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HTF DVD REVIEW: "Thirteen" (w/ screenshots! )



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#1 of 22 OFFLINE   Adam_Reiter

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Posted January 15 2004 - 06:14 AM

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Thirteen



Studio: Fox Searchlight

Year: 2003

Rated: R

Directed by: Catherine Hardwicke

Film Length: 99 Minutes

Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen 1.85:1 & Full Screen 1.33:1

Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitled in English and Spanish

Bonus features:
-Full length audio commentary by Director/Co-Writer Catherine Hardwicke, Co-Writer/Actor Nikki Reed, Actors Evan Rachel Wood and Brady Corbet
-Deleted scenes with optional commentary
-“Making of” featurette
-Theatrical Trailer
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Release Date: January 27th, 2004









Movie...

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Thirteen is a very bold and power independent film. It won “Best Dramatic Directing” at the Sundance Film Festival. It’s a raw, and in your face film that doesn’t pull many punches. At times, even I was uncomfortable with the subject matter when watching the movie. As a father, it’s weird to see kids so young, portrayed as having sex, and doing drugs. It’s a hard subject to swallow, and to watch, but it may be good for some people. I think this movie may wake up a few parents as to what some of their kids are possibly doing out there. They may think their kids are too young to get involved with drugs and to have sex, however, this film may have them thinking twice.

Although this film isn’t based on a true story, it could easily be the story of thousands of kids, or households throughout America. I thought “Thirteen” was a great independent film, and it was nice watching talented actors such as Holly Hunter and Evan Rachel Wood, really bring the movie to a higher level. This movie should almost be a prerequisite for parents that have kids entering their teen years, as to what might happen if you don’t stay on top of them, and stay involved in their lives. The part I liked most about the movie, is that it doesn’t really glamorize teen sex and drugs and crime, it shows the down and out, rock bottom side of what this girl goes through.


Here is the synopsis from the back cover:
“Brace yourself” (ROLLING STONE) for a raw, revealing insight into urban adolescence that’s so intense and realistic, “it’s impossible to turn away (INTERVIEW MAGAZINE)”. Anxiously trying to fit into the peer-pressure cooker environment of junior high, thirteen-year-old Tracy (Evan Rachel Wood) goes to shocking lengths in order to befriend Evie (co-writer Nikki Reed), the most popular girl in school. Now, the two are inseparable – an incorrigible – leaving Tracy’s desperate mom (Holly Hunter) powerless to rescue her from a whirlwind of drugs, sex and crime.






Picture...

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Picture quality for this DVD was on the average side, for an independent film. This film was full of very heavy grain. So much so at times, that I think that may have been the desired effect. I think that the raw-ness, and the desperate nature of the film comes across better this way. The films color palette seems to have an over coolness to it. The colors are mostly drab and washed out. Again, I think it was purposeful, or it may be due to the grain. There is also most definitely edge enhancement throughout the film.




SEE FOR YOURSELF!: (click on the picture for a bigger version of the screen-shot)


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More screen shots here






Picture Quality Rating:
Picture: 2 Posted Image / 5
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Sound...

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The DVD is mixed in Dolby Digital 5.1. Sound was good for an independent film!

The dialog for the most part was clear and bold, and fee of hiss and crackle. Almost the entire movie comes through the center speaker. The left and rights to get used occasionally, but mostly on the music. The music did come through nice and bold and clear. You really take notice to some of the soundtrack because the movie is relatively centered and quiet, and then the music kicks in on a scene transition and you think, “Oh yeah… I forgot I have other speakers!”.

LFE only kicks in a tad on some of the more hip hop styled soundtrack.







Sound Quality Rating:
Sound: 3 / 5
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Extras...



