HTF REVIEW: "Bandits" (with screenshots) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Feb 26, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein
    Any inaccuracies in this review should be
    addressed in the FEEDBACK area, not this thread.
    Screenshots are for image quality purpose only and
    may be slightly off-ratio



    Two's Company, Three's A Crime.
    I never had paid attention to Bandits
    during its theatrical run. The first time I had
    actually heard about the movie was when MGM sent
    me a promotional copy of the film's CD soundtrack,
    which I immediately fell in love with. The CD is
    chock full of terrific music from Bob Dylan, Five
    for fighting, Bonnie Tyler and Tanita Tikaram.
    When this new Special Edition DVD arrived at my
    doorstep this week, I was primed to watch it. With
    a cast that includes BRUCE WILLIS and BILLY BOB
    THORNTON, I knew this was going to be a cool flick!
    What was even cooler, was that this film was so
    good that it surpassed my already high expectations.
    To describe this film in one sentence: Bandits
    is a terrifically fresh action-comedy that is
    incredibly fun to watch.
    Put together two of the most complete opposites,
    Joe (Willis) and Terry (Billy Bob Thornton), inmates
    who escape prison and head for the roads and become
    renowned bank robbers. Bruce Willis plays a
    bullish character with long hair tied in a ponytail.
    Billy Bob Thornton's character is an obsessive
    compulsive squeamish man full of phobias. Together
    they knock off banks in a very unusual manner that
    earns them the title of "sleepover bandits".
    Along the way they meet up with an eccentric
    housewife named Kate (Cate Blanchett), who becomes
    the object of desire for both men and who very
    well may spoil their partnership for good!
    Told in documentary-style narration, Bandits
    is a hilarious romp that ultimately sucks you in,
    and keeps you wildly entertained for its 2-hour run.
    The ending, alone, will have you applauding out loud.
    How is the transfer?
    Being that this is a brand new title, I expected
    nothing short of a wonderful transfer, and that is
    what I got.
    The film just sparkles on DVD. Picture is clear,
    clean, and without any grain. The film sports an
    anamorphic(2.35:1) transfer that looks very smooth.
    What stands out most in this transfer is the
    colors. While the picture remains very warm, the
    colors just pop out of the screen. Take a look
    at Cate Blanchett's beautiful red hair, for instance.
    It is so amazingly fire-engine red that it looks as
    breathtaking as Leloo's hair in "The Fifth Element".
    A simple ride through a wooded area shows all the
    wonderful colors of the fall leaves. The night scenes
    glow with the neon colors from a restaurant.
    The 5.1 Dolby Digital soundtrack is also as
    equally satisfying. With a soundtrack full of
    great music, the front speakers do an excellent
    job of reproducing strong, toe-thumping sound.
    Voices remain dead clear in the center, as the
    rears provide a constant amount of ambient action.
    A scene where the bandit's car swerve off the road
    after hitting a truck is quite awesome as sound
    just circles around the viewing environment not
    quite letting you know where it is finally going
    to land.
    Special Features
    This 2-sided DVD contains the WIDESCREEN version
    on Side A and a standard (1.33:1) version on Side B.
    This is actually the second title I have watched
    this week from MGM, and I am just amazed at how
    well they are putting together these Special Editions
    that really capture the essence of the film.
    Once you pop the disc in the player, you are
    greeted with a short animated menu sequence that
    ends up with police mug shot photos of both Bruce
    Willis and Billy Bob Thornton. Selecting either
    takes you to a slightly varied MENU that both
    contain the same options.
    There are 4 Deleted Scenes presented for
    your enjoyment. They are....
    * The Miller's other Problem is an entire
    7-minute extended sequence in the Miller household
    where Mr. Miller is seen escaping out of a basement
    window, as he confesses something very private to
    Bruce Willis. Willis tackles the problem head-on as
    he confronts someone outside of the house.
    * We're gonna need your vault keys is the
    perfect compliment to the first deleted scene (and
    you'll know why when you see it). We go back to
    first major bank robbery where a missing key keeps
    the robbers waiting for a bank employee to show up.
    This scene runs 1 minute and 30 seconds.
    * Maybe it's time to quit is what Kate
    persuades to Joe and Terry in this 50-second excerpt.
    * A walk around the world is another short
    clip under 1 minute that has Joe and Terry sitting
    at a bar discussing how they feel about Kate.
    All these sequences are in final finished
    form, as if they were trimmed at the very last
    moment. They are all, also surprisingly, quite good.
    There is a very interesting Alternate Ending
    that lasts a mere 55-seconds, but nonetheless, is
    interesting. You see, the film's ending actually
    happens as the credits roll. There is something
    quite different about Kate (Cate Blanchett) in the
    credits version and the alternate version.
    I didn't notice it at first until I played the
    Alternate version again with Cate Blanchett's
    commentary. Then....I noticed her body.
    Inside Bandits is a newly produced documentary
    by MGM. It starts, simply, with Producer Michael
    Birnbaum who received the life story of two bank
    robbers who have a very unique way of robbing banks.
    It was that story that ultimately inspired his movie.
    We learn the real story about the characters this
    movie was based upon. Director Barry Levinson was
    uncomfortable with the script in the beginning, but
    as Willis, Thornton and Blanchette signed on, Levinson
    became more interested. Levinson reworked the script
    to add more tension to the film. His ideas ultimately
    made this film more stylish using flashbacks. This
    documentary also delves into the post production
    (scoring and mixing) that went on over at Skywalker
    Ranch. All in all, this 20-minute documentary is
    full of interesting recollections and ends with a
    great sequence where Willis & Thornton are switched
    with stunt doubles. Don't miss that!
    Creating Scene 71 begins with Director Barry
    Levinson talking about how a difficult bedroom scene
    on script evolved into something very unique on screen.
    The actors were given a lot of room to improvise,
    and you'll watch Willis and Blanchette talk about how
    they approached the material.
    In addition the film's original theatrical
    trailer we are also treated to theatrical
    trailers for Windtalkers and Hart's War,
    as well as a video trailer for Rocky: SE.
    There is also a short promotional spot for the
    film's CD soundtrack.
    Final Thoughts
    It seems that critics just loved this film -- so
    much so that MGM quoted just about every critic
    they could on their DVD packaging. That doesn't
    bother me, because the praise is well deserved.
    Bandits is one of those films that has
    the perfect formula of great script, great cast,
    and great direction. It's just plain fun!
    I also recommend the CD soundtrack, though some
    of the songs on the soundtrack aren't in the film
    (and vise-versa). Most notably missing from the
    CD soundtrack is U2's "Beautiful Day".
    I would recommend buying this sight unseen.
    Release Date: April 2, 2002
  2. chris c

