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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Love Affair (1994)
Love Affair (1994)
Warner Bros. // PG-13 // January 8, 2002
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Aaron Beierle | posted January 5, 2002 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Warren Beatty has unfortunately not exactly enjoyed a great deal of success in the past ten years. While "Bugsy" was a minor hit, "Love Affair" was a costly misfire, while "Town and Country" grew to monsterous proportions, costing 100 million and stomping away with only 6. I've almost forgotten "Bulworth", which some regarded as a brilliant piece of work, while others completely dismissed it.

There's nothing particularly wrong with "Love Affair", nor is there anything that engaging about it. It's one of those pictures that coasts along pleasantly enough, but there's little memorable about it after the credits have rolled. Beatty stars as former NFLer Mike Gambril, who's currently engaged to a talk show host and has a sportscasting job of his own. On a flight to Australia, Mike runs into Terry McKay (Bening), an interior designer - of course, the two hit it off. It certainly helps that Bening has rarely looked better - she looks fairly radiant when filmed by Conrad Hall.

The film's first half contains some of the film's finer moments. The Meet Cute between Benning and Beatty works well enough - although she seems slightly icy, his smirky humor works on her at least fairly well. Then, the plane the two are on crashes and they find themselves together where they can't run from one another - on a Russian cruise ship.

Before long, we cross the border into melodrama. The two change their lives and leave the folks they were to be engaged to that we were hardly introduced to. There's a few minor glitches elsewhere; Beatty has played this character elsewhere (although with a bit more humor, in "Town and Country") and although they're married in real life, the two leads aren't able to generate the kind of on-screen chemistry that one might think. On a positive note, technical credits are strong - Conrad Hall's cinematography is beautiful and the locations are often stunning. Ennio Morricone's score is also effective without being too corny, although there's some old jazz/blues tunes that seem as if they'd be more at home in a Woody Allen picture. There's also a fun supporting performance from fellow "Town and Country" star Gary Shandling and a memorable small role for legendary actress Katherine Hepburn, as Mike's aunt.

There's something comfortable and old-fashioned about this remake of "Love Affair" that helps the picture to smoothly move forward, but the two leads never quite connect, in my opinion. It's too glossy, a bit too manipulative in spots. Although certainly not terrible, I'm still not quite sure if this was really a necessary remake.


The DVD

VIDEO: "Love Affair" is presented by Warner Brothers in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen. Oddly, the 105 minute movie is offered up only on a single-layer disc. The picture quality of the studio's effort here is pleasant, but really a bit flawed in a few spots. Sharpness and detail are fine, but a bit lacking, if by intention - Conrad Hall's cinematography is gorgeous, but purposely a bit soft and romantic.

Unfortunately, while the cinematography is attractive, there are some flaws throughout the presentation that are less than pretty. Print flaws are visible on occasion throughout the movie, with some minor specks and a mark or two apparent on a fairly frequent basis. Some noise and a trace or two of pixelation are apparent, but thankfully, little or no edge enhancement is seen.

Colors are strong, appearing crisp and nicely-saturated. A instance or two of very slight smearing is seen, but otherwise, colors remained solid. This is a decent effort - certainly watchable and respectable, but lackluster in a few regards. Subtitles: English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Korean, Thai.

SOUND: "Love Affair" is presented in Dolby Digital 5.0. There are a couple of sequences early on involving rain that use the surrounds decently, but other than that and a few instances of music, the rear speakers remain quiet and the sound folds up to the front. Morricone's score comes through crisply, while dialogue and sound effects are clear. Obviously, not a very dynamic soundtrack, but fine for the material.

MENUS:: Basic, non-animated menus which do have the score playing in the background.

EXTRAS: The bare minimum: trailer and cast/crew bios.

Final Thoughts: Hardcore romantics may find "Love Affair" an enjoyable effort and a title worthy of adding to their collection - at Warner's low retail price, it may be worthy of consideration. Personally, I thought the movie was only occasionally effective and Warner's DVD only offers average audio/video, with few supplements. Those who haven't seen it and are in the mood for a romantic drama might want to try a rental first.

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