This DVD has a few good extras! [/b]



Widescreen Side Extras:


Commentary

I like commentaries that feature the main actors and the Director. You almost can never go wrong with a commentary when you have those key people doing it. This time is no exception. You get to hear the three main kid characters (Co-Writer/Actor Nikki Reed, Actors Evan Rachel Wood and Brady Corbet) and the Director/Co-Writer, Catherine Hardwicke. This particular commentary is chock full of tidbits and character assessment. Things you find out in the commentary are that the Director Catherine Hardwicke has known Nikki since she was 5 years old, and is a friend of the family. Most of the film is written from Nikki’s personal experiences. They felt that the real things that teen were dealing with was better than anything they could make up.

Apparently, Fox Searchlight didn’t pick up the film until they were already done with it, and Catherine was commenting that they could have used more money, (hinting that she wished they would have picked it up sooner) If you are a fan of “Thirteen”, the commentary is something you are definitely going to want to check out.




Deleted Scenes


“Homework for Tracy”
Total Running Time: 00:36

“Kayla’s Song”
Total Running Time: 00:42

“Gifts from Dad”
Total Running Time: 01:29

“Free Shoes”
Total Running Time: 01:00

“Out with the Old”
Total Running Time: 01:21
“Playing Games”
Total Running Time: 00:44


“Noel’s Out”
Total Running Time: 00:47


“Consoling Melanie”
Total Running Time: 01:41


“Get the Camera”
Total Running Time: 00:00


“Hugs for Tracy”
Total Running Time: 01:28




Full Screen Side Extras:




Making of “Thirteen”

We hear from the cast, and the director is this short “Making of”. We get a little insight on some of the characters in the film and how the actors were trying to portray them. Mostly you hear praise about the two best actors in the film, Holly Hunter and Evan Rachel Wood

Total Running Time: 06:05 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3




Trailer

Theatrical Trailer for “Thirteen”

Total Running Time: 02:26 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3










Extras / Bonus Features Rating:
Extras: 3 / 5
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Menus...

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CHECK OUT THE NAVIGATION!:

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Conclusion...




"Thirteen" is a very raw and well acted film. It’s a shocking film that makes one think about their priorities in life. I don’t feel that you even have to be into independent style films to enjoy this movie. I would recommend that you give this movie a spin around the block.








This has been,
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#2 of 22 OFFLINE   Dome Vongvises

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Posted January 15 2004 - 07:49 AM

I need to see this movie. Thanks for the review.

BTW, I had a friend who did rotations in a clinic. Let's just say the words pap smears and multiple sexual partners by the age of 14. I'm just saying such a thing does indeed exist. Trust me from what I've read about the movie, reality is much worse.

#3 of 22 OFFLINE   Matt Pelham

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Posted January 15 2004 - 08:00 AM

Just watched this the other night and was not disappointed. The acting is very good all around and it was pretty entertaining. Definitely worth a rent.

#4 of 22 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 15 2004 - 08:01 AM

Folks,

Let me tell you....

Fox sent me a copy of this screener over a
month ago. By the time I received it, I had
already heard the "critical buzz" surrounding
this film.

It really is, as Adam describes it, "a bold and
powerful film."

I loved it. It's worth renting at the very least.

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#5 of 22 OFFLINE   Casey Trowbridg

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Posted January 15 2004 - 08:12 AM

Adam, as always, thanks for the review, I had heard a little about this movie but now I think I will have to check it out with at least a rental.

#6 of 22 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted January 15 2004 - 08:46 AM

Quote:
This film was full of very heavy grain. So much so at times, that I think that may have been the desired effect.


It was. "Thirteen" was shot on 16mm film, and then it was edited and color timed through the DI process (digital intermediate), and outputted from that to 35mm film for release prints. It was very grainy (intentionally so) when I saw it in theaters, and I would imagine that the DVD transfer was done either from the final DI file or a 35mm print - either way, from sources that had the desired grain level.

#7 of 22 OFFLINE   Marc Colella

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Posted January 15 2004 - 08:53 AM

Thanks for the review.

I thought it was a decent film, but definitely overrated.

I found the story to be pretty cliche, and if you take away the swearing - you essentially have an after-school special about troubled kids. Nothing really new was brought to the table here.

I recommend a rental.

