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Pieces of April
     

Pieces of April

4.5 6
Director: Peter Hedges

Cast: Katie Holmes, Patricia Clarkson, Oliver Platt

 

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Peter Hedges' Thanksgiving comedy-drama Pieces of April comes to DVD with a pair of transfers. The widescreen transfer preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is preferable to the standard full-frame image. The transfer itself is well done, but the film was shot on digital video and the transfer makes that quite plain. English and French

Overview

Peter Hedges' Thanksgiving comedy-drama Pieces of April comes to DVD with a pair of transfers. The widescreen transfer preserves the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is preferable to the standard full-frame image. The transfer itself is well done, but the film was shot on digital video and the transfer makes that quite plain. English and French soundtracks are rendered in Dolby Digital 5.1. English, French, and Spanish subtitles are accessible. Supplemental materials include a commentary track recorded by Hedges. He discusses many aspects of his personal life that went into the creation of the screenplay, and he discusses how difficult it was shooting the film on such a miniscule budget. He is full of praise for his actors, especially Katie Holmes, Oliver Platt, and Patricia Clarkson (who picked up an Oscar nomination for her work in the film). A making-of featurette and the original theatrical trailer round out this fine release from MGM.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
From What's Eating Gilbert Grape to his adaptation of About a Boy, Peter Hedges has specialized in showing the warmth and humanity of oddball outsiders. April (Katie Holmes) most certainly fits into that mode as the black sheep oldest daughter who has invited her suburban family into the big city to make Thanksgiving dinner for them -- even though she has no clue how to cook. The scenes in the apartment building are erratic in quality. For every good scene between April and her kind African-American neighbors, there are dull sequences like the ones involving an oddball who lives upstairs (Sean Hayes in a performance which shows that the first-time director exercised little control over his actors). April's trials and tribulations in preparing the meal are contrasted with her family's trip to the apartment. Hedges the screenwriter so economically establishes everyone in the family in their opening scene that much of what transpires during the first half of their adventures feels redundant. Patricia Clarkson is good as the sarcastic, icy cancer victim mother. You can see why her oldest child attempted to get away from her, and why her two remaining children continuously attempt to one-up each other in her eyes. Oliver Platt gives the best performance in the film as a loving father and family peacemaker, privately on the verge of a complete emotional breakdown at the thought of losing his wife. His character feels like he came from a different and much better movie. Pieces of April provides a fine if uninspired starting point for Hedges' career behind the camera, but it marks a low point in an otherwise stellar career as a screenwriter.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/24/2004
UPC:
0027616901811
Original Release:
2003
Rating:
PG13
Source:
Mgm (Video & Dvd)
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Pan & Scan, Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:20:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Audio commentary by writer-director Peter Hedges; "All the Pieces Together" featurette; Original theatrical trailer

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Katie Holmes April Burns
Patricia Clarkson Joy Burns
Oliver Platt Jim Burns
Derek Luke Bobby
Alison Pill Beth Burns
John Gallagher Timmy Burns
Alice Drummond Grandma Dottie
Sean Hayes Wayne
Sisqo Latrell
Lillias White Evette
Isiah Whitlock Eugene

Technical Credits
Peter Hedges Director,Screenwriter
Alexis Alexanian Producer
Lucy Barzun Co-producer
Laura Bauer Costumes/Costume Designer
Holly Becker Producer
Vebe Borge Asst. Director
Rick Butler Production Designer
Will Cantler Casting
Laura Cunningham-Bauer Costumes/Costume Designer
Dianne Dreyer Associate Producer
Caroline Kaplan Executive Producer
Mark Livolsi Editor
John Lyons Producer
Stephin Merritt Score Composer
Tami Reiker Cinematographer
Aaron Rudelson Sound/Sound Designer
Jonathan Sehring Executive Producer
John Sloss Executive Producer
Lucille Masone Smith Co-producer
Bernie Telsey Casting
David Vaccari Casting
Gary Winick Producer

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Main Title/Wake Up [6:22]
2. "How You Feeling?" [2:15]
3. Fifty Cents [4:05]
4. Preheating the Oven [4:34]
5. Road to Disaster [2:17]
6. The Girl's Got Problems [3:27]
7. Nothing Special [4:47]
8. Road Kill [2:04]
9. Desperately Seeking Oven [6:56]
10. Latrell [1:36]
11. Joy Happy, Happy Joy [3:34]
12. No More Mr. Helpful [3:35]
13. Mom Before and After [5:27]
14. A Single Nice Memory [4:44]
15. April Calls 911 [3:41]
16. Message From Tyrone [1:35]
17. A Thanksgiving Story [3:23]
18. "They're Here!" [4:35]
19. A Family Meal [5:44]
20. End Credits [5:04]

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Pieces of April 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone who had a disfunctional family as a teen, will relate to this. I'm buying a copy of this one to watch again with my siblings. My heart overflowed with love when it was over.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was excellent. It had me bursting out laughing when April couldn't get her turkey from Wayne, and also on the verge of tears with Joy. I highly recommend this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Sisqo looked fabulous in this film!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Peter Hedges' work both in writing and directing this film is wonderful. The movie tells a powerfully simple story of a young woman who is throwing a Thanksgiving Dinner at her apartment for her family. The script is well written and the use of situational comedy is touching and genius. A definite must see.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago