Kevin Smith 3-Movie Collection (1994) [Blu-ray]
|Genre(s): Comedy / Drama / Romance|
|Miramax || R - 309 minutes - $89.99 || November 17, 2009|
|Reviewer: Brian Oliver || Posted On: 2009-11-26|
Writer(s): Kevin Smith (written by)
Cast: Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Mewes, Kevin Smith, Brian O'Halloran, Jeff Anderson, Shannon Elizabeth, Eliza Dushku, Ali Larter, Will Ferrell, Seann William Scott
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To save time and space I’ve included short synopses’ for each film followed by a paragraph or two on my thoughts.
Clerks is one wild day in the life of a pair of overworked counter jockeys whose razor-sharp wit and on-the-job antics give a whole new meaning to customer service. With hilarious bonus features — you should just plunk down your effin’ cash now and add this to your collection of great movies.
I’ve never been a particular fan of Clerks as others but I do love Kevin Smith’s oddly witty dialogue and a plot that you would think is only a hair above watching paint dry. But the characters and what they say and the side comedy that ensues makes it all worthwhile. You get your first taste of the dynamic duo with Jay (JASON MEWES) and Silent Bob (KEVIN SMITH). — ***½ / *****
Chasing Amy (1997)
Cult comic-book artist Holden (BEN AFFLECK) falls in love with fellow artist Alyssa (JOEY LAUREN ADAMS), only to be thwarted by her sexuality, the disdain of his best friend Banky (JASON LEE) and his own misgivings about himself.
Easily my favorite Kevin Smith movie to date, I think even with his trademark dialogue and humor, it’s also one of his more complete and mature films. First, you have a quirky romantic comedy, then there’s a little bromance followed by just Kevin Smith’s usual banter between his characters (Archie is Jugghead’s bitch). I hadn’t seen Chasing Amy in years, but I still love it today as much as did back then. Also, it’s one of Ben Affleck’s better movies and Joey Laruen Adams, who has done very little since, is absolutely adorable. And although Jason Lee is basically playing the same character he normally does, he’s still hilarious. — ****½ / *****
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (2001)
When best buddies Jay and Silent Bob discover that a major motion picture is being based on their likenesses, the dopey duo head for Hollywood to claim the movie money they deserve.
This movie is what it is. There isn’t an in-depth plot and no insight into these characters. It’s a road trip adventure and an excuse to show off these supporting characters that rose to popularity with Clerks, Mallrats and Chasing Amy. Although I found both of them very funny, there was too many inside jokes for my taste. Early on Jay and Silent Bob visit Holden McNeil from Chasing Amy who lays out the plot that a movie is being made based on the “Blunt and Chronic” comic book and they are after their long overdue paycheck. During this scene they make many references to Ben Affleck (who plays Holden) and the annoyances of the Internet fanboys (which was spot on).
However, even though I found Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith’s silence quite funny, the rest of it kind of dragged on with some amusing moments (Good Will Hunting 2). But I’m sure major fans of the characters and those into drug humor along the lines of Cheech and Chong will dig it. — *** / *****
CLERKS — ***** / *****
If there was one reason to upgrade to the Blu-ray it’s that all the features from the 3-disc DVD are all on one disc...
Features include the First Cut (104:00) of the film which isn’t all that interesting nor any better than the other version; the 2004 Commentary for this version with Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier, Jason Mewes, Jeff Anderson and Brian O’Halloran; and the original Introduction (8:41) with Smith and Mosier. The commentary comes with 3 options: one is with the audio only, another with picture-in-picture video of them and the other a full screen version with video commentary (letterboxed widescreen). For the theatrical version, you can listen to the Classic Commentary with Smith, Mosier, O’Halloran, Mewes, Walt Flanagan, Vincent Pereira and Malcolm Ingram (from FilmThreat); or play it with an Enhanced Trivia Track.
Oh, What a Lovely Tea Party: The Making of Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back (87:17) – This new featurette includes an intro (3:18) with Kevin Smith explaining the reasoning behind Clerks on Blu-ray which was to include this documentary and make it worthwhile plunking down the cash again. This is a retro documentary filmed while on set and features interviews with those involved including Ben Affleck, Jason Biggs, Matt Damon, Will Ferrell, Chris Rock and many, many, many others. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Snowball Effect (90:31) is an extensive documentary on how Clerks came to be from its humble beginnings to making it big when it was picked up by Harvey Weinstein and Miramax. It takes you to Kevin Smith’s hometown, his childhood home and features interviews with friends and family. It’s a very well made documentary and a must-see for even the moderate fan of Smith. On a related note, there are also some Outtakes (~6:00) from the doc.
10th Anniversary Q & A (42:09) is a fun question and answer session with the cast and crew of Clerks filmed in front of an audience. Attendees include Kevin Smith, DP David Klein, Producer Scott Mosier, Actress Marilyn Ghigliotti and Actors Jason Mewes, Brian O’Halloran & Jeff Anderson.
And here are the rest of the odds and ends: Clerks Lost Scene (10:06) is a scene cut from the original script, in animated form (same style as the “Clerks” cartoon); The Flying Car (8:14) was a short film made for “The Tonight Show” in which Dante and Randal debate about flying cars and what Dante would sacrifice for one; MTV Spots with Jay & Silent Bob w/ intro (18:01) are several spots played between music videos; a music video by Soul Asylum; Clerks Restoration which is a short behind-the-scenes detailing the process of restoring the picture and sound; original auditions w/ intro (14:33); Mae Day: The Crumbling of a Documentary (11:38) is a look back at Kevin’s first film school project. And last is the theatrical trailer.
CHASING AMY — ****½ / *****
Tracing Amy: The Chasing Amy Documentary (81:15) – After the success of Clerks, Smith and company went on to make Mallrats which was a box office failure and thus Chasing Amy was born. I will say, Kevin Smith makes some of the best featurettes on his films, you will learn everything there is to know about how CA came to be. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Feature Commentary – Because Criterion owns the original commentary, a new one had to be recorded for this release. This time it’s Smodcasters Kevin Smith and Scott Mosier chatting it up about various topics on the project. So while there are less commentators this go around (the original included Ben Affleck, Jason Mewes and a few others), it’s still a decent track. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
Was it Something I Said?: A Conversation with Kevin & Joey (18:07) – Kevin Smith and Joey Lauren Adams discuss Chasing Amy -- fame, finger cuffs, and everything in between. This is a fun and candid convo between the two who were dating at the time CA was being filmed. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
10 Years Later Q & A (27:46) is a revealing Q&A session with Kevin Smith and the cast ten years later. This is pretty much the same set-up as the Q&A for Clerks with members of the cast (Ben Affleck, Jason Lee, Joey Lauren Adams, Jason Mewes, Dwight Ewell) and crew (Smith, Mosier) taking on questions from the audience. ** Blu-ray Exclusive **
And then there are the other features ported over from the Criterion DVD: 11 Deleted Scenes (25:01), some Outtakes (4:56) and the Theatrical Trailer (2:05).
JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK — *¼ / *****
Sadly enough, only the feature commentary with Kevin Smith, Scott Mosier and Jason Mewes was ported over, everything else (deleted scenes, gag reel, featurette) were left off for some strange reason.
.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.
CLERKS – I knew going in that Clerks probably wasn’t going to look too good in high-def, but all giving this release a 1080p transfer was to make the utter grain (and part snow) pop out and made anything behind it look blurry. You’re not getting any of detail or sharpness and because it’s black and white, there’s nothing to judge with color tones. Now, the black levels did seem decent, but this looked awful. Of course, the film was made on a shoe-string budget so one shouldn’t expect much, yet it was still worse than I realized. — *¾ / *****
CHASING AMY – Well, at least this transfer was a major step up from the previous one. Chasing Amy is presented with a 1.85 aspect ratio and in 1080p high-definition. Although the video isn’t anything uberly impressive because at times it does look soft, I did think the colors were pretty good, and the detail levels were much better. Since this was released in Canada (w/o features), some have said this transfer wasn’t as good, I haven’t seen that transfer but I do think this is good enough. — ***¼ / *****
JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK – Even though this is the newest of the 3-movie pack, I actually was underwhelmed with this transfer. Now, this isn’t a new Blu-ray as it was originally released in (I believe) 2006, but I thought the picture looked rather soft throughout. Both the colors and black levels looked pretty good, it’s just everything else that was lackluster. — *** / *****
CLERKS – Although the picture may not be pretty to look at, the 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track is fairly decent, but not necessarily a major upgrade over the already available Dolby Digital 5.1 track with the “Clerks X” release. Aside from the music, Clerks is all talk with little else so on that level where you can understand everything being said, it’s acceptable especially considering the tiny budget. — *** / *****
CHASING AMY – Kind of on the same level, Chasing Amy also receives the DTS-HD MA track which sounds good if only that you can hear all the dialogue along with the film’s soundtrack. The rear channels do get some use for ambient noise but it’s not much. Like the video transfer, there isn’t anything real special about this mix either. — ***¼ / *****
JAY AND SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK – Since this is the original release, JASBSB gets the older and disc-hogging uncompressed PCM 5.1 track. Again, this is mostly dialogue but there are some slapstick/satirical action scenes that give the soundtrack a little life, it’s just nothing impressive. — ***¼ / *****
The Kevin Smith 3-Movie Collection may not be the best representation to showcase the Blu-ray format but the features alone are amazing, especially Chasing Amy which had to get new material due to Criterion owning the audio commentary along with the addition of a fascinating documentary and a fun Q&A reunion. Other than the fact Jay and Silent Bob is the original release with only one feature ported over, this is probably worth a purchase even for those (like myself) who already own the DVDs.