DVD Review: Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Renee Zellweger in 4-Film Collections

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CHICAGO – What’s an inevitability when a company like Lionsgate gets access to a film archive like that of Miramax (besides the wonderful wave of Blu-ray reissues that has seen recent HD releases of “Amelie,” “Shakespeare in Love,” “Swingers,” and more)? DVD collections! Three of today’s biggest stars, all three Oscar winners, are getting the 4-film collection treatment from the company this week with some definite fan favorites in each set. Pick your favorite.

“The Nicole Kidman 4-Film Collection”

The Nicole Kidman 4-Film Collection
The Nicole Kidman 4-Film Collection
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Personally, it’s no contest. Nicole Kidman is not only the best actress of the three but gets the best 4-film treatment even if she’s the only one for which her Oscar-winning role (in “The Hours”) is not included. However, she was nominated for one of the performances in this set and I would argue could have easily been nominated for the other three (and I’d take three of ‘em for sure over her overrated work in “The Hours.”) Looking at these four films makes clear why Kidman is one of the most respected actresses working today and why we should be even angrier that she occassionally wastes her time on head-scratching nonsense like “Just Go With It” and “Trespass.”

“Cold Mountain”

Nominated for 7 Academy Awards, Cold Mountain is a sweeping romantic epic about a woman (Kidman) who must find the will to survive as she waits for the man she loves — a Confederate soldier (Jude Law) trying to make it home from the Civil War.

“Rabbit Hole”

Nicole Kidman earned an Oscar nomination (Best Actress, 2010) for her performances in this extraordinary journey off a husband (Aaron Eckhart) and wife (Kidman) who find their way back to love after a devastating loss.

“The Others”

Shocks and surprises await at every turn in this stylish suspense thriller about a young woman and her two children who discover chilling secrets hidden within their secluded mansion.

“Dogville”

Nicole Kidman leads an all-star international cast in Lars von Trier’s masterful film about a fugitive with a dangerous past.

“The Gwyneth Paltrow 4-Film Collection”

The Gwyneth Paltrow 4-Film Collection
The Gwyneth Paltrow 4-Film Collection
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Gwyneth Paltrow comes in second for this viewer mostly due to the strength of the two early performances in the set, including her Oscar-winning turn and the one that really served as her breakthrough. Overall, the set doesn’t really offer much in the way of Paltrow’s range (I like it when she appears in darker material like “Se7en,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” and “The Royal Tenenbaums”) but does remind one of the time when she was arguably America’s sweetheart.

“Shakespeare in Love”

Gwyneth Paltrow won an Oscar for her performance in this witty, sexy smash about Will Shakespeare (Joseph Fiennes) and seductive, mysterious Lady Viola (Paltrow), who provides the passionate inspiration to cure his case of writer’s block.

“Emma”

Gwyneth Paltrow shines in this delightfully fun and lighthearted comedy based on Jane Austen’s classic novel about a mischievous young beauty whoe misguided attempts at matchmaking lead to her own romance.

“Bounce”

Ben Affleck and Gwyneth Paltrow make a captivating screen couple in this acclaimed film about a smooth-talking ad exec whose life dramatically changes after a twist of fate leads him to a recently widowed young woman.

“View From the Top”

The laughs fly in this hilarious comedy hit about a small-town girl determined to realize her dream of becoming a first-class international flight attendant.

“The Renee Zellweger 4-Film Collection”

The Renee Zellweger 4-Film Collection
The Renee Zellweger 4-Film Collection
Photo credit: Lionsgate

Then there’s Renee Zellweger, a talented actress with a Best Picture winner in her 4-film collection and a true international smash but also the only one of the three ladies with a true stinker. Zellweger has arguably fallen the farthest of these three mega-stars but she surely still has a loyal fan base. Her set is a solid example of her range and some of her biggest hits (along with that awful Harry Connick Jr. movie).

“Bridget Jones’s Diary”

Renee Zellweger sparkles in this delightful comedy about a busy career woman torn between a guy who’s too good to be true (Hugh Grant), and another who’s so wrong for her, he could just be right (Colin Firth).

“Chicago”

Winner of six 2002 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Chicago is a dazzling, music-filled spectacle that follows the star-crossed lives of a nightclub sensation (Catherine Zeta-Jones), a spotlight-seeking showgirl (Zellweger), and the city’s slickest lawyer (Richard Gere).

“Cold Mountain”

Renee Zellweger earned a 2003 Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role in this sweeping, Civil War-era romantic drama costarring Jude Law and Nicole Kidman.

“New in Town”

Renee Zellweger and Harry Connick Jr. find romance in this funny and heartwarming tale about a high-powered Miami executive (Zellweger) who relocates to Minnesota, and finds that the warmest people are often in the coldest places.

The 4-Film Collections for Gwyneth Paltrow, Renee Zellweger, and Nicole Kidman were released by Lionsgate on April 3rd, 2012. All of the sets contain the special features that were available on their stand-alone DVD releases.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

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