Judge Brett Cullum has a special (and bizarre) relationship with Gwyneth Paltrow.
Our reviews of Bounce (Blu-ray) (published April 2nd, 2012), Emma (1996) (published October 23rd, 1999), Emma (2009) (published February 9th, 2010), The Romance Collection: Special Edition (published May 14th, 2008), Shakespeare in Love (Blu-ray) (published February 11th, 2012), Shakespeare in Love: Collector's Series (published March 8th, 2001), and View From The Top (published September 30th, 2003) are also available.
The exquisite horror of Gwyneth Paltrow!
She is the stuff nightmares are made of and I know this firsthand. Back a few years ago I quit smoking out of concern for my health and longevity. My doctor told me that I might have very vivid dreams, and I thought to myself, "That might be nice!" What could be wrong with a dose of realism to my slumber? Little did I know that for at least three months I was tortured by a very real, very visceral image of Gwyneth Paltrow nightly tempting me with cigarettes. Not only would she smoke in front of me, but she would tease me. She would hurl names at me, and say outrageous things like "You are such a PUSSY!" At one point she started tossing lit matches at me. I would wake up screaming "You SUCK Gwyneth Paltrow!" I could smell her, and she would reek of expensive perfume and Marlboro Light 100s. This was long before Country Strong mind you!
The good people of Lionsgate have decided it is time to pack together four films starring my nightmare woman, so that I can relieve my days of torture from La Paltrow. They have chosen Shakespeare in Love for which she won an Oscar, Emma, Bounce, and View From the Top. One sublime choice, one midling one, a so-so romance, and then finally a stinker to top it all off. It is the curse of winning an Academy Award early on in your career, because the only way is down after all of that.
Given the law of diminishing returns, it is no surprise the real treasure here is Shakespeare in Love, because it is charming and accomplished. Gwyneth shines, and it is the time she had her best romantic partner in Joseph Fiennes (Elizabeth). She becomes the muse for a down-on-his-luck Shakespeare, and it all works to great grand effect.
Next up is Emma which is a light romp based on a Jane Austen novel. Paltrow plays a matchmaker who accidentally falls for a man she is trying to set up with a client. It's a pleasant period comedy, but decidedly light and fluffy. It's not all that memorable other than it was probably the role that got her the better one later.
Bounce is a bit darker with Gwyneth taking on the role of a recent widow who falls in love with a man who gave her deceased husband a ticket on a doomed plane. It was her big turn across from Ben Affleck (Daredevil), and surprisingly they didn't have that much chemistry.
View From the Top was an airline comedy that had the unfortunate luck of filming during 2001. Gwyneth plays a flight attendant here, but you can tell studio tinkering made it fall flat. The aftermath of 9/11 forced many of the bits to be altered, and the comedy got sucked right out of this one. Gwyneth is okay at comedy, but she is outshined by co-star Christina Applegate (Married With Children) who chews up every scene they are in.
All four discs are what have been out on the market for years. Each one has an okay transfer and just fine surround sound tracks. The shame is Shakespeare in Love looks the roughest in audio visual quality while View From the Top looks pretty pristine. Extras vary according to discs, and none of the supplements are new. Most come with a behind-the-scenes, and only Bounce gets a commentary.
True fans of Gwyneth Paltrow will already own these films, but thanks to packs like this now I can too. The idea is convenience, and for that Gwyneth Paltrow 4-Film Collection is a great value. Whether you love her or hate her, it's safe to say a couple of these should hit home with anybody. Of course they all make me want a cigarette really bad, and that's the truth.
Guilty of haunting my dreams, Gwyneth is free to fly on.
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Scales of Justice, View From The Top
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