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SPHE Press Release: Southland Tales (Blu-ray)


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#1 of 10 OFFLINE   Ronald Epstein

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Posted October 22 2008 - 01:17 AM

From the Creator of Cult Classic Donnie Darko

Southland Tales

Starring Dwayne Johnson, Seann William Scott, Mandy Moore, Justin Timberlake and Golden Globe® Nominee Sarah Michelle Gellar

Arrives on Blu-ray Disc™ on November 18, 2008

Special Features Include the Complete Graphic Novel Prequel, BD-Exclusive Writer/Director Commentary, a Featurette
and an Animated Short



Culver City, Calif. (XXX) – Sony Pictures Home Entertainment proudly announces the High Definition Blu-ray Disc release of the black comedy, Southland Tales on November 18, 2008 for the SRP of $28.95. Written and directed by Richard Kelly, known for his unconventional apocalyptic stories (Donnie Darko), Southland Tales depicts Los Angeles at the epicenter of social, economic and environmental disaster set over the course of a three day heat wave just before a huge 4th of July celebration. This film features a colorful ensemble cast including Dwayne Johnson (Boxer Santaros) as an action star who is suffering from amnesia; Sarah Michelle Gellar[1] (Krysta Now) as an adult film star; Seann William Scott (Roland Taverner) as a Hermosa Beach police- officer-cum-revolutionary, along with cameos from Justin Timberlake, Kevin Smith, Amy Poehler, Mandy Moore, Jon Lovitz, Bai Ling and Janeane Garofalo.

Southland Tales special features include a “USIDent TV: Surveilling the Southland" featurette, “This is the Way the World Ends" animated short, commentary with writer/director Richard Kelly and Southland Tales: The Prequel Saga graphic novel gallery enabling viewers to experience a multi-media presentation of the entire Southland Tales saga.

Southland Tales Synopsis:

On July 4, 2008, Los Angeles is on the verge of a nuclear winter after a toxic explosion in Texas sparks a full-scale war between the U.S., the Middle East and North Korea. The PATRIOT Act now has absolute power and a new agency known as US-IDent has been created, which is in charge of censoring the Internet and using fingerprints in order to access computers and bank accounts. In the midst of this turmoil, Boxer Santaros (Dwayne Johnson) and his girlfriend, porn star Krysta Now (Sarah Michelle Gellar), have written a screenplay about the end of the world. To prepare for the film, Santaros goes for a ride-a-long with a cop named Taverner (Seann William Scott) who, unbeknownst to him, is actually Taverner’s twin brother (also played by Seann William Scott) and part of a revolutionary Marxist group determined to take over the government. To add to the mayhem, Santaros’ script catches the eye of wealthy entrepreneur Baron von Westphalen (Wallace Shawn) who is the creator of a wave-generated source of energy known as Instant Karma. As the real-world havoc begins to collide with fictional Hollywood filmmaking, the film builds to its explosive climax and the various disjointed plot strands are brilliantly sewn together.

Blu-ray Disc Bonus Features
· Featurette - "USIDent TV: Surveilling the Southland"
· Animated Short - "This is the Way the World Ends"
· BD-exclusive: Commentary with Writer and Director Richard Kelly
· Southland Tales: The Prequel Saga Graphic Novel Gallery


Southand Tales is written and directed by Richard Kelly (Donnie Darko); produced by Bo Hyde (executive producer of The Hunting Party), Kendall Morgan (Mail Order Wife), Matthew Rhodes (The Beautiful Ordinary) and Sean McKittrick (Donnie Darko); executive produced by Ernst August Schnieder, Jim Seibel, Judd Payne, Katarina Hyde and Oliver Hengst. The film stars Dwayne Johnson (Gridiron Gang), Seann William Scott (The Promotion), Sarah Michelle Gellar ("Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), Mandy Moore (Saved!), Jon Lovitz (The Benchwarmers), Wallace Shawn (Kit Kittredge: An American Girl), John Larroquette (Kill Your Darlings), Justin Timberlake (Alpha Dog), Bai Ling (The Gene Generation), Kevin Smith ("Clerks" and Clerks II), Amy Poehler ("Saturday Night Live") and Janeane Garofalo (The Guitar).


Southland Tales is rated R for language, violence, sexual material and some drug content, and has a run time of 144 minutes. Artwork is available at Welcome to SPHE Connect. Visit Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on the Web at Sony Pictures.


Southland Tales
BD Catalog Number: 26367
BD UPC Code: 043396263673
BD SRP: $28.95
BD Aspect Ratio: 2.40
BD Language(s): English
BD Subtitles: English (US), French (Parisian), Spanish (Latin Am)

Ronald J Epstein
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#2 of 10 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted October 22 2008 - 02:38 AM

No long cut? That's a bummer. I held off on buying the DVD in hopes that the BD or other subsequent special edition would have a version that, maybe, made a little more sense.

