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Alfie
DVD disk
Mar 15, 2005 By: Indiana Sev
Alfie order
Director:
Charles Shyer

Actors:
Jude Law
Marisa Tomei
Susan Sarandon

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
Alfie is an Englishman in New York and he’s living the classic playboy lifestyle by living life to its fullest and taking the easy way out whenever things start getting a little too familiar with the beautiful ladies in his life. But sure enough, Alfie’s freewheeling way of life has its consequences and as he begins to see the damage he’s leaving behind, it leaves our hero wondering: “What’s it all about?”
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
This movie was on auto-pilot about 40 minutes in and was heading towards ‘average’ and ‘forgetful’ territory until a few choice moments and a satisfying and refreshing ending barely saved it enough for me to give it the green light for a rental. The last half wasn’t nearly as predictable and bland as the first half but it’s still far from being original, on the whole. Jude Law is as charming and solid as ever in this effort but overall I just felt as though I’d seen this whole ‘playboy learns the error of his ways’ routine too many times before; and I don’t just mean in the original ALFIE either. It might very well have been the setting in New York, who knows, had they had Alfie stay put on his home base in the U.K., it might have added a bright new dimension to this story. We’ve just seen too many of these stories about regret and heartbreak and redemption in the Big Apple and I’d venture to guess the success of the original 1966 Michael Caine version was that it put audiences in a time and place where they didn’t normally experience these types of movies in.

Oh, and a note to all filmmakers, knock off the overhead shots of New York City for a good little while. Yes, it looks beautiful, but it seems like every other movie set there now uses that same shot in their movie (I last saw it about a month ago in THE FORGOTTEN). Of course, a movie like this depends on strong support from the gorgeous women that come in and out of Alfie’s life and although they all did a fine job it was Jane Krakowski who made the biggest impression on me. Most of the other females either bored me or just seemed to be walking through their roles but Jane had that extra spark of sexiness and sensibility that made her stand out among the rest of the pack. Tomei was also pretty solid. I also noticed, throughout the film, that Alfie’s background surroundings in the city often had big looming words like “desire”, “wish” and “search” at key points in the movie, these were there, I assume, to be poignant reminders of what Alfie is faced with at that given time. Not only was this an overly cornball and pretentious stunt but it was extremely distracting as well. This movie isn’t really good or bad, it’s just there and sadly, it will be forgotten not long after you see it. Jude Law’s acting punch, a smart ending and the catchy Jagger/Stewart composition “Old Habits Die Hard” are the only things that ultimately make this blah movie worth checking out on DVD.
THE EXTRAS
Audio Commentary by Writer/Director Charles Shyer and Editor Padraic McKinley: Paddy and Chuck’s audio gets the job done pretty well here, but the general tone of the duo is kind of monotonous and dry and didn’t get me excited about listening to the rest of the track. But like I said, it gets the job done…

Audio Commentary by Writer/Director Charles Shyer and Writer/Producer Elaine Pope: Dull as dishwater. Maybe I’m used to tracks where everyone is lively and wacky and having fun. These two should be more into their movie…

Round Table of Alfie (16 minutes): This is a roundtable discussion about the film with the director, production designer, cinematographer and editor of the film (where the f*ck is Jude, yo?). You’re better off watching this to get the filmmakers’ thoughts on the film rather than listening to the drab goings-on on the audio commentary tracks. It’s more interesting and has behind-the-scenes images cut into it as well...

The World of Alfie (10 minutes): A short featurette that has a few of the filmmakers discussing how the project came about and why they thought it might be wise to remake the original 1966 classic with Michael Caine (the U.S. box-office receipts proved that this decision was very, very unwise). I stared in disbelief when I heard the director talking about how he actually thought it was a good idea to have those big stupid signs up in the movie; those pretentious things played a big part in me not liking this movie very much…

The Women of Alfie (12 minutes): Elaine Pope discusses the women in the film as well as their characters and how and why they needed to be updated for the 2004 version of the film. The actresses also chime in about their part in the film. Krakowski is pretty darn cute in this feature but truth be told the more they show clips from the much superior 1966 version in these featurettes, the more you realize they shouldn’t have even thought about remaking it. I’d say the same thing even the movie had made a mint.

Deconstruction of a Scene (4 minutes): A boring 4-minute throwaway feature that has the editor describing and showing us how he spliced together a memorable street scene that involved Jude riding around on his Vespa. Most of the time, I can’t stand these scene breakdowns and this case was no different.

Gedde Watanabe Dance Footage with Optional Commentary by Pope & Shyer (2 minutes): No, this is not the dude from THE LAST SAMURAI; it’s the Asian dude from SIXTEEN CANDLES and GUNG-HO, an equally brilliant movie. See Watanabe dance his ass off as they play the song Old Habits Die Hard on a break from shooting. Gedde is, and has always been, cool.

Let The Music In (12 minutes): Mick Jagger and Dave Stewart discuss their experience creating the music for the film. Lots of footage from the recording studio is included here as well.

Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary by the Director and Editor: You’re treated with 8 cut scenes total, all of which would have probably dragged the film on longer than it needed to be. Nothing really worth saving here…

We also get a Script Gallery, Production Gallery, a Storyboard Gallery, Theatrical Trailer and Previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
As I said in my review, this passed the test enough to be worth a look on video and the fact that it’s loaded with extras will just give you Jude Law-aholic femmes more reason to do so. Still, if it’s between this and the 1966 version, it’s no contest at all; Caine’s movie wins by a country mile…
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