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The Hannibal Lecter Collection (Manhunter / Silence of the Lambs / Hannibal) [Blu-ray]
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Witness the birth of evil. This "stomach-tightening" (The Washington Post ) thriller from writer/director Michael Mann (Heat, The Insider ) first introduced the world to the cunning, unforgettable serial killer named Hannibal. Joan Allen and Stephen Lang costar in this "eerie, very intense" (New York ), "dark locomotive of a film" (Los Angeles Times ) that promises to "keep viewers riveted" (Time )! Former FBI profiler Will Graham (William Petersen, CSI ) reluctantly returns to his old job to track a horrific serial killer known as the "Tooth Fairy." But in order to get into the mind of this maniac, Graham must face another: Hannibal, the imprisoned psychiatrist whose own insanity almost cost Graham his life...and whose insights into the "Tooth Fairy" could prove as dangerous as the killer himself!
The Silence of the Lambs
A psychopath nicknamed Buffalo Bill is murdering women across the Midwest. Believing it takes one to know one, the FBI sends Agent Clarice Starling (Foster) to interview a demented prisoner who may provide clues to the killer's actions. That prisoner is psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter (Hopkins), a brilliant, diabolical cannibal who agrees to help Starling only if she'll feed his morbid curiosity with details of her own complicated life. As their relationship develops, Starling is forced to confront not only her own hidden demons, but also an evil so powerful that she may not have the courage or strength to stop it!
Anthony Hopkins is "perverse perfection" (Rolling Stone) in his return to the role of Dr. Hannibal Lecter, the sophisticated killer who comes out of hiding to draw FBI agent Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore) into a high-stakes battle that will test her strength, cunning and loyalty.
Though it will always be remembered as the movie featuring the "other" Hannibal Lecter, Michael Mann's 1986 thriller Manhunter is nearly as good as The Silence of the Lambs, and in some respects it's arguably even better. Based on Thomas Harris's novel Red Dragon, which introduced the world to the nefarious killer Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter, the film stars William Petersen (giving a suitably brooding performance) as ex-FBI agent Will Graham, who is coaxed out of semiretirement to track down a serial killer who has thwarted the authorities at every turn.
Graham's approach to the case is a perilous one. First he seeks counsel with Lecter (Brian Cox) in the latter's high-security prison cell--an encounter that is utterly horrifying in its psychological effect--and then he begins to mold his own psyche to that of the killer, with potentially devastating results. As directed by Mann (who was at the acme of his success with TV's Miami Vice), this sophisticated cat-and-mouse game never resorts to the compromise of cheap thrills. Predating Anthony Hopkins's portrayal of Lecter by four years, Cox plays the character closer to Harris's original, lower-key conception, and he's no less compelling in the role. Petersen is equally well cast, and as always Mann employs rock music to astonishing effect, using nearly all of Iron Butterfly's heavy-metal epic "In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida" to accompany the film's heart-stopping climactic sequence. All of this makes Manhunter one of the finest films of its kind, as well as further proof that Harris's fiction is a blessing to any filmmaker brave enough to adapt it. --Jeff Shannon
The Silence of the Lambs
Based on Thomas Harris's novel, this terrifying film by Jonathan Demme really only contains a couple of genuinely shocking moments (one involving an autopsy, the other a prison break). The rest of the film is a splatter-free visual and psychological descent into the hell of madness, redeemed astonishingly by an unlikely connection between a monster and a haunted young woman. Anthony Hopkins is extraordinary as the cannibalistic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter, virtually entombed in a subterranean prison for the criminally insane. At the behest of the FBI, agent-in-training Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) approaches Lecter, requesting his insights into the identity and methods of a serial killer named Buffalo Bill (Ted Levine). In exchange, Lecter demands the right to penetrate Starling's most painful memories, creating a bizarre but palpable intimacy that liberates them both under separate but equally horrific circumstances. Demme, a filmmaker with a uniquely populist vision (Melvin and Howard, Something Wild), also spent his early years making pulp for Roger Corman (Caged Heat), and he hasn't forgotten the significance of tone, atmosphere, and the unsettling nature of a crudely effective close-up. Much of the film, in fact, consists of actors staring straight into the camera (usually from Clarice's point of view), making every bridge between one set of eyes to another seem terribly dangerous. --Tom Keogh
Yes, he's back, and he's still hungry. Ten years after The Silence of the Lambs, Dr. Hannibal "the Cannibal" Lecter (Anthony Hopkins, reprising his Oscar-winning role) is living the good life in Italy, studying art and sipping espresso. FBI agent Clarice Starling (Julianne Moore, replacing Jodie Foster), on the other hand, hasn't had it so good--an outsider from the start, she's now a quiet, moody loner who doesn't play bureaucratic games and suffers for it. A botched drug raid results in her demotion--and a request from Lecter's only living victim, Mason Verger (Gary Oldman, uncredited), for a little Q and A. Little does Clarice realize that the hideously deformed Verger--who, upon suggestion from Dr. Lecter, peeled off his own face--is using her as bait to lure Dr. Lecter out of hiding, quite certain he'll capture the good doctor.
