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Laserdisc JENNIFER 8 1992 Uma Thurman Lot#2 LTBX LD

Laserdisc JENNIFER 8 1992 Uma Thurman Lot#2 LTBX LD

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READ THIS FIRST: This is a 12-inch Diameter Laserdisc, which is NOT the same as DVD and cannot be played on a DVD player!

Laserdisc Title: "JENNIFER 8"
Edition: Widescreen Edition (Double-Disc Set)
Directed By: Bruce Robinson
Starring: Andy Garcia, Uma Thurman, Lance Henriksen, Kathy Baker, Graham Beckel, Kevin Conway
Production / Year: 1992 Paramount Pictures
Running Time: 127 Minutes / Color
Audio Format: Dolby Surround, Stereo, CX Encoded
Video Format: LTBX, NTSC, CLV (Extended Play)
Miscellaneous Features: Rated R, Closed Captioned
Distributed By: Paramount Home Video
Catalog / Spine Number: LV 32495-2WS

Cosmetic Condition:
Disc (s): Very Good - Few very light to very minor hairline surface swirls or very light fingerprint marks
Jacket: Very Good - Normal shelf wear, many creases, light scuffs, slightly worn-out corners or edges but no signs of spines splitting

A second look reveals some exit-wound-size holes in the plot, but there's nothing second-rate about the performances or the pacing of this serial-killer whodunit written and directed by Bruce Robinson (Withnail and I, The Killing Fields). Andy Garcia plays a cop whose failed marriage and recent spell with the bottle has brought him upstate from L.A to live near his half-sister (Kathy Baker) and one-time partner (Lance Henriksen). But he has barely unpacked his bags when a routine homicide call takes him to a spectacular local dump. There, amid heaps of detective-movie typewriters and colorful bags of garbage, he kicks up a severed hand. This leads him to reopen an unsolved psycho-killer file--codename "Jennifer"--that in turn reopens some old sores in the department. In the noir tradition, Garcia falls hard for his key witness, who happens to be blind (Uma Thurman, playing against the luster Pulp Fiction would Monroe-ize two years later) and in one stroke puts her life, and his career, in exquisite jeopardy. The plot weaves in and out of logic, but the dialogue track keeps you leaning in for the details. Along with the taut and suggestive work by Garcia and Henriksen (as usual, all skull beneath the skin), Jennifer 8 boasts a giddy-to-behold gargoyle performance from John Malkovich as an internal affairs cop whose head cold only sharpens the resentment he feels listening to rogue cops insult his intelligence.One of the strengths of Robinson's script is the stylish and effective dialogue he gives to his police officers. Most of the best bits come from the mouth of Sergeant Ross, like when he tells his wife he can't stay for dinner because it's "Friday night at City Hall... I've got a chance to frighten the fat." He's talking about securing a confession from a suspect, but it hardly matters, doesn't it? "Where are the ladies?" asks Sergeant Berlin, before a party. "Putting on the warpaint," comes Ross' reply. My favourite line, and probably the film's most ostentatious, is this little nugget which falls from the mouth of a visiting FBI investigator: "You're confused... you don't know if Tuesdays come in twos or happen once a week." It's the kind of raw poetry that Quentin Tarantino specializes in (or at least has learned to crib from Elmore Leonard). Andy Garcia carries the movie on his shoulders. His John Berlin (quite the pregnant name, as the film was released three years to the month after The Wall came down; are John's walls ready to crumble too? Stay tuned...) is a rather complex man, burdened by a shady past that is slowly alluded to, but never fully explained ("I feel like I said sorry on every street in [Los Angeles]," is the closest he comes to an explanation). Berlin is a model of patience and intuition (although I didn't buy the one moment of inspiration that lead him to his key witness; it's a "movie moment" that takes away from the reality Robinson is trying to inject into the film), quiet and reserved for most of the film, but prone to fits of rage when pushed. It's almost like Garcia, fresh off of working with Al Pacino, was modeling his character on that actor's work as Michael Corleone in the first two "Godfather" films. That's high praise, indeed, but Garcia's work here deserves it. Uma Thurman plays Helena Robertson, "the worst witness [Berlin's] ever had," a blind music teacher who may be the only witness able to identify the man that killed 'Jennifer'. And what fates do "only witnesses" usually have in suspense films? They're the next victim, of course! Which gives Berlin a great excuse to stay close Helena, and fall in love with her. Thurman here really only has two jobs: to look adorable and play blind credibly. The first, of course, she does with ease. I've always thought of Thurman as kind of a female-version of Keanu Reeves: she's at her best when not saying much, and letting her physicality and obvious screen presence carry much of the load. Which she gets to do here. As for that second job, portraying Helena's blindness, Thurman achieves some semblance of credibility there. Affecting a dead-eyed look, you believe her as a blind girl, albeit one with startling mobility. Lance Henriksen does what Lance Henriksen does best: he makes a rugged, [angry], misanthropic and misogynistic cop, constantly stuck in fourth gear, come across as rather likable. In his hands, with that map of the world face and baritone voice, Sergeant Freddy Ross is almost endearing. He's a big fish in a small pond, the kind of small town man who would name his boat "Duke" and not think twice about vocally ogling the... of the local waitresses. He and Garcia have kind of an oil-and-water relationship, but Henriksen's over-the-top showiness meshes perfectly with Garcia's solemnity. The one way in which the film doesn't play fair with its audience is in listing John Malkovich's name in the opening credits, and then making us wait eighty-minutes before the man shows up. But when he does, that distinctive whisper of a voice is heard before the face appears, it's vintage Malk. He plays an FBI investigator named St. Anne, who locks horns with Berlin in several lengthy scenes. Watching Garcia match wits with Malk is a real treat, the latter man's cool and whimsical aura offering a perfect counterpoint to the former's repressed fire. In Malk's hands, St. Anne has seen it all, giving himself leeway to toy with Berlin, trying to catch him in verbal traps and constantly rolling his eyes. But, like Garcia, Malk is able to let his instrument loose, erupting in violent outbursts periodically, which show the character's true power. And in a silly bit of business, Malk, for some reason, chooses to play the latter half of his scenes with a rather comic stuffed nose.Being an avid fan of the serial killer genre, I was looking forward to finally seeing "Jennifer 8". It lived up to my expectations, mostly, but for some reason I just couldn't fully give my heart to it. I liked it well enough, but it never gave me the visceral thrill I was hoping for. I suspect the reason for this is that this kind of story has been done many times before, often with much more verve and wit and fun. Seen in the shadows of the heavyweights of its genre, "Jennifer 8" is a workmanlike effort, sure to give a modicum of thrills. I recommend it on an intellectual level, but have my doubts about its effectiveness on an emotional one.


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