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DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
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Twixt Blu-ray ReviewBlu-ray Fox
Jul 19 2013 01:21 PM | Matt Hough in DVD & Blu-ray Reviews
- Studio: Fox
- Distributed By: N/A
- Video Resolution: 1080P/AVC
- Aspect Ratio: 2.00:1
- Audio: English 5.1 DTS-HDMA
- Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
- Rating: R
- Run Time: 1 Hr. 28 Min.
- Package Includes: Blu-ray, UltraViolet
- Case Type: keep case
- Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)
- Region: A
- Release Date: 07/30/2013
- MSRP: $29.99
The Production Rating: 2/5A writer of second-rate thrillers, Hall Baltimore (Val Kilmer) arrives in the hamlet of Swann Valley to sign some books at the local hardware store (the village doesn’t have a book store). There he hears about a raft of serial killings taking place in the town and is drawn to the mysterious Chickering Hotel where a dozen children were murdered in the past and where Edgar Allan Poe once stayed, now boarded up and inhabited by ghosts so the townsfolk say. Sheriff Bobby LaGrange (Bruce Dern) has his hands full with the local killings but is distracted by Baltimore’s celebrity and wants to team up with him in writing a book, this one about vampire executioners (all of his other books had been about witches). Baltimore’s publisher offers him a $10,000 advance for the idea (which Baltimore immediately sends to his estranged wife (Joanne Whalley) so she won’t sell his valuable first edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass), but LaGrange is incensed when he isn’t offered half of that money and turns against Baltimore just when he needs him most for inspiration.
Francis Ford Coppola’s script is based on a dream he had, and like most dreams, it’s a mixture of the specific and the ambiguous. This uncertainty carries over to the film constantly so that whether we’re inside Baltimore’s dreams or inside the “real” world, we’re never quite sure what it’s all about and what’s tying things together. Those expecting a taut mystery/thriller about that serial killer investigation are going to be sorely disappointed (we do find out who done it at the end, but it’s a throwaway of no consequence), and the many dreams that make up the bulk of the film have some gothic atmosphere and occasionally interesting visuals (Edgar Allan Poe drifts in and out of the action commenting on how his various women in his stories and poems were all based on his tragic child bride) but don’t really tie together well at all. There’s a good story rambling around inside all that murkiness and murder, but it’s too disconnected and unfocused to offer the viewer any kind of satisfactory experience. And worse of all: it’s not even scary. By the time a vampire actually makes an appearance, we’ve long since stopped caring.
Val Kilmer is given an impossible role to act (it’s no wonder at one point he falls back on doing impressions of Brando and James Mason) and looks rather at sea for much of the movie. Bruce Dern plays his demented sheriff overly broadly, but at least it’s entertaining within the bounds of this untidy movie. Ben Chaplin’s Edgar Allan Poe is very enjoyable even if his presence never makes sense in the dreams where he appears, and David Paymer as Baltimore’s publisher gives his usual meat and potatoes performance of solid if uninspired normalcy. Elle Fanning as the dead girl V and Alden Ehrenreich as local bad boy Flamingo act their weird cameos vividly even without having logical characters to play. Anthony Fusco as the demented pastor who killed all those children years ago and Bruce A. Miroglio as slow-witted Deputy Arbus lend whatever support they can.
Video Rating: 4.5/5 3D Rating: NA
The film has been framed at 2.00:1 and is presented in 1080p using the AVC codec. Shot digitally, the film’s close-ups and medium shots are sharp and nicely detailed, and the color variations between the dreams (mostly monochromatic with splashes of color) and real life are handled masterfully. Long shots can look a little soft and nondescript, but flesh tones in the real world scenes are apt. Black levels are excellent. For theaters, there were two 3D sequences, but the film has been released here strictly in 2D The film has been divided into 24 chapters.
Audio Rating: 4.5/5The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix begins very impressively with atmospheric use of the fronts and rears surrounding the listener with moody music (score by Osvaldo Golijov, and Dan Deacon) and split effects. There is also some impressive directionalized dialogue used which adds to the film’s creepy factor. But these are not consistently utilized throughout the film despite its excellent fidelity and always understandable dialogue.
Special Features: 1/5Twixt – A Documentary (37:42, HD): Coppola’s granddaughter Gia Coppola shot this behind-the-scenes look at the making of the film with her grandfather describing his original dream that was the inspiration for the movie and following with brief interviews with cast and crew and scenes of them working on the picture.
Promo Trailers (HD): Carrie, Stoker, 12 Rounds 2, Phantom, A Good Day to Die Hard, The Americans: Season 1.