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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.78:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  Subtitles
    Dutch, English - Hearing Impaired, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish
  Extras
  • Deleted scenes
  • Theatrical trailer
  • Booklet - with Production Notes

The Love Letter

Dreamworks/Universal . R4 . COLOR . 88 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

So Steve says to me "Vince, I want you to review a special disc for me."

"No problems." says I. "What fantastic new film do you have in store for me?"

"Well, it's just a little story about an anonymous love letter that has everyone who sees it thinking it's meant for them. The inhabitants of this sleepy little New England type town all start acting goofy and in love, like cupid is running around firing arrows up everyone's butt."

"Hmmm...this dvd wouldn't be called The Love Letter by any chance, would it? I remember that the mysterious love letter of the title would accidentally end up in the hands of various folk in the town and they would wonder who it was that wrote it for them. Unfortunately, none of them realised that the letter was not for them at all. While hearts are won and lost, the story slowly unfolds to reveal the real writer and recipient of the letter. Meanwhile, the various events that letter sparked take a life of their own and people are left to deal with the situations caused by their own hearts longing."

"Very nicely put, Vince. That's exactly what it's all about." Steve looked very pleased. This was going to be easier than I thought, Steve mused to himself.

"I refuse to review it."

"Wh..What?" Steve stammered.

"Well, if I recall correctly, the film has a little problem where it never quite makes up its mind whether it wants to be a silly little Woody Allen film or a stupid Meg Ryan film or just a bloody dull film in general. It tries to be quaint, quirky, charming, romantic, weepy, cheesy, sad, happy and fluffy, but somehow never quite achieves any of them. And another thing, it has Ellen DeGeneres. She can't act. And Kate Capshaw. She can't act. And Tom Everett Scott. He can't act."

"How about Tom Seleck?"

"He can't act either."

Steve stared at me. "Vince, I know you're the right man for the job. I can't trust the other guys to do it justice. They're animals, I tells ya. Animals! They'll savage the story. Please, help me out on this one."

Lately, I was starting to worry about Steve. I almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

"Okay Steve, I'm gonna help you out on this one." I said. He's gonna owe me for this, I thought to myself. He's gonna owe me big-time. He'll think twice before asking me to review The Love Letter II: Email Virus.

"Thank you, thank you... I know you don't think much of it, but you'll write something nice about it, won't you?

"Sure" I said. "I'll write something really nice about this one Steve, don't you worry."

  Video
Contract

Bit of a mixed bag that’ll either not faze you, or put you right off. For the most part, the transfer seems fine, with nice warm colours and a pleasingly film-like picture. The warm colours of the interiors come up well with plenty of rich browns and blacks used to hide all the nooks and crannies in places such as the book shop owned by Capshaw. The colour scheme used and the way it has been filmed works well in bringing across the intimate feel of the settings.

Where the picture might fall on its arse as far as some are concerned (but not me) is the grain that is evident through a fair bit of the film. It isn’t consistently on shown, with a scene containing grain alternating with a few scenes without. When it does show up, it’s fairly obvious, and also seems to mostly show up in the secondary incidental scenes, such as might be shot by a second unit. Personally, the appearance of grain doesn’t worry me as much as it does some others, as for the most part I think that a little grain and some film artefacts add “character” to a film, kind of like the nice feeling you get watching movies at the cinema. What’s important is your degree of tolerance for grain.

What’s more of a concern in this transfer is the fault at around 27 ½ minutes in, where there is clearly some kind of glitch that occurs in the image. I’m certain it’s not a film based error, but more likely a mastering problem of some kind, as the problem seems to be digital in nature. Anyway, even though it only happens for a second or so, it still took my mind away from just watching the film and made me focus on the problem rather than the film. And that is a bad thing in my books. But I must mention that the review disc is a test sample from PMI and this glitch may be corrected by the time the retail version hits the shelf.

  Audio
Contract

I shouldn’t expect any issues here, considering the type of film we’re looking at, and for all intents and purposes the audio transfer sounds fine for an audio mix that is fairly ordinary. Speech sounded a little more warm and forward than is strictly natural, probably more so that I would have expected, but at least it assisted in making the character dialogue easy to understand. There’s a little ambient use of the surround channels to bring you in the picture, but it sounds a little half-hearted at times.

Still, what do I expect from a film where the town is called Loblolly By The Sea? On the whole, everything sounds warm and inviting, like listening to it through a jar of honey, right down some of the soundtrack that includes a smattering of hissing and popping like they pulled it right off a dirty album recording. Just like I said about grain, it adds to the charm, even if I didn’t think much of the film.

  Extras
Contract

Not really a comprehensive package of extras, but then again, extras aren’t the most important thing in the world, are they? (“What?! Are you MAD??!!” screams the angry mob) No, the film comes first, and anything after that is just a bonus in my book. With this dvd we are given a theatrical trailer that you’ll give the once over then never play again. Following that we have about 18 minutes of deleted scenes, charmingly entitled “From The Cutting Room Floor”. Now, 18 minutes of deleted scenes from such a so-so movie isn’t too bad an inclusion, and you might find some interesting stuff in there to extend your interest in the movie. Also listed as an extra on the cover slip is a 4 page booklet with production notes, but this wasn’t supplied with the review sample, so I’ll take a guess and say it’s made of a nice glossy paper stock, has 4 pages with some photos and text and will also get the read-once only treatment. But I could be wrong.

  Overall  
Contract

I guess your appreciation of this film is going to come down to your tolerance of the romantic movie genre (is there one?). Some might lap this kind of stuff up, but others will baulk at the very though of another Tom Selleck film. Especially one also starring Ellen DeGeneres. Especially, especially one co-produced by Kate Capshaw. And me? Well, I have the feeling that this disc is going to sit on the shelf right next to my copies of Simon Sez, Three To Tango and Henry & June. But you may disagree.


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      And I quote...
    ""
    - Vince Carrozza
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Sony DVP-525
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Sony STR-DB930
    • Speakers:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Centre Speaker:
          Polk Audio CS245
    • Surrounds:
          Wharfedale s500
    • Subwoofer:
          DB Dynamics TITAN
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard Optical
    • Video Cables:
          standard s-video
      Recent Reviews:
    by Vince Carrozza

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    "What, indeed, was the point of this film, and why did they write a part for a bloody rooster?"

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    "Fans can look beyond the flaws though and just revel in the Gold FM hits without the annoying ads."

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    "It’s your typical ‘lovesick masked psycho meets girl, girl unmasks psycho, psycho goes on rampage” story."

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