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Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection: Thrillers DVD Review - Page 2 of 3

Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection: Thrillers DVD box cover art -- click to buy from Amazon.com Best of Warner Bros. 20 Film Collection: Thrillers

The Public Enemy (1931), The Maltese Falcon (1941),
The Big Sleep (1946), Strangers on a Train (1951),
North by Northwest (1959), Dirty Harry (1971),
Dog Day Afternoon (1975), Lethal Weapon (1987),
Batman (1989), Goodfellas (1990),
The Fugitive (1993), Natural Born Killers (1994),
The Shawshank Redemption (1994), Seven (1995),
Heat (1995), L.A. Confidential (1997),
American History X (1998), The Dark Knight (2008),
Inception (2010), The Town (2010)

Films' Running Time: 2,523 Minutes (42 Hours, 3 Minutes)
Release Date: September 3, 2013 (All discs previously released) / Suggested Retail Price: $98.92
Twenty single-sided discs (19 DVD-9s & 1 DVD-5) / Two Thick Clear Keepcases in Cardboard Box
Subtitles: English; Some French and Spanish; Some DVDs Closed Captioned; Some Extras Subtitled
See Below for Casts, Directors and Other Film & Disc Details
1.33:1 Fullscreen, 1.78:1-2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen (All in Original Aspect Ratios)
Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Mono (English), DTS 5.1 (English)

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The 1990s stretch of Warner's thrillers collection proceeds to include such IMDb Top 250 staples as David Fincher's Seven, the grisly and arresting serial killer hunt that announced the director's arrival; Michael Mann's Heat, which features one of the great movie star showdowns in Robert De Niro and a scenery-chewing Pacino; The Shawshank Redemption, deservingly regarded as one of the greatest films of modern times; L.A. Confidential,
a rich 1950s-set neo-noir that seems like a preferable Best Picture victor to Titanic; and American History X, a racially-charged indie that did little at the box office and nothing to boost the careers of director Tony Kaye or actor Edward Furlong, but remains revered for its provocative content and Edward Norton's committed performance as a reformed neo-Nazi.

Even better than those is The Fugitive, a first-rate cat and mouse tale that just happens to be based on an old television show.

Amidst these winners, some of the most powerful and watchable films of their time, the decade's odd man out and the set's only film with a sub-7.5 IMDb user rating is Oliver Stone's controversial Natural Born Killers, a garbled, trippy mess about a couple's murder spree that works neither as a critique on television culture nor a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde (a film that would have been more welcome here). Though it credits Quentin Tarantino with story, his knack for sharp dialogue is absent from the screenplay attributed to Stone and two novice collaborators.

 

Runaway convicted murderer Richard Kimble (Harrison Ford) is caught momentarily in "The Fugitive." In "Natural Born Killers", one possible explanation for their cross-country murder spree is projected onto the chests of Mallory (Juliette Lewis) and Mickey (Woody Harrelson).

 

The Fugitive (1993) movie poster The Fugitive

Theatrical Release: August 6, 1993 / Running Time: 130 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Andrew Davis / Writers: Jeb Stuart, David Twohy (screenplay); Roy Huggins (characters)

Cast: Harrison Ford (Dr. Richard Kimble), Tommy Lee Jones (Deputy U.S. Marshal Samuel Gerard), Sela Ward (Helen Kimble), Julianne Moore (Dr. Anne Eastman), Joe Pantoliano (Deputy U.S. Marshal Cosmo Renfro), Andreas Katsulas (Sykes), Jeroen Krabbι (Dr. Charles Nichols), Daniel Roebuck (Deputy U.S. Marshal Robert Biggs), L. Scott Caldwell (Poole), Tom Wood (Deputy U.S. Marshal Noah Newman), Ron Dean (Detective Kelly), Joseph Kosala (Detective Rosetti), Dick Cusack (Walter Gutherie), Richard Riehle (Old Guard), Andy Romano (Judge Bennett), Nick Searcy (Sheriff Rawlins), Jane Lynch (Dr. Kathy Wahlund), Neil Flynn (Transit Cop)

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen; Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Surround 2.0 (French); Subtitles: English, French
Disc's Original Release Date: June 5, 2001; DVD-9
Natural Born Killers (1994) movie poster Natural Born Killers

