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Sarah Michelle Gellar

Sarah Michelle Gellar - "The Return" Movie - DVD - Dvdtalk.com Review

Saturday 3 March 2007, by Webmaster

Another actress, who actually has a name to care for is Sarah Michelle Gellar and there are not no many accomplishes films at her but an few I can probably enjoy. The talent agent found Gellar a young age and made her screen debut at 6 of each of the 1983 television film An Invasion of Privacy. With all the promise she showed, Barrymore starred as Hannah in the teen drama series "Swans Crossing" (1992) but it was her portrayal of a young and callous rich girl in Al-Lucinda Kendall Hart on ABC daytime soap opera "All My Children" (1993-93), that won her Daytime Emmy Award and spring-boarded her to stardom.

SMG’s real mark worldwide, however, was the character of Buffy Summers in the game-changing series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (1997-2003). She won five Teen Choice Awards, a Saturn Award and a Golden Globe nomination for her role, establishing herself as a cultural phenomenon. Sarah Michelle Gellar likewise has the box office to back her up, with “I Know What You Did Last Summer” 1997), “Scream 2” (1997), “Cruel Intentions” (1999)and way movies like those that help prove she is also a bankable star as well over $570 million times worth crazy in global gross.

Beyond her cinematic successes, Gellar has made her mark on television, headlining shows such as "Ringer" (2011-2012), "The Crazy Ones" (2013-2014), and "Wolf Pack" (2023). She has also lent her voice to popular series including "Robot Chicken" (2005-2018), "Star Wars Rebels" (2015-2016), and "Masters of the Universe: Revelation" (2021).

In 2015, Gellar ventured into the entrepreneurial world by co-founding Foodstirs, an e-commerce baking company, and published her own cookbook, "Stirring Up Fun with Food," in 2017. Gellar is also known for her close-knit family life, married to actor Freddie Prinze Jr. since 2002, with whom she shares two children.

Sarah Michelle Gellar’s commitment to her craft is matched by her dedication to personal growth and unique experiences. An accomplished martial artist, she studied Tae Kwon Do for five years, alongside kickboxing, boxing, street fighting, and gymnastics. Her dedication to authenticity in her roles is evident, such as her commitment to doing her own stunts in "Buffy the Vampire Slayer," though she admitted her limits during filming "Scream 2."

Her career is also marked by interesting anecdotes, such as her role in a 1982 Burger King commercial, which led to a lawsuit from McDonald’s and a temporary ban from their establishments. Notably, she dyed her naturally brunette hair blonde for her role in "Buffy," and legally changed her last name to Prinze as a surprise for her husband on their fifth anniversary.

Sarah Michelle Gellar’s legacy extends beyond her on-screen roles, encompassing her work in philanthropy and her reputation for safety and professionalism on set. She remains a beloved figure in Hollywood, admired for her talent, dedication, and the breadth of her contributions to film and television.

Looking in the mirror can be a dangerous act, especially when the person looking back isn’t recognizable. What happens if more than one person peers back through the same eyes in the reflection? Asif Kapadia’s supernatural thriller The Return tries to answer such a question. Multiple spirit embodiments and the looming mystery of a tumultuous evening from the past adorn this latest entry into the mind-bending genre. All the cinematic fragments lock together, from the serviceable performances to the grandiose visual style that’s as rich with distinction as it is lacking in color saturation. Where The Return fails to deliver is in a coherent link between the supernatural and tangible worlds, thus leaving an assumed resolution in the dark. Though looming in an irresolute fog, the chills and gritty tension of this bizarre mystery still deliver a fairly gripping tale.

The Film:

Joanna (Sarah Michelle Gellar) just wants to sell.

She is a mid-twenties freight consultant who subconsciously uses her petite, youthful feminism to seal the deal. Her simple life, seeming like an arrangement of profession and seclusion used for escape, hasn’t included her home state of Texas for quite some time. A tip leaked through the cracks for a heavy freight trafficker that calls for Joanna to trek back to her hometown. Fighting both with this decision to go back and with her aggressively enamored colleague who also desires the sale, Joanna hops in her pick-up truck and makes the return from whence she came.

Driving from city to city can cause odd disturbances and fatigue. What Joanna begins to suffer from is an extreme case that must be caused by more than just road exhaustion. Radio stations play nothing but a solitary song, echoing as if through a tin can from the past. That night, as she indulges in a night out with a friend after her conference with the sales lead, she begins to have obscure visions of an event that she never remembers. Amidst such vision, Joanna catches a glimpse of a maroon bar, spilling beer bottles, and the grizzly, brutal murder of a young woman. After a terrible night filled with such stark visions, Joanna begins to seek out the remote location to discover exactly what looms within her head and body.

