WHAT'S IT ALL ABOUT?
You might assume that the so-called Signature Series version of Lovely and Amazing would offer you something different from the previously released DVD, which is less than a year old. You might think the film's director, Nicole Holofcener—with her signature emblazoned across the front of the packaging—might have overseen a new transfer from high-definition elements and provided illuminating new supplements and perhaps a commentary. You would be wrong. Once again (see also Happiness), Lions Gate has apparently just spiffed up old material in the hopes of more sales.
Still, Lovely and Amazing is a film that's very much worth your time. This is a warm and edgily observed chick flick that even the guys can appreciate. The film takes a leisurely look at the lives of three sisters headed up by the strong-willed but somewhat kooky matriarch Jane Marks (Brenda Blethyn). As she begins undergoing what will become a painful cosmetic-surgery experience, we watch her daughters take awkward steps through their own lives and achieve minor epiphanies along the way.
Jane has recently adopted an 8-year-old overweight African American girl named Annie (Raven Goodwin), who is the unwitting victim of her new family's sarcastic, anger-prone nature. Annie is at an awkward stage, between a challenging childhood and an uncertain future, and she wears all her faults on her sleeve. Jane's two biological children are Michelle (Catherine Keener), a bitter failed artist who makes outrageously bad decisions, and Elizabeth (Emily Mortimer), an insecure actress with a predilection for lost dogs.
Lovely and Amazing wanders along, not terribly concerned with the outward maneuverings of its plot but rather with the inward tumble of its characters' minds. There are romantic entanglements in the film—involving a one-hour-photo teenager (Jake Gyllenhaal) and an egocentric movie star (Dermot Mulroney)—but those relationships are curiously relegated to sides of the frame, as the camera focuses on the sisters' souls. We watch the everyday, awkward fumblings of these characters, and result is a refreshing honesty.
HOW'S IT LOOK?
In what appears to be a mere repackaging of the previous DVD release, Lions Gate presents Lovely and Amazing in a serviceable anamorphic-widescreen presentation of the film's original 1.85:1 theatrical presentation. Detail is pretty good, but tends toward softness in backgrounds. Colors appear somewhat flat, and grain lends itself to minor artifacting. I noticed minor edge halos in certain scenes.
HOW'S IT SOUND?
The disc's Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track is nothing to write home about, but it accurately delivers dialog—a key attribute in this talky film. I noticed few instances of surround ambience
WHAT ELSE IS THERE?
The only features to speak of are four very short interview segments—titled Getting It Going, Playing the Part, Making It Work, and Enjoying Each Other—involving key cast and crew. Each lasts just over 2 minutes, but you can't choose to "Play All."
You get also the film's Theatrical Trailer.
WHAT'S LEFT TO SAY?
Nothing new to this DVD edition. But Lovely and Amazing is a good film that deserves whatever audience it can find. Give it a try!