Theatrical Release: August 26, 1994 (Director's Cut Video Premiere: January 25, 2000) / Running Time: 122 Minutes / Rating: Not Rated (Theatrical Cut: R)

Director: Oliver Stone / Writers: David Veloz, Richard Rutowski, Oliver Stone (screenplay); Quentin Tarantino (story)

Cast: Woody Harrelson (Mickey Knox), Juliette Lewis (Mallory Wilson Knox), Robert Downey, Jr. (Wayne Gale), Tommy Lee Jones (Warden Dwight McClusky), Tom Sizemore (Detective Jack Scagnetti), Rodney Dangerfield (Ed Wilson), Russell Means (Old Indian), Pruitt Taylor Vince (Kavanaugh), Joe Grifasi (Duncan Homolka), Edie McClurg (Mallory's Mom), Kirk Baltz (Roger), Marshall Bell (Deputy #1), Everett Quinton (Wurlitzer), Jared Harris (London Boy), Balthazar Getty (Gas Station Attendant), Steven Wright (Dr. Emil Reingold)

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen; Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Surround 2.0 (Spanish); Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Japanese, Portuguese / Disc's Original Release Date: October 13, 2009 (Disc 1 of 2-disc set); DVD-9
The Shawshank Redemption (1994) movie poster The Shawshank Redemption

Theatrical Release: September 23, 1994 / Running Time: 142 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Frank Darabont / Writers: Stephen King (short novel Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption), Frank Darabont (screenplay)

Cast: Tim Robbins (Andy Dufresne), Morgan Freeman (Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding), Bob Gunton (Warden Norton), William Sadler (Heywood), Clancy Brown (Captain Hadley), Gil Bellows (Tommy), Mark Rolston (Bogs Diamond), James Whitmore (Brooks Hatlen), Jeffrey DeMunn (1946 D.A.), Larry Brandenburg (Skeet), Neil Giuntoli (Jigger), Brian Libby (Floyd), David Proval (Snooze), Joseph Ragno (Ernie), Jude Ciccolella (Guard Mert), Paul McCrane (Guard Trout), Renee Blaine (Andy Dufresne's Wife)

1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen; Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Surround 2.0 (French); Subtitles: English, French
Disc's Original Release Date: December 21, 1999; DVD-9

 

Detectives William Somerset (Morgan Freeman) and David Mills (Brad Pitt) investigate a serial killer driven by the Seven Deadly Sins in David Fincher's "Se7en." Al Pacino provides no shortage of quotable explosions as the determined homicide detective Vincent Hanna in Michael Mann's "Heat."

 

Se7en (1995) movie poster Seven

Theatrical Release: September 22, 1995 / Running Time: 127 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: David Fincher / Writer: Andrew Kevin Walker

Cast: Brad Pitt (Detective David Mills), Morgan Freeman (Detective William Somerset), Gwyneth Paltrow (Tracy Mills), Richard Roundtree (District Attorney Martin Talbot), R. Lee Ermey (Police Captain), John C. McGinley (California), Julie Araskog (Mrs. Gould), Mark Boone Junior (Greasy F.B.I. Man), John Cassini (Officer Davis), Reginald E. Cathey (Dr. Santiago), Peter Crombie (Dr. O'Neill), Hawthorne James (George the Night Guard at the Library), Michael Massee (Man in Booth at Massage Parlor), Leland Orser (Crazed Man in Massage Parlor), Richard Portnow (Dr. Beardsley), Richard Schiff (Mark Swarr), Pamala Tyson (Thin Vagrant by John Doe's Apartment), Kevin Spacey (John Doe)

2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen; DTS-ES 5.1 (English), Dolby Digital 5.1 EX (English), Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English); Subtitles: English, French
Disc's Original Release Date: February 3, 2004; DVD-9
Heat (1995) movie poster Heat

