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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » House Of Games
House Of Games
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 11, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
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The Movie:

Director David Mamet has become one of Hollywood's most famous writer/directors, either offering his screenwriting talents on such films as "Wag The Dog" and "The Untouchables", or directing such recent films as "State and Main" or "The Winslow Boy". "House Of Games" is Mamet's directorial debut, and it remains as one of his better works. The movie stars Lindsay Crouse as a psychiatrist who goes to a criminal(Joe Mantegna) when she finds out that one of her patients owes the man a good deal of cash.

She goes to seek him out (only in a Mamet movie) and finds out that there's more to the operation that Mantegna's character is running than meets the eye. "House Of Games", like Mamet's other features, is slow-moving with only a limited amount of visual style, but engaging in the way that the dialogue and performances are so good. Crouse is often the weakest link out of the entire cast, with a flat delivery, but the rest of the actors do very well.

I'm certainly not going to spoil any of the twists of the movie, but do recommend it on the strength of Mamet's screenplay, with his own particular brand of dialogue.


The DVD

VIDEO: MGM displays their ability to offer titles with subpar image quality on this non-anamorphic presentation of "House Of Games". Really, the best thing that I can say about this edition from the studio is that print flaws seem to be pretty minimal, with the exception of a handful of minor marks. That's about all of the positive comments I have to share, though.

The picture is consistently soft, with only fair detail and some scenes that lack clarity, looking rather hazy. Some trace amounts of pixelation surface, and a few scenes look noticably grainy. Colors remain generally pleasing, though. There's a lot of rich, bold colors that, although not entirely well-defined, show through nicely.

It's really MGM's decision to present this non-anamorphic that's unfortunate. There's not a huge amount of the usual flaws, but the image often looks soft.

SOUND: The mono audio actually isn't too bad. The movie is simply all-dialogue, with a few little touches of simple, relaxed score. The combination sounds clear and easily heard. Although nothing even close to remarkable, it works for the material.

MENUS:: Menus are non-animated, with very basic images serving as backgrounds.

EXTRAS: The trailer.

Final Thoughts: "House Of Games" deserves more than to simply be thrown out on DVD. Image quality could definitely stand improvement, and there really isn't anything in the way of extra features.

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