I'll probably get it anyway; it's beautiful, there are some hilarious bits in it, and it may just have the best performance Seann William Scott has ever given (not damning with faint praise, he's legitimately very good here).
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#3 of 10 OFFLINE   Jari

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Posted October 22 2008 - 06:05 AM

This will be mine! Love this movie. While watching dvd version a while back I was hoping this would be Blu soon.

#4 of 10 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted October 22 2008 - 09:46 AM

"no long cut"?

it's already 2 hrs 24 mins and 3 weeks long.

this movie needs to be re-cut and maybe re-filmed to make any sense.

I was severely disappointed in this movie especially as a follow up to Donnie Darko
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#5 of 10 OFFLINE   Justin_S

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Posted October 22 2008 - 10:33 AM

I too was hoping for the original cut, especially since I already bought the theatrical version on standard DVD mere months ago. If they were only going to release the theatrical cut on BR, I wish they'd just done that in the first place and saved me money. But yeah, I'll get this. I love the film, and the DVD transfer is just beautiful, so I can only imagine how lovely the BR will look.

#6 of 10 OFFLINE   DavidS

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Posted October 31 2008 - 08:17 AM

In related news, Fox just announced Donnie Darko on Blu-ray, for February 10, 2009. I'm hoping this set has both versions of the film...

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#7 of 10 OFFLINE   Elijah Sullivan

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Posted November 01 2008 - 08:33 AM

I'm also passing because this doesn't contain at the very least some deleted scenes. It seems plain to me that the Cannes cut will get a deluxe release at some point. In the meantime, the current version is still a mixed bag of the inspired and the lame, just like Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut. Unfortunate that Kelly has consistently revisited both of his two films and managed to do harm on both occasions (in my opinion).

While I agree this film was too long, I'd rather see a version that was too long and made sense than an abbreviation for the ADD-impaired.

#8 of 10 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted November 03 2008 - 03:20 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Elijah Sullivan
I'm also passing because this doesn't contain at the very least some deleted scenes. It seems plain to me that the Cannes cut will get a deluxe release at some point. In the meantime, the current version is still a mixed bag of the inspired and the lame, just like Donnie Darko: The Director's Cut. Unfortunate that Kelly has consistently revisited both of his two films and managed to do harm on both occasions (in my opinion).

"Consistently"? Whether or not the films are better or worse in the different versions, I don't know if it's really fair to say that he consistently re-edits the films. For "Donnie Darko", it was premiered at Sundance in a longer version that ended up selling for theatrical distribution -- and as part of that deal, Kelly had to cut the picture's length down to the version that was first issued in theaters and DVDs in 2001. The 2004 "director's cut" more or less puts the film back to its pre-release cut, adds a few new special effects, includes songs that they couldn't afford the rights to the first time around but had always been meant to be part of the film, and finally gives the film a better than decent sound mix. So there are two different versions commercially available, the director's cut being something that the studio approached Kelly about doing, and not vice versa.

For "Southland Tales", the version shown at Cannes was unfinished (missing VFX work, completed sound design, etc.) and not commercially released. The only version that has been released is a shortened though technically completed edition. Most people have only ever had access to this latter version. He hasn't gone back to it since, at least not yet, so the shorter version shouldn't be considered a re-visioning of an earlier, completed version; it should be considered the one and only commercially available, finished version of the film, which it is.

I'm sorry for being overly nitpicky (it is Monday morning), but I just don't think it's fair to put Kelly in the same grouping of people who "consistently" revisit their work - we don't need to sidetrack this thread by naming all of those usual suspects, but I wouldn't put Kelly on that list.

At any rate... for a film that absolutely flopped critically and commercially in theaters and was afforded not much more than a bare-bones DVD release, for Sony to even spend the money to make a Blu-ray of any version of the film is a big deal, I think. That they went and put the prequel graphic novels on there as a bonus feature, as well as a previously unavailable director's commentary, makes this seem like a pretty substantial release for a film that no one would be surprised if it didn't get a Blu-ray release at all. And, as in the case with Darko, if all of a sudden people start buying this thing on Blu-ray and DVD, maybe then Kelly will be given a chance to complete a longer version, if he's even interested. Frankly, I really enjoyed the film, but I can't imagine a longer version satisfying everyone or turning a film that won't appeal to a lot of people into something everyone will love. I think the few die-hard fans of this film will love seeing extra footage and it will enhance their appreciation of it, I think casual viewers won't care, and to anyone that thought the movie didn't make sense or didn't like it, I don't think added footage is gonna help. This is truly one of those "you either get it or you don't" kind of films ("getting it" not necessarily meaning that the plot was crystal clear to you but that the vibe carried through and that it was a thrill ride from start to finish).