Theatrical Release: December 15, 1995 / Running Time: 170 Minutes / Rating: R

Writer/Director: Michael Mann

Cast: Al Pacino (Vincent Hanna), Robert De Niro (Neil McCauley), Val Kilmer (Chris Shiherlis), Jon Voight (Nate), Tom Sizemore (Michael Cheritto), Diane Venora (Justine), Amy Brenneman (Eady), Ashley Judd (Charlene), Mykelti Williamson (Drucker), Wes Studi (Casals), Ted Levine (Bosko), Dennis Haysbert (Breedam), William Fichtner (Van Zant), Natalie Portman (Lauren), Tom Noonan (Kelso), Kevin Gage (Waingro), Hank Azaria (Marciana), Susan Traylor (Elaine Cheritto), Kim Staunton (Lillian), Danny Trejo (Trejo), Henry Rollins (Hugh Bennett), Jerry Trimble (Schwartz), Marty Ferrero (Construction Clerk), Ricky Harris (Albert Torena), Tone Loc (Richard Torena), Begonya Plaza (Anna Trejo), Hazelle Goodman (Hooker's Mother), Ray Buktenica (Timmons), Jeremy Piven (Dr. Bob), Xander Berkeley (Ralph), Bud Cort (Solenko - uncredited)

2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen; Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French); Subtitles: English, French, Spanish
Disc's Original Release Date: February 22, 2005 (Disc 1 of Two-Disc Special Edition); DVD-9

 

A dirty cop (Russell Crowe) and a spotless clean one (Guy Pearce) reluctantly team up to uncover a police conspiracy in "L.A. Confidential." Tensions flare when Nazi skinhead Derek Vinyard (Edward Norton) plays basketball with African Americans in "American History X."

 

L.A. Confidential (1997) movie poster L.A. Confidential

Theatrical Release: September 19, 1997 / Running Time: 138 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Curtis Hanson / Writers: James Ellroy (novel), Brian Helgeland, Curtis Hanson (screenplay)

Cast: Kevin Spacey (Jack Vincennes), Russell Crowe (Bud White), Guy Pearce (Ed Exley), James Cromwell (Sgt. Dudley Smith), Kim Basinger (Lynn Bracken), Danny DeVito (Sid Hudgens), David Strathairn (Pierce Patchett), Ron Rifkin (D.A. Ellis Loew), Matt McCoy ("Badge of Honor" Star Brrett Chase), Paul Guilfoyle (Mickey Cohen), Paolo Seganti (Johnny Stompanato), Graham Beckel (Dick Stensland), Bob Clendenin (Reporter at Hollywood Station), Amber Smith (Susan Lefferts), Simon Baker (Matt Reynolds), Jim Metzler (City Councilman), Jeremiah Birkett (Ray Collins), Salim Grant (Louis Fontaine), Kareem Washington (Ty Jones), Marisol Padilla Sanchez (Inez Soto - Rape Victim), Gwenda Deacon (Mrs. Lefferts), Brenda Bakke (Lana Turner)

2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen; Dolby Digital 5.1 (English); Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French
Disc's Original Release Date: September 23, 2008 (Disc 1 of Two-Disc Special Edition); DVD-9
American History X (1998) movie poster American History X

Theatrical Release: October 30, 1998 / Running Time: 119 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Tony Kaye / Writer: David McKenna

Cast: Edward Norton (Derek Vinyard), Edward Furlong (Danny Vinyard), Beverly D'Angelo (Doris Vinyard), Jennifer Lien (Davina Vinyard), Ethan Suplee (Seth Ryan), Fairuza Balk (Stacey), Avery Brooks (Dr. Robert Sweeney), Elliott Gould (Murray), Stacy Keach (Cameron Alexander), William Russ (Dennis Vinyard), Guy Torry (Lamont), Joe Cortese (Rasmussen), Jason Bose-Smith (Little Henry), Antonio David Lyons (Lawrence), Alex Sol (Mitch McCormick), Keram Malicki-Sanchez (Chris), Giuseppe Andrews (Jason), Chris Masterson (Daryl Dawson), Jordan Marder (Curtis), Nicholas R. Oleson (Huge Aryan), Anne Lambton (Cassandra), Jim Norton (Randy)

1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen; Dolby Digital 5.1 (English), Dolby Stereo 2.0 (English); Subtitles: English
Disc's Original Release Date: April 6, 1999; DVD-9

 

The collection's final offerings undoubtedly represent three kindred high points for Warner in the 21st century. The Dark Knight may be the middle installment of a tightly-woven trilogy, but it dazzles on its own, as one of the most successful films of all time, a brilliant redefinition of what a mainstream superhero movie can be,
and as the critical and commercial apex of Christopher Nolan's beautiful take on Batman. Inception, Nolan's only non-Batman directing credit of the past seven years, proved the writer/director could craft something similarly spellbinding from scratch and though it's more complicated than it needs to be (you could lose the whole snowy action level with no detriment to the film), it shows creativity and technical splendor above and beyond most contemporary cinema.

