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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Oliver Stone's America
Oliver Stone's America
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Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 25, 2001 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

After listening to several commentary tracks (with several more still to listen to on such films as "The Doors"), "Oliver Stone's America" seems like a bit of a summary for all of those discussions, talking about the inspirations and experiences that the filmmaker has had during his years directing pictures. The disc also seems to be somewhat of a wrap-up of the new "Oliver Stone Collection", as this disc is only available in the 6 or 10 disc sets.

I actually liked listening to Stone's commentary tracks a little bit more than I did listening to him make a more general talk about the reactions to his movies in this interview. The interviewer, Charles Kiselyak, doesn't offer Stone particularly in-depth questions and often simply lets Stone go down the path of whatever is on his mind. During Stone's commentary tracks, he displays a remarkable knowledge about the specific subject of which the film is focused, and his insights are often fascinating.

During the 50 minutes of "America", he mainly talks about the reaction to his films and working on the various films, but there are times when he goes off on politics or attacks other topics, and it's then that the documentary drags a little bit. I still think that, after listening to Stone talk through several of his films, that he is an intelligent, talented filmmaker. "America" simply doesn't go into enough depth about any one topic to be that engaging.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Oliver Stone's America" is presented mostly in full-frame, with the exception of some of the excerpts from Stone's movies, which are presented in different aspect ratios. Sharpness and detail are generally good; the clips from the movies look crisp and clear, although some noticably don't look quite as well-defined as their actual DVD releases. Some of the clips from the films do not look good, although they didn't look good in their actual releases, either - "Wall Street" and especially "Born on the 4th of July" suffered from fair to poor picture quality on their actual DVD releases. Although the interview segements are a little dark now and then, there's certainly no problems seeing the two participants.

SOUND: The documentary is presented entirely in stereo sound, and for the interviews, the dialogue between the two is generally clear and easily understood.

MENUS:: Although the menu isn't animated, there is music behind the main menu.

EXTRAS: Stone's 12 minute NYU student film, "Last Year In Vietnam" is included.

Final Thoughts:

Positive: The documentary is a fair summary to conclude the box sets. It's also nice to have Stone's NYU student film included.

Negative: This disc is only available with purchase of the 6 or 10 DVD "Oliver Stone Collection" sets. Hopefully, at some point in the future, Warner Brothers will release this on it's own for Stone fans who want it, at a low price.
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