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You've Got Mail(1998)
Joe Fox and Kathleen Kelly are rivals in business: he working for Fox Sons, a chain of discount bookstores; she owning a tiny bookshop of her own. However, unaware of their true identities, Kathleen and Joe have begun communicating anonymously via an e-mail chat room, building a strong and caring relationship without ever revealing their names.
For more about You've Got Mail and the You've Got Mail Blu-ray release, see You've Got Mail Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on February 9, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: Tom Hanks, Meg Ryan, Greg Kinnear, Parker Posey, Jean Stapleton, Dave Chappelle
Director: Nora Ephron
» See full cast & crew
You've Got Mail Blu-ray Review
Another Valentine's Day, another batch of semi-sweet romantic comedies...
Reviewed by Kenneth Brown, February 9, 2011
Before Facebook and social networking, before high-speed internet connections and streaming HD video, before online giant AOL fell to the back of the dubya-dubya-dubya-dot pack, e-mail was already in the process of altering the social landscape forever. For the first time in history, correspondence was free, instantaneous and available to everyone with internet access and a keyboard; an unprecedented, groundbreaking, world-changing leap into the future that, even now, most people take for granted. But few could have predicted how radically e-mail would alter relationships. Identity suddenly became subjective, anonymity was all at once a common trait, names and faces were rapidly being replaced with usernames and avatars. And wherever miscommunication and misrepresentation reside, dear readers, the Hollywood rom-com machine is never far behind. Enter Sleepless in Seattle writer/director Nora Ephron's You've Got Mail...
In the safety of cyberspace, "NY152" and "Shopgirl" are slowly falling in love. In the all-too-real world, "NY152" is mega-chain bookstore manager Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) and "Shopgirl" is independent corner bookstore owner Kathleen Kelly (Meg Ryan), and the two couldn't despise each other more. The rub? Because Joe and Kathleen have struck up an anonymous online relationship, neither one realizes they're conversing with their business rival and sworn enemy. It doesn't take a film scholar to see how this one will play out. Kathleen's small shop begins to struggle the moment Joe's store opens down the street, the two exchange harsh words and, eventually, engage in an all-out media war. Meanwhile, "NY152" and "Shopgirl" grow closer with each passing day until the seemingly perfectly matched pair inevitably muster up the courage to meet face-to-face. What follows is as bittersweet, saccharine and improbably romantic as it comes, albeit to the film's benefit and detriment.
A loose remake of Ernst Lubitsch's 1940 romantic comedy, The Shop Around the Corner, You've Got Mail plays its cards close to the chest, all but reveling in Joe and Kathleen's potentially disastrous courtship. Ephron even manages to keep the two talon-bearing lovebirds likable; no small feat considering Joe is essentially an integral part of a faceless Big Business Bully muscling its competition out of the game and Kathleen is, in no short order, cheating on her boyfriend (Greg Kinnear), developing a serious case of self-righteousness and failing her faithful employees (Steve Zahn, Jean Stapleton and Heather Burns). Ephron dispatches pithy dialogue as effortlessly as Hanks and Ryan dispense with their pleasantries and weaves a breezy but grounded tale of star-crossed cyber-lovers that's both funny and infectious. Even when her storytelling languishes, her characters prevail; even when the extent of Joe and Kathleen's mistaken identities becomes unnecessarily convoluted, she keeps a steady hand at the helm. And with Hanks and Ryan to either side, the trio forge an ahead-of-its-time romantic comedy that, minus the abundance of '90s dial-up terminology and technology, feels more relevant today than it did in 1998.
But You've Got Mail is no Sleepless in Seattle. Its sweetness derives from happenstance, not design; its romance is born from adversity, not sorrow; its laughs stem from confusion, not insecurity, and it's a lesser film as a result. Hanks and Ryan's undeniable on-screen chemistry is also smothered by an influx of tiny (and unfortunately necessary) twists, turns, subplots and contrivances that simultaneously undermine the stars' deceptively simple performances and weaken the thrust of Ephron's story. It isn't a mediocre genre pic by any stretch of the imagination, but it isn't a classic either. Clinging to convention in spite of its then-fresh ideas, it doesn't pluck heartstrings with the same elegance as Sleepless in Seattle and runs on fumes for the better part of what amounts to a somewhat convoluted second act. That doesn't mean it should be abandoned in the catalog wilderness though. Even with thirteen-years under its belt, there's still enough blood pumping through its veins to leave an impression on modern viewers, particularly when this year's Valentine's Day alternatives are misfires like You Again, Life As We Know It and... um, I Spit on Your Grave (not exactly the Day of the Woman she's hoping you'll treat her to). You've Got Mail may not earn a sacred spot on your shelves, but it deserves your consideration.