Now that Ben Affleck has been picked as the new Batman, a job that will inevitably draw comparisons to Christian Bale's gravelly interpretation in Nolan's trio, it's interesting to see how Affleck and his producer Nolan have been on similar wavelengths before. Like Dark Knight and Inception, Affleck's The Town feels heavily inspired by Heat, treating crime almost operatically and subjecting the humanity, morality, and psychology of criminals and those who pursue them to fascinating and exciting exploration.

 

Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Ariadne (Ellen Page) venture inside the worlds of dreams in Christopher Nolan's "Inception." Future Batman Ben Affleck found a home at Warner Bros. as the director, star, and screenwriter of the 2010 crime drama "The Town."

 

The Dark Knight (2008) movie poster The Dark Knight

Theatrical Release: July 18, 2008 / Running Time: 152 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Director: Christopher Nolan / Writers: Christopher Nolan (story & screenplay), Jonathan Nolan (screenplay), David S. Goyer (story), Bob Kane (characters)

Cast: Christian Bale (Bruce Wayne/Batman), Heath Ledger (Joker), Aaron Eckhart (Harvey Dent/Two-Face), Michael Caine (Alfred Pennyworth), Maggie Gyllenhaal (Rachel Dawes), Gary Oldman (James Gordon), Morgan Freeman (Lucius Fox), Monique Gabriela Curnen (Anna Ramirez), Ron Dean (Michael Wuertz), Cillian Murphy (Scarecrow), Chin Han (Lau), Nestor Carbonell (Mayor), Eric Roberts (Sal Maroni), Ritchie Coster (The Chechen), Anthony Michael Hall (Mike Engel), Keith Szarabajka (Gerard Stephens), Colin McFarlane (Gillian B. Leob), Joshua Harto (Reese), Melinda McGraw (Barbara Gordon), Nathan Gamble (James Gordon), Michael Jai White (Gambol), William Fichtner (Bank Manager), Tommy Tiny Lister (Tattooed Prisoner), Beatrice Rosen (Natascha)

2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen; Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish); Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish
Disc's Original Release Date: December 9, 2008; DVD-9
Inception (2010) movie poster Inception

Theatrical Release: July 16, 2010 / Running Time: 148 Minutes / Rating: PG-13

Writer/Director: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio (Dominick Cobb), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Arthur), Ellen Page (Ariadne), Tom Hardy (Eames), Ken Watanabe (Mr. Saito), Dileep Rao (Yusuf), Cillian Murphy (Robert Fischer, Jr.), Tom Berenger (Peter Browning), Marion Cotillard (Mal Cobb), Pete Postlethwaite (Maurice Fischer), Michael Caine (Prof. Stephen Miles), Lukas Haas (Nash), Tai-Li Lee (Tadashi), Talulah Riley (Blonde)

2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen; Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish); Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish
Disc's Original Release Date: December 7, 2010; DVD-9
The Town (2010) movie poster The Town

Theatrical Release: September 17, 2010 / Running Time: 125 Minutes / Rating: R

Director: Ben Affleck / Writers: Peter Craig, Ben Affleck, Aaron Stockard (screenplay), Chuck Hogan (novel Prince of Thieves)

Cast: Ben Affleck (Doug MacRay), Rebecca Hall (Claire Keesey), Jon Hamm (FBI S.A. Adam Frawley), Jeremy Renner (James Coughlin), Blake Lively (Krista Coughlin), Slaine (Albert "Gloansy" Magloan), Owen Burke (Desmond Elden), Titus Welliver (Dino Ciampa), Pete Postlethwaite (Fergus "Fergie" Colm), Chris Cooper (Stephen MacRay), Dennis McLaughlin (Rusty), Corena Chase (Agent Quinlan), Brian Scannell (Henry), Kerri Dunbar (Henry's Girl)

2.40:1 Anamorphic Widescreen; Dolby Digital 5.1 (English, French, Spanish); Subtitles: English for Hearing Impaired, French, Spanish
Disc's Original Release Date: December 17, 2010; DVD-9

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Reviewed September 3, 2013.



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