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It's the easiest heist plan, the cleanest getaway, the biggest payday. It's the kind of sure thing folks in blue-collar Collinwood call a Bellini, so what could go wrong? In a word, everything!

Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
William H. Macy, Isaiah Washington, Sam Rockwell, Michael Jeter, Luis Guzman
Writing Credits:
Anthony Russo, Joe Russo

Five guys. One safe. No brains.
Box Office:
Budget $12 million.
Opening weekend $75,180 on 16 screens.
Domestic gross $333,976.
Rated R for language.

Widescreen 1.85:1/16x9
English Dolby Digital 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
English, Spanish, French

Runtime: 86 min.
Price: $26.98
Release Date: 3/18/2003

• Exposed! The Secrets of Some Desperate Characters in Welcome to Colinwood
• Learn Colinwood's Unique Lingo with Definitions and Etymologies
• Theatrical Trailer
• Cast/Director Film Highlights

Score soundtrack
Search Titles:

TV - Mitsubishi CS-32310 32"; Subwoofer - JBL PB12; DVD Player - Toshiba SD-4700; Receiver - Sony STR-DE845; Center - Polk Audio CS175i; Front Channels - Polk Audio; Rear Channels - Polk Audio.


Welcome to Collinwood (2002)

Reviewed by David Williams (March 31, 2003)

While I haven’t appreciated George Clooney’s 1st Amendment guaranteed anti-war outbursts of late, I try not to let my politics get in the way of my film enjoyment and George Clooney is living proof of that. I really admire he and Steven Soderbergh for what they’ve done for independent film of late in making sure certain diverse / “off the beaten path” films make their way into theaters, or at the very least, see some sort of limited release. Projects such as Full Frontal, Solaris, Far From Heaven, and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind are some of the titles this group has shepherded to the big screen lately and the film at hand, Welcome to Collinwood, is one of the lesser known titles the duo has worked on in recent months. It’s a small time comedy about some small time crooks who stumble, fumble, and bumble their way through a safecracking heist.

The film is a remake of the 1958 Italian heist flick Big Deal on Madonna Street and for Soderbergh and Clooney’s reexamination of the film, we travel to a working class suburb of Cleveland – Collinwood - and we meet clumsy con, Cosimo (Luis Guzman – relegated to uttering some of the most ridiculously pathetic lines/threats you’ve ever heard). After an arrest for a rather pathetic display of his grand theft auto abilities, his cellmate, a lifer, tells him about a perfect crime – or as it’s known in the film, a “bellini”. The heist involves an elderly jeweler, a pawnshop with a safe full of cash, and the apartment next-door belonging to an elderly couple. Unfortunately, Cosimo can’t pull the heist while in the clink and he gets his girl, Rosalind (Patricia Clarkson), to find him a “mullinski” – someone to fess up to the crime and serve his time for him.

However, the film isn’t so much about the “bellini” as it is about the bunch of dumb criminals we meet along the way. Rosalind’s “mullinski” comes in the form of horrendous amateur boxer, Pero (Sam Rockwell). Pero shows up in court on the day of Cosimo’s hearing and loudly confesses to an auto theft he didn’t commit. For his outburst, the judge decides to throw Pero in the can and then adds 6 months to Cosimo’s sentence just for fun. Pero meets up with Cosimo in jail and gets him to give up the details on the “bellini”. After doing so, Pero is sprung from jail on a suspended sentence and he decides to run with the heist plans on his own. He puts a motley crew together in order to pull the heist off and members include Toto (Michael Jeter), a hunched-over and sweet older gentleman who seems to have trouble keeping his pants on; Leon (Isaiah Washington), the debonair and well-dressed “aristocrat” of the group with a proclivity for knives; Basil (Andrew Davoli), the ladies man; Riley (William H. Macy), the conscience of the crew, a single father, and a guy who only wants the money to bail his wife out of jail; and finally, in more of a cameo appearance than anything, we meet wheelchair-bound safecracker Jerzy Antwerp (George Clooney). As part of the angle, Pero romances Carmella (Jennifer Esposito), a maid who helps lead him to the pawnbroker’s cash through the elderly couple she works for – the ones living in the apartment next door to the pawnshop. However, like the old saying goes - be careful what you wish for, you might get it - and off we go, as the film allows us to follow these hapless criminals as they embark on the heist of a lifetime.

Ohio-based brothers, co-writers, and directors Anthony and Joe Russo do a good job in their big screen debut and have put together an oddball crew of talent to pull off their cinematic vision. The performances are strong from top to bottom and there wasn’t a single stinker in the whole bunch. This is definitely an actor’s exercise and all involved do a nice job from start to finish. Unfortunately, the storyline is spotty at best and surprisingly, Welcome to Collinwood only remained slightly entertaining as a whole. That being said, it’s a quick and breezy ride, ends when it should, and provides viewers with more than its share of fun and quirky moments.

