003797Reviews & Counting
DVD disk
10.08.2004 By: The Shootin Surgeon
CQ order
Roman Coppola

Jeremy Davies
Angela Lindvall
…lodie Bouchez


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Paris, France. Circa 1969. While working on his own independent movie using borrowed equipment and borrowed film, a young film editor (Davies) gets a chance to direct the ending of a sci-fi movie when the Italian producer cans the director. During that filming, he falls in love with the star of the picture (Lindvall), a tall and sexy American gal. With two days to come up with the ending to the movie, he has to figure out his love life as well...eventually, he goes bananas.
It may seem by my intro that this was a normal film about a guy getting into different situations but it actually isn't. Roman Coppola puts forth a pretty original little picture about an affable guy who yearns for fame, yet is too nice to go out and grab it. Davies' portrayal of Paul Ballard, the meek film editor who gets his shot at the director's chair following a series of mishaps is lovable and yet I felt like grabbing him by the shirt collar, slapping him a couple of times and yelling : "This is your big chance dummy!" right in his sideburn-sheathed ear. As for the answer to the big question about this being a "good movie" or not, you know what...I really donít know. It was closer to good than it was to bad, but thatís not really a great endorsement of anything. I can tell you one thing: it was pretty original and not at all what I expected. The movie started off on a pretty pretentious note, with Jeremy Daviesí character putting together his own little independent film, which was no more than brief shots of objects, of his girlfriend, of him discussing different topics. And even though he came off as a pretty meek, charming fellow, his girlfriend hit the nail on the head when she broke it to him that ďother people might just not careĒ about his thoughts and opinions. Ditto, sweetheart!

Speaking of the girlfriend, Marlene, she was probably the character I found the most entertaining. Played to perfection by …lodie Bouchez, she had a nice little mix of cuteness, honesty, sarcasm and bitchiness to make her one appealing little French girl (not to mention her cans). She was a lot of fun, as was Angela Lindvall, who played the secret Agent Dragonfly, heroine of the crappy sci-fi flick that Davies is directing. She is one hot little number and her character was a really fun caricature of B-Movie spies. In fact, some of the sequences displaying portions of the film are downright hilarious! On a whole though, the film was pretty entertaining and the characters interesting but there wasnít really any focal point to the plot. I mean sure, you wondered whether or not the guy would come up with a good ending to the movie and sure, you wondered which chick he was gonna end up nailing but you didnít really wonder very hard and even though the film was rather short (88 minutes), you wanted to usher it along a bit.
The festivities begin with a pretty average commentary by writer/director Roman Coppola and cinematographer Robert Yeoman. They're okay but they do tend to get a tad pretentious which was consistent with the film itself. Coppola has made a lifelong project out of writing this script and making this movie happen and he obviously sees more to it than I did but he seems like a pretty decent fellow.

Next up was a grouping of features entitled "Codename: Dragonfly" which is based around the sci-fi film-within-the-film that is at the base of CQ. You can watch the entire film's both versions, one of them being Andrzej's version (the first director) and the second being Paul's version (Ballard's). It was actually pretty neat to watch (although it's not a very good film) and Paul's version had the added bonus of being available with commentary by Angela Lindvall. The first version lasts about 10 minutes and the second one about 15. Also included was the Dragonfly trailer, which Paul edits into the movie. The last feature in this group is a 7-minute long documentary entitled "The making of a 60's sci-fi flick". That was my favorite as it showed plenty of the cool ways they used to work around the lack of resources or technologies to make these fun films happen. Coppola, opting for realism, decided to omit any computer effects and all the Dragonfly effects were accomplished through the same methods they would have been by then. Cool.

The second grouping is a set of five different little featurettes. Here come the bullet points:

CQ: A cinematic odyssey: A brief on-set documentary about the making of the film with comments from the usual suspects. Pretty short so there's not much that gets added to the mix here, except you get to see them kid around a bit. (7 minutes) Chronique d'un cinťaste: This was pretty neat: Coppola, armed with a handheld camera walks you from his home where he's preparing to leave for the shoot in Luxembourg all the way to the production locations where you can see him do some scouting, some of the casting and you can see Angela Lindvall's screen test. It's nothing really dazzling but some kudos go out for doing something a bit different. (8 minutes) Actors Acting: This is a pretty standard little bit where you can see the actors discussing themselves as well as their roles. I'm issuing a minor pretentious alert on this one. (8 minutes) Cinematography: Hosted by Robert Yeoman, it's a discussion of the cinematographic aspects of the film. It's pretty interesting since the three films making up CQ are shot in entirely different ways, at entirely different times. The man obviously knows what he's doing. (8 minutes) Music & Sound: Very standard but it features one very cool part in which you get a comparison between the "dirty" original production sound and the "clean" completed scene sound. Makes you see how much work is done behind the scenes. (9 minutes) The next slot in the batting order is occupied by a little band called Mellow. They performed both the songs used in Dragonfly and "Mellow Live" is a two song performance by them in a small Japanese nightclub. "Seek You" and "Dragonfly" are performed in the perfect setting of a smoky lounge, by a decent band and a hot singer. Not bad at all if I may say so myself.

The nest grouping was the peak of pretentiousness this DVD would attain. Unfortunately, that peak is pretty high. Four personal documentaries by four different filmmakers about the film are presented and one of them is by Sofia Coppola (Roman's sister), so you know where this is going. Eleanor Coppola (Francis Ford's wife) also makes one of them and the other two are made by Mathieu (whoever he is) and by Xavier et Sebastien (whoever they are). Ecch. These are a great reason to be grateful for the whole concept of "fast forward".

You can then rejoice with the CQ Theatrical Trailer and a really nice stills gallery with more than enough shots of the lusty Lindvall. If you go on the main menu and click on her picture actually, you'll be transported to a "hidden gallery" with a bunch of very weird little clips from the film and the shoot.
The film was actually pretty neat if only because it's really "out there" and very original and the DVD packs a pretty nice punch. Unfortunately, I just don't really see myself watching this film again for any other reason that sheer novelty, so I can only recommend a stiff dose of rental.
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