Jump to content



Sign up for a free account!

Signing up for an account is fast and free. As a member you can join in the conversation, enter contests to win things like this Logitech Harmony Ultimate Remote and you won't get the popup ads that guests get. Click here to create your free account.

Photo

HTF REVIEW: "Vanilla Sky" (with screenshots)


This topic has been archived. This means that you cannot reply to this topic.
74 replies to this topic

#1 of 75 Ronald Epstein

Ronald Epstein

    Studio Mogul

  • 38,569 posts
  • Join Date: Jul 03 1997

Posted May 09 2002 - 08:57 PM

Posted Image

Vanilla Sky






Studio: Paramount
Year: 2001
Rated: R
Film Length: 135 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)



Every passing moment is another chance
to turn it all around



I hate to start a review off this way, but I
sit here asking myself, "What the hell did I
just watch?" I feel like my mind has been
seriously f--ked with for the last 2 hours, and
I still am dizzy from it all.

Posted Image

Vanilla Sky has got to be one of the most
bizarre films I have watched in recent memory. I
had heard some disappointing grumblings from
friends that had seen it theatrically, but nothing
could prepare me for what I had just viewed.

Vanilla Sky is a spiritless journey through the
world of dreams and reality, which, while beautiful
to look at, and well made, is sluggish and boring
in it’s setup, and silly in its resolution.

Posted Image

David Aames (Tom Cruise) is a handsome and
successfully wealthy publishing tycoon. He has
a no strings relationship with a beautiful model,
Julie Gianni (Cameron Diaz). He has the world at
his fingertips, not to mention his celebrity friends
like Steven Spielberg who readily shows up at his
birthday party. But its the entrance of Sofia
Serrano (Penelope Cruz) that hits David like a
thunderbolt. She's absolutely beautiful, and David
is instantly mesmerized by her.

Posted Image


The blossoming romance between David and Sofia is
not making Julie very happy. She starts stalking
David until he agrees to go for a car ride with her.
Julie gets more and more wound up and eventually
drives her car off a bridge. The result is an
accident David survives, but leaves his face
totally disfigured.

If you think I have given away too much, don't
worry, I haven't. The film jumps from future to
past, from dream to reality, and through it all
the audience suffers by not knowing what is real
and what is not.

Posted Image


Fortunately this film barely manages to stay on
two legs thanks to the efforts of its stars.
Cruise's performance here is pretty amazing --
having a Phantom of the Opera style mask on his
face for lengths of the film, yet manages to
convey many things without a lot of physical
gestures. As for Penelope Cruz, well all I can
say is that her beauty is a gift from God. There
is a nighclub scene where Cruz shows so many
mixed emotions without uttering a word. Her facial
expressions are a marvel to look at. Cruz and
Cruise manage to emit powerful on-screen romantic
energy. I melt everytime I see her bite her
lower lip.


How is the transfer?


This could perhaps be one of the best DVD
transfers that Paramount has put out to date.
While I could sit here and nitpick about some
of the slight video noise that shows up at the
very beginning of the film and within some of
the film's darker scenes, it is the day lit
scenes of New York that will make your jaw drop.
Picture looks gorgeously stunning. As a matter
of fact, I have never seen Times Square look more
beautiful, and I am in Times Square at least once a
month. This transfer captures colors of the city
I never knew existed, standing out so vividly like
a can of fresh paint.

Posted Image


The 5.1 Dolby Surround is equally impressive.
Right before the opening credits even roll on
the screen, you can hear the faintest sounds of
wind rising up in the rear channels. The rears
play a very important role in this alternative
piece of film where creepish dialogue is placed
in the rear channels to in order to build suspense.
One of the best sounding scenes in the film takes
place in a nightclub where random sounds eminate
from different channels as my subwoofer pounded
out powerfull bass thanks to the rather active
LFE mix. The Dolby Digital mix is as impressive
as some of the best DTS mixes I have heard.


Special Features


Paramount has included a few really cool extra
nuggets on this DVD including a commentary by
Director Cameron Crowe and Composer Nancy Wilson
which also features a conversation with Tom Cruise.

Pop in the disc and you are greeted with a new
beautiful 90th Anniversary Paramount logo. The
Main Menu appears in brilliant white as a picture
is etched in the upper corner. The menu structure
is pretty inventive. As you go from area to area,
techno music plays as the corner picture takes
on a new form.

Posted ImagePosted Image


It's interesting to see that Paramount has placed
two of the DVDs featurettes off of the Main Menu
rather than placing it in the Special Features menu.
I don't understand the reason for this, as it can
easily distract viewers from making the correct
initial choice when wanting to play the movie.

