Blood Simple - Director's Cut Review

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by AaronJB, Sep 17, 2001.

  1. AaronJB

    AaronJB Second Unit

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    I just finished reviewing the new DVD edition of the Coen Brother's "Blood Simple". Such a terrific, tense and atmosphere-heavy picture. It's been ages since I've first seen the film and it really was still so marvelously effective today.
    Universal's new DVD edition is the "director's cut" of the movie, with the goofy opening minute discussion about how the film has been restored. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen edition is not without a few minor speckles and a mark or two, but otherwise, it looks superb. The film's soundtrack is also wonderful - it's not anything that's going to be found too remarkable, but the quality is quite solid across the board.
    The extras are what people might have a problem with. Instead of a Coen Brothers commentary, we get a commentary from Kenneth Loring of Forever Young films. It becomes apparent early on that the track is a gag. While it's somewhat funny for a little bit, I think everyone who watches the picture would have liked to hear from the Coens instead (although I believe they're working on another film or two at the moment).
    Joke extras or not, "Blood Simple" is really a phenomenal picture with some of the best performances I've seen from a splendid cast. If you haven't ordered it, I'd highly recommended doing so.
    My Site: A Guide To Current DVD
     
  2. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    I doubt we'll ever see a Coen Bros. commentary. They share Woody Allen's "the film speaks for itself" philosophy, but they've given it their own inimitable twist. You want a commentary? OK, you get Loring!
    When the recut Blood Simple had its limited theatrical release, Ethan Coen did write a short (very short) blurb in The New Yorker talking about why they had revisited the film at all. I wish I'd kept the issue, but as I recall, he dismissed most "director's cuts" as self-indulgence. I suspect the same attitude prevails toward DVD "special editions".
    M.
     
  3. John CW

    John CW Supporting Actor

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    Does anyone know of the website where this mysterious Kennth Loring first mentioned the commentary?
    I have the European version (1.85:1 Anamorphic directors cut with DD5.1) -- it's not worth me buying this disc for this joke is it?
    Thanks
    ~ John
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  4. Doug Schiller

    Doug Schiller Supporting Actor

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    This is news to me.
    I'm one that almost always prefers a film historian/critic/scholar commentary over a director or actor.
    So you are saying this commentary is a total joke/gag along the line of "Galaxy Quest" alien track?
    What makes you say it is a joke?
    I think wasting an audio channel on a joke commentary is more of a slap on the face than no commentary at all.
    Doug
     
  5. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    quote: What makes you say it is a joke?[/quote] It's obvious from the beginning.
    An earlier thread has the link for the Loring website, but the search function isn't available at the moment. The site contains a brief essay by Loring that's also an obvious joke.
    quote: I think wasting an audio channel on a joke commentary is more of a slap on the face than no commentary at all.[/quote] No one seemed to mind when the cast of Spinal Tap did it. It's not as if anyone owes us a commentary.
    M.
    ADDENDUM: "Search" is working, so here's the link to the Loring article:
    http://www.dvdtalk.com/bloodsimpleinterview.html
    [Edited last by Michael Reuben on September 18, 2001 at 05:39 PM]
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Duplicate (forum glitch).
    [Edited last by Michael Reuben on September 18, 2001 at 05:23 PM]
     
  7. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    Duplicate (forum glitch).
    [Edited last by Michael Reuben on September 18, 2001 at 05:23 PM]
     
  8. Coressel

    Coressel Supporting Actor

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    I'm to the point where no commentary at all makes for a much deeper film experience.
     
  9. Mark Turetsky

    Mark Turetsky Supporting Actor

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    Having just watched the commentary, I'm quite glad it was included on the disc. It's hilarious! It becomes apparent quite quickly that Loring has absolutely no clue what he's talking about (his confusion about what constitutes a plate shot is golden). Compared to many "serious" commentaries that I've listened to, which seem to be vain self-indulgence ("I really like this shot here... Spacey is just wonderful in this scene, isn't he?"), this is something I would revisit to get some entertainment value out of it. Slap in the face? Maybe, but at least the Coens are going out on a limb. If they feel like alienating some of their audience by poking fun at themselves, they certainly have a right to.
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  10. Roger Mathus

    Roger Mathus Supporting Actor

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    The Japanese DVD of the new Director's cut was released about three months ago. It contains the same joke intro. Also on the Japanese disc is an interview of about 15 minutes where the Cohen brothers explain how the new cut came about and what they tried to accomplish. It is a quite revealing interview.
    The Japan disc also has an effective DD 5.1 soundtrack. It is strange that this is not on the Japanese disc. The release in Japan was not by UNIVERSAL.
    I just received the Universal Region 1 disc yesterday. Initial impression is that the anamorphic video transfers are the same. I have not checked yet whether the Region 1 disc contains the interview with the Cohens. I suspect not, as the interviewer was Japanese.
    I also share enthusiasm for Blood Simple. In this early film, one can see some items that the Cohens have successfully used in later films.
     
