was founded by John Gabbard in 2000. It's purpose has been and
remains to be to provide you, the entertainment community with
the latest dvds and movie reviews. It will continue to be your
link to the most popular dvd movies.
Wayne A. Klein
Fox Home Video
tracks featuring Zach Braff, Natalie Portman/Braff, DP Lawrence
Sher, editor Myron Kerstein and production designer Judy Becker
||”Making of” featurette
Natalie Portman, Ian Hold, Peter Sarsgaard, Alex Burns
|| Danny DeVito,
Pamela Abdy, Bill Brown, Ann Ruark, Michael Shamberg, Stacey
|| Chad Fisher
Triple threats (movies written,
directed and starring the same person) aren’t very promising
when it comes to movies. Usually they’re vanity projects that
wouldn’t have gotten off the ground if not for the actor’s
deal. “Garden State” is an exception to the rule. Zach Braff
of TV’s “Scrubs” pulls together an entertaining and witty
drama with his debut. Braff plays Andrew an actor returning
to his New Jersey after years away from his home state to
attend his mother’s funeral. Emotionally spent, Andrew still
has trouble relating to his angry father Gideon (an intense
Ian Holm) but does find a kindred spirit in a troubled young
woman named Sam (Natalie Portman) that he meets at a party
with his friend Mark (Peter Sarsgaard in a great performance).
It seems Sam has demons of her own to contend equally daunting
as Andrew’s problems but she still manages to provide him
with a shelter from the emotional storm he is weathering.
Although the plot might sound like something from an average
made-for-cable TV movie, Braff’s brisk direction and the performances
of the outstanding pushes this drama to a higher level. It’s
clear that Braff took the advice of “writing what you know”
to heart as this isn’t a space age love story nor a superhero
adventure film. ---
vivid transfer to DVD, “Garden State” looks like what a Bruce
Springsteen song sounds like—it’s full of catchy visual images
that translate particularly well here. The blacks are rock solid
and the images have just the right touch of grain to give it
a sense of reality missing from more glossy melodramas. The
5.1 mix goes for subtly and, while it won’t give your system
a workout, it will envelope you in the environment. ---
the traditional making-of-featurette and, while it’s interesting,
it doesn’t really provide any real insight into the movie.
That’s left for the marvelous commentary tracks. There’s also
16 deleted scenes with optional commentary and it’s quite
clear why they were cut in most cases; they duplicated information
we already had or broke the dramatic pace of the film. The
outtakes and bloopers vary from mildly amusing to belly laughes.
||This is where
the DVD really shines. We get two commentary tracks both with
Braff. The first also features actress Natalie Portman and this
one provides the most insight into the performances and the
text of the film. The second commentary track with Braff, DP
Lawrence Sher, editor Myron Kerstein and production designer
Judy Becker provides the meat on the production side of things.
She’s observations peppered with Braff’s comments on what he
was trying to achieve visually are the most interesting although
both Kerstein and Becker provide insight into the importance
of editing and design to a modern day drama like this.
first feature from writer/director/actor Braff, ”Garden State”
promises bigger things from this young actor. Although the drama
could have fallen into the predictable category of made-for-cable
TV movie territory, Braff’s brisk direction, witty dialogue
and the performance by the cast elevetates “Garden State” into
a very good movie about two very troubled young people.