally) on IMDB as being a better barometer than those on RT.

    A 6.4 seems respectable enough [​IMG]
     
  15. donnie_d

    donnie_d Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2005
    Messages:
    179
    Likes Received:
    0
  16. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2001
    Messages:
    3,242
    Likes Received:
    674
    Real Name:
    Neil Middlemiss
    Wow. I feel more alone than ever in my opinion of this film [​IMG]
     
  17. Johnny Jr.

    Johnny Jr. Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2002
    Messages:
    140
    Likes Received:
    0
    I got around to watching this dvd and I noticed some pixelization and stutters at a few points in the film. Mainly during:

    Chapter 7 21:55
    Chapter 9 32:45
    Chapter 10 37:21

    I was using a Nad T533. I returned the disc as I thought I got a bad disc and it turns out I got the same issues again. Has anyone else experienced this problem? Any help on this issue would be greatly appreciated.
     

Share This Page