Blu-ray Review: Oscar Favorites ‘Cold Mountain,’ ‘The English Patient,’ ‘Shakespeare in Love’

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CHICAGO – There have been a series of catalog releases so far this year (releases that aren’t exactly new but weren’t available in HD before) and there are many exciting ones still to come (Universal has an amazing slate of releases scheduled throughout the year). 2012 is going to be the year in which you complete your collection. You may want to include one of the three recently-released Lionsgate/Miramax movies to celebrate Oscar season. These were some of the Academy’s most beloved. Blu-ray Rating: 4.0/5.0
Blu-ray Rating: 4.0/5.0

32 Oscar nominations, 17 wins, 3 films. Whoa. Take that in for a second. THIRTY-TWO! These three movies were when Miramax were in their prime and Harvey Weinstein was the most powerful man in the cinematic world. With his win for “The King’s Speech” last year and a near-certain one for “The Artist” this year, he’s back on top. On his first trip to the peak of the Hollywood mountain, three of his most prominent films were 1996’s “The English Patient,” 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love,” and 2003’s “Cold Mountain,” all now available on Blu-ray. They may not be the trendy picks at the Blu-ray store (Weinstein films rarely are) but these are important works for collectors and all still have worthwhile elements. I’d like to take back about a dozen of those seventeen Oscars, but there are definitely strong elements like Ralph Fiennes’ work in “English,” the script for “Shakespeare,” and the production design for “Mountain.” All three films are lavish, beautifully made films that fit wellw ith the HD format and all three come loaded down with the special features that accompanied them on DVD. Enjoy.

“Cold Mountain”

Cold Mountain
Cold Mountain
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Nominated for 7 Academy Awards, this “stunning” (Newsweek) wartime romantic drama written for the screen and directed by Anthony Minghella (The English Patient) stars heavy hitters Nicole Kidman, Renee Zellweger, Jude Law, Donald Sutherland, Philip Seymour Hoffmann and Natalie Portman. At the dawn of the Civil War, the men of Cold Mountain, North Carolina, rush to join the Confederate Army. Ada (Kidman) has vowed to wait for Inman (Law), but as the war drags on and letters go unanswered, she must find the will to survive. At war’s end, hearts will be dashed, dreams fulfilled and the strength of the human spirit tested, but not broken.

Special Features:
o Audio Commentary with Screenwriter/Director Anthony Minghella and Editor Walter Murch
o Climbing Cold Mountain Documentary
o Deleted Scenes
o The Words and Music of Cold Mountain - Royce Hall Special
o A Journey to Cold Mountain
o Sacred Harp History
o Storyboard Comparisons

“The English Patient”

The English Patient
The English Patient
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Winner of 9 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director (Anthony Minghella) and Best Supporting Actress (Juliette Binoche), this powerful motion picture is an experience you will never forget. During World War II, a mysterious stranger (Ralph Fiennes) is cared for by British allies unaware of his dangerous past. Yet, as the mystery of his identity is revealed, an incredible tale of passion, intrigue and adventure unfolds. Also starring Kristin Scott Thomas, Colin Firth and Willem Dafoe, this powerful motion picture is an experience you will never forget.

Special Features:
o Audio Commentaries with Screenwriter/Director Anthony Minghella, Producer Saul Zaentz, and Author Michael Ondaatje
o About Michael Ondaatje
o From Novel to Screenplay - Interview with Cast and Crew
o The Formidable Saul Zaentz
o A Historical Look at the Real Count Almasy
o Filmmaker Conversations with Anthony Minghella, Saul Zaentz, Michael Ondaatje, and Film Editor Walter Murch
o The Work of Stuart Craig - Production Designer
o The Eyes of Phil Bray - Still Photographer
o Master Class with Anthony Minghella - Deleted Scenes
o CBS Documentary: The Making of The English Patient

“Shakespeare in Love”

Shakespeare in Love
Shakespeare in Love
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Love is the only inspiration in this witty, sexy smash starring Oscar winner Gwyneth Paltrow among an all-star Academy Award-winning cast including Judi Dench, Geoffrey Rush, Colin Firth and Ben Affleck. When Will Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) needs passionate inspiration to break a bad case of writer’s block, a secret romance with the beautiful Lady Viola (Paltrow) starts the words flowing like never before! There are just two things he’ll have to learn about his new love: not only is she promised to marry someone else, she’s successfully impersonating a man in order to play the lead in Will’s latest production! A truly can’t-miss motion picture event with outstanding critical acclaim to match its impressive collection of major awards- everyone will love this funny behind-the-scenes look at the writing of the greatest love story ever told! Triumphant winner of 7 Academy Awards - including Best Picture, Shakespeare In Love is “a visual treat” (San Francisco Chronicle) that will leave you hungry for more.

Special Features:
o Audio Commentary with Director John Madden
o Audio Commentary with Cast and Crew
o Shakespeare In Love and on Film
o Academy Award-Winning Costumes
o Deleted Scenes
o Theatrical Trailer
o Television Spots

“Cold Mountain,” “The English Patient,” and “Shakespeare in Love” were all released by Lionsgate on Blu-ray on January 31st, 2012. content director Brian Tallerico

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