#9 of 10 OFFLINE   Jonathon M

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Posted November 03 2008 - 04:24 AM

While I loved Donnie Darko, and loathed the Director's Cut of it (I felt the cover should be bright yellow and have been retitled Donnie Darko for Dummies, among other issues I had with the cut), I wanted to love Southland Tales, I really did.

At the end of the day, it was like a two hour train wreck for me, but one that I never paused or lost interest in.

I'll probably get it. It'd be interesting to hear what Kelly has to say on the commentary.

Then again, I feel that the less control he has the better. Unless the DD BD has the theatrical cut available to view, I'm passing on general principle. If I can not spend my dollars on Spielberg, Coppola, and Lucas for not releasing (at various points) the originally released version instead of their revisionist cut, Kelly can get bent too.

Of course, if it does had the theatrical cut on there, I'll get it in a heartbeat.

#10 of 10 OFFLINE   Josh Steinberg

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Posted November 03 2008 - 07:55 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonathon M
Of course, if it does had the theatrical cut on there, I'll get it in a heartbeat.

I would suspect a Donnie Darko Blu-ray would have both. Richard Kelly has never disowned the theatrical version; if anything, on the DC DVD, he goes out of the way in his commentary to talk about how the DC isn't meant to replace the theatrical version, that he's grateful that so many people embraced his film in the first place, etc., which I think is the right attitude to have.

I like both cuts, for different reasons... my ideal cut would probably be the DC with about a minute of little trims here and there cut out. If I'm showing the movie to someone who's never seen it before, I always show the theatrical version first.

My feeling about the DC of DD is this: imagine you've got a story you want to tell, and after all of the work it takes to find financing, to get the movie cast, and to go out and film it, you think you've gotten it. You put the movie together, you show it at some festivals, and it goes over well and someone buys it... fantastic. But see, the thing is, you made a movie about something very specific, but the distributor wants the film to run about 15 minutes shorter, so they give you a choice: either you cut it down, or we will. I'd probably choose to do it myself as well. Anyhow, what you end up with is a film that is way more ambiguous than you ever intended. It comes out, flops in theaters but becomes a massive cult hit, and everywhere you go, you keep hearing people talk about how much they loved the movie, how they love to debate what it's trying to say, how the best thing about it is that it's open for interpretation... and imagine how frustrating that might feel if you never intended to make a film that was ambiguous or that left things up to the viewer's imagination. Imagine you made a film that had a very concrete story to tell, with a very clear introduction, build-up and resolution, but no one got to see it that way. As much as I'd appreciate all of the critical acclaim and cult worship status, part of me I think would cringe a little inside everytime I overheard someone talk about how great it was that so much was left for interpretation, when I never intended it to be that way.

...which brings up an interesting question to which there is no answer, that is, who knows better in these cases? Are studios always wrong for wanting a director to tighten a film? Are filmmakers always right for wanting to stick to their vision without allowing for some course-correcting along the way? And, is it always a director being self-indulgent if he's merely putting back footage he always intended to be part of the film and that was originally part of the film when it was first screened and sold to a distributor? Is the Director's Cut really revisionism in this case?

On the merits of that argument, I was able to convince a few of my friends who had previously been completely opposed to the idea of a DC to view it -- some didn't really notice much different, they said it "felt longer" but couldn't really name what was changed... others felt that the movie finally made sense to them, or just flat out enjoyed it more even if it made the same amount of sense as the other version... and others felt that it wasn't as exciting as the theatrical cut.

I'm a junkie for sci-fi movies, and I've noticed that the sci-fi elements seem to be among the first to go when studios start thinking about what to cut. How often do you see someone go out and film a comedy and then have someone in charge decide it's actually a drama and no one should laugh? Probably not very often. But for some reason it's OK to cut the sci-fi out of a sci-fi film. So I liked the DC for being more obviously a sci-fi movie and for giving me more of the unexplained and unexplainable. I loved the added character scenes, particularly the ones with more of Donnie and his dad. And, if nothing else, it was worth it for the far superior sound mix (Kelly himself admitted that they basically had no time or budget for a real mix with the theatrical cut).. the sound in the DC really just surrounds you and draws you in.

But at the end of the day, having seen them both... I can't imagine owning one version but not the other. This is one film where I see both versions as having merit, and where I can watch one without the things in the other leaking over. I'm able to watch the theatrical version and completely ignore the director's cut while I'm doing so, and think of it as a different story. I wouldn't want to not have access to both versions. And I think Kelly is more or less on the same page, and being that both versions have never been available in one package, I'd think a potential selling point for the Blu-ray might be that it contains, for the first time in one place, both cuts. I certainly hope so.





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