DVD Talk: Nine Lives

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Helen8
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DVD Talk: Nine Lives

Post by Helen8 » Mon Feb 06, 2006 10:56 am

Alas, no Jason in the Extras.

Nine Lives
Sony Pictures // R // $26.96 // February 14, 2006

Review by Preston Jones
ADV I C E
Highly Recommended

"Every woman is a universe." These words, spoken about halfway through writer/director Rodrigo Garcia's superb Nine Lives, have considerable resonance by the time this stylized omnibus draws to a close – true to its title, the film explores the lives of nine different women, replete with intersections and coincidences, decisions and reconciliations, beginnings and endings.

Garcia's work bears only the faintest traces of a linear narrative; the vignettes run between 10-12 minutes long and are composed of a single, unbroken Steadicam shot, lending an odd omniscient air to each of the stories. Characters from earlier episodes briefly appear in later ones – time and space are fluid, evoking an estrogen-heavy Short Cuts. Garcia, who cut his directorial teeth on a number of HBO series, including "Six Feet Under," "The Sopranos" and "Carnivale," also helmed the 2000 she-centric film Things You Can Tell Just By Looking At Her.

Gifted with an obvious skill for crafting believable, engaging roles for women, Nine Lives builds upon the anthologized quintet of tales from Things, featuring several performers (male and female) and almost functioning as a spiritual sequel of sorts. As the film opens, frustrated prisoner Sandra (Elpida Carrillo) lashes out during her daughter's monthly visitation while Diana (Robin Wright Penn) is overwhelmed by a long-ago relationship when she bumps into former flame Damien (Jason Isaacs); nurse Holly (Lisa Gay Hamilton) finally summons the courage to confront her stepfather about her emotionally damaging upbringing; Sonia (Holly Hunter) and her boyfriend Martin (Stephen Dillane) are enjoying a quiet evening with their friends Damien (Isaacs) and Lisa (Molly Parker) when Martin shatters the tranquility by sharing an intimate secret.

Samantha (Amanda Seyfreid), a bright teenager, shuttles back and forth, keeping the peace between her invalid father (Ian McShane) and seemingly distant mother Ruth (Sissy Spacek), who is tempted to stray during a rendezvous with Henry, a handsome stranger (Aidan Quinn); Lorna (Amy Brenneman) attempts a reconciliation of sorts with her ex-husband (William Fichtner) at his wife's funeral; Camille (Kathy Baker) spars with her husband (Joe Mantegna) as she prepares to undergo surgery for breast cancer while Maggie (Glenn Close) visits a graveyard with her precocious daughter Maria (Dakota Fanning).

Many of the stories are set at a pitched emotional volume, bringing viewers in close for an often raw examination of dramatic material – Garcia's approach may strike viewers as frustrating, since in some cases, just as things get interesting, he cuts away to another woman's story. Relying upon this episodic structure, he creates little mini-plays that crackle with vitality but also offer a showcase for a healthy selection of outstanding actresses.

Nine Lives could be described as a dour, nihilistic acting exercise, but the quiet, observational truths that power each of the stories suggest there's more at work than simply creating showboat roles for some of Hollywood's great leading ladies – glimmers of hope can be seen at times in "Nine Lives," and despite Garcia's ham-handed attempts in the final vignette to literally draw comparisons to a cat's nine lives, he manages to fashion a sprawling, inventive film that's worth seeking out.

The DVD
The Video:


Nine Lives is offered in a clean, relatively sharp 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer – Xavier Perez Grobet's gritty, evocative cinematography is nicely realized with scant defects visible. Overall, a great, film-like image that compliments the visual tone nicely.

The Audio:Only Dolby Digital 5.1 is offered, which despite the film's penchant for dialogue, manages to feel spacious and enveloping, particularly when it comes to Edward Shearmur's pensive score. Nine Lives won't wow your speakers, but what's presented is a rock solid aural representation. English, French and Spanish subtitles are included.

