[box cover]

CQ: Special Edition

Jeremy Davies stars in CQ (2002) as Paul, a young American film editor cutting a low-budget, sexy, Mario Bava-esque sci-fi flick in 1969 Paris. Following trouble with a succession of directors, the reins are finally handed over to Paul, who must devise a fantastic ending to please his finicky producer (Giancarlo Giannini) and jump start his career. But with his personal life split between dysfunction, pretense, and flights of fantasy, the neophyte director struggles for inspiration both within the film's suffocating artifice and without. Director Roman Coppola, who also wrote the screenplay for CQ, has crafted some pleasing eye candy, affectionately embracing funky retro kitsch without lampooning it, capturing a strong feeling of time and place through mood and music, and striking a strong note of empathy with an incredibly appealing young cast full of charisma and extraordinary physicality. Like his sister Sofia, Roman seems to have inherited his father Francis's famous sense of aesthetics and infamous ambition, but not his attention to narrative. CQ is full of fine moments but is otherwise largely aimless, unstructured, threateningly dull, and ultimately pointless. Davies is good in the lead and Lindvall is strong in twin roles, but Coppola cousin Jason Schwarzman (Rushmore) makes a scene-stealing supporting appearance and French actress Elodie Bouchez bests them all as Paul's neglected girlfriend Marlene. Also features Dean Stockwell, John Phillip Law, Gerard Depardieu and Billy Zane. Side One of MGM's CQ: Special Edition features both a great 1.85:1 anamorphic transfer and a standard 1.33:1 option, with Dolby Digital 5.1 audio and a commentary by Roman Coppola and his cinematographer Robert Yeoman. On the flipside is a veritable booty of special features, including two cuts of the fictional film Codename: Dragonfly, plus its trailer and the featurette "The Making of a '60s Sci-fi Film"; featurettes "Actors Acting," "Chronique D'un Cineaste," "Cinematography," "Music & Sound" and "CQ: A Cinematic Odyssey"; scoring band Mellow performing the Codename: Dragonfly theme song live at a 2001 Japanese music festival; Personal Documentaries from Ellie Coppola, Sofia Coppola, Mathieu (Kassovitz?) and Xavier F. Martin & Sebastian Alouf; plus the trailer, a still gallery, and a series of hidden menus with several brief-but-amusing extra outtakes. Keep-case.
—Gregory P. Dorr

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