DVD Review HTF REVIEW: COP LAND (Director's Cut) RECOMMENDED...

Discussion in 'DVD' started by DaViD Boulet, Jul 8, 2004.

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  1. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    [​IMG]


    COP LAND
    (director's cut)
    Studio:MIRAMAX Year:1997RunTime:116 minutesAspect Ratio:16x9 encoded 1.85:1 OAR Audio:DD 5.1 English, French SpecialFeatures:Feature commentary, Deleted Scenes, documentary, storyboard comparisons ReleaseDate:Available





    The Feature...

    It is always my greatest privilege as a reviewer to have the chance to experience quality movies that, on my own, I might have just passed by. Don't be fooled (as I had been) into thinking that this is another Rambo-genre action flick. Cop Land is a serious drama that only makes use of its subject matter and action to help amplify the point; Cop Land is not a "Police movie" with good character development, it's a story about courage, strength, suffering, and human integrity that's independent of the surface-subject matter. Cop Land takes time to establish relationships and history that make the story legitimate and make the injustices almost painful to watch. Ultimately, it's a story about endurance and human integrity, and it demonstrates the sacrifices that make such efforts both beautiful and heartbreaking to comprehend.

    Though it in many ways reflects the spirit of a classic western, the film that most immediately comes to my mind to compare it with is Outland. Those of you familiar with Outland (Sean Connery) will understand what I mean. Outland, though a science-fiction film taking place on a mining station on a moon orbiting Jupiter, is not really about science-fiction, space-travel, or future technology; It's a story about good and evil, and a human being who determines to serve justice no matter what the cost. Cop Land is a film that expresses this same timeless struggle, and context in which it takes place is secondary.

    The irony is that the very reason that I had shyly avoided Cop Land -- Sylvester Stalllone --is at the very core of what makes this film so powerful. Stallone delivers nothing short of an award-winning dramatic performance in his role. Not only did I find myself amazed at the depth and power of his acting in this film, I was also astonished to find that he didn't distract me from becoming emotionally invested in the story (usually not the case for me when an actor with many prior associations takes on a dramatic role like this one). Having the chance to see Stallone work so successfully with this challenging role has given me a great respect for him as an actor...one that perhaps many of you who haven't seen this movie will find yourself sharing along with me once you experience it.

    HTF member Jeff Gatie says:


    Quote:



    Stallone was mentioned as worthy of an Oscar, but it is said his resume of not so fine "performances" kept the Acdemy from taking it seriously. I disagree, for his performance is a fine one; sombre and understated, without any histrionics or maudlin sentiment. This is a film that will have you asking the question "Did I just see Stallone out-act DeNiro, Liotta and Keitel???" The answer is yes.





    Agreed.


    Cop Land is a film that may have avoided a prominent spot on the radar for many of you, and I hope that my review of this disc gives you the incentive you need to take a chance with this marvelous film.



    Picture...


    Really nice folks. Boy, these MIRAMAX DVDs are really hit-and-miss as far as picture quality these days and I'm finding there's no real way to predict what titles will look decent and which won't (of course, they all *should* look decent...we shouldn't even have to worry!). Somehow Cop Land has escaped the nasty excessive high-frequency filtering that has marred many other recent (and high profile) releases, and though the image may still be *slightly* rolled-off, the effect is one with a satisfying degree of natural film detail that doesn't leave you feeling like you're missing something. I'd say detail is a little better than Trainspotting (reviewing on an 100" screen from a 1280 x 720 DLP projector running DVI from DVD player) for those of you familiar with that other recent DVD. Colors are muted and drab for the most part but faithful to the subject matter which is obvious especially in the few scenes where color saturation is more dramatic for artistic emphasis. Black level is solid and contrast and grayscale are smooth and continuous. Compression seems well handled with no visible (or distractingly visible...never noticed any) MPEG compression noise getting in the way. Some scenes contain natural film grain but this is acceptable and to the studio's credit they didn't try to air-brush or DNR it away.

    The only negative is a VERY SLIGHT amount of HF emphasis which doesn't really result in any distracting "ringing", but does add a slightly (and I mean *slightly*) harsh or flat appearance to the image that at times keeps it from feeling as natural and fluid as it might have been. I can produce the same effect with the sharpness setting on my projector...even before ringing is visible if I take a naturally "film like" DVD and crank the sharpness up a notch or two...visible detail seems to improve but the image also loses a certain grace and silkiness...become ever-so-slightly harsh. In no way am I implying that this issue gets in the way of this magnificent film...I'm just being really really picky... [​IMG]

    Overall, the effect of this movie on my projected screen is very film-like and I think that even watching on a very revealing system, most viewers would find little or nothing about which to complain.