    chris c Stunt Coordinator

    Jun 30, 1997
    Likes Received:
    Thanks for the review! I really enjoyed this one at the theaters and look forward to seeing it again.
  3. JustinT

    JustinT Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 13, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Thanks for the review. I never saw this movie in the theaters, but heard it was pretty good. I will probably be picking this one up too!
  4. Reni D

    Reni D Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 2, 2000
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    I wasen't sure of this movie I thought at best it be a good rental but I might pick it up now.

    thanks for the review
  5. Kenneth Cummings

    Kenneth Cummings Supporting Actor

    Aug 7, 2001
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    Well even so I never got to see it in the theaters, I was looking forward to probably buying the DVD if some good reviews for that went along with the already good reviews of the past. In that case, it time for this to join my DVD tower.
  6. Luis A

    Luis A Second Unit

    Aug 2, 2001
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  7. AaronMK

    AaronMK Supporting Actor

    Oct 30, 1999
    Likes Received:
    Orlando, FL
    Real Name:
    Aaron Karp
    This is a great film that was sadly overlooked while in theaters. Glad to see that MGM did the DVD justice.

    A buy for me.
  8. Michael Dueppen

    Michael Dueppen Stunt Coordinator

    Sep 19, 2000
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    I was never really interested in this movie and I was gonna pass. But your review sold me to it [​IMG]
    Thanks for the great review.
  9. Leon Liew

    Leon Liew Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 23, 2001
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    Can't wait for it's release to add to my collection. Regret

    to say,Bandits has just begun its run on our local theaters.

    Just the same its a must buy for me.
  10. Chuck C

    Chuck C Cinematographer

    Jan 6, 2001
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    I loved it at the show, and I can't wiat for the DVD, thanks Ron!
  11. Wes

    Wes Screenwriter

    Sep 30, 1997
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    Utah USA
    Real Name:
    Wes Peterson
    Sure try and entice us to your reviews with cheep gimmicky screen shots.
    Worked for me![​IMG]
    Sounds like a cool disc!
  12. Bob Hill

    Bob Hill Stunt Coordinator

    Nov 28, 2001
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    Glad to see that there are a number of folks appreciating this fine film. It really took a hit at the theaters due to Sept. 11th and really deserves the bump in its DVD release.
  13. Rob Willey

    Rob Willey Screenwriter

    Apr 10, 2000
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    Real Name:
    Fun movie and a definite buy for me.

  14. Josh_Hill

    Josh_Hill Screenwriter

    Jan 6, 2002
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    I cant wait to get this disc. Just a damn funny movie. Loved it!
  15. Dan M

    Dan M Second Unit

    Feb 6, 2000
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    Have you ever been a salesman? Your reviews are quite convincing! I'm planning on picking this up sight unseen, mainly because of your review. You should get royalties.[​IMG]
    Actually, I'm a big Cate Blanchet fan here lately. She shines in every thing she does.
    Can't wait to see this on my set that is about to be calibrated this weekend by Mr. Loewen.
  16. Leon Liew

    Leon Liew Stunt Coordinator

    Oct 23, 2001
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    Well, speaking about Cate Blanchett,I took quite alot of
    pictures of her way back in 1996 where she was here in
    Singapore for a one day location shoot of the movie 'Paradise Road' with acclaimed director Bruce Beresford.
    I was the still photographer for the day(yes,besides being
    a HT enthusiast,photography is also my passion) and it was
    an experience watching an acclaimed director and Cate Blanchett in action. Her name sure bring back those good
    memories even though it was for a day.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  17. Aaron Reynolds

    Aaron Reynolds Screenwriter

    Feb 6, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Real Name:
    Aaron Reynolds
    A couple of those screenshots show what looks like some good split-focus work (Willis & Thornton in prison and Thornton with the mustache and cowboy hat)...for those who have seen the film, was there a lot of that?
    I might have to see it for that, if nothing else. [​IMG]
  18. Jens Raethel

    Jens Raethel Second Unit

    Oct 27, 1998
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    Real Name:
    Thanks for the review!

    I will buy this one.
  19. Dan M

    Dan M Second Unit

    Feb 6, 2000
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  20. Allen Hirsch

    Allen Hirsch Supporting Actor

    Jan 29, 1999
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    This didn't get too much "play" even here at HTF's movie forum - guess it was the timing of the release as much as anything, because I really enjoyed it.

    Thornton's role is a real kick - very funny, almost over-the-top.

    Looking forward to the disc.

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