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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Welcome To Collinwood
Welcome To Collinwood
Warner Bros. // R // March 18, 2003
List Price: $26.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted March 11, 2003 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

A cute little crime comedy from producers Steven Soderberg, George Clooney and directors the Russo brothers, "Welcome To Collinwood" skips along, offers a lot of laughs, and wraps up neatly in under 90 minutes. The film, a remake of the 1958 Italian comedy "Big Deal on Madonna Street", stars Soderberg (and Paul Thomas Anderson) favorite Luis Guzman as Cosimo, a low-end thief who gets busted stealing a car in the film's opening scene.

While in jail, Cosimo hears about a big job (called a "bellini" by the thieves) and needs a "malinski" (someone to take the rap for his crime) to get out of the slammer. He tells his girlfriend (Patricia Clarkson) to seek out a malinski, who he'll pay $15,000 to. She tells his former partner (Michael Jeter), who then tells several other members of the local criminal community about the job.

The gang is assembled, and includes Toto (Jeter), single dad Riley (William H. Macy), Pero (Sam Rockwell), Leon (Isaiah Washington) and Basil (Andrew Davoli). Pero tricked the information out of Cosimo and now, it's only a matter of preparing before this mess of a crew can hit the safe that they're targeting.

There isn't much of a movie here, but I liked most of what I saw. The film's look is fascinating - it's apparently supposed to be taking place now, but the film's crumbling Cleveland suburb looks like it's from the 40's or 50's. I also liked the colorful supporting characters from the sidelines, such as Clooney's expert safecracker. The dialogue is generally terrific, too, especially the film's made-up language. While the lines never really generate rolling-on-the-floor laughs, "Collinwood" still manages constant chuckles.

The film certainly has a terrific cast, too. Sam Rockwell is funnier and quicker here than he was in either "Charlie's Angels" or Clooney's "Confessions of a Dangerous Mind". William H. Macy is also very funny as the married crook who has to carry his baby around during the planning sessions for the crime. There's also three fine female performances in the film. Clarkson is superb as the low-level gangster girlfriend with a tough shell, while Gabrielle Union and Jennifer Esposito are solid, too. There's not a bad performance in the bunch and everyone seems to be having fun. I did, too.

"Collinwood" is certainly nothing memorable, but it's a light comedy with some very good actors making the most out of thin material.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Welcome to Collinwood" is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen by Warner Brothers Home Video. The 86-minute film is presented across a dual-layer disc and really, aside from a few minor concerns, looked terrific. Sharpness and detail throughout the film appeared very good, if a few steps less than excellent.

The only real problem with the presentation was the presence of edge enhancement. Slight amounts were visible in a few scenes; while it never became horribly distracting, it was still rather irritating at a few points. Aside from that, everything seemed perfectly fine - no compression artifacts were spotted, while the print looked crystal clear.

The film's color palette remained rather dark and earthy throughout, given the locations. Still, colors looked accurately rendered and crisp, with no smearing or other faults. Black level remained solid throughout, while flesh tones looked natural. Not an exceptional transfer, but still an awfully nice one.

SOUND: Although "Collinwood" is presented by Warner Brothers in Dolby Digital 5.1, this is clearly a "comedy" soundtrack, focusing only on the dialogue. The soundtrack seemed mainly driven by the center channel, as even the front mains didn't get much work aside from providing a bit of back-up for the score. Audio quality was decent - dialogue seemed clear and natural for the most part, but some louder lines could sound noticably harsh.

EXTRAS:

Collinwood: Uncensored: Not really much about the movie at all, this documentary instead offers footage of Clooney and the cast playing basketball, the crew waiting out an enormous Ohio rainstorm and Rockwell playing interviewer.

Also: The film's trailer, definitions for the film's "slang" and bios.

Final Thoughts: "Collinwood" never really generated any huge laughs in in its slight 86 minutes, but it certainly offered a lot of mild chuckles. Warner Brothers has provided a decent DVD for the little-seen film - there's not much in the way of supplements, but audio/video quality are pleasant enough, given the material. Definitely recommended as a rental.

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