Posted Image

Prelude to a Dream is a really fun, but
brief featurette. It's Cameron Crowe's narrative
journey of creating this film. Haunted by the
1997 Spanish Film `Abre Los Ojos', Crowe set out
to make a psychedledic pop song remake. We get
some great glimpses of the cast rehearsing in
back offices of the Paramount lot. As the streets
of Times Square were cleared one early November
morning, we see the cinematographer planning the
shoot where Cruise runs amidst the empty streets.
Most of all, we see the cast having a great time
with each other, as much as I think you'll have
a great time watching this featurette.
(length: Approx. 6 minutes)

Posted Image


Hitting it Hard puts us on the red carpet
of a film premiere and takes us along on the
2001-2002 Press Tour of Vanilla Sky. Shown
mostly in Black & White, we get to see the cast
attending interviews and photo shoots. From
crowd entrenched premiers to some very private
moments, this is a very personal look at what
it takes to promote a film. This is such an
incredibly produced piece -- the kind of rare
stuff that doesn't usually get included on DVDs.
(length: approx. 10 minutes)

Taken from an Entertainment Tonight piece, An
Interview with Paul McCartney
comes on the
heels of Paul's Golden Globe nomination for the
film's title song. Paul talks about how while
he was working on his newest album, Driving Rain,
Cameron Crowe approached him about writing a song
for his film. A Waiter from a french restaurant
actually gave Paul inspiratrion for the first
line of the song, and within a week, the song
was complete. (length: approx. 1.5 minutes)

The Music Video, "afrika shox" by
Letfield/Afrika Bambaataa is interesting,
pulsating techno-rap music played against
clips from the film.

Still Photographer Neal Preston gives an audio
introduction to the Photo Gallery included
on this DVD. Neal's job is to sneak around and
capture very special candid moments of the stars
on film. Divided into eight sections, there are
literally hundreds of interesting stills to look
through. Many are personal shots of the actors
on the set, including many of them walking in the
total emptiness of Times Square.

There are two trailers included on this
DVD. The first, an unreleased teaser trailer
is less dialogue-filled, backed with a techno
soundtrack. The International trailer gives
us more dialogue and insight into the story. Both
are fun to watch!



Final Thoughts


This film is not going to be widely liked by
members of this forum. I was surprised that
this film came from the Director of Almost
Famous
, as it looks more like something that
would come from Stanley Kubrick.

Posted Image

This is another one of those rare titles where
watching the added Supplemental content is more
fun than watching the film itself. Paramount has
gone to great lengths to add unique animated
menus and really fun supplements.

Posted Image

This DVD will work far better as a rental than
a purchase. Rent it for the extra content alone
if you must. Nobody should blindly purchase this
title. See it with an open mind, and as much as
the film urges you to ‘Open Your Eyes', many of
you will, but won't exactly know what the hell
happened.


Release Date: May 21, 2002

Ronald J Epstein
Home Theater Forum co-owner

 

gallery_269895_23_10043.jpg Click Here for the latest/hottest Blu-ray Preorders gallery_269895_23_1316.jpg Click Here for our complete Blu-ray review archive

gallery_269895_23_773.jpg Click Here for our complete 3D Blu-ray review archive gallery_269895_23_992.jpgClick Here for our complete DVD review archive

gallery_269895_23_7246.jpg Click Here for Blu-Ray Preorder Release Schedule gallery_269895_23_3120.jpg Click Here for forum posting rules and regulations


#2 of 75 Rob Gillespie

Rob Gillespie

    Producer

  • 3,634 posts
  • Join Date: Aug 17 1998

Posted May 09 2002 - 09:18 PM

Nice review Ron, however my appreciation of the film is slightly more certain than yours - I loved it. Posted Image
No longer here.

#3 of 75 Michael Dueppen

Michael Dueppen

    Stunt Coordinator

  • 217 posts
  • Join Date: Sep 19 2000

Posted May 09 2002 - 10:03 PM

Thanks for the review, Ron. I also did not especially like this movie (I did like abre los ojos, though).
But since the DVD is so spectecular, I will give it another chance with a rental.
- Michael
My DVD collection

#4 of 75 Jon_B

Jon_B

    Screenwriter

  • 1,030 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 27 2000

Posted May 09 2002 - 10:33 PM

I've been looking forward to the release of this movie for quite some time now. From your review it sounds like I will not like it. If anything I'll give it a whirl to see the lovely Penelope Cruz. Posted Image I'll give it a rental and see what the heck this movie is all about.

Thanks for the review.

Jon
I'm Back Online

#5 of 75 MichaelAW

MichaelAW

    Second Unit

  • 423 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 14 2002

Posted May 09 2002 - 10:55 PM

By some stroke of luck, I was able to find this DVD (of one of my top 5 films of 2001) earlier this week here in Sweden.

I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but I'll do so tonight. Glad to hear how great the disc is, Ron.