The Extras:
In lieu of a group commentary track, the Nine Lives supplements instead rely upon a fullscreen Q&A at Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute, moderated by David Strasberg and featuring Garcia, Brenneman, Hamilton, Baker and Mantegna. The discussion and Q&A is playable in three parts or all together for an aggregate of 71 minutes. Also on board are four fullscreen featurettes playable separately or all together -the six minute, 50 second "The Women of Nine Lives"; the seven minute, 31 second "Sonia: Blocking a Scene"; the eight minute, 44 second "Working With One Continuous Take" and the four minute, 36 second "Maggie: A Day at the Cemetery." Trailers for The Tenants, Where The Truth Lies, The Dying Gaul, London, Sueno, Me and You and Everyone We Know, Saint Ralph, Junebug, Thumbsucker and Saraband are also on board.

Final Thoughts:
Nine Lives could be described as a dour, nihilistic acting exercise, but the quiet, observational truths that power each of the stories suggest there's more at work than simply creating showboat roles for some of Hollywood's great leading ladies. Highly recommended.

http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=19974

Helen

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Post by Helen8 » Tue Feb 14, 2006 10:48 am

And another positive one from NewJersey.com:

Mix picks: DVD

Monday, February 13, 2006
In stores Tuesday:

NINE LIVES (2005, Sony, R, $27) -- "Six Feet Under" director Rodrigo Garcia brings some of his old show's lyrical melodrama to this terrific anthology film about nine women (Glenn Close, Holly Hunter, Lisa Gay Hamilton) who are emotionally enslaved to one relationship or another. The stand-out segment features an astonishingly raw performance by Robin Wright Penn as a pregnant woman whose coincidental meeting with an old flame (Jason Isaacs) upends her sense of well-being. Extras: four featurettes and Q&A with the cast and crew.

http://www.northjersey.com/page.php?qst ... FlZUVFeXk3

Helen

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Post by snape » Sat Jun 10, 2006 5:48 pm

Sorry girls,
I just hated that movie... there was no conclusion... sorry, it was so american... And Sissy Spacek..... buuuuhhhhh, it makes me shiver when I see her...
Please don't be angry, but we are different in the old world...
Yours Snape

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Post by Minuet » Fri Jun 16, 2006 9:29 pm

I got my copy tonight, and I immediately watched the first two segments, and then I watched Robin and Jason's segment, Diana, again. It was outstanding. Of course, Jason is always excellent, but Robin was damn near amazing. When Diana runs up the aisle, crying, desperate to see Damian one more time, the moment is nothing short of wrenching.

The only complaint I have is the conceit that it was really the woman's story, so we get a lot of Robin's face full-on, but relatively little of Jason's. Which is a shame, because he's every bit as lovely as she is. :D

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Post by Hilary the Touched » Fri Jun 16, 2006 10:50 pm

I wonder, Min, if that wasn't also partly due to practical considerations, if doing the scenes as single takes made it hard to shoot both actors.

*shrug*
Just pondering...

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Post by Gillian » Sat Jun 17, 2006 10:08 am

Well it is told from the woman's perspective, but I was still satisfied with the amount of his screentime.

I thought Jason's scene was lovely -- full of quiet desperation and longing. Robin was excellent as Diana and the two played off each other beautifully. When she rushed out the store looking for Damian I was damn near in tears.

My second favorite vignette was with Glenn Close and Dakota Fanning. With all the reviews out there, I'm so glad I didn't spoil it for myself. The ending took me quite by surprise.

And my apologies to Aussie but I thought Fitchner' bit was horrid. That is hands down the most unattractive and uncomfortable scene I've ever watched him play.

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Helen8
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Post by Helen8 » Tue Jun 27, 2006 10:30 am

That is hands down the most unattractive and uncomfortable scene I've ever watched him play.

