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American Beauty (Academy Awards Edition)


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  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (784 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000AABKOK
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #49,481 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steven Aldersley TOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 10 2011
Format: Blu-ray
American Beauty BD Sapphire Series
Cast: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Chris Cooper, Thora Birch, Wes Bentley, Mena Suvari
Director: Sam Mendes
Paramount Pictures | 1999 | 122m | Rated R |

Video
MPEG-4 AVC | 1080p | 2.35:1

Audio
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1
French, Portuguese, Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
English: Dolby Digital 2.0

Subtitles
English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish

Discs
Single 50GB Blu-ray disc, region free

American Beauty won Oscars for actor in a leading role (Kevin Spacey), cinematography (Conrad L. Hall), director (Sam Mendes), screenplay (Alan Ball) and best picture (Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks). It's a weird tale told in an unusual way.

We learn during the opening narration that our protagonist, Lester Burnham (Spacey), is going to die. The events leading up to his eventual death are funny, moving, sad and unpredictable. Burnham is a pathetic character entering a mid-life crisis and the film shows how his character changes, as well as the lives of the people around him. There is a significant amount of character development in this story.

It's not strictly a comedy, but it's full of dark humor that is hard to predict. In short, it's the funniest kind of humor. If you found Fargo and Inglourious Basterds amusing, you'll probably laugh at this too.

Burnham changes his life by becoming more assertive and ceasing to care what other people might think. This catalyst for this rebellion is a meeting with his new neighbor, Ricky Fitts (Wes Bentley) who gets high with him before quitting his job on the spot.

The film contains nudity, violence, bad language, drug use and smoking, so the R-rating is warranted.
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Format: Blu-ray
Okay, so I know I’m about 15 years late on watching this movie, don’t hate me…I was only 8 when it first came out after all. Well, I’m 22 now and it’s always better late than never right? I had heard about this movie many times, but I never really knew what it was about. I was at work and a colleague of mine was talking about how she just re-watched it and forgot how good it was. When I confessed that I had never seen it before, she gave me one of those looks like, “You’re joking right?” The next day she brought me her copy of the DVD for me to borrow!

I popped in the DVD without even reading what the film was about. The first scene included a song that brought back memories for me as my sister used it for her first competitive solo dance routine. We are introduced to Lester Burnham played by Kevin Spacey, who is kind of a pushover. He decides he’s had enough and is no longer going to let his wife/daughter/boss/whoever run his life anymore. The film started off with a kind of satirical humour which I liked a lot. Kevin Spacy has the perfect dry sense of humour which of course is my favourite kind. Little did I know that about half way through, things started taking a dark turn.

I love when movies have a dark theme to them, it was so sudden in this film though which made me like it that much more. To have me laughing at the beginning to suddenly concerned for the characters was a different feeling for me that I wasn’t used to from a film. Characters start breaking and revealing more about themselves.

This movie was so perfect for me, I had to buy my own copy. It was real and dark and satirical and everything that I love in a film.
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By Omnes TOP 500 REVIEWER on Nov. 19 2010
Format: DVD
If I had to name one american movie that is an example of great cinema done during the nineties, one movie that manages to stand out from the lot, both artistically and thematically, and which deserves all its awards, it should be American Beauty.

Why?

First of all because Alan Ball, who became more respected with this movie, with Six Feet Under and True Blood, forces us to take a closer look to what we take for granted, to see how one family, the Burnhams, really looks like inside its house, behind its curtains and perfect roses, how the wonderful suburban dream is one big lie. Just like Desperate Housewives, which was heavily influenced by this movie, Lester Burnham, who died under strange circumstances, make us witness how his family's interactions with new friends and neighbors make them do things they never did before, things that bring forth a tragedy.

Secondly, Sam Mendes, with his gorgeous directing, show us the Burnhams lives in a very touching and comic fashion. He creates a dramedy so powerful that even its most funniest scenes, especially in the Burnham dining room, are also the most dramatic. This mix of comedy and drama may not please everyone, will shock and outrage some people, but it adds layers to this drama, which is also a powerful satire on the american dream. Not only that, Sam Mendes gives a more interesting ending. Instead of following the original script, which had trial scenes, tv news, and a big epilogue with a ghostly Lester Burnham flying over his neighborhood, Mendes ends "American Beauty" on a cliffhanger and encourages us to think of what we watched, to wonder how a family and a neighborhood will live on after what happened to one of them.
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