Blu-Ray Review: ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas,’ ‘Mystic River’

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CHICAGO – I know what you’re thinking: What do “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and “Mystic River” have in common? Nothing at all other than a Blu-ray release date of February 2nd, 2010. Oh, and they’re two films you should probably own if you have a Blu-ray player.

HollywoodChicago.com Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-Ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

Johnny Depp and Terry Gilliam telling the story of Hunter S. Thompson’s drug-addled lunacy seemed like a match made in movie heaven when production of “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” was first announced. Who better to grasp the stream-of-consciousness insanity of Thompson’s writing than a Monty Python member and who better to embody Thompson’s larger-than-life personality than one of the most fearless actors of his generation?

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was released on Blu-ray on February 2nd, 2010.
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was released on Blu-ray on February 2nd, 2010.
Photo credit: Universal Pictures Home Video

Perhaps it was those sky high expectations that led to something of a letdown when “Fear and Loathing” was released in 1998. It’s not that it was a bad film but it didn’t live up to what fans of Gilliam, Depp, and Thompson hoped would happen when these personalities merged. Having said that, history has been very kind to the film. Most notably, it looks absolutely amazing in HD with Nicola Pecorini’s cinematography jumping off the screen. Universal’s transfers are the best of the major studios and this one emphasizes one of the biggest strengths of “Fear and Loathing” - Gilliam’s visual style.

“Mystic River” is another film often remembered for non-technical elements as the strength of the ensemble and Oscar-winning work by Tim Robbins and Sean Penn overshadowed the cinematography and sound design, enhanced by the HD of Blu-ray. Director Clint Eastwood’s longtime collaborator cinematographer Tom Stern does arguably the best work of his career with this beautiful film. It looks great in 1080p High Definition with a 2.40:1 aspect ratio.

As this year’s Oscar season gets into full swing, go back and check out one of the most nominated films of 2003 (two wins from six nods, including Best Picture), one of the best dramas of the ’00s and a movie that has lost absolutely none of its dramatic power in the six years since it was released.

Mystic River was released on Blu-ray on February 2nd, 2010.
Mystic River was released on Blu-ray on February 2nd, 2010.
Photo credit: Warner Brothers Home Video

“Mystic River”

Synopsis: “Three friends who grew up in working-class Boston drift apart after a terrible tragedy. Years later, brutal events reconnect them. Jimmy’s 19-year-old daughter is coldly murdered. Dave is a suspect. And Sean, now a cop, scrambles to solve the crime before volatile Jimmy takes the law into his own hands. Working from Brian Helgeland’s adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel, director Clint Eastwood shapes a masterful, brooding thriller built on family, friends and innocence lost. Sean Penn, Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon play the pivotal threesome, joining Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden and Laura Linney in one of the most powerful casts ever.”

Special Features:
o Commentary by Tim Robbins and Kevin Bacon
o Dennis Lehane Tours the Boston Neighborhood Setting of His Novel in Mystic River: Beneath the Surface
o Featurette Mystic River: From Page to Screen
o The Charlie Rose Show Interveiws With Clint Eastwood, Tim Robbins, and Kevin Bacon
o Theatrical Trailer

“Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”

Synopsis: “When a writing assignment lands journalist Raoul Duke (Johnny Depp) and sidekick Dr. Gonzo (Benicio Del Toro) in Las Vegas, they decide to make it the ultimate business trip. But before long, business is forgotten and trip has become the key word. Fueled by a suitcase full of mind-bending pharmaceuticals, Duke and Gonzo set off on a fast and furious ride through nonstop neon, surreal surroundings and a crew of the craziest characters ever (including cameo appearances by Cameron Diaz, Christina Ricci, Gary Busey and many others). But no matter where misadventure leads them, Duke and Gonzo discover that sometimes going too far is the only way to go. Capturing the insane madness of Hunter S. Thompson’s literary classic was the challenge that director Terry Gilliam (12 Monkeys) openly embraced. Critics hailed it as: “Mindblowing. Bizarre. Outrageous. Wild.” Buy the ticket. Take the ride!”

Special Features:
o Deleted Scenes
o Spotlight on Location
o D-Box Motion Enambled

‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ is released by Universal Pictures Home Video and stars Johnny Depp and Benicio Del Toro. It was written by Terry Gilliam & Tony Grisoni and Tod Davies & Alex Cox and directed by Gilliam. It was released on Blu-ray on February 2nd, 2010. It is rated R.

‘Mystic River’ is released by Warner Brothers Home Video and stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, and Laura Linney. It was written by Brian Helgeland and directed by Clint Eastwood. It was released on Blu-ray on February 2nd, 2010. It is rated R.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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