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In the Mouth of Madness
Commentaries on this disc:
Director John Carpenter, and director of photography Gary B. Kibbe
Rating:4.0/10 (15 votes) [
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Reviewed by Brian Thibodeau on May 3rd, 2004
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John Carpenter's weakest commentary, I think, was on this DVD, where he eventually just started narrating the film while repeatedly asking DP Gary Kibbe how he lit a particular scene.
The problem with the piece is that it starts out interesting, but very quickly becomes evident that the ONLY technical details we're going to get are about how Gary lit nearly every scene, and Gary seems bored to death with the whole thing, as if leaking this information would cost him his soul. After the first few secrets are pried out, it's kind of easy to figure out how he did the rest of the film. Even Kibbe HIMSELF seems somewhat exasperated when Carpenter asks him how he lit a confessional scene in order to get the pattern of the dividing screen on the actor's face! "Well, uhh, John, I stuck a light on the other side of it..." or something to that effect. This track has it's little nuggets of info, but they are few and far between, as they are on many Carpenter tracks outside of the jovial sit-downs he did with Kurt Russel for Escape from New York, The Thing and Big Trouble in Little China (the latter of which went seriously off topic to no real detriment of the film).
Reviewed by dvdmaniacs.net on March 6th, 2007
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John Carpenter's comms are almost always excellent. Sadly, "In the Mouth of Madness" isn't among them. JC is usually very good when he has someone to bounce off of, but Gary Kibbe isn't the right man for the job, as the talk mostly consists mostly of techical camera talk which many people won't be familar with. It appears that JC and Kibbe themselves get bored and rather do something else. It's a damn shame that Sam Neil couldn't have been the one to have joined Carpenter.
Reviewed by sedna on August 25th, 2013
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Film school in a box. Do NOT let the above two reviews turn you off. As the saying goes "different strokes for different folks". This is an INCREDIBLY illuminating technical track on the film. One of the best technical tracks I have heard because both JC and Kibbe break down almost every shot. While I understand WHY the two people above me didn't enjoy it, it also does not mean this commentary is a waste of time EVEN for people who may not be 'making of aficionados' - there's much people can learn about the magic of filmmaking. If you wanted to hear a non-screen specific commentary as most of JC's tracks are, then sure, this isn't much it. There's not many anecdotes about the making of. Personally I found this to be a refreshing track from Carpenter since he's joined in by a DP instead of an actor. A nice chance to talk technically. The way I look at commentaries, it comes down to personal taste. Carpenter's tracks consist of anecdotes and lots of laughing or reminiscing - and so if you're into that, look elsewhere. Personally I like to learn about how a film is made and so in my case I found this to be a perfect track. It's like a masterclass in film technique.
Also don't be fooled by Brian's comments about the 'tone' of the commentary between Kibbe and JC - they have both known each other for a long time and while it may not be Kurt Russell's loud laughs on the other end, Kibbe doesn't sound at all like he's sick of JC. There was nothing like "Well, uh...I put a light on the other side" comment in that confessional scene either. Which illustrates to me how a personal dislike for a technical track distorts the perception of the entire conversation between the two.
Reviewed by Whispered on March 29th, 2017
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I'm a huge and knowledgable fan of cinematography, but this track was dull as an eraser. It doesn't help that I couldn't care less what Kibbe did, whose work I would categorize as "What NOT to do"; frankly, Carpenter's work started feeling less impressive once he left Cundey and Morgan behind as his DPs. The shot design is there, but the subtle depth of field cues are not, and you can feel where the lights are. Cundey had a way of diffusing light, with foreground cucoloris patterns (window frames, trees) that Kibbe largely eschews for flat bland HMI lighting. So maybe you can understand why this commentary left me cold.
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