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DVD Reviews

HTF REVIEW: "In America" (with screenshots): HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!



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#1 of 33 OFFLINE   Adam_Reiter

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Posted March 12 2004 - 09:37 AM

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In America



Studio: Fox Searchlight

Year: 2004

Rated: PG-13

Directed by: Jim Sheridan

Film Length: 107 Minutes

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

Audio: English 5.1 Dolby Digital
Subtitled in English and Spanish

Bonus features:
- Audio Commentary by director Jim Sheridan
- 9 Deleted Scenes
- Alternate Ending
- Making Of Featurette
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Release Date: May 11th, 2004









Movie...

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I… loved …..this …..movie! “In America”, is a very personal film by director Jim Sheridan. The movie is a mix between his own stories of his daughters, and his father, and his brother. He used different stories from each person to make up the movie. You will find all this out from the wonderful commentary from Jim Sheridan. He and his family wrote the script. The acting in this film was really, in my mind, what made the story special for me. Wonderful acting and especially from the two young girls, who happened to be sisters, Sarah Bolger (Christy) and Emma Bolger (Ariel). They are phenomenal actors! I tried my very hardest not to let tears come out at the end. It definitely choked me up!

I just loved the whole dynamics of the family and their struggles in their new country. The whole family must deal with the sorrow and guilt of losing their youngest son to a brain tumor. They come over to America to start a new life. They end up having to live in a dilapidated, drug addict and transvestite filled apartment building. The father (Paddy Considine) is an actor, and struggles with audition after audition. He never seems to land the roles however, because all of this emotion has been sucked out of him since Frankie’s death. The mother, (Samantha Morton) deals with the death in her way, and struggles just to keep her family together. The family’s strong bond is about the only thing that saves them. They eventually meet a very strange and scary, (at first) neighbor Mateo (Djimon Hounsou) that is a terminally ill immigrant, that becomes their best friend. Ultimately their kindness to Mateo is what saves them in the end. The story is told from the perspective of, and narrated by, the 11 year old daughter, Christy (Sarah Bolger).


Here is the synopsis from the back cover:
Intimately told by their 11-year-old daughter Christy (Sarah Bolger), a child wise beyond her years, is a coming of age story about an Irish couple (Samantha Morton, Paddy Considine) trying to find their way IN AMERICA. To Christy and her younger sister Ariel (played by real life sister Emma Bolger), America is a place of magic where anything is possible. To their parents, it represents a place to begin anew. Carried by the girls' youthful hope and faith, the family finds the heart to live and love again. Together they find home. IN AMERICA is directed by Jim Sheridan (MY LEFT FOOT, IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER) who co-wrote the original screenplay with his filmmaker daughters Naomi and Kirsten Sheridan.






Picture...

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Picture quality for this DVD extremely good for an independent film I thought.

Usually independent films seem to be loaded with background noise and tons at film dirt. The background video noise on this DVD was low to moderate. Black levels were very good and strong throughout. Detail was moderate. Colors exploded off the screen in certain scenes! There is a scene in the beginning when they first arrive in New York, and all of the neon lights and signs looked spectacular. I couldn’t believe I was looking at a independent transfer. The movie does have a warm and and sometimes subdued color pallette, but that is to lend to the overall sad tone of the film I think. Film dirt is moderate throughout the entire film. There is also some edge enhancement, but it didn’t bother me, nor did it distract me.

I do think that for an independent film however, this DVD has excellent video quality! It was filmed recently in 2002, so that quality should be good. Posted Image




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: 4 / 5
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Sound...

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The DVD is encoded in Dolby Digital 5.1

Sound was very nice. Dialog was centered, and was never harsh. It was a tad low in some spots were I had to turn it up to hear… but then again, the actors were talking low or under their breath, too. I loved the music in the movie. Music was bold and the stereo separation between the left and right channels was excellent. The music was very clear and added very nicely to the film. Surround sounds were used sparingly, only kicking in mostly outdoor scenes where you are viewing the hustle and bustle of New York City. There are a few spots of LFE actually. More for stomping across a wooden floor, or the close of door, but nevertheless, it’s still there.