#8 of 22 OFFLINE   Michael Osadciw

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Posted January 15 2004 - 09:07 AM

Thanks for the review, Adam.

I can't wait to see this one. I've never seen it, and I've forgotten about it since it's theatrical release. It'll definately find its way into my collection somehow.

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#9 of 22 OFFLINE   rhett

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Posted January 15 2004 - 08:17 PM

For me this film was a serious disappointment. It does manage to shock at times, but the film missteps right at the start when it fails to give any sort of initial development of the main characters. The film jumps much too quickly into the transformation of Wood's character, never letting us know how she was before. We are lead to identify that she is a good girl because she owned cute little socks, and that is about all. Holly Hunter does great with what she has, but she too is short changed by the script, giving her only a few scenes to leave an impression. In the end, Wood's character comes off as an annoying and inconsiderate brat, and Hunter's character as a nice but ultimately very poor mother.

We are supposed to feel bad for the mother, but given the clueless way she acts throughout the film most of the sympathy is removed. The fall from grace experienced by Wood's character could have been seen as tragic, but instead the film spends way too much time documenting her fall and far too little setting it up. Why should we care about Wood's character when the filmmakers could care less for her? She is merely a prop, thrust into agonizing scene after scene just to shock the audiences even further.

The subject matter of the film is a rich and understudied topic, hardly ever done right, and this film comes out as a huge missed opportunity. These characters are not defined, and the story is loose and lacking any sort of structure. The film is also much too assaulting, constantly blaring this loud and miserable alternative music as a way to oft-put the audience. With subject matter like this, a long full shot take would speak much more powerfully on its own, without pretentious musical cues to guide our emotions. This script plays like it is written by a kid, and it is no surprise that teen actor Nikki Reed co-scripted it.

The end result is a seriously flawed and disappointing movie. This should have been so much better. Rent REQUIEM FOR A DREAM instead.
"The Night HE Came Home"

#10 of 22 OFFLINE   Adam_Reiter

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Posted January 16 2004 - 03:58 AM

Well, you know how they say, one man's trash is another man's treasure.

Tell us how you really feel, rhett!! hehe Posted Image

#11 of 22 OFFLINE   JohnAP

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Posted January 16 2004 - 09:12 AM

I wanted to see this in the theater due to the attention it garnered, but it never came to any of the theaters near me so I'm glad it's made it to dvd and I can check it out.

#12 of 22 OFFLINE   DaveGTP

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Posted January 16 2004 - 02:10 PM

I saw the movie in a theater with my fiancee. Any remotely independent or alternative type movie is about 1.5-2hr drive for us. Saw the movie and thought it was pretty good/OK. Worth the drive.

Didn't really identify with the subject material that much (being a nerdier, non trouble-making type in high school) but appreciated the story and the way it was done. Stacey liked it a lot (probably because she used to hang out with troublemakers) Posted Image I sent her the link to this thread, maybe she'll post her thoughts on it.

I don't know what's supposed to be so shocking or surprising. But I guess having graduated HS in '97, I'm a little more familiar with modern HS life - even if I was a distant spectator at best.

Perhaps a shocker for older people with kids in school that don't realize what really goes on these days.
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#13 of 22 OFFLINE   Jonathan Dagmar

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Posted January 16 2004 - 05:15 PM

I don't know that I could stand to see this movie. After reading a few of the reviews I think it hit a little to close to home and makes me very, very sad.

I am 19. I have a friend who I have known for the last five years, and I know all her stories, losing her virginity at twelve to a set of 16 year old twins, constant extasy use since 13. It's a friendship that I find difficult to maintain almost all of the time because I always want to "rescue" her from that lifestyle, and I can't. I myself have been hit on by very young girls in the mall, movie theatre, etc., on more than one occasion.

So while I will never see this movie, simply because I feel certain it will depress me to no end, I will say that I am glad for its existence. People need to know that this IS reality, especially with girls.

