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DVD Reviews


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#1 of 5 OFFLINE   Timothy E

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Posted February 02 2009 - 05:28 PM


Studio: Lionsgate
Year: 2009
Rated: PG
Film Length: 1 hour, 53 minutes
Aspect Ratio: Anamorphic Widescreen (1.78:1)
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0
Subtitles: English, Spanish

Release Date: February 3, 2009

The Movie
( out of )

Inside Moves is the story of a group of misfits who hang out in a neighborhood bar in Oakland. Roary (John Savage) is a crippled ex-sports star who stumbles upon Max’s Bar and takes up residence with the cast of colorful characters who work and reside at Max’s. Roary strikes up a friendship with Jerry (David Morse), a bartender who would be a basketball star himself if only he could afford corrective surgery on his leg. Jerry’s girlfriend Anne (Amy Wright) is a junkie and falls back repeatedly into prostitution to support her habit. Diana Scarwid was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Louise, the waitress with whom Roary falls in love.

Inside Moves has a fine pedigree of talent behind the scenes as well. The film was directed by Richard Donner(Lethal Weapon) immediately following his work on Superman I and II. Inside Moves is reportedly one of Donner’s favorite projects, and he has long sought to see this film released on DVD. The film has previously been available only on VHS. The screenplay was written by the husband-wife team of Barry Levinson (Diner) and Valerie Curtin(Unfaithfully Yours), and was based upon the novel by Todd Walton. The cinematography was done by Laszlo Kovacs (Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces) and the film score was composed by John Barry (Dr. No, Dances With Wolves).

I always seem to enjoy any film directed by Richard Donner, and this film is no exception, even though it is very much unlike the Superman and Lethal Weapon films. Some reviewers have compared the original novel to a Steinbeck story, and this analogy has some merit regarding the cast of characters and their experiences in this film. Inside Moves has a strong cult following so it is surprising, unless you know the history of this film, that it has never been released before on DVD.

( ½ out of )

The video is anamorphic wide-screen 1.78:1. The video quality on this DVD is excellent, given the impediments to releasing this film on DVD. The distribution company for the film went bankrupt at the time of its theatrical release in 1980 with the result that Inside Moves received minimal promotion and distribution. Since that time, the loss of the original negative and the scarcity of extant prints have inhibited previous efforts to transfer Inside Moves to DVD. Thankfully, a 35 mm print turned up in England, and this print was cleaned up and restored for this DVD.

The style and technology of cinematography have changed dramatically in the last 25 years and this is apparent in this film. The previous statement is by no means a criticism of the cinematography of Inside Moves, but only to make the point that any film produced in 1980 is not going to have the same sharp style and clarity as any recent film. Some black crush is evident in a couple of night scenes but there is no apparent DNR or edge enhancement. Dirt and debris are surprisingly minimal on this transfer, even on a 67" screen, which is indicative of the quality of the picture on this DVD.

( ½ out of )

Inside Moves has only an English Dolby Digital 2.0 audio track and a separate director’s commentary track. The Dolby Digital 2.0 track reproduces audio consistent with what you might have heard in a movie theater in 1980. There is nothing exceptional about the audio by present standards but neither is there any perceptible flaw that detracts from enjoyment of the film or that draws you out of the experience.

The audio commentary is provided by Richard Donner and Brian Helgeland (L.A. Confidential, Mystic River). Donner has a keen memory regarding the people and events behind the scenes during filming.

Special Features
( out of )

The special features include all of the following:

From The Inside Out: Moving from Manuscript to Motion Picture (15:49): Author Todd Walton and director Richard Donner comment on the action behind the scenes in getting this film approved for production by the studios.

Director’s Commentary: Richard Donner provides a feature length audio commentary accompanied by writer/director Brian Helgeland.

Richard Donner’s Shooting Script: Accessible on computers equipped with DVD-R drives and PDF viewers.

Also From Lionsgate: Trailers for My Bloody Valentine 3-D, The Spirit, Bangkok Dangerous, Mondays In The Sun, and O. These trailers also show automatically at the beginning of the disc.

( out of overall)

Inside Moves is one of those (seemingly) small films that can take you by surprise with its characters and storytelling. Its quality is evident in the fact that the same director who filmed The Omen, Superman: The Movie, and the Lethal Weapon films takes such pride in this particular film. It is unfortunate that some of the scenes deleted from the final cut are not included with this package, however, it is very likely that these scenes exist no longer, especially given the paucity of surviving prints of this film. If you are looking for a film featuring compelling characters in an unpredictable story produced by a seasoned director, then look no further than Inside Moves directed by Richard Donner.

#2 of 5 OFFLINE   walter o

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Posted February 03 2009 - 05:44 AM

I am so glad the filmmaker stepped in to make sure Lions Gate release this widescreen from a print source., as it was originally announced as fullframe, as Lions Gate seem to be doing that with older library titles (now if only someone can rescue IRONWEED). And with extras too! I saw this on the big screen when it opened, and the audience just loved it.

#3 of 5 OFFLINE   Timothy E

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Posted February 03 2009 - 05:48 AM

Lionsgate's original plans were to produce the DVD in pan and scan format by transfering the VHS version to DVD. Fortunately, the 35 mm print in England was located. If you have fond memories of seeing this movie in theaters, I think you will be pleased with the quality of the DVD.

#4 of 5 OFFLINE   Michael Elliott

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Posted February 03 2009 - 12:35 PM

Do you remember what the aspect ratio was? IMDB, Widescreen Movies and several others are saying it should be 2.35:1.

#5 of 5 OFFLINE   Timothy E

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Posted February 03 2009 - 03:16 PM

The film appears to be framed properly in its DVD presentation. My belief is that the IMDB information is inaccurate in this regard.

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