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Name: TWILIGHT TIME
Number: TWILIGHT308-BR

ALICE (1990) (BLU-RAY)
Starring:  Cybill Shepherd, Alec Baldwin, Mia Farrow, William Hurt, Judy Davis, Joe Mantegna, Bernadette Peters, Gwen Verdon, Keye Luke, Blythe Danner
Directed By:  Woody Allen

“Downright adorable…Allen at his most sentimental and optimistic since Radio Days.”
– Rita Kempley, The Washington Post

“A witty and heartbreaking fairy tale…when its grace notes manage to be heard above the whimsy, they ring true.”
– Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

Woody Allen’s 1990 tale of magical realism, Alice, stars Mia Farrow as a well-off but disenchanted New York woman whose life changes thanks to the potions bestowed upon her by a mysterious Chinese herbalist (Keye Luke). Her voyage of discovery includes a new look at her condescending husband (William Hurt), a romance with a down-to-earth musician (Joe Mantegna), and a visit with a ghostly former lover (Alec Baldwin). Also featuring appearances by Julie Kavner, Judy Davis, Gwen Verdon, and Bernadette Peters.

LANGUAGE: English
VIDEO: 1080p High Definition / 1.85:1
AUDIO: English 2.0 DTS-HD MA
SUBTITLES: English SDH
1990 / Color
106 MINUTES
RATED PG-13

Special Features: Isolated Music & Effects Track / Original Theatrical Trailer

Limited Edition of 3,000 Units

  
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Reviews and Comments: (1)
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Posted by Mark Turner on May 2, 2018 10:43 AM
Twilight Time offers another Woody Allen film for fans to enjoy or non-fans to disregard. Once more he teams of with life partner (at the time) Mia Farrow to present a tale that takes place in his familiar New York City. This time he takes the neurosis found in most of his films and gives them nods to both the Lewis Carroll classic ALICE IN WONDERLAND and Federico Fellini's JULIET OF THE SPIRITS.

Alice (Farrow) is a well to do married woman who still feel empty inside. Her days are spent with the children being looked over by their nanny, shopping at the most expensive stores and with nothing more than small talk with her wealthy husband Doug (William Hurt). Picking up the kids one day she sees another parent there named Joe (Joe Mantegna) that she's attracted to.

Her guilt over this attraction causes her to have back pains. Complaining of the backache to her friends while shopping one suggest that she try an acupuncturist and herbalist she know called Dr. Yang (Keye Luke in his final film performance). With nothing to lose Alice visits Yang who tells her the problem is not in her back but in her head and her heart. He provides her with some herbs to take at a precise time.

The next day she picks up the kids after taking the herbs and meets Joe again while waiting. The herbs have left her uninhibited and she flirts mercilessly with Joe, making a date to meet the following day. She doesn't follow through with the date but returns to Dr. Yang who gives her new herbs to use, this time making her invisible.

While invisible she watches Joe as he meets up with his ex-wife (Judy Davis) in her office and the two have a quickie there for old time's sake. This makes her glad she didn't go through with her meeting. It also sends her back to Dr. Yang who gives her different herbs, this time giving her the ability to see her old beau, Ed (Alec Baldwin), who died before they could marry. Ed suggest that she give Joe a chance and learn more about him.

Each suggestion that Alice follows opens up new doors to what's really going on inside of her, her true emotions and feelings, rather than the superficial life she's been leaving. And each time she learns something new she returns to Dr. Yang who gives her more herbs that lead her in more directions with more people. Whether or not she will learn from her experiences and find happiness is what rounds out the film by the end credits.

The story is interesting and inventive in its mix of mysticism, romance and light comedy. Each new herb yields yet another small story within the context of the larger whole, revealing as much about Alice to us as she learns about herself. The writing is some of the better that Allen has done from the films of his I've seen and it works well within the confines of the NYC world of the elite.

The cinematography here is amazing. Where some movies do well either with interiors or exteriors but not always both, cinematographer Carlo di Palma (famous for shooting BLOW UP as well as many of Allen's later films) shows an expertise to be envied. His use of lighting and camera angles works in every shot.

Perhaps the weakest element the film has is its lead actress, Farrow. I'll admit that my exposure to her performances is pretty limited to her appearances in other Allen films and ROSEMARY'S BABY. I've never found her to be a dynamic actress whose work I would want to seek out. But her performances in the films shot in NYC for Allen always feel the same to me. She always seems as if she's a weak willed woman with a constantly whining voice, always unsure of herself and more inclined to wallow in self-pity than anything else. Having recently watch Allen's MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY and learning that she had been intended to play the role Diane Keaton did I kept thinking that that movie would have felt completely different if that had happened. And not for the better. It doesn't matter if Alice finds herself here or not, the majority of the film has her so self-deprecating that it made it hard for me to feel for her.

While critically acclaimed and nominated for various screenplay awards the movie was a box office flop. It should have done better because for the minor flaws in the film it was entertaining and a good representation of Allen's films. Perhaps it will find an audience on discs that will make up for that box office loss.

Twilight Time is offering the film in a beautiful blu-ray presentation here in 1080p. Extras are slim to non-existent with just an isolated music & effects track and the original theatrical trailer. But fans of Allen will want to grab this up since like other Twilight Time releases it is limited to just 3,000 copies.

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