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Cape Fear: Collector's Edition (1991)

In this fun, yet empty, 1991 remake of the 1962 B-movie classic, director Martin Scorsese's attention to visual emphasis engages while the narrative veers into utter nonsense. Nick Nolte stars as a southern lawyer whose dysfunctional family (Jesssica Lange and Juliette Lewis) becomes the target of a brutal madman (Robert DeNiro). Although the imagery is strong — at times astonishing — the plot is weak and the characters, mostly, pawns. Amidst all the veteran talent, including cameos from Gregory Peck and Robert Mitchum (who starred in J. Lee Thompson's original film), the stand-out performance comes from debutante Lewis, who explodes onto the screen as a vibrant, mischievous, complex young girl. However, the petty stupidity of the other characters makes for a dull climactic act almost insufferable in its lack of motivation and forced conflicts. Includes Bernard Herrmann's original and irreplaceable score from the 1962 film as retooled by Elmer Bernstein. Universal's Collector's Edition release is a two-disc set, in which the first disc features an excellent anamorphic transfer (2.35:1) and great Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1 mixes. The second disc is packed with extra features, including an 80-minute retrospective documentary featuring interviews with Scorsese, screenwriter Wesley Strick, DeNiro, and more cast and crew members. Also included are a 10-minute reel of deleted scenes, a two-minute glimpse behind the scenes of the Fourth of July parade scene, a glimpse at the climactic houseboat set, three photo montages, a look at the matte effects used to create the film's visual style, an excellent 11-minute montage of the marvelous opening credit sequences of Saul Bass, DVD-ROM features, and trailer. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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