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This review appears direct to the web courtesy of THE CINEMA LASER.

CHASING AMY

CHASING AMY

CHASING AMY ($50) is a surprising little film that places a very modern spin on relationships and love. If there is one message that writer/director Kevin Smith gets across with CHASING AMY, its that love is a rare and precious thing that too many fools throw away, then come to live to regret. CHASING AMY is the third film in Smith’s New Jersey trilogy, which began with CLERKS and MALLRATS. In CHASING AMY, Ben Affleck stars as comic book writer Holden McNeil, who is instantly intrigued with another artist that he meets at a comic book convention. Joey Lauren Adams gives an amazing performance as Alyssa Jones, the quirky artist Holden is attracted to. Only after Alyssa invites Holden to meet her and some friends at a bar, does he come to realize that she is a lesbian. While his romantic hopes are immediately dashed by this revelation, Holden does attempt a friendship with Alyssa, much to the disdain of Banky, his best friend and comic book collaborator. Jason Lee is utterly hilarious as Banky, supplying CHASING AMY with some of its funniest moments. There is a scene where Alyssa and Banky trade war stories that is a must see. Eventually, Holden’s relationships with Alyssa and Banky screw up his life and cause him no end of turmoil. Holden, in his own deluded way, tries to do what he thinks is right, but only when its too late does he discover that he didn’t know a good thing when he had it. In addition to the fine performances by Affleck, Adams and Lee, CHASING AMY also features intriguing and humorous performances from its supporting cast. Dwight Ewell is wickedly funny as Hooper, the gay comic book writer who puts on a militant black persona because its what his readers expect. Jason Mewes and Kevin Smith appear late in the show as Jay and Silent Bob, but they are well worth the wait. Mewes and Smith’s performances are both funny and insightful (in their own bizarre little way).

The Criterion Collection deluxe edition of CHASING AMY has been given a good looking Letterboxed transfer, which restores most of the film’s theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1. Even though the transfer was "director approved", there are instances where the edges of the frame appear somewhat compromised. Since CHASING AMY was a very low budget film, it was shot in Super 16mm and blown up to 35mm for theatrical distribution. The transfer sometimes reflects its 16mm origins by the level of film grain in some sequences. Still, the colors appear natural and the image has good detail. The digitally encoded Dolby Surround soundtrack has a respectable mix for a low budget affair. Criterion’s Laserdisc also features a Dolby Digital soundtrack. The Pioneer pressing had few manufacturing related anomalies. CHASING AMY has a good number of supplemental features, thanks to The Criterion Collection. Chief amongst its supplements is an audio commentary, featuring director Kevin Smith, producer Scott Mosier, actors Ben Affleck and Jason Mewes, associate producer Robert Hawk, and Miramax executive Jon Gordon. The commentary does offer a good deal of information about the film’s production, yet retains an overgrown juvenile delinquent quality. Certain opinions about the DVD format expressed during the commentary are certain to offend DVDs growing audience, especially since The Criterion Collection is releasing their titles on DVD. Negative opinions aside, CHASING AMY would make an excellent DVD release, hopefully Criterion will consider it. Other supplemental features include ten deleted scenes and outtakes with video introduction by cast and crew. The gatefold Laserdisc jacket is marvelous and contains extensive liner notes by Kevin Smith, plus a guide to the Askewniverse and the characters that populate the New Jersey trilogy.

CHASING AMY is a one of a kind little film that should not be missed. The Criterion Collection Laserdisc edition is marvelous. Highly recommended.

 
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Laserdisc reviews are Copyright 1998 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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