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3.9 out of 5 stars
NEW Cold Mountain (DVD)
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Showing 1-7 of 7 reviews(3 star)show all reviews
on July 7, 2004
I bought the DVD of Cold Mountain, "excited" to see a film friends and family "raved" about, I'm glad I own a copy,I enjoyed the extra features,and the movie. I can ,however, understand Hollywood not giving the film "Best Picture"...
I wanted to subtitle this review, "been there, done that!".
Good individual acting performances, especially "Renee Zellwiger"
who made me chuckle several times with her performance as "Ruby".
Nicole Kidman was "good" as usual...I've come to expect that from her, and Jude was "very good" as Inman. They could not rise above the screenplay however, which wasn't so good.
For openers, how many "Teague's" can Hollywood give us? Think of Roots, Gone With the Wind, even "Josey Wales" and "he" is there. How many love stories about doomed lovers? How many preachers gone "bad"? I liked the storyline "basically", and the recreation of the "Battle of the Crater" at Petersburg, Virginia
was "very good",but the rest was almost too predictable,because of all the previous TV movies and theatrical releases we've seen about or based on the Civil War.
I thought the music and costuming was excellant,and the features included with the DVD are great! I only wish the movie was better,and I feel for the actors who tried, but could not overcome the screenplay. If you enjoy watching Nicole and Renee's
work, you won't go wrong getting this DVD,if you are a movie fan,
or collector, you may be disappointed.
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I really enjoyed "Cold Mountain". At 2 1/2 hours, it was a joy to get lost in....you know, turn off your brain and enjoy the show. I am reminded of Christopher Vogler's books (The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, & The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Storytellers and Screenwriters). Now don't get me wrong, I am not slinging mud in the direction of Charles Frazier's novel (which I haven't read yet), but when I saw the movie, I said "Hmmmmm, smells like Homer to me" (and I don't mean Simpson). But hey....isn't most writing and film making just one formula or another these days, or has it been always that way? Like I said, it was fun getting lost in the story....the acting and visuals are as good as it gets in this day and age, and the dialogue in this movie is at times, quite poetic (thank you Mr. Frazier). My only complaint was the OBVIOUSLY "Tacked On" love scene. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a prude...but hey, this "love scene" looked like a studio decision, not a director's decision to me. Yes, in "Eye's Wide Shut", I loved Nicole Kidman's backside etc., but at least there (no pun intended), her attributes seemed to actually be a part of the story (thank you Mr. Kubrick!). A simple "Fade Out" would have spoke volumes in this movie, instead of that "Joy of Sex" approach they chose. Why didn't "Cold Mountain" get nominated for "Best Picture"? In my opinion, it's the "tacked on" love scene that lost the election. In short: GREAT WORK by Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Giovanni Ribisi, Jack White, Brendan Gleeson, Donald Sutherland (and the Screenwriter/Director and Crew), but BAD DECISIONS by the STUDIO HEADS, THE PRODUCERS etc. (I won't hold the EDITOR responsible, because when does an editor have the last say anyway?). I hope there will eventually be "The Directors Cut" or "By popular Demand Cut" (minus the cheesey love scene). But for now...fast forwarding on my DVD player makes for an amusing way to bypass that scene (and get on to the rest of a pretty good story).
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on July 5, 2004
Many people seem to like this movie, and I am almost one of them. But there are things wrong with it that surface after as it digests, like a tasty meal tainted with ptomaine. A careful viewer may catch the signs of it as the film progresses, things that an optimistic moviegoer will just push aside to be swept up in the story. In the end these faults turn a respectable effort into a pile of cliches.
For its benefit, Nicole Kidman turns in a fine performance. She makes you wish the story was better. Renee Zellweger has gotten raves for her character, but I kept being reminded of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm all grown up. I like her and Jude Law but I wouldn't recommend this film in regard to them. Jude gets plenty of screentime but his character is so restrained, you hardly get to know him. And that brings me to the foul, tainted meat of this grandscale meal.