Also, just a tiny warning, the main menu screen seems to be turned up like 3 times the sound of the movie. If you are watching the movie and you are either finished, or going to skip to some of the extras….watch out, the menu screen music kicks in super loud!

For an independent film, I give the sound four stars!







Sound Quality Rating:
Sound: 4 / 5
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Extras...



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



Side A Extras



The Making of In America

This is a very short “Making of” of the film. We hear from all of the main actors in the movie. The standard

Total Running Time: 05:02 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3



Side B Extras



Commentary by Jim Sheridan

One of the best commentaries I have heard in a long time. Jim Sheridans lived, wrote and directed this film. There is no one better suited to talk about this film than him. His commentary is chock full of information because this movie is so personal, he talks about each scene and how it was either translated exactly like how he lived it, or what his dad may have done, or what his brother did, and so on and so forth.

Jim Sheridan is pretty funny as well. His constant cracks keep the commentary interesting. Please, if you rent or buy this movie, the commentary track on this one is a MUST!




Deleted Scenes with Optional Director Commentary

Johnny Fixes Fuse Box
Total Running Time: 00:49 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3

Autumn and The Star-Spangled Banner
Total Running Time: 01:29 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3

That’s Frankie
Total Running Time: 00:46 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3

Boots
Total Running Time: 00:59 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3

Are there Birds in Africa?
Total Running Time: 00:49 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3

I shall be Redeemed
Total Running Time: 00:46 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3

The Dish Ran Away With The Spoon
Total Running Time: 01:22 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3

We’re All The Same
Total Running Time: 01:13 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3

Frank Attacks Johnny
Total Running Time: 02:07 / Aspect Ratio: 4:3

The Original Ending
Total Running Time: 01:54 / 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...




"In America" is a very nice DVD offering. It is a simple but touching story, and had a terrific Director’s commentary.

I can surely RECOMMEND buying this DVD! For everyone else, when in doubt, rent first! Posted Image







This has been,
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#2 of 33 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted March 12 2004 - 09:59 AM

Folks,

I received a screener of this film a month
ago and had the opportunity to watch it one
evening.

I loved this film so much that I'm making it
my mission to make sure every single one of you
watches In America.

Do WHATEVER is necessary to see this film.

It's extremely special!


 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#3 of 33 OFFLINE   Haggai

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Posted March 12 2004 - 10:19 AM

Thanks for the review, Adam. I'm looking forward to this one even more than I was before, nice to hear that the commentary is top-notch. And don't those menus look great? If only I could say the same about the cover!

#4 of 33 OFFLINE   Sebastian_A

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Posted March 12 2004 - 10:24 AM

Adam, nice review, but: why not put "RECOMMENDED" in the subject line, so more people go out and get it!?! Posted Image


I had the opportunity to watch this with the director being there for q&a's, and it was a fascinating evening!

Loved the film and it surely is a story that comes from the heart!

Highly Recommended!

Seb

#5 of 33 OFFLINE   Dome Vongvises

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Posted March 12 2004 - 03:45 PM

Ah Haggai, you told me about this film. I guess I'll have to check it out now.

#6 of 33 OFFLINE   Marty M

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Posted March 12 2004 - 03:51 PM

It looks like May is shaping up to be an expensive month for me. I am anxious to see this movie.
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#7 of 33 OFFLINE   Haggai

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Posted March 12 2004 - 03:59 PM

Right, Dome, one of the best from last year. Just after ROTK, Kill Bill, and City of God, it was in my top 4 or 5.

#8 of 33 OFFLINE   ZacharyTait

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Posted March 12 2004 - 04:43 PM

Quote:
Do WHATEVER is necessary to see this film.


Ron,

No need to worry here. I saw this movie the day it came to my neck of the woods.

I loved this movie. Everyone in it was excellent, especially Sarah Bolger.

I don't have a problem admitting that I cried at this movie. I won't spoil the reason, but I'll just say that it was in relation to someone doing a good deed for a fellow human being. Those who have seen it will know what I'm talking about.

I had this movie at #3 behind #1 LOTR:ROTK and #2 Matrix: Reloaded/Revolutions.

#9 of 33 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted March 12 2004 - 08:31 PM

I just added HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to the
thread title.