Glad I'm not the only one who thought that. I was squirming in the theater. Blechh!

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Post by sheerin » Mon Jul 17, 2006 2:48 am

I feel so sad if I saw this film first. It makes me very depressiv. Jason was so great in the role. He plays not Damian, he is it. I start crying if the tells his story to Diana. A very very hard movie. A movie to discuss about.

I think they belong together. Much more than Damian an his wife.

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Post by Hilary the Touched » Mon Jul 17, 2006 12:35 pm

It was a very powerful performance, sheerin; I sometimes think about old relationships and the nostalgia one feels for them, and I think sometimes what you really yearn for is not just the other person as they were then, but YOU as you were then.
And that's just gone.

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Post by sheerin » Tue Jul 18, 2006 4:12 am

You are right. If we in a relationship with another one, we lost sometimes a little bit of our real self. We want that the friendship and the love grows and will be for ever. But people forgether in the mean while their own personality. They act not as themselves. They can't do anything without the other one. You lost friends, in concentrating to your partner. And thats complete wrong. Everyone needs friends. But the most people surrender itself, if they find a partner for life. And I think Damian mentioned that if he saws Di again.

He feels sad about his reaction in former times. He menetioned his and her mistakes.

As they start their friendship, their love, they have no chance to win. And thats the thing he mentioned in this moment.

I apologise for my english. I hope you understand my motives.

Love
sheerin

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Quote"I just hated this movie."

Post by Malfoy Grandma » Fri Sep 15, 2006 5:34 pm

I don't blame you for your forthright opinion! I think it is not just a matter of it being so "American" which it is, because I am plenty American and I did not care much about the script at all, just a matter of the whole take on human beings, so sour, so dour, so unhappy! If I had paid closer attention to who wrote it, I probably would not have bought it, but of course JI and his "wife" were great, for the few minutes they were on.

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Re: DVD Talk: Nine Lives

Post by fruitbat » Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:30 pm

There are lot of Nine Lives threads, but this one seems to be the one for our opinions so......

I have a tiny problem with this movie; it is the same problem I have with short stories: I always want more. Having said that, overall, I enjoyed it. Naturally, my focus was one the "Diana" segment, (I watched it twice) and both actors were so good, i wanted to see more, even if the "more" focussed on Diana and was Jason-free.

Strangely, the other segment I wanted more of was "Lorna". I really wanted to know another side to those two very unsympathetic characters. I've always like William Fichtner, well, I liked him in Grace Under Fire, I didn't like him so much as the Snyder cousin on As the World Turns; if I recall correctly, his was one-of those "reformed rapist" storylines. I just checked out his imdb page; he's done tons of work with Jason.

In short, (pun intended Image ) I'm glad I bought this dvd.

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Re: DVD Talk: Nine Lives

Post by Angel Tavington » Wed Dec 29, 2010 1:36 pm

I personally like this movie. And the "Diana" segment is the best part of it, I think Jason and Robin did a wonderful job, the scene between the two ex-lovers is very powerful. Both were brilliant in their roles, they succeeded in telling a story, it sounded very real.


~me

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Re: DVD Talk: Nine Lives

Post by a.p.k. » Wed Dec 29, 2010 2:46 pm

Agreed, Angel.

It's been a while since I watched the whole thing, but I'm recalling that he was in another segment, again as Damian, but this time with his wife (as opposed to his former girlfriend, Robin Wright), and it has a moment, just almost a throwaway moment, when he and his wife exchange a very quick yet utterly heartbreaking look while their guests rant on about not wanting a pregnancy ... and we know from the discussion in "Diana" that he can't have children ...

It was little things like that in the movie that made me appreciate it more.

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Re: DVD Talk: Nine Lives

Post by kjshd05 » Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:14 pm

before the Holidays, cable was running Nine Lives frequently....every time I turned on the tv, it was playing :roll:

you are correct APK, that little moment makes that entire segment watchable....

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