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Casanova
DVD disk
May 9, 2006 By: Quigles
Casanova order
Director:
Lasse Hallström

Actors:
Heath Ledger
Sienna Miller
Jeremy Irons

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
In 18th century Venice, fabled sex maniac Giacomo Casanova continues to do what he does best - seduce females... that is, until he's ordered to settle down and get married.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
While not necessarily the most captivating of films, CASANOVA will do a good job keeping you smiling, and every so often rolling your eyes (but not so much in a negative way). It's one of those breezy, forgettable movies that make a perfect date flick. As for the "sexual" aspects of the movie, they aren't made all that explicit, which actually surprised me considering the film's R-rating. Think of it as the equivalent of a goofy, light-hearted teen comedy, except set in the 18th century, and geared more towards adults.

I'm not really a fan of period pieces, especially overly dramatic ones, which is why I'm glad CASANOVA decided not to take the "serious" route with its storytelling. No, this film is a farce, in every sense of the word. And because it's a farce, it needs strong actors to pull off the over-the-top characterizations. Fortunately, most of the actors here are able to pull it off. Ledger does a solid enough job as the leading man, although he never really blew me away with his performance (it was also rather unbelievable for every woman to find him so irresistible). The real highlights in this picture are Omid Djalili (Casanova's servant) and Oliver Platt. They both do a good job of keeping the laughs coming, and without them, I'm pretty sure the movie would've failed as a comedy. But even then, there's still Jeremy Irons to seal the deal. His humorously menacing performance was also a great treat.

Overall, the flick has enough laughs, romance, and charm that, even though it doesn't fully hit its mark on each one separately, as a combined effort it works.
THE EXTRAS
The special features presented here are pretty basic.

Audio Commentary (with director Lasse Hallström): This commentary isn't the most interesting I've ever listened to, but there were certainly some bits worth checking out. Hallström speaks in a friendly but down-to-earth manner, but he just doesn't give enough reason to listen all the way through.

Creating an Adventure (12:55): This interview-laden featurette gives a quick behind-the-scenes look at shooting in Venice and other aspects of making the movie. Contributing speakers include the director, the leading actors, and the screenwriters. Not incredibly interesting, but worth watching if you're a big fan of the film.

Dressing in Style (5:23): A simple and short featurette about the film's costume design. If you're into that sort of thing, this should be right up your alley.

Visions of Venice (3:54): This brief but interesting featurette takes us through different locations while the producers commentate on things. Worth a look.

Also included is an Extended Scene (5:39) entitled "Hidden in Plain Sight", as well as 9 Previews.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
CASANOVA is predictable, cheesy, and fairly stupid in parts... but damn if it isn't entertaining. If you're looking for a great date movie, then don't pass this one up.
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