  11. Roger Mathus

    Roger Mathus Supporting Actor

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    The Japanese DVD of the new Director's cut was released about three months ago. It contains the same joke intro. Also on the Japanese disc is an interview of about 15 minutes where the Coen brothers explain how the new cut came about and what they tried to accomplish. It is a quite revealing interview.
    The Japan disc also has an effective DD 5.1 soundtrack. It is strange that this is not on the Japanese disc. The release in Japan was not by UNIVERSAL.
    I just received the Universal Region 1 disc yesterday. Initial impression is that the anamorphic video transfers are the same. I have not checked yet whether the Region 1 disc contains the interview with the Coens. I suspect not, as the interviewer was Japanese.
    I also share enthusiasm for Blood Simple. In this early film, one can see some items that the Coens have successfully used in later films.
     
  12. Kevin M

    Kevin M Producer

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    Don't worry, I won't talk about revisionism.
    Why wouldn't Universal include a 5.1 track if one existed and why not include the Coen's snippit? Universal is usually on track about these things.
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    "Have a good time all the time........that's my philosophy, Marty."
     
  13. Derek Miner

    Derek Miner Screenwriter

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    C'mon guys, lighten up!
    I would bet heavily that if you're even WATCHING a DVD of "Blood Simple," you're a cut above the average Joe renting at Blockbuster. The Kenneth Loring commentary is aimed exactly at you. Unless you know the basics of shooting a movie or movie cliches, none of the comments make any sense. This also makes heavy fun of the trend of more and more commentaries that just reiterate what you're seeing on the screen.
    I have to say that this is one of the best commentaries I have ever heard. Like Mark says above, the bit about "plate shots" won me over completely.
    = Derek =
    "And now, a rather large cow."
    [Edited last by Derek Miner on September 19, 2001 at 06:37 PM]
     
  14. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden Producer
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  15. Roger Mathus

    Roger Mathus Supporting Actor

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    On Japanese TV there is person who resembles the introducer to Blood Simple. He comes on in library setting and in very serious tone introduces classic films. The idea could have come from there. In the Coen interview on the Japanese DVD of the new Director's cut I recall one of the Coen brothers saying that the project for the new cut was comissioned by the Japanese company that released the DVD. I will go back and re-listen to the interview to chech this point and for what it says about the intro and post here later.
     
  16. Charles de Lauzirika

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    Although I truly adore the in-character commentary track on MGM's "This Is Spinal Tap," the Kenneth Loring commentary track on "Blood Simple" is not only the best "gag" commentary track I've heard, but it's certainly one of the most entertaining supplements I've ever come across. Absolutely hilarious. And it just screams the Coen's true feelings about DVD supplements -- and in many ways, I think they might be right.
    "And now...a rather large cow."
     
  17. Al M

    Al M Auditioning

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    I thought the commentary was a hoot! Did I expect anything less from the Coen brothers?...I think not. It just shows how bizarre the Coens' really are. Having the actors hung upside to film the car scenes, an anamotronic dog, a CGI fly that took so much power to render that the entire city lost power, spraying goat sweat on the actors to simulate real sweat, and so on. I was laughing until I cried at some of the comments. I've been listening to commentaries since the early days of Criterion LDs and it's fun to hear someone make a spoof of commentary tracks. I found it very entertaining.
    By the way, I thought the transfer is stunning!
     
  18. Richard Kim

    Richard Kim Producer

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    I just listened to the commentary, and oh man that was one of the funniest commentaries I ever heard! Especially when Kenneth Loring was ranting throughout the commentary about a
    "deleted scene" about Visser's past and bashing Adrian Butts, who supposedly made the decision to cut it. [​IMG] Those wacky Coen brothers.
    [Edited last by Richard Kim on September 23, 2001 at 04:14 PM]
     

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