    Job well done. [​IMG]


    Picture: 4/ 5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]




    Sound...


    Sound is really superb. The 5.1 mix makes good use of the 360 soundfield for both action scenes and lower-level ambient cues. Dialog is clear and listenable without ever sounding harsh. The soundrack also sounds very dynamic, especially during many of the action scenes. Gun shots don't quite shoot holes through your room like in Open Range, but they come close. I kept having to turn the volume up/down for fear of waking up the neighbors...a good sign that the 5.1 DD mix is doing its job. [​IMG]

    The sound in this film is used very artfully, and there is one scene in particular (don't want to get too detailed and give anything away for those who haven't seen it yet) where a high-pitched ringing sound is use to marvelous effect...and I actually paused the movie just to make sure that the sound was in the film soundtrack and not from some other source or in my head.

    I know I normally go on and on with hordes of details about picture and audio, but in this case things are, well, just fine and I don't really need to talk too much about them. Watch/listen to the film and see for yourself. [​IMG]



    Sound: 4.5/ 5
    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]




    Special Features...

    [*]Feature Commentary: A very fine screen-specific commentary in conversational form with Director James Mangold, Producer Cathy Konrad, and actors Sylvester Stallone and Robert Patrick. The first thing that hit me was the friendly atmosphere of the commentary, but don't worry, that doesn't mean that it degenerates into mere hob-knobbing about irrelevant personal trivia. We get some very nice exposition of story and behind-the-scenes decisions by Mangold and Konrad, and some very enjoyable contributions from the two actors. Stallone in particular impressed me with his candor and conversation. One thing he said that was notable to me was that he imagined his character as emulating the spirit of a turtle (slow, deliberate, steady) and he had a small carved turtle in his pocket that he would rub before each scene to remind him of that and help him center and get-in-character. These are the sorts of insights that I really enjoy...both personable and germane to the craft of the film.
    [*]Deleted Scenes: Being a director's cut, several scenes are already added back into the feature (I think about 12 minutes worth) but there are two provided here that didn't make the "un-cut". In both cases I feel the movie stands better without them being included as they would have forced attention to issues that weren't central to the story and would have distracted and reduced momentum. You can watch them with or without commentary.
    [*]The Making Of An Urban Western: This behind the scenes documentary clocks at about 15 minutes and has some outstanding interview segments and behind-the-scenes discussion that even a casual fan or anyone who enjoyed the movie will want to watch. Most of the lead actors contribute to discussion as well as key crew and production members. I highly recommend you check this out.
    [*]Storyboard Comparisons: Very well done. You see a side-by-side running of the original story board concept next to the finished film sequence for one of the climatic ending scenes. It's astonishing to me how closely the two mediums match...not only in terms of basic content, but in terms of positioning of characters, props, and facial expression. It's illuminating to see this, and it demonstrates how very little of what actually appears on screen is left to chance. The craft of movie making is deliberate and intentional. I really enjoyed this segment and I'm not normally one who gets into "storyboard" extras.

    [/list]

    All Together...

    In my opinion, Cop Land is a severely underrated film that does an outstanding job fleshing out an engaging story and expressing a timeless struggle. I typically shy away from crime-dramas and urban-action flicks yet this film not only held my attention, but managed to get me emotionally involved. Stallone excels in his performance, and in my opinion this may be one of his most successful acting roles. The DVD MIRAMAX has delivered provides satisfying picture and sound, and while not as loaded as a 2-disc SE, the bonus features are worthwhile and the commentary should make the fans happy. No film will please everyone, but if you haven't seen this film, I'd encourage you to take the time and get acquainted. I would regret having not seen this film, and am grateful to have had the opportunity to review it.


    Sincerely recommended...
     
  2. Robert_eb

    Robert_eb Supporting Actor

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    Great review. I have the laserdisc and having been itching to upgrade.

    If I see this below $10.00 I just may.
     
  3. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Robert,

    That's an itch you definitely need to scratch...

    -dave [​IMG]
     
  4. Gabe D

    Gabe D Cinematographer

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    For a minute there I though you were full of sh!t, but I looked it up. Stallone won Best Actor at the '97 Stockholm Film Festival.
     
  5. MikeEckman

    MikeEckman Screenwriter

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    100% agree. I saw this in theaters and liked it every since I saw it then. It had been about 4 years since I saw it when this SE DVD came out and it reminded me how great this movie when I saw it.

