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  Directed by
  Starring
  Specs
  • Widescreen 1.85:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer (RSDL )
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital Surround
  • French: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Spanish: Dolby Digital Surround
  • German: Dolby Digital Surround
  • Italian: Dolby Digital Surround
  Subtitles
    English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Hebrew, Czech, Greek, Polish, Hungarian, Dutch, Arabic, Portuguese, Turkish, Icelandic, Danish, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Hindi, Bulgarian
  Extras
  • 4 Teaser trailer - Jerry Maguire, Kramer vs Kramer, My Best Friend's Wedding, As Good As It Gets
  • Audio commentary - Writer/Actor Carrie Fisher
  • Cast/crew biographies

Postcards from the Edge

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 97 mins . M15+ . PAL

  Feature
Contract

Hey, you go through the drug ringer, do the rehab thing, get out relatively unscathed - so why not write a book about it? That's what Carrie Fisher did with her Postcards From the Edge, and here's the cinematic "adaptation" of it - as it does veer somewhat from her novel.

A rather cocaine-addled actress, Suzanne Vale, bumbles through a role much to the disdain of the director, Lowell Korshack (the fabulous Gene Hackman). Not long later she doesnít awake in the bed of sleazoid supreme Jack Faulkner (Dennis Quaid), who slaps a leather jacket on over his otherwise bare and icky chest, jumps in his Jeep, dumps her comatose at a local hospital and speeds off into the distance in a squeal of tyres. What a guy. Apres-tummy pump, she then awakes in rehab - oh goody, they're all talking in bumper stickers! Still, she does at least get flowers from the doctor who saved her life to brighten up her rather blah looking room.

On eventual release, and with her career halfway down the toilet, she takes a role in LA Beat - a film that makes Speed 2 look like a veritable classic in comparison. Faced with indignities such as urine tests, rather close scrutiny from the film's 3569 or so producers and, worst of all, having to stay with her supposedly "responsible party" mother Doris Mann (Shirley Maclaine) as a condition of the film's insurance company, she proceeds to bumble through her now sober life with a near ceaseless supply of munchies always at hand. Also facing crap relationships, management problems, and most of all her estranged daughter/mother relationship, Suzanne attempts to hold her head high in the face of life without an escape into her previously ever-so-comfy world of drugs.

"I donít want life to imitate art, I want life to BE art..."

  Video
Contract

Well, well, well. Besides being three places to get water from, this is also what I said to myself on witnessing the visual quality of this transfer. Presented in its cinematic ratio of 1.85:1, and even anamorphically enhanced, I would never have expected a film of this vintage to scrub up so sensationally.

Spick and specks are virtually unnoticeable, save for the occasional black ones that I was making a concerted effort to notice (so, it's a habit of mine). I daresay if you're not looking for them you most likely wonít see them. Other than that colour is presented quite lavishly, and all the other bits and bobs like shadow detail, contrast and the like are all more than fine. I noticed no mpeg related nasties at all, and only if I was really trying hard to be nit-picky about it all I could emit a slight moan about some occasional, but not too intrusive, edge enhancement. Once again the Sony Pictures DVD 'Center' deserves a mention for their fine effort.

  Audio
Contract

It was made in Dolby Stereo, and it comes to us in the same format. Never a front running candidate for an upgrade to 5.1, this isnít a film that would have benefited greatly from it anyway, being predominantly talk, talk, talky. It's still a perfectly acceptable mix with no glaring faults - dialogue levels are balanced nicely with the other various sonic goings-on, and never fight for attention over the soundtrack.

Hmm, yes - the soundtrack. Courtesy of Carly Simon no less, it is at times quite the little twang-fest, a style which my ears still have trouble coping with no matter how hard I try not to be biased. There certainly arenít any majestic Nobody Does it Better type moments to revel in here, however you do get to hear Meryl sing (and even if the choice of style wasn't to my taste, boy can she!), and the Shirlster gets to go cabaret for a number as well. Canadian band Blue Rodeo even get to do a number at the end of the film. Most of the incidental stuff is, well, remarkably '80s sounding - all synthy sax and synthy, blander-than-bland piano-type sounds. Ick.

  Extras
Contract

Being a budget release of an old film I didnít expect much to be hidden away behind the static and silent menu screen, however to my great delight there is an audio commentary (subtitled in various languages no less) from Carrie Fisher herself! Rather world weary and also remarkably candid at times, in fact occasionally almost too much so, it is a fascinating insight into the differences between her autobiographical book on her first trip to rehab, and the things that were added to the plot to supposedly make it more suitable for the cinema. Describing the film as 'faction', we hear how she had to describe being high to goody-two-shoes (just kidding people) Meryl, get to moan in agony at news that the rather scrummy John Cusack got completely snipped from the final cut (heresy!) and even learn her tips on how to break up with an ex-husband. Yes, I typed that last bit correctly...

Other than that brief blurbs on the director and many of the cast can be found in the filmography section. They claim to be selective and indeed are, which prompts me to ask why Mike Nicholls' utter turkey What Planet Are You From? even rated a mention. There are also four trailers included for four other films - Kramer vs Kramer (OK, it has Meryl in it, so I see the relationship), My Best Friend's Wedding(huh?), Jerry Maguire ("huh?" times two) and the most ineptly titled film in the history of the world, As Good As It Gets (well, in her commentary Carrie does say she ran into Helen Hunt in Hawaii once, so I guess that's a link).

  Overall  
Contract

Featuring a stellar comedic performance from Streep, the always endearing fruitbat Maclaine doing the over-the-hill camp-icon drama-queen star role to a tee and some great incidental appearances by the likes of Rob Reiner, Gene Hackman, Richard Dreyfuss, Oliver Platt, the quite underrated Robin Bartlett and always gorgeous Annette Bening, Postcards From the Edge) is quite an enjoyable and decent quality little pseudo-comedy. It is easy to see why it was nominated for many awards, even if it didn't exactly end up scooping any pools.

As a disc, and one released at the bargain price of $24.95 no less, it may be short in the extras department, but still oozes more visual quality than many much dearer, and indeed more recent, film to DVD releases. The inclusion of a generally entertaining and actually interesting commentary especially recorded for the release by Carrie Fisher just ups the oomph for dollars factor no end, and I would have no trouble whatsoever recommending this to any fan of the film. A big "YAY!" should be given to Columbia Tristar for making the move into putting out new releases at such an inviting price too, hopefully there will be many, many more to come.

Oh, just remember kids - drugs are bad, m'kay?


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      And I quote...
    "Quite an enjoyable little pseudo-comedy, and superb value for money at its commendably bargain basement price..."
    - Amy Flower
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Pioneer DV-535
    • TV:
          Sony 68cm
    • Receiver:
          Onkyo TX-DS494
    • Speakers:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse RBS662
    • Centre Speaker:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECC442
    • Surrounds:
          DB Dynamics Eclipse ECR042
    • Subwoofer:
          DTX Digital 4.8
    • Audio Cables:
          Standard RCA
    • Video Cables:
          Standard Component RCA
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