I hope Adam doesn't mind.

As I said, this is one film I want to bring to the
attention of the masses. We will be promoting this
film in our Fox DVD banner area shortly.

 

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

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#10 of 33 ONLINE   Adam_S

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Posted March 12 2004 - 09:44 PM

This was my number one film of the year last year. I can't wait to own it on DVD. It's absolute travesty this didn't reach more people in theatres. This film is comparable to Shawshank Redemption. I think it's going to discover an equally mind boggling number of people and faithful adhereants on video.
 

#11 of 33 OFFLINE   Shane_Anthony

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Posted March 12 2004 - 10:40 PM

This film was critic Richard Roeper's top pick from last year also

I didn't see it myself but I'm gonna check it out based on all this good word of mouth Posted Image

Mission accomplished Ron! Posted Image

#12 of 33 OFFLINE   Andrew Bunk

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Posted March 13 2004 - 04:11 AM

Quote:
It looks like May is shaping up to be an expensive month for me.


When isn't May an expensive month? Every May in the past few years has had at least 10 new releases I wanted.

This year so far in May I'll be getting (I'm sure more will be announced):

DEFINITES:

The Last Samurai
Loverboy
In America
X-Files S9 (and S8 which I never got)
Good Bad Ugly SE
Sex And The City S6 Pt.1
ST: Voyager S2
West Wing S2
Wyatt Earp SE
Buffy S6
LOTR:ROTK

MAYBES:

Elephant
Three's Company S2
The Fog Of War
Saving Private Ryan D-Day Ed. (depends on A/V reviews)

June isn't going to be any easier!
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#13 of 33 OFFLINE   DanaA

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Posted March 13 2004 - 11:12 AM

Great review!!! This is one of the DVD releases that I look MOST forward to. I will be in line Tuesday on its release. Gonna be hard to wait though, so I'll have to push it out of mind until the date approaches.

#14 of 33 OFFLINE   Harry-N

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Posted March 14 2004 - 02:36 AM

This movie is an absolute must, and definitely in my top picks from last year.

I went to see this in the theatre when it finally came to my area, but actually almost went to see it at an advance screening in Chicago while we visted there last Thanksgiving. Sadly, we just couldn't seem to find the time to make the trek to the downtown theatre where it was playing.

My interest in the film came through the music. I'm an avid fan of The Corrs, the Irish sibling group, and their lead singer, Andrea Corr, was chosen to sing the main theme from this movie. It plays over the end credits.

I was rewarded with not only an interesting music score, but an exceptionally good film to boot.

Harry
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#15 of 33 OFFLINE   Rob Willey

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Posted March 14 2004 - 07:37 AM

A great story with some terrific acting, easily in my top ten for 2003.

I'll be pre-ordering this one. The only trouble is the street date is still two months away!

Rob
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#16 of 33 OFFLINE   Joe Schwartz

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Posted March 14 2004 - 08:36 AM

Thanks for the review, Adam. It's still playing here in Albany (at the Spectrum), so I went to see it today. I wouldn't call it a must-see, but it was quite enjoyable, and those girls are absolutely adorable.

#17 of 33 OFFLINE   JakeLip

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Posted March 14 2004 - 08:45 AM

I saw this the first weekend it unspooled here, and it is indeed one of the best films of the year. Very strong, emotional story with great acting (especially the two girls.) It's a must see and I can't wait to own it. Thanks for the review.
 

 


#18 of 33 OFFLINE   Adam_Reiter

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Posted March 15 2004 - 05:17 AM

Quote:
I just added HIGHLY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED to the thread title.

I hope Adam doesn't mind.



Of course not. I am glad you put that one there.

I am just leary of putting that Highly Recommended title to DVD's.... there was some controversy a ways back on one of my reviews that had it.

#19 of 33 OFFLINE   JiM T

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Posted March 15 2004 - 04:55 PM

Another big vote for this movie! My official review can be found here.
Great movie.

JiM T

#20 of 33 OFFLINE   Nate Anderson

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Posted March 23 2004 - 08:46 AM

Well, Ron hasn't let me down yet, so I will make an extra special effort to see it as soon as it comes out!

But May 11th...that'll be a wait!
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