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DVD Review by David Blackwell

DETAILS: 111 minutes, audio commentary, three featurettes, extended scene

STUDIO: Touchstone Pictures

RELEASE DATE: 4-25-2006

"We are the Catholic Chruch. We can do anything."- Bishop Pucci

CASNOVA has a good cast. The way the story unfolds and ends reminds me of a picture the old Hollywood would make. CASNOVA is a fun comedic romantic romp. Heath Ledger is the title character who must find himself a wife or be expelled from Venice. Once he has made his choice to marry the last virgin in Venice, Victoria, he meets the love of his life, Francesca Bruni (Sienna Miller). She despises everything Casnova stand for and is a very independent woman with her own secrets. So the game is on as Casanova assume many false identities to win her heart. Hot on his heels is a Catholic Church Inquisitor from Rome, Bishop Pucci (Jermey Irons in a role he seems to walk excellently through his sleep). Lena Olin (the wife of director Lasse Hallstrom) plays Francesca's mother that has her scheduled to be wed to a lard merchant from Genoa, Paprizzo (Oliver Platt). Heath doesn't steal the show, but he makes a good try at playing Casanova. It isn't his best acting job. He seemed more comfortable as a con man in THE BROTHERS GRIMM. Sienna Miller gets better with each film role and makes quite a fetching brunette ( she usually is a blond in many of her previous acting gigs). The only actor I wish I've seen more of in CASANOVA was Ken Stott. I would have loved to seen him played up against Heath Ledger more before Jeremy Irons walked in to take over the job of getting Casanova. The last 20 minuets are the best part of the film. Saving the best for last is fitting for CASNOVA. It is a better film than AN UNFINISHED LIFE, the other film from director Lasse Hallstrom that came to DVD this month.

VIDEO: 2.35:1 (Anamorphic Widescreen)

AUDIO: English 5.1 Dolby Digital, French, Spanish, English 5.1 DTS

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish

the transfer looks good and the DVD has all of the audio options including a DTS track.

SPECIAL FEATURES: The feature audio commentary with director Lasse Hallstrom is laid back as he goes into several details about the production and offers tidbits of what scenes used CGI, his love for the city of Venice, and some of the production difficulties that befell the film (like the banning of interior fog smoke while making CASNOVA).

The five minute extended scene (Hidden In Plain Sight) is something I wish was left in the film.

Three featurettes on the film (about 25 minutes total) are on the DVD:

CREATING AN ADVENTURE- The challenges that went into making CASNOVA (can't shoot above Venice with helicopters, the use of CGI to help create certain scenes). Everyone enjoyed their time in making the whole movie on location in Venice.

DRESSING IN STYLE- The costume designer talks about the style of costumes for three of the main characters (Casanova, Francesca, Andrea). Also a look and talk about the big ballroom sequence.

VISIONS OF VENICE- Part montage/ part praise for the look and places in Venice.

FINAL ANALYSIS: CASANOVA is an enjoyable film. Rent it now. if you're a fan of the actors in it or loved the movie, buy the DVD.

this review is (c)4-23-2006 David Blackwell and cannot be reprinted without permission (except for excerpts and a link to the review). Look for additional content at http://enterlinemedia.livejournal.com and send all comments to lord_pragmagtic@hotmail.com