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(Widescreen Edition)

With Pierce Brosnanís standout performance as a debauched and burnt out assassin, THE MATADOR ($29) proves to be one heck of a dark comic delight. Brosnan adds an unmistakable charm to the character of Julian Noble, who is something like James Bond, if he had gone to seed, and were also minus the class, polish and style of the worldís most famous secret agent. A self described "facilitator of fatalities," Julianís latest job brings him to Mexico City on his birthday, where he starts showing signs of a midlife crises. During his down time, Julian encounters struggling American businessman Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear), who is also in Mexico City on business. Their chance encounter in the hotel bar leads to a burgeoning friendship between the two men. While taking in a bullfight together, Julian reveals his chosen profession Danny, who is fascinated by his new friendís stories and live demonstration of how Julian conducts business.

THE MATADOR then flashes forward several months, Danny has returned home to Colorado, and is more than a bit surprised when an unexpected late night visitor shows up at his front door. As it turns out, Julianís mid-life crisis, has given rise to a series of panic attacks, which has made it impossible for Julian to get the job done on more than one occasion. Of course, Julianís employers are less than happy with his performance and want to "terminate" his employment. Having the opportunity to square himself with his employers, Julian has to do one last jobÖ But he is going to need Dannyís help to get it done. The cast of THE MATADOR also features Hope Davis and Philip Baker Hall.

The Weinstein Company Home Entertainment has made THE MATADOR available on DVD in a 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. This is a truly excellent looking transfer that delivers a crisp, well-defined image. Colors are quite vibrant and everything appears completely stable, even with the filmís reliance on intensely saturated gaudy hues for the Mexican sequences. Additionally, the flesh tones appear wholly natural. Blacks are pure, whites are clean, plus both shadow detail and contrast are excellent. The film elements used for the transfer are virtually pristine and there is little apparent grain during the presentation. Digital compression artifacts are always very well concealed.

THE MATADOR comes with a very solid Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack. Much of the film is on the talky side; but there are moments where the track comes to life with a definite punch. The sound design also makes good use of the outlying channels, for mild effect, as well as ambient and musical fill. Dialogue is crisply rendered and remains totally understandable. As for the bass channel, it is quiet most of the time, but when it makes its presence known, it has a surprising kick. No other language tracks have been included on the DVD, but English and Spanish subtitles are provided.

Animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a few supplements. The DVD includes two separate running audio commentaries, the first features writer/director Richard Shepard, while the second includes Shepard again with the addition of actors Pierce Brosnan and Greg Kinnear. Next we have a seven-minute Making The Matador featurette, plus eleven Deleted And Extended Scenes with optional commentary by Richard Shepard. Two radio programs are contained in the section entitled The Business & The Treatment. A TV Spot, Theatrical Trailer and bonus trailers for other Weinstein Company titles close out the supplements.

As I stated above, THE MATADOR is dark comic delight that benefits from Pierce Brosnanís standout performance. The Weinstein Companyís DVD looks and sounds quite marvelous, making the best way to see the film, this side of a movie theater of high definition. Recommended.



The Matador (Widescreen Edition) (2006)



DVD reviews are Copyright © 2006 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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