"The colorful, whirling world of Baz Luhrmann is brought to life in the Red Curtain Trilogy, comprising "Strictly Ballroom," "Romeo + Juliet," and "Moulin Rouge." While there are sticky patches -- particularly the pairing of Danes and DiCaprio in "Romeo + Juliet" --the overall effect is beautiful and poignant.
"Strictly Ballroom" is the problem in Scott's (Paul Mercurio) life. He's an outstanding dancer, but he refuses to conform to the Australian ballroom rules -- he wants to dance his own steps. When he loses his partner, awkward Fran (Tara Morice) enters the scene and asks to dance with him. These two outcasts of the ballroom start to fall in love as they try to win a major competition.
"Romeo + Juliet" gives a modern Californian twist to the classic tale of feuding families and starcrossed young lovers. Romeo (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Juliet (Claire Danes) come from a pair of families locked in a deadly feud, but they fall in love anyway. Their desperate efforts to be together lead to tragedy...
"Moulin Rouge" gives us another kind of bittersweet love story -- a musical rather than a revamped classic. Bohemian poet Christian (Ewan McGregor) dips into the sensuous, flashy world of Moulin Rouge. There he falls in love with the beautiful, sickly Satine (Nicole Kidman), a star at the club, and a well-known courtesan. Unfortunately, their growing love is threatened by a duke, who wants Satine all for himself.
As a boy, Baz Luhrmann grew up around ballroom competitions, which give the heart to these movies. But the soul is in the presentation. It's theatrical, colorful, dazzling to the eyes and centered on classic tales of doomed love and succeeding against the odds.
Luhrmann's sense of the theatrical is included in his direction -- it can be very sharp and fast, and sometimes downright crazy. With another director, it might seem flashy and gaudy, but Luhrmann's unique style works. A particular risk is making a musical, something which spelled death for movies for a long time... until Luhrmann revived it with Moulin Rouge. Or the postmodern tale of Romeo and Juliet, which is imperfect, but still quite pleasant.
The acting tends to be excellent, although the acting in "Romeo + Juliet" is spotty, and DiCaprio and Danes have zero chemistry. But McGregor and Kidman in particular are outstanding, and Tara Morice and Paul Mercurio of "Strictly Ballroom" have electricity and sweetness to spare. The supporting actors are quite good as well.
And the three-DVD set is graced with plenty of extras -- documentaries, commentary on each film, behind-the-scenes peeks, featurettes, and some gorgeous music videos. And there's even an extra disc included with a "Red Curtain" documentary about Luhrmann's style, scripts, screensavers, more music videos, and more.
Baz Luhrmann reinvented the musical and gave his movies a lush, strange look that entices viewers even now. Sensuous, fun and funky, this is a trilogy to definitely check out."
What A Delightful Masterpiece to Own!
Susan Shams | West Des Moines, IA | 02/11/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is an awesome DVD set. It has two of my favorite movies, Moulin Rouge and Strictly Ballroom.
I had no desire to watch this movie as I do not enjoy musicals. I usually get embarrassed for the characters who break into song, but with this movie I was amazed. The acting of Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor (what a hottie!) was superb. I was amazed a what good voices they had. I was mesmerized from the very beginning. The songs are just beautiful.
Listening to Ewan McGregor's woefull voice tell the tale of his beloved Satine was heartbreaking. I was sucked into the vortex of Moulin Rouge. I cannot understand how anyone who watched this movie did not fall in love with it and the characters. Granted the main character is a courtesan, but who cares? She falls in love with the penniless writer and true love prevails, she understands what 'true love'is. From the very beginning we know that their love was doomed, but we still rooted for them, for love is 'like oxygen' and we wanted them to be happy. All in all, this was an amazing movie. I would suggest that you watch it before believing the hype. Amazing movie, I loved it!! Strictly Ballroom
I must admit, it took me approximately 20 minutes to actually get into this movie. I so wanted to shut if off, but I gave it the benefit of the doubt and decided to give it more time. I am extremely happy that I did.While this is not a 'masterpiece' as 'Moulin Rouge', it is definately VERY good. The acting was stupendous. The actors made me feel that the story was very real. In a very 'slight' way, I was reminicant of 'Dirty Dancing'.Scott is this Awesome ballroom dancer who does not adhere to 'Strictly Ballroom' rules. He loses a major competition due to his unorthodox dance moves. His overly dramatic dance partner dumps him right before another major competition, and poor Scott is left partnerless. In appears an extremely 'ugly duckling' who wants to dance with him. What happens next is ..... well, I guess you should watch it to know the rest.Overall this was a delightfully lighthearted movie with some poignant scenes that will leave you teary eyed. I recommend it wholeheartedly.Romeo & Juliet
This was a very good movie. Most everyone knows the story of Romeo and Juliet and this is a good adaption with a funky twist. This was not one of my favorite movies in the set, but as stories go, this was very unique.Claire Danes and Leonardo DiCaprio were outstanding as the star crossed lovers in this newly updated tale of love and woe. They are both fairly young and that makes the story all the more heartbreaking. If you are looking for an old classic with an unusual twist, then this movie is for you.All in all, this 4 DVD set is Awesome. There is a 4th DVD with special inside information and unique interviews. If you like these movies than this is a must buy. I recommend it greatly."