You've Got Mail Blu-ray, Video Quality
Sunny and inviting, Warner's commendable 1080p/AVC-encoded transfer delivers a pleasant but slightly flawed presentation that shows some signs of its age. While black levels struggle to commit, John Lindley's seasonal colors are enchanting, fleshtones are attractive (despite some intermittent oversaturation) and contrast is delightful from beginning to end. Detail is also impressive, even though some softness prevents every shot from living up to the standards set by its most refined scenes. Object definition is clean, fine textures are reasonably resolved and delineation is, by and large, more revealing than I expected. Those who spend any significant time with You've Got Mail will start to notice its wrinkles though. Some obvious ringing proves to be a regular distraction, the film's grainfield is a tad sporadic, and small, infrequent bursts of artifacts will catch the eyes of diligent videophiles. Otherwise, there isn't really much to complain about that isn't inherent to Lindley's at-times soft photography. Serious problems are few and far between and the biggest criticism I can muster is that the presentation is dated (for lack of a better term). All things considered, rom-com fans won't bat an eye, especially those who compare the Blu-ray release to its homely DVD counterpart.
You've Got Mail Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Warner's DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track doesn't have much to offer, aside from a cheery but overly conventional romantic comedy mix. Dialogue, the film's most winning sonic feature, is clean, intelligible and well-prioritized, effects are crisp and precise, and George Fenton's playful score makes its way across the soundfield in due time. The rear speakers aren't aggressive at all -- this is a front-heavy affair through and through -- but they aren't silent either. Although some affable ambience and cozy acoustics warrant a nod, little else stands out. The same could be said of the LFE channel. Its earnest efforts are certainly appreciated, but it doesn't attract the sort of attention that will earn it any lasting affection. Not that rom-com regulars will expect much more. You've Got Mail is a chatty genre pic and Warner's lossless mix, however humble, handles everything Ephron tosses its way with relative ease.
You've Got Mail Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Blu-ray edition of You've Got Mail ports over nearly all of the special features from the film's 2008 Deluxe Edition DVD release, including a second full-length film: The Shop Around the Corner starring none other than Jimmy Stewart. You have to toss in the 2-disc set's standard DVD to find it, but considering Warner's $15 price point, I doubt many people will complain.
You've Got Mail Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
You've Got Mail attempts to capitalize on Hanks and Ryan's Sleepless in Seattle chemistry but never quite taps into its predecessor's breezy Northwestern magic. More timely than timeless, it's a sweet and funny romantic comedy and nothing more. Warner's Blu-ray release doesn't exactly excel either, but it also doesn't disappoint all that much. Its aging video transfer is colorful and commendable, its somewhat flat DTS-HD Master Audio track is adequate and its already generous supplemental package even includes a second feature film (albeit in standard definition). All in all, it's a decent catalog release that can be snagged at for a good price.
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• Amazon Blu-ray Deal of the Week: Selected Valentine's Day Titles ... - February 3, 2013
Amazon's Blu-ray Deal of the Week affects selected romantic comedies in anticipation of Valentine's Day. The twelve sale titles include The Notebook, You've Got Mail, Say Anything, Singin' in the Rain, and The Princess Bride. Through February 9th, Amazon is offering ...
• WB Announces 10, Pleasantville, You’ve Got Mail Blu-ray - October 5, 2010
Warner Home Video has announced three "romantic film favorites" (with varying degrees of romanticism) for release on Blu-ray on February 1, just in time for Valentine's Day: 10 (Blake Edwards, 1979), Pleasantville (Gary Ross, 1998) and You've Got Mail (Nora Ephron, ...
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