HTF REVIEW: "CQ" (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED) (with screenshots)

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Ronald Epstein, Oct 2, 2002.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator

    Jul 3, 1997
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    Real Name:
    Ronald Epstein


    Studio: MGM
    Year: 2001
    Rated: R
    Film Length: 88 minutes
    Aspect Ratio: 16X9 Enhanced Widescreen (1.85:1)
    Subtitles: English, French, Spanish

    Every Picture Tells A Story
    Over a month now I have been wanting to sit down
    to watch and review CQ. The problem is, I
    receive so many new titles per week that I had to
    constantly keep pushing back this review. While I
    understand the DVD has been out in stores for the
    past month already, I still didn't want to pass up
    the opportunity to review this film.
    CQ is the first film directed by Roman
    Coppola, the son of Francis Ford Coppola. I had
    heard going into this that it was a very uniquely
    strange film. What it is in fact, is a well crafted
    tribute to the camp classics of the 1960s.
    It took me a good 20 minutes to immerse myself
    into this film and understand what was going on.
    You see, CQ is two films-within-a-film. The
    first film takes place in the real life time frame
    of Paris, 1969/1970. What we are watching is the
    life of Paul (Jeremy Davies), a film editor who is
    a complete emotionless individual who documents his
    daily boring life on film.
    Paul has been given the chance of a lifetime -- to
    direct the super spy film Codename Dragonfly,
    a Barbarella-type science-fiction thriller in which a
    sexy, scantily clad secret agent (Angela Lindvall)
    is assigned to infiltrate a band of moon-dwelling
    Outside of the set, however, Paul's life starts
    to meld with Dragonfly's in more ways than one.
    He sees and experiences events that make him
    question where reality begins and the script
    With a talented cast combined with a unique story,
    beautiful sets and a perfect soundtrack (by Mellow),
    CQ manages to capture the essence of each
    of these movie segments with great costumes and
    sets. Most of all, the film has a wonderful
    nostalgic 60s feel. Even the music is smartly
    crafted to take us back to those hippie days.
    How is the transfer?
    This is one of the moments when a movie depends
    on a good transfer. Fortunately, this is a great
    transfer! The picture is bold, vivid and crisp
    with absolute clean whites and deep solid blacks.
    This is important for the many film's futuristic
    scenes that are filmed with a totally white
    background. Colors are extremely vivid, with nice
    deep reds blues and greens that give the film a
    nice throwback look to the 60s era. There are a
    few minor film blemishes here and there -- not to
    be confused with the intended blemishes that are
    thrown in on purpose.
    The 5.1 audio mix is as interesting and impressive
    as the film itself. This is a very active sound
    mix that begins with nice bass-heavy sound across
    the front channels, with terrific stereo response.
    Every channel across the 5.1 spectrum is used in
    a very unique manner. Direction of sound is
    obviously the utmost of importance here, as all
    the channels are used for unique effect noises
    including voice placement. The LFE channel is
    also very active here, providing outstanding bass
    response. Just wait till you hear the sonic boom
    of a concorde jet flyover.
    Special Features
    It's sort of surprising that MGM decided to release
    CQ as a dual-sided DVD that supports both
    widescreen and full-frame (placed
    on the same side of the DVD). I don't think
    this film will be sought by a wide audiance,
    and really doesn't benefit as a full frame film.
    Besides that, the Special Features get thrown to
    second side of the disc so you have to turn the
    DVD over to access them.
    The supplemental material here is pretty
    substantial for this sort of release, and I must
    add, very interesting to say the least.
    First, there's two alternate versions of the
    Codename Dragonfly film as directed by either
    Paul or Andrejez.
    There are no less than five featurettes
    that take a look at the various aspects of the film.
    Actors Acting introduces us to Director
    Roman Coppola directing Jeremy Davies. Jeremy and
    his fellow cast mates, Angela Lindvall and Elodie
    Bouchez talk about what it was like to make this
    film. We even see some initial screen tests here.
    Chronique d'un Cineaste is a personal B&W
    diary of Director Roman Coppola as he gets ready
    to scout locations for the film. The camera is
    taken along as we view many of the locales Roman
    was shown. Cinematography takes us
    behind-the-camera as we watch how some of the
    scenes were originally put together. Music
    and sound gives us a nice collage of sight
    and sound as we see how the film's intricate sounds
    were all pieced together. CQ a cinematic
    odyssey is an overseas promotional piece that
    profiles the Director and actors while giving us
    a look at the actors preparing for their scenes.
    The documentaries, in total, run almost 40 minutes
    in length.
    Mellow Live is a psychedlic look at a
    performance from a 2001 concert featuring the
    synthesized band.
    Personal Documentaries contain 5 different
    documentaries from 5 different filmmakers.
    Essentially, these are just a collection of
    short home movies taken from the film's set.
    In addition to the film's original theatrical
    trailer there is an extensive stills gallery
    featuring dozens of thumbnails that you can click
    upon to see a larger full-sized view.
    Final Thoughts
    This film is a real gem! I absolutely adored
    it, and am really happy that a member wrote and
    reminded me that this film needed to be reviewed.
    I am going to place it as a Highly Recommended
    title in hopes that the membership at least gives
    this film a rent. It certainly is worth a look!
    CQ is positively a groovy cool shindig!
    Release Date: Now
  2. John Randolph

    John Randolph Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 27, 2002
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    Thanks Ron! I really like the film and also wanted to know how the DVD was, and you delivered once again.
  3. Brian_Anderson

    Feb 22, 2002
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    I'd forgotten about this film and the fact that it was something that I really wanted to see. Thanks for the reminder
  4. Richard Travale

    Richard Travale Producer

    Feb 27, 2001
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    The Island, Canada
    Real Name:
    Rich Travale
    Hmmm, I didn't really dig it when I rented it last week, but then again I had just purchased my new widescreen RPTV(had to wait 5 days) so it was difficult to watch anything on my old 27".