Movies my dog is afraid of

#6 of 75 oscar_merkx

oscar_merkx

    Lead Actor

  • 7,632 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 15 2002

Posted May 10 2002 - 12:08 AM

Ron

You simply must see the orginal as it is compelling to watch and Penelope Cruz is a treat to watch. For me It was the performance of Cameron Diaz as the Stalker that won it for me, there were not enough scenes of Cruise & Cruz together yet there were was a breathtaking on screen chemistry. Looks like I will pick up both DVDs

Oscar Merkx
Toastmasters International

Communication is Everything

#7 of 75 Pierre Gagne

Pierre Gagne

    Agent

  • 40 posts
  • Join Date: Nov 12 1998

Posted May 10 2002 - 12:47 AM

Ron, I'm suprised you consider this film bizarre. David Lynch's Mulholland Drive is bizarre but I would not classify Vanilla Sky as such. This is more of a film where you feel you need to watch it a second time after you see the end. I agree, though, that it is more in a Kubrick style type of film. And, like you said, it won't be everyone's cup of tea. But for those who like thoughtful, meaningful, even provoking movies with strong performances (Cruise gives, IMO, one of his best) this is yours. Recommended.

Pierre

#8 of 75 Matt Pelham

Matt Pelham

    Screenwriter

  • 1,711 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 13 2002

Posted May 10 2002 - 12:55 AM

I agree with you Pierre 100%. I still don't know how people find this film too confusing. I mean, it does have a rather unconventional plot and at times you're not sure what is really happenning, but everything is explained in full at the end with all questions answered. Donnie Darko, Mullholland Drive, even Memento I can see as confusing movies, but Vanilla Sky I just don't see it. I loved this movie (already own Open Your Eyes, great flick) and will definitely be picking this one up.

#9 of 75 Mark Bendiksen

Mark Bendiksen

    Screenwriter

  • 1,090 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 16 1999

Posted May 10 2002 - 01:13 AM


Thanks for the review, Ron. I held off seeing this one during its theatrical run, but since I'm a Cameron Crowe fan I can't pass up the opportunity to at least rent this intriguing movie.


#10 of 75 Richard Kim

Richard Kim

    Producer

  • 4,389 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 29 2001

Posted May 10 2002 - 03:36 AM

Ron, if you haven't seen the original Spanish film "Open Your Eyes" (Abre Los Ojos), definitely pick up the DVD from Artisan, IMHO a better film than Vanilla Sky. I appreciate that Crowe tried to put his personal touches in VC (choice of music, etc), but I don't think the subject material fits Crowe's style very well.

#11 of 75 Matthew_Millheiser

Matthew_Millheiser

    Supporting Actor

  • 656 posts
  • Join Date: May 01 2000

Posted May 10 2002 - 04:14 AM

I live for Abre Los Ojos, a film I caught on cable one night only because Penelope Cruz was in it.

I came to watch Penelope. I stayed because the film was so goddammned amazing.

I haven't seen Vanilla Sky -- for no other reason that I just never got around to it. I will be buying the DVD based on my love of the original film and the strength of Cameron Crowe's skill as a writer/director. Plus the extras sound pretty nice, which is more than I can say about Artisan's DVD release of Abre Los Ojos.

Whenever the laws of any state are broken, a duly authorized organization swings into action. It may be the called the State Police, State Troopers, Militia, the Rangers, or the Highway Patrol THE CITIZENS AUXILIARY POLICE!!! These are the stories of the men whose training, skill, and courage,...

#12 of 75 JonZ

JonZ

    Lead Actor

  • 7,793 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 28 1998

Posted May 10 2002 - 06:48 AM

I liked Vanilla Sky and will be buying the DVD.

#13 of 75 ThomasWall

ThomasWall

    Auditioning

  • 10 posts
  • Join Date: May 10 2002

Posted May 10 2002 - 09:44 AM

I am a new member but a long time reader. As my first post I thought it would be fitting that I thank Mr Epstein for another great review because I've read them for a while.

#14 of 75 Eric T

Eric T

    Second Unit

  • 268 posts
  • Join Date: Apr 01 2001

Posted May 10 2002 - 01:15 PM

I saw Vanilla Sky in the theater, and then saw Abre Los Ojos at a coffe shop / art theater here in town. I found that it was pretty much the same film in both cases with (mostly) different actors. I did enjoy looking for differences in Penelope Cruz's performances between the two films.

Overall I think the story is quite good, it's a little different from the average movie fare. And I think Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz were terrific in it. I'm a big fan of some of Cruise's latest work, I liked him a lot in Eyes Wide Shut and Magnolia too.