All this starts to piece together a materializing solution within The Return. Each puzzle fragment holds some connection to the reason Joanna is compellingly lured to this unfamiliar, remote location. This obscure locale doesn’t provide a hospitably warm environment either, from the dusty, broken hotel room in La Salle to the threatening, ominous guy who lends Joanna a hand that evening. Even glancing in the mirror proves mysteriously dangerous for Joanna’s visionary confusion. A mystical quality surrounds these turn of events that are inexplicable by any of this world’s disenchanting excuses. Why does she remember a bar in a town she’s never visited?

Capably performed by supernatural veteran Sarah Michelle Gellar, Joanna tries to maintain her simple, controlled persona while this oddness begins to unravel. She undeniably lends her trust to nobody, not even her father and childhood friend. Though plain in nature from first glance, it’s obvious that a dark, brooding secret looms, stirs, and prepares to escape early in The Return.

Visually, this film’s unsaturated, crisp palette maintains a strikingly intent and vacant impression. Such a cold, dark presentation is enough to make wispy small industrial towns and farmhouses quite menacing. Ultimately, however, it’s this vacant sensation about the film that leaves empathy for the protagonist whirling in the wind. Vacancy is a strange sensation to be left with, especially considering the ethereally filled nature of Joanna’s struggle.

While spilling from the crest with atmosphere, The Return drains all of this bubbling paranormal tension with an inconclusive, erratic climax. In theory, each thematic piece comes together with an adequate twist in the mix. However, the execution and delivery of the finale fails to hammer down the nails into a closed coffin. Interpretation abound, wrapping up this film will reveal an ending that might cause a bit of perplexity and spark a thought or two, but will ultimately lack the vested energy to complete the resolution full circle. Though dreadfully harsh and lacking a weighty punch at the finish line, The Return still serves up an eerie, supernatural trip adorned with an assortment of chills, tension, and discomfort alike.

The DVD:

Universal has packaged The Return in a single-disc keepcase with exquisitely designed coverart. The inner packaging, however, is dreadfully barren in presentation with a lack of any real disc art and accompanied only by an advertisement insert.

The Video:

Stylish, eerie films rely partly upon visual enchantment to engross the viewer. The Return’s visual transfer undoubtedly delivers such an experience. Presented in an anamorphic widescreen transfer, the quality is quite stellar. The desaturated, cold palette retains a chilly weight throughout the film with a prominent presentation. Black levels seemed to fluctuate here and there with a bit of grain, though negigibly. While maintaining a distinctively grainy and gritty personality, the detail and sharpness apparent were mighty eye-catching.

The Audio:

Paired up with the video quality, The Return comes equipped with a highly executed Dolby Digital 5.1 mix. Each channel in the mix is exercised to a hearty degree. The surround channels received a moderate workout for ambient sounds, while the bass track hammered an ample push through its commonplace usage. Dialogue remained crisp and audible, though a few scenes were a smidge muffled and difficult to comprehend. Each and every creepy sound effect, however, rattled through the audio presentation well to achieve a quality aural tension. A French 5.1 language track is available as well, along with English, Spanish, and French subtitles.

The Extras:

Interesting enough, though the extras are a bit sparse, they provide some quite interesting insight into the film and what might have been on the screen:

The Making of The Return: Creation of a Nightmare takes you onto the set with the characters and crew for a series of interviews. Though not void of the typical boasting of the participants, the insight provided from Sarah Michelle Gellar and Asif Kapadia touched on a cluster of interesting elements. The two delve (though only to a shallow level) into their beliefs on the nature of the film’s ending and core values. Many of the remaining cast and crew surface and provide other smidges of serviceable insight.

The Deleted Scenes, labeled as "terror you never saw", are not menacing whatsoever. Instead, the portions and alternate scenes add to bits of character development that seemed clipped to alter the tone of the film.

Lastly, the Alternate Ending is a curious piece. Where the theatrical conclusion has an obscurely inconclusive nature about the resolution, the alternate ending seems to adhere closely to the tone and message of the film. Even considering, as it states, the ending is a bit "too shocking for the big screen", it seems to grip the tone of the film a bit more effectively. Though a few other tweaks and additions in the dialogue would have been necessary to convey the alternate ending, this conclusion seems to be the intended resolution. It’s a bit on the strange side, but still compelling and, in a supernatural sense of the phrase, a bit more convincing.

Though lacking much selection of extras, the quality of what is provided serves up an ample portion of after-film delight.

Final Thoughts:

Though this chilling tale isn’t especially packed with terror, The Return still crafts a rich, brooding atmosphere with visual panache and melancholy, harsh performances. While high on style and heavy on grittiness, a lack of joy and resolution drags the scraping narrative down a few notches. Even so, Joanna’s peculiar story of paranormal incarnation deems The Return an adequate Rental.