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RUSHMORE ($30) isn't the type of comedy that anyone is going to cause someone to bust a gut from laughter. Don't get me wrong, RUSHMORE is a very funny movie, however it isn't THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY. RUSHMORE isn't the kind of comedy that beat its audience over the head with outrageous jokes. Instead, RUSHMORE slyly builds to each wonderfully humorous and very human moment.

RUSHMORE tells the story of Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman), a most unusual 10th grade student at the prestigious Rushmore Academy. Max is the founder or president of almost every one of the school's extracurricular societies or clubs. Max even has his own theater company, for which he serves as playwright and director. Unfortunately, Max has something of problem- he is the worst student in the history of Rushmore Academy. It seems that all of the extracurricular activity hasn't left Max with any time for his studies. After being placed on academic probation, Max adds another pursuit to his already overwhelming list of activities.

The latest distraction comes in the form of one Rosemary Cross (Olivia Williams), a first grade teacher with whom Max becomes smitten. Even though Rosemary proves to be an unattainable goal for the persistent 15-year-old, Max still acts the role of jealous suitor when he discovers he has competition for the lady's affections. RUSHMORE also stars Bill Murray as Herman Blume, the unhappily married industrialist who also becomes enamored with Rosemary. Max's inability to compete with Herman on an adult level for Rosemary's affections, leads to a nasty game of one-upmanship that ends up changing the lives of both Max and Herman. RUSHMORE stands apart from most Hollywood films because it has an intelligent, well-written script by Wes Anderson and Owen Wilson that features sharply defined characters that seem like real people. Director Wes Anderson has a keen eye that allows him to punctuate the film's numerous ironies. Additionally, the first rate performances of Jason Schwartzman and Bill Murray truly bring their characters to life. Murray's work here is especially impressive, proving that his comic genius is only the tip of the iceberg.

Touchstone Home Video has brought RUSHMORE to DVD in a wide screen presentation that is not enhanced for 16:9 playback. Despite being unenhanced, RUSHMORE features a superb looking Letterboxed transfer faithfully restores the film's 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio. On a 4:3 display, the DVD provides a clean, clear image with virtually no faults. Detail is consistently excellent, even within the darkest recesses of the image. Color reproduction is also quite good, offering very natural flesh tones. As for the rest of the hues, they maintain a highly realistic saturation level, without any evidence of chroma noise. Black are incredibly faithful and the contrast is just about perfect. Digital compression artifacts maintain a low profile, thanks to first rate authoring.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack features a very good mix, with a surprising number of directional effects. Dialogue reproduction is very clean, making every syllable uttered completely intelligible. The entire soundstage has a very open and effortless sound. Bass is full and deep, which enhances the directional effects, as well as the very lively musical component of the soundtrack. Subtitles are provided on the DVD in English.

The interactive menus are relatively simple, offering access to the standard scene and set-up features. A theatrical trailer is also accessible through the menu system.




DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 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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