WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
A celebrity homicide detective (De Niro) and a hotshot arson investigator (Burns) find themselves as unlikely partners as they both try and hunt down a pair of insane murderers who desperately want their 15 minutes of fame, by videotaping a savage killing spree.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
While this movie offered an extremely talented ensemble cast and intriguing premise, it fell short in terms of the message that it was trying to deliver. In spending the greater portion of its 2 hour running time preaching against the evils of the media and how they sensationalize the lurid and morbid, the actual storyline of the film was beyond believability and at times, pretty laughable. It’s like the writer decided to spice up the movie halfway through by seeing how much he could get away with, but unfortunately for us, the film quickly falls apart soon after this bizarre decision. It does succeed as a media satire but ultimately sacrifices its script and plot in the process. Acting wise, De Niro and Burns play well off each other but the real stars of this movie are the unknown European actors who find themselves tangled in the media’s three ring circus. Karel Rodin will scare the beejesus out of you as the psychotic mastermind of the duo and Oleg Taktarov (who oozes charisma and charm) provides for some much need comic relief. 15 Minutes is an entertaining movie but it’s one that delivers sloppy filmmaking and is certainly not without its fair share of flaws and problems.
Kicking off this infinifilm loaded special edition is “15 Minutes of True Tabloid Stars” (clocking in at yup, 15 minutes) which features interviews and opinions from such noted tabloid sleaze as Jerry Springer, Sally Jesse Raphael, Deborah Norville and Maury Povich. While this featurette has nothing to do with the movie, it’s a disturbing yet worthwhile glance into the bizarre cult of celebrity and tabloid that dominates our television airwaves. Well done, New Line. Next up is a documentary, “Does Crime Pay?” (21 minutes) which highlights a roundtable discussion from panelists like Gloria Allred and LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman (whom you might remember from single-handedly messing up the OJ trial). After having seen 15 Minutes, this featurette does a great job of looking at and dissecting the media’s glorification of criminals.
Next up is “Fact Track” which when selected, runs in tandem with the movie and uses subtitles to present cool tidbits of information about the movie and everything else you could think of. It’s quickly becoming one of my favorite types of extras, simply because of all the quirky things you learn by watching them. 6 deleted scenes also find their way onto the DVD and can be viewed with an optional commentary from director Herzfeld. “Oleg’s Videos” which runs about 11 minutes and covers two key murders in the movie, provides raw footage shot from a handicam by the actor in the movie as the scenes were being shot. It’s extremely unsettling stuff which should not be viewed by the squeamish. Cast and crew biographies as well as the original theatrical trailer also find their way onto the disc. Lastly, the music video for God Lives Underwater’s cover of Fame (originally by David Bowie) finished up the added extras of the DVD. The menus on the disc are really cool, with pseudo late night news introductions and full animation and sound. Keep in mind that the infinifilm option lets you watch the movie and select all the aforementioned extras while viewing the flick.
New Line seems set on changing the face of DVD by introducing extras you wouldn’t normally expect to find on most releases. While this one doesn’t feature ONE behind the scenes documentary on the movie, the media featurettes were wise choices and make for pretty engaging viewing. While I’m not exactly a huge fan of the flick, the DVD throws in plenty of great extras which along with solid audio and video, qualifies it as "can’t miss" rental material.