    I will give this another chance though, thanks Ron.
  5. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

    Feb 24, 1999
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    I love discovering films that had missed my radar by reading about them on this forum. I'll check it out.
  6. Ted Todorov

    Ted Todorov Cinematographer

    Aug 17, 2000
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    CQ is a lot of fun, a must see for any Barbarella fans (of which I'm definitely one). I'm glad to hear that the DVD is good.
    Nice screenshots, Ron -- love that yoga pose [​IMG]
  7. Piers C

    Piers C Stunt Coordinator

    Jun 3, 2002
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    For those who missed its theater run I'd recommend a rental first. Even if you have a love of '60s cinema, its still something of hit & miss.

    Personally, I found Jeremy Davies really flat. From Roman Coppola's commentary, it appears that this was intended. Davies is such a major focus of the film, and in many respects a stand-in for the director, that this took away from my enjoyment. Considering Coppola's family background & strong crew/cast I expected much more on this first outing.

    The DVD is well put together but sometimes goes a bit overboard, especially the "personal docs." Its easy to overlook this, as the DVD's extra features have a flair and sense of fun that is missing from most releases.

    I highly recommend the soundtrack -- its available on CD.
  8. Steve Spin

    Steve Spin Extra

    Nov 4, 2001
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    Great Review thank you![​IMG]
  9. Jenna

    Jenna Second Unit

    Feb 12, 2002
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    Rented it a few weeks ago. HATED IT.
    Yes, the transfer was gorgeous, but not enough to salvage the film.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10. Jay E

    Jay E Cinematographer

    May 30, 2000
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    Thanks for the review Ron. I picked this up sight unseen due to the presence of a certain French actress, and I'm glad I did. It's a real sleeper.
  11. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator

    Jun 30, 1999
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    I thought it was okay, but I did not get really hooked into the film as much as Ron did.
  12. John Berggren

    John Berggren Producer

    Jun 17, 1999
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    I have never heard of this film. I'll have to keep an eye out for it.
  13. SteveGon

    SteveGon Executive Producer

    Dec 11, 2000
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    Just rented and watched this entertaining little movie. Ron, thanks for the review - otherwise I would have ignored it when I saw it on the shelf at the video store. [​IMG]
  14. Bob McLaughlin

    Bob McLaughlin Screenwriter

    Aug 14, 2000
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    Real Name:
    I thought it was a cool idea, and I liked the whole look of the movie, but Jeremy Davies left me cold. Instead of being deep, he was just kind of... vacant.

    I'd give it 3 out of 4 stars for originality.
  15. George See

    George See Second Unit

    Jul 14, 2002
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    Rented it this weekend based upon Ron's glowing review. I definently enjoyed the movie but it didn't blow me away like I was expecting. Usually when Ron says Highly recomended the movie really seems amazing to me but not this time. I just didn't really feel any attachment to the main character. The look and feel of the movie was really great though And I really enjoyed the soundtrack. I just didn't grow to care about the characters. I really enjoyed the scenes with his girlfriend And the video camera
    I kept hoping they'd explore that aspect more but I was let down.
  16. MichaelG

    MichaelG Second Unit

    Jul 10, 2000
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    I will at least rent this one now. I didn't really know anything about it before now.
  17. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

    Jan 22, 1999
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    Real Name:
    Aaron Silverman
    I thought CQ was decent, but it's the first movie I've seen where my opinion was LOWERED after listening to the commentary. I thought maybe I'd missed something in some of the scenes, looking for some meaning, and they all turned out to be things like "this is my Annie Hall ripoff scene" or "someone told me this anecdote and I thought it was neat, so I put it in the film".

    I think Roman Coppola showed that he's a competent filmmaker, but he could use some better material.
  18. Robert_Z

    Robert_Z Screenwriter

    Jun 16, 2002
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    What a yawner. Ugh.
  19. Robert_eb

    Robert_eb Supporting Actor

    Sep 14, 2001
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    I just put this film on the top of my Netflix rental queue based on this review.
  20. Paul_Scott

    Paul_Scott Lead Actor

    Jul 19, 2002
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    another title i forgot i had, but found it on the shelf yesterday and started to watch it.
    i only got to see the first 1/2, but this was one of the most enjoyable 'blind' purchases i've made yet.
    i'm not only a fan of Barbarella and the kitschy retro vibe the movie wonderfully replicates, but i spent most of my spare time in art school trying to do my own self absorbed life documentation.
    i could totally relate.
    i can see though, where it wouldn't be everybody elses cup of tea.

    thought the sound mix (including the great score) was far more interesting and enjoyable than a lot of current 'big movies'.

    can't wait to finish it tonight!

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