#15 of 75 Joseph J.D

Joseph J.D

    Screenwriter

  • 2,685 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 04 2001

Posted May 10 2002 - 01:59 PM

I think that I will give this one a rental first....I've heard bad word of mouth for this film when it was first run, so I think that I will go the safe route to see if it is worth buying. Ron, as always- thanks for the review.Posted Image
Recently watched- Friday The 13th(2009), The Sessions, Freddy vs. Jason, Monty Python's The Meaning Of Life, Jason X, Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday, Friday The 13th Pt VIII:Jason Takes Manhattan, Godzilla Vs. Biollante, Ninja II:Shadow Of A Tear, Friday The 13th Pt VII:The New Blood, Non-Stop(2014), Friday The 13th Pt VI:Jason Lives, Batman: Mystery Of The Batwoman, Batman Beyond: Return Of The Joker, Gettysburg(1993)

Currently watching- Planet Earth, The Twilight Zone: Season 1, Cheers: Season 6, True Blood: Season 2, Gatchaman: The Complete Series, Simon & Simon: Season 3, Beauty and The Beast: Season 3
 

"The mill's closed.  There's no more work.  We're destitute...I'm afraid I have no choice but to sell you all for scientific experiments."


#16 of 75 Justin_S

Justin_S

    Producer

  • 3,573 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 04 2001

Posted May 10 2002 - 02:09 PM

This film is excellent by all means, and I'll definitely be getting the DVD! I've been eagerly awaiting it. I also have the DVD of ABRE LOS OJOS from Artisan, and I must say that I pretty much love both films equally. I was expecting VANILLA SKY to be just another shitty remake, but it turned out superb.

#17 of 75 Robin Warren

Robin Warren

    Second Unit

  • 337 posts
  • Join Date: Jan 24 2002

Posted May 10 2002 - 02:34 PM

This is one terrific movie. Will be picking it up asap.

#18 of 75 SteveGon

SteveGon

    Executive Producer

  • 12,267 posts
  • Join Date: Dec 11 2000

Posted May 10 2002 - 05:56 PM

Quote:
Vanilla Sky has got to be one of the most
bizarre films I have watched in recent memory.

Ron, are you going to be reviewing Eraserhead when it comes out? Posted Image

Anyway, I found Vanilla Sky to be a decent remake though I took exception to the soundtrack - it seemed shoehorned into the movie and became distracting. I don't think I'll buy VS, but I'll definitely rent it for the extras.

Thanks for the review!

#19 of 75 Craig S

Craig S

    Producer

  • 5,448 posts
  • Join Date: Mar 04 2000
  • Real Name:Craig Seanor
  • LocationLeague City, Texas

Posted May 10 2002 - 06:42 PM

Quote:
I feel like my mind has been seriously f--ked with for the last 2 hours, and I still am dizzy from it all.
Wow... that's the same way I felt after seeing VS last December. Funny thing is, that's why I loved the film!!

Sounds like a great disc, and it's a must-buy for me. Also, for fans of the film who haven't seen the original (like me), I pikced up the Artisan DVD of Abre Los Ojos at Target a few weeks ago for under $10. It's bare-bones but the transfer looks good.

Three truths about movies, as noted by Roger Ebert:

 

* It's not what a movie is about, it's how it is about it.

* No good movie is too long, and no bad movie is short enough.

* No good movie is depressing, all bad movies are depressing.


#20 of 75 Elbert Lee

Elbert Lee

    Supporting Actor

  • 512 posts
  • Join Date: May 24 2000

Posted May 10 2002 - 06:47 PM

I can't help but disagree with Ron's opinion that most on the HTF will dislike this film. There's already a strong Cameron Crowe following, although Vanilla Sky is most definitely a stretch in terms of subject matter and style for him.

After watching this movie for the first time in the theaters, I couldn't help but think that David Fincher would have have been the better choice to direct this movie. Although Crowe is probably better at creating those "2 strangers connecttion" between the principals (cruise and cruz), Fincher's experience in blending reality, virtuality, and visual perspective would have served this plot well.. However, I can certainly understand why he would not have wanted to take on remake and tackle another "plot twist" ending-type film like Vanilla Sky.

I found that I was rather annoyed with Crowe's use of the same guitar-based music for many of his transitional scenes. What worked well with his previous two films, "Jerry Maguire" and "Almost Famous", was almost distracting for me as it really made me consciencious that that this was a film made by Cameron Crowe! I was pretty much fully immersed into the film, but the music has got to change. (The Beach Boys song near the finale was ingenious, though)

I enjoyed the DVD - the video quality was VERY GOOD, and almost perfect except for some softness here and there. Audio was limited mainly to the fronts, with the occasional use of the rears and SBs for the more musically climactic moments. I would have preferred the sound engineers to enhance the "atmospheric" subtle sound affects especially during the more "surreal" moments. All-in-all, this was more than an effective sound mix.

Also have to admit that I enjoyed this movie more the first time. I noticed more nuanced performanced the second time around in my HT. For those on the fence, rent this dvd first. For Cruise and Crowe fans, don't pass this one up.

Elbert