#14 of 22 OFFLINE   T r o y

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Posted January 17 2004 - 01:07 AM

Does this movie show references of girls who like girls in any way? I've been hearing and reading that this kind of behavior is becoming more and more rampant in high school and maybe even jr. high girls that like to experiment with same sex . Even if it is too make guys jealous or tease guys, etc etc.
Does this movie depict this kind of relationships between girls?

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#15 of 22 OFFLINE   Marc Colella

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Posted January 17 2004 - 02:39 AM

Quote:
Does this movie depict this kind of relationships between girls?


Yes, in a small way.

If I remember correctly, the girls were practicing kissing or just demostrating their kissing technique. It seemed to have been enjoyable for them, but doesn't lead to any sort of relationship beyond being friends.

#16 of 22 OFFLINE   DaViD Boulet

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Posted January 18 2004 - 02:03 AM

Hadn't heard of this film. Sounds Intriguing. I'll have to give it a try.

Thanks for the great review Adam! Reviews like this at HTF are often the best way many of us find out about new movies that we missed during their theatrical run...

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#17 of 22 OFFLINE   Robert_Z

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Posted January 18 2004 - 04:54 AM

Quote:
Rent REQUIEM FOR A DREAM instead.


Why would anyone want to rent one of the worst movies of all time? REQUIEM FOR A DREAM sucked more than almost any movie I have ever seen.


Quote:
Nothing really new was brought to the table here.


You must not like too many movies then, because everything people experience in life has already been portrayed in one movie or another. Be it drama, comedy, action, etc., it has ALL been done before, so nothing new will ever be presented in a movie because Hollywood has already "been there and done that."

#18 of 22 OFFLINE   rhett

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Posted January 18 2004 - 06:50 AM

Quote:
You must not like too many movies then, because everything people experience in life has already been portrayed in one movie or another. Be it drama, comedy, action, etc., it has ALL been done before, so nothing new will ever be presented in a movie because Hollywood has already "been there and done that."
Firstly, what does my taste ("liking") of films have to do with your described void of originality in modern film? It is naive to assume that because I find one film lacking in originality that I would not like any of the hundred thousand movies already out there.

Your comment about "it has ALL been done before" reminds me of that one patent worker in the early 1900's, saying that all the ideas have been thought of already. We all know how unfounded his statement was, and people should no doubt feel the same way about your comment. We are constantly being surprised by ideas in film, maybe not in mainstream Hollywood, but certainly outside of it. Name me some movies that are exactly like BEING JOHN MALKOVICH, IRREVERSIBLE, AMERICAN SPLENDOR, BAD SANTA, PUNCH DRUNK-LOVE, ELEPHANT, etc. All those movies are no more than a few years old, and there really is not anything much like any of them.

The key thing to note though, is that film is not just about a story or a concept. More importantly, film is about storytelling, and the way something is told makes all the difference. Something like MEMENTO may have just been a better-than-average revenge movie, but its non-linear editing structure makes it something much more. It makes it original and something hardly ever done before in cinema. I would declare that something very original.

Film is a medium that is just barely 100 years old, so to declare it devoid of any new insights or ideas into "everything people experience" is very shallow. Writing has been around for hundreds of years, and it still remains to surprise with bouts of true originality, so why would film be any different?
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#19 of 22 OFFLINE   Dwayne

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Posted January 18 2004 - 05:16 PM

I've been waiting for this film to come out. Thanks for the review!

Quote:
Why would anyone want to rent one of the worst movies of all time? REQUIEM FOR A DREAM sucked more than almost any movie I have ever seen.


Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Put me down for agreeing that REQUIEM FOR A DREAM is a powerful film. For me, it was this film, and not PI, that convinced me that Darren Aronofsky is a talented filmmaker. Also, Ellen Burstyn's performance is nothing short of phenomenal. Haven't watched it in awhile since it takes so much energy to get through it which, in this case, is a good thing.
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#20 of 22 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted January 19 2004 - 12:38 AM

Guys,

Let's keep the debate friendly and respect
the fact that we have our own opinions on films.

Thank You.

Ronald J Epstein
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