Posts Tagged ‘Kevin Smith’

Cop Out

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

Kevin Smith constructs an epic picture-in-picture commentary on the Warner Home Video Blu-ray release of Cop Out, stretching the 107-minute film to 175 minutes with asides, deleted scenes, outtakes and so on. At times, he not only delivers his spiel for the film, but he doubles or even triples his image to talk to himself about the movie and about his own indulgences.

Seann William Scott, who has a secondary role in the film, also recorded some material interacting with Smith, or at least pretending to. Smith’s riffs on the world of movies and moviemaking are always engaging, as much for the speed and dexterity with which his mind works as for the information he has to share, and with the elaborate BD presentation, rather than being an unseen voice, he becomes the film’s ringmaster, taking you through the movie, showing you the choices he had for various comedy scenes and guiding you over the construction of every sequence.

Poor Bruce Willis must have a hole on the inside of his mouth after all of the times he has to bite his lip to keep from laughing and wrecking the scenes in the enjoyable 2010 comedy, kind of an homage to the urban buddy movies of the Eighties (there is even a cheap little electronic keyboard musical score). Willis and Tracy Morgan play a pair of somewhat inept Brooklyn cops, who get suspended for messing up a drug investigation. They must then go chasing after the drug kingpin themselves, because he has something of value that was stolen from Willis’ character.

In any case, Morgan’s lovey-dovey antics are consistently humorous, and as funny as it is for the viewer, it is clearly absolute torture for Willis to try to keep a straight face and repeat his lines while responding to Morgan (and later, to Scott, who plays a wise-talking thief they pick up). Even Smith, who also took credit for the editing, gives up here and there, letting in a smirk or a laugh that is barely in character, probably because it was the only take where Willis had it even partially under control (Smith says in the commentary that one of his goals was to get Willis to break a smile during a take). The geography of the final shoot-out is a little off, and there are a few sequences where Smith’s duller image compositions go on a little too long without variation, but for the most part, the film is totally enjoyable, with one engaging comedic moment after another.

A second platter is included that contains a DVD copy of the film and a copy that can be downloaded onto handheld viewing devices. The BD is presented in letterboxed format with an aspect ratio of about 2.35:1. The color transfer is solid and the DTS sound is clear, although dimensional effects are limited and the musical score is intended to be on the wussy side. There are alternate French and Spanish tracks in 5.1-channel Dolby Digital and optional English, French and Spanish subtitles, along with 4 minutes of Scott sharing mangled New Age proverbs and 21 minutes of eccentric but informative production featurettes.

Douglas Pratt’s DVD-Laser Disc Newsletter is published monthly.
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Superman may live, but not until 1999

Saturday, September 27th, 1997

After moving faster than a speeding bullet to start filming October 6th with Nicolas Cage putting on the tights for director Tim Burton, the film leapt to a February start date, then took a second bound to April 1998. Why? It’s inferred. To explain. Superman Lives has had enough troubles to make one believe that Lex Luthor was an exec at another studio. The original script, by Chasing Amy scribe Kevin Smith, was dumped by Burton. The new version, by Wesley Strick (Cape Fear/The Saint), apparently has struck Kryptonite as well. Then, the production move to early 1998 made the scheduled summer 1998 release date into a Titanic-like scheduling nightmare. So, Warner Bros. moved it to Christmas 1998. Okay? Nope! Resurrected Producer Jon Peters wanted a summer movie! So, July 3, 1999 it is. Safe at last? Warner Bros. hopes so. The Independence Day release date is five whole weeks from the Star Wars prequel. It’ll need it. And if the other studios are looking for a fight, Cage’s Neurotic Man Of Steel could end up fighting the Jedi, The Fantastic Four and The Terminator (T-3) in one bloody summer.
Speaking of The Terminator, I told you last week about the purchase of the sequel rights by bankrupt company king Andy Vanja. Turns out the 20th Century Fox found out about the purchase at about the same time I did. Why does that matter? Well, they were in the midst of closing negotiations with Jim Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Gale Ann Hurd to make T-3 at Fox. Not only were they embarrassed, but they now have a very unwanted partner. The bottom price for the remake rights now sits at about $15 million and is likely to go up as Vanja applies the pressure. And that’s before Arnold’s likely $30 million asking price, Cameron’s probable $15 million writer/director fee and the production itself, which, given Cameron’s history, could push beyond Titanic’s $200 million (low estimate) price tag. Arnold’s new tag line? “I’ll be back-breaker.”
In more Fox news, the studio is being sued by New York State, which is claiming that the studio is in cahoots with Sammy “The Bull” Gravano, former mob hit man, to skirt the state’s “Son of Sam” law, which keeps convicted felons from profiting from their criminal acts. The fight is over the $250,000 Gravano received when Underboss, the Peter Maas bestseller about Gravano’s murderous history, was sold to Fox. Always wanting to stay with the trend, California legislators want to pass the Home Alone 3 law, making it illegal for studios to profit from unnecessary sequels.
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