Nicely Packaged Set
Susan Shams | 09/13/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I would recommend this set. If you average out the price, you're probably paying about the same amount for this set as you would if you bought each movie separately. I bought this because i liked Moulin Rogue but didn't care enough to buy it when it came out and I loved Romeo and Juliet and also really like Strictly Ballroom- the bonus DVD Inside the Red Curtain- is ok- you may watch it once but shouldn't be a deciding factor in buying the DVD set. Both Moulin Rogue and Romeo and Juliet seem to have a fair amount of DVD extras (MR has a second disc, of course) Strictly Ballroom seems a little slim, but i haven't watched the dvd yet, just browsed through the menu"
An absolute MUST for Baz fans!
Susan Shams | 09/17/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone who loves Baz Luhrmann will adore this box set. I was hesitant to buy it at first, wondering if it was worth the money. It is!! All three movies are absolutely wonderful, and the extra disk is a great view into the world of Mr. Luhrmann. It's a fan's dream come true."
A Collection That Will Move You To Tears...
Brittany Rose | Winnipeg, MB | 08/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As you watch this collection of DVD's you will see Baz Luhrmans style develop into a well-formed art. As he hones his talent into a unique craft, Baz has made himself a name in the world of filmmaking with these three flicks. All of the stories revolve around intense love stories filled with glamour, great music, tons of glitz, and avant garde cinematography. While all of the stories have familiar echos to other famous films, they are all completely unique in setting and feeling."Strictly Ballroom" is probably the lesser known of the 3 movies in this set, and is a typical underdog dance story, where the main character Scott Hastings is snubbed by a Ballroom dance society for his unique moves. He hooks up with a newbie to the scene and passion arises as they try to work together to win a big dance competition despite what people think of them. The storyline is somewhat similar to "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" but I must say, this is the best movie about Ballroom Dancing ever made...quite possibly the only one mind you.Next we have the Shakespeare remake of his classic play 'Romeo and Juliet' that tells the tale of two lovers that cross paths but everything in their lives is trying to pull them apart. This movie is filmed in a different standard then strictly ballroom, with a lot more avant garde shots and mixing of scenes. Leonardo Dicaprio and Claire Danes lack chemistry, but while Leo really works as the Romeo, Claires preformance is lackluster at times and almost downright funny in the final scene. You have to give Luhrman the upmost props for adapting this story in a way that doesn't make you question the loop holes, including having a newscaster tell the nararration, having sloppy fed-ex message delivery men, and fights with guns instead of swords.Finally we have the finale of Baz's trio of flicks, a more-musical based little ;) movie titled "Moulin Rouge" that takes you to turn of the century Paris. The story is filled with schmultz and love, but that only adds to it. It follows two young lovers (again), one of them a prostitute who must stay loyal to her job at hte Moulin Rouge, the other a young writer with his head in the clouds who bewitches the Courtsean du jour, Satine, and of course, chaos ensues over their tryst. This film is done extremely well, with lots of beautiful effects and over-the-top imagery that exudes love and an old-time movie feel. Definately my fave of the three, this one tugs at my heart strings every time I watch it.Don't forget the great special features with this, that take you behind the red curtain for each movie by gettin to know the cast, the concepts, and the crew. Baz does a great job exploring some cool art forms in each movie: Dancing, Drama, and Music. Excellent!"