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Without question, ROXANNE ($29) is writer/star Steve Martinís comic masterpiece. ROXANNE is freely adapted from Edmond Rostandís classic play Cyrano de Bergerac with absolutely marvelous results. In ROXANNE, the character of Cyrano is transformed into that of CD Bales, the witty and very popular fire chief in a small ski community. Steve Martin has never been better than in his portrayal of CD Bales. Martin is funny, intelligent, romantic and heroic- everything one could hope for in an actor portraying the role of Cyrano de Bergerac. However, like Cyrano, CD Bales suffers from one inescapable flaw, his nose is of impossible proportions. While his immense proboscis hasnít been a hindrance professionally, CD does find his love life lacking.

Things change however, when a certain woman enters the fire chiefís life. Daryl Hannah portrays the beautiful Roxanne Kowalski, an astronomer who has just moved into town for the off season. CD is immediately enamored with Roxanne, however she takes an interest in the townís newest fireman- Chris McConnell (Rick Rossovich). While Chris has the good looks guaranteed to make a womanís heart go aflutter, he is a total zero in the art of conversation. Chris tries to speak to Roxanne, but every time he opens his mouth, he gets sick to his stomach.

Taking another route, Chris decides to write Roxanne a letter. This too proves a failure for Chris, that is, until he induces CD to write a letter for him. CDís eloquent words sweep Roxanne off of her feet, however Chris finds himself with a real problem when he finally has to speak for himself... Steve Martinís screenplay for ROXANNE teeters on brilliance, as he updates Rostandís story, while keeping the nobility the main character intact. Director Fred Schepisi has applied a delicate touch, allowing the romantic aspects of the story to soar. Still, there are moments of inspired physical comedy that Schepisi sets up marvelously. The cast of ROXANNE also features Shelley Duvall, John Kapelos, Fred Willard, Michael J. Pollard and Damon Wayans.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment has made ROXANNE available on Blu-ray Disc in a 2.35:1 aspect ratio presentation that has been encoded onto the disc with the AVC codec. The 1080p presentation is really quite nice for this twenty-plus-year-old catalog title. Image sharpness and detail arenít what one sees in a brand new movie, plus the interiors are a bit diffuse in comparison to generally crisper exteriors, especially the sequences that were shot in bright sunlight, which show the highest resolution and appear the most dimensional. Colors appear warm and deliver a good level of saturation. Blacks are just fine, as are the whites. Contrast is generally smooth, while shadow detail is sometimes a bit limited, but usually holds its own. The elements from which ROXANNE has been transferred appear quite clean. Grain is ever-present, and helps maintain a film-like quality.

ROXANNE is presented on Blu-ray Disc with a 5.1 channel Dolby TrueHD soundtrack. No surprises here, ROXANNE is talky comedy that was produced during the Dolby Surround era and features a rather subdued sound design. Much of the sound is localized front and center. There are some channel separations across the front, with very little activity in the rear channel, save ambience and a bit of musical fill. Where the lossless encode helps, is in regard to musical reproduction; Bruce Smeatonís jazzy romantic score has never sounded better than it does on Blu-ray. Dialogue is cleanly rendered and always easy to understand. French and Portuguese Dolby TrueHD soundtracks are also present, as is a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 channel track. Subtitles are available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the disc's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as a couple of Bonus Trailers. ROXANNE is also BD-Live enabled (requires a Profile 2.0 player).

As I stated above ROXANNE is Steve Martinís comic masterpiece. The Blu-ray presentation is very nice for a late eighties film, even if one wonít be adding it to the hi-def demo pile. On the basis of the movie alone, ROXANNE is recommended on Blu-ray.



Roxanne [Blu-ray]


DVD & Blu-rayDisc reviews are Copyright © 2009 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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