Enemy at the Gates
Synopsis: The year is 1942 and the Nazis are cutting a deadly swath through Russia. Under the leadership of Kruschev (Bob Hoskins), the citizens of Stalingrad are mounting a brave resistance, spurred by the exploits of their local hero, Vassili Zaitsev (Jude Law). An expert sniper, Vassili’s deeds have become legendary – thanks to propaganda produced by Vassili’s best friend, a political officer named Danilov (Joseph Fiennes). To stop Vassili, the Germans dispatch their best sniper, Major Konig (Ed Harris), to Stalingrad. When Vassili and Danilov both fall in love with a beautiful soldier (Rachel Weisz), As the city burns, Vassili and Konig begin a cunning game of cat and mouse, waging a private war for courage, honor and country.
Enemy at the Gates arrives on Blu-ray with only a few extras. Through the Crosshairs plays as a very basic making-of piece where cast and crew recount the plot, discuss the characters, speak of the themes, and recount the history of the battle itself. Inside ‘Enemy at the Gates’ features cast and crew discussing their preparations for the roles, including learning the history of the battle and firing their weapons. They also speak further on the themes, the making of the film, casting, working together, their favorite scenes, and more. Concluding this brief presentation of extras is a collection of nine deleted scenes and the film’s theatrical trailer.
Through the Crosshairs
Inside Enemy at the Gates
Synopsis: Late for court, an attorney weaves in and out of traffic. In a different lane, a father whose right to see his children rests on getting to court on time. A minor accident will turn these two strangers into beasts.
As a sleeper that suddenly broke out to become one of 2002’s best films, Changing Lanes deserves a look from those who’ve forgotten it existed in the first place. They will see this sensational Blu-ray release and wonder where this evocative, edge of your seat experience has been their entire cinematic life. Others with fond memories or an actual copy of the DVD will have to ask themselves if a slightly improved picture and better sound suffices when it comes to the decision on a double dip. Granted, any advance in technology should be embraced, especially when weighed against the product profiting from it. Paramount’s shift over to Blu-ray gives the film added weigh.
Commentary by director Roger Michell
The Making of Changing Lanes
A Writers’ Perspective
Synopsis: In a futuristic but familiar world, a high-tech engineer whose memory has been partially erased must use a group of unrelated objects, including a wire, a ticket stub and a bus token as clues to discover the truth about his previous identity, and collect a paycheck he had been awaiting. Based on the short story by science fiction author Phillip K. Dick.
Paycheck is a clever and very well put together mystery that keeps you engaged from beginning to end. Michael must try to figure out how he ended up wtih 20 items in the envelope that he doesn’t recognize, and more importantly, he must learn when to use them at the opportune moment, to save his life. Despite a lack of fondness for Ben Affleck’s acting, he delivers a nice performance, as do Eckhardt and Thurman. Paul Giamatti and Colm Feore are also great in supporting roles. Paycheck is a good, entertaining thiller that will keep you thinking.
Special Blu-ray Features:
Commentary: Commentary by Director John Woo
Commentary: Commentary by Screenwriter Dean Georgaris
Featurette: Tempting Fate:
Synopsis: In this psychological thriller an industrial worker hasn’t slept in a year and is living a nightmare where cryptic notes appear and he has visions of a co-worker no one else can see. Are these mysteries part of a plot to drive him mad? Or, has fatigue simply robbed him of reason?
The Machinist represents pure, relatable, and terrifying Horror at its finest, the film punctuated by one of Christian Bale’s great dramatic performance. It manages to get everything absolutely right, from the look of the film and the characters to the subdued yet effective score. With neither a wasted shot nor and extraneous line of dialogue, The Machinist represents subtle yet incredibly effective Horror filmmaking at its peak. Paramount’s Blu-ray release of The Machinist isn’t quite as captivating as the film, but it gets the job done in every area. Featuring a strong video presentation, a lossless soundtrack that reflects the subdued nature of the mix, and a fascinating array of supplements, fans and newcomers alike should be satisfied with this release. The Machinist comes highly recommended.
Audio Commentary by Director Brad Anderson
Manifesting the Machinist
The Machinist: Hiding in Plain Sight
The Machinist: Breaking The Rules