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Written and directed by Diane English, THE WOMEN ($36) is a modern update on the 1939 film directed by George Cukor, which was adapted from the play by Clare Boothe Luce. If one disregards the pedigree, and looks at this film for its own merits, THE WOMEN is an entertaining comic drama about the impact of an infidelity on a group of women. Even separated from its pedigree, THE WOMEN remains a film that is far from perfect, but it does manage to be fairly entertaining. There isnít a bit of testosterone anywhere to be found in THE WOMEN and Iíll give the film credit, as it brings together a wonderful cast of actresses, all of whom make the most of their meaty roles.

The premise of THE WOMEN finds Meg Ryan in the role of Mary Haines, who seemingly has it all- wife, homemaker, career woman and mother. Then, Maryís best friend, Sylvie Fowler (Annette Bening), makes a shocking discovery- Maryís husband is having an affair with gorgeous perfume counter saleswoman Crystal Allen (Eva Mendes). From just this one crack, Maryís picture perfect existence shatters, but her friends Sylvie, Edie (Debra Messing) and Alex (Jada Pinkett Smith) rally to support her. Eventually, Mary reinvents herself in a female empowerment montage, but not before audience members start looking at their watches. The truly solid cast of THE WOMEN also features Bette Midler, Candice Bergen, Carrie Fisher, Cloris Leachman, Debi Mazar, India Ennenga, Natasha Alam, Ana Gasteyer and Joanna Gleason.

New Line Home Entertainment has made THE WOMEN available on Blu-ray Disc in a 1.78:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the VC-1 codec. The 1080p presentation is nice, but unremarkable for a high definition release. Perhaps the flat, sitcom style cinematography has more to do with why THE WOMEN rather looks fairly pedestrian on Blu-ray, rather than any flaw in the transfer. Considering the talent in front of the camera, the photographic style should be a lot glossier and more attractive than what we have here. Image sharpness and detail are really quite good, but there is nothing about the filmís look that leaps out. Colors have a nice level of saturation and natural looking flesh tones. Black, whites and contrast are fine. The elements from which THE WOMEN has been mastered demonstrate virtually no imperfections. A mild grain is present.

THE WOMEN is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby Digital 640kbps soundtrack. No surprises here, THE WOMEN comes with a fairly standard, talky, dramady mix. Most of the sonic information is localized front and center. An occasional sound does find its way to the outlying channels. However, pretty much of what one will hear beyond the center channel is ambience and musical fill. Fidelity is okay, as the there isnít very much to place demands on the lossy encode. No other language tracks have been included on the disc, but English subtitles are provided.

The interactive menus allow one access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the following Featurettes: The Women, The Legacy (eighteen minutes) and Behind The Women (nineteen minutes). Some Deleted Scenes close out the extras.

THE WOMEN is a fairly entertaining remake of a classic, which benefits from a terrific ensemble of actresses. The Blu-ray presentation is certainly highly competent, but can't deliver anything more than what is contained in the original cinematography.



The Women [Blu-ray] (2008)


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2008 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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