Taking the basic plot contraptions from Thomas Harris's baroque novel, Hannibal is so stylistically different from its predecessor that it forces you to take it on its own terms. Director Ridley Scott gives the film a sleek, almost European look that lets you know that, unlike the first film (which was about the quintessentially American Clarice), this movie is all Hannibal. Does it work? Yes--but only up to a point. Scott adeptly sets up an atmosphere of foreboding, but it's all buildup for anticlimax, as Verger's plot for abducting Hannibal (and feeding him to man-eating wild boars) doesn't really deliver the requisite visceral thrills, and the much-ballyhooed climatic dinner sequence between Clarice, Dr. Lecter, and a third unlucky guest wobbles between parody and horror. Hopkins and Moore are both first-rate, but the film contrives to keep them as far apart as possible, when what made Silence so amazing was their interaction. When they do connect it's quite thrilling, but it's unfortunately too little too late. --Mark Englehart
Top Customer Reviews
I'm not bothered by the lack of special features; this was such an unlikely candidate for Blu-Ray release, it's a treat just to have the movie in such nice shape.
for all three movies. When I went back to the review I realized the format this person was reviewing was for the Dvd set, not the Blu-ray.
I don't know if it's the reviewer not paying attention or if Amazon just slaps our reviews on any format as long as the titles are the same.
I've noticed this with music cd's too. A standard issue original cd from a specific year, a remaster of same disc years later with bonus tracks,
and another remaster years later with different bonus tracks from a different label. If you go to any one of these different releases, all the
reviews will be the same. The same review cannot apply to a non remaster, remaster and completely different remaster years later.
People reviewing and/or Amazon need to apply reviews to SPECIFIC formats and SPECIFIC releases not just any given title across the board.
The Silence of the Lambs was director Jonathan Demme's academy award winning 1991 classic. The success of the film, however, should not only be attributed to the director, because it was the work of the cinematographer, editor, writer, set director and, most of all, brilliant actors. Jodie Foster -IS- FBI agent Clarice Starling, brilliant, young, attractive (well, not really) and tough. Foster perfectly displays the emotions that go through her character and her growth throughout the picture. Some of my favorite scenes were where she discovers Buffalo Bill (the way she yells "freeze" is great!) and when she stands up to a crowd of men and orders them out of the room where an autopsy is taking place. Anthony Hopkins completely deserved his academy award as Hannibal. His portrayal of Hannibal and his personality was quite interesting. The way I see it, Hannibal is quite a nice gentlemen, but has a very large problem, that being his love for the taste of human flesh. I think you can tell from his scenes with Clarice Starling what a polite person he is. He might ask some personal questions, but the way he talks is courteous and friendly, if a bit intense. The cinematography of the film is fabulous, too. Clarice's descent into Lecter's holding cell is expertly handled, and the near final sequence with Clarice and Buffalo Bill is almost unbearably intense, thanks also to some wonderful music by Howard Shore. All in all, The Silence of the Lambs is a classic thriller which will live forever and deserves a place in everyone's collection.
The controversial sequel, 2001's Hannibal, is really quite an underappreciated piece of brilliant cinema. Ridley Scott is in top form as director here. The movie is overloaded with style of every type. Slow motion, overhead views, stylish flashbacks, sped up film, intense action and a brilliant use of classical music all add up to create an extremely memorable viewing experience. As for actors, they are all perfect. I was surprised to not think once about how well Julianne Moore was doing in comparison to Jodie Foster, and that was because she was equal to Foster. Rather than copying Foster's performance in The Silence of the Lambs, Moore makes the character her own. The Clarice of this film is meaner, more cynical and has a much smarter mouth than Foster's Clarice. This is because Hannibal takes place ten years after The Silence of the Lambs, so naturally, she wouldn't be such a goody goody, follow-the-rules woman. Anthony Hopkins steals the show as Hannibal. He is just as great as in the previous movies. In this film, Hannibal is free and loose, and from Hopkin's great acting, you can tell how much he treasures his freedom. Just look at how he sips his brandy and his cappachino. I loved that Lecter was free to do what he wanted in this film. Critics like Roger Ebert didn't seem to, and felt it took away from his mystery and creepiness. As much as I love Ebert, I must disagree. Having Hannibal out of the mental home was a work of genius and added a ton of creepiness to the flick. I have read Thomas Harris' novels The Silence of the Lambs and Hannibal and feel that both movies do the books extreme justice, and, unbelievably, outdo them. In the case of The Silence of the Lambs, the movie version very accurately portrays the book version. Hannibal, however, was changed quite a bit. One part of the book I really liked that is nowhere in the film was Mason Verger's lesbian, body building sister, Margot. Also, Mason's love of terrorizing kids wasn't shown much in the film. The ending was suprmemely changed, but believe it or not, I liked the movie ending better. Hopkin's and Moore's performances in the finale are pitch perfect. Nothing removed from the book lowered my love for the film.
This set comes with two fantastic special editions. On The Silence of the Lambs, we find two documentaries, one old and one new, with the latter being quite fabulous. There are twenty minutes worth of deleted material. Some stuff was worthless and some stuff was very good, like one where Clarice is suspended by the FBI (Krendler's hate of her is set up for the sequel). There's also a rather funny phone message Anthony Hopkins left on his answering machine. Finally, posters, TV spots and a trailer are presented. The movie is in excellent 1:85:1 anamorphic ratio and has great 5.1 surround sound. The sequel is a fully laden two disc extravagenza which includes commentary by Ridley Scott, a very long documentary, 38 minutes of deleted and extended scenes, trailers and an "anatomy of a shootout" feature. Also presented in 1:85:1 anamorphic widescreen and with really good 5.1 surround sound. If there is any problem with these DVDs, it is the fact that the The Silence of the Lambs disc has almost none of the features found on the Criterion DVD, which included what I hear was an excellent audio commentary. It sounds like Criterion has a real problem with passing over any special features to a different company, so I can't blame MGM.
Overall, both of these films are masterpieces and the set is great. Also pick up Manhunter and Red Dragon on DVD from Anchor Bay and Universal.
If you found my review helpful, please vote for me. Thank you.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm having an old friend for dinner. Ta ta.
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