DVDs & Blu-rays: David Arquette's Black Limousine, Amy Poehler's Freak Dance and Kenneth Lonergan's Margaret
Black Limousine stars David Arquette, Bijou Phillips and Nicholas Bishop; Carl Colpaert directs.
It's taken two years for Black Limousine to be released on DVD. And at times, it seems to be taking about that much time for the story to get underway. (Believe it or not, that's actually not a knock.)
David Arquette is Jack MacKenzie. Formerly a big deal Hollywood composer with a happy family, he's hit the skids. He lost his daughter in a car accident, which his now-ex wife blamed him for. Grief made him turn to alcohol which greased the wheels on his downward slide. Basically, he's a mess. In a last ditch effort, he's taken a job as a limo driver. "Don't let your dreams interfere with the driving," his new boss tells him. No, of course not, he replies. But that's a lie and both of them know it.
The 2010 film won the Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature at the Santa Cruz Film Festival in 2011 and Arquette is the reason why. He is subtle and accurate, and slowly falls apart before our eyes. We should emphasize the word "slowly." This is not a fast, action packed film with a quick payoff. Instead Black Limousine quietly ensnares you with one heartbreaking moment after another.
There are no special features on the DVD release.
Freak Dance stars Amy Poehler, Michael Cassady, and Megan Heyn; Matt Besser and Neil Mahoney direct.
Fans of Amy Poehler will like Freak Dance, a ridiculous, over-the-top parody of dance films. Poehler is a rich, uptight mom with a sexy daughter, Cocolonia (played by Megan Heyn). Cocolonia is hell bent on street dancing ... or is it dance fighting? It's some such nonsense. Anyway, she hooks up with Funky Bunch (played by Michael Cassady - please nobody ask a bunch of what), and his Fantaseez Crew to save their community center by winning an underground dance-off. What's it going to take to win - the Freak Dance, of course.
The Upright Citizens Brigade, including founders Poehler (Parks and Recreation) and Horatio Sanz (Saturday Night Live), is behind all this silliness. There's lots and lots of overacting, impossible situations and broadly drawn characters. It makes for a good giggle. The funny thing is, there's actually some good dancing going on (hey, it's hard to look that stupid and stay on the beat at the same time).
Extras on the DVD include deleted and extended scenes, audio commentary by the directors and the featurette - we kid you not - The Dangers of Freak Dancing.
On a completely different note, Margaret is released today. We can't exactly recommend it, since like most of America, we haven't seen it (more on that later), but it seems to be too important a film to ignore. Directed by Kenneth Lonergan (You Can Count on Me) the film has been called a masterpiece ... and a mess.The victim of an art vs. money struggle between Lonergan and his backers, Margaret features Anna Paquin and Matt Damon and Mark Ruffalo and Matthew Broderick.
Paquin is a high school student who causes a traffic accident with deadly consequences.
Lonergan started the screenplay in 2003, and filming began in 2005. Sydney Pollack signed on to help save the film after the plug was pulled on Lonergan (his three-hour version was called a masterpiece by those who saw it but backers wanted a 150 minute version). Lawsuits were filed. Director Dylan Tichenor was brought in to cut a two-hour version; he did, but Lonergan wouldn't approve it. Lonergan finally delivered a cut that was just shy of two-and-a-half hours, but by then producer Gary Gilbert refused to pay up and more lawsuits were filed. Martin Scorsese delivered a cut, reportedly for free out of respect for Lonergan, which Gilbert killed.
And in the meantime, audiences waited.
Eventually, the film was released in a few theaters in 2011. A very few theaters.
Now, halfway into 2012, Margaret is coming to DVD/Blu-ray with Lonergan's theatrical cut and a longer, three-hour-plus extended cut. Lonergan fans are thrilled, everyone else is just tired.