Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind (2002/Miramax/Lionsgate Blu-ray)/Track 29 (1987/Image DVD)
Picture: B-/C+ Sound: B-/C+ Extras: B-/D Films: B-/C+
and ironic comedy are two approaches to telling stories in unusual ways,
especially when the circumstances call for it, as following films show.
Clooney made his directing debut with Confessions
Of A Dangerous Mind (2002). Based on the controversial biographical book by
TV producer/comedian Chuck Barris (played well here by the great Sam Rockwell)
that while he was a rising star making hit TV shows like The Dating Game, he was suddenly also fighting The Co0ld War
working for the CIA! It is, of course,
hard to say if this is true or how true it is, but all the known spy agencies
have done far less likely things that we do know about, so Barris’ claim is not
like a 1970s thriller with a little comedy, we get inside several worlds
effectively: the CIA spy world, Barris’ life, the counterculture days and the
rise of television as a great and powerful medium in its last golden
period. Clooney also gets a great cast
together including Drew Barrymore as Barris’ girlfriend, Rutger Hauer and Julia
Roberts in a great, hilarious turn as a covert spy. Clooney makes this believable even if one
questions if it ever happened, though maybe it did, but we could be cynical at
worst and say Barris did this as one last stunt (like The Gong Show recreated so faithfully here) so he would not just be
remembered for his fun TV shows that at the time were idiotically attacked for
being “the end of civilization” and the like.
As compared to the hatemongering TV and horrid reality TV of today,
Barris’ shows are a breath of fresh air!
include Gong Show acts, Sam Rockwell screen tests, a Behind The Scenes
featurette, The Real Chuck Barris
featurette, Deleted Scenes with optional commentary and a really impressive
feature length audio commentary by Clooney and Director of Photography Newton
Roeg’s Track 29 (1987) continued his
surreal explorations of life and the human psyche, but this time, he
collaborated with Dennis Potter (who wrote the classic deconstructive musicals The Singing Detective and Pennies From Heaven). An unhappy, married woman (Theresa Russell,
who became his muse at this point) is married to a toy train addict
(Christopher Lloyd in what amounts to a send-up of his Back To The Future role) and wants more. Enter a traveling loner (Gary Oldman) with a
mother complex and madness follows.
course, the story is not that simple, but Roeg was not as consistent at this
point and the work is not up there with his classics like Walkabout, The Man Who Fell
To Earth (both reviewed on Blu-ray elsewhere on this site) and the
Most filmmakers could not juggle what he does here, but the result just
does not have the impact of his better work despite a great cast (also
including Colleen Camp, Sandra Bernhardt (here almost in a sly Scorsese
innertextual reference) and Seymour Cassel.
However, it is worth a look just by the challenging nature of the
film. There are unfortunately no extras.
2.35 X 1 digital High Definition image transfer and DTS-HD MA (Master Audio)
5.1 lossless mix on Mind looks and
sounds pretty good, but seems to come from an older HD master. I expect a newer master would at least show
more improvements on the image with can be soft at times it should not, but
this is still a decent presentation. The
Anamorphically enhanced 1.78 X 1 image on Track
is softer and from a clean print, yet it also seems like a slightly older video
master. Color can be good, but detail is
an issue more than it should be. The
lossy Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo also shows its age, but has faint Pro Logic
surrounds since this was a Dolby A-type analog theatrical release.
- Nicholas Sheffo