Minutes" on DVD
by Johnny Bray
Andy Warhol pretty much nailed it when he said that everyone will be
famous for 15 minutes. What he didn't mention, however, is that some people
will do just about anything for theirs.
Such is the case in 15 Minutes, a very well-written thriller from writer/director
Emil and Oleg are fresh out of jail in Europe. Now they've come to the
States to collect some money from a friend of theirs. Unfortunately, upon
arriving, they find out that their "friend" has already spent all the
money. Oleg (Oleg Taktarov) has a bit of a temper, and doesn't take this
too well. He ends up brutally killing his friend and his wife, and sets
out to find the witness to make sure she doesn't say anything.
Emil (Karel Roden), wanting to be the next Frank Capra, videotapes the
entire thing. In fact, he videotapes everything they do, hoping to sell
the tape for some big bucks. And maybe even sell the book and movie rights.
From there, the two develop a zany scheme to get away with everything
they've done. If they get arrested, they'll just plead insanity and end
up in a psycho ward. Once there, they say they were only kidding about
the whole "insane thing," and because of the Double Jeopardy law, a person
can't be tried for the same crime twice. Bada-bing-bada-boom, they're
Eddie Fleming (Robert De Niro) and Jordy Warsaw (Edward Burns) are two
of New York's finest detectives, and it's up to them to catch the criminals.
Both are superb in their roles, but amazingly, as big a de Niro fan as
I am, he is outdone by Burns. Burns plays the arson investigator who gets
in over his head perfectly. Kelsey Grammar co-stars as Robert Hawkins,
the TV tabloid reporter who is interested in nothing but ratings. Sounds
to me like every other TV tabloid reporter.
What's most frightening about the movie is that something like this would
actually work. Not only is the film commentating on the effects of the
media in making people famous, it's also commentating on the leniency
of the justice system. Even though it's a tad hypocritical, it's point
comes across very strongly. A movie like this really makes you think.
It's a little graphic and violent, but if you ask me (and even if you
don't), that helps to get the point across. Herzfeld really thought this
movie through before going ahead with it. I personally think it's the
most underrated film of the year, and I highly recommend it to people
who like movies with a brain.
New Line's new "Infinifilm" Series delivers top-notch picture and sound
quality, as well as a shipload of extras. The 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen
and 5.1 surround sound are of the highest quality. Once again, New Line
delivers the goods.
There are three "sets" of features in the Infinifilm series. First is
the "Beyond the Movie" features. These include two documentaries: 15 Minutes
of Tabloid Stars and Does Crime Pay?, both of which have some interesting
interviews and perspectives on the topics in the movie. There's also a
"Fact Track," which is a lot like VH1's Pop-up Video. A bunch of facts
scroll across the screen like subtitles. In this case, though, the facts
are actually relatively interesting.
The "All-Access Pass" features focus on the film itself. There's a feature-length
audio commentary with John Herzfeld, deleted scenes (which are actually
pretty good) with optional commentary, "Oleg's Videos" - video footage
captured from the actor's perspective, a music video and the theatrical
The third set of features is the DVD-Rom features. They include script-to-screen
access, a link to the original website, and exclusive access to online
15 Minutes, from New Line Home Entertainment
121 minutes, anamorphic widescreen (2.35:1), 16X9 enhanced, 5.1 surround
Starring Robert de Niro, Edward Burns, Kelsey Grammar, and Avery Brooks
Produced by David Blocker and John Herzfeld
Written and Directed by John Herzfeld.
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