Smoke

Smoke

Director: Wayne Wang

Cast: Wayne Wang, William Hurt, Harvey Keitel, Forest Whitaker

     
 

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Wayne Wang's smart, funny, and downright brilliant Smoke is surprisingly one of the better DVDs produced recently -- surprising because of the nature of the film, one that certainly didn't gather any significant audience, though it really deserved to. Everything is right about this disc, and Miramax should be complimented for a job well done. The image, framed

Overview

Wayne Wang's smart, funny, and downright brilliant Smoke is surprisingly one of the better DVDs produced recently -- surprising because of the nature of the film, one that certainly didn't gather any significant audience, though it really deserved to. Everything is right about this disc, and Miramax should be complimented for a job well done. The image, framed at 1.85:1 and anamorphic, may not be reference quality, but it's a step up in every way from previous video incarnations. The picture is sharp and detailed, with nice use of color. No distinguishable flaws are found, making this a transfer that really stands out. The Dolby Digital surround track is perfectly suited for the subject matter. Surrounds are relatively quiet, used more for ambient sound, and there isn't any use (or need for that matter) of low frequencies, but the audio track captures all the necessary elements, which for this film is dialogue, dialogue, and dialogue. The written word is king, and the soundtrack reflects that wonderfully. The real surprise here, and one that will thrill fans, is the number of supplements that are included. How can you go wrong with a commentary from the writer, Paul Auster, producer Peter Newman, and actor Harvey Keitel? This alone is worth the price of the disc, but there is more. Also included is a wonderful 20-minute featurette that simply begs for more. Interviews with the cast, director, and writer flesh out the experience of making this small film and working with such a talented group. Quite a bit shorter, and far more a studio fluff piece, is a featurette with some additional interviews and behind the scenes shots. In addition are two lengthy deleted scenes (one with actor Andrew McCarthy) that really work well, and easily could have remained in the film. A segment that might go on a bit too long, "B Roll Montages," consists of five different scenes, shown from behind the camera or as Wang prepares his actors. Unfortunately, the trailer for Smoke isn't included, but there are trailers for the "sequel," Blue in the Face, and for The Joy Luck Club, both directed by Wang. Finally, and a real treat, is the actual story, from The New York Times that Auster wrote which was the inspiration for this film. Those that have never seen this film are missing out, and this DVD is the ideal companion piece to a real work of intelligent art.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Clark
A refreshingly appointed slice-of-life ode to Brooklyn, New York, Wayne Wang's low-key drama is quietly enchanting in its refusal to trump up its subject matter, which includes drugs, adoption and misanthropic writers. Everything is presented in a matter-of-fact manner, stemming, it seems, from writer-novelist Paul Auster's credible and detailed screenplay, which doesn't offer tidy solutions for its characters' conflicts. William Hurt and Harvey Keitel marvelously inhabit the film's almost-mystical portrayal of its beloved borough. Keitel's lengthy and stunningly delivered monologue near the close of the film almost singularly makes the whole picture something special. Much of the cast and filmmakers reunited for a largely improvised (and less successful) "sequel," entitled Blue in the Face, which adopted a looser, less-structured attitude, but retains many of the same characters and locations.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/04/2003
UPC:
0786936204032
Original Release:
1995
Rating:
R
Source:
Miramax
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Surround]
Time:
1:52:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Feature commentary with screenwriter Paul Auster, producers Peter Newman and Greg Johnson, and actor Harvey Keitel; Deleted scenes - Andrew McCarthy in the Smoke Shop, The Chinese Restaurant; Behind the scenes; Original featurette; B roll montages - Rashid Meets Little Brother, Felicity, Wayne Directs Forest and Harold, Directing Stockard Channing, Rashid Confronts Cyrus; Auggie Wren's Christmas Story; Dolby Digital Surround Sound; French language track; Widescreen (1.85:1) enhanced for 16x9 televisions

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
William Hurt Paul Benjamin
Harvey Keitel Auggie Wren
Forest Whitaker Cyrus Cole
Harold Perrineau Thomas (Rashid) Cole
Victor Argo Vinnie
Erica Gimpel Doreen Cole
Giancarlo Esposito Tommy
José Zuñiga Jerry
Jared Harris Jimmy Rose
Deirdre O'Connell Waitress
Michelle Hurst Aunt Em
Stockard Channing Ruby
Ashley Judd Felicity
Mary Ward April Lee
Mel Gorham Violetta
Baxter Harris First coroner
Paul Geier Second coroner
Malik Yoba The Skunk
Murray Moston Waiter
Clarice Taylor Grandma Ethel
Peggy Gormley Sue
Robert Jackson A Brooklyn resident
John Lurie A musician
Billy Martin A musician
RuPaul A dancer

Technical Credits
Wayne Wang Director
Paul Auster Screenwriter
Claudia Brown Costumes/Costume Designer
Adam Holender Cinematographer
Billy Hopkins Casting
Maysie Hoy Editor
Satoru Iseki Executive Producer
Kalina Ivanov Production Designer
Greg Johnson Producer
Chuck Keehne Costumes/Costume Designer
Drew Kunin Sound/Sound Designer
Hisami Kuroiwa Producer
Heidi Levitt Casting
Jeff McDonald Art Director
Peter Newman Producer
Diana Phillips Producer
Rachel Portman Score Composer
Christopher Tellefsen Editor
Bob Weinstein Executive Producer
Harvey Weinstein Executive Producer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. "The Weight of Smoke" [6:31]
2. Balancing Scales [4:10]
3. "My Life's Work" [6:55]
4. A Houseguest [5:24]
5. "I'm Looking for My Nephew" [3:18]
6. Scoping Out the Garage [4:13]
7. "For Old Times' Sake" [7:28]
8. "An Ugly Piece of Hardware" [7:05]
9. Tokens of Appreciation [6:46]
10. A Family Reunion [5:14]
11. Father and Son [7:34]
12. A Knack for Trouble [5:08]
13. Making Amends [4:02]
14. The Creeper Pops In [4:23]
15. Helping Ruby [2:59]
16. Family Picnic [7:40]
17. Auggie's Story [14:34]
18. End Credits [8:35]

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