Cold Mountain is visciously anti-male. It makes a point of how stupid men are that they go to war and then conveniently side-steps the slavery issue or as the South saw it, a fight for independence. So is it saying that enslavement is better than fighting for freedom? In this way it actually reduces the women characters as incapable of seeing the Big Picture beyond home and hearth. The scene with Natalie Portman at first seems a refreshing avoidance of the politically correct "Yankees/good guys, Rebs/bad guys" of the last few decades, but when placed in the entire context of the movie becomes more of its latent theme: Men are Stupid, Bad, and Only Needed for Continuing the Species. So killing Yankees, since they are men, is no big deal. The tiresome and overworked Hollywood plot device of "man sleep with woman, then he die" (As I noted with "The Missing") is embraced at the end to my total disappointment because it was so obvious it was going to happen. When Jude and Nicole decide to "marry", I knew it was his last cigarette before the firing squad. All the hell and high water he'd gone through and any hope for an original ending was for nothing.
It would be interesting to watch the film over just for the body count, because it seems virtually ALL the men die! Just think about it and add up the bodies. By the end, it seems the only men left in the county are Renee's father and husband. And consider them: the father has bowed to his daughter's expectations of him, and the husband is docile to his wife. In the final scene he is even serving her at the table. As a last dig at the futility of masculinity, both the offsprings of Nicole and Renee favor the mother's appearance.
Certainly, Cold Mountain is a beautiful film to watch. But the ideas within its plot are disturbing. It is at its worst when the women, such as Renee, rant against the stupidity of men and war, as if the women, simply because they don't participate in any bayonet charges, are guiltless. Look into the history of the Civil War and you'll find the upper-class women urged their men to fight to protect their lavish antebellum lifestyle. It is at its best in brief scenes such as the goat woman interlude. That was poignant and extraordinary. So I don't discount the movie entirely, but its inherent theme against men distracts me so much, I probably won't watch it again.
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on June 7, 2004
Jude Law is excellent in this film, and Nicole Kidman is good also. But they just do not click together. Their "passionate" scenes feel staged, and they are both such good actors, that most of the time it goes unnoticed. Rene Zellweger finally got her Oscar, having been passed over two years in a row for "Bridget Jone's Diary" and "Chicago." She lost the Oscar for "Chicago" to Nicole Kidman who won for "The Hours." To me, it seemed like sweet revenge to upstage a rival in every scene she has in this film. There is one other thing that recommends this film, and that is its splendid cinematography. Otherwise, the plotting feels very similar to another of Director Anthony Minghella's films, "The English Patient," only this story is set during the Civil War. Also, there are some obvious plot devices that had me shaking my head. One I remember is when Jude Law and Philip Seymor Hoffman are making their way through the wilderness when they just happen across a large, two-handled saw. Hmmmmm, I wonder if this item will come into play in a future scene? I didn't have to wait very long. There is also an over-abundance of nudity. Being a guy, this is a rare thing for me to complain about, but it just feels gratuitous here; like it's used more for shock-value than for any specific reason. Overall, this really isn't a bad film at all. Rene Zellweger shines, as does the cinematography, but all else is merely professional or sadly forgettable. Thank you.
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on March 18, 2004
I'm a great admirer of both British and Australian films and actors, however, this film should have had American (preferably with the proper Southern dialect) actors, not N. K. or J. L. Throughout the entire course of the movie, I felt a giggle coming on because of the awful Southern accents from the two main characters in the film. Let's be honest, N. K.'s line "Please come back to me. This is my request..." should have been a moving, pivotal point in the film. And all I could do was try to ignore the voice. It's a shame because there are many wonderful moments in the storyline and even the music...but those voices were too distracting to get completely absorbed in the film...
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on July 8, 2004
I was not very impressed with this film and it is certainly not one of my favorites for the year. The acting was fine,although it was a bit strange to see Kidman in make-up that rivaled what she ordinarily wears for an award ceremony. The music was great and the period pieces were a highlight of the movie. One very unpleasant part of the film was that the majority of the characters seemed to be sociopathic, bloodthirsty, and crude. The film also tries a little too hard to be "EPIC" and barely achieves satisfying. The cimematography is excellent and the scenery breathtaking. Overall, good but not great. Just too heavy-handed, overblown, and signifying little.
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on July 13, 2004
Although the performances were all excellent - it wasn't as great as I thought it would be. The flash backs were too abrupt and far too often. I think the story might have been better told differently. The love story was good and the relationship with Ruby was a hoot but the "war" portion was scattered and not as interesting or entertaining. It was worth seeing, but I wouldn't watch it again and again.
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