In Short: I loved this movie! Highly recommended!.
"The Muse" is a wonderfully funny movie from Albert Brooks. Although I loved his picture "Mother", I missed this one during its short run in theaters. The movie starts off strongly and keeps going throughout. I haven't laughed this hard in a long time. The story stars Brooks as screenwriter Steven Phillips, a writer who suddenly finds that everyone thinks he has lost his edge. In an early scene where Steven is having lunch with a young executive, he finds that the studio wants him off the lot. "We'd like you out of here by 5," says the exec. "Brian Depalma needs your office."
His screenwriter friend Jack(Jeff Bridges) lets him in on the secret of a "muse", a woman that has helped him become successful in his career. He meets this muse named Sarah(Sharon Stone) and soon finds out about the high cost of inspiration. His muse wants gifts, has special food needs, and wants a hotel suite. Not only that, he has to explain everything to his wife(Andie McDowell).
I'm not a real big fan of Sharon Stone, but I really liked her in this movie - she's really never had a chance to play comedy and here, she does it like a pro. It makes me question why she's never had the chance to do it before instead of dramas like "Gloria" that leave theaters after a week or two. Brooks is his usual greatness, perfectly shocked at the chaos his new muse has stired up. Andie McDowell isn't bad, but her character stops the fun of the movie a few times.
There are a number of funny cameos, but they aren't the best parts of the film. During the 97 minutes there are plenty of great scenes, and even during the long moments, there's not much of a wait until the next joke pops up. The movie wraps up nicely with a hilarious ending.
This is a very good transfer from USA films, with the exception of a few very minor flaws. There is the choice between an anamorphic 1.85:1 edition or a pan/scan edition - the letterboxed edition contains razor sharp images that have strong detail. Colors are wonderful - beautiful, natural colors that are vibrant and perfect. Strong black level and natural flesh tones, as well. With image quality that is otherwise very strong, I wasn't distracted or bothered by the minor problems - a little trace of shimmer on occasion, and a handful of slight marks on the print used. I was really suprised by the job done by USA - this is the second effort I've seen from them, and I've been pleased with what they've done so far.
SOUND: "The Muse" is almost completely dialogue driven - it's a comedy, and not a film that uses sound too intensely. The score is nicely recorded and fills the room, but other than that, there really isn't much else going on. This is one of those movies where there's nothing wrong with the audio, and my expectations, watching a film like this, were certainly met. Dialogue is especially natural and clear.
MENUS:: Someone did a really nice job on these menus! An animated "muse" character greets the viewer and also pops up when a choice is made from the main menu. Although the sub-menus aren't animated, they are really nicely laid out and easily navigated. I was impressed!.
EXTRAS: Teaser trailer, Theatrical Trailer, cast/crew bios and a short featurette with interviews and behind-the-scenes footage.
Final ThoughtsA must see! I loved this movie!.
The Film 95/A
Video 91/A = (364/400 possible points)
Audio: 89/B+ = (356/400 possible points)
Extras: 80/B- = (240/300 possible points)
Menus 95/A = (190/200 possible points)
Value: 88/B = (264/300 possible points)
FILM GRADE: A
DVD QUALITY GRADE: B+