The DVD Grades: Picture B+ / Audio C+ / Bonus D+

Welcome to Collinwood is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1 in an anamorphic widescreen transfer. While the film was more than likely shot on a shoestring budget, you’d be hard pressed to tell it from Warner’s transfer, as the image was consistently strong throughout the scant running time of the film.

Sharpness and detail were fairly strong throughout Welcome to Collinwood and there were rarely any occasions where the image veered from its fine looking course. The film maintained a rather generic and earthy color palette, with overriding dark and dingy hues. Even so, Warner’s transfer portrayed the colors accurately at all times, without any smearing or oversaturation noted. Black levels were appropriately deep and dark and allowed for acceptable shadow detail and delineation. While not overly strong, the black levels weren’t overly weak either and the darker scenes and hues remained very consistent.

Issues with the print manifested themselves in the form of some slight edge enhancement that caused some slight haloing and ringing in a few areas. Grain was noted in minimal amounts, as were the rarely seen flake or fleck. Major flaws such as compression artifacting and pixelation were thankfully absent and ultimately, Welcome to Collinwood was a well-done transfer.

For those of you who are familiar with the film, rest assured that Warner’s transfer looks fine considering the material at hand and while there weren’t any scenes or moments worthy of mention, Welcome to Collinwood looked quite nice and displayed no major issues whatsoever.

Warner’s Welcome to Collinwood contains a workman-like Dolby Digital 5.1 mix that reinforces the fact that the film – and its audio transfer – fit firmly in the comedy genre. Being such, it’s a very dialogue-driven affair and a very front heavy transfer that rarely strayed into the rear surrounds.

Front channel separation was nice, but didn’t approach “action blockbuster” status and as expected, the surrounds weren’t given a whole lot to do anyway. Environmental and atmospheric effects were heard in the rears and while noted and very natural, it wasn’t a whole lot to write home about. The dialogue in the film remained firmly anchored in the center channel and was always clear and intelligible, with only the slightest amount of harshness noted in a couple of areas.

The film’s score from Mark Mothersbaugh (of DEVO fame) was a delightfully playful mix that received a nicely balanced and rich mix from Warner. Mothersbaugh's work on the film was terrific and the score added a bit of liveliness to the film. The LFE steps up to the plate on occasion and emits some sweet low-end, but it’s not very consistent and will leave most viewers unimpressed. Again, Welcome to Collinwood was a good mix, but far from great although it worked quite well for the material at hand.

Warner also includes English, Spanish and French subtitles if you need ‘em.

It’s definitely not gonna take you long to work your way through the supplements for Welcome to Collinwood, as things start off with a Cast & Crew section. Inside, you’ll find filmographies for William H. Macy, Isaiah Washington, Sam Rockwell, Michael Jeter, Luis Guzman, Patricia Clarkson, Andrew Davoli, George Clooney, Jennifer Esposito, Gabrielle Union, and co-writers/directors Anthony and Joe Russo.

Next up is a behind-the-scenes featurette entitled Welcome to Collinwood: Uncensored (12:43). In this particular extra, Sam Rockwell is our guide and he goes around the set interviewing cast and crewmembers with a plastic water bottle, glass bottle, or whatever type of bottle was available to double as a microphone. This must have been some sort of inside joke, as the “comedy” failed to engage me in the least bit. While the answers to his questions by the others actors was funny at times, the supplement failed to rise above its humble origins. The supplement consists entirely of clips from behind-the-scenes and on the set and worked better as a wrap party video for the cast and crew more so than any type of insightful documentary on the making of the film. Fun for an initial viewing and not much more.

Following is a text-based extra entitled Definitions and Etymologies and what this boils down to is a dictionary for the terminology used in the film. As an example, the first word found is “Bellini” and the extra explains it like this; “The granddaddy of all Collwinwood-isms and the dream heist of a lifetime. For Collinwood’s forgotten world of petty thieves, it can be a hope greater than heaven.” And on it goes for 2 pages – just for this one word …

Finishing off the disc is the film’s Theatrical Trailer and that’s all there is. Fittingly, Warner has decided not to invest a lot of time or money into this little-known film and the supplements included reflect that fact. Unfortunately, there’s just not a whole lot here and fans of the film might find themselves slightly disappointed.

Welcome to Collinwood just doesn’t sit as well as some of Soderbergh and Clooney’s other efforts and while it was enjoyable in spots, it remained rather unremarkable as a whole. That being said, fans of the film or DVD completist for any of its stars have a technically solid presentation from Warner that shouldn’t produce any grumblings outside of the lack of extras. A very nice and very solid presentation from Warner.

Viewer Film Ratings: 4.2222 Stars Number of Votes: 9
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