    If the Oscars had an award for Best Performance Not Consistent With Prior Performances, then Stallone would have definitely won it! [​IMG]

    Highly recommended as well.
     
  6. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    David,

    Great review of a greatly underrated film. Stallone was mentioned as worthy of an Oscar, but it is said his resume of not so fine "performances" kept the Acdemy from taking it seriously. I disagree, for his performance is a fine one; sombre and understated, without any histrionics or maudlin sentiment. This is a film that will have you asking the question "Did I just see Stallone out-act DeNiro, Liotta and Keitel???" The answer is yes.
     
  7. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Jeff,

    You just enhanced my review...
     
  8. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    I'll have to check this out. I saw the original release back when it came out on DVD. It was a good movie, with an excellent performance from Stallone, but it wasn't quite great. There was something missing that kept it in the realm of just quite good.

    I don't understand why so many people refer to Copland as "underrated." My recollection is that it received nothing but positive comments and good reviews. Perhaps it is well-rated but under-viewed.
     
  9. Andrew Bunk

    Andrew Bunk Screenwriter

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    Robert,

    I believe Target has this on sale again for $10 this week-you may want to check there. It's regularly 14.44.

    EDIT: It's actually 2 for $20 right for the following titles: Snatch, Tears of the Sun, Glory, Anger Management, Cop Land, King of New York, The Running Man, Independence Day.
     
  10. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    When Target runs "2 fer" sales, you can always pick up a single disc for half of the "2 fer" price. They're even marked that way in the store. So yes, you can snag Cop Land for $10 at Target this week, even if that's the only disc you buy. As I did on Sunday. [​IMG]

    Another nice review, David. When I popped this in the player Sunday I was amazed at how much better it looked than Cold Mountain. Makes that debacle even more puzzling.
     
  11. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Producer

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    Indeed this movie is not underrated because anyone who has seen it knows how good it is. I always knew that this is a great movie and saw the original release on DVD. The real and most important question is what is this Director’s Cut and how is it different. Is it better or worse? Is it a marketing gimmick like the Alien Director’s Cut? Should we get this or the original? These are the questions that I’m interested in.
     
  12. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Listening to the commentary there were a few times when Stallone said "hey, I don't remember that scene in the movie" and the director said "yeah, that's one of the scenes we added back in for the director's cut". Always seemed like scene worth having.

    The movie flowed very well and I certainly didn't learn of anything that had been added that weakened the film.

    There was an active thread a few weeks back about the differences between the original and this director's cut. If someone finds it, please post the link here.

    -dave
     
  13. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    I only meant it was underrated awards-wise. The reviews were mostly glowing, it is true, but Stallone deserved more awards than the Stockholm prize. DeNiro played the same DeNiro he's been playing for years, Liotta was great, but not much of a stretch and Keitel was, well Keitel (not a knock, I love Keitel). Stallone stood out because you could not believe it was him. He mesmerized you the way he literally sank into the character and completely lost his well worn Rocky/Rambo action persona. Makes me sad for the kind of actor he could have been if he had not been pigeon holed (by his own doing, of course) into action roles and Rocky 4-18.
     
  14. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    That exact thought went through my mind too. I almost said something to that effect in my review but I just couldn't get the wording right. You succeeded.

    -dave [​IMG]
     
  15. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    Thanks, Dave. I'm flattered to be part of such a great review. I'm good for a quip every once in a while, but I could not do what you do for longer than one or two sentences. Glad I could help a little, though.

    Jeff
     
  16. Sam Davatchi

    Sam Davatchi Producer

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    From IMDB:
    So, it's 15 minutes.
     
  17. CoreyII

    CoreyII Second Unit

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    Man, I don't know where you guys have been but I saw this flick in the theaters and loved it. I always knew Sly had talent and Copland isn't the only movie that shows it. Check Stallone out in Antz and F.I.S.T.

    I've always felt this forum tends to put Stallone down alot and this section on Copland proves it.
     
  18. Craig S

    Craig S Producer
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    F.I.S.T. - now there's one we need on DVD.
     
  19. Ray_R

    Ray_R Screenwriter

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    I'm definitely purchasing this DVD since it's on my "Must Haves" list of DVD's to purchase. I've always been a fan of this film since it has the most excellent acting and I certainly didn't feel the actor's egos overwhelm each other. I felt a sense of companionship and comraderie on this film. I can't wait to hear the much talked about and liked commentary for this DVD, since it's received high praise and not becoming some drivel.
    Ray Rogers
    [​IMG][​IMG]
     
  20. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Sold - is now on my sight-unseen short list. [​IMG]
     

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